The Best Full Frame Cameras for Portrait Photography

There are exceptional cameras for portrait photography; but lots of our staff sometimes prefer to shoot film for portraiture. However, we can’t always do that. So we’re rounding up the best full frame cameras for portrait photography. What’s more, we’ve tested them all, and a bunch of others too. And in our minds, these are the best on the market. Take a look!

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How We Chose the Best Full Frame Cameras for Portrait Photography

Here’s some insight into how we chose the best full frame cameras for portrait photography:

  • Our Editorial Ethics and policies don’t allow us to include products we’ve never tested in this roundups. With that said, our staff has reviewed every single one of these cameras. In fact, all the product images and sample images were shot by us too. You can click further into our full review within each section to make a more informed purchase decision.
  • The Canon EOS R5 is one of the best full frame cameras for portrait photography because of the colors, resolution, and Canon’s insanely dreamy lenses.
  • The Sony a7r IV is one of the best full frame cameras for portrait photography because of the skin softening feature that’s built in.
  • The Leica SL2 is one of the best full frame cameras for portrait photography because of the resolution and the signature look when paired with Leica’s APO Summicron SL lenses.
  • The Nikon z7 II is one of the best full frame cameras for portrait photography because of the new firmware update called Portrait Impressions. You should try it. 

Canon EOS R5

Pros

  • Well built
  • Excellent battery life
  • So intuitive for a Canon shooter
  • Feels very good in the hand
  • Image stabilization is pretty much second to none.
  • Wonderful menu systems
  • Excellent details
  • Weather sealed
  • Reliable
  • Canon’s Mobile App connection setup is as simple as ever.
  • Doesn’t overheat with short clips
  • Wifi sending of full HD video is pretty fast.
  • High ISO RAW files hold a fair amount of data. There’s great dynamic range and colors, but the noise is a bit painful.
  • Wireless RAW file transmission with Capture One 22

Cons

  • The joystick is in an odd spot.
  • In some ways feels like an old 60D, but it’s totally not.
  • I personally feel the magnification button is in an odd spot.
  • Can’t transfer 8K video via Wifi
  • 4K movie clips shorter than 30 seconds take a while to send, and then ultimately don’t end up on your phone
  • High ISO Raw files above 12,800 tend to get a bit messy
  • The price is a bit high at $3,899.

In our review, we state:

“Since firmware update 1.4 came to the Canon EOS R, the Canon system has had positively fantastic autofocus. It’s almost as good as Sony’s. And the Canon EOS R5 is no exception here. It’s fast to focus and track subjects no matter what. It sometimes lost focus, but when this happened, we usually were shooting with a lens wide open at f1.4 or f1.2. It never happened when stopped down. And that’s awesome! Face and eye detection is top notch. I’d say that Canon is better at low light than Sony is. I’ve been saying this for over a year and I know that others agree with me on this. Not only is it faster, but it’s usually more accurate.”

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Sony a7 IV

Pros

  • Face detection and tracking
  • Animal face detection and tracking
  • Bird face and eye detection
  • Metering
  • Updated OLED screen and menu
  • Comfortable grip
  • Suitable for a variety of applications
  • Weather-sealed and sensor dust issue is improved.
  • Fast autofocus
  • Impressive Dynamic Range
  • Sharp – almost too sharp for some womens’ portraits
  • In-camera skin softening to combat incredibly sharp skin pores

Cons

  • High ISO performance could be better.
  • Color noise in out-of-focus areas at lower ISOs
  • Shutter freezes and the camera becomes unresponsive at times when shooting bracketed.
  • High burst mode currently only works if shooting compressed RAW.

In our review, we state:

“The new skin softening is a welcome detail within the system, and the creative looks are a great start. I’m also very appreciative of how well the RAW files play with Capture One. It seems Sony is paying attention to the fact that many photographers don’t enjoy editing for hours on end. I’d love to see more creative looks that are usually only achievable via post-processing become available.”

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Nikon z7 II

Pros

  • A much-improved autofocus system
  • Durable magnesium alloy build with weather-sealing
  • Image quality is great, especially with native Z lenses.
  • In-body image stabilization
  • Dual card slots with XQD/CF Express and SD

Cons

  • While improved, the autofocus isn’t as good as Canon’s R series.
  • Eyepiece rubber sometimes blocks the eye sensor
  • Viewfinder blacks out

In our review, we state:

“The Z7 II has colors that are similar to those from my D850. With the right lens, the colors are vibrant and punchy without being too overbearing. But, occasionally, colors skew a little green, particularly skin tones. Through firmware version 1.30, Nikon has added a Portrait Impression Balance function. This allows you to adjust the brightness as well as the green/magenta hues of skin tones in JPEG images. You can save three different settings this way. I prefer the images adjusted slightly towards the magenta. But, it took some trial and error to find a setting I liked; it’s not self-explanatory. I think the photographers who are going to look at the chart and know how to use it are the ones who are likely shooting in RAW anyways. Unfortunately, it’s a non-feature for RAW photographers. But, it does offer some of the color adjustments that I would apply to RAW portraits to JPEGs in-camera.”

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Leica SL2

Pros

  • It’s built like a tank.
  • Once you get the philosophy behind its creation, you stand to understand the things that set it apart.
  • You can hammer nails in with it. Well, not really.
  • Very well weather sealed
  • Fantastic image quality
  • Pretty good battery life
  • Access to a lot of great lenses
  • Image stabilization is very good.
  • The most finely detailed high ISO files that we’ve seen when printing.

Cons

  • Nearly $6,000
  • Autofocus isn’t that of a nearly $6,000 camera, but it’s better than Panasonic’s.
  • The menu system and interface is something you need to wrap your head around.
  • No multiple exposure mode
  • I wish I could constantly see the information displayed in Menu 1.
  • The sensor is bound to get dirty.
  • It’s big and heavy.
  • I don’t want to carry it around for a long period of time.
  • The big size makes it a pain on trips.
  • No flip or tilt screen

In our review, we state:

“The Leica SL2 is a camera landscape photographers, cityscape shooters, portrait photographers, and documentary photographers who slow down will truly appreciate. Every RAW file sings with information in it. Lots of highlight and shadow details can be recovered from them. Additionally, it handles noise very well, but it’s not the best at it. Sony still does a better job. But when I look at the image files, I get more details from images at ISO 3200 and beyond. Although there is more image noise vs Panasonic’s options, it’s not awful.”

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The Phoblographer’s various product round-up features are done in-house. Our philosophy is simple: you wouldn’t get a Wagyu beef steak review from a lifelong vegetarian. And you wouldn’t get photography advice from someone who doesn’t touch the product. We only recommend gear we’ve fully reviewed. If you’re wondering why your favorite product didn’t make the cut, there’s a chance it’s on another list. If we haven’t reviewed it, we won’t recommend it. This method keeps our lists packed with industry-leading knowledge. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Chris Gampat

Chris Gampat is the Editor in Chief, Founder, and Publisher of the Phoblographer. He also likes pizza.