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Best Canon camera 2021: the 12 finest models in its line-up for all budgets

Included in this guide:

Canon EOS RP
(Image credit: Future)

Looking for the best Canon camera you can buy? You’re in the right place. Whether you’re new to photography or a seasoned enthusiast, Canon is a name you’re probably familiar with. So if you like the idea of a Canon camera or you’re a seasoned fan of the brand, we’ve tested all of the top models and recommended our favorites. Whatever you’re looking for from a Canon camera, you’ll find your ideal option in the list below. 

What’s the best Canon camera you can buy right now? We think the top option for most photographers is the Canon EOS R5. Simply the best stills camera Canon has ever made, the full-frame shooter deploys solid IBIS, superb autofocus and a 45MP sensor to capture fantastic images. The body design is thoughtful, too.

That said, the Canon EOS R5 is also very much an enthusiast-grade camera, with a high price tag to match. So it might not be the perfect Canon camera for you. Luckily, the veteran company has vast range of models and body styles to suit every need and budget.

Looking for full-frame mirrorless performance at a more accessible price? The Canon EOS RP is small, versatile and relatively affordable, although it does sacrifice the beefier battery life of the R5. Equally, if you’re a novice in search of a solid all-rounder, the Canon EOS Rebel SL3 / EOS 250D is well worth a look: a lightweight, entry-level DSLR with excellent handling and battery life, it ticks all the right boxes for beginners.

If you’re in the market for a pocket-friendly vlogging camera for your travels, the Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark III is a versatile premium compact with handy features for video stars, including an external mic input and the ability to shoot uncropped 4K footage. Got more to spend on video kit? The Canon EOS R6 is one of the best mirrorless all-rounders out there.

Whatever your price cap and individual requirements, you’ll find your perfect Canon camera in the list below. We comprehensively review all of the latest and greatest Canon gear to confirm if it’s worthy of inclusion here. We also keep it regularly updated with new releases. We’re currently testing the Canon EOS R3, for example, which is shaping up to be one of the best sports and wildlife cameras ever made, courtesy of a seriously speedy sensor.

Not sure where to start? Scroll down to the bottom of this list for some useful tips and buying advice to help you make the right choice when selecting a Canon camera. 

Best Canon cameras in 2021:

The Canon EOS R5, the best Canon camera you can buy, sitting on a stone wall

(Image credit: Future)

The best camera Canon has ever made for stills

Specifications
Sensor: Full-frame CMOS
Megapixels: 45
Autofocus: 5,940-zone AF
Screen type: 3.15-inch tilting touchscreen, 2.1m-dots
Continuous shooting speed: 20fps
Movies: 8K
User level: Enthusiast / expert
Reasons to buy
+Superb autofocus+Solid IBIS system+Good battery life
Reasons to avoid
-High price-CFExpress cards can be costly-Some limitations for video

There's a heck of a lot to like about the Canon EOS R5, particularly if you're mainly a stills photographer. In fact, we'd go so far as to say that there's never been a better Canon camera for that purpose. 

You get fantastic image quality, seriously impressive autofocus and a decent battery life. The body design is well thought out too, with a good touchscreen and a superb electronic viewfinder. 

Although there's a headline-grabbing spec of 8K video, it's perhaps less clear whether videographers should look towards the R5. Its heat restrictions are likely to put off somebody who wants to film at high-volumes, but for those who whose needs are a little less intense it's a fantastic hybrid model that outperforms many of the others in its class. 

Canon has clearly gone all to get our attention with this camera, and it's close to perfection. However, that comes at a cost - the EOS R5 right now has a high asking price, but if you're keen on the brand, then it may be worth paying.

The Canon EOS R6 sitting on a stone wall

(Image credit: TechRadar)

One of the best mirrorless all-rounders out there

Specifications
Sensor: Full-frame CMOS
Megapixels: 20.1MP
Autofocus: 6,072 AF points
Screen type: 3-inch vari-angle touchscreen, 1,620K dots
Continuous shooting speed: 12fps
Movies: 4K/60p
User level: Intermediate/expert
Reasons to buy
+Best-in-class autofocus+Excellent full-frame IBIS
Reasons to avoid
-4K video limitations-Expensive for an enthusiast camera

In theory, the Canon EOS R6 is a more affordable, pared-back version of the R5. In reality, it’s one of the best all-rounders you can buy. 

