In today’s post, we will compare two brand new flagships, Sony’s A7S III and Canon’s EOS R5. Both cameras are the latest high-end releases in each company’s lineup—aimed to be the ideal tool for filmmakers and cinematographers. But, considering their price difference, which is better? Today, we will explore their strengths and weaknesses to provide insight on which camera is, ultimately, best for you.
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Size & Dimensions
In physical size, the Canon is 10% larger. It measures 138 x 97 x 88 mm (W x H x D) while the Sony only 129 x 97 x 81 mm. And at 739 g, (with battery and SD cards installed) it’s also 5% heavier than the Sony which weighs 699g. But even with these differences, it’s unlikely you’ll notice a substantial difference when holding each camera.
Physical Controls & Ergonomics
In controls and ergonomics, both cameras are similar. They both have three control rings for exposure, AF joysticks, customizable buttons, and large comfortable grips. The Sony does offer a dedicated Exposure Compensation button, which could be helpful if you use program modes. But, the Canon provides a dedicated Rate Button to rate images in-camera. The Sony only does this through a custom button.
The camera’s do use wildly different MODE Dials, where the Canon obtains a similar setup as the EOS R and the Sony uses a traditional dial. Both work great, but they’re quite different in use.
Otherwise, both cameras are similar and offer excellent controls.
This is the first real area the cameras differ.
The Canon’s rear screen is larger at 3.2 versus only 2.95 inches, an 8% increase. And it also has 31% more resolution at 2.1M dots versus only 1.44M dots. In raw detail, the Canon offers the sharper display. Otherwise, both cameras feature vari-angle displays with accurate color rendering.
The Sony offers a higher resolution viewfinder at 9.44M dots versus only 5.76M dots, a 39% improvement. In detail, the Sony provides a class-leading display. The viewfinder is also larger than average at 0.9x magnification, where the Canon uses the standard 0.76x. A larger magnification improves the viewing experience by reducing eye strain. Otherwise, both cameras have variable refresh rates of 60 or 120 Hz and 100% coverage over the imagining area.
However, the Canon does obtain the top-deck status LCD from the EOS R, a feature the Sony lacks. It’s helpful if you compose at waist level often, as it saves time looking at the rear screen or EVF.
Overall, the Sony offers a better EVF experience, but the Canon has a more well-rounded display configuration. Each is good. This would come down to personal preference.
This is the second area they differ.
Both cameras have the latest generation processors, in this case, the Bionz XR and DIGIC X. This gives each camera the best performance in their respective series to date. However, the Canon offers a much larger 45MP sensor, while the Sony uses the same 12.2MP sensor from its predecessor. That’s 3x the resolution. While the Canon does have an anti-aliasing filter, which reduces moiré and fine details, it is not very important considering its larger size. In raw detail, the Canon offers superior imaging performance. And it’ll deliver sharper images with more flexibility for cropping than the Sony.
But, where the Sony takes the edge is in low light performance. It has a one-stop wider native ISO range, capping at ISO 102,400, instead of 51,200. And it can easily deliver usable images up to ISO 51,200, where the Canon struggles following ISO 12,800. So, for low astrophotographers, event, or street photographers, it’s the superior option.
The Canon does have slightly faster continuous shooting speeds, however, at 12 fps instead of just 10 fps. But, the Sony provides nearly 3x a deeper buffer. Both are wildly capable for sports or wildlife. But, there are trade-offs here.
Otherwise, both cameras have the new HEIF JPEG format and supply 14-bit uncompressed RAW images.
Overall, the Canon is a better choice if resolution and fast but short bursts are most important. In contrast, the Sony is best if low light performance and sustained burst are most important.
The Canon takes the edge in video capabilities, and it delivers several features the Sony lacks. In this case, the 4K HQ Mode, internal RAW recording, DCI, and 8K resolution. The only real advantages the Sony offers is 16-bit RAW recording via HDMI output, but it’s not fully supported yet. It also offers unlimited recording time, where the Canon stops shy of 30 minutes. And it has 240 fps video in 1080p, where the Canon only has 60 fps.
Both cameras do share several things in common, including: Log profiles, 4K 120 fps video, 10-bit 4:2:2 internal recording, clean HDMI outputs, and zebras. Both cameras also offer the new H.265 and standard H.264 formats.
Overall, if class-leading video capabilities are essential, the Canon is the better option. Though, with overheating issues, it’s not entirely practical for outdoor use. The Sony, while lacking a few features, is the more realistic and consistent video-centric camera.
Both cameras deliver the latest generation autofocusing systems, which are both the best installments to date. In this regard, they’re virtually identical.
Both cameras offer: AF support to – 6.0 EV, Eye-AF for humans or animals, full AF support during video, AF customization, and focus magnification and peaking. The Canon technically offers 100% AF coverage over the frame. However, the difference between that and the Sony’s 93% coverage is indistinguishable during use.
The Sony offers superior battery life providing 600 shots per charge, while the Canon only offers 320.
User Interface & Menus
In this area, both camera’s largely identical. They both have the most recent interface and menus, which are well-organized and intuitive to use.
Both cameras have 5-axis image stabilization, though the Canon supports up to 8.0 EV stops of compensation. However, the 3.0 EV stop advantage over the Sony is quite lens dependent. You don’t get that level of stabilization with every lens.
Both cameras have dual card slots.
Both have dual-band Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity.
Both have 3 custom shooting presets.
Both have headphone and microphone ports.
Both cameras are weather-sealed.
Both cameras have USB-C ports, which support charging and continuous power.
Both cameras have digital stabilization, which added electronic stabilization for even smoother footage.
The Sony lacks the Voice Memo Function.
The Sony lacks the 4K HQ Mode, which supersamples from 8K to create even sharper 4K videos.
The Sony lacks a Flash Sync port.
The Canon lacks an ultrasonic filter to remove dust from the sensor.
So which is best?
Both cameras are exceptional. Your decision will ultimately come down to whether you want a larger sensor and maximum resolution, at the cost of functionality. Or you want superior low light performance and reliability.
Canon’s EOS R5 delivers an outstanding feature set as a video camera. However, given it’s large sensor and burst rate, it’s also equally capable as a stills camera. The trade-off is that this comes at the cost of overheating. But, if you’re willing to work within the confines of its limited record times, it’s the better all-around camera.
However, if low light capabilities and reliability are most important, Sony’s A7S III is the clear winner. But, that does come at the cost of a smaller sensor, and an inferior stills or hybrid camera. That’s not to say it’s a weak photography camera. No, it’s quite strong for events and astrophotography. But, comparatively, there’s a trade-off here to the R5 in this regard. Nevertheless, it’s far more practical as a workhorse tool designed to get the job done. And it’s the camera you can confidently rely on in the field.
In conclusion, neither camera is quite the ultimate hybrid camera. But, to date, each is the best these manufacturers have ever produced. And both push the bounds in current industry standards. Yet, each camera has its strengths and weaknesses. So choose the best camera that tailors its specific advantages to your workflow.