The best APS-C cameras are smaller and lighter than most full-frame cameras, and they allow you to fill your frame with your subject from a greater distance. APS-C is a very popular choice for sensor size, appearing in both DSLRs and compact system cameras (and even some premium compact cameras, too). In this buyer’s guide, we help you choose the best cameras with an APS-C sized sensor.
Although not as large as a full-frame sensor, APS-C sensors larger than most other types, including Four Thirds, one-inch, and the smaller sensors found in the average mobile phone. This means you get advantages such as better noise control and greater depth of field, without the bulk of a full-frame camera.
Here we’ll be taking a look at a range of different cameras currently available, showing you the best of what the APS-C market has to offer. We’ve chosen the finalists based on high image quality, a good range of features and superlative handling.
What does APS-C mean?
APS-C is short for Advanced Photo System Type-C, which was a late addition to to film photography. The Advanced Photo System was a new size of film negative that measured 25.1mm x 16.7mm and provided a 3:2 image aspect ratio.
The APS-C, or crop, sensor matches the size of a single APS-C film negative in the same way that a full-frame sensor matches a single frame of 35mm film. For more information, check out our guide on when to use APS-C lenses instead of full-frame.
Is APS-C better than full frame?
Neither APS-C or full-frame formats is ‘better’ than each other. Both have their purposes. There is often a perception that full-frame cameras are better than APS-C cameras, but both have their advantages. Yes, full-frame cameras capture more detail and perform better in low light, thanks to their larger sensors. However, APS-C cameras tend to be smaller and lighter, for a start. They are also popular with wildlife photographers because the cropped sensor lets you fill your frame with your subject from farther away. File sizes are also much smaller from an APS-C cameras.
All of our picks for the best APS-C cameras were based off our experience testing these models. For a deeper dive into the many different camera types and features available, check out our range of camera buying guides. Also check out our guide to DSLR vs mirrorless cameras to find out which technology is best suited to your needs.
Is this the hybrid camera you’ve been waiting for?
Sensor: APS-C CMOS Megapixels: 26.16 Lens mount: Fujifilm X AF System: Intelligent Hybrid with up to 425 points Viewfinder: 0.5 inch 5.76 million-dot OLED Color Viewfinder with 100% coverage Screen: Vari-angle 3-inch LCD with 1.62-million dots Max video Resolution: 6.2K at up to 30p; 4K at up to 120p
Its new flagship APS-C camera, the Fujifilm X-H2S is the successor to the Fujifilm X-H1 and it’s designed for use by sport and wildlife photographers – or anyone who likes to photograph moving subjects. It features a brand new 26.1MP stacked sensor, the 5th generation of Fujifilm’s X-Trans CMOS chip, and extends the range of automatically detectable subjects to include animals, birds and vehicles.
In addition, the Fuji X-H2S makes a significant jump up in video capability in comparison with the X-H1, with 6.2K video at 30p and 4K at 120p. Thanks to Fujifilm’s technological advances, the X-H2S offers a wide range of frame rates, greater bit depth and less rolling shutter (with full sensor readout in 5.4msec or 1/180sec), plus in-camera Apple ProRes (ProRes 422 HQ, ProRes 422 and ProRes 422 LT) recording. There’s also F-Log and dual memory slots for SD and CFexpress cards.
The Fujifilm X-H2S demonstrates the impact of switching to a stacked CMOS sensor and boosting processing power. It has enabled Fujifilm to update the subject detection and AF speed significantly and boost the full-resolution continuous shooting speed to 40fps.
A little gem of a camera with some powerful features
Sensor: APS-C CMOS Megapixels: 20.88 Lens mount: Nikon ZAF System: Phase detection with 209 AF points, Eye AF and Subject Tracking Viewfinder: 2.36million-dot electronic viewfinderScreen: Tilting 3.2-inch 1,040,000-dot touchscreen, Max video Resolution: 4K at 30fps and Full-HD at 120fps
Pros: Great size and shape, Nikon’s camera heritage Cons: Screen tips down for viewing from in front, no joystick for setting the AF point
Nikon may have been late to get serious about mirrorless cameras but the Z50 isn’t playing catch-up with anyone. It’s a very nice, solid-feeling camera with well-implemented touch-control and superb image quality.
Its autofocus system is also excellent and can cope with moving subjects in poor light.
There are currently only two Nikon DX format Z lenses but more are in the pipeline and F-mount lenses can be used via an adapter. Also, as Nikon has used the same Z mount on the Z50 as it has for its full-frame mirrorless cameras, the Z6 and Z7, the lenses are interchangeable.
