Buyers Guides |Best Canon camera for professional photography

The Buyers guide to...Best Canon camera for professional photography

Best Canon cameras for professional photography
Buyers Guide

As market leaders in the imaging space, Canon manufactures cameras for many different needs and levels of ability. Over the years its engineers have developed an incredible arsenal of technology, from cameras with IBIS to cameras with Eye AF, ultra-high speed shooting, 8K video capability and much more. No matter how niche your area of expertise, you should have no trouble choosing the best Canon camera for professional photography.

That said, there are a number of great options for pros in Canon’s range and choosing the best Canon camera for professional photography depends to a large extent what you shoot. Some of the best Canon cameras are built for speed, which should appeal to sport and wildlife photographers, while the big resolution from other full-frame models will be the best choice for studio and landscape photographers.

The best Canon cameras for professional photography you can buy today

We’ve tested all of the Canon cameras for professional photography and have a good understanding of all their strengths and who they are best suited for. Below we’ve broken them down by genre to help you decide which is right for you.

For more information on professional cameras across all brands, have a look at some of our other guides below. And for a deeper dive into the many different camera types and features available, check out our range of camera buying guides.

Best professional Canon camera for landscapes and studio work

Canon EOS R5

Canon EOS R5 review

Specification

  • Camera Type: Mirrorless
  • Announced: 9th July 2020
  • Sensor: 45Mp Full-frame Dual Pixel CMOS AF II
  • Processor: Digic X
  • Lens mount: RF
  • Sensitivity range: Stills: ISO 100-51,200 expandable to ISO 50-102,400, Movies: ISO 100-25600, expandable to ISO ISO 51,200
  • Metering: 384-zone metering with Evaluative metering (linked to All AF points), Partial metering (approx. 6.1% of viewfinder at centre), Spot metering: Centre spot metering (approx. 3.1% viewfinder at centre), Centre weighted average metering
  • Shutter speed range: 1/8000sec-30 seconds and Bulb
  • File formats: Raw + Jpeg/HEIF, MP4
  • Maximum continuous shooting rate: Mechanical shutter: 12fps, Electronic shutter: 20fps
  • Maximum video resolution: Uncropped, internal raw recording 8K video at up to 29.97fps in 4:2:2 10-bit in Canon Log (H.265) or 4:2:2 10-bit HDR PQ (H.265), Uncropped internal recording 4K video at up to 119.88fps in 4:2:2 10-bit in Canon Log (H.265) or 4:2:2 10-bit HDR PQ (H.265) 4:2:2 10-bit in Canon Log or 4:2:2 10-bit HDR PQ, 4K output over HDMI at up to 59.94fps
  • Autofocus system: Dual Pixel CMOS AF II phase detection with 5940 points in stills and 4500 points in movie mode
  • Viewfinder: 0.5-inch 5.76million-dot OLED electronic viewfinder with 120fps display and 0.76x magnification
  • Screen: 3.15-inch 2.1-million dot vari-angle touchscreen
  • Autofocus: Dual Pixel CMOS AF II with Advanced Animal AF (recognising dogs, cats and birds) supported in all video modes with 100% coverage and up to 1053 'AF segments'
  • Stabilisation: In-body image stabilisation (IBIS) that works with lens IS and enables up to 8-stops of shutter speed compensation
  • Storage: Dual slots, 1x CFexpress, 1x SDXC UHS-II
  • Dimensions: 135.8 x 97.5 x 88mm
  • Weight: 650 g / 738 g with card and battery

Although its position was technically usurped by the Canon EOS R3, the Canon EOS R5 is Canon’s flagship mirrorless camera and it was the most exciting camera announced in 2020.

Its 8K video capability stole most of the headlines when it was revealed, but the Canon R5 is at heart a 45Mp stills camera with an incredible autofocus system. This Dual Pixel CMOS AF II system has 5,940 selectable AF points and superb eye detection AF for humans, animals and birds that works in both video and stills mode.

Like the Canon EOS R6 announced at the same time, the EOS R5 has 5-axis in-body image stabilisation. In the R5 it enables shutter speed compensation of up to 8EV.

Canon pitches the R5 at around the same level as the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV, which means it’s designed for use by experienced enthusiast and professional photographers. It combines a healthy collection of button and dial controls with an excellent touch-control interface on the 3.15-inch 2.1-million dot vari-angle screen.

While 8K video is of limited appeal, the R5 is capable of producing superb results with the 4K HQ (High Quality) mode especially impressing. The still image quality is also excellent all the way up to around ISO 25,600.

Find the latest deals on the Canon EOS R5 at Amazon UK and Amazon US.

