Epitaxial ZnO films were grown on c-sapphire by reactive sputtering of zinc target in Ar-O2 mixture. High resolution X-ray diffraction measurements were carried out to obtain lateral and vertical coherence lengths, crystallite tilt and twist, micro-strain and densities of screw and edge dislocations in epilayers of different thickness (25 - 200 nm) and those grown at different temperatures (100 - 500 °C). phgr-scans indicate epitaxial growth in all the cases, although epilayers grown at lower substrate temperatures (100 °C and 200 °C) and those of smaller thickness (25 nm and 50 nm) display inferior microstructural parameters. This is attributed to the dominant presence of initially grown strained 2D layer and subsequent transition to an energetically favorable mode. With increase in substrate temperature, the transition shifts to lower thickness and growth takes place through the formation of 2D platelets with intermediate strain, over which 3D islands grow. Consequently, 100 nm thick epilayers grown at 300 °C display the best microstructural parameters (micro-strain ~1.2 x 10-3, screw and edge dislocation densities ~1.5 x 1010 cm-2 and ~2.3 x 1011 cm-2, respectively). A marginal degradation of microstructural parameters is seen in epilayers grown at higher substrate temperatures, due to the dominance of 3D hillock type growth.