Choosing the Best Canon Camera for Portraits

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So, you want to invest in a new camera for portraits, a Canon camera.

You want the highest image quality to make your subjects pop out. You want detail, beautiful colors, and reliable gear to last for years.

The only problem is that there are so many variables to consider that choosing a camera can quickly become quite overwhelming.

So, to help you out, here are the 10 best Canon cameras for portraits for beginner, intermediate, and professional photographers— plus a quick buying guide to get started!


best canon camera for portraits

The Best Canon Camera for Portraits: Canon R6

My Top Pick

The Best Canon Portrait Camera

  • Fast and precise autofocus for shooting moving subjects
  • Face, eye, and head detection AF for people and animals
  • Great ergonomics with a comfortable grip
  • Vari-angle touchscreen for more flexibility when shooting in live-view mode
  • Expensive
  • Fewer megapixels than other competitors
Suited for professionals and dedicated enthusiasts, the Canon R6 is a full-frame mirrorless camera equipped with a powerful 20MP sensor with fast and reliable autofocus.
This versatile camera offers excellent low-light performance, customizable functions, and good connectivity options. It’s ideal for wedding, fashion, and portrait photographers while allowing enough flexibility to try action photography and 4K video.

The Best Canon Portrait Camera for Beginners: Canon M50 MkII

The Best Canon Potrait Camera on a Budget

  • Very affordable
  • Excellent choice for beginners
  • Small and light
  • Good autofocus with eye detection
  • Poor battery life
  • Limited 4K video capabilities
If you’re looking for a cheaper, smaller portrait camera, then the Canon M50 MkII is an excellent choice. This model comes with the very good 15-45mm kit lens, which is suitable for environmental portraits up to standard closeup portraits.
The EF-M lens mount allows this cameera to be both small and light, and its wide connectivity makes it ideally suited to those who want to share their pictures widely online.

Comparison Table of Canon Portrait Cameras

Camera

Sensor Size

Autofocus Mode

Pros / Cons

Check Price


[Best Canon Portrait Camera]

Full-frame, 20.1MP

Dual Pixel CMOS AF II system with subject tracking, face, eye, and head detection for people and animals

Pros: Fast, accurate AF; Great ergonomics

Cons: Expensive

Full-frame, 26.2MP

Dual Pixel CMOS AF with eye detection

Pros: Compact & easy to carry; Eye detection AF

Cons: Poor battery life; Limited 4K options

 

[Best Canon Portrait Camera for Beginners]

APS-C, 24.1MP

Dual Pixel CMOS AF with Eye detection

Pros: Small & light; Affordable

Cons: Poor battery life; Limited 4K capabilities

Full-frame, 30.4MP

Dual Pixel CMOS AF with subject recognition and tracking

Pros: Smooth and responsive AF; Superb low light performance

Cons: Expensive; Non-tilting screen

Full-frame, 26.2MP

Dual Pixel CMOS AF with face detection

Pros: Fully articulated screen; Reliable AF

Cons: No built-in flash; No 4K video

APS-C, 24.1MP

Phase-detection AF with Face Detection Live mode

Pros: Easy to use for beginners; Affordable

Cons: Fixed, non-touch screen; Limited video capabilities

APS-C, 24.1MP

Dual Pixel CMOS AF with Eye Detection

Pros: Eye-detect AF; User-friendly

Cons: Not the fastest AF; Limited video capabilities

APS-C, 24.1MP

Dual Pixel CMOS AF with Eye Detection

Pros: Pocket-sized; Excellent connectivity

Cons: Limited video capabilities

1-inch, 20.1MP

Contrast-detection AF with Face + Tracking mode

Pros: Very portable and easy to use

Cons: Not an inter-changeable lens camera

1/2.3-inch, 20MP

Includes a Tracking AF mode

Pros: Very affordable and easy to use

Cons: No RAW shooting; Poor in low light


What to Look for When Choosing a Camera for Portraits

Since every photographer has particular needs, let’s talk about what aspects you should keep in mind before buying a camera:

