In this guide we’re helping you find the best Canon DSLR you can buy, with budget options, beginner cameras, APS-C, full-frame and more.


From beginner models to professional tools, the best Canon DSLRs are still some of the best cameras anyone can buy. Intuitive and fully featured, with ergonomic controls and excellent image quality, a good Canon DSLR can last a photographer or videographer a lifetime if it’s treated well. Plus, the incredible range of EF-mount lenses means you’ll never run out of top-quality glass.

While mirrorless cameras are where the big developments are taking place these days, DSLRs definitely still have their fans. Many shooters simply prefer the immediacy of an optical viewfinder, or the ruggedly built bodies of the cameras, or their superior battery life. Plus, DSLRs are significantly cheaper than equivalently capable mirrorless cameras, both new and on the second-hand market, so picking up one can be a great way to keep your costs down.

We may not see any new Canon DSLRs in the future. The last new DSLR the firm announced was the EOS 850D in early 2020, and since then the focus has clearly been on the EOS R mirrorless line. But that doesn’t mean DSLRs aren’t worth your time, and you can check out our guide to DSLR vs mirrorless: which is best for a rundown of the key differences. For now, let’s take a look at the key specs you’ll want to keep in mind when choosing the best Canon DSLR.

How to choose the best Canon DSLR

Resolution

Many photographers like megapixels (MP) and the more the better. The higher the megapixel count the bigger the photographic print you can make with outstanding results. However, it is true that even the current Canon EOS 4000D with a lowly 18MP resolution can produce professional level, detail-rich prints of A2 size and more, with a good lens and competent camera technique.

Autofocusing

Canon has shown the way when it comes to autofocusing on its DSLRs. A feature introduced by Canon in 2013 and first seen on the EOS 70D, and now found on most of its recent DSLRs is Dual Pixel AF (DPAF). Each pixel on the imaging sensor is divided into two light sensitive diodes and they send separate signals to the processor that are analyzed for focus data to gives great results in stills and video with static and moving subjects.

Sensor Format – APS-C or Full-Frame?

Go shopping for a Canon DSLR and you’ll see models available either in APS-C or full-frame formats. This is a reference to the actual size of the sensor inside the camera: 22.3×14.9mm in APS-C cameras and 36x24mm in full-frame models. Which you choose is of course up to you and there are no hard and fast rules.

For most camera users the APS-C type is more than adequate, give excellent image quality and a great choice. The smaller format means physically more compact cameras and usually lower prices – of the cameras but also of the lenses.

The full-frame camera type is often the choice of dedicated enthusiasts and professional photographers and the larger format gives, ultimately, even better image quality, but they come at a price. This camera type is bigger and heavier as are the lenses, so a two or three lens outfit is a serious commitment.

The smaller APS-C format means there’s something called the crop factor, which is 1.6x in the case of Canon cameras. The benefit here is especially pertinent to photographers who need telephoto lenses, such as those shooting wildlife or sports. Fit a 100mm lens on a 35mm format camera and you get a medium telephoto effect. Use the same lens on an APS-C factor the 1.6x crop factor means the lens gives the equivalent view of a 160mm lens, ie 1.6 times more magnifying power.

See our guide to APS-C vs Full-Frame sensors for more detail.

Video

Almost every camera now can shoot video as well as stills. It’s true, though, that if video is going to be a big part of your imaging life you will be better off going for a mirrorless model where you will generally find more features, greater sophistication and better performance. The latest Canon mirrorless cameras have 4K, 4K Cinema, 6K and 8K and you get features like in-body image stabilisation, eye/subject detect AF and much more.

Video recording is available on DSLRs including the Canon models featured here. If shooting stills is going to be the mainstay of your passion with the occasional foray into video then it’s a non-issue.

We’ve picked out our favourite Canon DSLR cameras for all budgets and abilities. We’ve picked new cameras first, and then added a few of the best second-hand classics. So let’s jump in!


