Getting into professional photography is a dream for many, and requires the best cameras available on the market. Going with Canon is a great decision and ensures you have access to some of the best camera technology that is available today, with well built and durable gear. I can relate, I have two DSLR cameras and both are from Canon! That’s why I wanted to create this guide and try to find out what is the best Canon camera for professional photography in 2020.
Choosing you camera is no easy task. For pro photography, it requires a substantial financial investment and you need to know what to pay attention to in order to make a wise choice. In this guide, we will see what are the top 5 professional-class cameras by Canon and then discuss the different aspects and features to consider before buying.
No need to search and compare cameras forever, the best selection has already been done for you right on this page!
The 4 Best Canon Cameras for Professional Photography in 2020
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Digital SLR CameraOur Top Pick
Being the latest of Canon’s flagship 5D series, the 5D Mark IV really has quite a few reasons to get you excited! The improvements from the 5D Mark III are quite significant, and it’s definitely one of the best professional-class DSLR you can get today in 2018.
The good and recent DIGIC 6+ image processor brings very good performance on key features – a fast 7 fps continuous shooting mode (with excellent buffer speed), as well as a great 61 point autofocus system covering 80% of the frame and and capable of an efficient focus tracking for fast-moving subjects. You have everything you need to get that perfect 30 megapixel, sharp image in all situations.
In low light situation, the Canon 5D Mark IV also shines, with an ISO range from 100 to 32,000 and even 102,400 expanded, you greatly recude the risk of blurry images due to camera shake. The noise management has been improved from the Mark III.
The connectivity has been upgraded with NFC and Bluetooth available on top of the Wi-Fi; so was the screen with a 3.2″ clear touch screen, replacing a standard LCD.
Available at a mid-range price, this camera offers incredible performance and value for money, and for that reason it is my top pick.
- Type: DSLR (Full Frame)
- Weight: 798 g / 1.76 lbs
- Size: 15 x 7.6 x 11.7 cm / 5.9 x 3 x 4.6 in
- Sensor: 30.4 MP
- ISO: 100 – 102,400
- Continuous shooting: Up to 7 fps
- Video: 4K
- large image resolution
- Excellent autofocus system
- Wi-Fi, NFC, Bluetooth, GPS
- Good ISO performance
- Fast continuous shooting
- Touch screen
- The screen is fixed, not articulated
- The 4K video is cropped (1.74x crop factor)
Canon EOS-1DX Mark II DSLR Camera
The expensive Canon EOD-1D X Mark II is considered one of the best DSLRs in the world. Not everyone can afford it, but it does deliver exceptional performance.
This performance is made possible by the dual DIGIC 6+ image processors, resulting in fantastic image quality and high processing speed of the camera. The burst mode is amazing, as the camera is able to capture up to 170 RAW, full resolution images at a rate of 16 frames per second.
The autofocus system is no less impressive, with 61 AF points including 41 cross-type points. Any time of photography you are doing, including challenging fast-moving scenes, are a piece of cake for this camera and inevitably give very sharp and beautiful pictures. Lowlight conditions are not problem either, with an ISO sensibility up to an incredible 409,600.
Video is the best you can get, with a 4K capture at 60 frames per second, with once again a great continuous autofocus.
Clearly, the Canon EOS 1DX Mark II is the camera with the absolute best performance in this list, but comes at a high price. If you have the budget, this is the one you should get for professional photography!
- Type: DSLR (Full Frame)
- Weight: 1.5 kg / 3.37 lbs
- Size: 15.8 x 16.7 x 8.3 cm / 6.2 x 6.6 x 3.3 in
- Sensor: 20.2 Mpx full frame
- ISO: 50 – 409600
- Continuous shooting: Up to 170 RAWs at 16 fps in live view
- Video: 4K at 60 fps
- High performance autofocus
- Amazing ISO range and noise control
- Solid continuous shooting mode
- Dual DIGIC 6+ processor
- 4K video at 60 fps
- Quite heavy and bulky
Canon EOS 6D Mark II Digital SLR Camera
The Canon EOS 6D has long been the best choice for people getting into full frame DSLR cameras and professional-grade photography without having to invest $6000 in their gear. I know what I’m talking about, I have one! The 6D Mark II is logically taking over the 6D, with a few improvements.
