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10 Best Cameras for Archaeology

This is a complete buyer’s guide covering the best cameras for archaeology.

In this all-new buyer’s guide, we will be covering:

  • Camera quality
  • Camera build
  • Important features
  • Price
  • Pros and cons
  • Lots more
 

Archeologists working in fields or museums need to have a good camera inside their bag. This can help them document their work and allow them and their colleagues to review the material that they just found. 

We’ve come up with 10 of the best cameras for archeology. This list will give you an idea of which options make sense for your budget and your needs.

So make sure to review all the camera options for archaeology.

That way you can make the best decision for you!

Table Overview

I’ve listed out each camera here so it is easy for you to see them from a high-level view.

Click/tap on each camera name to jump to that section in the guide.

Image

Product

Features

View Price

BEST ALL-AROUND

  • Weather sealed
  • Fast focus and shoots at 7fps
  • 30.4MP full-frame CMOS sensor
  • Takes 4K videos
  • Touchscreen LCD
  • Comes with a shortcut button
  • Easy to use
  • 4K video capability
  • Freezeproof and splashproof
  • 20.3MP
  • Takes 4K videos
  • With image stabilization
  • Takes high-quality shots at 26.2MP resolution
  • WiFi connectivity
  • Superb AF
  • 20.9MP that allows users to enjoy high-quality shots
  • Superb AF that precisely targets subjects
  • Rugged design
  • Tilting screen
  • Sensitive ISO
  • 9fps
  • 4K video
  • 45.7MP resolution
  • Takes 14fps
  • Great for low-light conditions
  • 20.8MP
  • Professional-grade construction
  • Powerful AF system
  • Weather-sealed
  • Accurate AF
  • With superb image stabilization
  • Fast shutter speed
  • Precise AF
  • 20.4MP resolution
  • Perfect for low-light conditions
  • Lightweight
  • Takes superb images with its 24.2MP sensor

What is the Best Camera for Archaeology?

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

Given the list of cameras that we have mentioned, we believe that the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV is the best camera for archeologists for many good reasons.

For starters, it is a favorite by many professional photographers.

This camera is mostly known for its ability to shoot fast. Imagine shooting at 7fps. 

This is also the reason why a lot of sports photographers prefer to have the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV in their gear bag.

It comes with a 30.4MP full-frame CMOS sensor capable of capturing every detail in your subject. 

If you are dealing in a low light environment, the EOS 5D Mark IV has an ISO range from ISO 100 to 32000. 

The Canon EOS 5D Mark IV is also a favorite by vloggers because of its ability to take 4K videos.

Also, you can easily take a screengrab from the 4K video and you still get an 8.8MP image out of it.  

It is also weather-sealed perfect for those who are spending most of their time in the field dealing with unpredictable weather. 

AF feature is something that you can also enjoy with the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. It has a responsive AF for both taking photos and videos. 

Is it user-friendly? Not exactly. 

Keep in mind that the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV is a professional camera. However, Canon did a good job to somehow simplify the setup of this camera. 

It has a touchscreen LCD interface that gives users the ability to tweak the setting fast. What’s not to like about the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV? 

For one, you don’t get to enjoy a tilt screen from this camera. 

Also, the price is usually the reason why a lot of people don’t buy this camera. Unless you have $3,000 to spend, then you might want to buy another camera. 

Also, check out the best lenses for the Canon 5D Mark IV if you decide to invest in this camera. 

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV - Image by Klaus Ficker

Pros

  • Weather sealed
  • Fast focus and shoots at 7fps
  • 30.4MP full-frame CMOS sensor
  • Takes 4K videos

Cons

  • Expensive
  • No tilt screen

Best Budget Camera for Archaeology

Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III

If you are running low on your budget, but you are looking for a good camera that you can bring with you to work, then you might want to consider the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III mirrorless camera.

It’s a lightweight option for those who are tired of carrying a heavy DSLR camera.

Though it doesn’t have the resolution of your DSLRs since it only has a 16MP resolution, this is usually enough for most archeologists. 

It also comes with a 4K video capability. This makes it easy for archeologists to document an entire area on video. 

Plus, navigating the menu is also beginner-friendly. You can figure it out even if you haven’t read the user manual. 

It comes with 2 dials, an arrow pad, and a shortcut button. 

Plus, you also get a touchscreen LCD. Reviewing the photos and the videos is also easy with its 3-inch monitor.

Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III - Image by Christine S. on Flickr

Pros

  • Touchscreen LCD
  • Comes with a shortcut button
  • Easy to use
  • 4K video capability

Cons

  • Limited resolution compared to a DSLR

10 Best Cameras for Archaeology - Full List

When it comes to choosing the best camera for archaeology, there are several options to choose from. 

