What Are The Best Cameras for Surf Photography In 2023?
Surf photography, particularly land-based surf photography, is, in my opinion, a fascinating field. Photographing professional surfers gliding with the waves while the sun rays create a gorgeous heavenly backdrop is priceless. We have tried a lot of different cameras over the years, and nothing compares to the Sony RX10 MK4, and we will discuss all the options in this post.
I had no concept how things should be done when I first decided to try surf photography. I simply went to the beach and began photographing with my trusty old DSLR, which was an entry-level Canon EOS 500D or, as it was later called, the Rebel T1i. It was a terrific camera that taught me a lot and helped me take some beautiful pictures. However, I recognized that it was insufficient for this purpose and lacked the traits required.
I approached other photographers and asked for advice; they mentioned good lenses and fast cameras. Now, for those who don't want to make the same mistakes as me, I've put together this shopping guide for the best surf cameras. We'll look at some of the best options on the market, as well as some pointers on how to get a better camera for surfing. Without further ado, here are our picks for the best surf cameras:
The Top 6 Best Cameras for Surfing
6) Canon EOS Rebel T6i
I'm going to start this list with a new Canon entry-level model, the EOS Rebel T6i. While the T7i has replaced this camera, it is still an excellent model for individuals who are just getting started in photography and want something that will ease them into it without losing image quality or performance. Let's take a look.
The Canon EOS Rebel T6i features a 24.2MP APS-C CMOS sensor that has produced some remarkable results. It also contains the well-known DIGIC 6 image-processing engine, which gives excellent results. I should point out that this camera has simple controls that will teach you how to take pictures, and the body is rather light.
The focusing mechanism is also rather good, as it employs the then-new Hybrid CMOS AF III focus system, which also works in live view. There are 19 focus points in total, all of which are accurate cross-type points. It's also fairly sensitive, and the camera's burst shooting speed is a modest but adequate 5 frames per second.
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5) Sony Alpha a6000
The Sony Alpha a6000, one of the most underappreciated cameras on the market, gives excellent performance for consumers looking to get the most bang for their buck. This camera was introduced as the replacement to the NEX-6, but it has far beyond expectations, and I am a huge fan of this mirrorless beast.
Let's start with the fact that this camera boasts a good 24.3MP APS-C CMOS sensor that performs nicely with the Bionz X image processor. Overall, the image quality and detail resolution are excellent. Also, especially for a mirrorless camera, the camera is rather light, and the lens selection is impressive.
One of the Sony Alpha a6000's greatest selling features is its Hybrid autofocus technology, which uses 25 contrast-detect and 179 phase-detect points to give unrivaled speed and accuracy for its price. Furthermore, with subject tracking enabled, this camera can capture 11 frames per second in continuous photography mode. Marvelous.
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4) Sony Alpha a9 II (third generation)
The Alpha a9 II is the next model, which is another ultra high-end model from Sony. This camera is both pricey and difficult to operate, yet there is nothing else in the mirrorless market for professionals that compares. It has a fast burst shooting and autofocus capability, and the sensor is unrivaled.
It has a 24.2MP full-frame Exmor RS back-illuminated CMOS sensor, which is among the best on the market. The new Bionz X image processing engine is used. Regardless of the conditions, this beast will give beautiful shots. I should point out that it has a lot of controls that will take some getting used to.
The Sony Alpha a9 II features a Hybrid autofocus system that employs both contrast detect and phase-detect points for a total of 693 focus points that monitor subjects in real time. On top of that, the Sony Alpha a9 II can shoot at a rate of 20 frames per second in continuous drive mode, which is nearly perfect.
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3) EOS-1DX Mark II Canon
If you're a professional photographer who still has reservations about mirrorless cameras, the Canon EOS-1DX Mark II is a good option. This is the flagship Canon DSLR that has been in use for a long time and will continue to be used in the future. This camera can do it all: quality, speed, and durability, to name a few.
Let's start with the Canon EOS-1DX Mark II's 20.2MP CMOS full-frame sensor, which is equipped with the Dual Pixel focusing system. This camera also features the Dual DIGIC 6+ image processing engine, which performs admirably. This camera is a little heavy and has a few tricky controls, but nothing that a pro can't handle.
The Canon EOS-1DX Mark II's greatest selling feature is its Dual Pixel 61 point focusing system, which has 41 cross-type points and five dual cross-type points and is extremely accurate. It also includes the innovative AI Servo AF III+ system to assist with things. Finally, I'd like to point out that this camera can shoot at a continuous rate of 16 frames per second.
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2) Sony Alpha a6500
The Sony Alpha a6500, which is at the top of the list, provides excellent performance for surf photography while being reasonably priced. This is one of my favorite cameras since it does everything the big guys do but at a fraction of the cost, speed, quality, and creativity.
