9 Best Canon Cameras For Portraits (…and 3 to avoid)

Whether your version of portrait photography means running a professional portrait studio or simply just taking beautiful photos of your kids, the camera does make a difference.

I’ll break everything down for you in this guide, but if you want to know my top pick, it’s the Canon EOS R5. This camera does everything exceptionally well which is why it’s my top pick for the best Canon camera for portraits.

But there are other great options as well, so keep reading for my breakdown of the top portrait cameras in the Canon Lineup.

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Best Canon Mirrorless Cameras For Portraits

Overall the mirrorless options above are going to give you better results than DSLR cameras in most cases. The ability to use their eye autofocus alone makes it a lot easier to shoot portraits and increases your keeper rate.

Even if you have a large collection of EF Mount lenses, you can still use them on Canon mirrorless cameras with this Canon R Mount adapter.

So let’s get right to the top picks…

Top Pick

1. Canon EOS R5

With 45 megapixels of resolution, excellent autofocus, and solid dynamic range, the R5 is the best in the Canon lineup for shooting portraits.

The Canon R5 is a high resolution beast that will give you the best quality portrait images in the Canon lineup.

First let’s take a look at the specs…

Canon EOS R5 Tech Specifications

  • Lens Mount: Canon RF
  • Megapixels: 45
  • Sensor Size: Full-Frame Dual Pixel CMOS
  • ISO Range: 100-51,200 (expandable to 102,400)
  • AF Points: Dual Pixel CMOS AF II covering Approx. 100% Area with 1,053 point AF Area (w/ Subject tracking of People and Animals)
  • Continuous shooting speed: 12 fps with Mechanical Shutter (up to 20 fps Electronic (Silent) Shutter)
  • Stabilization: 5 axis in body image stabilization (IBIS)
  • Viewfinder: EVF, 5.76m dots, 120fps refresh rate, 0.7x magnification
  • LCD: Fully Articulated 3.2-inch touch screen, 2.1m dots
  • Max video resolution: 8192 x 4320 @ 30p / 4096 x 2160 @ 120p
  • Memory Card: 1x SD/SDHC/SDXC UHS-II and 1x CFexpress
  • Dimensions: (W x H x D): 138 x 97.5 x 88.0mm (5.45 x 3.84 x 3.46 in.)
  • Weight: 738g

The first thing you’ll notice is the 45 megapixel sensor. A high resolution camera like this ensures you get amazing detail in your portrait images.

In addition to just high resolution, the R5’s sensor delivers excellent color rendition and dynamic range.

The dynamic range is extremely helpful when shooting portraits in situations where you have very bright areas and very dark areas in the same frame. For example, if you want to shoot a portrait with a sunset in the background, you need all the range you can get.

That, plus the ability to get a shallow depth of field, are the main reasons I prefer to use a full frame camera for shooting portraits for my clients.

The R5 autofocus system is also very good and will help you get your subject’s eyes in sharp focus more consistently. It has Canon’s Dual Pixel CMOS AF II system with 1053 available AF zones.

Like most current mirrorless cameras the R5 gives you eye AF which tracks the eyes of your subject (or subjects) and gets them in focus with impressive consistency.

This is a major reason why I recommend mirrorless cameras for any kind of action shooting. The average person will get better results from a mid-range mirrorless camera than even a high end DSLR when it comes to shooting in tricky focusing situations like sports.

Overall, this camera is really perfect for shooting portraits and the Canon camera that I would recommend for anyone looking to shoot portraits professionally.

But if you’re not getting paid to take portraits then you may want to try these next few options that are a little easier on the wallet…


2. Canon EOS R6 Mark II

Although the R6 Mk II has a lower megapixel count than the top pick above, it still has great image quality, great autofocus, and is over $1000 less.

The Canon EOS R6 Mark II is a high-performing, mid-priced camera body that delivers outstanding full-frame image quality at medium-high resolution.

This camera’s target market is content creators, those looking to upgrade from a DSLR, and those looking for a general-purpose camera that does everything well, including preserving family memories.

The Canon R6 Mark II made the second spot on my list because it gives you many of the important features you need at a price point that is lower than the R5.

Essentially, what you are getting with the R6 Mark II is a slightly less full featured camera compared to the R5.