  • Ability to shoot in RAW – RAW photos allow more flexibility for high-end retouching without compromising the quality of your portraits.
  • Sensor size and megapixels – Sensor size and megapixels will play a crucial role in image quality and file size. Nevertheless, you won’t always need the highest megapixel count or the largest sensor.
  • Autofocus and face/eye detection – A camera for portraits should have a fast and reliable autofocus system with face or eye detection to focus on your subject accurately.
  • Portrait lens availability – The secret to crisp and beautiful portraits (and photos in general) is to invest in high-quality lenses suited to your needs. So, whenever you compare different cameras, check for the compatible lenses available to help you make the right choice.
  • Ergonomics and ease of use – The best camera is the one you feel comfortable with. Look for a camera that you can quickly get used to.
  • High ISO capabilities – Choose a camera that can handle high ISO to ensure smoother images with great detail, even in low-light conditions.

Let’s get into more details:

Ability to shoot in RAW

When looking for a camera for portraits, make sure it can shoot RAW.

RAW files provide all the data captured by your camera and exploit the full potential of your sensor because there is no image compression. They are significantly larger than the regular JPEGs, but they allow for more versatility when editing.

For example, you’ll have enough data to recover underexposed or overexposed areas of an image without losing quality or even do high-end retouching in Photoshop— particularly useful for portrait and fashion photographers.

Of course, if you are new to photography, you need a program that can process and organize RAW files, like Lightroom or Capture One. That implies additional costs, but you should see it as an investment to improve your photography.

Sensor size and megapixels

Generally speaking, the megapixel count defines the amount of detail in a photo. The majority of cameras today hover between 20 and 30 megapixels, which is more than enough to cover all your needs.

However, rather than the number of megapixels, you should pay attention to the sensor size, as it will directly affect resolution, low-light performance, depth of field, and dynamic range.

Larger sensors have larger pixels that capture more information. That’s why a 20-megapixel full-frame camera can take better pictures than a 40-megapixel smartphone, especially in low-light situations.

portrait camera for canon

Still, you don’t need to invest in a full-frame camera if you are starting. Sure, they provide beautiful results with less noise, a higher dynamic range, and even a shallower depth of field for more engaging portraits. But, they are also bigger, pricier, and more complex. That’s why they are aimed at professional photographers.

Instead, if you want to buy your first camera to learn portrait photography, you can go for a camera with an APS-C sensor and buy high-quality lenses as you have a better budget.

And, if you only want an easy-to-use camera for sharing your photos on social media, a compact camera with a 1-inch sensor will fit the bill.

Autofocus with face and eye detection

Check how fast the autofocus performance is and opt for cameras with face or eye detection. This way, you can lock the focus on your subject no matter where they move, making it a great advantage for shooting portraits outdoors or in motion.

For responsive, smooth autofocus, Canon offers its impressive Dual Pixel CMOS AF technology, which you can find in almost all their most recent entry-level and professional cameras.

Portrait lens availability

The camera you have is as good as the lenses you use. And that is particularly true for portraits.

Check the lens mount and see the compatible portrait lenses before buying a camera. Remember that the variety of lenses available will also depend on the size of the sensor.

Look for 35mm, 50mm, and 85mm lenses with wide apertures (like f/1.8 and f/1.4) to capture eye-catching pictures with beautiful bokeh. These are the ultimate portrait lenses, offering you enough versatility to handle many situations with different lighting conditions including low light photography.

Ergonomics and ease of use

best canon portrait camera

The ideal camera should have a secure and comfortable grip with easily accessible controls so you can manipulate it smoothly. Always look for excellent ergonomics to feel confident holding your camera— read some reviews to see what other people have to say before making your purchase.

Additionally, look for cameras with a straightforward menu and features to streamline your workflow. Customizable buttons and creative functions are a plus!