The Sony Alpha a6500 features a 24.2MP APS-C CMOS sensor that produces excellent photographs thanks to an upgraded image processing engine. I should also point out that this camera features a good 5-axis in-body image stabilization mechanism. The controls are plentiful, and you can quickly locate anything you require.
One of the most amazing features of the Sony Alpha a6500 is its focusing mechanism, which has 425 phase detect and 169 contrast-detect points and is relatively quick in general. This is where the 4D focus system technology comes in handy. Not to mention that in continuous drive mode, this beast can shoot 11 frames per second.
1) Sony RX10 MKiV
Super zoom range meets top-speed AF, it's now much easier to take more amazing surf photos and videos at any given time. The RX10 IV is much more than a solid, smart all-in-one compact; it's packed with enough ground-breaking innovations for even professionals to marvel at, including the world's fastest autofocus system, legendary optics throughout its 25x zoom range, meaning you can capture surfers from the side without additional expensive lenses. With the RX10 IV's exceptionally precise, powerful image processing, among other things it is the perfect camera for surf photography.
Before you buy a camera for surfing, there are a few things you should know.
There aren't many things to consider when purchasing a camera for surf photography, but they're all important, and you'll need them all to obtain decent results. So let's have a look at them.
To begin, you must determine which type of camera you will use for surf photography. Compact point-and-shoot cameras aren't going to cut it for this type of shooting. Although some photographers utilize superzooms, drones, and even action cameras, you will need a DSLR or a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera to shoot traditional land-based surf photography.
These cameras feature the best sensors, the fastest performance, the most sensitive focusing, and much more. These attributes will allow you to take the greatest pictures in certain situations, but they will also allow you to take stunning pictures in other situations.
The most significant feature of a camera is its sensor. Some people only look at the sensor's megapixel count, which is essential but not as important as the sensor's size. Full-frame sensors, in my opinion, are the best for most forms of photography because their size allows them to capture more light and hence produce better pictures. Crop sensors are also OK; just make sure to purchase a camera from a reputable brand, as most of them are reliable.
Shooting Speed in Bursts
Burst shooting or continuous drive speed is a feature that will come in handy in these situations, but only if it is high. You must capture the appropriate moment for the correct shot because surfers are always on the move. If your camera has a high burst shooting speed, say more than five, you'll have a better chance of getting the right shot. So seek for cameras with a high burst shooting speed, preferably more than five; the higher the number, the better.
A camera that can focus precisely and rapidly is required to match the superior sensor and high burst shooting speed. Most cameras with a good sensor and fast burst shooting speed have good autofocus systems, but it's always a good idea to double-check. Most modern cameras have hybrid autofocus technologies that are extremely fast and precise in giving flawless results.
What other equipment is required for Surf Photography?
For surf photography, the camera body is insufficient, and you will require additional equipment.
For most photographers, the lens is the most significant component of the camera. I can attest that the better the lens you use, the better the final results will be. Especially for surf photography on land. You'll need a good telephoto lens for this type of photography so you can snap stunning pictures from the safety of the shore. There are many different types of telephoto lenses available, all with varying characteristics, pricing, and intended uses. I would advise you to select the greatest one for your budget while also receiving a lot of value.
There are primarily two types of lenses available for surfing photography: zoom and basic lenses. You should be aware that primordial lenses have a fixed focal length and are utilized for the best overall image quality; yet, their fixed focal length is a double-edged sword because it does not allow for zooming.
Zoom lenses, on the other hand, let you to modify the focal length so that you may zoom in on a distant subject effectively. However, these lenses do not produce the same image quality as primordial lenses. However, zoom lenses are less expensive, at least when compared to primitive lenses.
Large lenses are required for land-based surf photography, and the camera becomes too heavy to hold all day on your hands and neck, so you'll need to invest in a strong tripod. I believe that practicing this without a sturdy tripod is impossible.
There are numerous tripods on the market, each with its own set of functions and prices. Some are better than others, but the most important thing is to bring one to the beach.
In almost every field, a standard tripod will suffice. I use my astrophotography tripod, for example, to take family portraits and landscape photographs. Never had an issue!
These items may not be as important as the lens and tripod, but having them in your camera bag is a smart idea. I recommend getting a spare battery and a quality charger for every photographer who works outside the studio frequently; it will make your job much easier if you forget to charge the batteries or the assignment takes longer than intended. Also, pack extra SD cards, preferably high-quality ones, to ensure that your files are not corrupted or destroyed in any manner. In addition, remember to carry sun cream and a hat to protect yourself from the sun.
Looking to get your camera in to the water? You are going to need a waterproof Surf Housing to do the job.