Which Entry-Level APS-C Camera Is the Best?

When it comes to choosing an entry-level APS-C camera, you might struggle to sift through the endless array of options. Fortunately, the guys at DP Review have put together this excellent overview of three major contenders: the Sony a6100, the Canon EOS M50, and the Fujifilm X-T200.

For this video, the criteria are split into image quality, lens choice, autofocus performance, video quality, displays, and handling. Personally, I think that the Sony APS-C cameras offer a really solid range of options that can suit every budget, but while they can give great value for money, I always hesitate to recommend them to those who are new to photography, simply because the handling and interface are such a barrier.

The Canon M50 is by far the oldest camera on this list, but it still holds up pretty well, assuming that you don’t need 4K video. If you’re after a vlogging camera, it’s a great choice, as espoused by landscape photographer and YouTuber Thomas Heaton. Be sure to check out this video to find out why he thinks that the M50 has suddenly become an even better option.

Which would you choose and which would you recommend to someone starting out in photography and videography? Leave a comment below.

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13 Comments

Matt Williams's picture

Would easily take the Fuji X-200. Much more comfortable than the Sony, has a nicer (central - which I prefer) EVF, and access to a great APS-C lens line-up (something both Sony and Canon lack).

Also, the 15-45 kit lens is pretty damn good, much better than the 16-50 Sony.

An alternative option: The X-200 with 15-45 is $799 but the X-T30 with the same lens is only $50 more and a significant step up, with the same sensor as the X-T3 and X-T4, much nicer (and more) controls, and just generally better all-around features. I realize it's a step above the X-200 and maybe not considered "entry level" but it's also only $50 more.

I count Canon out because of a terrible lens line-up (unless you adapt big EF/EF-S glass) that rarely gets new additions. I choose Fuji over Sony because of the terrible ergonomics on Sony's APS-C cameras and also the lack of APS-C E-mount lenses (though there are a decent number of third party options from Sigma and others).

I have no idea how it would compare to the three listed but a Nikon D3xxx should, at least, have been mentioned.

That is not a mirrorless camera. The article is comparing mirrorless.

Oh, I missed that part. Thanks.

Morris Erickson's picture

The secret for the Canon M series is the metal mount lenses. I use the original EF-M 18-55mm IS STM which is arguably one of the best zooms ever produced - unfortunately out of production. A close second is the EF-M 11-22mm IS STM. The EF-M 22mm f2 STM is great example of the original “pancake” design.

The EF-M 32mm f1.4 STM is phenomenal lens with “L” imagine quality. Bob Carnathan was so impressed he said, “This lens is reason alone to buy an EOS M-series camera just to use it on.”

Matt Williams's picture

What do you mean by "metal mount"? All but the cheapest kit lenses have metal mounts. Or are you talking about the entire lens? Most Fuji lenses are made of metal. AFAIK only the 15-45 and 16-50 kit lenses are polycarbonate plastic. Even the 18-55, which is also a "kit lens" (just a nicer one) is made of metal, aside from certain components here and there. I think the 15-45 has a plastic mount but that's the only Fuji that does.

*One of the cheaper telephoto zooms may be made of polycarbonate plastic, I haven't used one. But the mount would definitely be metal.

Stuart Carver's picture

The 55-200 is a mixture of both metal and plastic and 100% a metal lens mount.

Milton Tan's picture

Based on lens choices alone, I would say the Canon M line wins. But imagine quality wise, probably Fuji and Sony.

John Kelsey's picture

AS usual this Fst... article shows its usual fanboy bias be completely omitting the Nikon Z50..Ken Rockwell in his review as stated the Z50 is is best APS-C mirrrorless available....

Andy Day's picture

1. The Z 50 is significantly more expensive. I'm not sure many people would describe it as "entry level."
2. Please direct your slightly odd level of anger at Jordan and Chris at DPReview.

At the present heavily discounted price the Sony A6500 with its image stabilization and over-all rugged quality is a great bargain.

I can't see any reason not mention somewhere in the intro text to the article that "mirrored" cameras like the Nikon D3500 are worthy of consideration instead of "mirrorless". For someone "starting out" in photography (as the test states), this model is a better camera overall than any of the suggested cameras (IMHO). The Nikon SLR has extensive lens choices, easy operation, stellar image quality, lower cost. A neophyte would presume from the articles headline that "mirrorless" confers some fundamental advantage over SLR--which it does not. If you target at new camera buyers, this issue HAS to be addressed, not assumed or ignored.

Drazen Cavar's picture

Intentionally putting only mirrorless in competition, like implying that beginners should avoid DSLR really looks as Soni/Fuji sponsored approach.

I really don't know where all these things will go toward. It looks like most of demand for mirrorless is artificially created, through very persistent media campaigns.

If analogue cameras were pushed so heavily as mirrorless ones, I believe most of people would give up digital photography and go back to analogue ..