5 Best Canon Cameras For Beginners (and 3 you should avoid)

Canon is the largest camera manufacturer in the world and has a huge range of cameras and lenses from beginner to pro. So if you’re a beginner then Canon cameras are a great place to start. But with a number of quality cameras, the choice can be difficult, especially without a lot of experience.

If you’re looking for a quick recommendation, the best Canon camera for beginners is the Canon EOS R50.

In fact, it compares well among the best cameras for beginners.

But depending on your specific needs, there are a few others you may want to consider, and a couple that I wouldn’t recommend. After using these cameras and teaching many beginners, here’s a full breakdown of the best Canon cameras for beginners…

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Top Pick

Canon EOS R50

The Canon R50 is an excellent entry-level Canon camera that’s affordable and a great way to get started with Canon’s Mirrorless RF Mount lens system and a great value.

The Canon EOS R50 is the perfect Canon camera for a beginner. It’s affordable, has a great feature set, is simple to use, and allows you to build up an RF system lens collection to match your skills as you improve.

Canon EOS R50 Tech Specifications

  • Lens Mount: Canon RF
  • Megapixels: 24.2
  • Sensor Size: APS-C (1.6x crop) CMOS
  • ISO Range: 100-32,000 (exp to 51,200)
  • AF Points: Dual Pixel CMOS AF II (100% coverage)
  • Continuous shooting speed: 12fps (15fps w/ electronic shutter)
  • Stabilization: None
  • Viewfinder: EVF, 2.36m dots, 60fps refresh rate, 0.95x magnification
  • LCD: Fully Articulated 3-inch touch screen, 1.62m dots
  • Max video resolution: 4K video up to 30p (no crop)
  • Memory Card: 1 slot (SD/SDHC/SDXC UHS-I)
  • Dimensions: (W x H x D): 116 x 86 x 69 mm (4.57 x 3.39 x 2.72″)
  • Weight: 375g

The R50 is the camera I would recommend to beginners because it’s a great entry point to the Canon Mirrorless RF system. I wouldn’t buy a DSLR anymore because all of Canon’s newest gear is going to be part of the mirrorless system.

But it’s not the top pick just because it’s a mirrorless camera.

The R50 does a great job of combining a small and lightweight body with some solid ergonomics that Canon DSLR users will be used to. It’s basically a scaled-down version of a bigger Canon camera (which is a good thing).

But there’s more than just the small and well made body that makes this perfect for beginners.

It also has all the features that a beginner would need.

It has the same Dual Pixel CMOS AF II focusing system as the high-end Canon cameras. That means game changing features like eye autofocus for people and animals. If you’ve never shot a portrait with eye AF then you’ll be amazed how easy it is to get the eyes in sharp focus.

There are some negatives, though.

Because this is a crop sensor camera and has a less expensive sensor, the low light performance and dynamic range aren’t as good as the more expensive full-frame cameras. Of course, this is expected given the price difference.

If you want a camera that works great in low-light situations like indoor parties, natural light portraits after sunset, or evening street photography, then check out the full-frame RF below.

This camera will allow you to try a wide range of photography (depending on which lenses you pair with it of course) so you can figure out what you love shooting.

If you choose this lens then be sure to check out my breakdown of the best lenses for the Canon R50.

Budget Pick

Canon EOS R100

Canon recently introduced this excellent entry-level mirrorless camera that is perfect for beginners on a budget that want to get into the Canon RF lens system.

The Canon R100 is the newest entry-level APS-C (crop sensor) mirrorless camera from Canon. It is a great entry point into the Canon RF system and an affordable way for a beginner to get started learning photography.

Canon EOS R100 Tech Specifications

  • Lens Mount: Canon RF
  • Megapixels: 24.1
  • Sensor Size: APS-C (1.6x crop) CMOS
  • ISO Range: 100-12,800 (exp to 25,600)
  • AF Points: Dual Pixel CMOS AF (88% coverage)
  • Continuous shooting speed: 6.5fps (3.5fps with AF)
  • Stabilization: None
  • Viewfinder: EVF, 2.36m dots, 60fps refresh rate, 0.95x magnification
  • LCD: Fixed 3-inch (non-touch) screen, 1.04m dots
  • Max video resolution: 4K up to 25p (1.55x crop), 1080p up to 60p (uncropped), 720p up to 120p
  • Memory Card: 1 slot (SD/SDHC/SDXC UHS-I)
  • Dimensions: (W x H x D): 116.3 x 88.1 x 58.7mm
  • Weight: 356g with battery and memory card

The biggest draw for this camera is the price. As a beginner, you should be looking for the least expensive entry point into a good camera system and spend your budget on quality lenses. It’s easy to upgrade your camera as your skills outpace the functionality of the camera.

