The 6 Best Canon Cameras of 2021

Find our top picks from this photography titan

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

The Rundown
A bridge camera capable of making faraway shots seem as though they were taken up close.
This camera may have a budget price, but its specs make it a worthy investment and an upgrade over even the best of the best smartphone cameras.
Stuffed with everything a beginner could need when pursuing photography as a hobby or profession.
Just about the crown jewel of the PowerShot line, a proper successor to the regular old G9 X.
At under $300, the camera packs a powerful 50x optical zoom lens that can take stunning high definition pictures from a great distance.
Best Splurge:
Canon EOS 80D at Walmart
Cousin to the more well-known Rebel series, the 45-point all cross-type AF system allows for faster auto-focusing and location selection, and an absolute steal at the price.

The best Canon cameras on the market are known for crisp products and amazing zoom capabilities for both video and photos. There are many different sizes to choose from and lenses to mix and match with them. To evaluate the cameras on this roundup, our expert reviewers looked at if they were a DSLR or a standard point-and-shoot. DSLRs can take crips shots and have more lens attachment options to help you get the perfect shot, while a point-and-shoot has the advantage in mobility. Carrying around one of the best Canon cameras ensures you never let a moment slip away.

Best Design: Canon Powershot SX70

What We Like
  • Top-notch build quality

  • Excellent ergonomics

  • Blazing fast autofocus

  • Great Canon color

  • Long-lasting battery life

What We Don't Like
  • Average video and image quality

  • Screen collects smudges and is difficult to clean

  • 4K video is slightly cropped

As the saying goes, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. And there is no better example of this than with the Canon Powershot SX70, a bridge camera capable of making faraway shots seem as though they were taken up close, thanks to its 65x Optical Zoom (equivalent to about a 21mm to 1,365mm lens). It has Dual Sensing image stabilization of up to 5 stops, so you can capture the emotion on someone’s face or of city vistas. The 20.3 Megapixel High-Sensitivity CMOS guarantees image clarity no matter the level of light, and it refocuses rapidly in order to keep up to your speed. The autofocus is boosted by the DIGIC 8 Image Processor, which also assists in shooting 4K UHD video at a frame rate of up to 30 fps: expect lifelike videos, albeit those that are easy to crop into still images.  

Lightweight and ergonomic, the SX70 is aimed squarely at serious wildlife photographers as well as casual users who want to ensure photos of families and friends appear professionally shot. Our expert reviewer found that Auto mode is a great way for beginners to ease in, while those who are more experienced can switch gears into manual.

Resolution: 20.3MP | Sensor Type: BSI-CMOS | Max ISO: 3,200 | Optical Zoom: 65x | Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth

"Obvious care and attention to detail have gone into every aspect of the control layout."Andy Zahn, Product Tester

Best Budget: Canon PowerShot ELPH 190

Canon PowerShot Elph 190
What We Like
  • Slim, portable design

  • 20MP sensor

  • Very affordable

  • 10x optical zoom

What We Don't Like
  • Overexposure problems in auto mode

  • Noisy images indoors

  • 720p video resolution

  • Scattered menu options are confusing

This camera may have a budget price, but its specs make it a worthy investment and an upgrade over even the best of the best smartphone cameras. The PowerShot ELPH 190 is available in either black, blue or red, and is slim enough to comfortably fit in your jacket pocket. Its 20-megapixel CCD sensor and DIGIC 4+ processor combine to deliver the stunning image quality and 720p HD video.

Smart AUTO will intelligently choose the optimal aperture and shutter speed for any shot, while a powerful 10x Optical Zoom will capture long-range snaps with incredible stability. Our reviewer was able to take great shots in outdoor, daylight settings, though the Auto mode has a tendency to overexpose shots with mixed lighting conditions.

Resolution: 20MP | Sensor Type: CCD | Max ISO: 1,600 | Optical Zoom: 10x | Connectivity: Wi-Fi, NFC

"In outdoor, daylight settings, and in scenes with relatively flat lighting, this little camera gave us some really great results." Jonno Hill, Product Tester

Best DSLR Kit: Canon EOS Rebel T7 Kit

What We Like
  • Affordable, entry-level DSLR camera

  • Easy to use

  • Good image quality

What We Don't Like
  • No articulating or touch display

  • Some Wi-Fi connectivity problems

  • Incompatible with some third-party triggers and flashes

Canon's EOS Rebel line is always a great option for entry-level photographers, and the Canon EOS Rebel T7 Digital SLR Camera Kit is no exception. This package comes stuffed with everything a beginner could need when pursuing photography as a hobby or profession. The EOS Rebel T7 DSLR itself is a stalwart option on its own, featuring a 24.1MP APS-C CMOS sensor and DIGIC 4+ image processor and 3.0" 920k-Dot LCD monitor. The only issue our reviewer noted is that the LCD doesn't articulate. It's capable of full HD 1080/30p recording as well, for when the action gets a little more dynamic. 

