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Best Canon camera 2021: 12 fantastic models from Canon's camera stable

Canon EOS RP
(Image credit: Future)

Regardless of whether you're new to photography or you've been shooting for a while, Canon is likely to be a name you're familiar with. Perhaps you're even already using one of their models. The veteran company has a vast range which includes several bodies spanning different body types, and different budgets.

Knowing which Canon camera is the right one for you can be difficult, with a wide array of choices ranging from pocket-friendly compact cameras to more advanced DSLRs and mirrorless systems. Then you'll need to make a decision between full-frame and APS-C format too. Pretty much every type of photographer is catered for by the brand, with more options added all the time.

Different niches are also catered for by Canon's wide range. So whether you're into sports and wildlife and need fast frame rates, or you're more interested in landscapes and therefore crave a high-resolution sensor, you should find something in its range. There's also all-rounders which work well across multiple scenarios, which suits many types of hobbyist photographer who likes to try their hand at multiple genres.

If all that sounds a little bit confusing, don't worry, that's where we come in. Our definitive list of the best cameras in Canon's extensive range is designed to help you cut through the noise. Each of Canon's cameras has been thoroughly tested by us, all the way from older models to brand-new flagship models, so you can be sure our list of recommendations is as up-to-date as possible.

The DSLR market was where Canon was traditionally a huge player. Although it still is, it's been spending more time releasing superb mirrorless cameras of late. Last year's Canon EOS R5 and Canon EOS R6 are particularly fine examples of this, and we've also recently had a development announcement of the Canon EOS R3. What we're seeing now is Canon's best-ever stills models, with the Canon EOS R5 being particularly stunning. With it, you get superb versatility and power from its full-frame sensor, but, you'll have to be prepared to pay a pretty penny for the latest flagship of course.

Those with a more reserved budget need not fear. Canon offers a fantastic range of compact, DSLR and mirrorless options - and you'll find them in our list. A great example available at a budget price is the Canon EOS M50. Due to it being recently succeeded by a very minor upgrade, it's available at particularly good prices at the moment. For your cash you get a neat little travel and every day camera. 

Those who are even keener for a bargain and don’t mind waiting a little while should keep an eye on Amazon Prime Day 2021. We’re expecting some great deals for cameras, so if you’re in the market for a new Canon model, it could be worth holding out to see what becomes available. Older models that have been replaced - or are about to be - are often offered up as bargains on days like this, so it’s worth bookmarking our page to keep up to date.

For now, keep reading to discover our list of the best Canon cameras you can buy right now.

By providing so many options across all levels, it's easy to see both a logical first camera or an upgrade if you're an existing Canon user

Best Canon cameras 2021 at a glance:

  1. Canon EOS R5
  2. Canon EOS R6
  3. Canon EOS RP
  4. Canon EOS 250D
  5. Canon G7X Mark III
  6. Canon EOS R
  7. Canon EOS M6 Mark II
  8. Canon EOS M50
  9. Canon EOS 90D
  10. Canon 1DX Mark III
  11. Canon G5X Mark II
  12. Canon 5D Mark IV 

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.

The Canon EOS M50 with its kit lens being held in two hands

(Image credit: Future)

Still a very capable mirrorless camera with excellent usability

Specifications
Sensor: APS-C CMOS
Megapixels: 24.1MP
Autofocus: 143-point AF
Screen type: 3-inch vari-angle touchscreen, 1,040,000 dots
Maximum continuous shooting speed: 10fps
Movies: 4K
User level: Beginner
Reasons to buy
+Excellent EVF+Polished touchscreen
Reasons to avoid
-Poor battery life-Limited lens range

It may have been superseded in Canon's line-up by the EOS M6 Mark II, but the EOS M50 remains a great value mirrorless choice. A great option for beginners looking to take their first steps into manual shooting or vlogging, the M50 combines an excellent electronic viewfinder with a slick, vari-angle touchscreen that makes it make it very approachable for novices. Similarly, the Dual Pixel CMOS autofocus is brisk and the option to touch and drag on the display makes AF area selection a cinch. 

Slight downsides are the limited battery life, plasticky finish and somewhat meagre native lens line-up, although it's possible to mount EF lenses with an adaptor. The EOS M50 was also Canon’s first camera to benefit from the Digic 8 processor, which helps to deliver consistently great images. Throw 4K video into the mix – albeit with an outdated 1.6x crop – and you’ve got a small, stellar smartphone upgrade that’s flawed, yes, but also flexible, fun and easy to use.

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.