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The best Canon cameras: Best Canon camera for video, beginners and more

The best Canon cameras in 2021
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If you're looking to buy one of the best Canon cameras, you're in for a rare treat. Whether you’re a seasoned pro, looking to learn the ropes, or somewhere in between, Canon will have your needs covered. The firm’s range is filled with models at various price points, sizes and levels of complexity. If you’re looking to add photography to your creative skills, or just improve the quality of images you share on social media, a Canon camera is an ideal place to start. In short, Canon cameras are some of the very best cameras available today. 

There are three main types of camera that you can buy when picking the best Canon camera. First off is the compact camera – these have a fixed lens, are small in size, and provide a more convenient shooting option at the cost of some versatility. They also tend to be the cheapest models (check out our full round up of the best compact cameras for more options). 

Next, there’s the classic digital single-lens reflex camera (DSLR). These workhorse cameras are big and hefty, but tend to be hardier in outdoor conditions, and also have the advantage of an optical viewfinder – providing a lag-free composition experience.

Lastly, we have mirrorless cameras. While a DSLR reflects the image you're about to photograph from the sensor to the viewfinder using a mirror, in mirrorless cameras, the sensor is exposed straight to the viewfinder, showing the digital image. So mirrorless cameras tend to be lighter and include more sophisticated technology than DSLRs, especially in the realms of autofocus and video.

Click the section headings to jump to the category of your choice, or scroll down to see our picks of the best Canon cameras you can buy in 2021. Can't find what you're looking for? Don't miss our pick of the best cameras from a range of different brands. 

Best Canon compact cameras

Best Canon camera: G9 X II

(Image credit: Canon)

01. Canon PowerShot G9 X Mark II

This 1-inch sensor compact is affordable but highly capable

Best for: Beginner to intermediate; travel photographers | Frames per second: 8.1 | AF points: 31 | Weight: 206g | Battery life: 235 shots

Small and highly portable
High-quality sensor
Lens is slightly soft
Poor battery life

These days, when everyone has a perfectly good digital camera built into a device in their pocket, compact cameras need to do something special to be worth the investment. Enter the Canon PowerShot G9 X Mark II, which packs a 1-inch sensor into a tiny pocketable body. This means it has much better dynamic range than a smartphone camera, and can therefore cope much better with a broad spectrum of lighting conditions. It’s a perfect camera to take everywhere, equipped with an optical zoom lens – something else smartphones don’t have – covering an equivalent focal range of 28-84mm. It’s a camera that’s pretty good at everything, and is a great choice especially for travel photography.

Best Canon camera: G1 X III

(Image credit: Canon)

02. Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark III

Canon’s most sophisticated compact, with a larger sensor and weather-sealed body

Best for: Enthusiasts | Frames per second: 9 | AF points: 49 | Weight: 399g | Battery life: 200 shots

Superb image quality
Exceptional handling experience
Very poor battery life
Disappointing max aperture

The Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark III is one of the few compact cameras around that can tick three particular boxes – larger sensor, pocketable size and versatile zoom lens. This makes it a pretty powerful prospect for anyone looking for a camera that really does everything. Images from the G1 X Mark III look terrific straight out of camera, and the impressive autofocus does a great job of keeping up with the action. It isn’t perfect – that 200-shot battery life is woeful, though USB charging does mean you can at least plan around it. However, even with its foibles, the PowerShot G1 X Mark III is the best Canon compact, and one of the best compact cameras around full stop.

Best Canon camera: Canon Ixus 185 HS

(Image credit: Canon)

03. Canon IXUS 185 HS

The cheapest compact on the block for those working to a strict budget

Best for: Beginners | Frames per second: 0.8 | AF points: 9 | Weight: 126g | Battery life: 210 shots

8x optical zoom
Highly affordable
Not hugely better than a phone 
Uninspiring design 

Okay, it’s not going to win any design awards, or imaging awards… or really any awards for that matter. But the Canon IXUS 185 HS does have one thing going for it – it’s one of the cheapest “proper” cameras around, often findable for a two-digit asking price, and that’s a rare thing in the photo world. While the imaging sensor isn’t greatly different from that you’d find on a smartphone, having an 8x optical zoom lens covering an equivalent range of 28-224mm is definitely an upgrade from anything a phone can do. If you’re on a budget and just need a camera that works then this will do that, though if you can stretch to any other camera on this list you’ll find it noticeably more capable.

Best Canon DSLR cameras

Best Canon camera: Canon EOS 90D

(Image credit: Canon)

04. Canon EOS 90D

An all-rounder DSLR for video and stills alike

Best for: Intermediate to enthusiast | Frames per second: 11 | AF points: 45 | Weight: 701g | Battery life: 1300 shots

Top-notch RAW quality
Uncropped 4K video
Limited shooting buffer
Unreliable JPEG noise reduction

Canon has done a superb job of filling out the middle of its DSLR range with cameras that are capable in all situations. The EOS 90D is a real wunderkind, just as comfortable firing off high-quality stills at 11fps as it is shooting glorious uncropped 4K video. It excels when shooting in the more versatile RAW format (in truth, the JPEG noise-reduction can be a little unreliable and over-zealous), and provides an unbeatable handling experience with those DSLR ergonomics. The handgrip is chunky and satisfying, while the optical viewfinder can’t be beat for image composition. Whether you want to shoot a sporting event, start a YouTube channel, or both, this is a great camera to choose. 

