Which are the best Canon cameras for video? Shooting video used to require a dedicated cine camera, but all the models in the current Canon EOS and PowerShot ranges can now shoot high-quality movies as well as top-notch stills. Consequently, more photographers are discovering how easy it is to enhance their storytelling with great video, while videographers are finding new ways to shoot more creative footage with DSLR, mirrorless and compact cameras as B-cams.
Here we look at the best Canon cameras to use for shooting different types of video, calling on the expertise of Mike Burnhill, Canon Europe's Professional Imaging Product Specialist, as well as the experiences of Canon shooters.
"There is a lot to think about when you're selecting a camera, but the first consideration should be how you intend to use the video," says Mike. "For instance, the Canon EOS R5's 8K capability may grab your attention but it's important to remember that this will affect your memory card selection, video processing and file storage. In fact, if you're only planning to produce short video clips for social media, 4K video may be more than enough. However, shooting in high resolution brings scope for cropping down to Full HD to create alternative framing in processing, which means you only need to shoot everything once.
"If you're an experienced videographer, the ability to shoot in Canon Log is also very appealing because it produces files that are perfect for post-capture grading and can be matched in with clips from other cameras, including the Cinema EOS range," Mike continues. "But if you're just getting started, or you need to work quickly, you may be more interested in what the camera produces with an in-camera Picture Style."
With these points in mind, here are the best Canon DSLR, mirrorless and compact cameras for video, whether you're a stills photographer looking to branch out into moving image, you're a filmmaker or videographer looking for a second camera, or you're new to shooting films.
Best full-frame DSLR for experienced videographers
The Canon EOS 5D Mark II was the first Canon EOS camera that could shoot video. Its successor, the Canon EOS 5D Mark III, was capable of capturing high-quality Full HD movies and added a range of video functions, including compression options. "Everyone loved the EOS 5D Mark III, and the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV handles in just the same way – but everything inside is improved," explains Mike. "The addition of Dual Pixel AF had a huge impact, getting the subject sharp and making the most of the resolution."
Before the launch of the full-frame mirrorless Canon EOS R5 (which he has since worked with frequently, including to shoot the above atmospheric video short of rain on leaves), photographer and filmmaker Clive Booth used the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV almost exclusively for both stills and video. "It's a phenomenal workhorse of a DSLR," he says. "I've even used it at sea while working with the Royal National Lifeboat Institution. At one point it got drenched by a wave, but I just wiped it down and rinsed the salt off under a tap at the lifeboat station. It's still working to this day."
Best DSLR for video shoots in tough conditions
The EF-mount Canon EOS-1D X Mark III is Canon's flagship DSLR, designed to withstand the rigours of professional news or sports photography, and versatile enough to fit in to virtually any video workflow. "When it comes to shooting video, the 20MP Canon EOS-1D X Mark III is a formidable machine, and robust enough to cope with the toughest conditions," says Mike. "The ability to shoot 5.5K 12-bit RAW movies is one of the Canon EOS-1D X Mark III's key video features. You get all the benefit of the full-frame sensor's incredible dynamic range, which means it's perfect for harsh lighting conditions where there are bright highlights and dark shadows. It also has two deep grips, so it balances long telephoto lenses very well."
The Canon EOS-1D X Mark III has an incredible 191-point autofocus system for when you're using the viewfinder, and the 3,869-point Dual Pixel CMOS AF system with Face + tracking for when you're shooting video. "Basically, if you're a professional and you only have one chance to get the shot, the Canon EOS-1D X Mark III is the camera you want," says Mike.
Best camera for detail resolution
Both the Canon EOS R5 and the EOS R6 (best all-rounder, below) are built around Canon's groundbreaking RF mount, but thanks to a range of EF-EOS R Mount Adapters are fully compatible with Canon EF or EF-S lenses. The Drop-In Filter Mount Adapter EF-EOS R adds the ability to use drop-in filters, which is ideal for wide-angle lenses and saves swapping filters between optics.
Muhammed Muheisen is a photojournalist who has twice won a Pulitzer Prize, and is currently based in Greece. Similarly to Clive, until recently Muhammed routinely shot with two Canon EOS 5D Mark IV cameras, one set up for stills and the other for video. He had reservations about switching to the Canon EOS R5, but says he has adapted quickly. "It's two cameras in one," he explains. "The 8K capability is a revolution – I can shoot video and extract 35MP images."