At 20.1MP, its full-frame sensor has a lower pixel count than the EOS 6D Mark II. At 4K/60p, its video resolution doesn’t come to close to the 8K offered by the R5. And at 12fps, its mechanical burst speeds can’t match the 16fps of the 1D X Mark III. Yet as a package, the EOS R6 is an absolute joy to shoot with. Dual Pixel autofocus is properly fast and accurate, while Canon’s first attempt at in-body image stabilization is an unmitigated success. 

You’ll really have to squint to see those lacking pixels, while 20fps burst speeds with the electronic shutter are blisteringly quick. Dynamic range is slightly disappointing, with a lack of detail in bright sunlight, but color reproduction is excellent, noise-handling good and image quality otherwise impressive overall. 

A worthy upgrade from the Canon EOS R, RP or almost any of Canon’s DSLRs, the only major issue with the R6 is its cost: there are mirrorless cameras out there with higher resolution sensors and better 4K video performance for the same price or less.

The Canon EOS RP sitting on a stone wall

(Image credit: Future)

Full-frame mirrorless at a budget price

Specifications
Sensor: Full-frame CMOS
Megapixels: 26.2MP
Autofocus: 4,779 selectable points
Screen type: 3-inch articulating touchscreen, 1,040K dots
Continuous shooting speed: 5fps
Movies: 4K/25p
User level: Enthusiast
Reasons to buy
+Small, versatile and affordable+Excellent buffer depth+Superb AF performance
Reasons to avoid
-Rolling shutter and 1.6x crop for video-Underwhelming battery life

It arrived a little later than its more expensive full-frame mirrorless sibling but the EOS RP gets close to the top spot for being the Canon's best mirrorless camera by virtue of its affordability and its topnotch performance. It's compact and easy to use, so even beginners will be able to quickly find their way around the EOS RP. However, its small size does occasionally make the camera feel overbalanced when using larger lenses.

And while it does have 4K video recording, it comes with a 1.6x crop factor and you won't be able to use Canon's trusted Dual Pixel CMOS autofocus system unless you shoot in 1080p Full HD resolution. Besides that, though, the EOS RP has excellent AF performance, produces vibrant and sharp images, boasts a wonderfully responsive rear LCD touchscreen and can be used with existing EF lenses with a lens adaptor.

The Canon Rebel SL3 / EOS 250D placed on a stone floor

(Image credit: Future)

A sound all-rounder that ticks all the boxes for beginners

Specifications
Sensor: APS-C CMOS
Megapixels: 24.1MP
Autofocus: 9-point AF system, Dual Pixel CMOS AF
Screen type: 3-inch vari-angle touchscreen, 1,040,000 dots
Maximum continuous shooting speed: 5fps
Movies: 4K UHD
User level: Beginner
Reasons to buy
+Small, light and good to hold+Excellent battery life
Reasons to avoid
-Dated 9-point AF system-4K video is cropped

Canon’s EOS 200D was an entry-level DSLR with enthusiast aspirations. Its successor builds on that approach, adding a few straightforward updates to create an even more competent beginners’ camera which nails the basics. Battery life is excellent, the Dual Pixel CMOS AF system performs consistently well and image quality is good. 

In the hand, the body is small, light and good to hold, while a responsive touchscreen makes the 250D a pleasure to use. Sure, its dated 9-point AF system isn’t revolutionary and the upgrades are probably too slight to justify a switch from the 200D, but with a mount on top that plays nice with a vast number of lenses and accessories, the 250D is a capable all-rounder that has plenty to offer first-time buyers.

The Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark III sitting on a leather sofa

(Image credit: Future)

This pocket-rocket is the best all-round vlogging camera

Specifications
Type: Compact
Sensor size: 1.0-type
Resolution: 20.1MP
Effective focal length: 24-100mm
Viewfinder: None
Monitor: 3.0-inch tilt-angle touchscreen
Max movie resolution: 4K
Size, weight: 105.5 x 60.9 x 41.4mm, 304g
Reasons to buy
+Tilting touchscreen+Effective stabilization+Mic input
Reasons to avoid
-No viewfinder

Long popular with vloggers, Canon’s G7X range has kicked it up a notch with its latest implementation. There’s still a very capable 20.1MP one-inch sensor, but now it’s also equipped with uncropped 4K video recording, and, something which had been requested many times, a microphone socket. 