Apart from going from 20 to 26 megapixels, an important improvement is to be found in the autofocus system, which is much more advanced on the 6D Mark II with 45 AF points, instead of 11 for the 6D. If you are into a demanding type of photography like wildlife or sports, it can be a game changer.
The 6D Mark II is generally faster, and offers NFC and Bluetooth wireless connectivity, not available on the 6D, even though both have Wi-Fi. The screen is also totally different – the 6D Mark II has a great articulated touch screen that is a real improvement from the fixed, basic LCD of the 6D.
This camera has a very good viewfinder that will let you frame your pictures effortlessly even in full sun, and a built-in GPS, that I find particularly useful when I am out in the wild – I love looking back at where I shot my pictures later on Google Earth!
Overall, the Canon 6D Mark II is a very good camera and a pretty affordable one given its specifications, highly recommended if you can’t afford the more expensive DSLRs.
- Type: DSLR (Full Frame)
- Weight: 767 g / 1.69 lbs
- Size: 14.5 x 7.4 x 11.2 cm / 5.7 x 2.9 x 4.4 in
- Resolution: 26.2 MP
- ISO: 50 – 102,400
- Continuous shooting: Up to 6.5 fps
- Video: HD 1080p at 60 fps
- Adavnced autofocus system
- Recent DIGIC 7 image processor
- Wi-Fi, NFC and Bluetooth connectivity
- Broad ISO range
- Good continuous shooting performance
- Articulated touch screen
- No 4K video
- The weather sealing is present but not as good as on higher-end cameras
Canon EOS 5DS R Digital SLR Camera
That’s another advanced DSLR camera that exist in two version: the 5DS and the 5DS R. They are exactly the same except for one difference: the 5DS R has a self-cancelling low-pass filter whereas the 5DS does have this filter.
The low pass filter’s function is to eliminate the moiré effect (strange color effects on repetitive patterns), at the cost of lowering detail sharpness. This cost is not acceptable for many (for example landscape photographers who will never have to deal with moiré anyway…) and camera brands offer more and more DSLRs without this filter or with a self-cancelling filter.
The first thing that catches the attention with this camera is the ultra high resolution of 50 megapixels and the great autofocus system with 61 AF points – 41 cross-type, that ensure razor sharp images.
Another interesting feature is being able to choose to either stay in full frame format, or apply a crop factor (1.3x or 1.6x) to your images – giving you the equivalent of and APS-H and APS-C sensor. This is great when you are using a telephoto lens and need to zoom even more. The original reolution of 50 MP is so high that you can crop to an APS-C size and still get very large and beautiful pictures.
The continuous shooting mode is good at 5 fps and the video is good in full HD, but no 4K.
The Canon 5DS R is another very solid option if you want to shoot professional photography.
- Type: DSLR (Full Frame)
- Weight: 930 g / 2.05 lbs
- Size: 7.6 x 15.2 x 11.6 cm / 2.99 x 5.98 x 4.57 in
- Sensor: 50.6 MP
- ISO: 50 – 12800 in extended mode
- Continuous shooting: Up to 5 fps
- Video: Full HD 1080p at 30 fps
- Excellent autofocus
- Ultra high resolution
- Good continuous shooting mode
- Sensor crop modes
- Low pass filter cancellation
- No 4K video
- No in-built Wi-Fi (needs a WE-1 Wi-Fi card, sold separately)
- The ISO range is somewhat limited
Frequently Asked Questions
What are Important Factors to Consider Before Buying?
There are many great cameras on the market today, but if you want the best Canon camera for professional photography you need to select cameras with top-notch performance that will shoot outstanding images no matter how challenging the conditions. In order to gauge these performances, there are a few things you need to pay attention to.
Price: Let’s evacuate this one straight away. You can see that most cameras are around the $3000 mark, with one exception costing $6000. Yes, the $6000 camera will give you the most impressive performances; but no, you don’t absolutely need that one to shoot professional-class photography. All cameras in this list have the potential to do so. The Canon 6D is on the lower end of the spectrum but still capable of very good performance.
