Q&A: What is an APS-C Camera?

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So what is an APS-C or Crop Sensor camera? The term APS-C (Advanced Photo System – Classic) refers to the type and size of a camera’s image sensor. Since an APS-C format is smaller than a Full Frame format (industry’s standard), it’s also called a “crop sensor” camera.

Image Sensors

There are many types of image sensors. The most popular in interchangeable cameras are:

  • Micro 4/3 (crop x 2.0)
  • APS-C (crop x 1.5 or 1.6)
  • Full Frame (35mm)
  • Medium Format (bigger than 35mm)

The bigger the sensor, the more light a camera can capture especially in low light conditions.

Source: Wikipedia

APS-C Camera Benefits

For beginner and enthusiast photographers, the APS-C format camera is the most popular. Here’s why:

  • The camera bodies and lenses are less expensive than Full Frame cameras
  • They are more compact and lightweight
  • Full Frame lenses can be mounted on APS-C camera bodies
  • Vintage lenses can be adapted on APS-C cameras
  • Their image quality is excellent and almost identical to a Full Frame camera
  • They produce great Dynamic Range
  • They record excellent 4K video
  • They are capable of professional use on any photography genre

APS-C Most Popular Cameras in 2020

There are many new APS-C cameras in the market that are excellent choices for beginners. Here are a few:

APS-C Camera Quick Buying Guide

An APS-C camera is the most suitable for beginner photographers. You can spend around $1200 on a camera and then buy a few extra lenses. What you should know before you make a purchase?

Most camera brands in 2020 will give you excellent image quality whatever camera model you buy.

Mirrorless cameras are the future. I wouldn’t invest in a DSLR.

Personally, I recommend Sony mirrorless cameras because they give you tons of great features and a big variety of lenses (native and third party). A good camera for a beginner is the Sony a6100.

Fujifilm also makes great cameras, like for example the Fujifilm X-T3. Even with the kit-lens, it produces incredible images and 4K video.

Canon and Nikon make great APS-C mirrorless cameras too but their lens lineup is limited. They offer better choices on Full Frame bodies (using also adaptors to mount DSLR lenses) but they are more expensive and not suitable for beginners.

When you buy a camera, make sure your budget includes some essential accessories such as:

  • SD Card
  • Camera Bag
  • Tripod
  • Extra Batteries
  • Cleaning Kit
  • Camera Flash
  • Filters

If a family member or a friend owns a specific camera brand, you can get the same brand and share/exchange lenses.

Don’t get overwhelmed if you don’t know which lens you should buy next. Focus on the Kit-Lens and learn how to compose images using different focal lengths.

I have written an article “10 FAQ For Beginner Photographers Who Want to Buy a New Camera.” that might give you a better understanding on what camera to buy.

If you need further help email me: contact [at] johnmakphotography [dot] com or DM me on Instagram. I’ll be happy to help you find out what you need!

APS-C Camera Sample Images

Photo by Joe Milne

Photo by Cüneyt YILDIRIM

Photo by Jiawei Zhao

Photo by Marcus Hjelm

Photo by Douglas Bagg

Photo by Janis Rozenfelds

Photo by Noufal Tariq

Photo by Erik Nielsen

Photo by Davide Baraldi

Photo by Tai Jyun Chang

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