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Pho­to: whereandwander.com

Not every­one needs a full frame: cam­eras with APS‑C sen­sors are not only more com­pact, but, in gen­er­al, are much cheap­er than full-frame mod­els. And in terms of pic­ture qual­i­ty and “good­ies” for video, some mod­els are no worse than their old­er broth­ers. Today we will choose the best crop mir­ror­less 2021 that you can buy in Rus­sia.

In this com­par­i­son, we’ll take a look at the top APS‑C mir­ror­less cam­eras from major man­u­fac­tur­ers: Canon M6 Mark II, Fuji­film X‑T4, Nikon Z50* and Sony a6600. They dif­fer not only in char­ac­ter­is­tics. For our com­par­i­son, we took the best offer in the sys­tem of each man­u­fac­tur­er.

* Some may argue that after the release of Nikon Z fc, this retro-style cam­era has become the flag­ship of the Japan­ese man­u­fac­tur­er’s mir­ror­less APS‑C line. But, first­ly, all its main char­ac­ter­is­tics coin­cide with the Nikon Z50 (although, of course, these mod­els have com­plete­ly dif­fer­ent philoso­phies and tar­get audi­ences), and sec­ond­ly, the Z fc is still a com­plete­ly new cam­era that has just appeared in stores . There­fore, the time-test­ed Z50 at the moment looks like a some­what more reli­able option.

We will con­sid­er our appli­cants accord­ing to six main cri­te­ria, rank­ing from last place to first place for each of them, and then sum up the over­all results.

Design, ergonomics and control system

4. Sony a6600

Cropped Sony mod­els have always been some­what “Spar­tan” style. Pho­to: www.engadget.com

To put it blunt­ly, nei­ther the design nor the con­trol sys­tem has ever been the strong point of Sony’s crop mod­els, and until recent­ly, full-frame ones. So it is with the Sony a6600: the grip seems to be quite pro­nounced, but it is too close to the lens. This is not very con­ve­nient, espe­cial­ly when work­ing with large aper­ture “glass­es”.

There are very few con­trol dials in the a6600, while almost all the organs are locat­ed on the back of the case — under the thumb (you’ll have to work hard on them). And the menu sys­tem leaves much to be desired. Well deserved last place.

3. Canon M6 Mark II

The lay­out of Canon’s mir­ror­less mir­ror­less con­trols is very sim­i­lar to what we’ve seen from Sony — again, almost every­thing needs to be done with your thumb. Although the top of the M6 ​​Mark II are very nice con­trol dials.

At the same time, the grip is very com­pact — the cam­era does not feel very reli­able in the hands, and togeth­er with large and heavy lens­es it becomes scary for the cam­era. But over­all, things are get­ting bet­ter.

2. Nikon Z50

And here the grip is posi­tioned just right, not too close to the lens, like the Sony, but at the same time it is large enough to work com­fort­ably even with large lens­es.

The Z50 also has two con­ve­nient con­trol dials, which are thought­ful­ly placed.

1 Fujifilm X‑T4

Yes, this is the biggest cam­era among our con­tenders, but it has a great grip and very nice con­trol dials — the clas­sic triple of ISO, shut­ter speed and expo­sure com­pen­sa­tion. And espe­cial­ly for those who are more accus­tomed to the lay­out on mod­ern DSLRs, there is an addi­tion­al front and rear con­trol dial — they are not too cool, but they will do as an alter­na­tive.

The cam­era con­trol sys­tem is very flex­i­ble and offers a lot of room for cus­tomiza­tion. There is also an aut­o­fo­cus joy­stick. In gen­er­al, from a tac­tile point of view — the best ergonom­ics among all today’s options.

Display and viewfinder

4. Sony a6600

As for the elec­tron­ic viewfind­er, it uses a 2.36 mil­lion dot sock­et — nor­mal for the class, but noth­ing out­stand­ing. The rear screen is also unim­pres­sive — the res­o­lu­tion is less than a mil­lion dots and only folds up: any acces­so­ry on the hot shoe blocks it.

The touch inter­face seems to be there, but you won’t real­ly use it either for nav­i­gat­ing the menu or for adjust­ing the expo­sure. The only thing it’s good for is aut­o­fo­cus point selec­tion.

