Canon is one of the top dogs in the camera business, but it would be hard to argue that their reputation is unearned. Whether you’re a professional or an amateur, learning your way around a Canon is rarely difficult, but the features on display are usually rich and modern. But how do you find the best Canon camera for your needs? That’s not always hard to determine, especially if you’re brand new to the complicated specs and terminology that defines modern cameras.
But you don’t have to journey into the wild alone. Our review guide offers all the pertinent information on 10 of the best Canon cameras in 2020, and we follow it with important tips for navigating the options.
- 10 Best Canon Cameras
- 1. Canon EOS Rebel T6 Digital SLR Camera
- 2. Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Full Frame Digital SLR Camera Body
- 3. Canon PowerShot ELPH 190 Digital Camera
- 4. Canon PowerShot SX530 Digital Camera
- 5. Canon EOS Rebel SL2 DSLR Camera
- 6. Canon EOS Rebel T7
- 7. Canon PowerShot G9 X Mark II Compact Digital Camera
- 8. Canon EOS M100 Mirrorless Camera
- 9. CANON EOS REBEL SL3 Digital Camera
- 10. Canon EOS 80D Digital SLR Camera
- Canon Camera Buyer’s Guide
10 Best Canon Cameras
1. Canon EOS Rebel T6 Digital SLR Camera
If you're looking for a camera suited for beginners both in accessibility and pricing, you'll want to be sure to check out the Canon EOS Rebel T6. It's one of the best Canon DSLRs for amateurs, though it won't leave much of an impression for professional photographers who are more well versed in the fundamentals and demanding of a camera that's both powerful and rich in features.
One of the biggest appeals to amateurs is sure to be the rear panel display. Canon is known for the quality of their menus, but this is phenomenal even by their established standards. Everything is clearly laid out and labeled so you can grasp the basics in a matter of minutes and slowly acclimate yourself to the more complicated features at your own pace. This is a fast camera that can shoot a photo in less than half a second.
2. Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Full Frame Digital SLR Camera Body
The EOS 5D Mark IV is a Canon DSLR that's the mirror opposite of the Rebel T6: powerful in performance, absolutely overflowing with features, and tremendously expensive. But if you want the best, it's worth throwing down a few grand for this absolute beast of a Canon camera. The megapixel count is nearly double that of the Rebel and bumps up the resolution to 4K. If you want the best performance for both 4K video and photos, you'll find it here.
There are a lot of features here that will appeal to committed photographers too. The ability to shoot in dual pixel RAW format gives you a lot more leverage for meaningful post-production adjustments, and the ISO range is phenomenally vast, giving you the means to shoot confidently in practically any lighting situation. It may be pricey, but it blows other Canon cameras out of the water by practically any metric.
3. Canon PowerShot ELPH 190 Digital Camera
DSLRs may be some of the most powerful cameras on the market, but there's no point spending a few hundred bucks for a heavy camera with features you'll probably never use. If you want something affordable and accessible the PowerShot ELPH 190 might be right in your wheelhouse. This is a Canon built for modern day social media mavens with its easy to use Wi-Fi and NFC connections and its slender and lightweight frame.
And unlike DSLR and mirrorless alternatives, the features here are both highly accessible and playful. Different scene modes allow you to frame effects like fisheye and monochrome with the simple press of a button, while the 10x optical zoom provides a painless way to get up close and personal with your subjects. And the strong image stabilization system ensures that you won't have to rely on a tripod to capture authentic moments from a distance.
4. Canon PowerShot SX530 Digital Camera
Looking for something that falls in between the phenomenal image quality of a DSLR and the accessibility and low price of a compact point and shoot? Canon has you covered with the PowerShot XS530. As a bridge camera, it toes the line between these two popular styles and can serve as the best transition between an entry level camera and a more professional model.
