9 Best Canon Cameras Buyer’s Guide

Photographer taking picture with Canon camera

123rf.com/ Jesus Barroso Here is your guide to the best Canon cameras for every kind of photographer.

Alongside Nikon, Canon is the world’s biggest, most well-respected camera manufacturer. Yes, there are other brands that nip at its heels — Sony and Olympus come to mind — but Canon’s dizzying array of camera models and impressive success rate means the best Canon cameras remain the definitive resource for beginners and seasoned photographers alike. And Canon hasn’t sat on its proverbial hands in recent years, either. The brand has stayed relevant by turning out some of the best new mirrorless and DSLR models money can buy.

What is the best Canon camera? Of course, there’s no single answer. The answer depends on whether you’re in the market for a simple point & shoot, mirrorless or DSLR camera. But your choice also depends on your specific skill level — are you new to photography, an enthusiast or working pro? The right camera also depends on your intended subject matter (are you taking snapshots, a vlogger, action photographer, portrait artist or landscape shooter) as well. That’s why this article covers the gamut. Covering all of Canon’s most important models, read on to find the best Canon camera for you.

To be sure, Nikon also makes superb cameras and if you aren’t already committed to Canon, I highly encourage you to check out your options there as well. But if you already own Canon glass and want to stay in the family or appreciate Canon engineering and aesthetics, read on to see which of these 9 Canon cameras is the right one for you.

What Are the Best Canon Cameras For Sale in 2021?

Canon PowerShot ELPH 190 Digital Camera Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Smart image stabilization
  • 10x optical zoom
  • Generous collection of scene modes
Price: $158.98 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Canon PowerShot G7X Mark III Digital Camera Amazon Customer Reviews
  • v
  • Great vlogging features
  • 120fps video recording
Price: $749.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Canon PowerShot SX740 Digital Camera Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Great 40x optical zoom
  • 4K video
  • Great face detection
Price: $399.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Canon EOS RP Mirrorless Camera Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Surprisingly compact body
  • Innovative Fv exposure mode
  • Excellent Dual Pixel AF
Price: $1,299.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
canon EOS M6 Mark II mirrorless camera Amazon Customer Reviews
  • 32.5 megapixels -- the highest around
  • Superb Dual Pixel AF
  • High speed 14fps shooting
Price: $849.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Canon EOS R6 Full-Frame Mirrorless Camera Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Up to 20fps shooting
  • 4K video at 60fps
  • Dual card slots
Price: $2,499.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
CANON EOS REBEL SL3 DSLR Camera Amazon Customer Reviews
  • 4K video
  • Very lightweight
  • 24 megapixel resolution
Price: $599.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Canon DSLR EOS 90D Amazon Customer Reviews
  • 32.5 megapixel APS-C sensor
  • Fast 10fps
  • 4K video with excellent autofocus
Price: $1,199.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV DSLR Amazon Customer Reviews
  • 30-megapixel full-frame sensor
  • 61-point autofocus system
  • 7fps continuous shooting
Price: $2,499.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Our Unbiased Reviews
  1. 1. Canon PowerShot ELPH 190

    Pros:
    • Smart image stabilization
    • 10x optical zoom
    • Generous collection of scene modes
    Cons:
    • Lethargic continuous shooting mode
    • No 4K video shooting
    • Higher ISOs are a little noisy

    Style: Point & Shoot | Sensor: 1/2.3-inch | Image resolution: 20.5 megapixels | Shooting speed: less than 1fps | Video resolution: 720p | Monitor: 2.7-inch | Target audience: Beginner

    The Canon Elph 190 is among the most affordable standalone cameras you can buy these days, and it’s got a formidible collection of features and capabilities.The sensor is relatively small at 1/;2.3 inches, but that’s what you get with any pocket-sized point & shoot. Nonetheless, it has a 10x optical zoom — ranging from a wide 24mm to a decently deep 240mm. At the telephoto end of that zoom range you’ll appreicate the built-in optical image stabilizer to minimize the inevitable shaky hands. Moreover, the camera includes Canon’s Intelligent IS, which applies different amounts of image stabilization based on how you’re using the camera — like panning, macro photography, normal, and tripod, plus additional image stabilization for different video recording situations. 

