The mirrorless system cameras have become all the rage lately. All industry giants are manufacturing mirrorless cameras more than DSLRs these days. Enthusiasts are always looking for the best mirrorless cameras in the market. Two great mirrorless system cameras that have gained popularity in the recent past are the Canon EOS R and the Sony A7 III. From the sensor resolution and lens quality to the performance of the viewfinder, both these cameras are in close competition with each other. Therefore, in this article, we shall provide a Sony A7 III vs Canon EOS R comparison, so that you can make a decision and buy the camera that suits your needs.
1. Canon EOS R Specifications
The Canon EOS R ranks high in the list of the best cameras of 2020. Back in 2018, when the camera was launched, it had a slow start in the market. Users were uncomfortable with some of its puzzling features. Moreover, some specifications needed improvements because other manufacturers had incorporated updates in those departments. Two years later, in 2020, the camera was relaunched with some improvements and a lowered price tag. This is the reason why the cannon Canon EOS R is one of the most desirable cameras this year. People who had used the initial model in 2018 say that it is a much-improved camera today.
The biggest improvement in the camera was in terms of how the autofocus mode compliments a rather ordinary sensor. The 30.3 megapixel CMOS sensor of the Canon EOS R manages to perform better than its theoretical capabilities just because of a fantastic autofocus mode. The Canon EOS R comes with a Canon RF mount. It is the same mount that Canon’s flagship mirrorless model, the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV, uses.
The camera has the DIGIC 8 image processor. It is the main processor of most Canon cameras these days and is responsible for excellent eye and face detection features. It is this image processor that makes the eye detection autofocus mode of the Canon EOS R a huge success.
Along with a splendid image processor, the 5,655 Dual Pixel autofocus positions make the AF mode work very efficiently. Today, cameras are judged based on their ability to perform in high ISO speed settings. The Canon EOS R offers a wide range of ISO speeds from 100 to 40,000.
Under all modes, the maximum image size remains 6,720 x 4,480 pixels. For digital cameras, metering is crucial to obtain the right exposure. All digital cameras come with at least 3 standard metering modes. Other modes are available in specific models only. The Canon EOS R has the evaluative, spot, center-weighted, and partial metering modes.
The camera can record 4K UHD videos as well. The 4K videos can be recorded at 29.97p, 25p, 24p, 23.98p settings. However, you get the 4K quality only with cropped video output. To get the uncropped video, a separate video recorder or any other device needs to be connected to the camera.
Earlier, optical viewfinders were the only VF’s available in cameras. Today, flagship models of various manufacturers come with an electronic viewfinder. The electronic viewfinder of the Canon EOS R comes with an LCD screen with 3.69 million dots. The viewfinder offers 100% frame coverage as well.
The camera has two memory card slots compatible with SDHC, SD, and SDXC type cards. These two slots that can accommodate so many types of memory cards will be a desirable feature for photographers who have to handle a bulk of data.
The rear LCD screen of the Canon EOS R has 2.1 million dots. It is a full touchscreen LCD with a length of 3.15-inches. Other regular features like Bluetooth, WiFi connectivity, and an 8fps burst mode are also available.
2. Sony A7 III Specifications
The entire market of full-frame cameras was earlier dominated by Nikon and Canon alone. However, ever since Sony launched the A-series full-frame cameras, the dynamics have changed. With the A-series cameras, Sony ventured into manufacturing mirrorless cameras for the first time. Professional photographers and even photography enthusiasts claim that some features of the Sony A7 III are far better than those offered by Nikon and Canon.
Some people even say that it is an underdog in this category. This is because even in the A-series, the Sony A7 III is not the flagship device. However, it manages to give a tough fight to competitors that are high above its league.
The Sony A7 III camera is the ilce-7m3 model manufactured by Sony. Asa low-ranked mirrorless camera of the Sony A series, the camera has an ordinary 24.2 megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor. The sensor has pixel dimensions of 35×23.8 mm. The camera runs on the exclusive BIONZ X image processor.
The image processor is known for its filtering and image sharpening qualities. The autofocus mode of the Sony A7 III was a big surprise for us. With 693 phase-detection points, the coverage offered by the autofocus is excellent. It is often seen that cameras that do not have high-resolution CMOS sensors but still capture sharp images depend heavily on their AF modes.
The Sony A7 III captures clear images of a maximum of 6,000 x 4,000-pixel size. Talking about exposure parameters and settings, the camera has a good ISO performance. The Sony A7 III has a wide ISO range. ISO speeds ranging from 100-51,200 and an expandable ISO range of 50-204,800 are available in this camera.
