Mirrorless vs. DSLR: How to Choose the Right Camera System

The 10 Main Differences and Full Comparison

After years of slow evolution, Canon’s full frame mirrorless system has come to fruition with the release of two very interesting cameras. One of them, the EOS R6, challenges the likes of the Sony A7 III, Nikon Z6 II and Panasonic S5 in the prosumer segment.

It’s difficult not to compare this new camera to the A7 III given its popularity. Despite the age and price difference, the EOS R6 is a direct competitor for the E-mount camera and its future successor. So let’s see what these two products have to offer.

Editor’s note: this article has been updated with our real word tests and comparisons.

Ethics statement: the following is based on our real world experience with the EOS R6 and A7 III, both of which we own. We were not asked to write anything about these products, nor were we provided with any kind of compensation. Within the article, there are affiliate links. If you buy something after clicking one of these links, we will receive a small commission. To know more about our ethics, you can visit our full disclosure page. Thank you!


Main Specs

1. Sensor and image quality

2. Autofocus

3. Continuous shooting speed

4. Image stabilisation

5. Video

6. Design

7. Viewfinder and LCD

8. Battery life

9. Lenses

10. Price

Extra feedback

Video Review


Main Specs

EOS R6 Sensor : 20.1MP 35mm format CMOS

: 20.1MP 35mm format CMOS Lens system : RF-mount

: RF-mount Weatherproof : Yes

: Yes Internal Stabilisation : Yes (5-axis)

: Yes (5-axis) Autofocus : Dual Pixel CMOS AF with 6,072 points

: Dual Pixel CMOS AF with 6,072 points Continuous shooting : 12fps or 20fps with e-shutter

: 12fps or 20fps with e-shutter ISO Sensitivity : 100 – 102400 ISO (pull 50, push up to 204800)

: 100 – 102400 ISO (pull 50, push up to 204800) Shutter Speeds : 1/8000s to 30s, Bulb

: 1/8000s to 30s, Bulb Viewfinder : 0.5-in OLED with 3,690k dots, 23mm eye point, 0.76x magnification

: 0.5-in OLED with 3,690k dots, 23mm eye point, 0.76x magnification Rear monitor : Multi-angle 3.0″ LCD (1.62M dots) with touch sensitivity

: Multi-angle 3.0″ LCD (1.62M dots) with touch sensitivity Movie recording : 4K up to 60fps and 340Mbps, Full HD up to 120fps, 10-bit C-Log and HDR PQ

: 4K up to 60fps and 340Mbps, Full HD up to 120fps, 10-bit C-Log and HDR PQ Built-in Flash : No

: No Extra Features : WiFi, Bluetooth, Bracketing, Tethering, Time-lapse, Dual SD slots

: WiFi, Bluetooth, Bracketing, Tethering, Time-lapse, Dual SD slots Dimensions : 138.4 x 97.5 x 88.4mm

: 138.4 x 97.5 x 88.4mm Weight : 680g (including battery and memory card)

: 680g (including battery and memory card) Firmware version : 1.2.0

: 1.2.0 Release: 2020 A7 III Sensor : 24.2MP 35mm format BSI Exmor CMOS

: 24.2MP 35mm format BSI Exmor CMOS Lens system : E-mount

: E-mount Weatherproof : Yes

: Yes Internal Stabilisation : Yes (5-axis)

: Yes (5-axis) Autofocus : Hybrid with 693 phase and 425 contrast points

: Hybrid with 693 phase and 425 contrast points Continuous shooting : 3fps to 10fps

: 3fps to 10fps ISO Sensitivity : 100 – 51200 ISO (pull 50, push up to 204800)

: 100 – 51200 ISO (pull 50, push up to 204800) Shutter Speeds : 1/8000s to 30s, Bulb

: 1/8000s to 30s, Bulb Viewfinder : 0.5in OLED with 2,360k dots, 23mm eye point, 0.78x magnification

