Best Canon Camera for Portraits

Best Canon Camera for Portraits

Is a Canon the best camera for portrait photography? What's the best Canon camera for beginner portrait photographers? Check out my list of the 10 best Canon cameras for portraits if you are a wedding or lifestyle photographer. How do you choose a good Camera camera body and what lens do you buy? – all answers are below.

Why Do Canon Portrait Cameras Have So Many Fans Today?

The 1st reason is their perfect color rendering. Of course, if you use professional photo editing software such as Lightroom or Capture One to do color correction on your portraits, you will get excellent colors by shooting with any camera. I think that only Fujifilm can compete with Canon in this aspect.

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The 2nd reason is its popularity. Today, Canon full frame portrait cameras are the best-selling equipment for modern photographers. This means that if you want to choose a new lens or flash, many of your friends, who are interested in portrait photography will already have accessories or the Canon portrait camera that you want. You will be able to learn their opinion or even test the device.

The 3rd reason is a wide variety of models. Sony and Fujifilm almost don’t have DSLRs, Olympus and Panasonic have only micro 4/3 matrices, while Canon produces all types of cameras for portraits. They are able to meet the demands of many photographers by selling devices in many formats: point and shoot, mirrorless, DSLR, with different designs, matrices and prices.

The 4th reason is a wide range of optics. Every experienced photographer knows that a nice lens is much more important than a good camera. Canon has succeeded in this. The legendary L is a series of lenses are hugely popular in spite of the high price because they provide an amazing picture. At the same time, you can successfully use even budget lenses for no more than $150 with a professional Canon full frame portrait camera.

Best Canon Cameras for Portraits

top 3 best canon cameras for portraits

1. Canon EOS 6D Mark II

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  • The most affordable price among full-frame Canon portrait cameras
  • Wide dynamic range
  • Swivel display
  • 45 AF cross points in the viewfinder
  • Not found

I can say that this device is the best professional Canon portrait camera for beginners because it isn’t considered a piece of equipment for experienced photographers who can waste about $5,000 on a camera body. However, many professionals use it in their work as well. Its main updates are a new sensor with a higher resolution and a movable touchscreen display. The camera allows you to take high-quality portraits that look quite professional, even when being printed.

Recommended Canon portrait camera lens:

Sigma 85mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens for Canon EF

I want to draw your attention to the portrait lens from a third-party manufacturer for Canon. This is a great lens that is well worth its money. It helps take sharp colorful photos with beautiful bokeh.

sigma 85mm portrait sample Photo by Canon EOS 6D Mark II

2. Canon EOS R

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  • Face recognition and eye focus
  • Small dimensions
  • The touch screen allows for control of the focus point
  • High price
  • Today, only a few lenses can be used with this camera without an adapter

I think this mirrorless full-frame Canon portrait camera is the best choice for anyone. It should be mentioned that it is the first and the only camera body with the “R” lens mount. It’s a perfect choice for those who aim to shoot emotional portraits and capture all small face blemishes. As you may know, portraits usually look interesting with a shallow depth of field. At the same time, the eyes must be in focus. This is a challenging task for many Canon SLR portrait cameras, but the Canon EOS-R will help you take incredible pictures. This portrait Canon camera is able to recognize faces and focus on the eyes automatically.

Recommended Canon portrait camera lens:

Canon RF 28-70mm f/2L USM

An RF 28-70mm f/2L USM lens provides the image quality standard you would expect from a lens with a fixed focal length. Its maximum f/2 aperture opens great creative possibilities for shooting unusual portraits.

28-70mm portrait Photo by Canon EOS R

3. Canon EOS 5DS R

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  • Excellent details
  • High resolution 
  • Can be used with all accessories from the Canon 5D Mark III
  • High price
  • The camera reveals its capabilities only with expensive lenses
  • Weak auto ISO performance

This is one of the best Canon cameras for portraits created for fashion portrait photography. The camera body can produce really detailed shots, which is of vital importance for advertising and magazines. The combination of magnificent 50MP and a high-quality macro lens creates the perfect result with maximum details. The 5DSR does not have a low-pass filter, which affects the appearance of the moiré. The dynamic range of the camera is much better than the 5D Mark III body.

Recommended Canon portrait camera lens:

Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM

Macro lenses are frequently used in beauty portrait photoshoots. They are designed to give a photographer an opportunity to get the maximum micro contrast. As a result, all pores and small areas of skin are perfectly visible and easy to edit.

canon 100mm portrait Photo by Canon EOS 5DS R

4. Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

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  • Fast and accurate focusing in all modes
  • Excellent for high ISO
  • Wide dynamic range
  • Built-in Wi-Fi/NFC modules
  • Higher burst speed than in alternative devices
  • Expensive
  • CFast/SD UHS-II cards are not supported
  • Oversimplified video mode

I want to present you the best model of the Canon full frame portrait cameras list. This is a new camera with a sensor that reproduces a much wider dynamic range than the previous model. This detail plays a crucial role in some cases. For example, it is very important for shooting portraits at night. Moreover, the noise level is decreased and the noise structure is less annoying. Skin stays natural without much noise, which saves time spent on photo retouching. Some photographs look satisfactory, even at ISO 12,800.

