The Canon legacy boasts super-high quality lenses, cutting-edge technology, and professional-level specs for both videos and photos. And those premium accolades might not come cheap, but they’re well-worth the investment. Indeed, there’s a reason Canon is found among so many professional photographers’ camera kits.
Mirrorless cameras are where it’s at for both photographers and video makers alike, here are our favourites.
But after decades in the industry, the number of different Canon models has grown into the triple digits. As a result, it can be overwhelming to compare all the options and decide on one single model. That’s why the team here at Pocket-lint decided to put our heads together and compile this list of the best Canon cameras on the market today. I’m a professional photographer, and my community consists of other professionals, tech nerds, and filmmakers, too. Take our expert word for it: these picks are the cream of the crop.
Best Canon cameras: Our experts’ favorite models
Canon EOS R6 Mark II
1. Best overall Canon camera
The hybrid flagship that can do it all
$1999 $2499 Save $500
The Canon EOS R6 Mark II is a fresh new face on the full-frame market, bringing all the latest technologies for autofocusing, video, photography, and stabilization.
- Great value for the price
- Advanced autofocus with subject tracking
- 40fps burst shooting rate
- 4K60p max video resolution
- Full-frame 24.2MP sensor
- In-body stabilization may struggle with long focal lengths
We dubbed the Canon EOS R6 Mark II a “jack of all trades” in our hands-on review. This is a true hybrid camera, meaning it excels in both still photography and videography. The photos reach a max resolution of 24.2MP, while the videos top out at 4K at 60fps. And with “machine-learning” autofocus, in-body stabilization, and a mind-blowing 40fps continuous drive, the EOS R6 Mark II checks all the boxes for a professional workhorse.
Canon’s second-gen R6 brings with it some welcome improvements, including improved autofocus, increased resolution and no more recording limits.
For photographers, the sensor-shift stabilization is a boon. With a CIPA rating of eight stops, it expands the possibilities for exposure, since you don’t have to crank up your shutter speed to its limits to get sharp shots. For videographers, the video capabilities are sure to impress. The max video quality is 4K at 60fps, and it combines with Canon’s famous color science to record at up to 340Mbps. That’s a lot of color and light information, so make sure you get a fast SD card.
Yet, for all its strengths, it’s not insanely expensive. Typically, a full-frame camera with specs like these would cost several thousand dollars, but the EOS R6 Mark II has a retail price of $2,500, and you might even catch it on sale. Pair it with a nice Canon RF lens, and you’ll have a professional camera for an amateur price.
Canon EOS R5
2. Best premium Canon camera
The impeccable performance of professional design
$2999 $3899 Save $900
It might not come cheap, but the EOS R5 is a top choice for professionals, with excellent specs for both photo and video.
- 45MP photos
- Cutting-edge autofocus uses AI to track subjects
- Brilliant in-body stabilization
- Up to 8K30p 12-bit RAW video
- After intensive usage, it can overheat and slow down
Ask any professional what the best SLR Canon camera is, and there’s a good chance they’ll say the EOS R5. And the price reflects its glowing reputation. This premium camera boasts 8K video, 45MP photos, and cutting-edge autofocus. It’s all powered by a lightning-fast Digic X processor, which delivers a continuous drive speed of 20fps.
Our take on Canon’s full frame mirrorless camera.
Pocket-lint’s Mike Lowe called the EOS R5 the “spiritual successor to the EOS 5D Mark IV,” in his review from 2021. This is an apt description, since the 5D Mark IV remained the videographer’s camera-of-choice for years. Now, with 8K60p video and the latest AI-powered autofocus, the EOS R5 is the new king. There’s a reason I included it in my guide to the best cameras for filmmaking.
But for all its video-centric features, the EOS R5 performs just as well in the still-photography game. That 45MP full-frame sensor is capable of snapping some absolutely gorgeous images, and the in-body stabilization does its job splendidly, with up to eight stops of correction. The result is a photographer’s dream come true – but you’ll have to shell out the big bucks to enjoy it.
Canon EOS R8
3. Best value for the price
With great power comes great value
$1299 $1499 Save $200
For those with tight funds in need of a camera with pro specs and advanced capabilities, the EOS R8 is the perfect pick.
