Time and again I’ve listened to people tell me dedicated cameras are a waste of time. All you need now is a smartphone because they’re good enough, they say. Also, the best camera is the one you have on you. Both are true and fair points, but there is a reason the best photos are captured on dedicated cameras: they’re a lot better.
Professionals and enthusiasts know this, and curious hobbyists come to quickly learn this. Though, breaking past the justification of dedicated cameras comes to the harder challenge: which is best for you?
In this article, we are looking at the biggest camera heavyweight, Canon, and its best models for motorcycle photography, and automotive photography in general.
Canon caters to hobbyists and professionals, producing APS-C and full-frame DSLR and mirrorless cameras (see below for the camera glossary of terms). Traditionally, Canon’s product range has been more DSLR-focused and it still is, although this is changing quite quickly with the new generation of mirrorless cameras coming along. In this way, it's similar to its closest competitor, Nikon. Meanwhile, Sony is much more focussed on mirrorless cameras.
Canon’s autofocus system and colour quality are superb, and excellent traits for automotive photography. Likewise, some models also feature fast burst rates, which allow you to capture fast-moving subjects very clearly.
DSLR camera: The acronym stands for digital single lens reflex and is still the top dog for image quality. That’s why most professionals still use DSLR cameras, but there are still plenty of entry-level DSLR cameras around too. DSLR cameras are very customizable, which is great but does take some learning to make the most from.
Mirrorless camera: DSLR cameras use a reflex mirror, but mirrorless ones do not. Instead, light passes directly through from the lens to an electronic sensor. It’s more compact and allows you to preview selected settings before taking the shot. Advances in recent mirrorless models mean some can challenge DSLR cameras in terms of image quality.
Sensor size: Full-frame, APS-C, and micro four-thirds. There is a lot that differs between the three sizes, but one of the major points is that full-frame sensors perform better in low light because they are physically larger and can capture more light.
The best canon cameras for motorcycle photography
1. Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
Sensor size: Full frame
Having honed your abilities, you can look to express your style and imagination to their full extent with a clever DSLR such as the EOS 5D Mark IV. This camera is all about image detail. It even features a Fine Detail option that allows you to adjust sharpness and contrast settings prior to shooting.
Pursuing detail, the EOS 5D Mark IV has a 61-point autofocus system that is fast to pick up subjects, even in low light and when tracking. You can also manually select the focus point using the selection button on the camera body.
In addition to incredible image quality, the EOS 5D Mark IV also has weatherproofing and can capture video in 4K and Full HD. It, therefore, offers a surprising amount of versatility.
|• Top image quality||• Fierce competition from mirrorless these days|
|• Fantastic autofocus|
2. Canon EOS R6
Sensor size: Full frame
Like the EOS 5D Mark IV, the EOS R6 is a highly aspirational camera for those looking to make the most of their photography skills. It’s about as versatile as you’d want a camera to be and remarkably capable. It features Canon’s amazing Dual Pixel CMOS AF II autofocus, which tracks eyes, faces, vehicles, and animals immediately and accurately.
Possessing a 20fps electronic/12fps mechanical shutter speed means you can capture fast-moving subjects. The camera’s full-frame sensor, eight-stop image stabilization, and impressive ISO range collectively help capture fantastic low-light images. Photographers can also turn to videography thanks to 4K video at up to 60fps (and FHD at up to 120fps).
The EOS R6 is ergonomic and reasonably intuitive, though some of the technical settings are a bit fiddly to set up. It’s also a surprisingly light camera – one of the benefits of mirrorless.
|• Lightweight and ergonomic||• Some fiddly settings|
|• Incredible autofocus|
|• 4K/60fps video|
3. Canon EOS 90D
Sensor size: APS-C
Canon’s EOS 90D is a tremendous hobbyist’s camera that acts as the EOS 5D Mark IV’s little brother. Though, we mean that literally.
Having an APS-C sensor, the EOS 90D is physically smaller than the EOS 5D Mark IV but nonetheless remains very impressive. Its image detail might not be as incredible (though it’s still fantastic), but it still features excellent autofocus and a fast shooting speed of 10fps.
Having a smaller, lighter camera makes for easier handling too, made even better by the deep hand grip.
|• Lightweight for a DSLR||• Canon EOS R10 is even better value|
|• Good value|
|• Great for developing skills|
4. Canon EOS R10
Sensor size: APS-C
There is little to fault the EOS R10 on. It’s simply a very good camera for hobbyists. For those wanting to capture fast-moving people, animals, or vehicles, the EOS R10 happily will. For those wanting to indulge in videography, the EOS R10 can record in 4K at 60fps and FHD at 120fps. Meanwhile, the 24.2-megapixel sensor captures everything in very high detail.
All this is wrapped within a body that weighs just 429 grams. Capturing high or low-angle shots is quite easy too, thanks to the vari-angle touchscreen. Where models like the EOS 5D Mark IV and EOS 90D are rather image-focused, the EOS R10, like the EOS R6, is incredibly versatile.
|• Lightweight and versatile||• EOS 90D takes higher quality images|
|• 4K/60fps and FHD/120fps video|
|• Fast burst rate|
5. Canon EOS M50 Mk II (with 15-45mm lens)
Sensor size: APS-C
For beginners, the EOS M50 MkII is a place to cut your teeth and experiment without making a heavy financial investment or quality compromise. Like the bigger mirrorless models above, the little EOS M50 MkII is very versatile. It’s designed to be as adept at creating social media content as it is taking photos.
The EOS M50 MkII captures a lot of detail via its 24.1-megapixel sensor and has a lot of convenient, beginner-friendly features and modes. These allow greenhorns to capture excellent photos while learning techniques.
This entry-level camera is very light (387 grams) and compact but still has a mid-sized APS-C sensor. The camera feels a little bit tinny but it performed very well.
|• Very light and compact||• Easy to outgrow|
|• Great value|
|• Suitable for beginners|
Canon’s many years in cameras have resulted in quite an impressive collection of lenses available for each of its camera types. But what’s even better is that adaptors ensure you can keep using your DSLR lenses if you buy a new mirrorless camera, for example. Don’t forget about the second-hand market too, if you’re after a new lens.
RF and RF-S: For Canon’s mirrorless EOS R cameras. However, you can also use an EOS R adaptor, which allows you to use the EF and EF-S lenses they may already have from their Canon DSLR camera.
EF and EF-S: Canon’s lens range for its EOS DSLR cameras.
EF-M: Canon’s lens range for its EOS M range. However, you can still use your existing EF and EF-S lenses with the EOS M cameras with the help of the Canon Mount Adaptor EF-EOS M.
Cameras can be made complicated and might seem so to the uninitiated, but don’t be put off. Dive in and give it a go. There is so much more you can do with a dedicated camera (even an entry-level one) over a smartphone, and the image quality is so much better.
Regarding the Canon cameras we’ve looked at, the EOS M50 MkII is a great place to start thanks to its balance of usability and value with ability. The EOS R6 and EOS 5D Mark IV are stunning cameras that experienced photographers should aspire to. Meanwhile, the EOS 90D and EOS R10 serve as excellent stepping stones en route to them, or as fantastic options for keen hobbyists.
Although at different levels, all these models are excellent for automotive photography thanks to useful features such as sharp, accurate autofocus, and quick shooting speeds.