    To help you choose the best settings, the ELPH 190 has over a dozen smart scene modes — you can choose from scenes like a face self-timer that waits for everyone to be ready before taking a group shot, low light photography, fireworks, a “miniature” effect that gives your photos that dollhouse aesthetic, and more. You can also shoot video at 720p. Getting photos off the camera is also simplified — the ELPH includes WI-Fi and NFC to quickly and easily download photos from the camera without fiddling with memory cards. If there’s a significant criticism to level at the Elph 190, it would be that this camera has a lethargically slow continuous shooting rate — lesss than one frame per second. That’s unforgivable when you compare it to other compact cameras that can muster several frames per second. 

  2. 2. Canon PowerShot G7X Mark III

    Pros:
    • 4K video
    • Great vlogging features
    • 120fps video recording
    Cons:
    • No electronic viewfinder
    • narrow zoom range
    • 4K video recording is limited

    Style: Point & Shoot | Sensor: 1-inch | Image resolution: 20.1 megapixels | Shooting speed: 8fps | Video resolution: 4K | Monitor: 3-inch articulating | Target audience: Beginners, vloggers

    Canon offers no shortage of point & shoot cameras, but the Canon PowerShot G7X Mark III bubbles to the top of the list because it combines a slew of attractive features. The camera has a relatively large 1-inch Stacked CMOS sensor, which is interesting mainly because it allows for very fast continuous shooting — in this case, a maximum of 8fps JPG or 30fps Raw. As cool as that is, the camera’s marquee feature is its ability to live stream to Youtube. Combine that with a fully articulating 3-inch display (which you can flip around to see yourself from in front of the camera) and you have a superb vlogging camera. 

    Speaking of video, the camera can shoot uncropped in 4K (at 30fps — or 1080p at 120fps for stunning slow-motion footage.) All that is quite a feat for a camera in this category, and you can plug in an external microphone as well. All things considered, this camera is a great choice for anyone who puts video at the top of the priority list. On the other hand, the 20-megapixel sensor is paired with a modest zoom — you get 4.2x optical magnification with an optical image stabilizer — welcome, but this camera doesn’t come anywhere close to what you can get with a superzoom. 

  3. 3. Canon PowerShot SX740 HS

    Pros:
    • Great 40x optical zoom
    • 4K video
    • Great face detection
    Cons:
    • No electronic viewfinder
    • Monitor not a touchscreen
    • No Raw capture

    Style: Point & Shoot | Sensor: 1/2.3-inch | Image resolution: 20.3 megapixels | Shooting speed: 10fps | Video resolution: 4K | Monitor: 3-inch articulating | Target audience: Beginner, intermediate

    The Canon PowerShot SX740 HS is the kind of camera you buy if you’re looking for a simple automated point & shoot that has the ability to automate everything — like your smartphone’s camera does — but takes better pictures with more flexibility for creative shots than your phone can handle. You get a 20-megapixel sensor that’s paired with very impressive optics: a 40xn optical zoom that goes from 24-960mm. As you’d expect, Canon includes optical image stabilization — a necessity, since without it the camera would be all but unusable at the longer end of the zoom range. Even so, you’ll probably want to use a tripod. 

    Canon also packs a 4K video recording mode into this pocket-sized, slim camera, along with a large library of creative shooting modes, like a setting optimized for food and one for self-portraits, for example. There are Wi-Fi and Bluetooth radios on board for wireless transfers. And while the camera is perfectly content to make all the decisions for you, you have some flexibility to step up to choose shutter speed and aperture, and even take over manual control entirely. 

    On the other hand, the camera lacks an electronic viewfinder, and the monitor — which isn’t a touchscreen, which is itself an inconvenience — can be sometimes hard to see in bright sunlight.  