3. Canon M6 Mark II

The remov­able viewfind­er is designed to make the cam­era even more com­pact, but in prac­tice this option rather adds to the incon­ve­nience. Pho­to: canon.ru

Canon’s touch­screen is imple­ment­ed much bet­ter than Sony’s, and, in gen­er­al, the screen qual­i­ty is high­er — the res­o­lu­tion is already 1.4 mil­lion dots. How­ev­er, he also leans back only up. If you attach some­thing to the hot shoe, such as the option­al viewfind­er, you won’t be able to rotate the screen prop­er­ly.

The cam­era viewfind­er is remov­able. It has a good res­o­lu­tion of 2.36 mil­lion dots, but there is a seri­ous prob­lem — you need to buy it sep­a­rate­ly. That is why only third place.

2. Nikon Z50

The char­ac­ter­is­tics of both pan­els are sim­i­lar to Canon.

Here is the same dis­play res­o­lu­tion of 1.4 mil­lion dots. The swiv­el mech­a­nism also works only along the ver­ti­cal axis, but it leans ver­ti­cal­ly down, not up. It’s a lit­tle bet­ter for vlog­ging — at least you can hang a gun mic on a hot shoe. But the tri­pod imme­di­ate­ly cre­ates prob­lems for the screen. By the way, in Z fc this incon­ve­nience was solved — the new mod­el has a ful­ly swiv­el screen.

The elec­tron­ic viewfind­er received the same res­o­lu­tion as Canon’s 2.36 mil­lion dots. At the same time, it has an excel­lent mag­ni­fi­ca­tion (0.68× in 35mm equiv­a­lent), a com­fort­able eye­cup and it does not inter­fere with the swiv­el screen.

1 Fujifilm X‑T4

Here the X‑T4 eas­i­ly takes the top spot again. It’s just that the flag­ship from Fuji­film has all the char­ac­ter­is­tics high­er: a ful­ly rotat­able touch screen with a res­o­lu­tion of 1.62 mil­lion dots and a viewfind­er with 3.69 mil­lion dots.

Battery

Bat­tery life is an impor­tant met­ric for mir­ror­less cam­eras, which are tra­di­tion­al­ly not very good in this regard. Based on the CIPA rat­ing num­bers, but in prac­tice you will almost always be able to take more shots than it says.

4 Canon M6 Mark II

There are only 305 shots on a sin­gle charge. In addi­tion, mir­ror­less does not work with all USB charg­ers (even if they are equipped with Pow­er Deliv­ery).

3. Nikon Z50

The Nikon Z50 uses a microUSB con­nec­tor, not Type C — today it is almost an anachro­nism. Pho­to: theverge.com

Nikon 320 shots, USB charg­ing works with all exter­nal bat­ter­ies, but there is no recharg­ing while shoot­ing video.

2 Fujifilm X‑T4

The large body allows you to insert a large bat­tery — 500 frames per charge. Recharg­ing from exter­nal bat­ter­ies works quick­ly and with­out any prob­lems.

1. Sony a6600

Sony is out of com­pe­ti­tion here — 810 shots thanks to an excel­lent z‑battery.

autofocus

It should be not­ed that all four mod­els have very good aut­o­fo­cus. But even here there are nuances.

4. Nikon Z50

The track­ing sys­tem here is just great — even bet­ter than the next nom­i­nee. But, unfor­tu­nate­ly, in gen­er­al, the focus­ing of the Z50 is not very con­sis­tent and some­times stum­bles, espe­cial­ly in low light con­di­tions. Because of this, we put the mod­el only in fourth place.

3 Fujifilm X‑T4

With the X‑T4, Fuji­film came close to the com­pe­ti­tion in terms of track­ing aut­o­fo­cus, but still fell short. Pho­to: technovybor.ru

Com­pared to past mod­els in Fuji­film’s line­up, the X‑T4 boasts an improved aut­o­fo­cus sys­tem, espe­cial­ly for the face and eyes. And if you use the clas­sic focus­ing meth­ods — spot, zone or group aut­o­fo­cus, every­thing works fine. How­ev­er, track­ing is a bit incon­sis­tent and not as grip­py, even com­pared to the Nikon Z50.

2. Canon M6 Mark II

The Canon sys­tem does a great job with fast-mov­ing objects — track­ing works great. In gen­er­al, the cam­era focus­es per­fect­ly in almost any sit­u­a­tion. And the aut­o­fo­cus sys­tem for the face and eyes is imple­ment­ed very con­ve­nient­ly, although not as much as in the com­pa­ny’s lat­est full-frame mir­ror­less cam­eras.