Best Canon DSLR under £400/$400: Canon EOS 4000D / Rebel T100

Canon EOS 4000D with 18-55mm lens

Canon EOS 4000D with 18-55mm lens

At a glance

  • £347 / $310 with 18-55mm III lens
  • 18 megapixel APS-C sensor
  • Nine autofocus points
  • 3fps shooting speed
  • aka Canon Rebel T100

This might be Canon’s least expensive DSLR, but it is well furnished with features, and should suit no fuss point-and-shoot snapping. Should the user want to take it out of full auto mode, they’ll find reliably accurate focusing and exposure systems at their disposal. Impressively for this price level, the EOS 4000D has a 63-zone dual layer exposure meter that delivers great results in a range of lighting conditions and while the AF system is limited to nine points, it works well and responsively.

The EOS 4000D has an APS-C 18MP sensor so resolution is good enough for excellent quality enlargements. It has a native ISO speed range of 100 to 6400 so has potential for working when the light is very poor and there is a pop-up flash too.

Pros:

  • Compact, lightweight
  • Great value at this price
  • Integrated flash

Cons:

  • Just 18 megapixels
  • Nine AF points
  • Full HD video only
  • Small rear monitor

Read our Canon EOS 4000D review


Best Canon DSLR for beginners: Canon EOS 2000D / Rebel T7

Canon EOS 2000D

Canon EOS 2000D, an entry level DSLR

At a glance

  • £519/$479 with 18-55mm II lens
  • 24.1MP APS-C sensor
  • 9 AF points
  • Creative Auto Mode and Creative filters
  • 3fps shooting
  • ISO 100-12800 range (extended)

The Canon EOS 2000D is still an entry-level camera, but a step up from the EOS 4000D. A key benefit is its 24MP resolution, which means it’s a camera suited those users keen do more with their pictures especially making bigger enlargements or prints. And speaking of bigger, the EOS 2000D’s monitor measures 7.5cm / 3inch and boasts 920,000 dots of resolution, showing off detail more effectively. This is a really practical asset when it comes to critically inspecting your images.

A more robust build quality is another benefit of the EOS 2000D. For example, its lens mount is made of metal, rather than the engineering plastic used on the EOS 4000D.

Pros:

  • 24 megapixels
  • Creative filters and useful feature guide
  • Large, high-res monitor

Cons:

  • Nine AF points
  • Only Full HD video

Read our Canon EOS 2000D / Rebel T7 review


Best Canon DSLR under £1000/$1000: Canon EOS 250D / Rebel SL3

Canon EOS 250D with 18-55mm lens

Canon EOS 250D with 18-55mm lens

At a glance

  • £699 / $749 with 18-55mm IS STM lens
  • 24.1MP APS-C sensor
  • Dual Pixel AF
  • Shoots at 5fps
  • Articulating monitor
  • 4K movies
  • aka Canon Rebel SL3

The EOS 250 is well suited to inexperienced users with its simple user-friendly guide mode, but it is well endowed enough to take beginners much further up the photographic food chain. Its compact stature means it’s a good for travel, and with a touch-sensitive vari-angle monitor that can face forwards, it’s perfect for vlogging and selfies. Video shooters can enjoy 4K UHD video recording for crystal clear movies.

Of course, it is a very capable performer for stills with its the 24MP sensor with Canon’s Dual Pixel autofocusing that gives pin-sharp results in stills and video time after time even when the light is poor. Battery life rates highly too, with a claimed 1070 shots using the optical finder.