High ISO capabilities

A good portrait camera should allow you to shoot at high ISO without producing significant noise that reduces quality and detail. This way, you’ll have the door open to work at night or indoors in low light without detracting from the overall result of your portraits.

Nevertheless, it is virtually impossible to determine the high ISO capabilities of a camera without testing. So, before choosing the camera for you, be sure to read some reviews and opinions from other photographers.


Top 10 Canon Cameras for Portraits in 2022

1. Canon R6 – Best full-frame mirrorless camera for portraits

My Top Pick
Canon R6 - Best full-frame mirrorless camera for portraits

Key features

  • Sensor: full-frame, 20.1MP
  • Image format: JPEG, HEIF, RAW / C-RAW, C-RAW
  • Autofocus: Dual Pixel CMOS AF II system with subject tracking, face, eye, and head detection for people and animals
  • Lens mount: Canon RF. Also compatible with EF or EF-S lenses when using the Mount Adapter EF-EOS R (excluding EF-M lenses)
  • Sensitivity: ISO 100-102400, expandable to 204800
  • Max. video resolution: 4K @ 60fps
  • Size and weight: 5.45 x 3.84 x 3.48 inches; 1.5 pounds

Being a more modest version of the expensive, high-resolution Canon R5, the Canon R6 is a mirrorless camera equipped with a powerful 20MP full-frame sensor to please professionals and enthusiasts. It is the best Canon mirrorless camera for portraits while also providing great flexibility for action photography and professional 4K video capture.

One of the most impressive features of the Canon R6 is its fast autofocus. It uses the Canon’s Dual Pixel CMOS AF II system, which offers accurate and intelligent autofocus with almost 100% coverage of the sensor area, allowing you to set the focus on any point within the frame.

Besides, this camera has face, eye, and head detection for people and animals, making it an outstanding choice for capturing moving subjects and pet portraits.

On top of that, the Canon R6 has a dust and water-resistant sealing to protect the camera when shooting outdoors and a fully-articulated touchscreen for more creative possibilities when composing your shots in live view mode. Additionally, it has superb ergonomics and customizable functions so that you can adapt it to your taste.

As for its connectivity options, the camera has a mic input, headphone input, USB Type C and HDMI ports, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth. It also supports in-camera USB charging and is equipped with two SD card slots.

In short, the Canon R6 has everything you need —and more— to ensure beautiful, crisp portraits in every situation. The only downside is that this is an expensive camera for enthusiasts, and its resolution can be limiting for tight cropping and close-ups.

  • Pros:
  • Fast and accurate autofocus for shooting moving subjects
  • Face, eye, and head detection for people and animals
  • Great ergonomics with a comfortable grip
  • Vari-angle touchscreen for more flexibility when shooting in live-view mode
  • Dust and water-resistant sealing for protecting your camera when shooting outdoors
  • Compatible with a versatile and high-quality selection of lenses
  • Dual memory card slots
  • Supports USB charging
  • Cons:
  • Expensive
  • Fewer megapixels than other competitors, which can affect professionals who need a higher resolution for cropping
Canon R6

2. Canon RP

canon rp

Key features

  • Sensor: full-frame, 26.2MP
  • Image format: JPEG, RAW / C-RAW
  • Autofocus: Dual Pixel CMOS AF with eye detection
  • Lens mount: Canon RF. Also compatible with EF or EF-S lenses when using the Mount Adapter EF-EOS R (excluding EF-M lenses)
  • Sensitivity: ISO 100-40000, expandable to 102400
  • Max. video resolution: 4K @ 24fps
  • Size and weight: 5.22 x 3.35 x 2.76 inches; 1.07 pounds

If you want quality, portability, and value for money, the Canon RP might be your winner choice. This mirrorless 26.2MP full-frame camera offers high quality and versatile functions in a compact, lightweight body— perfect for travelers and vloggers.

