In the world of DSLRs, owning a camera body means buying into a proprietary lens system and most photographers are very reluctant to sell their old gear and acquire new ones just to change to a new manufacturer.
Canon's current lineup of DSLRs range in list prices from about $400 to $6,799. Some models are released recently while others are a few years old. I have picked four recommended Canon cameras for four different categories. You can also read my recommended list of Canon travel and wildlife lenses and see my work on MichaelDanielHo.com.
The best DSLR camera on the market - Canon EOS-1D X
Ever since the introduction of the Canon EOS-1 series camera in 1989, I have made this body my main piece of equipment and have upgraded to almost every new model through the decades. I am not the type who craves the 'latest and greatest' gear but once in a while, a new camera introduction can fill a gap in my equipment lineup. So when the EOS-1D X was announced, it seems to be the camera I am looking for so I placed my order and anxiously waited for the delivery.
The camera arrived last summer and I have put it through some real world, wildlife photo shoots all over the globe, from Alaska and the high Arctic to Africa, Europe and Asia using the Lexar 1000X UDMA 7 memory cards to take full advantage of the 12-14 fps burst rate. Read my review above to get the full details. After the release of Firmware 2.0.3 in January, the camera is even better than before.
The best value Canon APS-C DSLR for advanced users - EOS-7D Mk II
Canon announced the EOS-7D about 4 years ago. Although it does not have the 'latest and greatest' technology, it is still my pick for the best in class. It has an APS-C 18 megapixel CMOS sensor and Dual DIGIC 4 Image Processors, with ISO range from 100 - 12800 and speeds of up to 8 fps. It comes with the new, all cross-type 19-point AF system with improved AI Servo II AF subject tracking and user-selectable AF area selection modes.
It also has an Intelligent Viewfinder, an entirely new technology, provides approximately 100% coverage and displays user-selected AF modes as well as a spot metering circle and on demand grid lines. Read my review above to get the details and performance of this camera. The EOS-7D Mk II was announced September 15, 2014. I have taken delivery of this camera and wrote an extensive review on it after a rigorous field test in the sub Arctic photographing Polar bears.
The best value Canon full frame DSLR for advanced users - EOS-5D Mk III
Canon announced the EOS 5D Mark III in March 2012. It is a full frame camera and comes with a new 22.3 Megapixels sensor. The newest member of the EOS-5D family features a DIGIC 5+ Imaging Processor, 61-point High Density Reticular Autofocus (AF) System, 6 fps continuous shooting speed (50% more than 5D Mark II), dual memory card (1 CF and 1 SD) slots, enhanced video features with better noise reduction, longer video recording times, a built-in headphone jack for audio monitoring and an improved weather-sealed body.
The 5D Mark III shares many features of the Canon EOS-1D X, including the DIGIC 5+, 61-point AF array with up to 41 cross-type points and five dual cross-type, plus the ability to AF @ f/8. The only non EOS-1 camera capable of this feat in Canon's lineup.
The EOS-5D Mark III is well designed for cinematographers and independent filmmakers. It can capture 1080p Full HD video and 720p HD recording. It also has the new H.264 video compression formats for data storage efficiency. The camera can also double up as a Travel and Wildlife body with its ample megapixels for cropping and adequate 6 fps for action shots. Check out my post on the EOS-1D X vs. EOS-5D Mk III comparison.
The best value Canon APS-C DSLR camera for beginners - EOS Rebel T4i/T5i
The EOS Rebel T4i is not Canon's latest body but is an excellent choice for those who wish to leave the point-n-shoot camera behind and enter the DSLR world. The plastic body makes it lighter than higher-end cameras, but the feel is solid. It comes with the APS-C 18 megapixel hybrid CMOS sensor, DIGIC 5+ processor with a 9-point AF system and ISO range from ISO 100 - 12800.
In addition, it is the first DSLR camera to feature a side-hinged, articulating touchscreen LCD monitor. When mated to the Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS and EF 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM lens, it can focus with almost complete silence, a feature many videographers love. It is a camera with the proper mix of performance and price for the beginner/amateur DSLR market and therefore is my pick. Check out my post on the Rebel T5i vs. Rebel T4i comparison.