Pros:

  • Articulating monitor
  • Canon’s Dual Pixel AF
  • 4K movies
  • Impressive shot capacity with the optical finder

Cons:

  • Small viewfinder
  • 4K video comes with a 1.7x crop
  • No Dual Pixel AF in video mode

Read our Canon EOS 250D / Rebel SL3 Review


Best Canon DSLR for enthusiasts: Canon EOS 850D / Rebel T8i

Canon EOS 850D in use, tested by Andy Westlake

Canon EOS 850D in use, tested by Andy Westlake

At a glance

  • £849 / $899 with 18-55mm IS USM lens
  • 24.1MP APS-C sensor
  • 45 point, all cross type
  • 7fps with AE/AF tracking
  • 4K /25p video

The Canon EOS 850D is a terrific all-round package and a very capable DSLR for the enthusiast photographer keen to explore their creativity. Buy it with the 18-135mm USM lens and you have compact, lightweight package with a zoom range suitable for a wide range of subject matter, from portraits and snapshots to landscape and street. Another kit option is with the 18-55mm IS STM lens, and that costs around £849.

The camera’s sensor is 24.1MP and with the DIGIC 8 processor is capable of first-class photographs full of crisp detail and rich colours, and its ISO 100-25,600 range means you can shoot successfully when light levels drops.

There’s the option of 4K /25p video on this camera, but the usefulness is limited because the image is cropped by 64% and there’s no Dual Pixel AF available.

Pros:

  • Good picture quality
  • Vari-angle touchscreen
  • 7fps shooting with AE/AF tracking
  • Body has a robust feel

Cons:

  • Optical viewfinder is small
  • Video features and performance limited
  • No in-body image stabiliser

Read our full review of the Canon EOS 850D


Best Canon DSLR for portraits: Canon EOS 6D Mark II

Canon EOS 6D Mark II

Canon EOS 6D Mark II with 24-70mm lens

At a glance

  • £1159 body only / $1399 body only
  • 26.2 megapixel full-frame sensor
  • ISO 100-40,000
  • Dual Pixel AF
  • Built-in GPS
  • 45 cross type AF points

If full-frame photography is your ambition you could do a lot worse than investing in the Canon EOS 6D Mark II, Canon’s attractive full-frame DSLR. It’s a well endowed machine for the money too, starting with its 26.2MP resolution, 45 AF phase detect points and 7560 RGB+IR metering sensor.

In Live View shooting you also get very competent AF performance here, thanks to Dual Pixel AF which covers over 80% of the image area and gives speedy and accurate autofocusing in stills and video. It’ll work well even when the conditions are challenging.

Using the optical viewfinder, you get a 6.5fps maximum shooting speed with AE/AF tracking – just the ticket for subjects on the move. Handling rates highly, with a typically Canon generous collection of controls, including a focus joystick and rear control dial plus a fully articulating 3in touchscreen. Its body is weather-sealed, too.

Pros:

  • Full frame, 26.1MP
  • Vari-angle touch monitor
  • Fast shooting,
  • In-camera Raw processing

Cons:

  • One SD card slot
  • Viewfinder AF array quite small

Read our full Canon EOS 6D Mark II review


Best Canon DSLR for wildlife: Canon EOS 90D

Canon EOS 90D in use, reviewed by Michael Topham

Canon EOS 90D in use, reviewed by Michael Topham.

At a glance

  • £1559 with 18-135mm IS USM lens / $1199 body only
  • 32.5MP APS-C sensor
  • 45 cross-type AF points
  • 10fps shooting speed
  • ISO100-12,800, expandable to 25,600
  • 4K 29.95/25p video

The Canon EOS 90D is Canon’s highest resolution APS-C format camera with 32.5MP so perfect if you’re looking to make big prints of your best shots. Shoot Raws and you’ll achieve images packed with fine detail, good dynamic range and lifelike colours; for a faster workflow, out-of-camera JPEGs are excellent too.

The camera’s high resolution means big prints are within easy reach, and it also gives the freedom to crop into pictures to pull out small details with minimal sacrifice of image quality. This, together with the 1.6x crop factor, makes this a fine camera for wildlife photography.

The EOS 90D is a fine stills camera but it also suits prospective vloggers, with a monitor that swivels to face forward. Shooting 4K video also comes without any crop, plus there are headphone and microphone sockets.

