What camera should I buy for equine photography?

“What camera should I buy for equine photography” is probably the most common question that pops up in my DMs and inbox…

I wish I had a one size fits all answer, but there just isn’t one…

Here’s what equipment I have & why I have it:

Camera bodies:

I currently have the Nikon Z8 & Nikon Z7ii camera bodies.

Why Nikon? Isn’t Canon better? What about Sony? 

I have Nikon cameras for one simple reason: the first camera I bought was a Nikon & I just stuck with it. The reality is, for what 99% of us need, every camera brand is going to do about the same job, get roughly the same results, so it comes down to your preference. Buying one brand over another is NOT going to be the game changer between your business never making money and you becoming a 6-figure photographer. Dwelling over what camera brand to go with and spending hours upon hours researching is just a waste of time. Using that time to learn how to use the camera you’ve go to its full capacity is a far better use of your time.

Mirrorless or DSLR?

I firmly believe Mirrorless is the way of the future (pretty evident by the fact that all the big camera brands are focusing their efforts here). I like a lot of things about the mirrorless Nikons I’ve used but my two favorites are their autofocusing abilities, video capabilities, and being able to see the changes you’re making to the image through the viewfinder so you don’t have to take a bunch of test images.


The lens I use 99% of the time right now is the Nikkor Z 85mm 1.8. It’s a very inexpensive lens, is super lightweight, and it can handle almost every job I need it too. I also purchased the Nikkor Z 85mm 1.2 & although it cost 4X as much as the 85 1.8, I hated it. It was big, bulky, and I just never liked the tones quite as much as I do with the 85mm 1.8

I have the Nikkor Z 70-200 2.8 as well, but typically only use it for action shots, which I don’t do a ton of at the moment.

When looking for a lens here’s an oversimplified way to look at it:

The lower the number after the focal length ie 70-200mm 2.8, typically the better the lens will be. A lens with an aperture (that number after the focal length) of 2.8, 1.8, 1.4, or even 1.2 is going to be faster, produce sharper results, and overall be a higher quality lens. Yes, they will cost more than a lens with an aperture capability of 4 or 5.6.

With equine photography, by far the most popular lens choice is the 70-200 2.8 because it’s versatile & has a focal length that’s long enough to not distort the horse (not going to dive into this: google lens distortion). You never want to photograph horses (especially equine-only portraits) with a 50mm or 35mm. The horse is going to look distorted and funky (ask me how I know ;P). 

So here’s the SUPER DUPER over simplified breakdown of “what camera should I buy” 

  • Go with whatever camera brand you’ve previously used so the buttons and layout are somewhat familiar. If you’ve never owned a camera, go with Nikon or Canon… flip a coin if you must.

  • Mirrorless over DSLR if your budget allows

  • Get something with a full frame sensor, not a crop sensor

  • Buy a 70-200mm, 85mm, or 135mm lens with as low of an aperture range as possible (the number after the lens – get that as low as you can afford)