Jordan and Chris at DPreview posted their comparison of the Nikon, Sony, and Canon camera and I thought I would share some of my thoughts since I shoot on these three cameras. Well, not the A7III but the A7rIII.
There are only a few channels on Youtube that I follow and watch because most people I just don’t trust. DPreview is one of these sources that I think is good. They get things wrong from time to time and they miss things, but for the most part, they are pretty good and I feel like they try to be honest, and that’s the most important thing.
Comparing cameras is very hard and really there is only so much you can do because there is so much potential for each camera if used in a particular way. No two people use the same camera the same, so while one camera might work great for one person, it might be awful for another.
Anyways, I want to share my thoughts on this video which I think is pretty good, but they left out a few things.
Also, about the Pansonic S1. Why was it not included? I think the answer is simple, it’s part of a different generation/class of camera being so much newer than the A7III. It has the superior EVF, the Nikon 3.2″ screen, dual cards, 10-bit recording, superior IBIS. It is the better camera, the only thing is, no phase detection autofocus which will hurt AF performance in some situations.
A7III, Z6, EOS R Comparison
Lenses For The Systems
Before we get started I want to share a quick point about the available lenses for each mount. I don’t necessarily think it’s fair to say Sony has more lenses thus it’s better. Yes, third party companies have been making lenses for Sony, but until this last year, most of those lenses are just DSLR lenses with fused extensions to them. Sigma lenses until last year were mostly DSLR designs adapted with an E-Mount. When you know that and understand this, there is no difference in using a Nikon F lens or a Canon EF lens and if you’re ok adapting here, then Canon and Nikon have a half a century of awesome lenses to choose from.
That being said, the specialty Zeiss lenses, the AF Rokinon lenses and even the new Tamron lenses have a lot to offer for Sony. I still do like a lot of the Sony lenses you can only get for Sony but I don’t think most of these lenses are or will ever be mainstream.
I guess there is a psychological thing where people have an issue with attaching a tube to your lens vs buying a lens that has it fused on already. I personally don’t have a problem with it and I adapt lenses all the time. I shoot with my Canon EF 40mm f2.8 on my EOS R all the time.
The Dual Card Slot Thing
It seems people are finally over making a big deal about the dual card slot thing. Most people actually don’t care. I’ve said this time and time again, but funky firmware is more likely to wipe out both of your cards than corruption. Don’t buy your cards on eBay unless it’s coming from Adorama or a trusted source, and check them by filling them up before you use them. If you’re a wedding photographer shoot with two cameras and multiple cards that you can swap for each event so you don’t lose the whole shoot. It’s really not a big deal.
I personally would prefer one CFexpres card to an SD card as well. High-End UHS-II cards cost just as much as CFexpress cards.
While the Sony A7III has dual card slots, the second slot is only UHS-I. So if you are using backup RAW with that camera, you limit your speeds to UHS-I.
So you can say, hey the Sony has dual card slots, it’s better, but factor in that it gimps the camera down to UHS-I speeds to use it.
UHS-I performance will be unacceptable for some people, but it actually won’t matter for video backup, and it’s pretty cool to have redundancy here if you’re a videographer. But you can get redundancy with the other cameras if you use an external record, but there are some limitations currently with the Nikon Z6. For example, Nikon won’t let you shoot N-Log internally, so if you’re shooting N-Log, you can only go to the external recorder.
Canon EOS R
They did a good job talking about features here and what the camera is all about. But it’s hard talking about the Canon EOS R because there is some magical thing to the camera. It just feels so nice to use. It’s like driving a Porsche or something. It might not be the best on specs but there is something very fun and very satisfying about the camera when using it. I really like mine and it just feels modern and special, it makes me happy. Also, the images render with a uniqueness no other cameras have.
DPreview for whatever reason hates the 4k video crop yet they always shoot on Micro Four Thirds cameras. I’ll never fully understand that. Often the same guys that have build their Youtube career on Micro Four Thirds cameras are the ones complaining the most about the 4k 1.8x crop on the EOS R, it’s a little ironic.
I personally don’t love the fact that there is a huge crop when shooting 4k, but I don’t really consider the EOS R a 4k camera. It’s really tuned for an amazing 1080p. It’s actually the best 1080p image of all the mirrorless cameras because it gives you the highest bitrate at 1080p. 120Mbps internally with the option to go 10-bit out. I was actually shooting my tutorials with the EOS R in 1080p until I got the Ninja V for my Nikon.
I also will say when I’m shooting events with my kids, I always bring my EOS R, because that 4k crop can give me some extra reach on my 24-105 lens. So I can go 1080p when shooting 24mm, or switch to 4k if I need more than 105mm, I love that capability.
