We've tested over 15 Canon cameras. While Canon manufactures a wide range of imaging products, from printers to MRI machines, it's perhaps best known for its popular selection of cameras and lenses. Canon's long history of producing high-quality lenses and cameras makes it a trusted favorite among professional photographers and enthusiasts, but it also offers a range of more accessible and affordable cameras for beginners. In general, Canon cameras offer great ergonomics, easy-to-use menu systems, and very good image quality, along with a wide selection of lenses that cater to all kinds of photography.
The Canon EOS R6 is the best Canon camera that we've tested if you're looking for a mirrorless model. It's one of the best Canon cameras for photography of all types thanks to its full-frame sensor, which yields superb image quality with great dynamic range to bring out more details in highlights and shadows. It's also a great option for low-light photography thanks to its fantastic noise handling capability at higher ISO levels. It feels incredibly comfortable to shoot with as well, with well-spaced controls and three command dials. Unlike some other R-series models, it also includes a physical mode dial that makes it easy to change shooting modes or switch into movie mode on the fly. You can also customize several functions to suit your shooting preferences, and the menu system is remarkably easy to navigate, so you can set everything to your preference and focus on shooting without interruption. It has a great autofocus system with a remarkable 6,072 advertised focus points across the full coverage area of the frame. It also has in-body image stabilization, which does a great job of reducing camera shake when shooting handheld.
While the camera can shoot quick 11 fps bursts using its mechanical shutter and even faster 18 fps bursts in its silent drive mode, it takes a while to empty its photo buffer if you manage to fill it up. On the upside, it has a virtually limitless JPEG image buffer. It also features two UHS-II SD card slots, which is great if you like to have a backup card. Its battery performance is a bit underwhelming, as you can't use it while it charges, and its tested battery life in video is just decent. The lighter, cheaper, and more portable Canon EOS RP may be a good alternative if you don't need a very fast shooting speed, but the R6 is a fast, versatile camera and one of the best mirrorless cameras we've tested.
The best Canon DSLR that we've tested is the Canon EOS 90D. This mid-range crop-sensor model is a good choice for enthusiasts or those looking to upgrade from a beginner DSLR like Canon EOS Rebel T8i. It feels reasonably well-constructed with a weather-sealed body for light resistance against elements like rain and humidity. It also feels amazingly comfortable to shoot with thanks to its large handgrip and dedicated exposure controls, which make it easy to adjust settings on the go. Its optical viewfinder also feels comfortable to use and gives you an unfiltered, lag-free view of your subjects. Its fully articulated screen allows you to more easily shoot from unconventional angles, and it's great for videographers and vloggers. The camera has a high-resolution sensor that delivers good overall image quality and has an impressive dynamic range.
That said, its noise handling capability is just okay due to its APS-C sensor, so shooting at night or in low-light at very high ISOs results in more visual noise than a full-frame alternative like the Canon EOS 6D Mark II. It's also bulkier and heavier than most mirrorless alternatives, so it's a little harder to travel with. Still, this camera has a very good autofocus system that tracks moving subjects well. Also, while it doesn't have in-body image stabilization, it has a digital image stabilization feature. Also, it does an excellent job of reducing camera shake with its kit lens attached. All in all, this camera's versatile feature set, comfortable ergonomic design, and good image quality make it one of the best Canon cameras we've tested.
The best Canon camera that we've tested with a compact fixed-lens design is the Canon PowerShot G5 X Mark II. It's a good choice for photographers looking for a more portable camera for everyday street or travel photography. It has a slightly larger handgrip than most compact point-and-shoot cameras, making it very comfortable to hold despite its pocketable size, and unlike some other compacts, it has a pop-up EVF. While it's small and isn't the most comfortable, it's a helpful addition for those who prefer to shoot through a viewfinder. Like other Canon cameras, it has an intuitive and easy-to-navigate menu system, and its screen can tilt and flip-up for selfies or vlogs. It delivers very good image quality, with outstanding dynamic range to bring out a wider array of detail. However, it's not as well-suited to shooting in dimly-lit conditions due to its smaller sensor and middling noise handling capability, although its built-in lens does have an f/1.8-2.8 max aperture that lets in a good amount of light. Its autofocus is a bit sluggish at tracking moving objects, but it's passable overall.
Unfortunately, this camera has a poor battery life that's only advertised to last for approximately 230 photos, though this is typical of most point-and-shoot cameras, and battery performance can also vary with settings and usage habits. It can also struggle with overheating issues, particularly when recording high-quality video continuously. It supports USB charging, but only with a power delivery charger, which is a bit inconvenient. It also doesn't have as many video features as the more vlogger-oriented Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark III. If you can live without a microphone jack or built-in livestreaming feature, the G5 X II is a great all-around compact with a fast lens and comfortable design.
The best Canon camera for photography if you're just starting is the Canon EOS M50 Mark II. This entry-level mirrorless camera is relatively lightweight and portable, featuring a fully-articulated touchscreen and high-resolution electronic viewfinder. Canon's menu system is incredibly easy to navigate and comes with a guide mode to walk new users through its core features and settings. The camera's APS-C sensor delivers great overall image quality, with good noise handling capability at higher ISO levels and a remarkably wide dynamic range to bring out a greater level of detail in shadows and highlights. It also has an effective autofocus system that supports face- and eye-tracking.
It handles FHD video quite well, with good video quality in brighter conditions, a few different frame rate options, and superb autofocus performance. However, it's not well-suited to shooting 4k video, as it can only record in 4k at 24 fps with a severe 1.5x crop. Its 4k video quality is disappointing overall, especially in more dimly-lit environments, and its autofocus system struggles to keep moving subjects in focus when shooting in 4k. Depending on real-world conditions, its battery life is also a bit underwhelming, and it doesn't support USB charging. If you'd prefer a beginner-friendly model with longer battery life, consider the Canon EOS Rebel T8i, although it's a DSLR with a much bulkier design. Otherwise, the M50 Mark II is a good option for those starting in photography.
Canon manufactures cameras that cater to photographers of almost every experience level. However, regardless of their intended user, most Canon cameras do share a set of commonalities. They're often comfortable and easy to use, with intuitive menu systems and ergonomic control layouts, and many feature fully articulated touchscreens. Most of Canon's cameras offer impressive overall image quality, and their autofocus systems tend to be quick and accurate when it comes to tracking moving subjects in both photography and video. That said, while pricier Canon models offer excellent overall video autofocus performance, cheaper models can struggle to maintain focus on moving subjects, especially when shooting in 4k. Also, the battery performance of most of its mirrorless offerings can be unimpressive.
Canon has a varied selection of model lineups to suit different users and their needs.
Dec 03, 2021: Checked picks for accuracy and availability; no change to recommendations.
Nov 05, 2021: Replaced the Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark III with the Canon PowerShot G5 X Mark II and renamed it 'Best Canon Point-And-Shoot Camera'.
Oct 07, 2021: Ensured that all main picks are still in stock and represent the best choice for their given category.
Sep 10, 2021: Reviewed accuracy of picks; no change to recommendations.
Aug 13, 2021: Replaced the Canon EOS M50 with the Canon EOS M50 Mark II.
Canon cameras are often comfortable and simple to use, offer impressive overall image quality, and have effective autofocus systems, especially for photography. That said, the battery performance of most of its mirrorless offerings can be unimpressive. In addition, while its pricier models offer excellent overall video autofocus performance, its cheaper models can struggle to maintain focus on moving subjects when shooting in 4k.