One of the most common questions I’m asked is about which camera to buy. Whether you’re just starting out or upgrading, there are so many kinds and it can be really hard to narrow down the best one for your needs. Want a new camera for the holidays but not sure which one will best fit your needs?

Choosing the best camera

I’ve used a variety of Canon cameras through the years, and had a number of upgrades so I can give you a very good idea of which camera will work best for your situation. Though I’ve partnered with Canon to sponsor this post, these opinions are all my own.

I’m going to break it down based on size and type of camera and work my way from smallest to largest. I’ll also share photos I’ve taken with each camera so you can get an idea of what they can do.

Ok here we go!

Canon Powershot G7X Mark ii

Choosing a dslr camera

Handy, easy, and great for video.

This is my smallest camera. When people ask me for a video recorder recommendation I throw this out first. You CAN use it to take photos but I use it almost exclusively for video. You don’t have to mess with changing lenses and it works great in low light. Great for shooting travel videos when you’re walking and talking. I used this for vlogging when I went to Israel and I still use this one the most for our cheer vlogs and home videos. I even used it for both pictures and video when we did our obstacle challenge.

Good idea to grab an extra battery cause if you’re recording a lot of video you’ll want to have a backup so you don’t miss a moment.

Since it doesn’t have interchangeable lenses, the zoom quality isn’t the best. If you want something that’s more versatile for both video and images I’d recommend one of the next cameras.

Mirrorless Cameras

Choosing a mirrorless camera

Great for video and pictures. Very small and light (compared to DSLRs). Wonderful for traveling. Have small interchangeable lenses that fit. You can use lenses from your DSLR camera if you have the appropriate converter mount.

Canon EOS M5 and EOS M6

I’m combining these two cameras because they are very similar but there are slight differences that may make you prefer one over the other. Both are mirrorless cameras and they’re much smaller than the DSLR cameras you’re familiar with (like the Canon Rebel). They have interchangeable lenses made especially for these cameras. They’re much smaller, lighter and dare I say cuter.

The only downside I find is that there are less lens options than with a DSLR, but you can use a mount to convert your DSLR lenses to fit, and the main kit lens has worked great for me. The EOS M6 was the only camera I took on my last trip to Disney World.

They both have external microphone plugs so you can connect a microphone if you want better sound (though I’ve always used the internal mic just fine). And they both have wifi so you can easily transfer images to your phone and share online. The EOS M5 has a viewfinder so if you want to look through that to snap the image, instead of just on the screen on the back of the camera (called the LCD).

If you want to take selfies with it, or record yourself in vlogs, the screen flips down so you can see yourself. On the EOS M6 the LCD flips up, and it doesn’t have a viewfinder. I personally prefer the screen going up, it makes it easier for me to hold and easier to connect to tripods.

Canon EOS M50

This is another mirrorless camera similar to the last two I mentioned but has a few major extras that give it a leg up. It can shoot in 4k which is becoming a very popular resolution to watch on our TVs. The screen swings out to the side instead of up or down. It has a viewfinder for getting that shot just right. I also like that it’s easy enough to hand off to someone to snap a picture for you.

If you’re looking for a smaller camera to mostly shoot video with but also occasionally take really nice photos I’d recommend this camera. Absolutely great for vloggers and bloggers just getting going with photography but mostly want to focus on video. And parents who want a handy camera to toss in a small bag and use record lots of video of their kids or take pictures when you’re out and about.

It’s a step up from a point and shoot camera but leaps and bounds above a cellphone camera. But if you’re wanting to really dive into photography you’re probably going to want more lens options so I’d recommend you keep reading on to some of the following cameras.

Canon EOS R

This is Canon’s newest mirrorless camera (I’m talking brand new, just released as of when this blog was written) and some of the biggest differences between this and the others I’ve mentioned is the fact that this larger and is a full-frame camera instead of a crop sensor. In English this means you’ll get a lot more room with your lenses. If you feel crunched in your home, or like you can’t seem to get far back enough to take a picture with your favorite lens, you’ll find you’ll get a lot more room to work with on a full frame camera.

This is a big step up from the previous camera and great if you’re wanting more professional quality gear. That larger sensor is going to allow you to take higher quality images, especially in darker situations. The ISO goes up to 40,000 vs 25,600 on the M50 (read my post here for more info on what that means). Video also shoots in 4k.

Another great perk is this new camera also comes with a handful of new lenses. And if you already have Canon lenses you can use those on it with an adapter. If you’re just starting out and wanting to tiptoe into great photography with lots of lens options I’d recommend you consider one of the next two cameras.