Pros:

  • High pixel count
  • Dual Pixel AF in Live View
  • 10fps shooting
  • Solid build

Cons:

  • No USB charging
  • Autofocus through the viewfinder not as good as Live View

Read our full Canon EOS 90D review


Best Canon DSLR for landscapes: Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

At a glance

  • £2869 body only / $2699 body only
  • 30.4MP full-frame
  • 61 AF points
  • DCI 4K 25/30p
  • 150,000 pixel RGB+IR metering sensor
  • DIGIC 6+ processing engine
  • ISO 100-32,000

The rugged Canon EOS 5D Mark IV body with advanced weather-sealing houses a 30.2MP full-frame sensor working with the fast DIGIC 6+ processing engine to deliver images of outstanding clarity, colour fidelity, low noise and with excellent dynamic range giving detailed highlights and shadows. This makes it a great choice for landscape shooting, giving you maximum tonality in your images.

Autofocus is first rate in stills and video with 61 AF points through the finder and if you need to shoot action, 7fps shooting with full AE/AF tracking is available.

The EOS 5D Mark IV has a neat feature called Dual Pixel RAW (DPRAW) which means imaging data from each pixel is captured from two very slightly different points of view. Either in-camera or using Canon’s free DPP software in editing means a DPRAW image can be fine-tuned to adjust lighting, give a different point of focus or to adjust background bokeh.

Pros:

  • Excellent image quality
  • Solid build with great handling
  • High ISO performance
  • Dual Pixel AF with face detect and tracking

Cons:

  • Fixed 3.2in monitor
  • Live View shooting a modest 4.3fps with AF tracking

Read our Canon EOS 5D Mark IV review


Best Canon DSLR for professionals: Canon EOS-1D X Mark III

Canon EOS-1D X Mark III

Canon EOS-1D X Mark III

At a glance

  • £6999 body only / $6499 body only
  • 20.1MP full-frame sensor
  • DIGIC X processor
  • Dual Pixel AF
  • 5.5K Raw video
  • Huge native 100-102,400 ISO range
  • 20fps max shooting speed on Live View mode

Canon’s flagship pro DSLR has an impressive feature set, including a native ISO range that peaks at 102,400. This means poor light won’t stop play. Thanks to the advanced sensor, a special Gaussian Low Pass filter and DIGIC X processor, the image quality is remarkably good even at that high speed.

Indeed, speed is a watchword with this camera, and you can shoot with a top speed of 16fps through the optical viewfinder, or get even more in Live View with a speed of 20fps. With the camera taking CFexpress Type B cards, you get a great many frames without hitting the buffer.

To cope with fast-moving action, the EOS-1D X Mark III boasts an AF system with 191 points, of which 155 are cross-type. It also has Canon’s Deep-Learning AF Algorithm that can recognise faces even when they are upside down.

Pros:

  • Pro-level build quality
  • Large ISO range
  • Fast shooting,
  • Takes two CFexpress Type B cards

Cons:

  • High asking price
  • Big and heavy body
  • Resolution perhaps too low for scenic and studio shooters

The best used Canon DSLRs to buy

If you’re worried about budget, don’t forget about the second-hand market! Opting for a second-hand version of a camera from a few years ago can be a great way to pick up a bargain at a knock-down price. We’d always recommend going with reputable dealers rather than buying privately, as you’ll get some limited warranty (usually 3-6 months) and some assurance that the camera has been checked over by professionals. With DSLRs, it’s also important to check the shutter actuations, as every camera is rated to perform to a specific number. For more, check out our guide to buying second-hand cameras.

Below, we’ve picked out a few of our favourite Canon DSLRs on the second-hand market.


Best used Canon DSLR for beginners: Canon EOS 1200D / EOS Rebel T5

Canon EOS 1200D photographed on white background

Canon EOS 1200D (also known as the EOS Rebel T5 in the USA).

