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Updated: 19 Nov 2021

Canon 850D reviewed; is this sub-£1,000 DSLR camera any good?

The Canon 850D is a high-end DSLR that won't break the bank - but it has stiff competition from premium rivals. Our tests reveal if it can deliver great quality
Canon 850D

At £930, Canon's newest DSLR isn't exactly cheap. But with premium rivals costing as much as £4,000, it's not nearly as prohibitively expensive as many other DSLR or mirrorless cameras.

Photographers looking for a high-end, interchangeable lens camera are spoilt for choice, and you can spend anything from several hundred to several thousand pounds.

The wide range of price points can make it tricky to know how much you need to spend to guarantee great photos. You might assume that a bigger budget will buy you better quality, versatility and usability - and that's often the case.

However, it's not a sure thing. Our tests uncover some seriously expensive cameras that disappoint, as well as some budget models that exceed expectations.

Take a look at all our DSLR and mirrorless camera reviews to find the right camera for your budget.

Canon 850D: key features

The 850D is the latest in Canon's popular line of DSLR cameras, and the manufacturer describes it as a 'a great low-budget video DSLR camera'.

Key features include:

  • 24Mp resolution with an APS-C sensor
  • 45 autofocus (AF) points
  • A built-in flash
  • A maximum 25,600 ISO setting for low-light environments
  • The ability to shoot up to seven frames per second in burst mode.

The 850D is capable of recording video in 4K, making it a choice for videographers as well as photographers.

Canon have crammed a lot into this sub-£1,000 camera, trying to appeal to both enthusiasts and beginners at the same time.

Does Canon's latest offering strike the perfect balance of price versus quality? Find out in our expert review of the Canon 850D.

Does a higher price mean better camera tech?

Nikon D850

DSLR and mirrorless cameras can be eye-wateringly expensive. One of the Canon 850D's DSLR rivals, the Nikon D850, costs more than £3,000, while the mirrorless Panasonic Lumix S1RM '- one of the most expensive on our site - costs £4,000 plus.

Usually, more money means newer, more cutting-edge hardware. Both of these premium cameras come with a full-frame sensor, which is the largest sensor that you can buy.

Full-frame sensors are associated with the best image quality, especially in high-contrast and low-light situations. They're also ideal for wide-angle photography. The 850D on the other hand comes with the smaller APS-C lens, which is now common among interchangeable lens cameras and some premium compact cameras.

You can read more about difference types of sensor in our guide on camera sensor sizes explained.

With a premium camera, you also get other hardware upgrades. The Nikon D850, for example, has a 153-point autofocusing system, which means it uses 153 individual pin-points to track subjects and compose a perfect shot in difficult settings.

Cheap digital cameras are keeping up

However, technology has advanced enough that even many entry-level DSLRs and mirrorless cameras can be used professionally. The pace of change in this market is so fast that cutting-edge technologies that start in premium cameras can quickly become commonplace.

For example, the £4,000 Nikon S1RM has an incredible ISO sensitivity of 25,600 that helps it to capture bright, dynamic images in dim lighting - but the much cheaper Canon 850D has exactly the same ISO sensitivity.

And the 850D also films video in ultra-high-definition 4K. Until recently, this was a hallmark of prestige found in only premium cameras. The 850D also uses sophisticated image stabilisation, face detection and autofocusing technology.

In summary, a lower price doesn't always mean a poor camera; some our Best Buy cameras cost well under £1,000. We've also tested at least one camera costing more than £3,000 that was decidedly mediocre in our tests.

For a little help identifying the features you need and choosing the right camera for your needs, read our guides on how to buy the best DSLR and best mirrorless cameras.