That means you can elevate the sound above and beyond the internal mic’s offering, if you want to. Furthermore, the G7X III can stream directly to YouTube, so you can live vlog whatever’s happening around you, without having to downgrade to using your smartphone. USB charging is another great feature which means you can give it power bursts on the go, particularly prudent if you’ve been shooting a lot of 4K video. 

The Canon EOS R being held in a hand

Canon's full-frame mirrorless debut still offers good value

Specifications
Sensor: Full-frame CMOS
Megapixels: 30.3MP
Autofocus: 5,655 phase-detect AF points
Screen type: 3.15-inch touchscreen, 2,100,000 dots
Maximum continuous shooting speed: 8fps
Movies: 4K
User level: Expert
Reasons to buy
+Excellent viewfinder+Response AF in live view and video
Reasons to avoid
-No AF lever-Bulky

As we found in our review, Canon’s first full-frame mirrorless camera is something of a hit-and-miss affair, but for some Canon users looking to step up to something more capable, it may just be ideal. 

While the model retains much of what makes the EOS DSLR line special, Canon has thrown in a superb electronic viewfinder with a 3.69-million dot resolution. We’re also very encouraged by the new lenses that have been released so far, although Canon has continued support for its exhaustive EF lens system through three separate adapters. 

It would have been nice to see an AF lever, sensor-based image stabilisation and an additional card slot to make the model truly competitive, but the camera is at least blessed with excellent autofocus, good handling and very sound image quality. If you’re a user of older EOS 5D or double-digit models and you’re looking to step up the the very latest in Canon’s full-frame tech, you should find adopting the EOS R to be a pain-free affair.

The Canon EOS M6 Mark II with its optional viewfinder sitting on a wall in a street

(Image credit: Canon/Fergus Kennedy)

A travel-friendly CSC that's great for videos

Specifications
Type: Mirrorless
Sensor size: APS-C
Resolution: 32.5MP
Effective focal length: N/A
Viewfinder: Not inbuilt
Monitor: 3.0-inch vari-angle touchscreen
Connectivity: Wi-Fi, NFC, Bluetooth
Max movie resolution: 4K 30p
Size, weight: 119.6 x 70 x 49.2mm, 408g
Reasons to buy
+Small and light weight+Great tilt-up touchscreen
Reasons to avoid
-No built-in viewfinder-Relatively few native lenses 

The Canon EOS M50 has, for a while now, been one of our favourite Canon mirrorless cameras for many reasons, but with the arrival of the EOS M6 Mark II, there's a new king in town. It's compact and a great choice for a travelling companion and, if the idea of no viewfinder puts you off, you can easily attach one.

That tiny body houses a 32.5MP APS-C sensor (the same one that's in the Canon EOS 90D listed below) and, working with a Digic 8 image processor, offers up to 14fps continuous shooting – great for sports, wildlife, street photography and so much more.

Unlike the EOS RP mentioned above, 4K video is uncropped, utilizing the entire width of the sensor, and there's also a microphone input socket and a screen that faces all the way forward – this one's for the vloggers.

Canon EOS M50 Mark II

(Image credit: Future)

A familiar but capable package for fledgling content creators

Specifications
Type: Mirrorless
Sensor: APS-C
Megapixels: 24.1MP
Autofocus: 3,975 AF points
Screen type: 3.0-inch vari-angle touchscreen, 1,040K dots
Continuous shooting speed: 10fps
Movies: 4K/25p
User level: Beginner
Reasons to buy
+Excellent EVF+Polished touchscreen
Reasons to avoid
-Poor battery life-Limited lens range

Canon’s EOS M50 Mark II is a puzzling camera. On the one hand, it’s a feature-packed mirrorless model that’s great for beginners and content creators. On the other, it’s a relatively minor upgrade from the first EOS M50 – and still suffers from the same heavy crop on 4K footage. Physically, the M50 Mark II is identical to its predecessor. What’s new is all software-based: eye-detect autofocus for stills and video, the option to shoot vertical videos for social media and a new video recording button on the touchscreen. 

