Best professional camera 2021

Canon EOS 1D X III

Finding the best professional camera for you depends very much on the types of photos or video you're looking to take. Unless you can stretch to landmark all-rounder like the Sony A1, specialist tools remain the best choice for professionals – and whether you're a landscape photographer, portrait snapper or hybrid shooter, we've rounded up all of the best ones here.

Our best cameras for professionals round up mainly focuses on stills photography in the higher end of the mirrorless and DSLR market – though we have also included a couple of our favorite video-focused options and, yes, a Leica for the those who want something that's just a little bit more than a photographic tool. If you're looking for cine camera comparisons, though, it's best to look elsewhere.

We've picked our favorite choices covering an array of photography disciplines, including action, landscapes and reportage. DSLR fan? You'll find our favorite option, the Nikon D850, in our list. Branching out to mirrorless and the hybrid world of photo and video? There's a bit more choice here, from the Canon EOS R5 to the more affordable Fujifilm X-T4.

With smartphones monopolizing beginner-level cameras, manufacturers are investing heavily in this pro-level part of the market – and professionals are well and truly enjoying the fruit.

As things stand, the Canon EOS R5 is currently our top pick as the best professional camera. Aside from its initial overheating issues and video recording limits, it's a formidable camera that has well and truly raised the bar for photo and video performance, all in a compact body.

We're treading on new and exciting ground and there's never been an easier time to raise your game as a pro – so make sure you check out our whole guide to find the right match for you. Whatever scenarios you find yourself making images in, you'll know how important a reliable camera system is – and all of the ones below will both support your craft and stand the test of time.

The Canon EOS 1D X III is the company's flagship DSLR, a camera typically seen in the hands of professional action photographers at big events. It's a substantial and rugged bit of kit, designed for speed and to withstand harsh conditions. They don't come tougher than this.

You'll be able to rattle off 20.1MP still images at a rate of 16fps until the memory card fills up. Truly, there is no limit in the camera's performance for action and it is backed up by a staggering battery life of nearly 3,000 shots (which in real use for continuous shooting is much higher, too). Subject-tracking autofocus performance is also simply jaw-dropping.

But this isn't just an action camera – the EOS 1D X III is a brilliant video tool too, with 5.5K RAW 10-bit video up to 60fps. Beware, you'll need to save up for a handful of expensive CFexpress cards because those video files are huge. Unlike other competing DSLRs, Canon's Dual Pixel AF works exceptionally well in Live View, where you virtually get equal AF performance to when you're using the bright optical viewfinder. The only real downside is that there has been a price hike in this third 1D X installment.