While Canon produces a wide range of imaging products, from printers to MRI machines, it's probably best known as one of the world's leading manufacturers of cameras. Canon's long history of producing high-quality lenses and cameras has made it a favorite among professional photographers and enthusiasts. It also offers a range of more accessible and affordable cameras for users of all experience levels. In general, Canon cameras have great ergonomics, intuitive controls and menus, class-leading autofocus systems, and a wide selection of lenses that cater to photographers of all kinds.
We've bought and tested over 15 Canon cameras, and below, you'll find our recommendations for the best Canon cameras for beginners and enthusiasts alike.
The Canon EOS R6 Mark II is the best Canon camera we've tested. The Mark II takes everything that makes the original Canon EOS R6 great and adds in a higher-resolution sensor, faster e-shutter burst shooting, uncropped 4k video, and no recording time limit. That makes it one of the most versatile cameras for advanced photo and video work at this price point.
The biggest downside is that the RF-mount's lens selection is still a bit limited. Canon's strict third-party licensing means fewer overall lens options than competitors like Sony, which has a more established selection of native and third-party lenses for its E-mount. Still, if you're looking for a camera that can take stunning images with a set-it-and-forget-it autofocus system, excellent ergonomics, and advanced video specs, the R6 Mark II is hard to beat for enthusiast-level shooters.
If you want to save a bit of money, you can always go for the original R6, which is still an incredible camera for its price. Otherwise, the Canon EOS R8 borrows its sensor from the R6, giving you comparable image and video quality, but comes in a cheaper, more portable body. Just be aware that its battery life pales in comparison, and it doesn't have in-body image stabilization.
If the Canon EOS R6 Mark II is out of your price range, the Canon EOS R7 is one of the best Canon cameras for photography with an APS-C sensor. There are more portable options than this, but it's a dream for wildlife photographers. The crop factor means you can use physically smaller lenses to get a longer equivalent focal length, which is great for capturing far-off subjects. It also has a very quick max burst rate to capture moments of fast action. Throw in a sophisticated autofocus system borrowed from the pro-level Canon EOS R3, along with in-body image stabilization, and this is one of the most well-rounded mid-range options around.
The R7 has the same problem as the R6 in that lens selection is still somewhat limited for the RF mount. However, you can always adapt EF/EF-S DSLR lenses if you have them. Speaking of DSLRs, if you don't mind giving up some of the R7's advanced video specs, the Canon EOS 90D is a great mid-range alternative with a higher resolution and longer battery life.
The Canon EOS M50 Mark II is one of the best budget models in Canon's entire lineup. This international bestseller is especially popular among newcomers in photography or content creation. Like the Canon EOS 90D, it uses an APS-C sensor, which balances image quality and portability. It's remarkably small and lightweight, making it easy to take on the go, and because it's a mirrorless camera, you can see exposure adjustments in real time through the EVF, making it a great choice for beginners.
However, it isn't the best Canon camera for video, as it can only record 4k with a severe crop, affecting everything from autofocus performance to video quality. So, if you're interested in video or vlogging, you're better off sticking to 1080p with this camera. Lens options are also more limited for Canon's EF-M mount. Despite its shortcomings, this is still a great choice if you're after simplicity and portability at a price that won't break the bank. If you're on an even tighter budget, an older DSLR like the Canon EOS Rebel T7 / EOS 2000D can also be a solid starter camera, but it's much more pared-down than the M50, with fewer controls and a more rudimentary autofocus system.
While mirrorless cameras are all the rage these days, Canon still has some fantastic DSLRs, including the full-frame Canon EOS 5D Mark IV, which is still one of the best Canon cameras for photography. The 5D series has long been a favorite among professional photographers, and for a good reason. This camera is built to withstand heavy use day in and day out, and it's got a battery life to match for long shooting days. Canon's excellent ergonomics are also on display here, with a roomy grip and plenty of physical controls you can customize.
A long lineup of excellent lenses is available for the 5D Mark IV, and the camera's sensor shines. At 30.4 megapixels, you have plenty of leeway to crop and edit your photos, and it has excellent dynamic range and noise handling for low-light situations. Look elsewhere if you want something lightweight and portable, but this incredibly capable and durable DSLR can take stunning photos. And if the price tag is steep, you can step down to the Canon EOS 6D Mark II or find a deal on older models in the 5D series, which still provide sturdy builds and pro-level image quality.
If you're looking for a more portable camera for everyday street or travel photography, a point-and-shoot can be a great option, and the best we've tested from Canon is the Canon PowerShot G5 X Mark II. It has a slightly larger grip than most compact cameras, making it comfortable to hold despite its pocketable size. It even includes a pop-up EVF, a great addition for sunny days when it's harder to see the screen.
The camera also has a solid built-in lens, with a 24–120mm equivalent focal length that gives you a bit of zoom range for more flexible framing. There's a trade-off in battery life, so you won't get the same mileage as you would with any of the interchangeable-lens options above, but that's typical for a compact camera. Vloggers looking for a portable walk-around camera can also consider the G5 X's more vlog-friendly sibling, the Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark III, which has a built-in livestreaming feature but lacks a viewfinder. Overall, the G5 X II is a great choice for those who want a premium compact travel or street photography camera.
Canon and Nikon have long been rivals, going back to the days of film photography. But Canon's head start in mirrorless gives the brand an edge when it comes to selection—you're more likely to find a Canon camera that suits your needs because they have more cameras on offer in a wider range of budgets. High-end Canon mirrorless cameras have also brought autofocus technology to near perfection. On the other hand, Nikon's S-Line of premium mirrorless camera lenses includes some of the best glass around, and Nikon ergonomics are top-notch.
Sony is right behind Canon in terms of global market share, and both brands offer plenty of excellent cameras at various prices. Both have also pushed the boundaries of what camera autofocus is capable of. Canon cameras generally have superior ergonomics, though handling is highly subjective. On the other hand, Sony's E-mount has a wider lens selection than Canon's RF-mount, with more compatible third-party lens options.
Canon makes cameras that cater to photographers of almost every experience level but typically share some common features across the board. They're often comfortable to shoot with and easy to use, with straightforward menu systems, ergonomic designs, and intuitive control layouts. Most feature fully articulated touchscreens, as well. Impressive image quality is almost guaranteed with any modern camera, but Canon's warm straight-out-of-camera color science is often prized, and its Dual Pixel autofocus system has become one of the best on the market. That said, Canon has only recently started introducing unlimited video recording time limits, and they still lag behind Sony in lens support, particularly regarding compatible third-party options.
Canon has various model lineups to suit different users and their needs.
May 30, 2023: Added mention of the Canon EOS R8 as an in-text alternative to the Canon EOS R6 Mark II.
May 02, 2023: Replaced the Canon EOS 90D with the Canon EOS R7.
Mar 03, 2023: Replaced the Canon EOS R6 with the Canon EOS R6 Mark II as the 'Best Canon Camera'.
Canon cameras are often well-built, with good handling and impressive image quality. Canon's newer mirrorless offerings have some of the best autofocus on the market. That said, Canon sometimes makes curious choices for video features, with caps on recording time and occasional heat management issues. Overall, though, Canon is a staple in the camera market that has proven capable of adapting to ever-evolving consumer demands, with plenty of cameras to suit every budget and experience level.