Price when reviewed
£4199
$3899
Check current price

For

  • 45Mp full-frame sensor with full AF coverage
  • 12fps/20fps continuous shooting with continuous AF
  • Uncropped internal 8K video recording for up to 20 minutes

Against

  • 8K video will require lots of storage capacity

Best professional Canon camera for wildlife, sports and photojournalism

Canon EOS R3

Canon EOS R3

Specification

  • Camera Type: Mirrorless
  • Announced: 14th September 2021
  • Sensor: 24.1Mp Full-frame BSI stacked CMOS
  • Processor: Digic X
  • Lens mount: RF
  • Sensitivity range: Stills: ISO 100-102,400 expandable to ISO 50-204,800, Video: ISO 100-25,600 expandable to 100-102,400
  • Metering: 384-zone metering with Evaluative metering (linked to All AF points), Partial metering (approx. 5.9% of viewfinder at centre), Spot metering: Centre spot metering (approx. 2.9% viewfinder at centre), Centre weighted average metering
  • Shutter speed range: Mechanical shutter: 30- 1/8,000 sec and Bulb, Electronic shutter: 30-1/64,000 sec
  • Still file formats: Raw + Jpeg/HEIF
  • Maximum continuous shooting rate: Mechanical shutter / 1st curtain electronic: 12fps for 1000+ Jpeg or 1000 raw, Electronic shutter: 30fps for 540 Jpegs or 150 raw images
  • Main video resolutions: 6K DCI (17:9) 6000 x 3164 (59.94, 50, 29.97, 25, 24, 23.98fps) raw, 4K DCI (17:9) 4096 x 2160 (59.94, 50, 29.97, 25, 24, 23.98fps) intra or inter frame / light inter frame 4K UHD (16:9) 3840 x 2160 (119.9, 100, 59.94, 50, 29.97, 25, 23.98 fps) intra or inter frame Full HD (16:9) 1920 x 1080 (119.9, 100, 59.94, 50, 29.97, 25, 23.98 fps) intra or inter frame Full HD (16:9) 1920 x 1080 HDR (29.97, 25 fps) inter frame
  • Video conatiner formats: MP4, raw (CRM)
  • Colour sampling: 6K raw 12bit, 4K/ Full HD - 4:2:0 8-bit or 4:2:2 10bit
  • Log: Canon Log 3
  • Autofocus system: Dual Pixel CMOS AF II phase detection with 1,053 points
  • Viewfinder: 0.5-inch 5.76million-dot OLED electronic viewfinder with 120fps display and 0.76x magnification
  • Screen: 3.2-inch 4.15-million dot vari-angle touchscreen
  • Stabilisation: In-body image stabilisation (IBIS) that works with lens IS and enables up to 8-stops of shutter speed compensation
  • Storage: Dual slots, 1x CFexpress, 1x SDXC UHS-II
  • Dimensions: 150x 142.6 x 87.2mm
  • Weight: 822g body only, 1015g with card and battery

While Canon says that the EOS R3 sits below the Canon EOS-1D X Mark III in the company’s line-up, there can be little doubt that the new 24.1MP full-frame mirrorless camera will attract the attention of many of the flagship DSLR’s users. It’s aimed at the same pro sports and news photographer audience and has a fabulous feature set to keep them happy.

Canon used a full-frame backside-illuminated stacked CMOS sensor inside the Canon EOS R3 and paired it with the Digic X processing engine to deliver quick data readout and minimise rolling shutter. It offers an excellent blend of resolution, noise control and file size with blistering AF performance.

What’s more, the R3 can shoot raw or Jpeg files at up to 30fps with full exposure metering and autofocus (AF) tracking when the electronic shutter is selected. It’s a great choice of camera for sport, action and news photography.

The R5 and R6 were significant introductions for Canon when they launched in 2020. They gave significant depth to the EOS R system. But the addition of the EOS R3 takes things up a notch with its ability to shoot at 30fps, Eye Control AF and a high-resolution vari-angle touchscreen. It’s also the first double-gripped mirrorless camera, and while Canon says that it sits below the EOS-1D X Mark III, the R3 looks set to poach a few flagship DSLR sales and convert more professional photographers to mirrorless technology.

Canon has shown us a vision of the future for mirrorless cameras and while the R3 is beyond the budget of many photographers, the AI that it employs will trickle down to more affordable cameras.

Find the latest deals on the Canon EOS R3 at Amazon UK and Amazon US.