     

  4. 4. Canon EOS RP

    Pros:
    • Surprisingly compact body
    • Innovative Fv exposure mode
    • Excellent Dual Pixel AF
    Cons:
    • Slow continuous frame rate
    • 4K video is heavily cropped
    • NNo built-in flash

    Style: Mirrorless | Sensor: Full frame | Image resolution: 26.2 megapixels | Shooting speed: 5fps| Video resolution: 4K | Monitor: 3-inch articulating | Target audience: Beginner, intermediate

    The Canon EOS RP is a full-frame camera that unlike most full-frame cameras, isn’t aimed at pros, per se — Canon is hoping to snag beginners and intermediate photographers in the world of full-frame cameras. This model, while it can’t match the feature set of the most premium full-frame mirrorless cameras, has a lot of advantages of its own. It’s very compact, for example — one of the smallest and lightest full-frame cameras you’re likely to encounter.  This particular kit comes with a versatile 24-105mm image-stabilized lens, which is a good combo if you’re just getting started.

    You get the full set of options for controlling the camera, including aperture and shutter priority as well as manual, but the RP also includes a relatively unusual control mode that first appeared on Canon’s EOS R: something called Fv mode, which is like working in a hybrid of all those modes at once. YOu can dial in any aperture or shutter settings safely without the risk of getting a bad exposure, which is handy for beginners learning the ropes. 

    Action photographers will be a little disappointed with what the RP has to offer. You get a maximum of 5fps for stationary subjects and a scant 3fps when you’re locked onto a moving subject. The camera’s Dual Pixel autofocus is superb,m though, able to lock on in almost any lighting situation. Likewise, beginners might miss having a built-in pop-up flash. 

  5. 5. Canon EOS M6 Mark II

    Pros:
    • 32.5 megapixels -- the highest around
    • Superb Dual Pixel AF
    • High speed 14fps shooting
    Cons:
    • No electronic viewfinder
    • No image stabilization in the body
    • A little expensive for a beginner-foocused APS-C

    Style: Mirrorless | Sensor: APS-C | Image resolution: 32.5 megapixels | Shooting speed: 14fps | Video resolution: 4K | Monitor: 3-inch articulating | Target audience: Beginner, intermediate

    The Canon EOS M6 Mark II is the highest resolution APS-C camera you can find today — 32.5 megapixels. In fact, this camera has a long list of impressive specs. It can shoot 4K video at 30fps or 1080p video at 120fps for slow-motion capture. And if you like action photography, you’ll like the fact that this camera has a top continuous shooting speed of 14fps. And before you worry about the 32 megapixels leading to very noisy images, don’t sweat it. This camera is notable for low noise, even at higher ISOs. 

    This camera has a lot to offer, but one important missing component is an electronic viewfinder. Sporting just a 3-inch articulating touchscreen, the lack of an EVF will be noticed by anyone stepping up to this camera from a traditional DSLR. You can add an optional external; viewfinder, which somewhat remedies the problem. Like some other models in the Canon stable, this camera includes the highly effective Dual Pixel AF system, which works great on both stationary and moving subjects. 

     

     

     

  6. 6. Canon EOS R6

    Pros:
    • Up to 20fps shooting
    • 4K video at 60fps
    • Dual card slots
    Cons:
    • 4K recording limited by heat
    • 20 megapixels might be limiting
    • Short battery life

    Style: Mirrorless | Sensor: Full-frame | Image resolution: 20 megapixels | Shooting speed: 20fps | Video resolution: 4K | Monitor: 3-inch articulating | Target audience: Intermediate, professional 

    The Canon EOS R6 is a pragmatic compromise of features, specs and price tag; it’s one of the best advanced-enthusiast and professional mirrorless bodies money can buy. For example, few people (if anyone, in fact) actually needs then EOS R5’s 8K video capture capabilities or 45-megapixel sensor. Instead, the R6 is a smarter buy. You get 20 megapixel still shooting and 4K recording up to 60fps (though your total recording time is limited because the camera is prone to overheating when you push it that hard).

    The R6 is on the smaller size thanks to the mirrorless innards, but it’s a fully grown-up camera, rugged and weatherproof. It has traditional controls, such as a mode dial on top, and has all the usual settings along with Canon’s new-ish Fv mode, which gives you the flexibility of manual mode with a “net” so you don’t choose an under- or over-exposure setting. Around the back, you get both a tilt monitor and electronic viewfinder. 