1. Sony a6600

Sony’s aut­o­fo­cus sys­tem is class-lead­ing, and we’ve writ­ten about it more than once. So the a6600 has a cool track­ing aut­o­fo­cus with the most advanced track­ing sys­tem (Real time track­ing), face and eye recog­ni­tion at the high­est lev­el, excel­lent per­for­mance in any sit­u­a­tion and with any objects. Well deserved first place.

Picture quality

Com­par­i­son by this para­me­ter is one of the most dif­fi­cult tasks, which is often solved in a sub­jec­tive way.

4. Nikon Z50

Yes, the Z50 has the least megapix­els (20.5 megapix­els), but that’s not even the point. We can say that the matrix in this cam­era is even quite good: good dynam­ic range, good per­for­mance in low light, beau­ti­ful col­ors in JPEG. But still the sen­sor mod­el is very old. In addi­tion, there is no built-in sta­bi­liza­tion sys­tem, which, as prac­tice shows, seri­ous­ly affects the qual­i­ty of images — or at least the final num­ber of high-qual­i­ty frames.

3. Sony a6600

Here again, a rather old matrix, for which it would be time to release an update. The rolling shut­ter effect is very pro­nounced. Despite this, the sen­sor demon­strates a good dynam­ic range for RAW and good image qual­i­ty in low light con­di­tions.

A res­o­lu­tion of 24 megapix­els is enough for almost any task. And the a6600 has built-in sta­bi­liza­tion.

2. Canon M6 Mark II

Here we have a real­ly great sen­sor — it appeared just when Canon seri­ous­ly took up improv­ing the image qual­i­ty for its entire line.

Unfor­tu­nate­ly, there is no built-in stub, but there are many oth­er advan­tages. The cam­era demon­strates excel­lent per­for­mance in low light con­di­tions, despite the fact that it has a whop­ping 32 megapix­els. Yes, megapix­els are not the main thing, but if you want to do large prints or heav­i­ly crop / zoom pic­tures, then Canon has no com­peti­tors here. The col­ors in JPEG are also very pleas­ing.

1 Fujifilm X‑T4

Great 26MP sen­sor — you get a lit­tle more res­o­lu­tion than most APS‑C cam­eras. At the same time, the cam­era demon­strates excel­lent image qual­i­ty in low light and a decent dynam­ic range. And the min­i­mal rolling shut­ter effect makes it very prac­ti­cal to shoot with an elec­tron­ic shut­ter.

On top of all this, you also get beau­ti­ful JPEG col­ors and cool film sim­u­la­tion modes.

The only neg­a­tive is that the X‑Trans matrix design is not very friend­ly with Adobe prod­ucts. That’s why the X‑T4 comes with a free ver­sion of Cap­ture One Express. Although the author of this arti­cle, with­out a sec­ond thought, process­es images from anoth­er Fuji­film cam­era (but with the same matrix) in Adobe Pho­to­shop, imper­fec­tions become real­ly notice­able only at high mag­ni­fi­ca­tion.

Video

All cam­eras shoot in 4K, but the qual­i­ty of this mate­r­i­al and addi­tion­al good­ies vary great­ly.

Fuji­film X‑T4 is the only mod­el that shoots 4K/60p. Video exam­ple: Mitch Lal­ly Youtube chan­nel

4 Canon M6 Mark II

4K videos are very soapy. How­ev­er, if you use the option­al viewfind­er, you lose the hot shoe, which means no gun mics or exter­nal mon­i­tors.

Over­all, the cam­era does­n’t have a great design for video, and it does­n’t have a head­phone jack.

3. Nikon Z50

The Z50 shoots 4K with­out crop, which is very good for a com­pact APS‑C cam­era. And if you’re not using a tri­pod, the down­ward-tilt­ing screen works great for self­ie videos. How­ev­er, there is no micro­phone jack on the cam­era (it looks like Nikon real­ly wants you to buy a Z6 to get the full range of video fea­tures).

By the way, the new Z fc, which is gen­er­al­ly sim­i­lar to the Z50 in terms of its main char­ac­ter­is­tics, has sev­er­al nice fea­tures specif­i­cal­ly for video: first­ly, it can be recharged via USB‑C right dur­ing shoot­ing, and sec­ond­ly, as we have already said , it has a ful­ly swiv­el screen. And in video mode, aut­o­fo­cus on the eyes appeared.