Recommended Canon portrait camera lens:

Canon EF 135mm f/2L USM

The lens, released in 1996 is still very popular among modern portrait photographers. Bokeh is magical and sharpness is good. Moreover, the lens is devoid of chromatic aberrations.

canon 135mm portrait sample Photo by Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

5. Canon EOS 7D Mark II

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  • Convenient button customization
  • Burst speed up to 10 frames/s
  • High image quality up to ISO 3200
  • Works with two memory cards of different types
  • The screen does not support touch control
  • The screen is not swivel
  • No 4k video (but who needs it if you take portraits)

The Canon EOS 7D Mark II is the best Canon camera for professional portrait photography because it is the most advanced APS-C model at the moment. Pay your attention to the excellent autofocus, which works perfectly during live view through the viewfinder, as well as while using the display. This best autofocus camera has the highest burst speed and large buffer, which is a big plus for event photographers. High working ISO and 20 MP matrix resolution allow you to use this camera body almost everywhere: from studio photography to dynamic broadcast. Canon EOS 7D Mark II easily works in all conditions without requiring any technical tricks or special shooting techniques.

Recommended Canon portrait camera lens:

Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM

A great portrait lens is needed when the viewing angle at 135mm is too narrow. It is heavy, less sharp and slower compared to the EF 135mm lens. But it’s more expensive. On the other hand, the diaphragm opens to f/1.2 and draws a soft picture, blurring the background beautifully.

canon 85mm portrait sample Photo by Canon EOS 7D Mark II

6. Canon EOS Rebel T7i

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  • Small size and weight
  • High image quality at ISO up to 3200
  • Touchscreen display with swivel design
  • High-speed continuous shooting (6 frames/sec)
  • 45 autofocus points when live viewing through the viewfinder
  • Fewer midtones than the cameras described above
  • Not the largest image coverage in the viewfinder (95%)
  • Lack of dust and moisture protection
  • The inability to directly select the AF point in the viewfinder
  • Slow USB 2.0 interface for transferring photos to a computer
  • No manual white balance setting in Kelvins

It is possibly the best Canon camera for portrait photography beginners who want to start their path to shooting portraits. This body has a smaller physical matrix size than the cameras reviewed above. Therefore, you may notice a further reduction in the number of midtones. In portrait photography, this is not very crucial. You may know that the width of the mid-tone range is a very secondary indicator in contrasting frames. Besides, it has an excellent autofocus. In addition, the new version of the graphical interface will be quite useful for amateur photographers.

Recommended Canon portrait camera lens:

Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM

This is the lens for enthusiasts. The sharpness of the picture is between 85mm f/1.2L and 85mm f/1.4L. Talking about the drawbacks, chromatic aberrations may appear. Nevertheless, the lens is quite attention-worthy and I recommend using it together with the Canon EOS Rebel T7i camera.

canon 85mm portrait sample Photo by Canon EOS Rebel T7i

7. Canon 80D

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  • Fine ergonomics
  • A convenient swivel touch display
  • A large amount of buffer in JPEG
  • High-quality images up to ISO 3200
  • Shadows and lights draw well from RAW
  • New 45-point autofocus module
  • The RAW buffer size is limited to 25 frames
  • No support for UHS-II memory cards
  • No built-in GPS
  • No autofocus settings

The results of shooting won’t disappoint you. The new image sensor allows you to work with high ISO, up to 6400, and provides nice opportunities for drawing shadows and highlights from the RAW file. The autofocus system was improved: 45 points in the viewfinder, Dual Pixel CMOS AF technology in Live View and during video shooting. The speed of the continuous shooting and the volume of the buffer are appropriate for this camera class. The photographer is able to take more than two dozen images at a speed of 7 frames per second while RAW shooting. Talking about JPEG, the number is over a hundred frames.

Recommended Canon portrait camera lens:

Sigma 35mm F1.4 ART DG HSM

Lenses with a focal length of 35 mm are becoming increasingly popular nowadays. The moderate wide angle makes them more suitable for indoor portrait shooting, street portrait photography, architecture, landscapes and studio portrait shooting. It’s a nice camera lens for a photographer who needs a 35 mm aperture lens that really works. The Sigma AF 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art is probably the best choice because of 1.4 aperture, a beautiful design and an affordable price.

sigma 35mm portrait sample Photo by Canon 80D

8. Canon EOS 1Dx

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  • Amazing for taking photos in poor lighting conditions
  • Gives the ability to take fantastic shots at high speed
  • Almost the best autofocus
  • Looks sturdy and durable
  • Perfect for event photographers
  • Can be used for many purposes
  • Changing the AF drive mode isn’t shown through the viewfinder
  • Heavy weight
  • Unlike on the EOS-5D Mark III, the star rating isn’t so intuitive

This good Canon portrait camera is designed for producing high-quality results in all lighting conditions. It is usually used by portrait photographers for street and event shooting. Its broadcast abilities allow you to capture shots quickly. Studio portrait photographers will be interested in the ability to connect it to the network by the wire. The camera not only transmits images and video files, but can be also controlled remotely and can send pictures via LiveView.