Price when reviewed
£5880
$5999 / €6689.99
Check current price

For

  • 24Mp full-frame sensor with full AF coverage
  • 12fps/30fps continuous shooting with continuous AF
  • Eye Control AF

Against

  • 6K raw video requires lots of storage capacity
  • Control layout different from EOS-1D X mark III and existing R-series cameras
  • Less durable buttons than on the 1D X III

Canon EOS-1D X Mark III

Canon EOS-1D X Mark III review

Specification

  • Camera type: DSLR
  • Announced: 7th January 2020
  • Sensor: Full-frame (24x36mm) 20.1Mp CMOS
  • Lens mount: Canon EF
  • Processing engine: Digic X
  • Sensitivity range: Stills: 100-102400, expandable to ISO 50-819,200, Video: ISO 100-25600, expandable to ISO 100-204,800
  • Autofocus system: Viewfinder: phase detection with 191 points, 155 cross-type AF at f/4 including 1 dual cross type at f/2.8, Live View: Dual Pixel CMOS AF with Face+Tracking and 3,869 points
  • Max continuous shooting rate: Viewfinder: 16ps, Live View: 20 fps with mirror locked up with exposure and AF tracking
  • Max video quality: 4K raw (5496x2904) at 23.98, 24, 25, 29.97, 50, 59.94fps, 4K DCI (17:9) 4096x2160 at 23.98, 24, 25, 29.97, 50, 59.94fps intra or inter frame
  • Viewfinder: Optical, pentaprism type with 100% coverage, 0.76x magnification and 20mm eyepoint
  • Screen: Fixed 3.2-inch / 8.01 cm TFT with 2,100,000 dots
  • Storage: Dual CFexpress 1.0 Type B
  • Dimensions (W x H x D): 158 x 167.6 x 82.6mm
  • Weight: 1250g body only

The Canon EOS-1D X Mark III is Canon’s flagship DSLR and its the best professional DSLR currently available.

Its AF system, which is designed with pro sports photographers in mind, is superb and the 1D X Mark III can shoot at up to 20fps to capture once in a lifetime moments.

Thanks to its 20.1Mp full-frame (36x24mm) CMOS sensor, which has a new High Detail Low-Pass Filter, and the Digic X (8) processing engine, the 1D X Mark II controls noise very well up to around ISO 51,200.

The EOS-1D X Mark III is also Canon’s most advanced interchangeable lens video camera outside the Cinema EOS series. It can shoot 4K 12-bit video with raw internal recording. It can even record raw and MP4 video simultaneously to two separate memory cards.

In addition, 4K video can be video can be oversampled at 5.5K (5472×2886) and recorded as 12-bit CRM files highly-detailed footage.

As a twin-gripped camera, the Canon EOS-1D X Mark III is big and heavy but it’s also very robust.

Find the latest deals on the Canon EOS-1D X Mark III at Amazon UK and Amazon US.

Price when reviewed
£6499
$6499
Check current price

For

  • 16/20fps continuous shooting with a massive burst depth
  • Excellent AF system
  • Great new Smart Controllers

Against

  • Huge price
  • Fixed screen is frustrating in Live View and video mode
  • Big and heavy

Best professional Canon camera for all-round photography

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

Canon 5D Mark IV front

Specification

  • Camera type: DSLR
  • Announced: 25th August 2016
  • Sensor: Full-frame (36 x 24mm) 30.4Mp CMOS
  • Processor: Digic 6+
  • Lens mount: Canon EF
  • Autofocus system: Viewfinder: 61 points with a maximum of 41 cross-type points including 5 dual cross type at f/2.8 and 61 points with 21 cross-type points at f/8, Live View: Dial Pixel CMOS AF
  • High-Speed Continuous Shooting Mode: 7fps
  • Low-Speed Continuous Shooting Mode: 3fps
  • Silent Continuous Shooting: Mirror raised slowly for less noise
  • Maximum video resolution: 4K (17:9) 4096 x 2160 at 29.97, 25, 24, 23.98 fps
  • Viewfinder: Pentaprism optical with 100% coverage
  • Screen: 3.2-inch Clear View LCD II with 1,620,000 dots
  • Storage: Dual: 1x CompactFlash and 1x SD/SDHC/SDXC
  • Dimensions: 150.7 x 116.4 x 75.9mm
  • Weight: 800g

Canon’s EOS 5D range of DSLRs has been popular with advanced enthusiasts and professionals looking for something which can cope well with a range of different subjects. The most recent in the line, the Mark IV, has a collection of useful features that make it well suited to demanding photographers.

While the 5D Mark III offered 22.3 million effective pixels, the Mark IV has 30.4 million, marking a significant jump up in resolution.