Here is the full list for the 10 best cameras for archaeology.

1. Panasonic LUMIX G9

The first camera on our list is the Lumix G9. It is a lighter alternative to your DSLR which is one of the main reasons why a lot of archeologists are using this camera for their line of work.

It is perfect for archeological photography with its 20.3MP micro-four-thirds sensor giving you sharp results.

In terms of construction, the Panasonic Lumix G9 is made of a magnesium alloy body that is designed to withstand rough weather conditions.

It also includes a 5-axis dual image stabilization that helps eliminate shakes and minimize wasted shots. 

And because it is a camera that also takes 4K videos, archeologists not only have the ability to take photos but also videos of their work. 

Despite being robust and handy, it does have some areas that need improvement. 

For one, it’s difficult to see the viewfinder under sunlight. 

Panasonic LUMIX G9 best camera for archaeology
Panasonic LUMIX G9 - Image by "Julius" on Flickr

Pros

  • Freezeproof and splashproof
  • 20.3MP
  • Takes 4K videos
  • With image stabilization

Cons

  • Hard to see the viewfinder during sunlight

2. Canon EOS 6D Mark II

If you will ask experienced archeologists, don’t be surprised if most still prefer to use DSLRs.

Though a bit heavier than the mirrorless counterparts, DSLRs bring high-quality photos plus several great lenses to choose from.

We included the Canon EOS 6D Mark II as one of the best cameras for archeology for its ability to take superb images. 

This camera has a 26.2MP resolution plus you can transfer files via WiFi connectivity.  The EOS 6D Mark II is a favorite by many sports photographers as well because of its fast shooting ability. 

Its AF is also something that can make your archeological photography a bit easy. 

It has a 45 point all cross-type AF system that makes it easy to track the subject. 

The only downside to this camera is that it costs more than $1,200.  

Also, check out the best lenses for the Canon EOS 6D Mark II.

Canon EOS 6D Mark II - Image by Bartek Rozanski

Pros

  • Takes high-quality shots at 26.2MP resolution
  • WiFi connectivity
  • Superb AF

Cons

  • Bit on the pricier side

3. Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

The Canon EOS 5D Mark IV is another great option for archeologists. 

It is one of the best cameras for archeology with its powerful 30.4 MP full-frame CMOS sensor with an ISO range of ISO 100 to 32000. 

You can even have it expanded to 50 to 102400. The Canon EOS 5D Mark IV is also a favorite by videographers as it takes 4K videos at either 30p or 24p. 

Plus, you can frame grab 4K videos at 8.8MP. AF is also responsive and smooth allowing you to easily track the subject.

If you think that the EOS 6D Mark II is already expensive, then the EOS 5D Mark IV happens to be twice more expensive as its predecessor.

Also, check out the best lenses for the Canon 5D Mark IV

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV - Image by Klaus Ficker

Pros

  • Easy frame grab for videos
  • Takes 4K videos
  • Powerful 30.4MP resolution
  • Perfect for low light conditions

Cons

  • Above $2,000

4. Nikon D7500

The list of best cameras for archeology won’t be complete without a Nikon DSLR. The Nikon D7500 is quite handy for a lot of users.

With its solid and an easy to grip design, not to mention its screen that can be tilted to allow you to shoot awkward angles, it is a good alternative to the more expensive D500. 

Though it is a bit cheaper, Nikon didn’t cut corners.  With 20.9MP resolution, this allows users to get crisp photos. 

The button placements are also easy to figure out as it allows you to easily switch settings. 

Also, it is worth mentioning that the AF system allows easy and accurate detection of your subject with its 51 available focus points. 

The downside to this camera is that many users have complained about wirelessly transferring the files via WiFi

Nikon D7500 - Image by James McKelvie

Pros

  • 20.9MP that allows users to enjoy high-quality shots
  • Superb AF that precisely targets subjects
  • Rugged design
  • Tilting screen

Cons

  • Hard to transfer the files via WiFi

5. Nikon D850

For those Nikon users who are willing to spend more than $2,000 on their camera, then the Nikon D850 should be on top of your list.

This comes with a 45.7 MP resolution, which can provide you with a dynamic range and clear photos for your work.

This feature alone makes it one of the best cameras for archeology, if not the best. It can also shoot at 9fps plus it can take videos in 4K.

It has a superb ISO range too. 

In fact, it can go as low as ISO 64 allowing you to capture every detail on your subject. 

However, you can opt to have the expandable version down to ISO 32. 

When it comes to its AF, it made use of 153 focus points. 

This gives you the ability to focus directly on your subject. 

Nikon D850 example
Nikon D850 - Image by Sergey Aleshchenko

Pros

  • Sensitive ISO
  • 9fps
  • 4K video
  • 45.7MP resolution

Cons

  • Bit on the pricier side but worth the investment

6. Nikon D6 FX-Format

The Nikon D6 is a go-to option by many serious photographers.