2. Sony a6600

Every­thing is on the lev­el here: micro­phone and head­phone jacks, video pro­files, includ­ing s‑log2 and s‑log3, built-in sta­bi­liza­tion, tilt­ing screen and high-qual­i­ty aut­o­fo­cus, there are no shoot­ing time lim­its. But there are also a cou­ple of fly in the oint­ment — for exam­ple, a pro­nounced rolling shut­ter (both in 24p and 30p). But most impor­tant­ly, the cam­era out­puts video only in 8‑bit, even via HDMI, which sig­nif­i­cant­ly lim­its the pos­si­bil­i­ties for sub­se­quent col­or cor­rec­tion. So the HLG (4K HDR) and s‑log3 pro­files present in the cam­era are not so use­ful.

1 Fujifilm X‑T4

In terms of video, among APS‑C cam­eras, the X‑T4 has no com­peti­tors. Inter­nal 10-bit record­ing, 4K at 60 fps (albeit with a slight crop), swiv­el screen, built-in sta­bi­liza­tion, log pro­files, and a cool Eter­na col­or pro­file if you don’t feel like col­or grad­ing.

The only minor draw­back is that the head­phones are con­nect­ed only via a USB‑C adapter.

Results

Design, ergonom­ics, con­trol Dis­play, viewfind­er Bat­tery aut­o­fo­cus Pic­ture qual­i­ty Video
Fuji­film X‑T4 one one 2 3 one one
Sony a6600 four four one one 3 2
Canon M6 Mark II 3 3 four 2 2 four
Nikon Z50 2 2 3 four four 3

The title of best APS‑C mir­ror­less cam­era of 2021 goes to the Fuji­film X‑T4. It was this mod­el that most often end­ed up in first place and nev­er occu­pied the last line. The sec­ond indi­ca­tor is for the Sony a6600. The Canon M6 Mark II and Nikon Z50 are tied for third and fourth place, although Canon clear­ly out­per­forms Nikon in the pho­tog­ra­phy-relat­ed cat­e­gories.

Nikon Z50 (64 thou­sand rubles) is the cheap­est cam­era on our list. This is quite a good mod­el, but it is unlike­ly to sur­prise you with any­thing. Now Nikon is putting a lot more effort into its full-frame line­up — there are not too many native APS‑C lens­es for the sys­tem, although the cam­era is com­pat­i­ble with many full-frame glass­es. She also has a rather inter­est­ing alter­na­tive in the form of a retro-style Z fc.

Canon M6 Mark II (64 thou­sand rubles), on the oth­er hand, remains a very under­rat­ed cam­era for pho­tog­ra­phy: com­pact, with excel­lent aut­o­fo­cus and image qual­i­ty. Like Nikon, Canon is more con­cerned about its new full-frame line of mir­ror­less cam­eras, although there are plen­ty of great APS‑C lens­es for the M6 ​​Mark II, both native and a few third-par­ty options (like Sig­ma’s excel­lent fast primes).

Sony a6600 (111 thou­sand rubles) is a device of a slight­ly dif­fer­ent lev­el. In gen­er­al, Sony, unlike Canon and Nikon, can­not be blamed for not pay­ing due atten­tion to its APS‑C line. There are a ton of lens­es avail­able for the sys­tem, native and third-par­ty. Excel­lent pic­ture qual­i­ty, the best aut­o­fo­cus, cool video qual­i­ty — all these are the undoubt­ed advan­tages of the mod­el. But the case design of this flag­ship of the APS‑C line is like a cheap cam­era, despite the price. So we wish the updat­ed mod­el more dials and con­trols, as well as improved ergonom­ics.

Fuji­film X‑T4 (130 thou­sand rubles) is the most expen­sive and advanced cam­era from the list, it is not sur­pris­ing that it took first place. But we are not talk­ing about the price, but about the best avail­able options with­in the sys­tem. None of the giants can com­pete with Fuji­film’s APS‑C line — not only in terms of the cam­eras them­selves, but also in terms of afford­able lens­es. The X‑T4 has a cool design, excel­lent pic­ture and video capa­bil­i­ties. So if you’re look­ing for the ulti­mate APS‑C mir­ror­less cam­era, Fuji­film has a win-win.

* when prepar­ing the arti­cle, mate­ri­als from the resource dpreview.com were used

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