Behind some of the best modern automotive photos are incredibly talented photographers. And behind these photographers is an arsenal of camera equipment that help them achieve their photographic vision.

There are hundreds of guides out there that take a deep dive into the mechanics, and if the included CD is compatible on your computer or not, but we’re here to give you the highlight (and the lowlight) reel of each of these cameras by brand, and why they’re our picks for automotive photography.

We’ll focus on “the big three” camera makers – and to help photographers of all levels, we’ll provide entry level, professional, and top-of-the line options. We’ll highlight features that are important in automotive photography such as sensor resolutions, frames per second, memory writing speeds and more.

Already have a camera? Check out our picks for the best lenses for automotive photography to get you going.

Best Canon Cameras for Car Photography

Canon cameras as of late have been known to combine the finest in camera technology mixed with the most intuitive designs. The design of their cameras allow you to adjust settings quickly, almost having them feel like an extension of your own body. The durable build of Canons give you peace of mind in challenging scenarios that come with automotive photography. Canons are also known for their incredible in-camera color reproduction (have you seen Canon images’ warm/cool tones and their greens?!). Check out some of the best that Canon has to offer for automotive photography:

Best Canon Camera for Auto Photography

Entry-Level: Canon Rebel T8i

7 out of 10 photographers (don’t quote us on that) will tell their stories of how they started from humble beginnings with the entry level, yet robust, Canon Rebel line. Their latest Rebel T8i sports a crop sensor producing 24.1MP which is a far cry from the sensor resolutions of a decade ago. The speed of 7fps combined with their 45-point auto focus system is sure to get beginner automotive photographers up and running. Don’t sweat the low specs, just create!

Check out the Canon Rebel T8i here

  • Megapixels: 24.1 MP (Crop Sensor)
  • Frames per second: 7 fps
  • Weather Sealing: None
  • Max ISO: 25600
  • Focusing dots: 45-point AF
  • Memory Card Writing Speed: 104 MBouuf/s (with UHS-I SD Memory Card)

Canon Rebel T8i Car Photography

Professional: Canon 5D Mark IV

The all-encompassing Canon 5D Mark IV is the camera of choice for studios, portraits, and weddings across the land, but don’t let that fool you out of how incredible and versatile of a camera it is. Canon is famously known for some of the best color reproduction in the game. Not only can it apply its color science to a car, along with its paint and textures – but also the tones in the surrounding environment. The 61-point autofocus lets you focus and adjust quickly, and the compatibility with UHS-II SD memory cards will allow it to max out its 7 fps shutter and process the photos quickly as well.

Check out the Canon 5D Mark IV here

  • Megapixels: 30.4 MP (Full-Frame Sensor)
  • Frames per second: 7 fps
  • Weather Sealing: Environmental sealing which provides resistance against water and dust
  • Max ISO: 102400
  • Focusing dots: 61-point AF
  • Memory Card Writing Speed: 312 MB/s (Dual Slots: 1x SD (UHS-I) & 1x CompactFlash UDMA 7)

Auto Photos Canon 5D Mark IV

Top of the Line: Canon 1D X Mark III

The complete workhorse powerhouse camera, the 1D X Mark III, reigns supreme among all. Equipped with a much smaller resolution size at 20.1MP (which actually achieves better low light performance than higher MPs), the size also allows for the camera’s INCREDIBLY QUICK shutter to max out at 20 fps, and send the photos rushing to a CFexpress memory card at 1700MB/s. Not only is it incredible fast, but also offers some of the best-in-class weather-proofing for all conditions, while also promising that magical Canon color reproduction. The 1D X Mark III is a top tier camera for automotive photography.

Check out the Canon 1D X Mark III here

  • Megapixels: 20.1 MP (Full-Frame Sensor)
  • Frames per second: 20 fps
  • Weather Sealing: Environmental sealing which provides resistance against water and dust
  • Max ISO: 102400
  • Focusing dots: 191-point AF
  • Memory Card Writing Speed: 1700 MB/s (with UHS-III CFexpress Memory Card)

Canon 1DX Mark iii Car Photos

Canon Automotive Photographers

Canon automotive photographersImages by Aaron Brimhall and Stephan Bauer

Best Sony Cameras for Car Photography

Sony, at this point in time, owns the mirrorless camera category. Known for packing a lot into the small ergonomic designed cameras, they feature focus peaking for those fast-moving targets, amazing low-light capabilities, robust megapixel ranges, the best electronic viewfinder experiences, and also double as some of the best handheld cameras for video out there. Alas, we’re here to talk about how Sony cameras can help with automotive photography – check out our Sony favorites:

Best Sony Camera for Car Photography

Entry-Level: Sony A6400

Probably the most compact of all the cameras featured here, the Sony A6400 isn’t the latest 6000-range model from Sony, but still packs a punch at an affordable cost for beginners looking to dive into automotive photography. This is the camera that boasts the highest specs of all of our entry-l

evel picks with similar MP count, but more frames-per-second, focus dots, and ISO. Truly a powerhouse entry-level camera, packaged up into a sleek compact design.

