In this review, I’ll look at and analyze a series of great cameras and explain why they work well for makeup artists of all different levels.
I have a lot of experience using a range of different cameras and video equipment. I took that knowledge and combined it with both extensive research and first-hand accounts to properly review the devices in this guide.
The Sony a5100 is my pick for the best makeup artist camera due to how it offers stellar functionality and strong image quality without sitting at too high a price point.
The small-but-powerful device has everything a makeup artist would want in a camera, including stellar HD image resolution, a 180-degree tilt screen, and a top-of-the-line auto focus. It comes with strong Wi-Fi and smartphone compatibility as well.
If you want a more in-depth breakdown of the model, or if you want to check out other great cameras for makeup artists, the following sections analyze the best of the best.
- Best Overall: Sony a5100
- Best Point and Shoot: Canon Powershot G7 X Mark II
- Best DSLR: Canon EOS Rebel T6
- Best Affordable: Nikon CoolPix S6900
- Best Video Camera: Panasonic HC-V180K
Top Cameras for Makeup Artists
This section outlines a series of great makeup artist cameras and reviews their best traits.
1. Sony a5100
- Best for: Overall
- Key Features: Extremely fast auto focus. High-resolution picture as well as a 24MP APS-C sensor. Wide lens compatibility and excellent smartphone connectivity.
- Optical Sensor Size: 22.3 x 14.9mm
- Weight: 9.9 ounces
- Compatible Mountings: Sony FE, Sony E
The a5100 is a great camera for makeup artists. It’s affordable, comes with incredibly fast auto focus, and utilizes extremely high-resolution picture on top of an excellent sensor. If you care about getting stellar images and strong specs without breaking the bank, this is a good choice.
The other reason this camera works so well is the built-in Wi-Fi compatibility. The smooth interface allows you to easily share photos directly to your phone without a second thought. The 180-degree tilt screen also gives you options and more ways to shoot.
There are not many downsides to this camera, but one worth noting is that it doesn’t come with an external microphone output. That means it isn’t the best camera when it comes to getting extra audio equipment. Even so, everything else works so well it still hits the top of my list.
- Best for: Point and Shoot
- Key Features: Bright 3-inch screen screen. Built-in Wi-Fi. Continuous 8 fps shooting. 20.1MP CMOS sensor. Various available accessories.
- Optical Sensor Size: 1 inch
- Weight: 1 pound
- Screen Size: 3 inches
Outfitted with premium image resolution, a 3-inch LCD screen, and a powerful 20.1-megapixel sensor, the G7 X Mark II is a strong point-and-shoot camera that works perfectly for makeup artists of all levels. It’s fast, simple to operate, and delivers stunning shots with every click.
That’s largely due to the f/1.8 wide-angle aperture and the f/2.8 fully zoomed aperture. Both of those are then complemented by continuous shooting and strong autofocus. Add on the wide temperature range and built-in WiFi and you get a small camera you can use anywhere.
The only true downside to this camera is that, while the sensor lets you work in dim conditions, the auto mode only works when things are well lit. Some shots can be a bit grainy too, but that’s a small setback for what is a powerful model that will bring all of your makeup shots to life.
- Best for: DSLR
- Key Features: 180 megapixel CMOS sensor that offers great low light functionality. 9 point AF system. Built-in Wi-Fi for easy sharing and wireless functionality.
- Optical Sensor Size: APS-C
- Weight: 3.2 pounds
- Compatible Mountings: Canon EF, Canon EF-S
The Rebel T6 is a strong DSLR option that, due to ample specs, works wonderfully for makeup artists running a vlog or blog. The camera comes with a 9 point AF system on top of an expandable ISO. It also has a 180MP CMOS sensor and crisp HD image quality.
Beyond the raw specs, this model is quite ergonomic. It’s comfortable to hold, which makes it great to use in tight spaces or for long periods of time. As an added bonus, it has a strong build that ensures it won’t break or fall apart if you accidentally bump or drop it while working.
However, for all of the pros, there are a few cons. This camera is powerful, but it’s also much heavier than many other great makeup artists’ options. That can make it difficult to hold for long periods of time. It’s also light on a few advanced features, which seasoned users may not like.
- Best for: Budget
- Key Features: Vari-angle screen. Built-in WiFi. Target finding and intelligent autofocus. Kickstand. 12x optical zoom and enhanced zoom.
- Optical Sensor Resolution: 16 MP
- Weight: 6.4 ounces
- Screen Size: 3 inches
The CoolPix S6900 from Nikon is a great model for makeup artists who want quality that won’t completely destroy their wallets. This more affordable option comes in at a lower price point, but still offers 12x optical zoom, a target finding autofocus, built-in WiFi, and HD 1080p resolution.
Two other extremely handy features are the vari-angle display and built-in kickstand. Both greatly enhance the camera’s functionality and make it much more fun to use. There are a staggering 19 different scene modes and strong audio quality as well.
The only area where this camera suffers is usability. It has a lot going for it, but there’s a lot packed into the design. As such, it takes a while to get used to. As it’s a budget model, some users may want a few more features too.
- Best for: Video Camera
- Key Features: Powerful 50x and 90x zoom options. Wide-angle lens and Back Side Illumination Sensor for low-light conditions. Exceptional audio through a two-channel zoom microphone.
- Optical Sensor Size: 1/5.8 inches
- Weight: 7.5 ounces
- Lens Type: Wide angle
If you’re a makeup artist who shoots videos, this option from Panasonic is an excellent choice. Not only is it both compact and lightweight, it also has 50x long zoom and 90x intelligent zoom. The wide-angle lens also helps you record in a myriad of ways without losing any image quality.
The other reason this camera works so well for makeup artists is that it offers a wide range of versatility through the included creative controls. There are plenty of filter effects that allow you to have fun while you shoot, including silent movie, miniature effect, and time-lapse recording.
Some people may not like the HC-V180K’s small size, while others may not be fans of its rather weak shell. However, if you don’t need photographs and focus on taking crystal clear videos with your makeup, it’s hard to find a better or more well-rounded camcorder for that purpose.
Best Camera for Makeup Artists: What to Look For
Each of the following aspects is critical to think about when purchasing a good makeup artist camera.
Not all cameras do well with different kinds of light, but the ones used by makeup artists should. When getting your camera, you want to ensure your device won’t suddenly become useless if things get too bright or too dim. You want something that’s able to handle all lighting conditions.
That being said, you do want to emphasize models that do especially well in low light. When shooting or photographing makeup you’re likely going to encounter dim situations. A versatile model gets around such issues and offers many extra options.
Anytime you capture something related to appearance, such as makeup, you want to ensure your shots are extremely clear. Look for cameras that put a lot of energy into their resolution, as that is the spec that will most directly affect your work. Always look for 1080p and 4k options.
No matter what you do with your makeup, be it a blog or vlog, you’re likely going to use your camera a lot. You never want to be interrupted during that time, nor do you want to suddenly lose power. Not only is that annoying, but it can also significantly increase your work time.
A good, long-lasting battery avoids such issues and makes your shooting experience much more enjoyable. You can go with more traditional battery options or rechargeable ones. Replaceable models are also great, but be sure to have backups handy just in case.
For my money, no camera works for makeup artists better than the Sony a5100. The item is easy to use, relatively portable and has many characteristics that push it ahead of other devices when it comes to general resolution and general compatibility.
This device delivers everything you need when photographing makeup or recording a tutorial. While it isn’t going to give you every feature you’ll find in the top-end premium cameras, artists who want a lot of functionality and impressive specs will be incredibly impressed.