DSLR cameras either have crop frames or full-frame sensors. You need to be equipped with the right knowledge about both because whichever you own will make a huge difference in how you are going to pick your lenses.
Before we dive too deep into our review of the 5 best Canon cropped sensor cameras out there, let’s make one thing clear. Neither full frame, crop, micro-four-thirds, nor medium format should be considered a better alternative than the other. All of them are unique, and each sensor has its own set of pros and cons (yes, even cropped sensor cameras have their weaknesses!).
The only thing different about these cameras is that they are suited for different kinds of photography. What’s more, all of these sensors allow cameras to capture incredible photos.
The phrase full-frame or cropped sensor cameras solely refers to the size of image sensors inside the camera. Full-frame sensors are approximately the same size as 35mm film, which has been, and is still, perhaps the most used kind of film when we consider analog cameras.
On the other hand, crop sensors are a lot smaller than these 35mm films, and therefore introduce a crop factor to the pictures these cameras capture. In simpler terms, the edge of your captured photos will be cropped for a tight field of view. For instance, if you have a 50mm lens for a cropped sensor camera and a 1.5x multiplier effect, the resulting focal length will be nearly the same as a 75mm.
Are you in a hurry? And don’t have time to read through this article for more specific details about our top 5 APS-C cameras? If so, you can take our word for it and check out the #1 Canon EOS 80D DSLR Camera APS-C Camera. Or find out more about what makes it the best Canon cropped sensor camera out there, read through our buyers’ guide, reviews, and FAQ section.
Table of Contents
- What Should You Look For in a Canon Cropped Sensor Camera?
- Here’s How We’ve Determined the Best Canon Cropped Sensor Cameras
- #1: Canon EOS 80D DSLR Camera APS-C 18-55mm Lens (Best Cropped Sensor Camera)
- #2: Canon EOS Rebel T7 DSLR Camera 18-55mm Lens (Best for Budget)
- #3: Canon EOS REBEL SL3 Digital SLR Camera (Best Dual Pixel CMOS)
- #4: Canon EOS 90D DSLR Camera 18-135mm Lens (Best APS-C CMOS Sensor)
- #5: Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark III Camera (Best Image Processor)
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Verdict: Your Best Canon Cropped Sensor Cameras
What Should You Look For in a Canon Cropped Sensor Camera?
Criteria #1: Dynamic Range
The dynamic range of a camera refers to the whole range of exposures in a picture, from the darkest areas in the image to the lightest. The latest full-frame DSLR cameras will be able to offer you the highest dynamic range. In other words, you will be able to shoot images with the highest contrast.
Higher dynamic range also means that if you were to overexpose or underexpose images accidentally, full-frame files (this will especially be the case if you capture raw) will have the latitude to produce deep shadows or blown-out highlights as opposed to cropped sensors.
Criteria #2: Low Light Performance
You cannot achieve low-light performance with cropped sensor cameras as you can with full-frame models. Full frame cameras tend to be a lot sharper, and they produce much less noise and more detail.
Cropped frame cameras, on the other hand, allow for greater depth of field (which simply means that your captured images will have a sharper focus) as opposed to full-frame cameras. Take APS-C (1.5x) cropped frame cameras, for instance. You will have at least a slight increase in depth of field. In m4/3 (2x) cropped frame cameras, you will gain approximately more depth of field as opposed to what you will experience with the same aperture using a full-frame camera.
Criteria #3: Shallow Field of Depth
While the depth of field is generally determined by the lens and where it maxes out on aperture, a camera’s body can easily help you achieve this beautifully blurred bokeh as well. In contrast, full-frame sensors allow photographers to call shallow fields of depth as opposed to their cropped sensor counterparts.
Food photography, portraiture, and other similar forms of photography that benefit from blurred backgrounds are best served by full-frame sensors.
Criteria #4: Resolution and Detail
We’ve heard a lot of arguments about full-frame cameras being better since their sensors are large and they can easily fit more pixels in a frame with any given density as compared to cropped sensor cameras. While this may be true to some extent, you need to ask yourself how useful this extra detail and resolution really is.
When we talk about the standard sizes of viewing pictures, which is simply how the majority of people prefer to see their photos, a difference in resolution cannot be easily noticeable. Even if you were to view these images at a 100% size on a massive screen, there will be some minor differences. However, this isn’t how we normally reminisce about our memories or artwork, do we?
With that sorted out, it’s finally time to usher you to our reviews of the best Canon cropped sensor cameras in the industry. But first, how about we quickly brief you about how we shortlisted these products in the first place.