: 0.5in OLED with 2,360k dots, 23mm eye point, 0.78x magnification Rear monitor : Tilting 3.0″ LCD (0.92k dots) with touch sensitivity

: Tilting 3.0″ LCD (0.92k dots) with touch sensitivity Movie recording : 4K up to 30fps and 100Mbps, Full HD up to 120fps, S-Log and HLG

: 4K up to 30fps and 100Mbps, Full HD up to 120fps, S-Log and HLG Built-in Flash : No

: No Extra Features : WiFi, Bluetooth, Bracketing, Tethering, FTP Transfer, Dual SD slots

: WiFi, Bluetooth, Bracketing, Tethering, FTP Transfer, Dual SD slots Dimensions : 126.9 x 95.6 x 73.7mm

: 126.9 x 95.6 x 73.7mm Weight : 650g (including battery and memory card)

: 650g (including battery and memory card) Firmware version : 3.10

: 3.10 Release: 2018

1. Sensor and image quality

Both cameras use a full frame (35mm format) sensor. The EOS R6 has 20.1MP, whereas the A7 III has 24.2MP. Both cameras have a low pass filter to reduce aliasing and moiré.

Resolution and sharpness

24MP has been the standard of prosumer full frame cameras for some time now, so you may find the 20MP of the R6 a bit disappointing. We’re talking about 20% less resolution so the difference is not as big as one may think. Below you can see how close you get when the following image is viewed at 100%.

Reference image

100% view

From RAW (+50 sharpness, +50 Detail on Lightroom Classic)

You can increase the sharpness of the out-of-camera JPGs. The Canon offers three settings (sharpness strength, sharpness fineness and sharpness threshold) but the single setting found on the A7 III is enough to get crisper details. (Note: for convenience, I’ve conformed the two images to the same size.)

Default settings:

A7 III: sharpness 0

R6: sharpness strength 4, sharpness fineness 2 and sharpness threshold 3

The A7 III already looks sharper with the default settings whereas it’s difficult to play with the parameters on the R6 without making the image look over-sharpened and less realistic.

Custom settings:

A7 III: sharpness +2

R6: sharpness strength 6, sharpness fineness 3 and sharpness threshold 3

Dynamic range

The sensor structure is different: the Sony chip is a BSI type (back-illuminated) which collects light more efficiently than the traditional structure.

This should, on paper, give an advantage to the A7 III in terms of dynamic range and high sensitivities. However the Canon sensor is more recent and as you can see below, the results are close.

Exposure reference: 1/100, f/5.6, ISO 100

Here is how the photos taken with each model look after a 4 stop exposure recovery in post production. The amount of noise is similar but the Sony retains sharper details and is a bit brighter.

+4Ev, +50 shadows (Lightroom Classic)

If we look at the darker areas of the photo (in this case the bottom corner), they both show some colour artefacts.

+4Ev, +50 shadows (Lightroom Classic)

In our second example, we attempt to recover the highlights. Both cameras preserve a similar amount of details, with the R6 having the edge by a hair’s breadth.

Exposure reference: 1/25, f/5.6, ISO 100

-100 highlights (Lightroom Classic)

If you are interested in the out-of-camera JPGs, the R6 has more settings to control dynamic range:

Highlight Tone Priority protects more details in the bright areas (the minimum ISO value becomes 200)

protects more details in the bright areas (the minimum ISO value becomes 200) Auto Lighting Optimiser boost the shadows but it is less efficient than the DR Optimiser setting found on the A7 III

EOS R6, 1/50s, default JPG EOS R6, 1/50s, Highlight tone priority (enhanced) EOS R6, 1/50s, Auto Light Optimiser (High) A7 III, 1/50s, DR Optimiser (Lv5)

Another tool available on the EOS R6 is the HDR PQ format which saves 10-bit HEIF files (JPG is 8-bit). In my tests, I found it to be effective at retaining more highlights (with the Highlight Tone Priority setting enabled).