So what does that mean exactly? For one, you get access to a 50x zoom suitable for long distance photography. For another, it comes with zoom framing assist that helps you more accurately target the subjects of your shot. Both the video and photo resolutions are comfortable enough for a hobbyist, though they likely won't meet the demanding expectations of truly professional photographers. And just like the ELPH 190, it packs in a cool creative shot mode that essentially serves as a screen filter.
5. Canon EOS Rebel SL2 DSLR Camera
The Canon EOS Rebel SL2 veers back into the territory of the professional DSLR model, though it doesn't hit the highs - both in terms of pricing and quality - of the EOS 5D. But it can comfortably rival any Canon DSLR camera on the market today for best value. The traditional Wi-Fi and NFC functionality is bolstered by the inclusion of Bluetooth, providing you with more ways to connect with your family and friends, or with your social media followers.
That always on connectivity may be the best selling point for this Canon DSLR camera, but it's not the only thing on offer. The autofocus system is remarkably quick and makes use of 9 AF points so you can lock onto your subjects far more easily. It's a smart choice that will help less experienced users get their feet wet in the DSLR environment without worrying about drowning.
6. Canon EOS Rebel T7
If you assumed the T7 is an evolution of what the Canon T6 has to offer, you'd be right. But what might surprise you is how iterative the changes are. This isn't a Canon DSLR that reinvents the wheel. Instead, it's largely equivalent in terms of quality and value while bringing a few minor changes to the formula.
So what's different here? Mostly it boils down to the photo sensor which bumps the resolution up from 18 to 24 megapixels. It may be a singular change, but it's a pretty important one if you're serious about shooting quality pictures. Beyond that, there's still a lot to love here. The wireless connectivity is on point and synced up to Canon's worthwhile social media phone app, and the face detection here is great for working with portraits. The strong ISO is further accentuated by a built in flash.
7. Canon PowerShot G9 X Mark II Compact Digital Camera
There's no way around it. The Canon PowerShot G9 Mark II looks exceedingly cool. But strong aesthetics can't justify the purchase of a $500 camera, so it's a good thing that the G9 brings a lot more to the table. For one, this point and shoot is highly compact, capable of being tucked into most pockets, and that puts it comfortably in the territory of best choices for social media personalities. For another, its touchscreen panel works way better than any camera of this size has a right to.
There are some cool features here that let you customize your shooting even if you aren't a pro. That includes a variety of different presets that allow you to pick a style without having to possess an exhaustive knowledge of the exposure triangle. The ISO range actually exceeds some DSLR models, and the continuous shooting mode is a real standout.
8. Canon EOS M100 Mirrorless Camera
It would be hard to talk about the best cameras on the market without discussing mirrorless models, and while Canon isn't at the front of the pack with mirrorless production, the EOS M100 is a mirrorless camera that can hold its own with some of the stiffest competition. It's a lightweight and powerful way to practice photography that doesn't have to cost you an arm and a leg.
This Canon mirrorless provides an autofocus system that really helps you live in the moment. The autofocus area is exceedingly wide, and it locks in and captures your subject at an exceedingly quick rate. That's further enhanced by the truly phenomenal touchscreen. With its rotating surface and responsive design, it lets you get the photo you want to capture from a variety of dramatic angles. The standard connectivity features raise the bar by providing the ability to geotag your photos and videos.
9. CANON EOS REBEL SL3 Digital Camera
The SL3 builds on the fundamentals of the SL2. While the changes it brings to the table could be game changing from some photographers, how valuable they'll be to you is going to be purely situational. The most obvious upgrade is the improvement to video resolution. The 3840 x 2160 footage capture is tied for the best of any Canon camera on our review list. And this is a camera that will last a while in the field as well. Its battery life is nearly double that of its younger sibling.
Apart from that, this is all ground already trod by the SL2, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. The articulating screen gives you the means of shooting photos from a variety of tricky angles, and the microphone port is still remarkably good for a camera in this price range. The only real hit it takes is the lack of NFC.
