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The best Canon camera in 2020: Canon's DSLR, mirrorless and compact cameras

Best Canon camera
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How you choose the best Canon camera will depend on what kind of photographer you are. Canon Ixus cameras are ideal for family snapshotting, Canon PowerShot cameras are a bit more advanced, and real enthusiast and pros will head straight for Canon's EOS DSLR or mirrorless cameras and their interchangeable lenses.

Canon makes some of the best compact cameras on the market, not to mention simple point and shoot cameras for casual snappers. It also makes some of the best DSLRs too. 

There's quite a debate about DSLR vs mirrorless cameras, but both have their pros and cons. It might seem as if camera makers have been concentrating solely on mirrorless cameras recently, but DSLRs aren't done yet. In 2019 Canon launched the EOS 90D, an enthusiast orientated DSLR which offers the best of both systems, and 2020 will bring the cutting edge EOS-1D X Mark III pro DSLR for sports photographers, which has some of the most advanced technology yet seen in either DSLR or mirrorless cameras.

But mirrorless cameras are the new big thing right now, and Canon's APS-C format EOS-M mirrorless models are ideal cameras for beginners, while the newer EOS R and EOS RP full-frame mirrorless cameras are amongst the best mirrorless cameras you can get right now.

So we've split our guide into DSLRs, mirrorless models and compacts for ease of use. Also note that if you're looking for bargains in general and you're not just wedded to Canon, you might also want to check out our guide to the best camera deals right now, too.

The best Canon camera in 2020

Canon DSLRs

Lots of people will tell you DSLRs are old-fashioned and that mirrorless cameras are the future, but DSLRs still have a lot to offer, including chunky, grippable bodies, clear optical viewfinders, great battery life and good value for money. Canon's DSLRs are split into APS-C cameras aimed at beginners and enthusiasts, and full frame cameras aimed at experts and pros – and we've picked out two of each.

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1. Canon EOS Rebel SL3 / EOS 250D

Brilliant for beginners, this Canon has plenty for enthusiasts too

Type: DSLR | Sensor: APS-C | Lens mount: Canon EF-S | Screen: 3in vari-angle touchscreen, 1,040,000 dots | Max burst speed: 5fps | Max video resolution: 4K UHD at 25p

A lightweight, intuitive DSLR
Superb Live View shooting
Larger than mirrorless rivals
Relatively few AF points

The pint-sized Canon Rebel SL2 (or EOS 200D) was a really big seller (you can still get it, in fact), but its successor the Rebel SL3 (aka EOS 250D) improves on it in every way. In fact we believe it's the best Canon camera for beginners you can buy right now. Canon’s top-of-the range APS-C sensor with 24.1MP of resolution delivers excellent image quality, and Live View shooting with the LCD screen so easy and intuitive, with such good autofocus, that we’d actually say this is one of the only DSLRs where composing shots with the screen is as easy as with a mirrorless camera. Canon also packs in 4K video, which was missing from the previous SL2, wrapped up in an ergonomically designed DSLR body that's just about the smallest on the market.

Read more: Canon EOS SL3 / Canon EOS 250D review

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2. Canon EOS 90D

The EOS 90D has the highest resolution yet in an APS-C camera!

Type: DSLR | Sensor: APS-C | Megapixels: 32.5MP | Lens mount: Canon EF-S | Screen: 3.0in touch, pivot 1,040,000 dots | Viewfinder: Pentaprism | Max burst speed: 10fps | Max video resolution: 4K | User level: Enthusiast

Tremendous value
Fully articulated touchscreen
Pixel count causes noise issues
Unimpressive buffer capacity

The Canon EOS 90D is an astounding APS-C workhorse of a camera, available for a fantastic price. It combines the highest resolution yet seen in an APS-C sensor of 32.5MP, with high-speed frame rate of 10fps, and it also manages glorious uncropped 4K video – none of that irritating crop that has plagued Canon cameras in the past. Its handling and ergonomics are a joy, reminding us of why shooting on a DSLR is such an enjoyably tactile experience, and it's available for a welcome enthusiast price point – not to mention the fact that you get an optical viewfinder, which many people still prefer to the electronic viewfinders on mirrorless cameras. Rumours of the DSLR's death will have been greatly exaggerated if Canon keeps on producing models as good as this.

Read more: Canon EOS 90D review

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3. Canon EOS 6D Mark II

An affordable entry into full frame photography, and feature packed too

Type: DSLR | Sensor: Full frame | Megapixels: 26.2MP | Lens mount: Canon EF | Screen: 3.2in touch, pivot 1,040,000 dots | Viewfinder: Pentaprism | Max burst speed: 6.5fps | Max video resolution: Full HD (1080p) | User level: Enthusiast

Fully articulated touchscreen
Novice-friendly but powerful too
Full HD video not 4K
Bulkier than the EOS RP

The EOS 6D II is Canon's cheapest full frame DSLR and the next step up from the EOS 90D. It might be affordable, but it's far from basic. The advantage of a full frame sensor is that it gives superior image quality, partly because you tend to get more megapixels, and partly because the pixels (photosites) are bigger and can capture more light. The 26-megapixel sensor in the 6D II offers a useful advantage over 24-megapixel cameras, it has a powerful 45-point AF system for viewfinder shooting and Canon's Dual Pixel CMOS AF for live view photography, and it has a decent 6.5fps continuous shooting speed. What we really love is the streamlined handling and control layout and the fully articulating rear screen. If you can afford the extra over the APS-C format EOS 80D (above), the EOS 6D II would be our top recommendation as the best Canon camera for enthusiasts.