The M50 Mark II will also allow you to wirelessly live stream to YouTube if you have more than 1,000 subscribers. If you already own the EOS M50, it’s hard to recommend the Mark II as an upgrade – especially if you’re a stills photographer. But if you’re a budding videographer who doesn’t need range-topping specs, the new model is well worth a look.

The Canon EOS 90D being held in two hands

(Image credit: Future)

9. Canon EOS 90D

The latest DSLR addition to Canon's stable

Specifications
Sensor: APS-C CMOS
Megapixels: 32.5MP
Autofocus: 45-point AF
Screen type: 3.0-inch articulating touchscreen, 1,040K dots
Maximum continuous shooting speed: 11fps
Movies: 4K/30p
User level: Enthusiast
Reasons to buy
+High resolution sensor+Uncropped 4K video
Reasons to avoid
-Default noise reduction level insufficient

Just when most people assumed that DSLRs were going to die a slow death, Canon decided to prove otherwise. The EOS 90D is the first camera of its kind to boast a 32.5MP sensor and, alongside a Digic 8 processor, gives the snapper the ability to capture 4K video at up to 30fps which, thankfully is uncropped. While it's the same sensor and image engine pairing as the EOS M6 Mark II mentioned above, the EOS 90D doesn't quite have the speed of its mirrorless cousin, instead topping out 11fps when shooting continuously in live view mode.

There's a new metering sensor under the hood as well and its performance is excellent, exposing areas of light and shadow to near-perfection. However, we did find that due to the high pixel density on the crop sensor, noise performance isn't the best but for the most part that can be taken care of during post production.

The battery has a CIPA rating of 1,300 shots but our tests showed the camera is capable of well over that, which is way more than what you'd get from the average mirrorless camera. All in all, a wonderfully versatile snapper for anyone who prefers the DSLR experience.

A top-down view of the Canon 1D X Mark III on a black background

(Image credit: Future)

A feature-packed flagship with unrivaled performance

Specifications
Sensor: Full-frame CMOS
Megapixels: 20.1MP
Autofocus: 191-point phase-detect AF points
Screen type: 3.2-inch fixed touchscreen, 2,100,000 dots
Continuous shooting speed: 20fps
Movies: 4K/60p
User level: Intermediate/expert
Reasons to buy
+Super-fast and reliable+Deep-learning autofocus+Innovative Smart Controllers
Reasons to avoid
-No image stabilization-Expensive-Fixed LCD display

Think of a superlative and it probably describes the Canon 1DX Mark III. A flagship sports DSLR in every sense, Canon has packed its latest full-framer so full of features – and with so much performance – that it automatically deserves a spot on this list. The only reason it's so far down is because its power and price tag simply make it too much camera for most people.

Physically, the 1DX Mark III is the same size as its predecessor, but 90g lighter and as ergonomic as ever. Two new Smart Controllers also make it a cinch to operate, courtesy of optical sensors that let you navigate focus points with the lightest swipe of your thumb.

At its heart is a new Digic X processing chip, three times quicker than the one in the 1DX Mark II, which works alongside a completely redesigned sensor to deliver 4K video at 50fps, blistering continuous frame rates and an almost unlimited buffer.

Then there’s the autofocus. Driven by deep learning for subject recognition and detection, it’s supremely fast and infallibly accurate, rivaling the very best mirrorless models – whether you use the optical viewfinder or Live View. In summary, it’s supremely capable and can comfortably outgun almost all the competition, mirrorless or DSLR.

(Image credit: Future)

The Canon PowerShot G5 X Mark II being held up to someone's face with its pop-up viewfinder open

(Image credit: Future)

DSLR quality in a pocket-sized package

Specifications
Type: Compact
Sensor size: 1.0-type
Resolution: 20.1MP
Effective focal length: 24-120mm
Viewfinder: 0.39-inch, 2.36 million dots
Monitor: 3.0-inch tilt-angle touchscreen
Max movie resolution: 4K
Size, weight: 110.9 x 60.9 x 46mm, 340g
Reasons to buy
+Great handling for a small camera+Excellent image quality
Reasons to avoid
-Relatively pricey-4K video quality not the best

Canon has managed to pack a lot into this little pocket rocket, combining a stacked CMOS sensor with a Digic 8 imaging engine. This gives the PowerShot G5 X Mark II the ability to capture stills at a blitzing pace of 30fps when shooting RAW, or 20fps when shooting conventionally.