This camera is an incredible choice for beginners and intermediate photographers who want to work with the best of a full-frame camera without spending excessive money or sacrificing the ease of use and portability of an entry-level model.

The Canon RP provides superb autofocus with eye detection, designed to track subjects smoothly and keep the focus right even in low-light conditions. Moreover, its AF modes, touch-and-drag AF, and accessible controls make it a user-friendly and flexible camera.

It has excellent connectivity options and creative and easy-to-access features for new users who want to experiment a bit.

On the negative side, it has limited 4K video options and poor battery life, leaving it behind other competitors in the video area.

  • Pros:
  • Compact and easy to carry for vloggers and travelers
  • Fast autofocus with eye detection
  • Good low-light performance
  • Comprehensive and intuitive set of features
  • Cons:
  • Poor battery life
  • Great for stills but not for video
  • Might be too small for larger RF lenses
Canon RP

3. Canon M50 Mark II

Canon M50 MkII

Key features

  • Sensor: APS-C, 24.1MP
  • Image format: RAW; C-RAW, and JPEG
  • Autofocus: Dual Pixel CMOS AF with Eye detection
  • Lens mount: Canon EF-M
  • Sensitivity: ISO 100-25600, expandable to 51200
  • Max. video resolution: 4K @ 24fps
  • Size and weight: 4.58 x 3.47 x 2.31 inches; 13.65 oz.

The Canon EOS M50 Mark II is a compact and affordable mirrorless camera equipped with a powerful 24.1MP APS-C sensor and Eye Detection AF to ensure high-quality portraits with a fast and accurate focus.

In addition to that, it has special functions for content creators and vloggers. It’s worth mentioning the Vertical Video feature, Live Streaming service, and the Movie Self-Timer to select how many seconds you want to set up the scene before the video starts recording.

In short, this portable camera is perfect for beginners and content creators, and it has great connectivity options and even a mic input. Yet, it’s unsuitable if you want to experiment with 4K video, as it has limited tools and poor battery life.

  • Pros:
  • Small and lightweight
  • Affordable camera for beginners
  • Easy to use
  • Good autofocus with eye detection
  • Special functions for content creators
  • Cons:
  • Poor battery life
  • Limited 4K video capabilities
Canon M50 Mark II

4. Canon 5D MkIV

Canon 5D MkIV

Key features

  • Sensor: full-frame, 30.4MP
  • Image format: JPEG, RAW
  • Autofocus: Dual Pixel CMOS AF with subject recognition and tracking
  • Lens mount: Canon EF
  • Sensitivity: ISO 100-32000, expandable to 102400
  • Max. video resolution: 4K @ 30fps
  • Size and weight: 5.93 x 4.58 x 2.99 inches; 1.96 pounds

Best suited for professional photographers, the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV is the ultimate full-frame DSLR camera for portraits, landscapes, and pretty much any kind of photography. It has a high resolution of 30.4MP, and it offers an impressive set of features and superb low-light performance in a resistant, weather-sealed body.

Its primary highlight is its smooth autofocus, which integrates Canon’s Intelligent Tracking and Recognition system (iTR AF) to detect and track subjects to ensure an accurate focus.

Additionally, the camera has Wi-Fi, NFC, GPS, an intuitive menu with customizable controls, and a responsive touchscreen. Yet, the screen is fixed, so you lose the flexibility you would have with a fully-articulated screen.

  • Pros:
  • Smooth and responsive autofocus for portraits
  • Superb low-light performance
  • Powerful and versatile camera for both stills and video
  • Weather-sealed
  • Cons:
  • Expensive
  • No tilting screen
Canon 5D MkIV

5. Canon 6D MkII

Canon 6D MkII

Key features

  • Sensor: full-frame, 26.2MP
  • Image format: JPEG, RAW
  • Autofocus: Dual Pixel CMOS AF with face detection
  • Lens mount: Canon EF
  • Sensitivity: ISO 100-40000, expandable to 102400
  • Max. video resolution: Full HD @ 60fps
  • Size and weight: 5.67 x 4.35 x 2.94 inches; 1.69 pounds

The Canon EOS 6D Mark II is a compact, rugged full-frame camera with a 26.2MP resolution and a fast, reliable autofocus system to create stunning portraits even in motion. This might be a good alternative if you want a full-frame DSLR and can’t afford the expensive 5D Mark IV.

