How do you choose the best Canon camera? No matter whether you're a family holiday snapper, a weekend landscape enthusiast, an up-and-coming multimedia content creator, or a professional sports photographer who needs the best of the best, Canon has a camera for you. The trick is determining which one it is.
After all, Canon makes both DSLRs and mirrorless cameras, and the debate over DSLR vs mirrorless cameras shows no signs of slowing down, with both types boasting distinct advantages for different types of photographer. While it may seem as though the industry as a whole is transitioning to mirrorless, rumours of the death of the DSLR are greatly exaggerated, with new models such as the Canon EOS 850D arriving with all the top-of-the-range features you'd expect (indeed, we're sure it'll merit a place on this list once it has undergone our full tests).
Canon also 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, and with mirrorless cameras being the big thing right now, Canon has both APS-C format EOS-M mirrorless models that are ideal cameras for beginners, and 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
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.
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
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.
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
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
3. Canon EOS-1D X Mark III
The archetypal pro DSLR comes back with a bang for 2020
Type: DSLR | Sensor: Full frame | Megapixels: 20.1MP | Lens mount: Canon EF | Screen: 3.2in fixed, 2,100,000 dots | Viewfinder: Pentaprism | Max burst speed: 16fps / 20fps | Max video resolution: 4K | User level: Enthusiast/Professional
The amazing Canon EOS-1D X Mark III turned out to be much, much more than we were expecting. Not only is it an update to the 1D X workhorse series beloved by professionals worldwide, it's also an important step forward for DSLRs generally, boasting deep-learning AF, uncropped 4K (something that had been missing from Canon cameras for quite some time), a revamped control system and much more besides. If you need a camera that just shoots and shoots, with whip-smart AF and an indomitable burst rate... well, you probably don't need us to tell you twice. But we'll do it anyway: the Canon EOS-1D X Mark III is an astonishing camera.
Read more: Canon EOS-1D X Mark III review
4. 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
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
5. 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
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.
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).
6. Canon EOS M6 Mark II
The M-series gets M-serious with a contender for your primary camera
Type: Mirrorless | Sensor: APS-C size | Megapixels: 32.5MP | Screen type: 3in tilting touchscreen LCD, 1.04million dots | Viewfinder: No | Maximum continuous shooting speed: 30fps | Max video resolution: 4K | User level: Beginner
The EOS M series has in the past often felt a little like the unloved child of the Canon family. Happily, with the advent of the EOS M6 II, the firm can finally be said to be taking its APS-C mirrorless line seriously. The M6 Mark II sports a powerhouse of a sensor in the form of a 32.5MP APS-C chip, and can burst-shoot at 14fps or up to 30fps in RAW Burst mode. Then there's also uncropped 4K video, an expandable ISO maximum of 51,200 and a high-resolution tilting touchscreen. M-series cameras in the past have been appearing to attempt to carve out a niche as decent second cameras, but the M6 II makes a convincing case to be your primary camera, and it's really only the slightly meagre M-series lens selection that holds it back.
Read more: Canon EOS M6 II review
7. 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
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
8. 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
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
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.
9. 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
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
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
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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