The EOS R obviously doesn’t have IBIS but you can supplement that with IS lenses pretty easily and no IBIS in a camera technically will make it more durable.
They did a fair comparison here with the Nikon Z6 finally mentioning the superior display and EVF. They never did that in their previous comparisons. But they still left out that the Nikon Z6 has the 3.2″ display vs a 3.0″ display on the Sony and a 3.15″ on the Canon. But they gave the Canon the win because it flips out. I hate those flip out screens personally. It’s one of the reasons I will not be buying an X-T4 and Fujifilm better not put that crap on the X-H2. 🙂
Like Panasonic, Nikon uses a 3.2″ display on most of their full-frame cameras. It makes a big difference. It’s a little shocking Chris didn’t mention that the screen is much larger. Can you imagine a phone comparison video where Linus or someone didn’t lose their mind because one phone was bigger than another? I mean, he will go as far as doing a 30-minute rant just about the Notch on a Pixel phone.
Screen sizes and screen displays are very important today.
I’m not sure why camera comparisons review people always ignore the screen quality. it’s so important especially for landscape photographers or for shooting with manual lenses, like when shooting video. The bigger screen with higher resolution is a game-changer.
The only cameras with the big screens right now are the Nikons and Panasonics. Canon is close with the 3.15″ screen.
DPreview is also still stuck with that trend of saying the Nikon Z6 has that eyelash autofocus issue that a few Youtubers recklessly started. I think this is blown out of proportion as I get this same issue on all my cameras. Believe me, I’ve been watching for this when shooting with my other cameras. Maybe the Nikon does it a touch more, but my Fujifilm and Canon cameras also hit the eyelashes from time to time. Most people just aren’t shooting with fast enough lenses to make this very relevant. Especially if you’re on a kit f4 zoom lens or even an f2.8.
Autofocus, in general, is great with the Z6 – I think DPreview will still play it safe here and say Sony is better. I’m not sure if there is any relevant difference anymore. I tested the Z6 with the A9II side by side last year before the good firmware upgrade of the Z6 and saw no clear difference with the outcome. The Sony display just draw little focus boxes at a faster refresh rate but I didn’t see any noticeable difference shooting 35mm f2.8 with my kids running around like cracked out monkeys.
I bet you the Z6 has better tracking than the A7III. It’s definitely better than my A7rIII.
I would bet you the Z6 is actually better at AF than the A7III at this stage. But nobody compares these two anymore. People now always compare the Z6 to the A9II then say, “see, Sony AF is better.” And those results get applied to the A7III for whatever reason.
I will say, my Z6 smokes my A7rIII in AF performance. Not that it matters, they are both more than good enough.
This was the camera to beat. Most Youtubers hyped up this camera so hard over these last few years that it’s hard for them to now point out its flaws compared to the other cameras. DPreview will usually tread carefully to save face since a lot of people bought this camera instead of the EOS R or Z6. And if you recommended an A7III over a Z6 as everyone did, you now look kinda dumb because the Z6 turned out to be a significantly better camera that often is on sale for $100 less.
There is still a lot I like about Sony and there is still good reason to pick a Sony over a Nikon Z6 and Z7 or an EOS R. Specs is not one of them. I like the Sony colors for general day to day photography. I don’t like it for landscape but I like it for shooting my family because they keep the image clean. Nikon tries to make some organic film look and Canon sometimes pushes things too hard into the warmer tones. Now for landscape, I much prefer Nikon and Canon to my Sony A7rIII in terms of colors. Ironically my A7rIII is my primary landscape camera still so it doesn’t actually matter that much. But I will say, if you’re starting out, you’ll get a much nicer more organic look out of your Canon or Nikon when shooting landscapes. But I still prefer the Sony look with my kids.
Most of the bad rep Sony got from their “color science” was from bad AWB in their early mirrorless cameras. Nobody has ever complained about Sony color science in the last 20 years they’ve been making digital cameras except when mirrorless came along. Also, color profiles have changed a lot over the years between the different cameras. A Canon 5DII looks nothing like an EOS R.
One thing I like about Sony is they are always on the bleeding edge of introducing new software and technology. I’ve always liked that about Sony and they’ve always made cool stuff. I will say the Sony FF cameras to me have always felt like they didn’t have souls but they are still great as tools for utility photography like Landscape. I think their APS-C cameras are a ton of fun though and they definitely have a soul.