Best Canon camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

(Image credit: Canon)

05. Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

The full-frame workhorse for professionals and serious enthusiasts

Best for: Enthusiast to professional | Frames per second: 7 | AF points: 61 | Weight: 890g | Battery life: 900 shots

Excellent Dual Pixel autofocus
Great high-ISO quality
Cropped 4K video
Fixed rear screen

The Canon EOS 5D series turned the world of DSLRs on its head, becoming one of the most cost-efficient ways to shoot professional-quality 4K video. The EOS 5D Mark IV continues the line admirably, and while it doesn’t reinvent the wheel, it does everything that a working photographer or videographer needs and more, consistently and reliably. Image quality from the full-frame sensor is fantastic, and the Dual Pixel autofocus system means you never miss a moment. The heavy 1.64x crop on 4K video is a little disappointing, but this is still a hugely capable camera for professionals by any reasonable metric.

Best Canon camera: Canon EOS 2000D

(Image credit: Canon)

06. Canon EOS 2000D

Canon’s budget DSLR is a great little buy for newbie photographers

Best for: Beginners | Frames per second: 3 | AF points: 9 | Weight: 475g | Battery life: 500 shots

Easy to get started
Good battery life
Only 3fps
Lacklustre autofocus

Entry-level DSLRs exist in a competitive marketplace, and Canon has typically gone for the jugular in terms of pricing with the cheap-as-chips EOS 2000D. It’s by no means an exceptional camera, but with 24 megapixels of resolution to play with you’ll find plenty to like for the money here, even if the AF and burst drive are both a little dated. There are useful beginner modes to help newbies get to grips with how to operate the camera, making it a solid starter point for someone dipping their toes into the world of photography. However, you may find it isn’t long before you itch to upgrade. 

Best Canon mirrorless cameras

Best Canon camera: Canon EOS M6 II

(Image credit: Canon)

07. Canon EOS M6 II

Small but mighty, the EOS M6 II exceeds expectations to roll with the big players

Best for: Intermediate to enthusiast | Frames per second: 14 | AF points: 143 | Weight: 408g | Battery life: 305 shots

Fantastic 32.5MP APS-C sensor
Super-fast burst shooting
EF-M lenses are limited
No in-body stabilisation

Canon gave its EOS M series a shot of life with the EOS M6 II, bumping up the resolution to a hugely impressive 32.5MP and making a camera that’s a major player for the enthusiast market. Small and portable but powerful and versatile, the EOS M6 II produces images of excellent quality in both JPEG and RAW formats, with a highly effective autofocus system that basically just works. The burst speeds are hugely impressive too, putting this camera in play for photographing fast action and sports. The EF-M lens range could still do with fleshing out a bit, but there’s plenty of scope for pretty much any photographer to get something out of the M6 II.

Best Canon camera: Canon EOS R5

(Image credit: Canon)

08. Canon EOS R5

Canon’s flagship full-frame mirrorless model is professional powerhouse – with a few quirks

Best for: Professionals | Frames per second: 20fps | AF points: 1053 | Weight: 738g | Battery life: 320 shots

Class-leading image quality
Exceptional image stabilisation
Infamous overheating issues
Very expensive

Let’s get this out of the way – the Canon EOS R5 is one of the best cameras on the market, and in fact one of the best ever made. Its image quality, autofocus and in-body image stabilisation are all class-leading, pushing the limits of what was thought possible in cameras, and its video quality is superb. Hybrid shooters will have a field day, and if it’s within your budget and your remit, you’re probably already halfway to ordering one. The only caveat is the unfortunate business of the overheating issues that curtail video recording times, meaning it isn’t one for pure video shooters. 

Best Canon camera: Canon EOS M50

(Image credit: Canon)

09. Canon EOS M50

One of the most accessible EOS M cameras, with a high-quality built-in viewfinder

Best for: Beginner to intermediate | Frames per second: 10 | AF points: 143 | Weight: 390g | Battery life: 235

Versatile autofocus system
Built-in viewfinder
Vicious 4K crop
Middling battery life

Well priced and user-friendly, the EOS M50 represents a great entry point for the M series, or indeed for mirrorless photography as a whole. Canon has crafted a camera that shoots snappy stills as well as 4K video – albeit, the latter comes with a whopping 2.7x crop that severely restricts your field of view. However, the full manual controls of the EOS M50 provide an excellent environment for learning the ropes, and the strong burst-shooting capabilities mean it’s also great for capturing fast-moving subjects. A highly impressive all-rounder, available for a great price.

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