Read more: Canon EOS 6D Mark II review

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4. Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

It's the camera countless pros use as their day to day workhorse

Type: DSLR | Sensor: Full frame | Megapixels: 30.4MP | Screen: 3.0in fixed touchscreen, 1,620,000 dots | Viewfinder: Optical | Max burst speed: 7fps | Max video resolution: 4K | User level: Professional

Great 61-point AF system
30.4MP sensor
Burst speed an average 7fps
Big crop factor for 4K video

Lots of people are joining in the DSLR vs mirrorless debate saying that mirrorless cameras like the EOS R below are the only way forward. Yet the DSLR design still has lots of advantages, including a bright, clear, optical viewing system with no lag, better handling with bigger lenses, and much better battery life. Professionals in particular are very cautious about change, and it's likely the EOS 5D IV DSLR will be one of the best cameras for professionals for some time to come. It's not a specialist camera designed to do a single type of work, but a robust and powerful all-rounder that can turn its hand to almost any professional assignment. The 61-point autofocus system is fast and powerful, and Canon's Dual Pixel CMOS AF technology makes live view autofocus pretty fast and snappy too. The 30.4-megapixel resolution isn't the highest, but it gives a great balance of resolution and low-light, low-noise performance.

Read more: Canon EOS 5D Mark IV vs EOS 6D Mark II: Specs compared

Canon mirrorless

As with its EOS DSLRs, Canon now makes mirrorless cameras in two sizes. This time, though, they use different lens mounts and are aimed at very different users. The smaller APS-C EOS M cameras are for non-professional hobbyists and beginners (though they also appeal to bloggers and vloggers). The newer, full frame EOS R models use a new RF lens mount and are designed for professionals (EOS R) and advanced amateurs (EOS RP).

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5. Canon EOS M50

It's simple, portable and easy to use too – the perfect beginner's camera

Type: Mirrorless | Sensor: APS-C size | Megapixels: 24.1MP | Screen type: 3.2in vari-angle touchscreen LCD, 1.04million dots | Viewfinder: EVF, 2,36million dots | Maximum continuous shooting speed: 7fps | Max video resolution: 4K | User level: Beginner

Vari-angle touchscreen
Built-in electronic viewfinder
Limited lens range
4K video limitations

Canon's mirrorless EOS M range has been a bit of a mixed bag in the past, but with the EOS M50, we think Canon has hit the sweet spot. This camera iss easy to use for beginners but has an electronic viewfinder (so that you're not just reliant on the rear screen for composing pictures) and is being offered at an affordable price. The EF-M 15-45mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM kit lens has a retracting mechanism to make the camera smaller to carry around when it's not in use, and there is a small but handy selection of other EOS M lenses you can use with this camera. Hobbyists might want a wider lens choice, but if travel is your thing and a couple of lenses is all you need, the EOS M50 is great. It's just a shame the 4K video mode can't be used with Canon's speedy Dual Pixel CMOS AF system (regular full HD video doesn't have this restriction). Even so, this is still one of the best Canon cameras for beginners.

Read more: Canon EOS M50 review

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6. Canon EOS RP

Full frame mirrorless cameras don't come much cheaper than this

Type: Mirrorless | Sensor: Full frame CMOS | Megapixels: 26.2MP | Monitor: 3-inch vari-angle touchscreen, 1,040k dots | Continuous shooting speed: 5fps | Viewfinder: EVF, 2.36 million dots | Max video resolution: 4K UHD | User level: Enthusiast

Size, weight and low cost
Fully articulating screen
1.6x crop and no Dual Pixel AF in 4K
Weak battery life

The EOS RP is Canon's second full frame mirrorless camera, and it's smaller, lighter and a lot cheaper than the first, the EOS R. It's designed to be a compact, affordable and easy to use entry point into Canon's full frame mirrorless system, and it succeeds brilliantly. Its small dimensions mean it can sometimes feel overbalanced by larger lenses, though, and the 4K video mode comes with some caveats – the image frame is cropped by a factor of 1.6 and you can't use Canon's speedy Dual Pixel CMOS AF system unless you drop the resolution to full HD. On the upside, the pictures are clear and sharp, the vari-angle touchscreen display is a real advantage for both stills and video, and the inclusion of an EF lens adaptor means you can use existing Canon DSLR lenses alongside the new but growing RF lens system. What a great camera! Is this the best Canon camera for enthusiasts? It's right up there with the EOS 6D Mark II DSLR.