Recommended Canon portrait camera lens:

Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L II USM

The Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L II USM belongs to the line of professional optics. This lens is indispensable for highly artistic tasks when the background blur pattern becomes an important part of the photographer's intention.

canon 35mm portrait sample Photo by Canon EOS 1Dx

9. Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II

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  • Small dimensions and weight
  • Excellent high-aperture lens
  • Good zoom ratio
  • Built-in optical image stabilizer
  • High speed: up to 8 frames per second
  • Low use duration on a single charge

The PowerShot G7 X Mark II isn’t one of the best Canon cameras for portraits, but a cheap Canon portrait camera. It has a universal high-aperture lens and a new image processor. The PowerShot G7 X also has an optical image stabilizer. It is very useful for shooting with bad lighting. Increasing the sensitivity to ISO 1250 also does not become a problem for the camera. All these nice functions and features are placed in a small and lightweight case.

powershot g7 x mark iiportrait sample Photo by Canon EOS 1Dx

10. Canon PowerShot SX420

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  • For beginning portrait photographers
  • Works fine in automatic mode
  • 42x zoom lens
  • Wi-Fi and NFC for quickly uploading pictures to a computer
  • Compact and convenient case
  • Flash is required for taking photos in poor lighting conditions
  • No manual settings 
  • Low speed (1 frame per second)

This really is the best cheap Canon camera for portraits. It has nothing extra, only the most necessary features. It can be also called the best Canon portrait camera for beginners because it is useful for those who want to enjoy beautiful shots without learning any nuances of photography with advanced equipment. This is a user-friendly camera with good automation, intuitive interface and comfortable grip. It has everything you need: high-quality CCD-matrix with a resolution of 20 megapixels, a large optical zoom lens, image stabilizer, Wi-Fi and NFC modules. You are able to buy a device with all these advantages for an affordable price.

canon powershot sx420 portrait sample Photo by Canon PowerShot sx420

10 Best Canon Cameras for Portrait

canon eos 6d mark ii
Canon EOS 6D Mark II
  • 26.2 MP
  • CMOS
canon eos r
Canon EOS R
  • 30.3 MP
  • CMOS
canon eos 5dsr
Canon EOS 5DS R
  • 50.6 MP
  • CMOS
canon eos 5d mark iv
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
  • 30.4 MP
  • CMOS
canon eos 7d mark ii
Canon EOS 7D Mark II
  • 20.2 MP
  • CMOS
canon eos rebel t7i
Canon EOS Rebel T7i
  • 24.2 MP
  • CMOS
canon 80d
Canon 80D
  • 24.2 MP
  • APS-C
canon eos 1dx
Canon EOS 1Dx
  • 18.1 MP
  • CMOS
canon powershot g7 x mark ii
Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II
  • 20.1 MP
  • CMOS
canon powershot sx420
Canon PowerShot SX420
  • 20 MP
  • CMOS

How to Choose the Best Canon Camera for Portrait?

There are several branches in portrait photography. So, the choice of an ideal mirrorless or DSLR Canon camera for portraits depends on the specifics of the pictures you plan to take. For example, you need maximum details and the ability to print such photos in a large format for the beauty industry.

You should remember that beauty portraits are most often used for promotional purposes. This means that the best Canon camera for professional portrait beauty photography should have the maximum number of megapixels. If we are talking about shooting an emotional portrait, the quality of the picture isn’t so important.

The main thing is to quickly catch the moment because the emotion lasts only for a few seconds. I will enumerate the characteristics that you really need to pay attention to when choosing the best camera for taking portraits.

1. The number of megapixels

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If you need the best Canon camera for professional portrait photography (fashion or magazine), pay attention to the number of megapixels. The camera should be at least 30MP so that these pictures can be used further in large format printing, and their high-end image retouching can be done better because of the comfortable work with high-resolution pictures.

2. Choose a camera with RAW format capabilities

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The best Canon camera for portraits and landscape must be able to shoot in RAW format if you want to process digital images.

3. Find a camera with a large viewfinder

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The electronic or optical viewfinder of the camera must be large enough. You should be able to see everything that gets into your shot before you press the shutter.

4. Manual configuration option

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Your best Canon camera for photographing portraits should be manually adjustable. A portrait usually has a blurred background and a focus on the eyes. The automatic mode cannot do this, but will try to take the photo with an acceptable color, completely forgetting about the artistic component.

5. The possibility to focus on the eyes

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You probably understand that the eyes are the main part of a portrait. The best Canon cameras for portrait photography are able to independently find the eyes and focus on them, as well as follow them when it comes to photography in motion.

6. Availability of lenses you need

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With the appearance of the RF lens mount, you need to be aware that your favorite lens, such as the Canon EF 135mm f/2L USM, is not compatible with Canon EOS R, due to the lack of mounting. But specifically, for this case, the manufacturer has released an adapter that allows you to install EF series lenses on this camera.

Ann Young

Hi there, I'm Ann Young - a professional blogger, read more

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