EOS R6, 1/50s, default JPG EOS R6, 1/50s, HDR PQ with Highlight Tone Priority (Enhanced) EOS R6, 1/25s, HDR PQ with Highlight Tone Priority (Enhanced)

However not many software are compatible with this new format, including Lightroom and Photoshop (they can open HDR photos from an iPhone so it’s probably just a matter of widening the compatibility of the various versions).

The workaround is to either use the HEIF to JPG conversion built-in in camera (but there is no batch processing) or the Canon Digital Professional 4 software. In both cases, there is a loss of saturation when converting the files. I guess we’re not quite at the point where HEIF will become the new JPG.

ISO sensitivity

The R6 has a normal sensitivity range of 100 to 102400 ISO. There is a Low mode (ISO 50 equivalent) and one High value of 204800 ISO.

The A7 III ISO range goes from 100 to 51200 ISO. A low ISO 50 value is available too, and the maximum level with the extended setting is 204800 ISO.

The first thing I noticed while doing my tests is that there is a difference in brightness when using the same exposure settings with the two camera. The Canon image is approximately 1/2 a stop darker than the Sony.


To make the side-by-side images easier to look at, I tried to even out the exposure as much as possible.

The results are very similar up to 6400 ISO, at which point the R6 shows a bit less noise than the A7 III.

Noise increase from 12800 ISO on both cameras.

The highest values become pretty useless: the A7 III shows a green cast whereas the R6 has magenta colour artefacts. The Canon has more noise as well.

With the SOOC JPGs, the A7 III shows more colour noise when Noise Reduction is turned off. The R6 image is cleaner with NR set to Low or Standard. The Canon also has a High level and a Multi NR mode that merges three images to reduce noise further.

Another interesting test to perform with the two sensors is to see if they are ISOless, also known as ISO invariance.

The idea is that, if a sensor is ISOless, you can take a shot at a lower ISO value (underexpose the image) and recover the exposure in post with the same quality you would get when shooting at a higher ISO value (correct exposure), but with more highlights preserved (because you underexposed).

1/250, f/4, ISO 640 1/250, f/4, ISO 10,000 1/250, f/4, ISO 640 +4Ev in post

The R6 shows a similar amount of noise in the underexposed image taken at ISO 640 and recovered in post, and the image shot at the higher ISO level. On the A7 III, the post processed image looks worse and overall the Sony shows more noise than the Canon in this test. Note that I started from ISO 640 because this is the value where the second gain of Sony’s dual gain architecture kicks in. (I couldn’t find any information about this for the Canon model).


The first scene below was lit with LED lights and the cameras were set to the same colour temperature.

If I open the two RAW files with Lightroom Classic, they look very similar with the default colour profile applied by the software which is Adobe Color (remember that different programmes will apply different profiles). The A7 III image looks a bit greener if we concentrate on the blue desk mat in the background, but otherwise the colours on the fruit and vegetables are harder to distinguish.


If we turn to the picture profiles found on each camera (called Creative Styles on the A7 III), there are a few more things to talk about.

With the standard profile, the red pepper has a bit more richness in shade and texture in the Canon file. The green pepper has a bit more contrast and darker shades as well, whereas the orange is a bit more saturated in the Sony file.

With the Neutral profile, the colours are more vibrant on the EOS R6.

Both cameras have additional profiles, each with their own distinctive characteristics, but I’m not going to describe all of them here. Keep in mind that some of the Canon profiles like Neutral or Faithful have less sharpness assigned by default. The A7 III has more profiles in total (13 vs 7, including the monochrome profiles and excluding the custom ones).

Below is another example with the landscape profile. Here the Sony is more saturated whereas the Canon is brighter with less contrast.

EOS R6, Landscape profile A7 III, Landscape profile

Regarding skin tones, there are more relevant differences. Looking at the RAW files, with the same colour temperature and tint values, the R6 image is warmer and softer overall especially when it comes to the yellows and oranges, whereas the Sony has a reddish/magenta dominance.

The same difference, accentuated with more contrast on each, is valid for the SOOC JPG and standard profile.