Another department where the camera defeats even the flagship mirrorless devices manufactured by giants like Nikon is the metering mechanism. The camera comes with more than 1,200 metering zones where exposure can be modified easily to capture vivid pictures. Several metering modes work in tandem with different metering zones, making the metering mechanism hugely beneficial for the photographer.
The camera has a good video recording feature as well. It can record 4K UHD quality videos. However, the 4K quality is limited to 30 and 24fps parameters only. Moreover, the camera can record simple high-definition videos up to the 120 fps burst parameters. The camera has a traditional optical viewfinder that comes with an OLED screen.
The screen has a total of 2,359,296 dots, making the viewfinder display crystal clear. The camera has two slots for memory cards. While one of the slots only supports the UHS-II type of SD cards, the other slot is compatible with a variety of cards like MS, SDHC, SD, and SDXC cards.
The camera has a rear LCD screen as well. Unlike other cameras manufactured by Sony, this camera’s LCD screen has a smooth touch feature. Moreover, a rear LCD screen with 921,600 dots is difficult to find. The most attractive feature of the rear LCD screen is its tilting mechanism. It not only tilts vertically, like the screens of other mirrorless cameras in the same range, but the screen has a modern three-in-one tilting feature.
If we look at the burst mode of this camera, the maximum burst speed is only 10 fps. However, even in this range, the camera manages to click 89 compressed RAW images,177 JPEGs, or 40 uncompressed RAW files, respectively. Just like other high-end mirrorless cameras, the Sony A7 III offers good Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and NFC connectivity.
Design And Ease Of Handling
1. Canon EOS R
The Canon EOS R has a robust body and attractive design, entirely made with magnesium alloy. If any specification did not perform as per your expectations, the body, design, and handling will compensate for it. The magnesium alloy body gives an exceedingly jacked feel to the camera. Even though the Canon EOS R has a small body, the handling is easy. However, as you can imagine, the problems with a small camera body arise only when you use larger lenses.
When you fix large, high-performance lenses like the Canon RF 85mm f/1.2L USM or the Canon RF 28-70mm f/2L USM on the mount of the Canon EOS R, the camera tends to lose balance, especially when fixed on a tripod stand. The same problem existed with the flagship mirrorless cameras manufactured by Nikon. However, with the addition of a battery grip, the balance issues in those cameras have resolved almost completely.
While it is difficult to handle large lenses on the camera mount, it does not mean that you cannot use these lenses with the Canon EOS R at all. Moreover, you will face more difficulties only while using the above-mentioned lenses.
For other large lenses, and almost all the smaller dimension lenses, the ergonomic stability of the camera is tremendously satisfying. Today, small RF optical lenses are also available in the market. They are a bit more expensive than the traditional RF optics, but their performance, especially of the Canon RF 35mm f/1.8 Macro STM, is equally good.
Whichever lens you choose to fix on the mount of the Canon EOS R, there will be a special control ring to adjust its parameters. Features like shutter speed, ISO speeds, white balance, and aperture can be programmed using the control ring button. Apart from the regular settings, the control ring can be used for customization and to get extra mechanical control. The control ring also has a separate control ring mount adapter. With this adapter, you can get a cinema-style aperture ring on fixing an EF-S or EF lens.
Moreover, it is because of this special EOS R mount adapter that you get excellent camera performance with the entire range of popular DSLR optics. Therefore, you can go for any modification or upgrade in the camera’s body, and still manage to use all the popular optical lenses.
2. Sony A7 III Handling
Despite having some highly remarkable specifications, the Sony A7 III has not picked up as well as the other A7 models. One major factor behind this is the poor body structure and difficulty in handling the camera. It is a trend followed by almost all mirrorless camera manufacturers to keep the size of the body smaller than their DSLRs.
However, the Sony A7 III developers should not have gone with the same design. Primarily because all the good optical lenses manufactured by Sony are much bigger than the camera size. In this situation, maintaining balance and clicking good pictures with the A7 III becomes very difficult.
The FE 24-105mm f/4 G OSS or FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM are some of the finest lenses that Sony makes. However, using these lenses with the A7 III makes it too heavy from the front. It is practically impossible to keep the camera steady and capture moments with utmost precision. Therefore, most people who have bought the Sony A7 III had no other option but to get the optional VG-C3EM battery grip installed on the body. If you want to use this mirrorless camera for telephotography or sports photography, you just cannot do without this battery grip.