- Subject detection and tracking autofocus
- 4K video at 60fps
- Incredible 40fps continuous drive
- RF mount compatible with high-end lenses
- Digital image stabilization instead of IBIS
- Button layout is wanting
- Heats up and slows down with a lot of use
The Canon EOS R8 is packed with powerful hardware. And at about $1,000 less than the EOS R6 Mark II, it boasts comparable specs. In fact, it has the same burst-shooting rate (40fps), the same max video resolution (4K60p), and even the same max photo resolution (24.2MP on a full-frame sensor). So what’s the catch?
Canon’s most accessible full-frame hybrid camera inherits some impressive features from the R6 Mark II, but what corners were cut to hit such a price?
There really isn’t a catch to be found, but the lower price does mean a few sacrifices. For one, the EOS R8 doesn’t have in-body stabilization. Instead, it uses a digital image stabilization technology called Movie Digital IS. It’s certainly strong enough to minimize motion blur when shooting handheld, though it may struggle a bit when using long focal lengths.
The EOS R8 also has a speedy DIGIC X processor, which helps deliver extremely accurate autofocusing. That includes real-time reliable subject tracking of animals, people, autos, and other targets. When you compare such advanced features with the price, the EOS R8 is a steal.
Canon EOS R100
4. Best Canon camera for beginners
Start your photo journey without breaking the bank
$429 $480 Save $51
With a sub-$500 price tag and a long list of high-end features, the EOS R100 is ideal for beginners looking for an advanced, affordable, and user-friendly camera.
- Max video resolution of 4K25p
- RF mount
- Super lightweight
- Beginner-friendly features
- No weatherproofing
- Mostly plastic
While it won’t awe “seasoned” professionals, the EOS R100 is the leading camera choice for beginners. When Pocket-lint gave it an early review, we were immediately impressed by the bevy of advanced specs: 4K25p video, 24.1MP photos, and face-tracking autofocus. But even if you aren’t well-versed in the technicalities, the EOS R100 can serve as an excellent point-and-shoot with its reliable automatic shooting mode.
Canon’s affordable, stripped-back EOS R model is a fine gateway into ‘real’ photography.
Another beginner-friendly quality is the RF lens mount. Canon’s RF line hosts some of the best lenses ever made, so you can upgrade your kit without needing to buy a more expensive camera body. Add to that the lightweight, compact construction, the long-lasting battery life, and the intuitive button layout, and you have a camera that will serve you faithfully for many years.
The EOS R100 has an APS-C sensor. It’s smaller than its full-frame cousins, but you may be surprised by its strong performance in low lighting. And paired with a fast lens, it can capture plenty of light information in shadows with minimal grain. The EOS R100 doesn’t compete with full-frame models, but it certainly delivers the goods at a bargain price.
Canon EOS R7
5. Best Canon camera for handheld
Compact, lightweight, and perfect for on-the-go shoots
$1399 $1499 Save $100
The EOS R7 is an APS-C camera with something to prove – mostly that smaller sensors can still produce gorgeous results.
- Strong sensor-shift in-body image stabilization
- 4K60p video surpasses professional standards
- Beautiful 10-bit 4:2:2 color recording
- 32.5MP max photo resolution
- Limited lens selection with the RF-S mount
- Continuous drive slows down when shooting RAW
Full-frame cameras have taken the market by storm, but they’re not without their downsides. Those giant sensors require giant lenses and camera bodies to support them, and their technology isn’t cheap. The EOS R7 proves how awesome APS-C sensors can be. Its compact build and RF-S line of lightweight lenses makes it a top choice for on-the-go photography. That means wildlife, sports, travel, and anything else that demands portability.
The R7 is Canon’s flagship APS-C camera and it’s one of the first APS-C cameras to utilise the brand’s RF mount. We put it to the test.
And though it may be small, this thing packs power. It has pro-level video quality, at 4K60p, and a massive max photo resolution of 32.5MP. It also uses a DIGIC X processor to deliver a continuous drive (burst-shot) rate of 6fps.
Best of all, the IBIS employs sensor-shift stabilization to keep your handheld shots motion-blur-free. Indeed, if you’re looking to hit the streets (or the trails) for your photography, the EOS R7 is up to the task.
The bottom line: What’s the best Canon camera?
There are essentially two we rank at the top, depending on your budget. If you want the best camera for the price, go with the Canon EOS R6 Mark II. This amazing model has cutting-edge technology and its hybrid design excels in both still photography and filmmaking.