The Canon portrait style is brighter but has lots of reds in the medium tints. The Sony has less contrast and a smoother, more subtle look.

On the R6, I prefer the Neutral profile which has less contrast and shows more uniformity while maintaining all the different shades of the skin. Neutral gives the A7 III portrait less saturation.

Extra feedback about image quality

To conclude this first chapter, let me share some additional findings quickly:

Although the RAW files present some differences, they are both very flexible, allowing you to fine-tune colours and other aspects with ease

With auto white balance, the R6 files tend to look a bit cooler overall

Under artificial light, the Sony is warmer than the Canon when both are set to Ambient priority

If you set the white balance manually, the Sony can exhibit more yellow with in a low light situation

Both cameras allow you to fine-tune any white balance setting when it comes to colour tint

The R6 metering tends to overexpose by 2/3Ev in comparison to the A7 III when using the same settings (multi, centre weight or spot). The Sony also has a large size for Spot and a Preserve Highlight option.

2. Autofocus

The two cameras feature an advanced autofocus system with phase detection, which means that each focus point is driven by two small sensors that read the incoming light. The phase difference between the two sensors tells the camera how much correction is needed to have the subject in focus.

The way the two companies have developed this technology is different however.

On the Canon sensor, each pixel is composed of two photodiodes. The camera uses them together to create the image, and separately to evaluate the phase difference and acquire focus. Canon calls this Dual Pixel CMOS AF II, where II stands for the new version introduced with the R6 (and R5).

Source: Canon USA

On the Sony sensor, the pixels are made up of a single photodiode, but a certain number of them embed the phase difference sensor that the camera uses to analyse and acquire focus. Phase detection points are used solely for autofocus, not to create the photo.

The Canon solution gives the R6 a distinct advantage: AF tracking can work across the entire sensor surface, and in fact Canon says that there is 100% coverage when face/eye detection and the Tracking AF mode are enabled. (It’s 90% horizontal and 100% vertical with the other AF area settings). When using the single AF point, you can move it across more than 6000 positions!

EOS R6: 6072 points

The A7 III phase detection coverage on the sensor is 93% which is not bad at all. There are 693 phase detection points and 425 contrast detection points that can help in low light situations.

A7 III: 693 phase detection points 425 contrast detection points

In Single AF mode (called One Shot AF on the R6), both cameras focus fast. The Canon feels a bit quicker but it’s a small difference. With some older lenses like the FE 55mm 1.8, the A7 III can be a bit slower at moving the lens elements back and forth. This doesn’t happen in C-AF mode.

Autofocus in low light

The minimum sensitivity for the EOS R6 autofocus is -6.5Ev with an f/1.2 lens or -5Ev at f/2. The A7 III works down to -3Ev with a f/2 lens. This means that the Canon is 2 stops more sensitive in low light.

This advantage became noticeable in my low light test, where the subject walked towards the camera in a near pitch dark living room. What is impressive is that the EOS R6 can focus on the eye of the subject even when she is completely in the dark.

Eye detected by the EOS R6 in pitch dark conditions

I used two 24-105mm f4 zooms to make the test even harder. In the sequence, the Sony was able to capture only 4 shots, and 3 of them were out of focus. The R6 took 26 shots meaning it was able to change focus more quickly and follow the subject better. It gave a hit rate of about 75%.

EOS R6 (red = out of focus)

A7 III (red = out of focus)

Of course it is worth stressing that this was an extreme test and you’ll won’t likely find yourself in such a tricky situation. With a bit more light the A7 III can give you decent performance, but this test was the most appropriate to show the difference.

Face and eye detection

Both cameras feature face and eye detection. The Sony Eye AF mode is known to be the benchmark when it comes this kind of technology. Indeed the one on the A7 III is fast and reliable.

EyeAF on the A7 III

Canon has improved its face and eye detection with firmware updates on the original EOS R. For the R6, it introduces a new algorithm that should make the camera faster and more precise, as well as detect smaller faces in the frame when the subject is further away from the camera.