The included Canon 18-55mm II lens is a fantastic starter for a wide variety of shots. A wide-angle lens and a 58mm 2x telephoto pro lens are included in the kit, too, for when you're ready for something a little trickier. Two SanDisk 32GB SDHC memory cards and a card reader ensure you'll have plenty of space to store all the shots you'll be taking, and the deluxe padded camera case, extra battery pack, and AC/DC charger are perfect for longer excursions. Finally, the 50-inch tripod gets you ready (and steady) for effortlessly still shots.

Resolution: 24MP | Sensor Type: CMOS | Max ISO: 12,800 | Optical Zoom: 1.6x | Connectivity: Wi-Fi, NFC

"The T7 delivers great quality images and performs well in low lighting." Jonno Hill, Product Tester

Best Point-And-Shoot: Canon PowerShot G9 X Mark II

What We Like
  • Great looking compact camera body and lens

  • Remotely connect by Wi-Fi, NFC, and Bluetooth

  • Nice touch panel interface

What We Don't Like
  • Autofocus tracking doesn't always work well

  • Touch panel hard to see in bright light and is needed to use the camera

  • 3x lens has a limited zoom range

The G9 X Mark II is just about the crown jewel of the PowerShot line, a proper successor to the regular old G9 X. The 1.0-inch, high-sensitivity CMOS sensor shoots and records at 20.1 megapixels and the camera polishes those photos with Canon’s celebrated Digic 7 image processing. The f/2.0 lens sits very unassumingly right on the camera, which is already a slim package at a pocket weight of 7.3 ounces.

There’s added wireless connectivity via both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, and there’s even built-in NFC compatibility that will readily connect and transfer media to other NFC devices. There's a 3-inch touchscreen on the back for control and photo review, and the lens brings a full 3x optical zoom. Our reviewer noted that the zoom range isn't that impressive though. That said, it shoots in a variety of video modes from mp4 to raw, full HD video, and the shutter speed clocks in at 8.2 fps for faster-moving subjects.

Finally, there are a variety of onboard controls from styling filters to file converters that will make sure whenever you do get those gorgeous photos off the device, they’ll be ready for whatever you need to do.

Resolution: 20MP | Sensor Type: BSI-CMOS | Max ISO: 12,800 | Optical Zoom: 3x | Connectivity: Wi-Fi, NFC, Bluetooth

"The G9 X Mark II offers good image quality, nice detail, high ISOs and high color accuracy." Benjamin Zeman, Product Tester

Best Value: Canon SX530 HS 9779B001

Canon PowerShot SX530
What We Like
  • Similar shape to Canon's EOS Rebel DSLR camera

  • Very portable and lightweight

  • Powerful 50x zoom lens

  • Built-in Wi-Fi

What We Like
  • Plastic body feels cheap

  • Not great for low-light shooting

  • No articulating/touchscreen display

  • Low 210 shot battery life

The Canon SX530 HS Powershot is a popular point-and-shoot digital camera, and it’s not hard to figure out why. Despite an affordable price, the camera packs a powerful 50x optical zoom lens that can take stunning high-definition pictures from a great distance. The 16.0-megapixel CMOS sensor and the Canon DIGIC 4+ Image Processor are capable of great things, especially at this value price point. They can capture video in 1080p Full HD video with a dedicated movie button, while a large three-inch LCD gives you a great view of everything you want to capture.

Finally, built-in Wi-Fi allows you to wirelessly transfer your captures to any smart device. Other nice features include a built-in flash and a smart autofocus program that works even at 50x zoom. That said, our reviewer mentioned several issues to be mindful of such as the mediocre low-light quality and the short battery life. Those aside, this camera still offers solid value.

