Just a short while ago, APS-C cameras were seen as being only suitable for beginners and enthusiasts in the field of photography. Now, thanks to advancements in sensor technology, and the amount of features being poured into these camera bodies, they are suitable for beginners to pros, and beyond.
Sony really started a revolution with their Mirrorless cameras. The NEX series took APS-C cameras to a new level, and they continued that with their Alpha line of cameras. Other manufacturers started to pay more attention to this market, and instead of just pumping out dross for the masses, crop sensor cameras have become quite incredible. Here’s a look at four of our favorite APS-C cameras that are two grand and under.
The Sony a6000 is the camera that really started to change peoples perceptions of APS-C cameras. This little rangefinder style camera is absolutely bursting with great features and tech, and to this day it remains one of the most affordable Mirrorless cameras on the market. The a6000 offers great performance and gives many the chance to step into the world of Mirrorless photography without breaking the bank.
In our review we said:
“The Sony A6000 is a beast of a camera in an itty bitty body. If Dirty Harry wanted to carry a camera around, this is what it would be.”
The a6000 features a 24.3 Megapixel sensor and is capable of shooting at 11 frames per second in continuous burst mode. The autofocus system is ridiculously fast, and the 179 autofocus points quickly acquire lock, and can track subjects easily. The Sony a6000 has a great electronic viewfinder, and the 3-inch tilting LCD screen on the back makes navigating the menus and viewing images easy. Overall build quality is excellent, and the camera feels really nice in the hand. Throw in HD video recording capabilities, Wi-Fi, and NFC connectivity, and you begin to see why this is such a great little camera.
Image quality from the a6000 is fantastic, and low light performance is great too with images up to ISO 6,400 being very useable. The camera has plenty of buttons that can be assigned custom functions, so you can set the camera up how you want it, and because of the customization abilities, the a6000 is easy to use. Pair this camera with the excellent Sony 50mm f1.8 OSS and you have a pocket powerhouse of a camera.
This camera is perfect for the beginner, or anyone who wants an affordable way to break into the world of Mirrorless APS-C cameras. The price to performance ratio is off the charts, and because of this, the a6000 goes down as one of our favorite APS-C cameras.
Buy now: ($548)
Sony A6000 Image Samples
Pro Tip: The Sony Alpha line of cameras are outstanding, but they do like to use a lot of juice. Make sure you have plenty of spare batteries in your camera bag. These third party batteries are excellent, and they perform just like the original ones do. The best part is that they are incredibly affordable.
The Nikon D500 is one of the best APS-C cameras ever made. Period. This camera is an absolute powerhouse and the stuff of legends. The D500 is used by professional nature, action, and sports photographers around the globe, and it’s versatility makes it great for other genres of photography too.
In our review we said:
“The Nikon D500 is an incredibly capable camera–and I honestly recommend it for both pros and semi-pros. It offers very good image quality, superb battery life, great ergonomics, high reliability in the autofocus department and a load of other cools things like WiFi.”
If you want a feature-packed, built to survive the apocalypse APS-C camera, then the D500 is for you. It features a 20.9 Megapixel crop sensor and a 153 point autofocus system. In continuous burst mode the D500 can rattle of 10 frames per second, and the autofocus system can track objects with ease. Native ISO from 100-51,200 make this a low light photography beast. The D500 has built in Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and NFC, and is capable of shooting 4K video at 30 frames per second. The build quality is immense, and because of the class-leading weather sealing, you can shoot outside in the craziest of weather.
Image quality is nothing short of superb, with the camera being able to produce rich, detailed images thanks to the Expeed 5 image processor. Pair this camera with a lens like the NIKKOR 70-200mm f2.8, and you have a camera that will make shooting sports, wildlife, and even portraits a piece of cake.
Yes, the price of this APS-C camera puts it in the same price bracket as some outstanding Full Frame Cameras that are $2,000 and under, but none of those cameras come close to the overall package you’re getting with the D500. Outstanding image quality, overall performance, and it’s tank-like build quality sets the D500 apart. There’s a reason why people call this the baby Nikon D5.