At a glance:

  • £164 for excellent body / $299 for excellent body with lens
  • 18MP APS-C sensor
  • DIGIC 4 processor
  • ISO 100-6400 (extended to ISO 12,800)
  • 3in, 460,000-dot, TFT LCD screen

Beginner photographers can pick up a hell of a bargain if willing to shop second-hand – case in point, the excellent EOS 1200D. Going for about a third of its original asking price on the used market, the EOS 1200D has retained a reputation as a solid, do-everything DSLR for beginners. With its 18MP APS-C sensor, it’s not quite as high-resolution as many other cameras on this list, but the autofocus system is fast and accurate in a way that punches above its weight.

You only get 9 AF points, and a burst mode of 3fps – this is going to come with the territory of shopping for a beginner’s camera in 2014. This will likely be enough for most purposes, and if you need more speed than that, check out the EOS 7D Mark II below.

In our original review of the EOS 1200D, we also singled out the low-light performance as being particularly impressive. We were happy with the results we got right the way through the camera’s native ISO range of 100-6400, and that isn’t always the case with entry-level cameras. If you’re planning on urban night shoots, this is a great choice of DSLR, especially if you pick up a cheap f/1.8 50mm lens to go with it.

Pros:

  • Excellent value on used market
  • Reliable autofocus system
  • Good high-ISO performance

Cons:

  • Only 3fps
  • Only 9 AF points

Read our Canon EOS 1200D review


Best used Canon DSLR for enthusiasts: Canon EOS 80D

Canon EOS 80D

The Canon EOS 80D rolled out an upgraded autofocus system over the previous 70D.

At a glance

  • From £469 / $769 for an excellent condition body
  • 24.2MP APS-C CMOS sensor
  • 45 cross-point AF
  • ISO 100-16,000, expandable to 25,600
  • 7fps shooting speed
  • 100% viewfinder with 0.95x magnification

Canon’s two-digit EOS DSLRs built up a rep for being good APS-C all-rounders, useful for photographers who want an affordable camera that does a bit of everything. The EOS 80D is an excellent example, and is plentifully available on the second-hand market. It adds a number of improvements on the previous EOS 70D, including a beefed-up autofocus system with phase-detection points across the entirety of the frame. The big optical viewfinder covering 100% of the frame is also welcome, and helps the EOS 80D deliver a sublime shooting experience across the board.

The EOS 80D uses a relatively sophisticated autofocus system.  While it’s not a patch on the unreal subject-detect system of cameras from the 2020s, having 45 highly accurate cross-type points is nothing to sneeze at, and will certainly get the job done in most situations.

As it was preceded by the EOS 70D – which proved a surprising hit with YouTubers – the EOS 80D is a handily capable video camera. Having Full HD video at a frame rate of 60p is certainly welcome, as is the vari-angle touchscreen that lets you shoot from all different angles with ease. The addition of a headphone port also wins the EOS 80D a few points from videographers. It’s not 4K though, which may be a deal-breaker for some users.

Pros

  • Accurate focusing in all modes
  • Very good build quality
  • Solid video spec

Cons

  • Not 4K
  • Single card slot

Read our Canon EOS 80D review


Best used Canon DSLR for action and sports photography: Canon EOS 7D Mark II

Canon EOS 7D Mark II

Canon EOS 7D Mark II

At a glance

  • £599 / $749 for excellent condition body
  • 20MP APS-C sensor
  • 65 cross-point AF
  • ISO 100-16,000 expandable to 51,200
  • 10fps shooting speed
  • Dual card slots – CompactFlash and SD

The Canon EOS 7D Mark II was introduced in 2014, a replacement for the EOS 7D that came out in 2009. Its big selling point was that it was an APS-C 20MP DSLR that had advanced AF features derived from the EOS 5D Mark III and EOS-1D X.