    Autofocus is handled by Canon’s Dual Pixel AF and you get a very high-speed continuous shooting mode. It tops out at 12fps when using the mechanical shutter, or you can switch to the electronic shutter for up to 20fps. (You’ll want to stick with the mechanical shutter for fast-moving objects.)

  7. 7. Canon EOS Rebel SL3

    Pros:
    • 4K video
    • Very lightweight
    • 24 megapixel resolution
    Cons:
    • Autofcous system is dated compared to others in this list
    • Body is not ruggedized
    • No external mic input

    Style: DSLR | Sensor: APS-C | Image resolution: 24 megapixels | Shooting speed: 5fps | Video resolution: 4K | Monitor: 3-inch articulating | Target audience: Beginner, intermediate

    Canon claims that the Canon EOS Rebel SL3 is the world’s lightest DSLR with an articulating viewscreen, and while that might not be 100% accurate, it is probably in the top three. The bottom line is that this is a very lightweight camera that’s genuinely comfortable to hold for extended periods of time. The trade-off is that it’s not fully ruggedized, so beware of using it in sandstorms or a hurricane. 

    As you would expect for an entry-level DSLR, the SL3 emphasizes fully programmed point-and-shoot simplicity, but it also has easy-to-access Shutter priority, Aperture priority, Manual mode, and scene selections. The autofocus includes eye detection, which improves your chances of nailing the focus when taking people photos. And the 3-inch touch viewscreen fully articulates, so you can use it to frame your shots from any angle, including while positioned in front of the camera. 

    The camera has Wi-Fi and Bluetooth built-in, which makes it easy to control the camera from your smartphone as well as transfer images from the camera to your phone for fast and easy sharing. If you’re on the fence choosing between this model and another DSLR, keep in mind that this model shoots 4K video, but includes an aging 9-point autofocus system.   

  8. 8. Canon EOS 90D

    Pros:
    • 32.5 megapixel APS-C sensor
    • Fast 10fps
    • 4K video with excellent autofocus
    Cons:
    • Priced similar to mirrorless cameras with more advanced features
    • Small buffer can slow down shooting
    • No dual-memory card slot

    Style: DSLR | Sensor: APS-C | Image resolution: 32.5 megapixels | Shooting speed: 10fps | Video resolution: 4K | Monitor: 3-inch articulating | Target audience: Beginner, intermediate

    The Canon EOS 90D really illustrates the way the camera industry is at a crossroads — it’s an excellent mid-level DSLR, but a lot of photographers won’t even consider it and go straight to a similarly priced mirrorless camera that offers the same interchangeable lens capabilities with more modern features and a smaller, lighter body. If you’re still interested in a DSLR, though, the EOS 90D is a modern refresh of the mid-tier DSLR family and one that deserves a serious look. 

    After all, Canon has packed a lot of features into this camera. The 32.5-megapixel APS-C sensor matches the resolution found in the mirrorless APS-C EOS M6 Mark II. It lives inside a body that has a pretty traditional set of controls — in fact, it’s largely the same as the older EOS 80D and will feel right at home if you have much Canon DSLR experience. Its 45-point Dual Pixel Autofocus system is fast and effective in a wide range of lighting conditions. If you are an action shooter, you’ll appreciate the fact that this camera can hit 10fps in continuous shooting mode as well. And if you want to shoot video with this camera, you’ll appreciate the ability to capture 4K, uncropped. There’s also a slow-motion capture mode in which you can shoot 1080p at 120fps, but it’s a little clumsy in practice because focus is locked at the start of the shot. 