Read more: Canon EOS RP review

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7. Canon EOS R

Canon's first full-frame mirrorless camera is steadily falling in price

Type: Mirrorless | Sensor: Full frame CMOS | Megapixels: 30.3MP | Monitor: EVF, 3.69m dots, 100% coverage | Continuous shooting speed: 8fps | Viewfinder: EVF | Max video resolution: 4K UHD | User level: Enthusiast/professional

Great in low light
Dual Pixel AF
No in-body image stabilisation
Single card slot

The EOS R has met with a mixed reception, perhaps because it's going to take time for users to figure out where it fits in, but we reckon with its combination of resolution, features, pro build quality and keen pricing, it's going to make its own gap in the market! On paper, it looks a bit like a mirrorless version of the Canon EOS 5D IV digital SLR (above), but there are some important differences. One is that it has a much more advanced autofocus system with an amazing 5,655 focus points, another is that it has a brand new lens mount bringing the promise of new and exotic lens designs. What we really like, though, is that Canon has also made lens adaptors that let you fit your existing Canon EF and EF-S lenses, so it's easy to add the EOS R to an existing Canon system.

Read more: Canon EOS R review

Canon compacts

DSLR and mirrorless cameras are great, but sometimes you need something smaller, cheaper or just a bit simpler to use. These are our top three Canon compact cameras right now, aimed at three different kinds of photographer.

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8. Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark III

A pocket-sized camera with a flip-over screen for selfies and vlogging

Type: Compact | Sensor: 1in | Megapixels: 20.1MP | Lens: 24-100mm (equiv.) f/1.8-2.8 | LCD: 3in tilting touchscreen, 1,040k dots | Maximum continuous shooting speed: 30fps | Max video resolution: 4K UHD | User level: Beginner to intermediate

Uncropped 4K with livestreaming
Large-aperture zoom lens
A little pricey
No viewfinder

When the Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II proved unexpectedly popular with the vlogging community, Canon went all in and produced the G7 X Mark III, adding full uncropped 4K video and a 3.5mm microphone port. These features beautifully complimented lots of the strengths of the Mark II, which included a flip-out screen and a beautiful 24-100mm equivalent f/1.8-2.8 lens, making for an extremely solid all-around compact that'll do everything most vloggers need it to, and indeed many photographers, though the lack of an eye-level viewfinder is a bit of a shame. The Mark III is arguably still a little expensive, but if you can afford the outlay, you'll find it an extremely capable compact for video and stills alike.

Read more: Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark III review

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9. Canon PowerShot G5 X Mark II

A more advanced Powershot compact with a 5x zoom and a viewfinder

Type: Premium compact | Sensor: 1-inch | Megapixels: 20.1MP | Lens: 24-120mm (equiv.) f/1.8-2.8 | LCD: 3in tilting touchscreen, 1,040k dots | Viewfinder: Pop-up EVF, 2,360k dots | Maximum continuous shooting rate: 30fps | Movies: 4K | User level: Enthusiast/intermediate

Pop-up viewfinder
Compact design
No mic socket
Not cheap

A compact decked out to the nines with excellent stills-shooting features, the Canon PowerShot G5 X Mark II does a huge amount in a very small body. Its combination of a stacked CMOS sensor and DIGIC 8 processor gives it the power to capture stills at 30fps in Canon's CR3 RAW format, as well as improving ISO performance and allowing for the capture of 4K video. A nifty pop-up viewfinder expands handling options, and the generous 5x zoom lens provides real versatility. The only real bugbear is that while it captures great 4K video, there's no mic socket for improving sound, so if video is your thing, you're best off sticking with the G7 X Mark III (above).

Read more: Canon PowerShot G5 X Mark II review

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10. Canon Ixus 185 HS

The perfect point and shoot family camera that's smart and affordable too

Type: Compact | Sensor: 1/2.3in | Megapixels: 20MP | Lens: 28-224mm f/3.2-6.9 | LCD: 2.7in, 230k dots | Maximum continuous shooting speed: 3fps | Max video resolution: 1280x720 (HD) | User level: Beginner

Very easy to use
Slender body
Small, low-resolution rear screen
Average image quality

Not everyone needs professional features, full frame image quality, 4K video and interchangeable lenses. Sometimes you're just looking for a decent, simple and effective (and cheap!) little camera you can slip in a pocket and which the whole family can use. The little Ixus 185 certainly passes that last test, and yet delivers some rather impressive specifications at the same time. One of the key advantages of a compact point and shoot camera over a smartphone is that you get a zoom lens, and the one on this camera has a massive 8x range, from 28-224mm. It uses a small 20-megapixel 1/2.3-inch sensor, so the picture quality is going to be adequate rather than great, but it's fine for family snaps and it can go up to ISO 1600 for shooting indoors or in low light. It even looks pretty smart, so the Ixus 185 is a really appealing (and did we mention cheap?) little snapshot camera.

Read more: Best point and shoot camera

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