Here you are, you have decided to buy an APS-C DSLR camera. This article will therefore detail the current Canon APS-C DSLR cameras available in the beginner and expert/semi-pro ranges. For most of you, this is the type of camera you will consider if you’re beginning in photography or if you have a relatively limited budget. If your choice is not yet completely defined, don’t hesitate to read the article I wrote on the differences between a DSLR and a mirrorless camera, you’ll find a lot of answers.
The DSLR camera is the reference camera for exacting photographers. In recent years, despite competition from mirrorless cameras, DSLRs have been able to evolve by focusing on image quality and versatility, thanks to an increasingly varied range of lenses.
And APS-C cameras are not to be outdone. They’re smaller and lighter than most full-frame cameras, and they allow you to fill your frame with your subject from a greater distance. APS-C is a very popular choice for sensor size. DSLRs still have a lot to offer, including rugged and manageable bodies, clear optical viewfinders, long battery life, and a good value for money.
Of course, I won’t repeat everything I wrote in the article on how to choose your DSLR, but you can refer to it to know which elements you should take into account to make your choice!
The entry-level DSLR range allows you to take your first steps in the exciting world of EOS photography. I will detail here the three latest cameras of the range.
Both introduced in 2018, these two new DSLRs are clearly aimed at beginner users. Of the two entry-level bodies, the 2000D is the more advanced thanks to a 24MP APS-C sensor (compared to 18MP on the 4000D), a larger and better-defined screen, a diopter corrector to adapt the viewfinder to your eyesight, and an extractible flash on demand. Its ergonomics is also more pleasant since it keeps a power selector independent of the mode dial and a button to deploy the flash.
It uses Canon’s DIGIC 4+ image processor, which offers a sensitivity range of 100 to 6400 ISO, expandable to 12800. It’s not much, but it avoids having excessive values for which the quality is lacking. Burst shooting is at 3 fps and it has a 9-point AF system with a cross-type sensor in the center. The screen on the back is fixed and non-touchable. However, we do appreciate the shortcut keys to the most common settings, as well as the Q (Quick) menu, which is very practical for quickly setting up the camera.
The EOS 2000D is also equipped with a Wi-Fi system with NFC to facilitate sharing via the Camera Connect application from Canon. As for battery life, it is announced for 410 to 500 shots depending on the conditions of use: this is one of the strong points of the camera against the mirrorless in this price range. Regarding video, the EOS 2000D presents far fewer interesting performances. Indeed, the camera does not offer 4K recording and, above all, does not exceed the 30p or 24p rate in Full HD (1920 x 1080 px).
As for the EOS 4000D, it’s Canon’s most economical DSLR. But to keep the price down, Canon had to cut back on a few things, starting with its 18MP APS-C sensor, its fixed screen devoid of touchscreen features and the absence of a diopter corrector, which will probably be a problem for eyeglass wearers.
Like the EOS 2000D, it uses Canon’s DIGIC 4+ image processor and offers a sensitivity range of ISO 100 to 6400, expandable to 12800, as well as a 3-fps burst shooting. It is equipped with a 9-point AF system and can capture video in Full HD at 30p or 24p. The 4000D has the advantage of having an easy to set up Wi-Fi connection to transfer images to a cell phone. The latter can also be used as a remote control to trigger the camera and take group photos.
Released in the first half of 2019, the Canon EOS 250D is a true gateway into the Canon DSLR world. It is an ultra-compact DSLR with only 449 grams on the scale. Its generous grip ensures a comfortable and reassuring hold.
Beyond that, the Canon EOS 250D is a DSLR with attractive features. The APS-C sensor with a resolution of 24.1 MP offers good image quality, and shooting in Live View on the articulated touch screen LCD is easy and intuitive. In this mode, it will be possible to enjoy an autofocus with automatic face and eye detection for greater accuracy.
It comes with a Digic 8 processor of the latest generation that can increase sensitivity up to ISO 25,600 (expandable to ISO 51,200) and will generate images of good quality up to ISO 3200. Unfortunately, the camera only offers an old-fashioned autofocus module with nine crossed AF points. However, its hybrid autofocus makes it more interesting than the EOS 2000D and 4000D. This camera has 1080/60p video capture and a burst rate of up to 5 fps. The 250D can capture 4K video, but with heavy cropping and no Dual Pixel AF. Connectivity options include Wi-Fi (with NFC) and Bluetooth. This dual connection allows for automatic image transfer, remote control of the camera, and synchronization of GPS coordinates from the phone and images from the memory card.