Eye detection on the EOS R6

In my second test, the subject walked back and forth, then walked while turning 360˚. The aim of the latter was to see how well the cameras would keep tracking the person once the face was no longer visible.

The R6 gave a splendid 95% keeper rate (60 shots in total for each walk) with only 1 shot out of focus and two slightly soft. When the subject turned around, the performance was the same. The only thing I noticed is that sometimes, the camera focused on the furthest eye rather than the nearest eye while the subject was facing about 45˚ away from the camera.

EOS R6 Test 1: walk back and forth

(red = out of focus, yellow = sligthly soft)

EOS R6 Test 2: walk back and forth while turning 360˚

(yellow = sligthly soft)

The A7 III took fewer shots once again because it struggled more to change focus quickly and had a lower keeper rate of 63%.

A7 III: walk back and forth

(red = out of focus, yellow = sligthly soft)

A7 III Test 2: walk back and forth while turning 360˚

(red = out of focus, yellow = sligthly soft)

Note: If you’re wondering why the A7 III took fewer shots, it is because I set it to focus priority and since it was a bit slower at keeping track of the subject, it captured fewer images as a result. I set the medium burst speed for both cameras which is 6fps.

This second test shows a clear advantage for the Canon, but in conditions where the subject doesn’t move a lot (classic portrait situation), they both deliver when it comes to speed and accuracy. Interestingly, if the subject wears a hat, the Canon can get confused more easily and mis-focus on the brim rather than the eyes.

Example of mis-focused shot on the Canon EOS R6

The way you set and use the face/eye AF technology is different on the two cameras. On the Canon, you have to select the Tracking AF method and the camera will focus on the eyes automatically when they are detected (if the option is enabled). You can prioritise the left or right eye, or a face when multiple people are in the frame with the AF joystick.

On the A7 III, you have two options: you can activate Face/Eye AF and the camera detects face and eyes at all times when engaging focus. Or, you can keep Face/Eye AF off but assign Eye AF to a function button and focus on the eyes only when you need it (I prefer the second option). You can’t however specify a left or right eye which is annoying.

Birds in flight

Usually I try to use both cameras at different events including sports events like a football game. Unfortunately this was not possible with the EOS R6 at the time. Fortunately, my beloved red kite feeding stations re-opened, allowing me to put the R6 through its paces. (I’d already done this with the A7 III on a different occasion.)

The R6 has deep learning technology to detect the bodies, faces and eyes of animals such as dogs, cats and birds (even when they’re flying).

EOS R6 Animal Detection

I was really curious to test this feature with birds and it didn’t disappoint. I got an excellent score of 93% / 97% and Animal Detection is among the settings I recommend using. It recognises the bird right away and can focus on the eye even when it is small in the frame.

With a bird flying erratically, it may not always detect the eye but it always stays on the body and very often the head, which is enough to get the focus where you want it. If the animal is not detected for some reason, the camera uses the normal tracking mode which is also very effective.

EOS R6, 1/2000, f/7.1, ISO 1250 – RF 100-500mm at 500mm

EOS R6, 1/2000, f/6.3, ISO 8000 – RF 100-500mm at 400mm

EOS R6, 1/2000, f/7.1, ISO 3200 – RF 100-500mm at 500mm

The Canon has a lot of settings to control the autofocus behaviour, and some of them are not easy to understand at first. So fine-tuning the camera for the maximum performance is not an easy task, but even with less than optimal settings, the hit rate remains high at around 85%. Last but not least, the R6 gave me the same performance and high score when using the 12 years old Canon EF 800mm 5.6 with adapter.

The A7 III Eye AF mode can work for various animals but it doesn’t detect faces or bodies, and it doesn’t work for birds yet. (Read our report about Sony Eye AF for Animals.)

The Sony does well with birds in flight but doesn’t reach the same level as the R6, with my score being 77% / 96%. Its autofocus system is easier to configure however because there are fewer settings to worry about.