10. Canon EOS 80D Digital SLR Camera
Our last review covers a camera that's a far cry from an entry level camera. The EOS 80D is still significantly less expensive than the EOS 5D, but the EOS 80D is still best reserved for professionals. But if you have the talent and experience to make the most of its serious feature set, you're likely to fall in love with this camera with a quickness. The Intelligent Viewfinder is an especially handy tool when shooting professional photography.
The EOS 80D is especially well suited to sports and action photography because of the 45 point all cross type autofocus system and the built in image stabilizer designed to keep things steady even when you're in the midst of the action. Also adding to the value of this Canon model as an action camera is the ability for continuous shooting at a rate of up to 7 frames per second.
Canon Camera Buyer’s Guide
While cameras from different manufacturers tend to have a lot in common, every Canon comes with its own distinct eccentricities, advantages, and downsides. While we’re going to cover the basics of what you should know about camera usage in our guide, we’re also focusing attention on what makes a Canon camera unique. Read on to learn what makes Canon models so special.
The Canon product line is far too vast and varied to directly rank it against competitors like Nikon and Olympus, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t things that cameras from Canon generally do better than others. These are the things to keep in mind when deciding whether to go with Canon or another brand.
- DSLR dominance. While Canon has been a bit slow to adopt to the rise of mirrorless cameras, they’ve long been tied with Nikon as the leaders in DSLR. The image processors and other specs on their DSLR models are well above average, and that long legacy comes with another major advantage: availability of lenses. Whether you’re looking to capture a wide angle or long distance shot, you’ll have little problem finding a Canon lens that’s up to speed.
- The image quality of Canon brand cameras are phenomenal. That’s in large part due to the Digic image processors that are built in, and Canon has spent years perfecting the technology. A camera Canon is reliably going to provide you with image quality that exceeds its price, and that’s true whether you’re investing in a $3000 professional DSLR or a hundred dollar compact point and shoot.
- Canon is the hands down leader in innovations among the big name camera manufacturers. Their dual pixel autofocus was a revelation when it was released, and Canon is always coming out with new tech solutions that help onboard entry level consumers and improve the features available to more seasoned pros. If you want a camera that’s on the cutting edge, Canon is almost always going to be on the level.
No company can do everything right, and while Canon offers some of the best cameras on the market, they fall behind some of their competitors (most notably Nikon) in some key areas. Is it worth rejecting Canon outright? Probably not, but it’s still something to consider when shopping around. And if you decide you aren’t interested in a Canon, you can always check out our review guide to the best Nikon cameras of 2020.
- Canon is the king of the DSLR, but that dominance allows them to charge a premium. That’s not to say you won’t get your money’s worth with a Canon. They still offer some of the best tech in the business. But you can certainly expect to pay a bit more for the advantage of one of the best cameras around.
- Video performance. If video is your main priority, you’ll generally want to go with Nikon. If you’re a still photographer, Canon will be more your speed. 4K cameras are fairly rare in the Canon catalog, though they’re been catching up to their competitors at a pretty decent speed.
There are a lot of options to choose from when shopping for the best camera Canon has to offer, but there’s no singular solution regarding the best camera for everyone. Your experience level, style of shooting, and personal preferences are going to have a major effect on what model suits you. Read on to learn more about the four types of cameras most prominently featured by Canon.
- Point and shoot cameras, also known as compact cameras, are some of the easiest models to just pick up and use. They’re small, lightweight, and not overly loaded down with complex options that can confuse or intimidate users. As the name suggests, you can produce a decent picture by just pointing and shooting. A compact camera doesn’t have an especially high skill ceiling, but they’re cheap, reliable, and best suited to daily usage.
- For the longest time, DSLR cameras were the undisputed champion of the photography world. Today, they’re falling in popularity to mirrorless cameras, but they still have their enthusiastic proponents. And Canon is arguably the best manufacturer in the world of DSLR models. The image quality is phenomenal, and decades of evolution mean that you have tons of tech and interchangeable lenses at your disposal.
