Facebook Pixel Canon EOS R5 vs Sony a7R IV: Which Camera Should You Buy?

Canon EOS R5 vs Sony a7R IV: Which Camera Should You Buy?

Canon EOS R5 vs Sony a7R IV

Struggling to choose between the Canon EOS R5 vs the Sony a7R IV? You’ve come to the right place.

Both the EOS R5 and the a7R IV are powerful cameras that offer top-notch image quality, fast focusing, and more – but which camera is best? Who should consider purchasing the EOS R5? And who should gravitate toward the a7R IV?

In this article, I offer an in-depth comparison. I share the similarities and differences of both these cameras – so that by the time you’re done reading, you’ll know exactly which model to buy.

Let’s dive right in.

Canon EOS R5: Overview

Canon EOS R5

The EOS R5 is one of Canon’s top full-frame professional mirrorless cameras. It was released in July 2020, together with the EOS R6 and four RF lenses.

One of the most notable EOS R5 features is the uncropped 8K/30p video recording. While filming in 8K does cause overheating after about 20 minutes, the R5 allows hobbyists and professionals to record videos at unprecedented resolutions (and is currently only matched – at least in the hybrid-camera realm – by flagship models like the Nikon Z9).

The EOS R5 also features an impressive AF system, in-body image stabilization (which boosts handholding up to eight stops), and up to 20 frames-per-second continuous shooting.

The R5 works with the image.canon cloud so you can automatically upload photos and videos. And you can configure an automatic forward to your computer, mobile device, or even to external services such as Lightroom or Google Photos.

The EOS R5 is designed with professionals in mind; the camera is highly durable, weather sealed, and is rated at 500,000 shots. You can even configure the shutter curtain to close when not in use to protect the 45 MP CMOS sensor.

Canon took some time to enter the mirrorless professional market, but the Canon EOS R5 was worth the wait. It incorporated many of the features requested by Canon users, and it can go toe to toe with every camera in its price range.

Sony a7R IV: Overview

Sony a7R IV

The a7R IV is the highest-resolution mirrorless camera offered by Sony; it features an incredible 61 MP full-frame sensor with a 15-stop dynamic range. And when you’re looking to save on storage and don’t need that much resolution, you can always use the APS-C mode to produce 26 MP images instead.

Video recording produces high-quality 4K footage using the entire sensor, the Fast Hybrid AF system boasts outstanding focusing speeds, and the class-leading Real-Time Eye AF works for both still images and video.

The a7R IV is the first Sony camera to allow wireless PC remote connectivity. It also packs a SuperSpeed USB-C connector and supports FTP data transfer.

Like the Canon EOS R5, the a7R IV is highly durable, weather sealed, and rated at 500,000 shutter releases. It’s also built and packaged following Sony’s Road-to-Zero environmental plan.

Canon EOS R5 vs Sony a7R IV: Image quality

Canon EOS R5

The Canon EOS R5 boasts a full-frame, 45 MP sensor, which includes a fixed low-pass filter to prevent moiré. Landscape, product, and wildlife photographers will love the high-resolution images; at 45 MP, you can create huge prints or do significant cropping while retaining outstanding detail.

The R5’s DIGIC X image processor is astonishingly powerful, and it uses the 45 MP sensor to capture 8K RAW video. The native ISO range goes from 100 to 51,200 (and is extendable up to 50-102,400).

As I touched on above, the EOS R5’s biggest attraction is its video resolution. The R5 can record uncropped 8K video, although it has time limitations (about 20 minutes) due to overheating. Thanks to the high video resolution, you can grab frames from your recordings as 35.4 MP JPEGs.

The Sony a7R IV, on the other hand, features a full-frame, 61 MP sensor. And if this isn’t enough resolution, you can use the Pixel Shift Multi Shooting feature to capture four RAW images, which will be merged in camera to create a 241 MP file.

Thanks to its 15-stop dynamic range, the a7R IV is capable of capturing high-contrast landscape shots. And the ISO extended range, which spans from 50 to 204,800, allows you to shoot beautiful low-light photos (note that the native ISO sensitivity is 100 to 32,000).

Also, while the a7R IV can’t shoot in 8K, it does capture high-quality 4K video.

At the end of the day, both cameras offer outstanding image quality. The EOS R5’s 8K video certainly beats the “measly” 4K on the a7R IV, but the 61 MP sensor on the a7R IV produces higher-resolution stills. Both cameras also offer excellent low-light performance.

Canon EOS R5 vs Sony a7R IV: Autofocus

The Sony a7R IV packs 759 phase-detection points that cover 94% of the image area. And it features powerful face- and eye-tracking technology (including, for the first time, eye tracking for birds and animals).

Wildlife photographers, sports photographers, and even portrait photographers will appreciate the a7R IV’s class-leading AF, especially when combined with an impressive 10 FPS of continuous shooting.

The EOS R5 features a 5,940-point AF system that covers approximately 100% of the image area. It has 1,053 AF zones that can detect and track the human eye, face, and head as well as animal bodies.