Resolution: 16MP | Sensor Type: BSI-CMOS | Max ISO: 3,200 | Optical Zoom: 50x | Connectivity: Wi-Fi

"Where the camera really shines is it’s 24-1200mm equivalent zoom range, placing it in the “superzoom” category. The lens is very wide, so you can get big landscape shots, and it’s powerful enough to capture detail from far away." Benjamin Zeman, Product Tester

Best Splurge: Canon EOS 80D

Canon EOS 80D
What We Like
  • Faster auto-focusing and location selection

  • High resolution and fast shutter speed

  • 1080p video recording

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

The EOS 80D is a sort of cousin to the more well-known Rebel series. The 45-point all cross-type AF system allows for faster auto-focusing and location selection, depending on whether you’re shooting through the viewfinder or via the back screen. Speaking of the viewfinder, Canon is calling this one an Intelligent Viewfinder as they’ve engineered it to include 100 percent viewability (no more invisible dead spots). The APS-C sensor offers 24.2 megapixels of resolution and the body shoots at a blistering 7 fps.

The Dual Pixel CMOS AFe technology allows you to translate that high resolution and fast shutter speed to the video capabilities, which gives you shooting capabilities at 1080p resolution. There’s an ISO range of 100 to 16,000, and there’s a DIGIC 6 image processor right on-board for further refining what you shoot. The 7560-pixel RGB+IR color tracking functions allow for a truer, brighter rainbow of image response. And even though this particular package doesn’t come with a lens (we chose it because it’s an absolute steal at the price), it is compatible with the full family of DSLR lenses from Canon.

Resolution: 24MP | Sensor Type: CMOS | Max ISO: 16,000 | Optical Zoom: 1.6x | Connectivity: Wi-Fi, NFC

The best Canon camera to get for most people is the Canon Powershot SX70 (view on Amazon). It has a 20.3MP CMOS sensor, is capable of shooting 4K UHD video, and is lightweight and ergonomic for you to take on the go. For a more budget choice, we're fond of the simple Canon PowerShot ELPH 190 (view on Amazon). It's slim, colorful, and its 20MP sensor is capable of delivering solid photos and video.

About Our Trusted Experts

Andy Zahn has been writing for Lifewire since 2019. As an avid outdoorsman, he photographs extensively in the Cascade Mountains of the Pacific Northwest.

Benjamin Zeman has been writing for Lifewire since 2019. He has over 20 years of experience in the tech industry and has a background in film, photography, and graphic design.

FAQs

How important is resolution?
Resolution is an overall measure of how many pixels make up an image and thus a good indicator of image sharpness/clarity, and will matter largely depending on what you're shooting and for what purpose. For amateurs, particularly those on a budget, it's not as much as a concern, but for pros looking to wow their clientele with beautiful footage, high resolution is absolutely crucial.

What features do I need?
This again depends largely on your use case, but most photogs will benefit from high-quality zoom functionality, a large, clear viewfinder for previewing the action, and manual balance, exposure, and focus adjustment controls.

What does EOS stand for in regards to Canon cameras?
EOS means Electro-Optical System and is a brand name Canon uses for a series of its SLR and mirrorless cameras. Eos also refers to the goddess of dawn in Greek mythology, reflecting what Canon believed was a "new-generation SLR camera."

What to Look for in a New Canon Camera

Design

Selecting the correct design for your needs is essential. Don’t lug around a bulky DSLR if you only intend on using the included lens; consider other options such as a compact, lighter camera with a fixed lens. Be sure to choose a design that you won’t mind carrying around — and remember that a bigger camera isn’t always better! A compact camera like the point-and-shoot ELPH 190 can weight as little as 4.34 ounces, while a more full-sized superzoom camera like the SX70 HS weighs 1.34 pounds, which is still reasonable for outdoor use with a camera that powerful.

Zoom

Will you be zooming in on distant subjects with your new camera? If so, consider a camera with powerful zoom functions. If you’re thinking of purchasing a DSLR or mirrorless model, know that the included lens typically isn’t too powerful when compared to the built-in 50x zoom in some compact cameras. More professional users will want to pick up a 2x telephoto pro lens to capture close-ups.

Sensor and Processor

All of the cameras on our list come with enough megapixels to make anyone happy with poster-sized prints, but consider the quality of each sensor and what you wish to do with it. For example, while some of our offerings are excellent at shooting video, others focus their strengths primarily on still photographs. One of our top picks like the PowerShot SX70 has a 20.3MP CMOS sensor, which sounds similar on paper to the 20MP ELPH 190 sensor, but there's a world of difference due to the fact that the former has a DIGIC 8 Image Processor while the latter just has a DIGI 4+. So it's not just the raw megapixel count, but also the processor that makes a difference.

Was this page helpful?