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The best APS-C cameras

APS-C cameras are digital imaging devices that feature a relatively large sensor. Their designation is derived from a discontinued format for film photography, the Advanced Photo System. Indeed, the sensor in APS-C digital cameras is of about the same size as a negative of the Classic version (hence APS-C) of APS film. This Classic format offers the same 3:2 width to height aspect ratio as 135mm film (while other "H" and "P" formats are wider). APS film was produced from 1996 to 2011.

The size of APS-C sensors is not standardized and different camera manufacturers use slightly different sensor sizes. For example, the sensors in APS-C cameras from Canon (15 x 22.5mm) are a bit smaller than those used by Fujifilm, Nikon, Pentax or Sony (15.7 x 23.5mm). As a result, the format factor (or "crop factor") for Canon cameras amounts to 1.6 — meaning that the diagonal of a film slide (or full-frame camera sensor) is 1.6-times as long as the diagonal of a Canon APS-C sensor — while for Fujifilm, Nikon, Pentax and Sony the format factor equals 1.5.

APS-C
APS-C sensor (Canon) vs film slide

As devices with a relatively large sensor, APS-C cameras provide very good image quality in terms of dynamic range, color reproduction and low-light sensitivity. Due to this superior imaging performance, they are often the tools of choice for enthusiast and professional photographers. Compared with full-frame cameras, APS-C cams offer several advantages: The smaller sensor size means that the cameras are less expensive and more compact (in particular when equipped with dedicated APS-C lenses). Moreover, in many cases APS-C cameras can be combined with (previously acquired) full-frame lenses, and in this case only use the center part of the lens for image capture while cropping out the peripheral areas where the optical quality tends to deteriorate. Also, due to the crop factor, APS-C cameras offer more telephoto-reach from full-frame lenses and are therefore very popular choices for sports and wildlife photographers.

There is a wide and growing choice of APS-C cameras on the market. It is not easy to decide which one is best. Indeed, what does it really mean to look for the best APS-C? The camera that offers the best imaging experience? The one with the highest sensor resolution? The one that is most portable? The APS-C camera that does not break the bank? The answers to these questions come down to personal preference, but hopefully the listings below will prove to be useful for your camera decision process.

The highest rated APS-C cameras

Top Elo
Camera with highest Elo: Fujifilm X-T4

The Camera Elo represents a comprehensive rating that takes the body, sensor and feature characteristics of digital cameras into account. It is based on the outcomes of thousands of pair-wise comparisons undertaken via the CAM-parator app.

The Fujifilm X-T4 is currently the top-ranked APS-C camera with a Camera Elo of 2991, followed in second place by the Pentax K-3 III with a rating of 2924. The table below lists the 20 highest ranked APS-C in descending order of their Elo. It also reports the cameras' DXO Mark sensor quality score, which can be taken as indicators of pure image quality. For both the Camera Elo and the DXO score, higher values represent better performance.

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The Cameras with the Highest Elo
    Camera
Model
Lens
Type
Camera
Elo
DXO
Score
Camera
Type
Resolution
(MP)
Video
Format
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Fujifilm X-T4Fujifilm X 299184 Mirrorless 26.04K/60p Feb 2020 1,699 i
2.
 
Pentax K-3 IIIPentax K 292485 DSLR 25.64K/30p Mar 2021 1,999 i
3.
 
Fujifilm X-T200Fujifilm X 289684 Mirrorless 24.04K/30p Jan 2020 699 i
4.
 
Fujifilm X-A7Fujifilm X 287684 Mirrorless 24.04K/30p Sep 2019 499 i
5.
 
Fujifilm X-T3Fujifilm X 286983 Mirrorless 26.04K/60p Sep 2018 1,499i
6.
 
Sony ZV-E10Sony E 286685 Mirrorless 24.04K/30p Jul 2021 699 i
7.
 
Sony A6600Sony E 286482 Mirrorless 24.04K/30p Aug 2019 1,399 i
8.
 
Canon 90DCanon EF-S 283883 DSLR 32.34K/30p Aug 2019 1,199 i
9.
 
Fujifilm X-Pro3Fujifilm X 282684 Mirrorless 26.04K/30p Oct 2019 1,799 i
10.
 