Besides its powerful features for shooting professional-quality photos, the camera has a fully-articulated screen, weather-sealing, and accessible controls for greater versatility and comfort in any environment.

However, note this is a camera designed for stills only, as it has minimal tools to play around with video.

  • Pros:
  • Fully-articulated screen
  • Fast and reliable autofocus
  • Easy handling and accessible controls
  • Cons:
  • No built-in flash
  • No 4K video
Canon 6D MkII

6. Canon Rebel T7

Canon Rebel T7

Key features

  • Sensor: APS-C, 24.1MP
  • Image format: JPEG, RAW
  • Autofocus: phase-detection AF with Face Detection Live mode
  • Lens mount: Canon EF-S
  • Sensitivity: ISO 100-6400, expandable to 12800
  • Max. video resolution: Full HD @ 30fps
  • Size and weight: 5.08 x 3.99 x 3.06 inches; 1.05 pounds

The Canon EOS Rebel T7 is an inexpensive, straightforward, and fun DSLR camera for beginners.

This camera is a solid choice for getting started with portrait photography, as it delivers beautiful results with great detail and vibrant colors thanks to its 24.1MP APS-C sensor.

The T7 is pretty easy to use and has an in-camera feature guide, Wi-Fi and NFC, built-in flash, and decent AF. The screen is very sharp, although it is not touch-sensitive and does not support the flexibility of a tiltable screen.

  • Pros:
  • Easy to use for beginners
  • Affordable yet versatile and practical gear for most situations
  • High image quality and good autofocus for stills
  • In-camera feature guide
  • Cons:
  • Fixed screen without touch capabilities
  • Limited video capabilities
Canon Rebel T7

7. Canon Rebel SL3

Canon Rebel SL3

Key features

  • Sensor: APS-C, 24.1MP
  • Image format: JPEG, RAW, C-RAW
  • Autofocus: Dual Pixel CMOS AF with Eye Detection
  • Lens mount: Canon EF-S
  • Sensitivity: ISO 100-25600, expandable to 51200
  • Max. video resolution: 4K @ 24fps (cropped)
  • Size and weight: 4.82 x 3.65 x 2.75 inches; 1 pound

The Canon EOS Rebel SL3 is one of the best entry-level DSLRs, thanks to its versatile features, user-friendly interface, and compact size for easy handling. It offers a few more tools than the T7, including a faster AF system with Canon’s Dual Pixel technology, Eye Detection AF, and a vari-angle touchscreen for more flexibility when shooting.

  • Pros:
  • Eye Detection AF
  • User-friendly interface and easy handling
  • Creative assist
  • Fully articulated touchscreen
  • Cons:
  • Limited video capabilities
  • The AF is not the fastest to capture action shots
Canon Rebel SL3

8. Canon M200

Canon M200

Key features

  • Sensor: APS-C, 24.1MP
  • Image format: RAW, C-RAW, JPEG
  • Autofocus: Dual Pixel CMOS AF with eye detection
  • Lens mount: Canon EF-M
  • Sensitivity: ISO 100-25600
  • Max. video resolution: 4K @ 24fps
  • Size and weight: 4.3 x 2.6 x 1.4 inches; 10.55 oz.

The Canon EOS M200 is a compact mirrorless camera designed for vloggers who want to capture professional-quality stills and videos. It provides everything you need to learn photography and record high-quality videos for social media or personal uses.

Its main features include fast autofocus with Eye Detection, Vertical Video shooting for content creators, a tiltable screen, creative assist, feature assistant, and Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.