An important feature that is missing is a tracking focus mode. That’s when you have a focus point that you put over an object, press a button, and the camera tracks that object. This is essential for shooting moving subjects like wildlife, sports, or even just kids playing. Although for that last one, you can probably just use the eye AF tracking, which this camera does have (but it’s not quite as good as the R50 above).

Really, the best part of this camera is the price. It’s one of the lowest-priced mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras on the market. So at that price level, it’s hard to criticize Canon for the feature shortcomings.

But ultimately, if you can afford the extra cash for the R50, I think that is a much better option for beginners.

For Fast Action

Canon EOS R10

The R10 is a crop sensor camera that is great for beginners that want a little more features than an entry level camera.

If you have the budget for it and want a camera that is great for a beginner that you won’t outgrow as quickly then the Canon EOS R10 is an excellent choice.

Canon EOS R10 Tech Specifications

  • Lens Mount: Canon RF
  • Megapixels: 24.2
  • Sensor Size: APS-C (1.6x crop) CMOS
  • ISO Range: 100-32,000 (exp to 51,200)
  • AF Points: Dual Pixel CMOS AF II (100% coverage)
  • Continuous shooting speed: 15fps (23fps w/ electronic shutter)
  • Stabilization: None
  • Viewfinder: EVF, 2.36m dots, 120fps refresh rate, 0.95x magnification
  • LCD: Fully Articulated 3-inch touch screen, 1.04m dots
  • Max video resolution: 4K 60p, 4K 30p (oversampled 6K), 1080p 120p
  • Memory Card: 1 slot (SD/SDHC/SDXC UHS-II)
  • Dimensions: (W x H x D): 123 x 88 x 83 mm (4.84 x 3.46 x 3.27″)
  • Weight: 426g

This camera comes in at under $1000 for the body which is pretty good for a camera that has a lot of higher end features.

I would consider this a bit more of an intermediate crop sensor camera. You’ll get faster frame rates and a more professional user experience with this compared to the R50.

They are similar in specs but the R10 has more physical buttons and dials which may not seem important but as you shoot more, you’ll really appreciate being able to change your settings quickly on the fly without having to use the touch screen or menu functions.

The more that you can adjust using physical buttons and dials, the faster you can get back to shooting. This means less missed shots and typically better results.

The R10 also outperforms the R50 a bit when it comes to video, letting you shoot 4k video up to 60p compared to the 30p of the R50. It also will let you record a little longer at the highest resolution compared to the R50.

Overall, you’re looking at a decent upgrade in all aspects compared to the R50 but that also means the R10 costs about $300-400 more than the R50. So if you have the budget and want a camera that you won’t outgrow as fast, then this might be the right camera for you.

Best Full Frame

Canon EOS RP

This is the Canon camera I would recommend to beginner photographers if they know they’ll be shooting a lot in low-light situations and absolutely need the full-frame sensor.

The Canon EOS RP is one of the best “entry-level” full-frame cameras you can find. But the real question is whether you really need a full-frame camera as a beginner.

Canon EOS RP Tech Specifications

  • Lens Mount: Canon RF
  • Megapixels: 26.2
  • Sensor Size: Full-Frame Dual Pixel CMOS
  • ISO Range: 100-40,00 (exp to 50-102,400)
  • AF Points: Dual Pixel CMOS AF (88% coverage horizontally and 100% vertically)
  • Continuous shooting speed: 4 fps with continuous AF (5 without)
  • Stabilization: None
  • Viewfinder: EVF, 2.36m dots, 60fps refresh rate, 0.7x magnification
  • LCD: Fully Articulated 3-inch touch screen, 1.04m dots
  • Max video resolution: 4K up to 24p, 1080p up to 60p
  • Memory Card: 1 slot (SD/SDHC/SDXC UHS-II)
  • Dimensions: (W x H x D): 133 x 85 x 70 mm (5.24 x 3.35 x 2.76″)
  • Weight: 485g

If you don’t know what “full-frame” in a camera means then you’re probably not going to benefit from spending the extra money for this camera.

Now that we get that out of the way, let’s talk about why this is the best full-frame Canon camera for beginners.

As a beginner, it’s important to realize that most of your budget should be spent on lenses rather than camera bodies. You can get a lot farther by investing in high quality glass that is suited for the type of photos that you want to shoot rather than expensive cameras.

But there are some drawbacks.

Yes, the full frame sensor may give you better image quality than the crop sensor options above, but you’re only getting 4 frames per second burst shooting and a max of 24p when shooting 4k video.