But if the price isn’t an obstacle, the EOS R5 is the best premium Canon camera to date. It boasts 8K video capabilities and extremely advanced autofocusing, making it our top choice for professional filmmakers. And for beginners, you can’t go wrong with the Canon EOS R100. Its APS-C sensor produces gorgeous, high-res photos, and the 4K video bumps it into professional territory.
Canon EOS R6 Mark II
$1999 $2499 Save $500
How we chose the best Canon cameras
I have pretty high standards when it comes to cameras. Filmmaking has been a passion since I was a youngster, and I first entered the professional industry when 1080p was still considered the best. Through the years, I’ve tested dozens of Canon cameras and lenses, and I know which models are worth their price tag. But to compile this list, I had the privilege of collaborating with my team of fellow pros here at Pocket-lint. These are the criteria we used:
Sensor: Canon is one of the pioneers of the full-frame sensor format. Their full-frame cameras are some of the best in the game. We typically prefer full-frame cameras for their excellent low-light performance and high resolution. That being said, not all full-frames are the same. Check for the max MegaPixel resolution of the camera in question to get a good idea of the sensitivity of its sensor.
Still, full-frame sensors aren’t the be-all and end-all. There are plenty of cameras with APS-C and micro four thirds sensors on the market that offer extremely high resolution, and they’re often more compact, lightweight, and affordable. The smaller sensors won’t handle dark lighting as well as full-frame options, but they’re still worth considering for their price-value and compact power.
Video specs: Yes, 4K is the minimum. Even higher resolutions are preferred. Also, make sure your camera of choice can record 4K quality with at least 30fps. These are the standards of the industry today, and some professional video gigs may even demand 6K. You can also check the available codecs. H.265 is perfectly capable of handling 4K video, though higher resolutions and frame rates may require more advanced codecs like Apple ProRes.
Smartphones can snap great photos, but animals and birds require their own set of skills and tools.
Still photography specs: First and foremost, look for high MegaPixels. Anything higher than 20MP will provide enough resolution to crop your photos and add effects and edits in post-production. We also check a camera’s continuous drive rate, also known as burst shooting.
This is measured in frames per second, and cameras with continuous drives of 10fps or higher can serve as professional workhorses for those wedding gigs and concerts. If you are taking a lot of photos, you’ll need a camera that’s up to the task.
Autofocus: Today’s autofocus technology is mind-boggling. But to take advantage of AI-based subject recognition and real-time tracking, you’ll need a camera with phase-detecting autofocus. Contrast detection is good, and it’s fully equipped for casual photography and filmmaking. However, phase detection is undoubtedly faster, so those looking for fast autofocus should make sure their camera of choice has it. Dual autofocus systems, which make use of both phase-detection and contrast-detection autofocus, are even better.
Stabilization: For stabilization, testing out the camera yourself is the best way to gauge its effectiveness. However, there are some specs you can check before you buy. The “CIPA image stabilization rating” is given in stops. Essentially, this is the number of times slower you can set the shutter speed to obtain a blur-free image compared to the max shutter speed without stabilization. For example, if your maximum shutter speed was set at 1/800 before motion blur became noticeable, a camera with an eight stop CIPA rating would allow you to use a shutter speed of 1/100.
Are Canon cameras good for professional filmmaking?
Absolutely. While Sony has overtaken Canon as the highest-selling camera brand in recent years, the Canon line has continued to hold strong. Their latest full-frame, mirrorless designs are some of the best in the biz, and Canons lenses are still considered the superior glass. Furthermore, many of their flagship models boast resolutions higher than 4K, professional codecs, and fast frame rates. If you go with a Canon for your filmmaking endeavors, you won’t regret it.
What lens should I use with my Canon camera?
Canon lenses are considered by many professionals to be the best, and their prices reflect that reputation. Still, you don’t have to spend a fortune to get a solid kit lens. First, you should think about what you’ll use the lens for. If you’re into wildlife photography and action shots, go with a telephoto or zoom lens. If you plan on making films and videos, we recommend a zoom lens with a focal range somewhere in the realm of 28–105mm. And if you’re a beginner, a “nifty fifty” 50mm will serve you well.
The best action cameras are compact, clear, and ready to record the unexpected action (and reaction) of the fun you encounter while hiking.
Next, you should consider the mount type of your camera. There are EF, RF, RF-S lenses, and more. Some cameras are compatible with multiple mount types, while others can only be used with specific ones. Some lens types will crop the frame, while others show the full picture. Your best bet is to research your camera’s mount type and then choose your lens accordingly.