  • Pros:
  • Pocket-sized camera for beginners, vloggers, and travelers
  • Eye Detection AF
  • Creative features and tools for content creators
  • Excellent connectivity
  • Cons:
  • Limited video capabilities
Canon M200

9. Canon PowerShot G7X MkIII

Canon PowerShot G7X MkIII

Key features

  • Sensor: 1-inch, 20.1MP
  • Image format: JPEG, RAW
  • Autofocus: contrast-detection AF with Face + Tracking mode
  • Sensitivity: ISO 125–12800
  • Max. video resolution: 4K @30fps
  • Size and weight: 4.13 x 2.40 x 1.63 inches; 10.7 oz.

If you are looking for an affordable, small, easy-to-use compact camera, the Canon PowerShot G7X Mark III might be it.

This camera offers a world of creative possibilities for portraits, selfies, vlogs, and live streams with responsive autofocus for various situations. Besides, its 24-100mm f/1.8-2.8 optical zoom lens makes it a versatile camera for getting started into photography on a budget.

  • Pros:
  • Portable and easy to use for beginners
  • In-camera USB charging
  • Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
  • Tiltable touchscreen
  • Cons:
  • No viewfinder
  • Not an interchangeable lens camera
Canon PowerShot G7X MkIII

10. Canon PowerShot SX420

Canon PowerShot SX420

Key features

  • Sensor: 1/2.3-inch, 20MP
  • Image format: JPEG
  • Autofocus: includes a Tracking AF mode
  • Sensitivity: ISO 100-1600
  • Max. video resolution: HD @ 25fps
  • Size and weight: 4.11 x 2.72 x 3.35 inches; 11.5 oz.

The Canon PowerShot SX420 is an affordable, user-friendly compact camera that offers creative features for anyone interested in getting into photography with a simple and fun-to-use tool.

If you don’t have a lot of money and want a simple camera to post your photos on social media, this option might work for you. However, it has a lot of limitations if you want to grow as a photographer in the medium/long term.

  • Pros:
  • Affordable
  • Easy-to-use and portable for beginners
  • Scene modes and creative effects for capturing unique images
  • Decent autofocus for portraits
  • Cons:
  • No RAW shooting
  • Not suited for low-light situations
  • No viewfinder
Canon PowerShot SX420

Final Thoughts on Portrait Cameras

Choosing a new camera can be pretty overwhelming, as you are picking your primary working tool to accompany you for years to come. And, for shooting beautiful portrait photography, you need reliable gear that ensures the highest amount of detail possible.

For professional photographers and dedicated enthusiasts, the best Canon camera for portraits is the Canon R6 for its fast and reliable autofocus, subject-tracking capabilities, and excellent ergonomics.

But, if you want an affordable and straightforward camera for beginners, the Canon EOS M50 Mark II takes the cake. This model is portable, easy to use, and offers useful features to craft stunning portraits.

Nevertheless, remember that what makes the best camera for portraits is the lens you use. To pick the right one for you, start by defining a versatile focal length suited for the kind of photography you want to do. Check this 35mm vs. 50mm vs. 85mm comparison if you need some advice.

My Top Pick

The Best Canon Portrait Camera

  • Fast and precise autofocus for shooting moving subjects
  • Face, eye, and head detection AF for people and animals
  • Great ergonomics with a comfortable grip
  • Vari-angle touchscreen for more flexibility when shooting in live-view mode
  • Expensive
  • Fewer megapixels than other competitors

Read More:

What’s the best Canon lens for low light?

What’s the best mic for the Canon M50?

How to find the best DSLR camera for beginners

Follow Andrea Rodriguez:

Hi! I'm Andrea Rodriguez, photographer and freelance writer. I started my photography journey as a teenager, and since then, I have explored visual arts from different angles. My personal work focuses on self-portraiture and experimental photography, and I'm always eager to learn new techniques to express myself through images.

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