Sony A6100Sony E 282484 Mirrorless 24.04K/30p Aug 2019 749 i
11.
 
Fujifilm X-H1Fujifilm X 282082 Mirrorless 24.04K/30p Feb 2018 1,899 i
12.
 
Fujifilm X100V 35 mm f/2.0 280984 Compact 26.04K/30p Feb 2020 1,399 i
13.
 
Nikon Z50Nikon Z 280484 Mirrorless 20.74K/30p Oct 2019 859 i
14.
 
Canon M6 Mark IICanon EF-M 280483 Mirrorless 32.34K/30p Aug 2019 849 i
15.
 
Fujifilm X-S10Fujifilm X 280385 Mirrorless 26.04K/30p Oct 2020 999 i
16.
 
Fujifilm X-T30 IIFujifilm X 278885 Mirrorless 26.04K/30p Sep 2021 899 i
17.
 
Sony A6400Sony E 278083 Mirrorless 24.04K/30p Jan 2019 899 i
18.
 
Fujifilm X-E4Fujifilm X 276885 Mirrorless 26.04K/30p Jan 2021 849 i
19.
 
Canon M50 Mark IICanon EF-M 275283 Mirrorless 24.04K/24p Oct 2020 599 i
20.
 
Nikon Z fcNikon Z 274985 Mirrorless 20.74K/30p Jun 2021 959 i
Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.

You can access more detail on the listed cameras by clicking on the camera's name. Alternatively, you can compare two APS-C cameras using the search boxes below. Just enter two model names into the input fields and you will promptly be taken to a respective comparison.

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    The highest resolution APS-C cameras

    Perhaps your primary aim is to capture images with great detail, for example in landscape photography, or to have the ability to crop images heavily in post processing while still maintaining good image quality. In this case, the best APS-C camera might be the one with the highest sensor resolution. The following table lists the 20 APS-C cameras with the highest megapixel count. Again, clicking on the camera's name will reveal further detail.

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    The Cameras with the Highest Resolution
        Camera
    Model
    Lens
    Type
    Resolution
    (MP)
    Camera
    Elo
    DXO
    Score
    Camera
    Type
    Video
    Format
    Camera
    Launch
    Launch
    Price (USD)
    Street
    Price
    1.
     
    Canon 90DCanon EF-S 32.3 283883 DSLR4K/30p Aug 2019 1,199 i
    2.
     
    Canon M6 Mark IICanon EF-M 32.3 280483 Mirrorless4K/30p Aug 2019 849 i
    3.
     
    Samsung NX1Samsung NX 28.0 257483 Mirrorless4K/30p Sep 2014 1,499i
    4.
     
    Samsung NX500Samsung NX 28.0 244587 Mirrorless4K/30p Feb 2015 799i
    5.
     
    Fujifilm X-T4Fujifilm X 26.0 299184 Mirrorless4K/60p Feb 2020 1,699 i
    6.
     
    Fujifilm X-T3Fujifilm X 26.0 286983 Mirrorless4K/60p Sep 2018 1,499i
    7.
     
    Fujifilm X-Pro3Fujifilm X 26.0 282684 Mirrorless4K/30p Oct 2019 1,799 i
    8.
     
    Fujifilm X100V 35 mm f/2.0 26.0 280984 Compact4K/30p Feb 2020 1,399 i
    9.
     
    Fujifilm X-S10Fujifilm X 26.0 280385 Mirrorless4K/30p Oct 2020 999 i
    10.
     
    Fujifilm X-T30 IIFujifilm X 26.0 278885 Mirrorless4K/30p Sep 2021 899 i
    11.
     
    Fujifilm X-E4Fujifilm X 26.0 276885 Mirrorless4K/30p Jan 2021 849 i
    12.
     
    Fujifilm X-T30Fujifilm X 26.0 270783 Mirrorless4K/30p Feb 2019 899i
    13.
     
    Pentax K-3 IIIPentax K 25.6 292485 DSLR4K/30p Mar 2021 1,999 i
    14.
     
    Leica CLLeica T 24.1 251182 Mirrorless4K/30p Nov 2017 2,795 i
    15.
     