What is more disappointing are the small savings made by Canon who removed the flash extraction button. As on the EOS 4000D, you have to pull it out manually.
After these entry-level cameras, here are some more complete cameras, dedicated to photographers wishing to get a little more out of their camera, with a higher image quality and some more manual or even expert functions.
As a reminder, when buying a DSLR, don’t put all your budget in the camera, but also choose good optics that will last. Have a look at the article about EF-S lenses for Canon APS-C cameras, it may help you in your choice. You will find all the Canon lenses as well as all the third-party brands offering lenses for this Canon APS-C mount.
In this range, I made the choice to include the EOS 850D which is, according to me, more in an amateur range than beginner. At Canon, the 3-digit DSLR series has always been the one to embody the best compromise between performance and accessibility.
Launched in 2020, the Canon EOS 850D benefits from a 24.2-megapixel APS-C sensor – like its two predecessors, the 800D and 77D. It also benefits from the Digic 8 processor, whose efficiency has been proven on many of the brand’s recent cameras. The ISO range extends from 100 to 25 600 ISO (expandable to 51 200 ISO). We can therefore expect a good handling of digital noise.
As for the viewfinder, the EOS 850D is equipped with a classic optical viewfinder covering 95% of the scene. The autofocus is based on 45 AF points, all crossed – as on the EOS 90D. This new camera has a new mechanism of detection and automatic tracking of faces in optical view and of the eye in Live View, allowing to capture beautiful portrait photos in all circumstances. We will also note its Dual Pixel AF mechanism and its 7-fps burst.
The Canon EOS 850D also distinguishes itself from its predecessors by offering video capture in 4K at 24, 25 or 30 fps. In Full HD (1080p), the camera also allows you to shoot at 60 fps for an even smoother result. Connectivity is quite complete: SD/SDHC/SDXC card slot (UHS-I compatible), a Wi-Fi module and Bluetooth. On the left side of the camera, there is also a 2.5 mm jack for the wired remote control, a dedicated microphone jack and a micro-USB and mini-HDMI port. The camera should be able to capture up to 800 photos in classic optical viewfinder.
Revealed in August 2019, the Canon EOS 90D is intended to be an ultra-purpose expert DSLR. It comes to replace the EOS 80D, but also positions itself as an alternative to the EOS 7D Mark II which will not be replaced.
The EOS 90D stands out thanks to its new APS-C sensor of 32.5 MP, but also with the arrival of the latest generation processor Digic 8. Besides this additional power, the EOS 90D fills a certain gap with the arrival of tropicalization.
Regarding autofocus, the camera relies on Canon’s Dual Pixel technology, which is still very effective in Live View. In optical view, the EOS 90D relies on 45 cross-type AF points. Overall, the EOS 90D is very responsive and generates beautiful images up to ISO 6400. Wildlife and sports photographers will also appreciate its 10-fps burst with AF tracking in optical viewfinder, and portrait photographers will be delighted to find the eye detection function in pictures and video. Only the autofocus in low light fails a little, but is still reasonable.
Regarding video, the EOS 90D now shoots in 4K 30/25p without cropping, and is capable of slow motion at 120 fps in Full HD. We also find the touch screen mounted on a swivel, still comfortable and practical.
If there are all the connections needed, including a microphone and headphone jack and mini-HDMI, the presence of a micro-USB connector instead of USB-C is a pity and we do regret that Canon did not bother to provide this body with a double slot for SD card.
A real best-seller at Canon, the EOS 7D expert DSLR presented in September 2009 has seen its successor arrive with the Canon 7D Mark II. Although a bit old now, this model with many improvements is still a high-end DSLR with a modern taste that I decided to present you.
The EOS 7D Mark II is a bit of a genetic cross between two of Canon’s flagship full-frame models: the 5D Mark III and the EOS 1D X.
From its big brother the 5D Mark III, it takes over most of its ergonomics with, unfortunately, the renewal of the fixed and non-tactile LCD screen. On the other hand, the resistance to bad weather is improved.
The new sensor is based on a 20MP sensor. Regarding the optical viewfinder, the 7D Mark II has a roof prism covering 100% of the field and a high magnification of 1x. The processors are two Digic 6 which have been coupled (new configuration) to boost the performance of the camera. The burst climbs up to 10 frames per second, the ISO range extends from 100 to 16000 ISO. There is a qualitative leap in noise management. The 7D Mark II delivers beautiful shots up to ISO 3200. Beyond that, the performance deteriorates rather quickly. On this size of sensor (22.2 x 14.7 mm), 3200 ISO is still a limit difficult to exceed, whatever the brand.