However, the inclusion of Digic 6+ processing technology enabled Canon to push the Mark IV’s native sensitivity range up from ISO 100-25,600 to ISO 100-32,000, with expansion settings taking this to ISO 50-102,400 – the same as the 5D Mark III. In video mode sensitivity can be set in the range ISO 100-102,400.

Interestingly, the Canon EOS 5D IV has dual processors, as the Digic 6+ unit is accompanied by a Digic 6 processor. The Digic 6 processor takes care of the exposure metering while the Digic 6+ engine takes care of image capture and processing.

It enables a maximum continuous shooting rate of 7fps (frames per second) with continuous autofocus and metering for up to 21 raw files or an unlimited number of jpegs. In live view mode the camera can shoot at up to 4.3fps.

Canon hasn’t given the 5D Mark IV more autofocus points than the 5D Mark III, but the 61 points are spread further up and down the frame. Also as before, there are 41 cross-type points; however, 21 of them are cross-type down to f/8 (rather than f/4).

There are also 5 dual cross-type points that are sensitive down to f/8 (with the 5D Mark III these are dual cross-type at f/2.8). The system also operates down to -3EV, 1EV darker conditions than the 5D Mark III’s system. This all adds up to make the Canon 5D Mark IV’s autofocus system more sensitive and better able to detect a subject.

Videographers have long enjoyed using the 5D range, and to that end, the Mark IV is capable of recording 4K video and has a range of useful video functions.

Find the latest deals on the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV at Amazon UK and Amazon US.

Price when reviewed
£1799
$2499
Check current price

For

  • 30Mp full-frame sensor
  • ISO 100-32000 (expands to 50-102400)

Against

  • Touchscreen is fixed
  • 4K video for internal recording only

Best professional Canon camera for price and reliability

Canon EOS R6

Canon EOS R6

Specification

  • Camera Type: Mirrorless
  • Announced: 9th July 2020
  • Sensor: 20Mp Full-frame Dual Pixel CMOS AF II
  • Processor: Digic X
  • Lens mount: RF
  • Sensitivity range: Stills: ISO 100-102,400 expandable to ISO 50-204,800, Movies: ISO 100-6,400, expandable to ISO 204,800
  • File formats: Raw + Jpeg/HEIF, MP4
  • Maximum continuous shooting rate: Mechanical shutter: 12fps, Electronic shutter: 20fps
  • Maximum video resolution: 4K video at up to 60fps, Full HD at up to 120fps. 4K video crop: 1.07x at 25p (1.19x with the Digital IS on), 1.52x at 60p
  • Autofocus system: Dual Pixel CMOS AF II phase detection with 6,072 points in stills and 4968 points in movie mode
  • Viewfinder: 0.5-inch 3.69million-dot OLED electronic viewfinder with 120fps refresh rate
  • Screen: 3-inch 1.62-million dot vari-angle touchscreen
  • Autofocus: Dual Pixel CMOS AF II with Advanced Animal AF (recognising dogs, cats and birds) supported in all video modes with 100% coverage and up to 1053 'AF segments'
  • Stabilisation: In-body image stabilisation (IBIS) that works with lens IS and enables up to 8-stops of shutter speed compensation
  • Storage: Dual slots, 2x SDXC UHS-II
  • Dimensions: 138.4 x 97.5 x 88.4mm
  • Weight: 598g / 680 g with card and battery

It may not have a class-leading resolution but the Canon EOS R6 is a phenomenally good stills camera. Its autofocus system is fantastic and it can keep track of fast subjects moving in random directions with ease, while shooting at 20 frames per second. In addition, the build quality and handling is extremely good, making it a delight to use.

Although it doesn’t have the class-leading video resolution of the Canon R5, the Canon EOS R6 is no slouch when it comes to video credentials.

It can record 4K (3840 x 2160) video at up to 59.94fps, however, there is a slight crop (1.07x) as only 94% of the horizontal area of the sensor is used. This 4K video is produced by oversampling from 5.1K for better quality.

At nearly half the price of its sibling, the EOS R5, the EOS R6 is a superb option for professionals in terms of its everyday capability and affordability. Buying an R6 would allow one to put some of that cost savings from an R5 towards one of the growing number of RF lenses.

Price when reviewed
£2500
€2899.99
Check current price

For

  • Similar 20Mp full-frame sensor to the Canon EOS 1D X Mark III
  • 12fps/20fps continuous shooting
  • Superb autofocus system

Against

  • Slight crop in 4K video mode
  • 6Mp lower resolution than the Canon EOS 6D Mark II
  • Serious heat generation issues with 4K video
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