If you know you’ll be shooting a lot of portraits or shooting in low light and don’t need a fast burst rate, then going full frame with the RP could work out well for you.

This isn’t necessarily the first camera I would recommend for beginners as it really is a professional-level camera, but if you’re not worried about budget and want a full-frame camera for improved low-light performance, then this would be a great option.

Best Point and Shoot

PowerShot SX740 HS

If you are looking for the most compact option that still has manual controls and will allow you to learn photography, this is a good option but you would probably be better off with any of the other options here.

I’ve included the Powershot SX740 HS here at the end because I know some of you aren’t ready to take the plunge into the world of interchangeable lens cameras but still want to learn the fundamentals of photography.

There are some point-and-shoots in the Canon lineup, that don’t have full manual control. Thankfully, this isn’t one of them, which makes it an excellent choice for beginners to learn with.

A major downside to going with a camera like this is that it shoots in JPEG only. Shooting in RAW makes a huge difference in the quality of your images and also gives you more adjustment range when you are editing your photos. You won’t get these benefits if you’re shooting in JPEG.

Overall, if compact size and not having to deal with separate lenses are important, then this is the Canon camera for you.

Canon Cameras For Beginners To Avoid

All Of The DSLRs (Like the Rebel T7, T8i, and 90D)

I’ll probably get some arguments on this one, but there’s no good reason to buy a Canon DSLR anymore.

The cameras listed above are actually very popular for beginners, but you should avoid them.

It’s not that they are bad cameras, in fact they are excellent cameras and would be great for a beginner if you already have one or can borrow one to learn with.

But if you’re investing your money into a new camera body, its a bad idea to start with a camera system that is already effectively discontinued.

This is underlined by the fact that the entry-level R100 is very similar in price to the entry-level DSLR Rebel T7, so you’re not saving any money by staying in the older DSLR system.

Canon is putting all its research and development into the mirrorless RF lineup and not the EF mount system. Plus with a simple adapter, you can still use any of the old EF lenses on a new mirrorless camera if you find a great deal on a used EF lens.

Ultimately, I think starting out with a DSLR at this point in time is really just a bad investment.

Why You Should Trust Me

As an active professional photographer and owner of Photography Goals, I get the opportunity to use many different cameras. I teach photography to many beginners and these are the cameras that I recommend to my students.

Top Factors For Beginners Choosing A Camera

As a beginner, there are certain things you should be looking for when choosing a camera. You want something that is easy to learn on and will grow with you as your skills improve.

Here are some of the factors I considered when making this list.

Ease Of Use

For beginners, ease of use is a significant factor. If you are just learning photography then you want as few barriers to that skill development as possible.

This is why I never recommend that beginners get the best, most expensive, flagship camera bodies for any manufacturer. Having a million buttons and functions can confuse beginners and prevent them from focusing on the fundamentals of photography that make the most difference in their images.


If you are a beginner that wants to learn photography and develop your skills then you don’t want to be limited in what you can do with a camera. That is why I recommend that beginners get a camera with interchangeable lenses.

The best part of an interchangeable lens camera is that you can try a variety of different types of photography simply by buying or renting a new lens.

This is why the point-and-shoot option isn’t my top budget pick, even though it is less expensive than the actual pick.

Of course, it is entirely possible to learn photography with a point-and-shoot camera like the one above, but it does limit you.


Expandability is all about how you can grow with the camera system that you choose as a beginner. Some systems lend themselves to easy expandability where you can grow your camera kit piece by piece and everything is going to work well together.

If you choose a good system from the beginning, you never have to go through the hassle and expense of trading in all your gear for a new set.

You also have to consider the number of lenses available for a system. The reason I recommend beginners get started with the Nikon Z system is that the Z cameras are all backward compatible with the massive F-mount lineup of Nikon. All you need is the F to Z adapter and you have access to hundreds of lenses by Nikon and also third-party manufacturers like Tamron and Sigma.

In addition to the backward compatibility, you’re also relatively future-proof because Nikon is aggressively building out its Z mount lineup with some amazing lenses.

Price To Quality Ratio

Cameras are expensive. There’s really no way around that and whatever your budget is, you should keep within it. You can always upgrade later on.

But I also recognize that if you are going to invest in a camera, you want to make sure you are getting your money’s worth.

Also, remember that beginners do not need to spend as much money as possible on a camera body. If you have a budget, I would rather see you spend it on adding a 50mm f/1.8 lens to your kit rather than buying a more expensive body.

Is Nikon or Canon better for beginners?

Both Nikon and Canon offer cameras that are great for beginners. However, the Nikon Z mount system seems to be the better option at this point with excellent quality images and is designed in a way that gives Nikon an advantage when developing new, cutting edge lens technology.

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