Even the most simple and basic mirrorless camera models have dedicated buttons for mode dials and a separate lever for turning the autofocus mode on. Sony A7 III is a camera that does not have very attractive specifications. It depends heavily on the extraordinary performance of its autofocus mode to capture sharp images. So, for such a camera, the absence of buttons for the autofocus mode and a separate drive mode dial are major disappointments for buyers.
There are only four functional buttons on the camera’s control pad. You need to program every feature separately by accessing the menu if you want to use any button for a particular setting. The buttons and the body size are the only aspects that warrant some criticism in this camera.
The rear LCD screen, which has a very smooth touch feature, is a great addition to the body. While the resolution of this rear LCD screen is not as high as that of some competitor models, the performance is spot-on. The rear LCD is compatible with a rear joystick as well. Moreover, the up/down tilting mechanism works very well while shooting.
The viewfinder is highly efficient and easy to use. While using it, you can get as much as a 0.78x magnification with an impeccable display. Even though the camera does not have a drive mode dial, it does have three control dials. All these control dials are placed at convenient positions and are attached firmly to the body.
The menu system of the Sony A7 III is easy to understand. Moreover, it is divided into five sections, and also has a separate My Menu feature. All the regular shooting settings and parameters can be adjusted easily through the menu. Users face problems only when they need to change the default settings and the behavior of any program in the camera.
1. Canon EOS R
If we do not consider the use of the autofocus mode, the CMOS sensor, the RF lenses, and the image processor alone are the three pillars of a digital camera that help in capturing high-quality images. As far as the Canon EOS R is concerned, all three departments work smoothly and complement each other. Although several other mirrorless cameras have a much higher CMOS sensor resolution, the performance of the Canon EOS R is much better than all of them. Moreover, on lab testing and performance comparisons with Canon’s old flagship models like the Canon Mark IV, the Canon EOS R showed excellent results.
One aspect where the Canon EOS R proves to be a formidable camera is low-light performance. The Nikon Z7 is considered the best mirrorless camera ever launched. However, the EOS R outperforms Z7’s low-light performance and noiseless shutter features.
The reason why Nikon Z7 gained tremendous popularity, while the Canon EOS R could not be so successful, was that Z7 was manufactured for resolution and not for low-light photography. With an exceptional 45.7 megapixel sensor, the Z7 was bound to attract more attention, and create the kind of buzz that it did. So, an excellent dynamic range of up to ISO400 went unnoticed as the resolution on-paper was ordinary.
Besides the Nikon Z7, there were several other mirrorless cameras manufactured by Panasonic, Nikon, and Sony, that were contenders to the Canon EOS R. The affordable price of the EOS R camera along with its great performance managed to keep its sales higher than all other competitors. So, the Canon EOS R lies somewhere between the category of a flagship device and a lower-tier mirrorless camera.
The performance of the Canon camera in terms of color accuracy is much better than some of the most expensive DSLR cameras available on the market. On comparing the performance with the Canon 5D Mark IV DSLR, it was concluded that the Canon EOS R had an exceedingly better dynamic range, excellent picture quality until the ISO 800 parameter, and great color accuracy as well. Image quality was almost identical during post-production.
Another department where the Canon EOS R matches the quality of a high-end DSLR camera is its performance in the harsh conditions. When tested under conditions like midnight darkness, midday sun, etc., the camera could capture images that were as sharp and precise as those captured by flagship DSLR models.
You must have heard about the Canon color science technology. It is a coding and manufacturing formula that Canon has been using for the last two decades and it is responsible for the excellent image quality. The Canon EOS R utilizes Canon color science very effectively to impart sharpness to every image. It is an exclusive technology used at Canon that is improving with every camera launched by the company.
2. Sony A7 III Performance
The Sony A7 III camera has an efficient performance in some departments. The viewfinder of the Sony A7 III experiences some lag in the 10 fps parameter category. However, when you use the camera’s viewfinder up till the 8 fps parameters, it works very smoothly and provides a very clear display. The autofocus mode of the Sony A7 III is beyond compare. Even flagship DSLR models by Sony do not come near the autofocus performance of the Sony A7 III. Providing a very wide coverage and imparting sharpness to every image, be it under bright or dull light, is a characteristic feature of the AF mode of this camera.
For fast and erratically moving subjects, the autofocus mode works extremely well. However, in the rare event of an abrupt movement in the frame, the autofocus can get disturbed and may not show expected results. The photographer just needs to anticipate the movement of the subject, and keep it in the desired frame zone. Everything else will be taken care of by the autofocus mode.