    Leica TL2Leica T 24.1 247882 Mirrorless4K/30p Jul 2017 1,950 i
    16.
     
    Pentax KPPentax K 24.1 243181 DSLR1080/60i Jan 2017 1,099 i
    17.
     
    Pentax K-3 IIPentax K 24.1 235780 DSLR1080/60i Apr 2015 1,099i
    18.
     
    Pentax K-3Pentax K 24.1 217680 DSLR1080/60i Oct 2013 1,299i
    19.
     
    Nikon D3200Nikon DX 24.1 163481 DSLR1080/30p Apr 2012 599i
    20.
     
    Fujifilm X-T200Fujifilm X 24.0 289684 Mirrorless4K/30p Jan 2020 699 i
    Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.

    The most portable APS-C cameras

    A well-known proverb states that the best camera is the one that you have with you. As such, a smaller and lighter camera will likely get more use than a bulkier and heavier model. The table below lists the 20 lightest APS-C cameras that have been released since 2015 in ascending order of their weight.

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    The Lightest Models
        Camera
    Model
    Lens
    Type
    Camera
    Weight
    Camera
    Size
    Camera
    Elo
    Camera
    Type
    Resolution
    (MP)
    Camera
    Launch
    Launch
    Price (USD)
    Street
    Price
    1.
     
    Ricoh GR II 28 mm f/2.8 8.9 oz 4.6 x 2.5 x 1.4 in 2140 Compact 16.1 Jun 2015 699 i
    2.
     
    Ricoh GR III 28 mm f/2.8 9.1 oz 4.3 x 2.4 x 1.3 in 2526 Compact 24.0 Feb 2019 899 i
    3.
     
    Ricoh GR IIIx 40 mm f/2.8 9.2 oz 4.3 x 2.4 x 1.4 in 2500 Compact 24.0 Sep 2021 999 i
    4.
     
    Fujifilm XF10 28 mm f/2.8 9.8 oz 4.4 x 2.5 x 1.6 in 2599 Compact 24.0 Jul 2018 499 i
    5.
     
    Samsung NX500Samsung NX 10.1 oz 4.7 x 2.5 x 1.7 in 2445 Mirrorless 28.0 Feb 2015 799i
    6.
     
    Canon M200Canon EF-M 10.5 oz 4.3 x 2.6 x 1.4 in 2450 Mirrorless 24.0 Sep 2019 549 i
    7.
     
    Canon M10Canon EF-M 10.6 oz 4.3 x 2.6 x 1.4 in 2089 Mirrorless 17.9 Oct 2015 499i
    8.
     
    Canon M100Canon EF-M 10.7 oz 4.3 x 2.6 x 1.4 in 2410 Mirrorless 24.0 Aug 2017 499i
    9.
     
    Fujifilm X-A7Fujifilm X 11.3 oz 4.7 x 2.7 x 1.6 in 2876 Mirrorless 24.0 Sep 2019 499 i
    10.
     
    Fujifilm X-A10Fujifilm X 11.7 oz 4.6 x 2.6 x 1.6 in 2310 Mirrorless 16.0 Dec 2016 399i
    11.
     
    Fujifilm X-E3Fujifilm X 11.9 oz 4.8 x 2.9 x 1.7 in 2573 Mirrorless 24.0 Sep 2017 899 i
    12.
     
    Fujifilm X-A3Fujifilm X 12.0 oz 4.6 x 2.6 x 1.6 in 2374 Mirrorless 24.0 Aug 2016 399i
    13.
     
    Fujifilm X70 28 mm f/2.8 12.0 oz 4.4 x 2.5 x 1.7 in 2346 Compact 16.0 Jan 2016 799i
    14.
     
    Sony ZV-E10Sony E 12.1 oz 4.5 x 2.5 x 1.8 in 2866 Mirrorless 24.0 Jul 2021 699 i
    15.
     
    Fujifilm X-E2SFujifilm X 12.3 oz 5.1 x 3.0 x 1.5 in 2229 Mirrorless 16.0 Jan 2016 699i
    16.
     
    Fujifilm X-A2Fujifilm X 12.3 oz 4.6 x 2.6 x 1.6 in 1988 Mirrorless 16.0 Jan 2015 399i
    17.
     