ISO performance has been improved over the previous iteration of this camera and 4K video capture added. For those who prefer a viewfinder to using the rear LCD screen, the pop-up EVF has a darn good resolution of 2.36 million dots. Despite packing in an EVF, Canon has even managed to add a flash to the camera. There's even an ND filter available on board if you happen to be shooting in brilliant sunlight.

Noise performance is pretty good for a camera with a 1-inch sensor, although the 4K video quality isn't something to write home about, particularly when compared to the likes of Sony's latest Cyber-shot RX100 range. Despite that, the G5 X Mark II is an excellent choice for a compact, provided you've got the spare change for it.

The Canon EOS 5D Mark IV sitting on a stone floor in front of a blue wall

(Image credit: Future)

A feature-packed flagship with unrivaled performance

Specifications
Sensor: Full-frame CMOS
Megapixels: 30.4MP
Autofocus: 61-point phase-detect AF points
Screen type: 3.2-inch fixed touchscreen, 1620k-dots
Continuous shooting speed: 7fps
Movies: 4K/30p
User level: Intermediate/expert
Reasons to buy
+Superb image quality +Advanced AF system +Good connectivity options
Reasons to avoid
-Limited 4K video options-Relatively low native ISO

Canon’s 5D range has - and continues to have - a number of fans. And for good reason, these high-specced DSLRs offer a huge number of features in a body which handles superbly. 

Here we have an excellent 30.4MP sensor, which although lower in resolution than the likes of the Nikon D850 still gives you plenty of scope to create fantastic shots in a range of conditions.

There’s also a well-performing 61-point AF system which copes well with low-light and is super-quick. 4K video recording is available - but this being a slightly older model, we’re limited to 30p. 

Although autofocusing is whip-smart, the 5D Mark IV can only manage 7fps, which puts it behind many newer models, but if you’re shooting landscapes, portraits, still live - in short anything which doesn’t move too quickly - you will be more than fine. 

How to choose the best Canon camera for you

It can be tricky to pick the right Canon camera for you. The brand offers a wide array of choices, ranging from pocket-friendly compacts to bulkier DSLRs to cutting-edge mirrorless systems. Canon caters for pretty much every type of photographer and which model is right for you will depend largely on what and how you like to shoot. In particular, you’ll need to consider which body style and sensor format best suits your needs.

If you’re into sports and wildlife photography, for example, should you should be looking for a camera with fast frame rates and reliable in-body image stabilization to steadily capture rapid action. The incoming Canon EOS R3 looks set to deliver all this and more.

Equally, if you’re more focused on moving images than moving subjects, Canon’s range is home to several video-focused cameras, which support external microphones, feature flip-out screens for easy framing and can capture uncropped 4K footage. The Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark III is a pocketable solution for travelers, as is the Canon EOS M6 Mark II for those who’d like an APS-C sensor in a travel-friendly form factor.

Canon also makes several fantastic all-rounders. These versatile models work well in multiples scenarios and will often be the best choice for hobbyists who’d like to try their hand at multiple photography genres. The Canon EOS R6 is the best Canon all-rounder you can currently buy, while the EOS Rebel SL3 / EOS 250D is a more affordable all-rounder.

Canon has traditionally been a big player in the DSLR market. While it remains one of the most established names in relation to the format, it’s now also become a mirrorless force to be reckoned with. If you’re searching for the ultimate in resolution, performance and technology, you should be looking at its latest mirrorless cameras, like the Canon EOS R5 and EOS R6. That said, you’ll need a pretty serious budget to take one home.

Those with a more limited budget needn’t worry. Canon offers a fantastic range of compact, DSLR and mirrorless options which won’t break the bank. The Canon EOS M50 is a great example: recently succeeded by a minor upgrade, it’s available at particularly affordable prices, yet still represents excellent value as an everyday or travel camera.