Canon EOS R6 Mk II Tech Specifications

  • Lens Mount: Canon RF
  • Megapixels: 24.2
  • Sensor Size: Full-Frame Dual Pixel CMOS
  • ISO Range: 100-102,400
  • AF Points: Dual Pixel CMOS AF II covering Approx. 100% Area with 1,053 point AF Area (w/ Subject tracking of People and Animals)
  • Continuous shooting speed: 30 fps RAW burst mode with 12 fps with mechanical shutter, and up to 40 fps using electronic (silent) shutter
  • Stabilization: 5 axis in body image stabilization (IBIS)
  • Viewfinder: EVF, 3.69m dots, 120fps refresh rate, 0.76x magnification
  • LCD: Fully Articulated 3.0-inch touch screen, 1.62m dots
  • Max video resolution: 3840 x 2160 @ 60p / 1920 x 1080 @ 120p
  • Memory Card: 2x SD/SDHC/SDXC UHS-II
  • Dimensions: (W x H x D): 5.45 x 3.87 x 3.48 in. (138 x 98.4 x 88.4mm)
  • Weight: 680g

The biggest difference is the 24.2 megapixel sensor. You’ll be giving up some detail in on your shots while maintaining a high resolution. But as long as you don’t plan to make any large prints, this is not a major factor.

The R6 Mk II gives you the same excellent autofocus system as the R5 with the same 100% coverage and 1,053 focus points. You’ll also get the same excellent subject and eye tracking focus modes.

Overall, this is a very impressive camera so the choice comes down to how much of your budget you want to spend on the camera body.

Budget Pick

3. Canon EOS R50

The R50 is a crop sensor camera with a number of high end features that makes it a lighter and more affordable option.

A crop sensor camera gives you a narrower field of view with the same focal length lens compared to a full frame camera. The crop factor for Canon is 1.6x which means that a 100mm lens on a crop sensor camera will have the same field of view as a 160mm lens.

This also means that you’ll effectively get less lens blur for similar shots compared to full frame cameras.

Now let’s take a look specifically at the R50…

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 24.2 megapixels is on par with the R6 Mk II so you’re getting the same about of detail from the smaller sensor.

Unfortunately, the smaller sensor does mean you’re going to see less dynamic range and more noise at high ISO settings than you would with a full-frame camera. So there is some downsides to the crop sensor sensor.

The viewfinder is a bit of a step down in both resolution (2.36m dots) and refresh rate (60fps) compared to the full frame options above, but this is something you might not even notice unless you compared both side by side.

Overall, this is a great budget option if you want to save some a few bucks and get started shooting sports photography. But if it’s still out of your price range, then here are two more you can try…

Under $1000

4. Canon EOS RP

Canon’s least expensive full-frame mirrorless camera will deliver beautiful full frame portrait images for under $1000.

The Canon EOS RP is one of the best “entry-level” full-frame cameras you can find. It delivers similar image quality as the R6 Mk II above but at a much lower price point because it lacks some of the features in that camera.

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

I usually recommend that photographers spend most of your budget 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.

So going with a less expensive model like the RP and spending more on quality lenses can give you far better results.

But there are some drawbacks.

I like the RP for portraits because it gives you good dynamic range and low light performance at a very reasonable price. The biggest drawback for this camera compared to the ones above is the slow continuous shooting, which isn’t really an issue when shooting portraits.

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.

Under $500

5. Canon EOS R100

Canon’s entry level mirrorless camera is an excellent value for less than $500.

The Canon R100 is actually pretty impressive for it’s small price tag and may be one of the best values in photography, especially for those on a really tight budget.

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

While its not necessarily the best option for shooting portraits, getting into the Canon mirrorless system for under $500 is a tremendous value.

Spend your money on better lenses instead and then you can upgrade the camera body later.

Best Canon DSLRs For Portraits

You can probably tell that I am not a big proponent of buying a new DSLR at this point. They are still great cameras (and I still use my old DLSR all the time), but there’s really not a compelling reason to invest in buying a new one if you need a camera now.

That being said, Canon DSLRs are still great cameras. So I want to cover a few that I think are great options for portrait photography IF you’re ok buying into a discontinued system.

That being said, if you are looking for a solid Canon DSLR for shooting sports photography, then you can’t go wrong with the picks below….

Top Pick

6. Canon 5D Mark IV

The Canon 5d Mark IV is one of the most popular DSLR cameras of all time among portrait photographer and for good reason.

There was a time when you were more likely to see this camera in a professional photographers bag than any other camera. It was the workhorse of the Canon DSLR lineup.

With a 30.4 megapixel sensor and one of the best DSLR autofocusing systems out there, this was the perfect camera for shooting portraits.