Sensor: APS-C format (22.3 x 14.8mm) CMOS Megapixels: 32.5 Lens Mount: Canon RF Mount AF System: Dual Pixel CMOS II AF phase detection with up to 5915 positions and 651 automatically selectable points Viewfinder: 0.39-type 2,360,000-dots OLED EVF Screen: Touch-sensitive vari-angle 2.95-inch LCD with 1.62 million dots Max video resolution: 4K Max frame rate: 15fps for up to 224 Jpegs or 51 raw files, Electronic shutter: 30fps for 126 Jpegs or 42 raw files
Canon’s flagship APS-C format camera, the Canon EOS R7, looks and feels worthy of its billing. It features the same Dual Pixel CMOS AF II technology as the Canon R3, R5 and R6 in a weather-sealed body that’s smaller and lighter than the Canon 90D. There’s also the ability to shoot uncrossed 4K video at 60p, C-Log and ports to connect an external mic and headphones.
The Canon EOS R7 and Canon EOS R10, launched at the same time in May 2022, are the first APS-C format mirrorless cameras with the Canon RF mount. This mount is directly compatible with both the Canon RF and RF-S mount lenses. The new range of RF-S lenses produce an image circle that is only large enough to cover APS-C format sensors so they are smaller and lighter than their full-frame counterparts.
The Canon R7 is aimed at the same audience as the EOS 7D Mark II, which we’re also still including on our list of the best APS-C cameras, because as you can see in our Canon EOS R7 vs 7D Mark II comparison, the 7D II is still a really viable camera. But the R7 gains a lot of features and technological advances compared to its DSLR predecessor.
A superb all-rounder, well suited to lots of different subjects
Sensor: APS-C CMOS, Megapixels: 20.9, Lens Mount: Nikon F Mount, AF System: Phase Detection AF, 153 point, Viewfinder: Optical pentaprism, 100% coverage, 1.0x magnification Screen: 3.2-inch, tilting, 2359k-dot, touch-sensitive Max video resolution: 4K, Max frame rate: 10fps
Pros: Touch-sensitive screen, dual card slots Cons: Screen doesn’t articulate, Live View shooting a little stilted
Sharing many of the same specifications as the top-of-the-line (and full-frame) D5, the D500 has a vast swathe of appealing specifications. Designed to perform well in a variety of situations, there’s an excellent AF system and processor (shared with the D5) that copes brilliantly with action and fast-moving subjects – which you can shoot at 10fps.
The sensor has a relatively modest 20.8 million pixels, which sees it in good stead to cope with low light shooting across a very wide sensitivity range.
With a robust body, and plenty of buttons and dials to give you direct access to commonly used controls, the D500 also has an excellent viewfinder and a tilting touch-sensitive screen.
Style and substance with this well featured and attractive option
Sensor: X-Trans CMOS 4 APS-C sensor Megapixels: 26.1 Lens Mount: Fuji X AF System: Intelligent hybrid with up to 425 selectable AF points Viewfinder: 0.5 inch, 3.69 million dot OLED, 100% coverage Screen: Vari-angle 3-inch 1.6 million dot touch screen LCD Max Video Resolution: C4K (4096×2160) at 59.94p/50p/29.97p/25p/24p/23.98p 400Mbps/200Mbps/100Mbps, 4:2:0 10bit internal SD card recording; 1080/240p
Pros: Fast AF and frame rate, 4K video, IBIS Cons: It’s hard to fault this camera
It may have the same 26.1MP X-Trans CMOS 4 sensor and X-Processor 4 processing engine as the X-T3, but the Fujifilm X-T4 also has 5-axis in-body image stabilisation with a shutter speed compensation value of 6.5Ev, a quieter shutter, a bigger battery, a great new Film Simulation mode and a vari-angle touchscreen.
Like the X-T3, the X-T4 can shoot C4K (4096 x 2160) MOV video at up to 60p. However, it can also record in MP4 format.
In addition, its possible to record Full HD video at up to 240p (with continuous focusing), twice the rate possible with the X-T3. That’s great news for those who like to see action in slow-motion.
All this combined with Fujifilm’s image-quality knowhow makes the X-T4 the company’s best X-series camera to date, not to mention one of the best mirrorless cameras you can buy today.
It may not be an automatic upgrade choice for X-T3 users, but X-T1 and X-T2 photographers will love it. More significantly, it’s very attractive to anyone contemplating their first serious Fuji camera.
One of the best APS-C cameras on the market, with a super array of specs for your money
Sensor: APS-C Exmor CMOS Megapixels: 24.2 Lens Mount: Sony E-Mount AF System: Fast Hybrid AF, 425 points / 169 points Viewfinder: 0.39-inch, 2.36 million-dot XGA OLED, 100% coverage Screen: 3-inch, 921,600-dot, touch-sensitive, tilting Max Video Resolution: 4K Max Frame Rate: 11fps
Pros: Very good image and vido quality, fast and accurate AF Cons: Single SD card slot, limited touch control on tilting LCD
The market for high-end APS-C cameras is a pretty crowded one, but the Sony A6600 stands out by offering a great range of features. The Sony A6600 is Sony’s flagship APS-C format mirrorless camera. It has a great range of features including Real-time Eye AF for humans and animals, plus Eye AF for humans in video mode.