Sony missed pretty hard with the Sony A7rIV, and Canon will now eat their breakfast, lunch and dinner with the R5. I told you guys the A7rIV was a big misstep and it left the market open for the competition. But don’t give up on Sony, expect them to introduce something very mind-blowing in the next few years.
Don’t go switching brands because the Sony A7III is not the best right now. Just wait.
Sony makes smartphones, I would like to see them fuse the two technologies. An Android-powered camera with Google voice controls and auto wifi connection would be cool and Sony is the only company in a position to really pull this off. Also, these new quad Bayer sensors Sony has are really cool and offer a TON of potential for hybrid cameras. Some sort of 40MP quad Bayer sensor that can drop down to 12MP by using the four pixels as one for insane low light shooting could make the next A7sIII mind-blowing. It could potentially be an 8k camera without losing the 4k low light madness that made the A7sII so amazing.
We already see this in Mavic Air II. A full-frame sensor with this tech would be so awesome. Expect it! I also expect some Sony 10-bit RAW codecs for their next generation of cameras.
There is no 10-bit with Sony mirrorless cameras currently, they reserve that for their higher-end video cameras. I’m not sure why so many people dismiss this. To me this is insane and I would never use Sony as a serious video system unless I was pairing it as a B-Cam with an FX9 or something. If I could only have one hybrid camera it would definitely be something that can produce 10-bit internally ideally, but going out 10-bit 4:2:2 to a recorder would nice as well.
People that recommend you 8-bit and tell you it’s fine for prosumer video work don’t know what they are talking about. If I hired a production studio to shoot something for me and they showed up with 8-bit cameras, they would immediately be fired.
But 8-bit it’s fine for a little B-cam or vlogging.
Expect something great from Sony in the future that is truly unique. This is what Sony is all about. Nikon will continue to Piggyback onto their technology and produce a better camera but Sony will do it first, although Sony is getting a little better at design. After 20 years they finally learned how to weather seal a camera. 🙂
Canon has opened up their sensor technology to third-parties too, so don’t be surprised to see a Nikon with a Canon sensor one day. Canon is making sensors for security systems that are doing very well for them and this will give them R&D cash to drive more sensor development.
Canon is a monster, they are no longer playing around and will try to take some of the sensor market from Sony.
For the hybrid shooter, I’m still thinking Nikon and Panasonic are the best options with Nikon taking the cake for their amazing f1.8 Z lenses.
I think the big flaw with comparing cameras is just that – comparing cameras. Often review channels compare specs and recommend the whole platform based on a few specs in a single camera. And, often how they rate the importance of these specs is based on current trends, created by click-bait outrage videos and posts.
Really it’s such an investment to go with Sony, Canon or Nikon because of your buying into a lens mount. It’s more than just buying a camera.
You should always be looking at what the companies as a whole, what they’ve done in the past, and what to expect from them in the future. Canon, Nikon, and Sony have all positioned themselves very uniquely and their gear does not all cater to the same audience.
If I was a wedding/studio photographer I would go Canon without hesitation for those f2 zoom lenses.
If I was a hobbyist, I would go Sony or Nikon, unless I was going for a super amateur kit then it doesn’t matter as much. Actually, if I was going for an amateur kit I would go maybe Sony or Canon for the cheap lens options.
For hybrid video/stills shooters, Nikon and Panasonic are the best set up right now. Canon could take this though because they make it so easy to use EF lenses and they have nice Cine lenses already. But man, those Z lenses.
Landscape photographers could be happy with any system. Sony puts a decent screen on the A7rIII and A7rIV and the EVF is really good on those cameras. The R5 will be great and the Z7 is also great. Don’t forget the Panasonic S1H, no phase detection pixels is an advantage here. I’d probably lean a little more towards an A7rIII or A7rIV over an EOS R at the moment until we learn more about the R5.
But seriously, buying a camera is like dating a girl, or guy. Don’t just marry the girl cuz she’s hot. Look at his/her family, is their mom nuts, is their dad an alcoholic. You are not just marrying the guy/girl, you’re joining the family. The same is true with buying into a camera company, you are joining that family.
Is the company doing things or has a history of doing things that are compelling and interesting to your taste. To me the biggest thing I hate about Sony is their community online is absolutely abhorrent and it’s pushed me away from the system a little, I also hate their insanely aggressive refresh cycle that Fujifilm is now doing. So you buy a camera and a year and a half later it’s outdated.
I feel like Nikon is the gentlemen’s club. Canon, Panasonic, and Fujifilm are sorts of ambivalent but the Fujifilm community has started going down the path of the dark side, but for the most part, the Fujifilm community seems like they are just a bunch of artists looking to have fun.