A7 III, 1/2000, f/8, ISO 250 – FE 100-400mm GM + TC 1.4x

A7 III, 1/2000, f/8, ISO 500 – FE 100-400mm GM + TC 1.4x

If you are curious to understand how I measure the score for birds in flight, and to see how other cameras performed, check our article below.

3. Continuous shooting speeds

The Canon EOS R6 can shoot up to 12fps, or 20fps if you use the electronic shutter. Continuous Autofocus and Exposure tracking remain active even at 20fps.

The Sony A7 III can’t match these specifications, with the highest frame rate being 10fps (with AF and AE tracking).

Curiously, when the e-shutter is enabled, the R6 always shoots at 20fps even if you select the Medium or Low burst speed. With the mechanical shutter, you can go down to 8fps, 6fps or 3fps just like with the Sony.

At the maximum speed of 12fps or 20fps, the EOS R6 shows you the last images taken in rapid succession instead of live view (the A7 III does the same at 10fps.). This means that what you see just happened an instant ago rather than in real time. That said, when working at 20fps, the sequence is so fast that this rarely posed an issue, even with birds in flight. Plus, the shutter lag of the camera is really short.

With slower speeds, both cameras show you live view with blackouts. The latter is an option you can enable on the R6 with firmware 1.2.0. If disabled, the camera mixes live view with the image just captured (basically “covering” the blackout with the recorded image). The idea is to create a smoother sequence in the LCD or viewfinder instead of having the black frame interrupting the flow all the time but I never liked this concept (the EOS R does the same). It introduces a weird lag effect where the sequence constantly freezes, then resumes motion. It can be very distracting so I’m glad Canon gave us the option of real blackout with the firmware update.

When using the electronic shutter, both cameras can produce distortion when panning quickly. The quicker you move, the more visible it is (this phenomenon is known as rolling shutter). The R6 has a faster sensor readout and suffers less from it, as you can see below.

I’ve used the electronic shutter for birds in flight on the Canon and these distortions were not too visible, also thanks to the more complex shape of the animal itself. However, keep in mind that for both cameras, the bit-depth drops from 14 to 12-bit when shooting RAW.

The buffer is better on the Canon too: it can shoot at 12ps at full speed for about 20s with RAW files (that’s about 240 files) or more than 60s with JPGs (about 1000 files) before taking short intervals to clear the buffer.

At 20fps with the electronic shutter, the R6 lasts for about 5s at full speed with RAW files (100 frames), or more than 30 seconds with JPGs (600 frames).

The A7 III can shoot RAW images at 10fps for about 9 seconds (90 frames) before slowing down. With JPGs, it lasts up to 17 seconds (170 frames).

4. Image stabilisation

The EOS R6 is the first camera from Canon to receive 5-axis in-body stabilisation (along with the R5). Canon was the last company to incorporate this technology (Sony was the first to utilise it on a full frame camera with the A7 II in 2014) but the specifications are the best on the market at the time of publishing.

The R6 offers up to 8 stops of compensation which is the highest rating of any camera given by the CIPA association (even better than high-end Olympus products). This rating can drop down to a minimum of 6.5Ev depending on the lens used, so not every lens will give you 8 stops of compensation. (See the full list in our R5 vs R6 article.)

EOS R6, 2s, f/5.6, ISO 200 – RF 24-105mm f4 at 24mm

The A7 III also has 5-axis stabilisation on the sensor but the rating is lower at 5 stops. Sony hasn’t specified different ratings depending on the lens used, so one must assume it is the same for all its E-mount lenses.

First I tested how the two cameras perform with a lens that has optical stabilisation, where 3 axes on the sensor (roll, x and y) are combined with the lens IS (pitch and yaw). I used the Canon RF 24-105mm f4 and and the Sony FE 24-105mm f4 OSS.

The test was conducted as follows: I tried different shutter speeds and for each I took 10 shots, not only measure how slow you can go but also to see how consistent the performance is.