The EOS R5 uses deep learning AF, software first introduced by Canon on the EOS-1D X Mark III. This algorithm provides extremely accurate autofocus, though it is not AI technology.

In any case, the AF technology on the R5 will knock your socks off – whether you’re working with humans or animals. And it’s worth mentioning that the camera retains its outstanding AF capabilities when recording video.

Canon EOS R5 vs Sony a7R IV: Design

The EOS R5 and a7R IV offer similar sizes and weights – though, strictly speaking, the a7R IV is slightly smaller and lighter. Here are the official numbers:

Canon EOS R5

  • Size: 5.45 x 3.84 x 3.46 in (13.8 x 9.75 x 8.79 cm)
  • Weight: 1.63 lb (739 g)

Sony a7R IV

  • Size: 5.07 x 3.80 x 3.05 in (12.9 x 9.65 x 7.75 cm)
  • Weight: 1.46 lb (662 g)

Note that both cameras are weather sealed and highly durable. One important difference is that Sony developed the a7R IV using their Road-to-Zero environmental plan; the a7R IV, therefore, is made from recycled plastic and is produced in sites that use renewable energy. Even the packaging uses recyclable, plastic-reduced materials.

Canon EOS R5 top view

The EOS R5 features a top LCD, which indicates current camera settings; it also sports a 3.2-inch, fully articulating LCD touchscreen with 2.1M dots of resolution.

And while the Sony a7R IV has a 3-inch touchscreen, it is lower resolution (1.44M dots), and it cannot fully articulate, only tilt. While this isn’t a big deal for many photographers who shoot via the viewfinder, if you want to turn your screen in various directions – or flip it around to preview yourself when recording video – you may find the a7R IV’s screen restrictive.

Speaking of viewfinders: Both cameras boast a top-notch, 5.76M-dot EVF, which offers a highly realistic shooting experience – so even if you’re used to an optical viewfinder, you shouldn’t have too much trouble making the switch.

Canon EOS R5 dual card slots

Both cameras also contain dual memory card slots. However, the a7R IV’s slots only support UHS-II cards, while the Canon EOS R5 features one CFExpress slot as well as a UHS-II slot. Thanks to its superior speed, the CFExpress slot will give you better performance when recording high-quality video and shooting RAW bursts.

Canon EOS R5 vs Sony a7R IV: Battery

The EOS R5 uses an LP-E6NH battery that lasts up to 320 shots, while the Sony a7R IV uses an NP-FZ100 battery that lasts up to 670 shots.

In other words, the a7R IV offers more than double the battery life of the EOS R5. It also allows for charging during use, which makes it the better option for portrait and product photographers who want to charge their batteries while shooting.

Canon EOS R5 users can gain extra battery life with the BG-R10 battery grip, which can hold two batteries (it improves ergonomics, too, especially for photographers who frequently switch back and forth between vertical and horizontal orientations).

The Sony a7R IV also has an optional battery grip, the VG-C4EM, which holds up to two batteries. You can even charge the batteries in the grip while using the camera through the USB in the main body.

Canon EOS R5 vs Sony a7R IV: Lenses

The EOS R5 features an RF mount, which means that it supports all RF lenses from Canon. You can also get a Canon-made EOS R adapter, which allows you to use EF lenses on the R5.

The Sony a7R IV features an E mount. Because Sony has been in the mirrorless market longer than Canon, the array of lenses compatible with the a7R IV is bigger (if you don’t include Canon’s adaptable EF lenses, that is).

Regardless, you should have no problem finding the lenses you need for either camera.

Canon EOS R5 vs Sony a7R IV: Which is the better camera?

After looking carefully at the Canon EOS R5 vs Sony a7R IV, there isn’t a clear-cut winner. Both cameras offer plenty of class-leading features, and you can’t really go wrong with either option.

That said, depending on your needs, you may prefer one camera over the other. If you want to create large prints or do huge crops, the a7R IV is the best choice thanks to its 61 MP sensor. On the other hand, if you need higher video resolution, the Canon EOS R5 is the better pick.

And if you’re an action photographer, the Canon EOS R5 does have the edge; its 20 FPS continuous-shooting speeds trounce the Sony’s (still respectable!) 10 FPS capabilities, plus it offers a 180-image buffer.

Finally, if you do long photo sessions and prefer not to carry handfuls of extra batteries, you’ll be better off with the a7R IV. The a7R IV’s battery life is twice as long as the EOS R5’s, and it can be charged while in use.

Now over to you:

Which camera do you plan to buy? Which do you think is best (and why)? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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Ana Mireles
Ana Mireles

is a photographer and artistic researcher. She has been awarded and exhibited in Mexico, Italy, and the Netherlands. Through theory and practice, she explores the cultural aspect of photography, how it helps us relate to each other, the world, and ourselves. She has also a passion for teaching, communication, and social media. You can find more about her and her work at her website or acquire some of her works here.

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