 

DSLR Crop Sensor Cameras

Choosing a dslr camera

These are the cameras you’re probably most used to seeing around. When it comes to pictures, I love these cameras. When it comes to video, I love these cameras. I tend to use these most for everyday pictures of my kids and creative blog projects. They have a HUGE selection of lenses that allows for a lot of creativity in the types of looks you want to go for. Make sure you check out my post on choosing the best DSLR lens after finishing this section.

Crop sensor DSLRs are more affordable cameras than the full-frames I’ll mention next.

Canon EOS Rebel T7i

The Canon Rebel was my first DSLR camera and is still the camera I recommend to bloggers and moms dipping their toes into photography with hopes to dive in. They’re the lightest of the DSLRs and they’re programed to be so user-friendly with Feature Assist, so it’s really easy to start learning the different modes and how to work a camera that could otherwise seem intimidating. It has a full articulated touch LCD and you can autofocus and track focus in video mode by just touching the screen.

How to take forced perspective photos, fun creative photography with kids.

I can’t say enough good things about this camera. The great thing is as you grow as a photographer and decide to upgrade your lenses down the road, you EF lenses can still be used on any other Canon DSLR you get.

canon rebel t7i example

Canon EOS 80D

This camera is a little step up from the Canon Rebel. Aside from size, the main difference is this camera is weather sealed and more durable, and you can shoot at a much higher shutter speed (max 1/8000 sec) so if you want the ability to freeze something moving really fast while still blurring out the background on a sunny day, this would help.

This camera also has a headphone jack in addition to an external mic jack. This can come in handy if you’re recording a lot of external audio and want to be able to listen to the quality as you’re recording. I really love this camera for video as you can really make your backgrounds disappear and focus in on your subject.

Unschooling a 3 year old

 

DSLR Full Frame Cameras

Choosing a dslr camera

Ok now we’re rounding out the DSLRs with the full frame options. Like mentioned above with the mirrorless cameras, the full frame cameras don’t crop out as much of the image you’re shooting. This gives you more room to work with in tighter spaces. These also are great if you’re wanting to do a lot of wide angle photography, landscapes, or buildings since you’ll be able to use a wide angle lens to its true focal length.

The sensors are larger which also means you’ll usually have better shooting capabilities in darker rooms with less light.

Canon EOS 6D Mark II

I don’t like saying this in front of my other cameras but this is probably my favorite. It used to be my second favorite but lately it’s moved into first place because of the fully articulated touch screen. I use this for all of Lee Lee’s weekly baby updates and previously used it for all of my stop motion pregnancy bumpdates.

If you’ve been using a crop sensor DSLR for a while and feel like you’re ready for another step up, this camera is an excellent option. Great in low light, captures video beautifully and has an external microphone jack to take your video quality up a notch. It’s also a little lighter and more affordable than the last camera I’ll mention.

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

When I am looking for my go-to camera for pictures I’ll usually reach for this one first. It’s fast, and I’m most comfortable with it. I know I’ll get a high-quality image that I could potentially print really large. All of the other cameras I’ve mentioned will produce great prints too, but you know, in case I want to blow something up for a billboard some day.

I also love that it has a compact flash card slot because those cards can save and preview my super large images super fast saving. It’s more durable, has a larger LCD (though it doesn’t flip out) and it can shoot video in 4k.

If you need to shoot in darker situations a lot and need something that works great in low light, want something with all the bells and whistles for photography, shoots 4k video this is a great option. If you want to get in front of this camera you can always use its wifi to connect to your phone and remotely control it that way (as with all the other cameras I’ve mentioned today).

So there you have it. Any questions?

Here’s a cheat sheet. You can download it here.

How to choose the best camera for you

Which one are you gonna get?

 


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Josephine says:

Thanks so much, Jennifer for sharing your opinions on these cameras. I was looking to get a decent camera for the holidays and this article is really helpful. You have a very beautiful family.
Josephine recently posted..Best Binoculars for Wildlife Viewing and Safari TravelMy Profile

Jennifer says:

I’m so glad you found this helpful Josephine! Let us know what you wind up choosing!

Liz says:

@CanonUSA on Instagram brought me to your wonderful blog. This one in particular. Thank you for sharing! I am a beginner in photography and decided to purchase my 1st DSLR camera. I am leaning more into the Canon 6D Mark II, what are your recommendations on lenses?

-Liz Diaz

Thank you

Jennifer says:

Hi Liz! So glad you found me here! I don’t think you can go wrong with the 6D Mark ii. I LOVE that camera. If you want a camera that gives more guidance within the camera a Rebel is a great option. I have LOTS of lens recommendations! You can see them here: https://cherish365.com/2017/07/how-to-choose-your-next-best-camera-lens-canon.html

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Hi! I’m Jennifer Borget



I'm a part-time journalist, full-time wife and mother striving to make the world a better place and inspiring others to do the same. This is the space where I share my journey in making the most of every day.

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