Muhammed also appreciates the camera's small size, which means he can work without drawing attention to himself. "The camera doesn't intimidate anyone, so I can shoot unnoticed. It makes my life easier and there's no sacrifice in image quality." He shot the above video clip using the Canon EOS R5.
"Shooting in 8K gives lots of scope for post-capture cropping of video and stills," adds Mike. "Alternatively, you can use 4K HQ mode to create 4K footage with incredible detail."
Best camera for low light
With extra-wide dynamic range thanks to Canon Log, combination IS, 4K video at up to 60p, and support for 10-bit YCbCr 4:2:2 internal recording, the Canon EOS R6 is a versatile filmmaking tool. Like the Canon EOS R5, it has a vari-angle touchscreen. "Although some filmmakers may prefer to connect to an external monitor, the vari-angle screen is incredibly useful," says Clive. "It means you can keep the kit small and light. I use it all the time. The ability to move focus with a tap on the screen makes the camera intuitive, and being able to change the speed of focus adjustment via the menu ensures that you get the look you want in your movies."
Another key feature of the Canon EOS R6 is that it has the same 20MP full-frame sensor as the EOS-1D X Mark III. "Its low-light performance is excellent," says Mike. "In addition, like the EOS R5, it has an In-body Image Stabilization (IBIS) system which works with the optical IS in a compatible lens to deliver smooth handheld footage with up to 8EV shutter speed compensation. A third system – Movie Digital IS – adds another layer of stabilisation for professional-looking results."
Best APS-C sensor camera for video
The Canon EOS 90D is built around a 32.5MP APS-C CMOS sensor. "Although a lot of people are drawn to the idea of the shallow depth of field you can get with a full-frame camera such as the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV, EOS-1D X Mark III, EOS R5 and EOS R6, the majority of what we see on TV and in cinemas is filmed in Super 35 format, which is similar in size to APS-C," says Mike. "The smaller sensor can also enable the background to be blurred but the focusing isn't quite so critical. That said, the Canon EOS 90D has Dual Pixel AF focusing which ensures the subject is sharp in videos."
As with the Canon EOS R5 and R6, Mike agrees that the Canon EOS 90D's vari-angle touchscreen is a major bonus for videographers. "It's perfect for low or high-level shooting and you can pull the focus with a tap on the screen, which avoids wobble or unwanted sounds."
Best small mirrorless camera
Take a look at its specification list and you'll see that the Canon EOS M6 Mark II is essentially a mirrorless version of the Canon EOS 90D. It shares much of the same technology including the 32.5MP sensor. It doesn't have a built-in viewfinder, but it is compatible with the EVF-DC2 electronic viewfinder.
"The EOS M6 Mark II is a great choice if you want a camera that's smaller than the EOS 90D," explains Mike. "Also, superb noise control at high ISO settings combined with the Dual Pixel CMOS AF, which can focus the lens when you can hardly see the subject, makes it great for low-light conditions.
"As well as 4K up to 30p, the Canon EOS M6 Mark II can shoot Full HD video up to 120p, which is good news for anyone wanting to create dramatic slow-motion clips of fast action."
Best camera for vlogging
Vlogging often involves holding the camera at arm's length, so ideally you want something small and light. "The 24MP APS-C format Canon EOS M50 weighs just 390g but it has both a built-in viewfinder and a vari-angle touchscreen," says Mike. "That flip-around screen is essential for vloggers, and the Canon EF-M 11-22mm f/4-5.6 IS STM lens makes a perfect partner when shooting at arm's length. It is stabilised and has an STM (stepping motor) focusing system to avoid any unwanted sound. Despite its small size, the Canon EOS M50 has an external mic port, which means you can record high-quality audio when you're ready to take the next step.
"The EF-M lenses are all small, so you can swap between them and still have a compact system, but you can also use the Canon Mount Adaptor EF-EOS M to attach any EF lens to your EOS M camera with no loss in quality or speed," Mike adds. "The Canon EOS M50 also features a Guided mode, which means it's a great camera for novices. More experienced users can use the Standard mode."
Best camera for live streaming
The PowerShot G7 X Mark III is the only compact (non-interchangeable lens) camera in our list but it's a popular choice among vloggers, especially those who want to live stream to YouTube. It's a step up from a smartphone in terms of control and quality.
"The 20MP one-inch type stacked CMOS sensor is significantly bigger than the sensor you get in the average phone," explains Mike. "And the lens, which has an effective focal length of 24-100mm, is very versatile, suitable for shooting everything from landscapes to portraits. Plus, at f/1.8-2.8, the aperture is large enough to enable you to blur the background if you want."