Best Canon Camera for Video? Canon EOS R vs 5D Mark IV vs EOS RP vs 1D X Mark II vs Rebel SL3

If you’re interested in a Canon camera but need to figure out the best Canon camera for video, then this comparison will help you.

The four cameras we are comparing are:

Click here to stay updated about new information, workflows and tips about the Canon EOS R.

The basics

Let’s start with the simple stuff:

CameraPrice of Camera bodyIncluded Accessories /SoftwareLens Mount
EOS R$1,999Battery (LP-E6N)
Battery Charger LC-E6
Wide Strap
Cable Protector
Interface Cable (IFC-100U)
Camera Cover (R-F-5)
RF (EF & EF-S with adapter)
EOS RP$1,299Battery Pack (LP-E17)
Battery Charger (LC-E17)
Wide Neck Strap
RF (EF & EF-S with adapter)
5D Mark IV$2,799Battery (LP-E6N)
Battery Charger (LC-E6)
Eyecup Eg Wide Strap
Cable Protector
Interface Cable (IFC-150U II)
EOS DIGITAL Solution Disk
EF
1DX Mark II$5,499Battery Pack (LP-E19)
Battery Charger (LC-E19)
Wide Strap
Eyecup Eg Cable Protector
Interface Cable (IFC-150U II)
EOS Digital Solution Disk
EF
Rebel SL3$549Battery Pack (LP-E17)
Battery Charger (LC-E17)
Wide Strap (EW-400D)
Eyecup Ef
EF-S

One of the things you’ll notice right off the bat (other than the price) is that the batteries are not all similar across models, and neither is the interface cable.

It’s not a big deal, but in the future if you are considering moving to different systems within the Canon family, you might have buy all new accessories.

The two big DSLRs – the 5D Mark IV and the 1D X Mark II – are both 3 years old, and is probably due for an update sometime in the next year or so. The other three are mirrorless cameras, and are the new kids on the block.

Except for the SL3, all the others are made of weather-sealed magnesium alloy, and with weather-sealed lenses and adapters is a system you can shoot in the dust or rain (mostly).

All of them have mini-HDMI ports so you can record video separately to an external recorder like an Atomos Ninja V (Amazon, B&H), or similar. The Canon EOS R (Amazon | B&H) has a cable protector as part of its package, and is in a price sweet spot (median) in this list.

Let’s move on!

Comparison of sensors

Here are some important video specs:

CameraSensor Size (mm)Horizontal Crop FactorMaximum Resolution in VideoISO RangeNative ISO for Video (C-Log)
EOS R36 x 241.753840 x 2160100-40000400
EOS RP36 x 241.63840 x 2160100-40000N/A
5D Mark IV36 x 241.644096×2160100-25600 (12800 in 4K)400*
1D X Mark II36 x 241.334096×2160100-25600 (12800 in 4K)N/A
Rebel SL322.3 x 14.91.63840 x 2160100-12800 (6400 in 4K)N/A

The good news is, except for the Canon 1D X Mark II, you can use EF-S lenses on all cameras for video.

The Canon EOS R (Amazon | B&H) stands out here, for these reasons:

  1. Better ISO performance
  2. C-Log is part of your camera, where as with the 5D Mark IV it’s a separate purchase.

The Canon 1D X Mark II (Amazon, B&H) has a smaller crop factor, but the difference is not that great for most practical video shooting.

*C-Log is a paid update to the 5D Mark IV, and not available at all on the 1D X! Here’s more info:

Comparison of video features

This is where we separate the men from the boys:

CameraMaximum frame rate in 4K Maximum frame rate in 1080p
EOS R29.97p59.94 fps
EOS RP29.97p59.94 fps
EOS 5D Mark IV29.97p 59.94 fps
EOS 1DX Mark II59.94p 119.9 fps
EOS Rebel SL323.98p59.94 fps

The Canon 1D X Mark II (Amazon, B&H) wins the high frame rate race. It’s the only camera in the Canon family that can do 4K 60p and 120 fps in 1080p. It can easily handle more kinds of video projects than any of the other cameras.

What about color? Here are the important specs:

CameraColor Information (Internal)Best Data Rates, CodecColor Information (External)
EOS R8-bit 4:2:0480 Mbps ALL-I10-bit 4:2:2
EOS RP8-bit 4:2:0120 Mbps IPB8-bit 4:2:2
EOS 5D Mark IV8-bit 4:2:0500 Mbps Motion JPEG8-bit 4:2:2 (HD only)
EOS 1DX Mark II8-bit 4:2:2500 Mbps ALL-I8-bit 4:2:2 (HD only)
EOS Rebel SL38-bit 4:2:0120 Mbps IPG8-bit 4:2:2

The Canon 1D X Mark II (Amazon, B&H) is the only camera that records acceptable internal videos (speaking professionally). Otherwise, they are all similar in that regard.

If you’re planning on using an external recorder, the Canon 1D X Mark II (Amazon, B&H) and 5D Mark IV (AmazonB&H) only outputs 1080p via HDMI, which is a big letdown. Truth be told though, most people who would buy it would probably be photographers first, and an HDMI recorder is not typically an accessory they tend to carry or use.

If you don’t need slow motion video, it’s hard to fault the Canon EOS R (Amazon | B&H) here. It obviously has the best colors via HDMI, and has a robust internal codec as well.

Further more, it has better low light performance than a 5D Mark IV, and has C-log free with the camera.

Media Cards

If you’re going to record in 4K, you need to know how many media cards you’ll need, and how much they’re going to cost.