From the EOS-1D X, the 7D Mark II inherits the autofocus module and improves it even more! No less than 65 focusing points, all crossed, are spread over a good proportion of the viewing area. The subject tracking works really well, and the wide coverage allows to follow a moving subject without too many problems.
But this Mark II also comes with its share of incomprehensible shortcomings… Such as the video that remains stuck in 2012 with 60fps in 1080p resolution, when we currently talk about 120fps or 4K. And also, the lack of a Wi-Fi chip!
The connectivity is however quite complete: USB 3, flash sync, headphones, microphone, uncompressed HDMI output, remote control, two memory card slots (SD and CF), GPS chip.
Here is a summary table with the main features to compare.
|Camera||ISO range||Weight||Size||Range||Focusing points||Burst rate (fps)||Autonomy||Wifi (BT)||Video||MP|
|Canon 2000D||100 - 6400 (12800)||475 g||129 x 101,3 x 77,6 mm||Beginner||9||3.0 fps||500||yes (no)||FHD 30p||24,1MP|
|Canon 4000D||100 - 6400 (12800)||436 g||129 x 101,6 x 77,1 mm||Beginner||9||3.0 fps||500||yes (no)||FHD 30p||18 MP|
|Canon 250D||100 - 25600 (51200)||449 g||122 x 93 x 70 mm||Beginner||9||5.0 fps||1070||yes (no)||4K 30p||24 MP|
|Canon 850D||100-25600 (51200)||515 g||131 x 102.6 x 76.2 mm||Expert||45||7.5 fps||800||yes (yes)||4K 25p||24.1 MP|
|Canon 90D||100-25600 (51200)||701 g||141 x 105 x 77 mm||Expert / Semi-pro||45||11.0 fps||1300||yes (yes)||4K 30p||32.5 MP|
|Canon 7D Mark II||100-16000 (51200)||910 g||149 x 112 x 78 mm||Expert / Semi-pro||65||10 fps||670||no||FHD 30p||20.2 MP|
Now that we have reviewed the latest APS-C DSLR cameras from Canon, the next step is not always the most obvious: the choice. In this chapter, I will try to guide you through this jungle, according to my opinion and in relation to the different possible uses and budgets.
If you want to start photography with a DSLR, I could only advise you the EOS 250D. It is a real success. It is powerful, pleasant to use and very light. The EOS 250D offers a nice image quality and a powerful autofocus for a reasonable price. What to satisfy a public beginner wishing to progress in photography!
If your budget is a little tighter, then go for an EOS 2000D. It is a camera easy to handle which offers a good image quality considering its low launch price. We can also note as favorable arguments the compatibility with a large range of EF and EF-S mount lenses, the presence of an optical viewfinder and a phase correlation autofocus. But at this price, is it really reasonable to want a last generation DSLR at all costs? Some mirrorless cameras, in the same price range or a little more, do much better.
In the higher range, the choice is more difficult! The three bodies are beautiful beasts, with obviously each their advantages and disadvantages. The range goes up in crescendo on the performances, but also on prices. So, it really depends on what you want to do with it.
If you want to discover the world of APS-C DSLRs and get beautiful images for a (relatively) reasonable price, then opt for an 850D. Canon emphasizes the simplicity of its new camera, which should make it very easy for beginners to get used to it and to capture beautiful images. It’s a well-balanced camera, which should easily seduce amateur photographers who want to take advantage of a powerful camera, easy to handle and capable of taking beautiful pictures during the next family vacation.
Even more responsive and adapted to sports and wildlife photography, the Canon EOS 90D comes in just above. It is an excellent expert camera that is both versatile and powerful. It combines high resolution on an APS-C sensor, a fast frame rate of 10 fps, effective face detection and a weatherproof construction. If video is also a criteria, then the 90D is the best choice. It’s available at a price welcomed by enthusiasts, not to mention the fact that you get an optical viewfinder.
As for the 7D Mark II, although aging, it remains the last great heir of the APS-C semi-pro bodies. It’s a solid, high-performance body, built for speed. It’s built like a tank, has the control layout of a 5D Mark III and an autofocus system capable of rivaling the 1D X. It’s not free from flaws, especially regarding video, but it has far more advantages than disadvantages.
I’m coming to the end of this article, which will of course be updated as soon as new Canon APS-C cameras are released. I hope that this little guide will have helped you to see a little more clearly in the jungle of Canon APS-C SLRs! If you want to go further in your reading, or if you consider buying a better camera, I will soon publish the article detailing all the current Canon full frame SLR cameras!
See you soon,