Best High-End, Full-Frame Mirrorless Digital Cameras for Artists –

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If you want to shoot high-end, pro-level images or video, consider purchasing a full-frame mirrorless camera. These are loaded with large, full-frame sensors, which provides a field of view equivalent to that of a standard 35-millimeter film camera—in other words, they don’t crop the frame. These sensors also offer higher resolution, better performance in low-light or high-contrast settings, and a greater depth of field. Some models even have features powered by artificial intelligence, such as Sony’s Real-Time tracking and subject-recognition algorithm, which follows your subjects and keeps them in focus, even if they disappear behind another object. While you can still buy a full-frame DSLR, we like the mirrorless ones; they tend to be more compact, and they also rely on electronic viewfinders, which allow you to preview your eventual image in real time as you alter your settings. Moreover, camera companies are phasing out their DSLR lines. To find the best mirrorless full-frame camera for you, check out our recommendations below.

How we pick each product:
Our mission is to recommend the most appropriate artists’ tool or supply for your needs. Whether you are looking for top-of-the line equipment or beginners’ basics, we’ll make sure that you get good value for your money by doing the research for you. We scour the Internet for information on how art supplies and tools are used and read customer reviews by real users; we ask experts for their advice; and of course, we rely on our own accumulated expertise as artists, photographers, teachers, and craftspeople.

Sony a7R V

Buy: Sony a7R V Mirrorless Camera (Body Only) $3898.00


Replacing our former top pick, the Sony Alpha 1 (a.k.a. the a1), Sony’s fifth-generation a7R model has the same 61.0-megapixel image sensor as its predecessor, the Sony a7R IV, making both models Sony’s highest resolution cameras currently on the market. But what really sets the a7R V camera apart is its stellar autofocusing system, which uses a new AI-powered processing unit (the BIONZ XR image processing engine) dedicated to image recognition, a first in any Sony Alpha camera. This processor allows the auto focus to automatically track faces and eyes not only of humans but of animals too. It can even track insects and vehicles. To do this, you choose the AF tracking mode for a person, animal or vehicle. This ensures you’re always getting sharp shots, no matter who or what is in motion. The a7R V includes other upgrades as well, like a better image-stabilization system, which now offers 8 steps of compensation, instead of 6. Moreover, it has a new 4-axis multi-angle LCD monitor, which fold outs and swivels in a more intuitive way, allowing you to more easily capture hard-to-get shots. The electronic viewfinder has also been improved, so it’s sharper—it now has 9.44 million dots. It also has the ability to capture 8K-resolution video. And for sharing your images, the a7R, like the A1, boasts the industry’s fastest Wi-Fi connection. The a7R V does fall short of matching the Sony a1 in a few areas: For example, the a1 can shoot 8K video at 30 fps and the a7R V captures 8K at just 24fps. And although the mechanical shutter burst is the same on both models (10 fps), the electronic burst mode on the a1 (30 fps) is faster than on the a7R (just 8fps). However, the a1 is close to double the price of the a7R V, which is why we think the Sony a7R V is the better buy.

Nikon Z9

Buy: Nikon Z9 Mirrorless Camera (Body Only) $5496.95


Although Nikon’s name has for decades been synonymous with professional cameras for photojournalists, the company’s recent full-frame mirrorless cameras have received mixed reviews. That all changed with the Nikon Z9. Designed with a tough, weather-resistant dual-grip body that lets you easily hold the camera horizontally in landscape mode or vertically in portrait mode, the Z9 offers a little bit of everything for the artist who wants the very best in camera gear. With a newly designed, 45.7MP image sensor that’s extremely sensitive to light, the Z9 will help you shoot crisp images even in dim conditions. It’s also extremely fast, with the ability to capture 30 frames per second (fps) for JPEG images and 20 fps for RAW image files with a 1,000+ image buffer. This basically means you can continuously shoot images with copious amounts of detail without the Z9 freezing up. Other premium features include a silent, fully electronic shutter that offers blackout-free shooting in the camera’s electronic viewfinder, so you never lose track of your subject. There’s also Eye AF (autofocus) for locking in on people and animals, and vehicle detection AF, which is great for motorsport photography. Video shooters will like that the Z9 can capture 8K video for up to two hours consecutively—the world’s longest recording time for a mirrorless camera. Another cool feature is a four-axis, 3.2-inch touchscreen LCD on the back of the camera that allows the monitor to tilt both horizontally and vertically, which is great when switching the camera from landscape mode to portrait mode.

Canon EOS R5

Buy: Canon EOS R5 Mirrorless Camera (Body Only) $3399.00


The Canon EOS R5 is an outstanding all-around interchangeable-lens camera suitable for a wide range of styles and subject matter. Fitted with an impressive, high-density 45-megapixel sensor, it’s capable of delivering super-crisp images with rich color depth in a variety of environments, even low-light spaces. Since the sensor can capture still photos with so much resolution, it provides you with a lot of flexibility when you need to crop the image in postproduction. But the EOS R5 just doesn’t have a high-resolution image sensor. Its electronic viewfinder is a 5.76-million dot OLED EVF, which is very clear and sharp, crucial when you’re composing your shots. It’s packed with other competitive features, too, but the R5 shines for its exceptional autofocus. The system is equipped with smart tracking that continuously trains itself to follow the bodies and faces of both people and animals; this technology excels because the R5 has close to 6,000 autofocus points that cover 100 percent of the frame. Pair this with an in-body image stabilization system that offers up to eight stops of correction and high-speed shooting of up to 20 frames per second, and catching even the liveliest of action shots (think birding!) is a breeze. The camera also excels in shooting video, capturing 8K video clips, which means it’s capturing a whopping 8129 x 4320 pixels at 30 frames per second! But you’ll need to buy a new type of memory card: One of its two card slots is a CFexpress memory card slot to handle the high data processing of shooting 8K video

Panasonic Lumix S5 II

Buy: Panasonic Lumix S5 II (Body Only) $1997.99


If you’re an artist on a tight budget but you still want an excellent quality hybrid full-frame mirrorless camera that shoots both still photos and very good video, this Panasonic full-frame mirrorless model should fit the bill. This new version of the S5, along with the more expensive Lumix S5 IIX, includes phase-detection technology on its 24-megapixel BSI CMOS sensor. This means both cameras are better at autofocusing and tracking subjects. The S5 II also has a faster burst mode than the previous model: 9 fps with mechanical shutter and 30 fps in electronic shutter mode. And it has 6.5 stops of compensation in its image-stabilization system. If you are looking for pro-level video capabilities, you might consider upgrading to the S5 IIX, which is $200 more than the S5 II. Either, though, are great value for the money.

Leica M11

Buy: Leica M11 Digital Rangefinder Camera $8995.00


For 60 years, Leica’s M-series rangefinders have been some of the most expensive on the market, and the M11, the latest digital version of this classic camera, is no exception. Those who love “M”s will like that M11 retains much of the series’ classic design and appearance. However, you’ll need to manually focus it, and it can’t capture video. But the company has updated it in other ways to make it competitive as a still-image camera. For instance, it has a new 60-megapixel back-side illuminated (BSI) CMOS sensor, which is a lot of resolution, more than previous models. It also lets you choose to shoot in one of three resolutions: 60MP (L), 36MP (M) and 18MP (S) in either RAW or JPEG. And it includes a powerful battery that allows you to shoot a long time with needing to recharge. Plus, it has a USB-C port to transfer images from your SD card (it has a UHS-II SD card slot) and is equipped with 64 GBs of internal storage for storing photos.

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