Resolution: In this price range, cameras all have a good resolution of at least 20 megapixels. Ultra high resolution is a plus, but not really compulsory.
Image processor: This is a pretty important factor, since the quality of the processor (and how recent it is) has a direct impact on the camera’s performance. The image processor is responsible for a lot of things: buffering speed, image quality, good noise control on high ISO images, continuous shooting… Basically, the more recent the processor, the better. The difference between an older and newer processor is really quite significant.
ISO range: Professional DSLR cameras usually have a quite impressive ISO range. This is great in low light condition, as you can increase the ISO sensibility as much as you need to keep a reasonably fast shutter speed, and avoid blurry pictures because of camera shake. This is where a good processor is important. High ISO typically means more noise in the image, and you need a camera able to keep this noise at the lowest amount possible.
Size & weight: These high-end DSLR cameras are all quite big and heavy. However, the difference in weight can be quite big from a model to another, and if you are going to shoot while travelling or hiking needing to carry the camera around, it can be a factor to consider.
Continuous shooting / burst mode: This is important to you if you are going to shoot a lot of fast-moving scenes, such as sports or wildlife. The more frames per second the better, to increase the chance to get the perfect shot you are looking for. But honestly, all 5 cameras listed here have a more than decent continuous shooting capacity that is good enough for most cases.
Video: All cameras on this page capture at least full HD video, which is a minimum at this price point… Depending on if video is important to you or not, you may take in consideration if the camera is able to shoot 4K video, which is the new norm in 2018 (or at least cropped 4k, still better than full HD).
Wireless connectivity & GPS: This is a bit of a gadger for some, important for others. It all goes down to personal habits. If connecting your camera to your phone and other devices is important to you, make sure the camera has Wi-Fi, NFC, Bluetooth… Some cameras don’t have built-in Wi-Fi but are compatible with Wi-Fi cards you can buy separately.
Built-in GPS is a feature I really love because I often shoot in the wild, and I can tell you that it’s very precise. Again, it may or may not be useful to you depending on what you shoot.
Weather sealing: I haven’t really mentionned it so far, but all cameras here are weather-sealed. That said, usually the more expensive the camera the better sealed it is. My Canon 6D is also supposed to be weather-sealed, but I can tell you that in really extreme conditions it is definitely impacted by humidity and buttons don’t function normally (and it goes back to normal once the camera is dry). If you shoot in the wild, this can be a limitation to take in consideration.
Screen: I don’t think this should be a definitive decision factor, but for sure an articulated and/or touch screen is a nice feature to have.
Are Lenses Included in The Options Listed Here?
No. We are dealing here with professional cameras and I definitely won’t recommend any random kit lens. I give you links to camera bodies, and you can choose the best lenses that are adapted to your photography goals separately.
What’s a Cross-Type Autofocus Point?
You may have noticed that in the camera descriptions I sometimes refer to autofocus points and cross-type points. Simply explained, cross-type points are the most capable AF points. In fact, autofocus points typically focus well on horizontal lines, but struggle more with vertical lines. Cross-type points can focus equally well and equally fast on both vertical and horizontal shapes, and result in a very precise, sharp focusing no matter what you are trying to focus on.
Why Are There Only DSLRs in Your Selection?
Mirrorless cameras take excellent pictures. But here, we are talking about top-notch, extremely high quality professional images. DSLR cameras still have the edge.
How Did You Choose Your Top Pick?
My top pick is the best value for money. If money isn’t a problem and you want the absolute best, get the 1DX Mark II. If you are looking for a highly capable camera at a good, mid-range price, I believe that the 5D Mark IV is the best option today in all Canon cameras when it comes to professional-grade photography.
Professional photography is demanding and requires outstanding cameras, capable of delivering the best performance possible. The 5 cameras on this page are the best Canon cameras for professional photography you can find today in 2020. I hope this guide was valuable to you and helped you see clearer the options you have to choose the best camera that is adapted to your needs and budget.
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