This simple table should give you a good idea:

CameraDual Card Slots?Media for 4KMarket price per GB (64 GB)Price per hour of 4K @24p
EOS RNoSD UHS-II$0.3/GB$64
EOS RPNoSD UHS-II$0.3/GB$16
5D Mark IVYesCompact Flash + SD UHS-I$1.6/GB$350
1D X Mark IIYesCompact Flash + CFast 2.0 $1.6/GB$350
Rebel SL3NoSD UHS-I$0.3/GB$16

Compact Flash is a dying standard, and clearly Canon has moved on to UHS-II cards for the new mirrorless cameras. Here I would have to give it to the Canon EOS R (Amazon | B&H). It has dual slots and the most affordable media cards.

One thing to note is all Canon cameras have a 30 minute record limit for video.

Battery life and Power

Canon cameras have one of the better performances when it comes to battery life.

CameraBattery lifeCost of one batteryCost per hour battery lifeExternal DC input?
EOS R1.5 hours$61$41/hrUSB-C*
EOS RP1.5 hours$49$33/hrUSB-C*
5D Mark IV1.5 hours$61$41/hrDC
1DX Mark II3 hours$163$55/hrDC
Rebel SL33 hours$49$17/hrDC

The 1DX Mark II (Amazon, B&H) has amazing battery life but is it worth the expense? Yes, if you are a photojournalist, sports shooter or wildlife filmmaker, but otherwise you do get the time to change batteries.

The SL3 similarly has great battery life as well.

Where the Canon EOS R (Amazon | B&H) shines is in its combination of battery life as well as the fact you can charge your batteries via USB-C (only when the camera is switched off, though) using the Canon PD-E1 USB charger (Amazon, B&H). The other thing to note is that the EOS R is a mirrorless camera, with an electronic viewfinder. You see what you are shooting, and you can actually see in low light situations. You can’t do that with DSLRs.

Which Canon camera has the best image quality?

Image quality in video is obviously an important consideration. Here are a few videos from Canon from each camera:

For the SL3:

To my eyes, the Canon EOS R (Amazon | B&H) really pulls ahead. But then again, it has the advantage of modern engineering and a better color science. And on top it has C-Log and 10-bit 4:2:2 via HDMI.

You want the best image quality? Pick the the Canon EOS R (Amazon | B&H).

Which is the best Canon camera for video?

Before we conclude, check out this quick table of pros and cons for each camera:

CameraUSPProsCons
EOS R10-bit 4:2:2, C-log included, RF lenses, Control Ring on RF lensesAll the USPs plus the ability to adapt EF lenses with multiple adapters. Great price!No 120p in 1080p, limited selection of RF lenses.
EOS RPBudget entry into full-frameLow light performance.Price is too high, no dual pixel AF in 4K!
5D Mark IVHighest video resolution, optional C-log upgradeDual Pixel AF is snappy and accurate, supports Canon logNo MP4 support for 4K, you need an expensive CF card to record 4k, bulky and heavier than is comfortable for video.
1DX Mark IIHighest 4K frame rate, built-in battery grip. AF is accurate and fast, the color is great, and it has great battery life. The toughest body and fully weather-sealed.Heaviest, most expensive, and only 1080p via HDMI.
Rebel SL3Inexpensive entry to video.4K HDMI, decent quality for the price, great battery life.No slow motion video.

Based on this comparison, here’s what I recommend:

  • If you’re a student and want to learn filmmaking, or if you just want a camera for family videos, the best Canon camera for you is the Rebel SL3 (Amazon, B&H).
  • If you’re serious about video and either have Canon lenses or are going to be investing in them, pick the Canon EOS R (Amazon | B&H).
  • If you need slow motion video you have no choice but to get the Canon 1D X Mark II (Amazon, B&H), though at that price you might be better off if other brands in the market. But if need the combination of internal video recording (8-bit 4:2:2), dual pixel AF and high frame rates, this is actually a great camera for wildlife, sports and documentary filmmakers.

For me, the RP is too expensive compared to the EOS R, so I don’t really see the value proposition. And the 5D Mark IV is end-of-life. The optical viewfinder, bulkier design, Motion JPEG codec and paid C-log just don’t make it an appealing camera for video shooters today.

Bottom line

Who wins this contest? The best Canon camera for video is the Canon EOS R (Amazon | B&H).

To learn more about its video features, choose of these articles to read next:

  1. Important Quirks and Features of the Canon EOS R for Cinematography
  2. The Best Lenses for the Canon EOS R for Video
  3. 5 Must-have Video Accessories for the Canon EOS R

What do you think is the best Canon camera for video?

Click here to stay updated about new information, workflows and tips about the Canon EOS R.

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8 Comments

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  1. SL3: External Recording Modes 4:2:2 10-Bit
    DCI 4K (4096 x 2160) at 23.976p/29.97p
    Full HD (1920 x 1080) at 59.94i/59.94p

      1. ” Video: 4K/24 (1.7x added crop, 120Mbps), 1080P 60/50/30/25 (60Mbps max), 720P/60/50 (stored in H.264 MP4, or ALL-I MOV file, with AAC audio, max 60Mbps); stereo sound from built-in mic, or accessory jack; video has 5-axis image stabilization (imposes additional crop); uncompressed 10-bit or 8-bit 4:2:2 on HDMI port, HDMI supports 4K/30P “

  2. Thanks for great comparison and insights!
    I would love to know what you have to say about Sony or Panasonic (Lumix) cameras, as they seem to be some of the best in terms of quality and size.