What Is the Best Forensic Camera?

If you’ve watched Amazon’s television show, Reacher (2022), there’s one statement Jack Reacher keeps repeating: in an investigation, details matter.

The same principle applies to crime scene photography. But the million-dollar question is, what is the best forensic camera?

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For sure there are a plethora of cameras out there. Some are good. Some are excellent. And some are simply meh.

It can be a herculean task to land on something that captures details better than what the naked eye sees.

In this article, we are going to talk about the best forensic cameras. But first, let’s see what exactly makes a camera excellent for crime scene photography.

Features of the best forensic cameras

Top cameras for forensic photography

These are the features you should prioritize while shopping for a forensic camera:

Decent ISO range

The nature of forensic investigation is that you can never always be ready. You will sometimes find yourself in the field without a lighting source.

For that reason alone, ISO range matters a lot.

Camera type

You need a camera that you can control, not the one that controls you. That’s why DSLRs win as they allow owners to switch from one control or lens to another.

Quality image sensor

Evidence photographs must attain certain quality standards to be admissible in court.

As such, you should choose a camera with a powerful sensor-usually 12+ megapixels-so images can be expanded during court exhibits.

Able to accessorize

You need a camera that connects to multiple other lenses, tripods, printers, and audio systems.

It’s also important that it connects to other devices for seamless data transfer.

Brand

Yes, we know, this is not a feature. However, Canon seems to be a fan favorite amongst many evidence photographers.

The company has a nice price point and its rigs are designed to handle harsh conditions.

Nikon makes some of the greatest digital SLRs. However, they tend to throw in so many features which pushes the price a tad higher. 

Sony isn’t bad either. However, they focus a lot on the latest mirrorless cameras.

Yes, they may be advanced but fidgeting with their complex menus at a crime scene is just not okay.

Nevertheless, the future is mirrorless so you might as well start playing around with them.

Top Forensic Cameras Worth Trying Out

Best crime scene cameras

Here’s a list of the most-cherished forensic cameras:

1. Nikon D3500

If you are just starting out in crime scene photography, budget constraints can be expected.

Thankfully, Nikon D3500 is there to meet your needs without burning holes in your pocket.

This compact DSLR boasts an image sensor that is 15x better than what you would find in typical smartphones.

You can use it to record full HD video or capture ultra-clear images that can be presented in courts.

Its ergonomics are stunning and you won’t have to remove your gloves to operate it. Crime scene images are sensitive and no one wants to stay with them for long.

Luckily, Nikon D3500 links with the SnapBridge app that backs all the copies to your phone or tablet.

Pros

  • A simple point and shoot camera for quick forensic images
  • A lightweight DSLR for long work sessions
  • Very bright with 921.000 dots for clearer details
  • Compatible with smartphones for seamless data sharing
  • Affordable price point
  • Rugged to withstand harsh conditions

Cons

  • Has few ISO stops
  • The flash is not great

2. Nikon D850 FX SLR

Having an incredible 45.7 MP sensor can easily turn everyday mundane work into a hobby.

Think of it, what can’t you capture at such a higher resolution? Nothing.

As if that’s not enough, they added on top a back-illuminated system that allows the camera to shine both in good and bad lighting conditions.

This beast’s AF performance is incredible. It captures crystal clear details at 9 fps in a single continuous shooting while maintaining an outstanding dynamic range.

The footage comes out in HD and 4K UHD with a sharpness that would leave anyone amazed. 

Like most Nikon DSLRs, the Nikon D850 FX has an outstanding battery and its body is built to withstand the rigors of outdoor use.

Communications wise, it interacts with other devices through a built-in Bluetooth and NFC.

Pros

  • Has one of the best resolution capabilities
  • The backside is illuminated to allow adequate light intake
  • Operates silently
  • The screen tilts to capture images from various angles
  • Faster and accurate autofocus that captures easily elusive moments

Cons

  • Nikon D850 FX is a game-changer. The only issue is that it is costly

3. Canon DSLR EOS 90D

What we love about Canon DSLR EOS 90D is that you get 4k resolution, a powerful CMOS sensor, and high-speed continuous shooting for around $1000.

It’s a great offer, really considering that its features are almost similar to Nikon D850 FX.

The multi-controller customization on this camera lets forensic scientists customize controls to achieve the results they are hoping for.

The ultra-fast autofocus, on the other hand, lets you obtain many shots of a crime scene without losing the core details.

Canon DSLR EOS 90D is one of the top-rated camera systems on many online marketplaces.

Some people tout it as the last greatest gear Canon ever made. Its fair price point and multiple features make it ideal for both pros and beginners.

Pros

  • Adequate connectivity channels
  • Built to withstand harsh elements
  • Has a good battery life
  • Its autofocus is excellent
  • Can shoot up to 4K quality

Cons

  • Buffer is disappointing

4. Pentax K70

There may be many reasons why Pentax K70 is worth trying but the one that stands out is its resistance to weather elements.

It doesn’t give in to water, cold, fog, dust, and many other weather elements.

Durability aside, this camera is a reliable friend that ensures you get crystal clear images thanks to decent magnification and shake reduction features.

Even at a higher ISO, you still are able to get fine-detailed images.

Forensics work with gloves on to avoid tampering with evidence. Pentax K70 has ergonomic controls that you can dial without having to do away with protective gloves.

Unfortunately, you can only transfer data through wireless LAN only.

Pros

  • Extremely resistance to weather elements
  • Tiltable LCD screen
  • Ergonomic controls that let you keep gloves on
  • Produces fine-detailed images
  • Fairly faster continuous shooting
  • Affordable 
  • Compact for shooting in small spaces

Cons

  • Its battery life is poor

5. Canon EOS Rebel T7 DSLR Camera

For barely $500, Canon EOS Rebel T7 DSLR Camera is another offer that would be appealing to beginners or professionals with budget constraints.

It has a powerful 24.1 MP CMOS sensor capable of capturing outstanding crime scene photographs.

Its package is pretty small and that means it can take you in places where other camera bodies cannot.

Its wide ISO range will come in handy when shooting in environments where light keeps changing.

When it comes to connectivity, Canon EOS Rebel T7 DSLR Camera can transfer data through NFC or built-in Wi-Fi.

You can also link it with Canon’s EOS Utility Webcam and upgrade it into a high-quality webcam.

There isn’t a lot to admire in this camera but it sure gets the job done right.

Pros

  • Decent quality pictures
  • Can shoot in any light condition
  • Pocket-friendly price tag
  • Can capture breath-taking full HD videos
  • The autofocus is fast and accurate
  • Easy to operate

Cons

  • Lacks high-end features

Final Thoughts

There are indeed many best forensic cameras on the market. However, Canon DSLRs are way better and their durability is astonishing.

We have reviewed choices that other evidence photographers have found to be reliable.

While DSLRs come highly recommended, we highly advise that you start playing around with full-frame mirrorless models.

They are the future and the earlier you get used to them, the better your chances of shooting excellent footage will be.