Here’s How We’ve Determined the Best Canon Cropped Sensor Cameras
To find the best Canon cropped sensor cameras, we weighed in all of the best specifications of the most popular products in the market. Also, we compared the specs of these products based on the list of considerations we mentioned above to see how well they did and whether they were worth buying.
After double-checking our research, we also checked out blog posts, customer reviews, and other reviewers’ posts about the best products in the industry.
Now that you know where we got our information from, it’s finally time to jump into our list of products:
#1: Canon EOS 80D DSLR Camera APS-C 18-55mm Lens (Best Cropped Sensor Camera)
The Canon EOS 80D can be described as an enthusiast-level camera, and it is the successor of Canon’s 70D. It comes with a brand new 24 MP CMOS APS-C sensor that, quite like its predecessor, has the brand’s proprietary Dual Pixel autofocus phase-detection technology. This is quite the step up from that 19-point AF system that was introduced with the 70D.
This camera also features a body that has been constructed in a manner that is sealed against moisture and dust. The 80D doesn’t just stop there, but it’s magnesium alloy chassis and polycarbonate exterior promise durability and stability for your outdoor or adventure photography.
Reason #1: Superior Sensor Technology
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Canon users were a little frustrated since Sony’s sensor technology was galloping ahead with respect to dynamic range. However, the good news here is that the 80D revolutionized the brand by offering a better DR compared to the 70D and the 7D Mark II.
However, this new sensor isn’t simply interesting because of the kinds of pictures it can capture. Its Dual Pixel AF function will not only allow you to enjoy continuous focus while you’re capturing videos but also when you’re taking still captures (when you’re using its live mode). We had seen this feature in the Rebel T6s first and it is very exciting to be seeing it in Canon’s enthusiast-level models.
Reason #2: Mirror Control System
Another great improvement in the Canon 80D is called the mirror control system (which you may have seen before in the 7D Mark II and 5DS). This feature helps to reduce the blur-creating effect of the shutter shock functions.
The 80D also benefits from the RGB+IR 7560 pixel metering sensor that can be found in the Rebel T6s and T6i. This is a serious improvement in comparison to the dual-layer 63-zone sensor that came in the 70D.
#2: Canon EOS Rebel T7 DSLR Camera 18-55mm Lens (Best for Budget)
Capable and compact, the Canon EOS Rebel T7 is an entry-level and sleek DSLR camera that features very versatile image capturing capabilities and helpful features. At the very heart of this camera is the perfect 24.1MP CMOS APS-C sensor as well as the DIGIC 4+ image processor. Both of these features come together to offer the best speed in the entire camera system as well as jaw-dropping image qualities.
With this particular sensor, the EOS Rebel T7 will be able to go up to 3 fps shoots or photograph moving subjects with 150 constant JPEGs in a burst shot or even 11 constant raw frames. Besides these features, this camera also allows you to record 1080p Full HD at 30 fps.
To be able to work in different lighting conditions, this camera offers beginners a sensitivity level of ISO 100-6400, which you can choose to expand to ISO 12800 so you can broaden your low-light photography skills.
Another worthy mention is this camera’s 9-point autofocus phase-detection system which incorporates single crosspoint types focusing accuracy with low or mixed-contrast lighting conditions. This system also makes use of the AI Servo AF feature that allows faster tracking as well as more accurate captures.
#3: Canon EOS REBEL SL3 Digital SLR Camera (Best Dual Pixel CMOS)
Sure, the EOS Rebel SL3 isn’t the cheapest camera in Canon’s portfolio that we recommend to our readers, but it certainly is worth your attention. It seems as if the Canon DSLR camera range is going through a consolidation phase with technological advancements, which is just another way of saying there isn’t anything notably new in the market.
The EOS Rebel SL3, which is also called the EOS 250D, was the perfect addition to the brand since it fills the gap we discussed earlier. With Canon only making use of those technologies that we have already noticed in previous years, the SL3 is perfect for those beginners that would love to experience the whole package.
You see, beginner photographers don’t really care about those cutting-edge features. They only take the camera’s price into consideration and whether it will do the job they are buying it for. If you’re going to be capturing sports events or are going to be recording fast-moving subjects, then you will need a little more than what the SL3’s 9-point AF has to offer. However, if you’re in for everyday photography, then you’re getting the best possible result at that price.