Canon EOS 250D

(Image credit: Canon)

What’s the best Canon camera for beginners?

Canon makes a range of cameras for beginners. Which one is right for you will depend on your specific needs, skills and budget. Whether you’re upgrading from a point-and-shoot or switching from a smartphone, Canon has a camera for you.

Which is the best Canon camera for beginners? We think the best all-round Canon camera for most novices is the Canon EOS Rebel SL3 / EOS 250D. A lightweight, entry-level DSLR with excellent battery life and ergonomics that make it great to hold, it’s a brilliant camera for new photographers to handle. Although its 9-point autofocus system is dated, it performs consistently and image quality is good. Plus there are plenty of compatible lenses in Canon’s catalogue when you’re ready to get creative.

That said, if you’d prefer to start out with a mirrorless camera, the Canon EOS M50 is also an excellent choice for beginners. Since succeeded by the Canon EOS M50 Mk II (a minor upgrade), it remains a very capable APS-C camera that’s accessible and easy to use. Its combination of an excellent electronic viewfinder with a slick, vari-angle touchscreen makes it very approachable for first-timers. Dual Pixel autofocus is also fast and reliable. If you can look past the limited battery life and plasticky finish, it’s a great value choice if you’re just starting out.

Prepared to take the plunge and buy a camera that you can grow into? The Canon EOS RP is a full-frame mirrorless camera that’s relatively affordable and offers top-notch performance. It’s compact and easy to use thanks to a responsive rear touchscreen, so beginners should quickly get to grips with its interface – yet the EOS RP also produces sharp, vibrant images and boasts excellent autofocus performance. If you can deal with the 1.6x crop on 4K footage, it’s an appealing package.

How we test Canon cameras

Buying a camera these days is a big investment, so every Canon camera in this guide has been tested extensively by us. These days, real-world tests are the most revealing way to understand a camera's performance and character, so we focus heavily on those, along with standardized tests for factors like ISO performance.

To start with, we look at the camera's design, handling and controls to get a sense of what kind of photographer it's aimed at and who would most enjoy shooting with it. When we take it out on a shoot, we'll use it both handheld and on a tripod to get a sense of where its strengths lie, and test its startup speed.

When it comes to performance, we use a formatted UHS-1 card and shoot in both raw and JPEG (if available). For burst shooting tests, we dial in our regular test settings (1/250 sec, ISO 200, continuous AF) and shoot a series of frames in front of a stopwatch to see if it lives up to its claimed speeds. We'll also look at how quickly the buffers clears and repeat the test for both raw and JPEG files.

In various lighting conditions, we also test the camera's different autofocus modes (including Face and Eye AF) in single point, area and continuous modes. We also shoot a range of photos of different styles (portrait, landscape, low light, macro/close-up) in raw and JPEG to get a sense of metering and its sensor's ability to handle noise and resolve fine detail.

If the camera's raw files are supported by Adobe Camera Raw, we'll also process some test images to see how we can push areas like shadow recovery. And we'll also test its ISO performance across the whole range to get a sense of the levels we'd be happy to push the camera to.

Battery life is tested in a real-world fashion, as we use the camera over the course of the day with the screen set to the default settings. Once the battery has reached zero, we'll then count the number of shots to see how it compares to the camera's CIPA rating. Finally, we test the camera's video skills by shooting some test footage at different frame-rates and resolutions, along with its companion app.

We then take everything we've learned about the camera and factor in its price to get a sense of the value-for-money it offers, before reaching our final verdict.

Mark Wilson

Mark is the Cameras Editor at TechRadar. Having worked in tech journalism for a ludicrous 17 years, Mark is now attempting to break the world record for the number of camera bags hoarded by one person. He was previously Cameras Editor at Trusted Reviews, Acting editor on Stuff.tv, as well as Features editor and Reviews editor on Stuff magazine. As a freelancer, he's contributed to titles including The Sunday Times, FourFourTwo and Arena. And in a former life, he also won the Daily Telegraph's Young Sportswriter of the Year. But that was before he discovered the strange joys of getting up at 4am for a photo shoot in London's Square Mile.