  9. 9. Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

    Pros:
    • 30-megapixel full-frame sensor
    • 61-point autofocus system
    • 7fps continuous shooting
    Cons:
    • 4K video is cropped
    • Expensive body
    • No integrated flash

    Style: DSLR | Sensor: Full frame | Image resolution: 30.4 megapixels | Shooting speed: 7fps | Video resolution: 4K | Monitor: 3.2-inch | Target audience:  Enthusiast, professional

    The EOS 5D Mark IV is the first camera to feature this full-frame 30-megapixel sensor, and represents a significant upgrade to what’s the flagship body for professional photographers. You’re not just getting better resolution; the camera also offers Canon’s Dual Pixel autofocus system with its 61` focus points. The rear LCD monitor is a touchscreen which makes it easy to dial in the focus without looking through the viewfinder, and the camera does one better: The Intelligent Tracking and Recognition (iTR) system can identify and follow subjects as they move through the frame, making it easy to maintain focus lock in action shots. 

    The camera shoots 4K video, but weirdly, it’s cropped by a factor of about 1.5x, which is surprising in a camera of this pedigree — other cameras in this list are completely uncropped. You also can capture a max of about 7fps in continuous still shooting. As you’d expect in a camera aimed at prod, it’s fully rugged and weatherproof, and can transfer files wirelessly via Wi-Fi. There’s also GPS onboard, so it can geotag your photos without needing to involve your phone. It also has dual memory card slots: SD and CompactFlash.

Which Camera Your You Choose: Point & Shoot, DSLR or Mirrorless?

Canon offers cameras in every major category -- point & shoot, mirrorless, and DSLR, so it helps to know where to focus your attention when shopping for a camera. Here's the difference between each.

Point and shoot cameras are the simplest to operate and can be a great choice when you want to be able to do more with a camera than your phone will allow. Keep in mind that not all point & shoot cameras are compact. All the point & shoot designation means is that it can automate the exposure process. But some -- like so-called "superzooms" -- can be as big and bulky as a DSLR and certainly won't fit in your pocket.

A good point & shoot camera can help you bridge the gap between a smartphone and an SLR. It can deliver much better image quality than a smartphone and offers advanced shooting modes to get creative in ways your phone won't allow. But by definition, point & shoot cameras generally don't always give you full manual control overexposure. Some point & shoot cameras do, and that's a great bonus feature -- but don't count on it.

The next step up is a DSLR, which stands for Digital Single Lens Reflex, and it has traditionally been the camera of choice for professional photographers and photo enthusiasts alike. It gets its name from the mechanism (a spring-loaded pentaprism or pentamirror) that diverts light from the lens to the optical viewfinder, so that you get to see more or less exactly the same image that the sensor will see when you press the shutter release. When the shutter button is depressed, the pentaprism mechanism flips out of the way and lets the sensor be exposed to the light through the lens for a moment, then flips back down so you can see through the viewfinder again.

That worked great for well over half a century, but mirrorless cameras are just what they sound like -- it's now possible to use an LCD display and electronic viewfinder to show exactly what the sensor sees without the need for any mechanical pentaprism to flip out of the way.

Even though I love DSLRs, there's little doubt that mirrorless cameras are well on their way to replacing DSLRs completely, in the same way that digital cameras rendered film cameras extinct 20 years ago. But for the time being, and for the foreseeable future, you can choose between DSLRs and mirrorless cameras when you want something more sophisticated than a point & shoot.

Which Should You Buy: Canon or Nikon?

There's no doubt that this is one of the most common questions that gets asked of camera reviewers and pro photographers, with the implicit assumption that one brand is significantly better than the other. In reality, of course, that's nonsense -- Canon and Nikon both make excellent cameras and many of the world's best photographs have been taken by photographers wielding both brands. In fact, you can highly successful with a camera from Sony or Ricoh as well. Photo quality has more to do with skill than hardware. 

That's why your best path to being a good photographer is learning the rudiments of photography -- mastering composition, lighting, exposure and so on. 

As the saying goes, the best camera is the one you have with you. That said, Canon makes some of the world's finest cameras. It's a matter of choosing the one that most closely matches your needs. 

See Also:

11 Best Nikon Cameras Buyer's Guide

11 Best Point and Shoot Cameras

9 Best DSLR Cameras for Beginners

Disclaimer: Heavy Inc. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program and other affiliate advertising programs and may receive a commission if you purchase a product via a link on this page.