The real good news about this camera comes during its Live View mode. Canon’s latest toy, the CMOS AF Dual Pixel system, takes over in this mode and produces pristine autofocus speeds that feel a lot faster. Here, you will have the option to choose between Zone AF, Single-point AF, Spot AF, or subject-tracking AF modes.
#4: Canon EOS 90D DSLR Camera 18-135mm Lens (Best APS-C CMOS Sensor)
In 4th place, we have the EOS 90D camera. It can be described as a midrange DSLR and replaces its predecessor, the 80D. This camera managed to gain the cutting higher-resolution sensor, which produces marvelous raw image quality and manages a very competitive live view AF (that also detects eyes) in its 4K video capture feature.
Essentially, the 90D is the DSLR version of a mirrorless Canon camera called the EOS M6 Mark II, which had been released at roughly the same time. Since this camera’s specifications are pretty much identical, Canon left its buyers to decide which kind of shooting experience they are looking for.
You can choose a midsize DSLR camera with its own optical viewfinder and more physical controls, or a lighter and smarter mirrorless model with a removable electronic finder. Of course, the difference between lineups of native lenses between M and EF mounts could attract various kinds of users.
#5: Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark III Camera (Best Image Processor)
Canon’s PowerShot G1 X III can be described as a high-end version of a compact camera that features an APS-C sized sensor with 24MP, Autofocus Dual Pixel, as well as a 24 to 72mm F2.8 to 5.6 zoom lens. This camera is Canon’s new front for its PowerShot G-series, and its sensor is probably the largest that they have ever fitted inside a fixed-lens camera.
This camera also features DIGIC 7 image processor, Bluetooth connectivity, and Wi-Fi. Of course, we can’t miss out the fact that if you intend to use it for outdoor photography, you will appreciate its degree of water and dust resistance.
While the sales of compact cameras are continuing to evaporate at the low end, brands are still producing high-end, and premium feature models (like this one) in an attempt to entice photography enthusiasts and amateur photographers planning on growing their skills.
The G1 X III may seem like a product for people with deep pockets, but it still has a few interesting prepositions for this particular segment of the market. Sure, it may be the only compact camera in the market that also has an APS-C sized sensor, as well as a lens that can zoom, but the fact that it has been designed to withstand testing temperatures and climate changes, we were quite impressed with the overall quality it has to offer.
Frequently Asked Questions
Should I Buy a DSLR or an EOS R System Camera?
If you are a professional photographer, you may feel as if there are more advantages to buying a traditional DSLR from the Canon range. This is because of the fact that you will have a lot more lenses and bodies to choose from. However, the ruggedness and reliability of the EOS system, as well as its traditional optical viewfinder, would mean otherwise.
Keeping in mind that both of these cameras from Canon offer great solutions and produce great results, professional photographers are now also choosing to add the EOS R System in their kit bags. The low-light performance of these systems and silent shutters make shooting impeccable pictures in difficult situations a ride in the park.
Can I Use All of My Existing Accessories, Lenses and Flashes with EOS R System Cameras?
Even though the EOS R System is quite revolutionary because of many reasons, it has built itself upon the brand’s 30-year heritage of EOS systems. You see, the brand had retained the EOS name for a reason and the R System is an addition to the same family.
We also recognize the fact that filmmakers and photographers have made a substantial investment in EF-S and EF lenses, and these lenses can easily be used on EOS R Systems without sacrificing functionality or quality. Similarly, you can easily attach accessories like the Mount Adapter, EF-S lenses, Control Ring Mount Adapters, and RF lenses to your EOS R System cameras.
Verdict: Your Best Canon Cropped Sensor Cameras
We’d like to thank you for bearing with us through all those technical features and endless camera tutorage, but we believe you need to know these specifics before you buy your next camera. Now, if you’re waiting for us to let you in on what we would choose if we were to step into your shoes, then this is the perfect time to give you our recommendations.
Each Canon cropped sensor camera reviewed above was picked for a specific reason. For instance, the EOS 80D and 90D DSLR are from the same range, but the former is the best cropped sensor camera on the market. The latter takes the spotlight for the best APS-C CMOS sensor.
On the other hand, if you’re looking for a cropped sensor camera that has the best image processor for your projects, then go with the Canon PowerShot G 1X Mark lll.
Were you looking to tick all the features off for the best Dual Pixel CMOS feature in a cropped sensor camera? If so, we believe you need to be acquainted with the Canon EOS Rebel SL3.
Finally, if you’re just a beginner and wish to experience the best mix of all of the features out there, and have a budget to stick to, then look no further than the Canon EOS Rebel T7 for under $500.