Check out the Sony A6400 here

  • Megapixels: 24.2 MP (APS-C Crop Sensor)
  • Frames per second: 11 fps
  • Weather Sealing: Environmental sealing which provides resistance against water and dust
  • Max ISO: 32000
  • Focusing dots: 425 phase-detection AF
  • Memory Card Writing Speed: 104 MB/s (with UHS-I Memory Card)

Sony A6400 Auto Photography

Professional: Sony A7R III

This is not just a camera capable of incredible photography, but also great video capabilities. Being a mirrorless camera with a full-frame sensor, the small but mighty Sony A7 RIII offers incredibly quick photo processing, along with an electronic viewfinder that assists in precision auto focusing, and motion capture for those roller shots or panning shots. The A7 RIII is a great pro camera for those that love mirrorless, and want to dabble in video a bit.

Check out the Sony A7R III here

  • Megapixels: 42 MP (Full-Frame Sensor)
  • Frames per second: 10 fps
  • Weather Sealing: Environmental sealing which provides resistance against water and dust
  • Max ISO: 32000
  • Focusing dots: 693 phase-detection AF
  • Memory Card Writing Speed: 312 MB/s (with UHS-II SD Memory Card)

Car Sony A7R III Camera

Top of the Line: Sony A7R IV

And here, we have the highest megapixel camera featured. The Sony A7 RIV’s 61 MP full-frame sensor will get you the highest resolution pictures than any of the cameras mentioned here. Strapping a telephoto lens on one will help with optical zooms to isolate your subject, but the high resolution will allow you to zoom in a bit closer without loss of detail. The A7 RIV is an autofocusing beast with a 567 phase-detection within its electronic viewfinder. The built-in AI and motion tracking ensures that you don’t miss any sort of immediate motion. One area this camera might lack compared to the other top of the line ones is its memory card writing speed and fps if you’re capturing rapid car movement. Nonetheless, if you’re going all in with Sony, this is the one to do it with.

Check out the Sony A7R IV here

  • Megapixels: 61.0 MP (Full-Frame Sensor)
  • Frames per second: 10 fps
  • Weather Sealing: Environmental sealing which provides resistance against water and dust
  • Max ISO: 32000
  • Focusing dots: 567 phase-detection AF
  • Memory Card Writing Speed: 312 MB/s (with UHS-II SD Memory Card)

Sony A7R IV Auto Photography

Sony Automotive Photographers:

Sony Automotive PhotographersImages by Leo Nitzgen and Tom Kahler

Best Nikon Cameras for Car Photography

Sure you’ll find them in memes for being a bird watcher’s camera of choice, but there’s good reason Nikon is still alive and kicking to this day – they continue to produce some of the finest in camera technology! Known for the world-famous FX mount which can adapt to a long lineage of Nikon lenses over decades, iconic Nikon glass, extensive dynamic range that respects shadows and highlights, and overall durability. Check out some of our picks for Nikon cameras that can get you going in your automotive photography journey:

Best Nikon Camera for Car Photography

Entry-Level: Nikon D3500

Probably the remaining 3 out of 10 photographers who didn’t start on Canon Rebels would say their humble beginnings started with a Nikon, and in this case, a Nikon D3500. Once again, the technology that’s packed within the entry cameras of today is incredible, and just enough to get you on your feet for photographing cars. These are the perfect cameras to really hone your skills and develop your style before going for models in the big leagues.

Check out the Nikon D3500 here

  • Megapixels: 24.2 MP (Crop Sensor)
  • Frames per second: 5 fps
  • Weather Sealing: None
  • Max ISO: 25600
  • Focusing dots: 11-point AF
  • Memory Card Writing Speed: 150 MB/s (with UHS-I SD Memory Card)

Nikon D3500 Car Photos

Professional: Nikon D850

Boasting a stellar megapixel count and state-of-the art auto focus system, the Nikon D850 offers incredibly high resolution photos with a quick focusing 153-point system and also capable of writing speeds of up to 312mb.s with a UHS-III SD card. A well-built, robust machine that’ll allow you to capture cars in all scenarios, whether they’re parked along a nice view, or driving right by you.

Check out the Nikon D850 here

  • Megapixels: 45.7MP (Full-Frame Sensor)
  • Frames per second: 7 fps
  • Weather Sealing: Environmental sealing which provides resistance against water and dust
  • Max ISO: 25600
  • Focusing dots: 153-point AF
  • Memory Card Writing Speed: 312 MB/s (with UHS-III SD Memory Card)

Nikon D850 Auto Images

Top of the Line: Nikon D6

The latest in Nikon’s top camera, the D6 brings similar specs to the Canon 1DX Mark III, but just falls short in the focusing points arena at 105-points vs. the Canon’s 191-points. Nonetheless, still an incredible camera to be your workhorse. The durability of this camera will carry it through any environmental situation, and the fast shutter at 14 fps allows for quick capture of movement. Nikons are known for their great dynamic range in digital photos, fully capturing highlights and shadows – and there’s no missing that in Nikon’s greatest machine.

Check out the Nikon D6 here

  • Megapixels: 20.8MP (Full-Frame Sensor)
  • Frames per second: 14 fps
  • Weather Sealing: Environmental sealing which provides resistance against water and dust
  • Max ISO: 102400
  • Focusing dots: 105-point AF
  • Memory Card Writing Speed: 1700 MB/s (with UHS-III CFexpress Memory Card)

Nikon D6 for Car Photos

Nikon Automotive Photographers

Nikon Automotive PhotographersImages by 954mm and Amy Shore

Have any other camera recommendations for car photography? Are there any other brands that we should be considering? Let us know in the comments below! Be sure to follow Gridfiti Auto on IG and the Gridfiti Auto Pinterest Board for more automotive content!

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