Buy now: ($1,796.95)
Nikon D500 Image Samples
Pro Tip: Keep all of your APS-C cameras in tip top shape by performing regular cleaning and housekeeping on them. This basic camera cleaning kit contains everything that you need to keep your camera looking shiny and new, including sensor cleaning swabs.
The Fujifilm X-T3 is the APS-C camera that will make many Full Frame shooters consider switching over to crop sensors. I know that sounds crazy; I thought so too a first, but I made the switch and I haven’t looked back. The X-T3 will go down as one of the greatest APS-C cameras of all time thanks to it’s price point, insane amount of features, and it’s beautiful retro look and build quality.
In our review we said:
“While USD $1,499 is certainly a premium price tag, it’s actually cheaper than the X-T2 when it first launched, retailing for an additional $100. The price tag is actually very reasonable when you consider everything that Fujifilm has packed into the X-T3, and it’ll even give Full Frame mirrorless cameras like the Sony A7 III a run for its money”
The Fujifilm X-T3 is a feature-rich APS-C camera that will change the way others look at the crop sensor market forever. This camera features a 26.1 Megapixel sensor and is capable of shooting at up to 30 frames per second. Yes, I said 30, and that’s blackout free which means you won’t miss any of the action. The brand new Quad-Core X-Processor 4 image chip helps this camera produce truly breathtaking images.
The X-T3’s low light performance is unrivaled in the crop sensor world with images beyond ISO 6,400 being more than usable. Put the Fujifilm 56mm f1.2 R lens on this camera and you will have a camera that produces some of the best images you’ll ever see from a crop sensor camera.
The 425 autofocus points and excellent tracking ability means you’ll rarely miss the shot you want, and because of the weather sealing you can use this camera outside in the elements with little to worry about. The X-T3 also features a 3-inch tilting touchscreen, dual card slots, 4k video at 10 bit, 60 frames per second, a gorgeous electronic viewfinder, easy to use controls, eye and face autofocus, and the beautiful Fujifilm simulations we have all come to love.
If you want a camera that produces truly breathtaking images, is packed to the rafters with features, and gives Full Frame cameras a run for their money, the Fuifilm X-T3 is for you. It is truly one of the best APS-C cameras we have ever seen.
Buy now: ($1,499)
Fujifilm X-T3 Image Samples
Pro Tip: Keep the touchscreen of your Fujifilm X-T3 looking like new by using glass screen protectors. These screen protectors are 100% clear, offer unrivaled hardness for maximum protection, and they are easy to apply.
Canon EOS 7D Mk II
If you prefer Canon over other brands you have many great APS-C cameras to choose from, but the EOS 7D Mk II is perhaps the best bang for your buck crop sensor camera that Canon makes. Much like the D500, the 7D Mk II is built to be a professional workhorse, and is perfect for those who shoot sports and action photography. The 7D2’s build quality and weather sealing make it great for street and landscape work too.
In our review we said:
“The Canon 7D Mk II has the battery life to get you through a super long shooting period, the shooting capabilities to photograph that amazing catch at the football game, the focusing system to shoot at the very low light parties that you haunt at night, and the image quality to make both you and your clients happy.”
This camera features a 20.2 Megapixel sensor, 65 autofocus points, a 10 frame per second burst mode, Dual-Pixel autofocus, dual card slots, a magnesium alloy body with amazing weather sealing, a 3-inch LCD screen, built-in GPS, and excellent tracking capabilities.
The Canon 7D2 may not have as many features as some of the cameras above, but this is still one serious camera. It’s build quality means ita will take all sorts of abuse and just keep on working. Image quality is excellent and like those listed above, low light performance is outstanding. The 7D2 and the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM make an excellent pair, You’ll be amazed at the images this camera and lens combo can produce.
When you factor in the price of just over a grand, you can see why this camera made the list. The 7D Mk II is a camera that will not fail you, and it can produce low light images that only Full Frames should be able to, but it’s a fraction of the price. This is easily one of Canon’s best APS-C cameras.
Buy now: ($1,063)
Canon EOS 7D Mk II Image Samples