- Mirrorless cameras share the ability of DSLRs to use interchangeable lenses, but they’re also more lightweight and less expensive than their more stately siblings. Unfortunately, Canon isn’t quite on the level of other manufacturers in the production of mirrorless cameras, but they still offer quite a few mirrorless options if that’s the route you want to go.
- If you’re making the transition into a professional level of photography, a bridge camera might be the ideal choice. While they don’t offer the interchangeable lenses of mirrorless and DSLR models, they pack in many of the more advanced features that are such a common option in interchangeable lens models.
The two primary options for a sensor with a Canon camera are APS-C and full frame. If you read each review but still found yourself confused by what sensors mean, we’re ready to get you up to speed.
- An APS-C sensor is the most common type of sensor available in Canon brand cameras. They’re smaller in size than their full frame counterparts, and that generally means they provide less dynamic images and perform worse in low light situations, but they can sometimes produce better results in more limited situations. They’re more prominent because they’re easier to produce, but an APS-C sensor is still a great option for both amateurs and professionals.
- Larger full frame sensors are more expensive options, but they also come with higher quality performance. They provide crisp image quality especially in wide angle situations, and they provide especially level and crisp results in environments with poor lighting.
Image resolution is measured in megapixels. That may sound like an alien language, but it’s not terribly complicated. Imagine the sensor of the camera as a blank piece of photo paper and the picture that’s going to be printed on the paper as a series of tiny dots. Each of these dots is a megapixel. The more megapixels printed on that sheet, the more detailed the results.
In some cases, a raw megapixel number isn’t always an accurate reflection of an image quality, but that’s not something you need to concern yourself too much with here. Since almost all of the cameras on our list use an APS-C sensor, the megapixel counts are pretty standardized. As you read through the reviews, you can more or less compare the quality of the image quality based off the megapixel count.
Video resolution is pretty similar to image resolution. The more megapixels packed into the sensor, the better it looks. While video resolution is often measured in the number of megapixels by number of megapixels, we’ve simplified it to standard terms for the sake of easier reading. All you need to know is this: 4K video is roughly four times as detailed as video from a 1080p resolution camera, and a 1080p resolution camera is better (but more modestly so) than a 720p model.
Wi-Fi is a standard in most modern cameras, and it’s a useful way to easily upload your photos and videos for others to see (or to store on your cloud). But how useful is Bluetooth and NFC? That’s situational. NFC is convenient because it’s easy to tether to a device. Simply tap it to your phone or other gadget for easy connectivity. Bluetooth comes with some distinctly cool advantages like the ability to geotag a photo or control your camera remotely with your phone. Exact features tied to these connectivity options can vary from one model to another.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Best Canon Camera For Beginners?
We like the PowerShot ELPH 190. It’s relatively powerful for a point and shoot compact, but it’s not going to overwhelm you with complicated features or drain your bank account. And while amateurs can use it without having to learn much of anything, there are some nice features there that can help you better understand the fundamentals of good photography.
What is the Best Canon Camera For Professional Photography?
Nothing on our list comes close to matching the EOS 5D Mark IV in terms of raw power. This is an expensive camera, but it’s also one of the best models that Canon offers all around. Part of that’s due to the presence of a full frame sensor, but the simple fact of the matter is that this camera represents Canon firing on all cylinders.
Is Canon or Nikon Better?
Canon and Nikon have been the leading camera manufacturers for years, and they wouldn’t still be competing with one another if they hadn’t earned their respective positions. Neither is objectively better than the other, but we break down some of the things that Canon does great (and some of the things they do not so great) at the beginning of our guide.
Canon has been doing this for years, and the simple fact of the matter is that pretty much any camera they offer is going to be a pretty safe bet. But the right bet for you means knowing what you’re looking for. We hope our reviews and guide have been able to provide you with the guidance you need.