Your First Real Camera: 6 Excellent APS-C Cameras Under $1000

These budget friendly, feature packed APS-C cameras have a ton of features, and being under a grand, they’re hard to ignore.

In the recent past, cameras that were priced under $1,000 were often laughed at by photographers the world over. Cheap usually meant poor build quality, less than stellar image quality, and bare bones features, but my times have changed. These days, APS-C cameras that are under $1,000 aren’t just there to make up the numbers, and they aren’t just for moms and dads who want a cheap camera to capture images of their kids.  Today’s APS-C cameras at this price point are absolute power houses that are rewriting the books on cheap cameras.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner, a hobbyist, a semi-pro, or full blown pro photographer, use any one of these APS-C cameras and you will be able to produce some truly amazing images. Not only can these cameras help produce great images, they are well built, and they feature cutting edge technology (some even have eye auto focus). If you are looking into buying your first camera, or need another camera as a backup to your main body, these APS-C cameras will be able to do a magnificent job for you.

 

Ricoh GR II

 

aps-c cameras

Pros

  • Fantastic image quality
  • JPEGs so good that I’d have no problems just posting the JPEGs and not even bothering to edit the RAWs (yes, it’s true. That’s a very strong statement.)
  • Compact body
  • I actually like the rough texture of some of the body.
  • Pretty simply to use, though I wish there were a few more direct controls
  • Really nice effects simulations
  • Very low profile look
  • LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE the fact this lens tends to embrace flares rather than killing them.
  • Feels as if it really should’ve had an integrated viewfinder; something like the Fujifilm X30.

Cons

  • Autofocus suffers in low light and with moving subjects
  • Those that want the clinical look of a photo probably won’t be able to embrace the grain at higher ISOs, the fun of the creative effects, or the lens flare that’s possible here

Check out our full review

Buy now ($546.95): Amazon

 

Sony a6400

 

Pros

  • Compact & lightweight
  • Fast & accurate autofocus
  • Excellent image quality
  • 11 FPS continuous shooting with AF & AE tracking (mechanical shutter only)
  • Improved Real-time Eye AF
  • Real-time Tracking
  • Real-time Animal Eye AF
  • 4K video recording without 30 minute limit
  • Competitively priced

Cons

  • Lacks in body image stabilization
  • External battery charger not included
  • Single SD card slot with support for only up to UHS-I speed cards
  • Rear screen flips up into where the hot shoe is located and becomes essentially useless if you’ve got any attachments mounted onto the camera

Check out our full review

Buy now ($898): Amazon

 

Pro Tip: No matter what camera you buy, and no matter how well you treat it, it is going to get dirty. From dirt, dust and grime on the outside of the body, to dirty lens contacts, and dirty sensors, those little specs of nasty can get everywhere. Fortunately camera cleaning kits are super affordable these days, and they come with everything you need to keep your gear in tip top shape. Keep one in your camera bag and make a point of cleaning your gear regularly so that it will last for years to come.

 

Fujifilm X-T2

 

aps-c cameras

Pros

  • Great image quality
  • Versatile raw files
  • Weather sealing
  • Super solid build quality
  • Reliability
  • Fast autofocus, though still not the fastest
  • 4k video addition due to the heat sink on the camera
  • Dials can be locked into place
  • With the battery grip and two other batteries in the grip, it can last for forever basically.
  • Fast FPS shooting

Cons

  • Tracking autofocus isn’t the fastest
  • Autofocus in low light isn’t so great

Checkout our full review

Buy now ($899): Amazon

 

Canon EOS M50

Pros

  • Nice feeling in the hand.
  • Absolutely fantastic battery life
  • Canon’s colors are really nice, and I’ve come to think of this sensor sort of like shooting with Slide film
  • Autofocus is pretty good, but I wouldn’t use it for street photography
  • We finally got 4K video
  • There’s a silent shutter mode, finally
  • Big LCD screen
  • Canon’s menus continue to be the easiest to go through
  • Canon’s monochrome images are really nice

Cons

  • This camera deserves to be bundled with a nice wrist strap
  • Image quality breaks up basically as soon as you edit.
  • Who the hell thought of putting the silent shutter mode in its own dedicated camera mode and robbing the photographer of all traditional exposure control?
  • Silent shutter mode should be a drive mode option
  • High ISO is barely usable above ISO 3200

Check out our full review

Buy now ($649): Amazon

 

Pro Tip: These APS-C cameras have a lot of great features, but one area they might be lacking in is weather sealing; however this doesn’t mean you can’t go out and get some killer images with your new gear. Keep some weather proof camera and lens covers in your pockets or in your camera bag so that you can be ready to shoot no matter what the weather is doing.

 

Canon EOS 77D

 

Pros

  • Pretty decent image quality if you’re not pixel peeping, or printing large above ISO 800
  • Fantastic autofocus
  • Incredible battery life
  • Solid feel yet lightweight
  • If you’re a Canon user, the controls are intuitive
  • WiFi, NFC, and beaming to Canon’s printers
  • Interesting approach to the on/off switch
  • Mode dial is an interesting yet subtle nod to the retro ergonomics that Canon has been fighting so hard
  • Tilt and swivel LCD screen is beautiful
  • Canon continues to have a great menu system

Cons

  • I wish it had more direct AF point control
  • I seriously wish that Canon would have made a full frame version of this camera instead of yet another APS-C camera. In fact, this camera deserves a full frame sensor
  • Pricey for an APS-C sensor DSLR, especially when there are fantastic deals on the Nikon D5000 series cameras, the Sony a6000, and the Fujifilm X-T20; which are all arguably better in some way or another

Check out our full review

Buy now ($699): Amazon

 

Nikon D7500

 

aps-c cameras

Pros

  • Solid Build
  • Incredible Battery life
  • Control Wheels and Thumb ‘Multi Selector’ changes setting quickly.
  • Touchscreen to preview images, and control finer settings
  • Wi-fi and Bluetooth integrated
  • Burst function works wonderfully
  • Much more affordable than the D500

Cons

  • Needed to remove lens to carry in small messenger bags
  • Probably overkill for anyone short of Semi-Professionals

Checkout out our full review

Buy now ($829 refurb): Amazon