    Fujifilm X-A5Fujifilm X 12.7 oz 4.6 x 2.7 x 1.6 in 2667 Mirrorless 24.0 Jan 2018 399i
    18.
     
    Fujifilm X-E4Fujifilm X 12.8 oz 4.8 x 2.9 x 1.3 in 2768 Mirrorless 26.0 Jan 2021 849 i
    19.
     
    Canon M3Canon EF-M 12.9 oz 4.4 x 2.7 x 1.7 in 2124 Mirrorless 24.0 Feb 2015 679i
    20.
     
    Fujifilm X-T200Fujifilm X 13.1 oz 4.8 x 3.3 x 2.2 in 2896 Mirrorless 24.0 Jan 2020 699 i

    The most affordable APS-C cameras

    A camera is only as good as the lens that is placed in front of its sensor. Thus, the best APS-C is one that leaves room enough in the budget to purchase a high quality lens to go with it. More generally, budgetary considerations are almost always important when deciding on a camera purchase, so that the following listing should be of interest. It displays the 20 least expensive APS-C cameras that have been released since 2015 in ascending order of their launch prices (camera only). The latter provide a good idea on the market position of the cameras, but it is often worthwhile to check the current pricing, as all except the most recent models might be available at discounts or as great deals on the pre-owned market.

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    The Least Expensive Models
        Camera
    Model
    Lens
    Mount
    Launch
    Price (USD)
    Camera
    Elo
    DXO
    Score
    Camera
    Type
    Resolution
    (MP)
    Video
    Format
    Camera
    Launch
    Street
    Price
    1.
     
    Fujifilm X-A5Fujifilm X 399 266782 Mirrorless 24.04K/15p Jan 2018i
    2.
     
    Fujifilm X-A3Fujifilm X 399 237481 Mirrorless 24.01080/60p Aug 2016i
    3.
     
    Fujifilm X-A10Fujifilm X 399 231081 Mirrorless 16.01080/30p Dec 2016i
    4.
     
    Fujifilm X-A2Fujifilm X 399 198879 Mirrorless 16.01080/30p Jan 2015i
    5.
     
    Canon T100Canon EF-S 399 184263 DSLR 17.91080/30p Feb 2018 i
    6.
     
    Nikon D3500Nikon DX 429 207483 DSLR 24.01080/60p Aug 2018 i
    7.
     
    Canon T7Canon EF-S 449 197281 DSLR 24.01080/30p Feb 2018 i
    8.
     
    Canon T6Canon EF-S 449 190579 DSLR 17.91080/30p Mar 2016i
    9.
     
    Fujifilm X-A7Fujifilm X 499 287684 Mirrorless 24.04K/30p Sep 2019 i
    10.
     
    Fujifilm XF10 28 mm f/2.8 499 259983 Compact 24.04K/15p Jul 2018 i
    11.
     
    Canon M100Canon EF-M 499 241078 Mirrorless 24.01080/60p Aug 2017i
    12.
     
    Canon M10Canon EF-M 499 208965 Mirrorless 17.91080/30p Oct 2015i
    13.
     
    Nikon D3400Nikon DX 499 205386 DSLR 24.01080/60p Aug 2016i
    14.
     
    Canon SL2Canon EF-S 549 249279 DSLR 24.01080/60p Jun 2017i
    15.
     
    Canon M200Canon EF-M 549 245082 Mirrorless 24.04k/25p Sep 2019 i
    16.
     
    Canon M50 Mark IICanon EF-M 599 275283 Mirrorless 24.04K/24p Oct 2020 i
    17.
     
    Fujifilm X-T100Fujifilm X 599 268383 Mirrorless 24.04K/15p May 2018i
    18.
     
    Canon SL3Canon EF-S 599 261482 DSLR 24.04K/25p Apr 2019 i
    19.
     
    Pentax K-70Pentax K 649 239580 DSLR 24.01080/60i Jun 2016 i
    20.
     
    Canon T6sCanon EF-S 649 213570 DSLR 24.01080/30p Feb 2015i
    Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.

    Further Reading

    Additional information on the calculation of the Camera Elo can be found on a respective Elo methodology page. Moreover, there are other rankings of cameras by category that might be of interest:

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