Inside the Sony A6600 is a 24.2Mp APS-C format sensor. That means that the sensor measures 23.5 x 15.6mm and that lens mounted on it incur a 1.5x focal length magnification factor.
Nevertheless, Sony uses the same mount on its APS-C and full-frame mirrorless cameras so you can use full-frame and APS-C format lenses interchangeably.
Sony has built an excellent reputation for its autofocus systems and its great to see that the A6600 has 850 AF points made up of 425 phase-detection points and 425 contrast-detection points. In addition, there’s Real-time Eye AF which can be set to work with humans or animals for stills shooting and humans for video.
As we’ve come to expect, 5-axis image stabilisation is built in the Sony A6600 and extends the safe hand-holdable shutter speed by up to 5 stops.
A rugged all rounder, ideal to step up to from Canon’s entry-level models
Sensor: APS-C CMOS Megapixels: 20.2 Lens Mount: Canon EF-S AF System: 65 cross-type AF (centre point dual cross type) Viewfinder: Optical pentaprism, 1.0x magnification, 100% coverage Screen: 3-inch, 1040k-dot Max Video Resolution: Full HD Max Frame Rate: 10fps
Pros: Weatherproof, great handling Cons: Fixed, non touch-sensitive screen, no 4K video
Despite being one of the oldest models in our list, the 7D Mark II is still a great choice for those looking for a high-performing APS-C camera.
Canon is yet to update its 7D line, so it still sits as its top offering for the smaller than full-frame sensor size. Designed to appeal to photographers who like to shoot lots of different subjects, it copes well with a variety of different tasks, including action photography with 10fps shooting and a very capable autofocus system.
Offering a rugged body which is weather-sealed, the 7D Mark II is readily equipped for shooting outdoors, while features such as a top-plate LCD make it very user-friendly.
If you’re already a Canon photographer using something lower down in the company’s line-up, the 7D Mark II is the obvious choice.
A retro-styled premium compact which is ideal for street photography
Sensor: X-Trans CMOS 4 APS-C sensor Megapixels: 26.1 Lens: Fujinon 23mm f/2 (35mm equivalent) AF System: Intelligent hybrid with up to 425 selectable AF points Viewfinder: Optical: Reverse Galilean viewfinder with electronic bright frame display, 95% coverage and x0.52 magnification, Electronic: 0.5 inch 3,690,000-dot OLED with 100% coverage, 0.66x magnification Screen: Tilting 3.0-inch 1,620.000-dot touchscreen LCD Max Video Resolution: DCI 4K (4096×2160) at 29.97p/25p/24p/23.98p, 200Mbps/100Mbps, for up to 10min
Pros: Hybrid viewfinder, 35mm focal length ideal as a walk around lens Cons: Expensive
The Fuji X100V is a compact camera and the fifth model in Fujifilm’s widely respected X100 series. Inside it has the same 26.1MP APS-C format sensor and processing engine as the manufacturer’s recent enthusiast-level interchangeable lens cameras, the Fujifilm X-T4, X-T3 and X-Pro3.
This means that it can capture the same quality images albeit using a fixed 23mm f/2.0 lens with an effective focal length of 35mm.
It has a high-quality build and traditional exposure controls along with a hybrid viewfinder and a tilting touchscreen. It’s not for everyone but it’s a camera that many people will fall in love with.
Sensor: APS-C CMOS Megapixels: 24.24 Lens: GR 18.3mm (28mm equivalent) f/2.8 AF System: hybrid Viewfinder: n/a Screen: 3-inch touch-sensitive, 1,037,000-dot Max video Resolution: 1920×1080
Pros: Small size, uncomplicated Cons: No viewfinder, screen doesn’t tilt
We might be getting ahead of ourselves a little, but after shooting with a final production sample of the Ricoh GR III shortly before its announcement, we think it’s worth adding to this list.
It’s not an all-singing, all dancing, camera but the Ricoh GR III allows you to focus on the essentials. It’s designed for snap shooting and its a nice choice for street photography.
Inside, the 24.24Mp CMOS sensor lacks anti-aliasing (AA) filter to help it capture more detail but there’s an anti-aliasing system built-in should you need it. There’s also a top sensitivity setting of ISO 102,400 and a sensor-shifting Shake Reduction (SR) system.
The 14-bit DNG raw files have buckets of detail and it’s maintained very well into the corners. Flare, chromatic aberration and vignetting are also kept under close control.
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