Professional photographers know that following the movement of a subject like a wild animal requires a lot of expertise. However, the autofocus mode of the Sony A7 III camera provides different modes and settings to help in every practical situation like this. The SteadyShot system works decently as well. The 5-stop advantage, as promised by Sony, is useful but not very attractive. When you use the FE 24-105mm f/4 G OSS and FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM lenses, the SteadyShot system does not work properly, and the frame starts shaking vigorously.
The system works according to the expertise of the photographer. Moreover, the type of lens you use and the distance of the subject from the camera also determine the success of the SteadyShot system. Cameras like Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II have also been criticized for their SteadyShot system, but their overall performance was still very convincing. All digital cameras come with an image stabilization system as well.
Anyone who has had the experience of handling high-end digital cameras must know how their image stabilizer disappoints every time. However, when we tested the image stabilization in the Sony A7 III, it was much better than what we expected. While it is not the most perfect image stabilizer available in the market, 80% of the shots will have excellent sharpness when you use it.
The image quality of the Sony A7 III camera was surprisingly good. While Sony promised a wide dynamic range for this camera, the best images were clicked at the lower end of the spectrum. At settings like the ISO 100, getting a figure crept more than 13EV in the lab tests is a remarkable achievement. While the Sony A7 III has a 15-point dynamic range, which is a formidable addition to this camera, the scope of using the range gets limited because of the 24MP CMOS sensor. The Sony A7R III proves to be a better option because it has the same range and a 42.4MP sensor as well.
Keeping the issue of the resolution aside, the Sony A7 III can capture fine details very efficiently. If we compare the Sony A7 III with its predecessors, the sensor offers more than a 1.5 EV advantage, with lower noise levels and an extremely good signal-to-noise ratio.
All images get saved in the JPEG format by default. Any JPEG image in the camera shows great saturation, detail, and precision, without the need for any post-production changes. You get a perfect color contrast up to an ISO setting of 12,800.
Moreover, texture and other fine details are captured clearly up to an ISO speed of 25,600. While the standard maximum ISO speed is 51,200, the image quality starts declining after 25,600. The image becomes very soft and grainy at the highest parameters but below that, the performance is satisfactory.
In all modern digital cameras, the multi-pattern exposure system is very crucial for capturing clear images. In the Sony A7 III, the auto-white balance feature works tremendously well. Even in overcast conditions, if you first use the manual white balance preset, and then start clicking RAW files with the auto-white balance feature, the exposure gets balanced effectively.
FAQs on Canon EOS R vs Sony A7III
Q1. What Is Your Verdict On The Canon EOS R?
As stated before, the Canon EOS R was much different when it was first launched in 2018. Back then it was customizable and required several improvements. The model launched in 2020, incorporated almost all of those customizable features by default. Therefore, the Canon EOS R has become one of the best mirrorless cameras available today.
Q2. What Are The Limitations Of The Canon EOS R?
Minor shortcomings exist even in the best of the cameras, and the Canon EOS R is no different. Features like a cropped 4K video output and the absence of an IBIS are its major limitations.
Q3. How Does Canon EOS R Perform Against The Top Mirrorless Cameras Of Other Companies?
In lab testing, the Canon EOS R was compared thoroughly with cameras manufactured by Panasonic, Nikon, and Sony. While the resolution of the Canon EOS R was lower than those cameras on paper, it’s performance was equally good. Moreover, those full-frame mirrorless cameras were much more expensive than the Canon EOS R.
Q4. What Is Your Verdict On The Sony A7 III?
There are several cameras whose specifications do not impress the buyer, but their performance certainly does. The Sony A7 III is one such mirrorless camera. Moreover, apart from the specifications and the handling of the camera, all other features work extremely well. It offers great technical performance at a cheap price.
Q5. Why Does Sony A7 III Have So Many Negative Reviews?
The Sony A7 III camera is in competition with the likes of Nikon Z7. While the Nikon Z7 has a remarkable 45-megapixel camera, Sony A7III only has a 24-megapixel camera to offer. It is one of the main reasons for the low sales of the camera as well.
So in this article, we provided a comprehensive Canon EOS R vs Sony A7 III comparison. Both cameras have created a huge market for themselves. While Cannon is the pioneer in mirrorless technology, Sony cameras have always been reliable and efficient. Therefore, you can take help from our analysis, and depending on your needs, buy the camera that best suits you.