Canon 5d Mk IV Tech Specifications

  • Lens Mount: Canon EF
  • Megapixels: 30.4
  • Sensor Size: Full-Frame Dual Pixel CMOS
  • ISO Range: 100-32,00 (expandable to 50–102400)
  • AF Points: Dual Pixel CMOS AF covering Approx. 80% Area w/ 61 AF Points
  • Continuous shooting speed: 7 fps RAW burst mode
  • Stabilization: 5 axis in body image stabilization (IBIS)
  • Viewfinder: Optical
  • LCD: Fixed 3.2-inch touch screen, 1.62m dots
  • Max video resolution: 3840 x 2160 @ 30p / 1920 x 1080 @ 60p
  • Memory Card: 2x SD/SDHC/SDXC UHS-I
  • Dimensions: (W x H x D): 5.93 x 4.58 x 2.99 in. (150.7 x 116.4 x 75.9mm)
  • Weight: 890g

But I say “was” because at this price, you can do a lot better with some of the mirrorless options above.

That being said, if you want a DSLR for shooting portraits then you won’t be disappointed.

It gives you beautiful colors and detail in your images with its 30/4 megapixel sensor. Additionally, Dual Pixel CMOS AF enables continuous automatic AF and AF tracking at the pixel level in a variety of places and lighting situations, enhancing overall camera operation for sharp images.

Overall, the 5D Mk IV is probably the best option for anyone that wants to shoot with a DSLR.

DSLR Runner-Up

7. Canon 6D Mark II

For those of you that aren’t ready to give on on DSLRs, the 6D Mark II is a great choice for shooting sports.

The 6D Mark II is like the little brother to the 5D mark IV. It doesn’t have the high resolution of the 5D but a great way to save some money.

That being said, I would still recommend going with one of the mirrorless cameras over this one.

But if you want to stick with a DSLR and are on a tighter budget, then here are two more options for you…

Under $1000

8. Canon EOS Rebel T8i

A step above the entry level Canon model, the T8i gives you a few more features that help you capture great portraits.

Under $500

9. Canon EOS Rebel T7

One of the most affordable ways to start shooting portraits with a Canon interchangable lens camera, the T7 is perfect for beginners.

Why You Should Trust Me

As a professional portrait photographer and owner of Photography Goals, I get the opportunity to use many different cameras as well as teach photographers how to use them.

This list is based on my own experience and what I think matters most when shooting portraits either professionally or for fun.

I’ve tried all the cameras on this list personally and my goal is to make sure you make the best choice for your needs instead of just going with the latest or most expensive model.

3 Canon Cameras You Should Avoid

Canon 1DX Mk II

This is a great camera and a proven professional powerhouse. So why did I list it down here are one to avoid? There’s really no good reason to spend over $6000 on a DSLR nowadays.

If you really want the top of the line pro camera and have that much to spend then go for the R3 instead. Although, you can save over $2000 and do quite well with the R5.

But however much you want to spend, there are better options out there now for less than the 1DX Mk II.

Canon M-Series (M6, M50, M200

If you can still find these available new online but you should avoid them. Canon’s experiment with the M line was kind of a failure. The cameras themselves aren’t necessarily terrible, but they aren’t developing the M lens lineup anymore and have gone all in on the RF system instead.

Canon 7D Mark II

This was an excellent camera when it was released in 2014. It’s a crop sensor body with pro features at an affordable price point.

So why am I saying to avoid it?

Well, it’s old. Almost 10 years old at the time I’m writing this. Even if you can find it at a great price in some places, you’ll just get better capabilities with something like the R50 above that has a faster shutter speed and better image quality.

So it’s not a bad camera (if you already have one) but just not something I would recommend investing in now.

Top Factors For Choosing A Canon Camera For Portrait Photography

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

Ease Of Use

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 from 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.

But if you are comfortable with camera settings and want a camera that has more features, then go for the more advanced, full-frame models.

Dynamic Range

Dynamic range refers to the camera sensor’s ability to capture as wide a range of brightness values as possible without losing detail.

A high dynamic range means you can get bright areas and dark areas in the same frame without losing any detail.

This is especially helpful when shooting portraits because you want to avoid blown out highlights and totally black shadow areas in your shot for a more aesthetically pleasing portrait.

It also allows you to adjust these brightness tones more in post-processing to avoid harsh shadows and highlights on your subject’s face.


As you 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 anyone that wants to learn photography (even just as a hobby) 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.


Expandability is all about how you can grow with the camera system that you choose. When you buy a camera, you’re not just buying the body, you’re buying into a whole ecosystem of lenses and even accessories.

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 very large 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.

You shouldn’t spend your entire budget 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. The lenses are going to make a much bigger difference in the quality of your images than the camera body.

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