Full frame is still the buzzword in the photography world. However, did you know that you don’t have to buy full-frame cameras to get professional results?

Well, it’s true. Both APS-C and micro four-thirds cameras are more than enough for modern professional photography. Unfortunately, these small sensor cameras get a bad rap. The reason? Influencers shouting that you MUST have more than small sensor cameras to be a pro! This is fake news.

In this roundup, we’ll look at five small sensor cameras that will blow you away. My colleagues and I have used micro four-thirds and APS-C cameras professionally without ever getting complaints. Small sensor cameras are often more cost-effective than full-frame cameras. They’re lighter, and they pack all the tech that full-frame cameras have. Let’s take a look at a few great options.

Nikon D500

The Nikon D500 is one of the best APS-C cameras ever made. Period. This tough, rugged, weather-sealed DSLR shines brightly in a sea of mirrorless cameras. The D500 is used mainly by sports and wildlife photographers thanks to its incredible 3D tracking, overall top-notch autofocus performance, and 10 frames per second burst modes.

The D500 has a 20.9-megapixel sensor that produces nicely detailed images and that also allows it to perform miracles in low-light. The dual card slots will allow you to have confidence when out on important shoots. The large, bright optical viewfinder will allow you to see and follow the action easily. Throw in a great LCD, Wi-Fi and 4K video modes, and you have a great camera that costs less than you think.

Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III

small sensor cameras

The Olympus E-M1 III is a small, lightweight, micro four-thirds camera that packs a big punch. It has never left me wanting more while out on professional shoots. The EM-1 III is as tough as they come, with weather sealing hardy enough to stand up to anything mother nature can throw at it. The class-leading IBIS, 20-megapixel sensor and solid image processor can help you capture gorgeous images with colors that sing.

The fully articulating screen makes capturing shots from weird angles easy. It also helps when recording in one of the many 4K video modes. Dual card slots allow you to have a backup, which is always handy in professional settings. Ergonomically, the EM-1 III is just about perfect. The deep grip and control layout make this camera a joy to use. Carrying it around at all-day events is a breeze. It’s priced to sell, too. Be sure to check out our complete review.

Fujifilm X-T4

small sensor cameras

The X-T4, the latest in the line of small sensor cameras from Fujifilm, has made many photographers ditch their full-frame setups. First of all, just look at it. The X-T4 is a thing of beauty. However, this camera has more than just a pretty face. A 26.2-megapixel X-Trans sensor that produces some of the best colors around powers this beauty, and it’s the reason so many photographers love the camera.

X-trans sensors produce stunning images straight out of the camera. The JPEGs are beautiful. The RAW files are also magical. The X-T4 has a solid IBIS system, and a great autofocus system with 425 autofocus points. There’s a fully articulating screen, weather sealing, a superb EVF, solid battery life, dual card slots and mod-cons like Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. The X-T4 is a bargain in the world of small sensor cameras. Be sure to check out our complete review.

Panasonic G9

The Panasonic G9 doesn’t get as much love as other Lumix cameras and that’s a shame because it’s a beast. The Lumix G9 is designed for stills shooters. Photographers who pick one up will fall in love with the incredible ergonomics, the fantastic weather sealing, and the truly stunning 3.68 million dot OLED EVF that has 120 frames per second refresh rates.

The G9 has a 20.3-megapixel sensor that delivers detail-rich images. The autofocus system is snappy and accurate and features 225 autofocus points. There’s an 80-megapixel high res mode. There are dual UHS-II SD card slots. You can shoot 60 frames per second using the 6K stills mode. The G9 is also a video powerhouse with internal 10 bit 4:2:2 video. Amazingly, this M4/3 powerhouse regularly costs under a grand.

Olympus OM-D EM1-X

small sensor cameras

The Olympus E-M1X is a professional camera in every sense of the word. Designed to take on cameras like the Nikon D6 and Canon 1DX series, the E-M1X is a sports and wildlife photographer’s dream. The E-M1X features IPX1 weather sealing and IBIS that gives 7.5 stops of stabilization. There’s a handheld 50-megapixel high res shot mode, and the E-M1X also has dual image processors, which enable deep learning AI.

You’ll also find everything else you’d expect in a pro-grade camera. Dual UHS-II card slots, an integrated vertical grip, and a great autofocus system that features 121 phase-detection points. Throw in Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, a great EVF, a fully articulating LCD screen, USB-C, 4K video and a built-in heat pipe to dissipate heat and you have a camera that will stand up to any conditions pro photographers will throw at it. Be sure to check out our complete review.