As such, Canon’s renowned Dual Pixel sensor delivers good Live View AF and 65 cross type AF points for viewfinder AF with Intelligent Tracking and Recognition (iTR) to give improved subject tracking. The EOS 7D Mark III was the first Canon to have iTR after the EOS 1D X, and uses the RGB+ IR meter sensor to improve servo focusing with moving subjects.

Making the most of the EOS 7D Mark II’s enhanced AF skills, it can rattle along at 10fps and when shooting Raw you can get around 30 shots before buffering.

Pros:

  • 10fps shooting
  • Dual Pixel AF
  • Dual card slots
  • Environmentally sealed and robust body

Cons:

  • No touch screen
  • Fixed monitor
  • iTR inconsistent
  • No Wi-Fi

Read our full review of the Canon EOS 7D Mark II


Best used Canon DSLR for video: Canon EOS 5D Mark III

Canon EOS 5D Mark III

The Canon EOS 5D Mark III

At a glance

  • £750 / $739 for good condition body
  • 22MP full-frame sensor
  • 3.2in monitor
  • DIGIC 5+ processor
  • ISO 100-25,600
  • 61AF points
  • Dual CompactFlash an SD card slots

The Canon EOS 5D Mark III is an excellent full-frame camera that has proved itself a fine machine since it was introduced ten years ago in 2012. Key features include 22MP, a 61 point AF system for speedy and accurate focusing while a 63 zone metering system ensures spot-on exposures. These days it can be picked up second-hand for a great price.

This camera was the first Canon DSLR capable of High Dynamic Range shooting where three bracketed exposures are made and merged in-camera and an auto align feature means you can even get perfect shots shooting handheld. It can shoot multiple exposures too for creative effect.

The new camera had a shutter rated at 150,000 actuations, so do check this aspect when shopping for a second-hand model.

Pros:

  • Solid build
  • Full HD video
  • 6fps shooting

Cons:

  • Live View AF and face detect slow, and hunts compared with more recent cameras

Read our Canon EOS 5D Mark III review


Best used full-frame Canon DSLR: Canon EOS 6D

Canon EOS 6D

The Canon EOS 6D is an affordable route into full-frame.

At a glance

  • From £444 / $549 for an excellent-condition body
  • 20.2MP full-frame sensor
  • 4.5fps continuous shooting
  • ISO 100-25,600 (exp. 50-102,800)
  • 11-point AF
  • In-camera HDR and multiple-exposure modes

Announced at Photokina 2012 and released a couple of months later, the EOS 6D was marketed as a smaller and more affordable alternative to the hugely popular EOS 5D Mark III, which you’ll meet below. Fulfilling this brief, the 6D borrows hardware from the 5D III while also bringing some of its own to the table. For example, while the 5D III was built around a 22.3MP full-frame CMOS sensor, the 6D instead employs a 20.2MP chip. However, both cameras share the same DIGIC 5+ image processor, and both provide a native sensitivity range of ISO 100-25,600 that can be expanded to the equivalent of ISO 50-102,800.

It was released with a body-only price of £1,680 and it’s now possible to source a second-hand 6D in ‘excellent’ condition with a shutter count less than 9,000 for £419 from Clifton Cameras. That gives you £80 to spend on a lens (enough for a decent-condition EF 50mm f/1.8 II), and voila, a full-frame DSLR starter kit is yours for less than £500.

Pros:

  • Great price for full-frame
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Excellent image quality, especially in low light

Cons:

  • No built-in flash
  • Max flash sync of 1/180sec
  • Basic 11-point AF system

Read our Canon EOS 6D review


If you’ve found the best Canon DSLR in this guide, then why not have a look at the best Canon EF-mount lenses and the best EF-mount zoom lenses to go with your new camera. Or have a look at more of our buying guides, including our look at the best Canon EOS cameras of all time (including SLRs and DSLRs), or have a look at the Best Canon Mirrorless cameras.


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