The D6 claims to have the most powerful AF to date. It can even take up to 14fps. It is not only one of the best cameras for archeology, but perhaps it is a bit overpowered for the job.

Its ISO sensitivity runs up to 102,400 but you could even have it expanded to 3,280,000. The max resolution is at 20.8MP. 

Though we’ve featured higher resolution cameras, it has a pro-grade construction that you don’t see in your average DSLR. 

The biggest turn-off for the Nikon D6 is its price tag. 

Unfortunately, not everyone has the capacity to spend more than $6,000 on a camera.

Nikon D6 FX-Format example
Nikon D6 FX-Format - Image by Shinichiro Saka

Pros

  • Takes 14fps
  • Great for low-light conditions
  • 20.8MP
  • Professional-grade construction
  • Powerful AF system

Cons

  • Priced more than $6,000  if will to invest in it

7. Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III

The Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III is a great pick for fans of lightweight mirrorless cameras. 

The Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III is known for its compact and lightweight design with its intuitive controls. 

It comes with two dials, an arrow pad, and some shortcut buttons to make it easy to navigate the entire system. 

This camera, with its 16MP resolution, can get the job done for most archeology work-related tasks. 

It can also take 4K videos at 30P. It even has a decent image stabilization feature that allows you to get steady shots. 

The downside is that the app is not available everywhere. 

The Olympus app, for instance, isn’t available in Latin America. 

Also, some users experienced the screen freezing wherein they have to remove the battery to reset the system.

Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III - Image by Christine S. on Flickr

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Easy to use
  • Takes 4K videos
  • 16MP resolution

Cons

  • The screen is prone to freezing
  • Olympus app is not available in some locations

8. Olympus OM-D E-M1X

The Olympus OM-D E-M1X is considered a mirrorless camera but it carries the weight of your typical DSLR.

It comes with superb image stabilization that can compensate for up to 7.5 stops.

It can also take superb images with its 20.4MP live MOP sensor that comes with dual Tropic VIII image processors.

It also comes with a 121 point all-cross-type phase-detection AF system that comes in handy if you want to shoot the subject accurately. 

And for those who are looking for one of the best cameras for archeology that they can bring to the field, the Olympus OM-D E-M1X comes with a magnesium alloy weather-sealed construction that can prevent its electronic parts from getting damaged by rain and other changes in the environment.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X example
Olympus OM-D E-M1X - Image by Stan Lupo

Pros

  • Weather-sealed
  • Accurate AF
  • With superb image stabilization

Cons

  • Heavy for a mirrorless camera

9. Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II

The Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II is a lightweight camera that is perfect for those who are traveling for work.

You will be able to get high-quality shots with the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II thanks to its 20.4MP live MOS sensor.

Plus, another reason why many archeologists love this camera is its fast and accurate AF. It comes with a 121 point-dual fast AF perfect for documenting archeological materials.

It is also known for having a fast shutter speed. So what’s not to like?

Low light capability isn’t exactly at par with larger DSLRs in the market. that’s why you might want to have some ring light with you in case you are using this camera. 

Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II example
Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II - Image by "U. Heinze" on Flickr

Pros

  • Fast shutter speed
  • Precise AF
  • 20.4MP resolution

Cons

  • Low light performance could use slight improvement

10. Sony a7 III

The Sony A7 III is a full-frame mirrorless camera. What this means is that you get to enjoy the best of both DSLRs and mirrorless cameras in one.

Unfortunately, it is a bit expensive for a mirrorless camera. Its price range is somewhere around $1700 (or even higher).

However, it doesn’t exactly disappoint when it comes to its performance.

 First, you have the 24.2MP sensor that comes with an outstanding ISO range. 

It has an ISO sensitivity from ISO 50 to 204,800 perfect for low-light situations. 

As for its AF, it accurately targets the subject especially if you are shooting a non-moving object. 

Also, check out the best lenses for the Sony A7 III.

Sony a7 III - Image by "alfrd p" on Flickr

Pros

  • Perfect for low-light conditions
  • Lightweight
  • Takes superb images with its 24.2MP sensor

Cons

  • Expensive for a mirrorless camera

Concluding Remarks

Looking for the best cameras for archeology? 

Picking one can be confusing given all the technical details that you need to remember. 

With these options, it becomes easier to weigh your options and see which camera perfectly fits your requirements. 

But before you decide to buy one, be sure to know your budget and evaluate the downsides to each camera that we’ve featured as well.  

Hopefully, you will be able to find the right match for your needs with the list that we’ve provided. 

Be sure that you are going to compare a few cameras on this list first before you make up your mind. 

 

I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

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