19 years at the top: Canon: still #1 for interchangeable lens cameras

A selection of canon cameras and lenses
(Image credit: Canon)

For the 19th year in a row, Canon’s interchangeable-lens digital cameras have maintained their place at the top of the global market. Between 2003 and 2021, Canon has continued to produce groundbreaking camera systems that feature the latest technology, ergonomic designs and that suit the budget of beginner to professional photographers.

Canon's interchangeable lens cameras include traditional DSLR-style bodies such as the ever-popular Canon EOS 5D Mark IV or the easy-to-use beginner camera, the Canon EOS 200D. The APS-C Canon EOS M series was the company’s first venture into the mirrorless market, back in 2012, and includes models such as the Canon EOS M50 Mark II

Most recently, Canon has concentrated its efforts on the new full-frame mirrorless R series which launched with the Canon EOS R in 2018 and now includes the Canon EOS RP, Canon EOS R3, Canon EOS R5, Canon EOS R6, and Canon EOS R5C

Always at the forefront of changing camera technology, the release of the Canon 300D (also known as the EOS Digital Rebel or EOS Kiss Digital) in 2003 marked the beginning of a focus on the consumer market. At the time, it was a revolutionary camera even if it did only have a 6MP sensor but its launch price of $899 (£687 / AU$ 1,199) made it much more affordable to consumers than the Canon EOS 10D. 

The launch of the Canon EOS 1D and 5D series marked a new age of SLR video recording with these systems capable of recording high-quality, professional-looking video as well as high-resolution photos. 

Fast-forward to 2018 and the first Canon EOS R series was released along with a brand new lens mount to fit the cutting-edge best Canon RF lenses. This new range of cameras was designed to be faster, more powerful and perform better than ever before with new features such as Eye Control AF, In-Body Stabilization, 4K and even 8K video capabilities, Deep Learning AF, continuous burst modes up to 30fps and of course, excellent image quality. 

From top-spec flagship models to affordable entry-level systems, Canon’s diverse range of cameras has always catered to the needs of all kinds of photographers, so it's no surprise it has maintained the number one spot. 

With plans to release 32 new lenses in the next four years as well as venturing into the virtual reality (VR) market with a new VR lens and possibly even the drone market, Canon is making sure they stay on top, no matter which direction the world of visual imaging takes. Next year we'll find out if this camera giant can make it to two decades at the top. 

Read more:

Best Canon telephoto lenses
Best Canon portrait lenses
Canon EOS R3 vs Nikon Z9

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Hannah Rooke
Staff Writer

Having studied Journalism and Public Relations at the University of the West of England Hannah developed a love for photography through a module on photojournalism. She specializes in Portrait, Fashion and lifestyle photography but has more recently branched out in the world of stylized product photography. For the last 3 years Hannah has worked at Wex Photo Video as a Senior Sales Assistant using her experience and knowledge of cameras to help people buy the equipment that is right for them. With 5 years experience working with studio lighting, Hannah has run many successful workshops teaching people how to use different lighting setups.