Reference image

Given Canon’s claim of 8 stops of compensation, I started with a super slow speed of 8 seconds at 24mm but none of the images were sharp. At 4s, three images were not far off, but it was at 2s that the R6 delivered the first acceptable results. The Sony delivered one good shot at 2s and three good ones at 1s which is more than I was expecting.

Below you can see the keeper rate for each shutter speed. It is interesting to note that despite the good performance with slow shutter speeds, you don’t get a 50% or higher hit rate before 1/2s or 1/4s. This means that at 1s or 2s, you need to be patient, try to be as still as possible and take multiple shots to increase the chance of bringing home at least one good photo.

Shutter speed


24mm A7 III

24mm 8s 0% -- 4s 0% 0% 2s 30% 10% 1s 30% 30% 1/2s 50% 40% 1/4s 90% 70% 1/8s 100% 100%

Tip for sharper images taken hand-held at slow shutter speeds

You can increase the success rate by using the electronic front curtain shutter and shoot in continuous burst mode (you don’t need the fastest fps).

At 50mm, both cameras deliver something good at 1s, but the keeper rate increases from 1/4s, especially with the Canon model.

Shutter speed


50mm A7 III

50mm 4s 0% -- 2s 0% 0% 1s 20% 10% 1/2s 20% 10% 1/4s 70% 20% 1/8s 80% 50% 1/15s 90% 60%

At 105mm, the R6 doesn’t do miracles but 40% at 1/4s is still very good performance overall. With the Sony, you need a value faster than 1/8s to reach the same hit rate.

Shutter speed


105mm A7 III

105mm 2s 0% 0% 1s 0% 0% 1/2s 10% 10% 1/4s 40% 20% 1/8s 70% 30% 1/15s 100% 70%

The second part of my test involved using two lenses without optical stabilisation, with each camera using the five axes on the sensor (roll, x, y, pitch and yaw). In this case, I had the RF 50mm f1.2 and the FE 55mm 1.8.

The performance is not as good as with the zoom lenses above, but the A7 III is not far from the R6’s performance past the half a second mark.

Shutter speed


50mm A7 III

55mm 2s 0% 0% 1s 0% 0% 1/2s 30% 0% 1/4s 40% 40% 1/8s 90% 80% 1/15s 100% 90%

As always, remember that there are other factors that can influence the results:

how steady you are capable of being with the camera

how comfortable you are with your position and the environment around you (ex. if you’re cold or tired, you’ll shake more)

In my experience, you don’t always get the same performance every time, but knowing how far you can push the shutter speed and, more important, at which shutter speed the camera gives you a decent keeper rate is useful.

A7 III, 1/5s, f/5.6, ISO 125 – FE 35mm 2.8 ZA

What is interesting to note in the tests above is that between 1s and 1/8s (the shutter speeds you most likely use the most), the R6 has a better keeper rate for the most part, but you don’t feel the 3 stop gap between them as the official ratings suggest.

Stabilisation works for video too. See our video section further down for more details.

5. Video

The EOS R6 marks a relevant step forward for Canon by including specifications that filmmakers have been waiting for.

The Canon camera can record 4K video up to 60p with full pixel readout (oversampling) and just a minor sensor crop of 1.07x. In Full HD, you can record up to 120fps with the High Speed mode.

The A7 III also records in 4K but the maximum frame rate is 30p with a 1.2x crop (24p and 25p use the full width of the sensor however). It too can record 120fps in Full HD, and you can choose whether to use the Q&S mode (slow motion effect directly in camera like the R6) or record in normal mode with sound (the slow motion effect needs to be done in post).

One clear advantage of the EOS R6 is that it can record 10-bit 4:2:2 internally (H.265 codec) with either the Canon Log gamma or the HDR PQ profile. The A7 III has two log profiles, HLG and several other settings designed to customise the image, but it is limited to 8-bit internally and externally (HDMI output).

The R6 has higher bitrate too. It goes to a maximum of 120Mbps in 4K up to 30p, or 230Mbps at 50/60p. If you record with C-Log or HDR PQ, the bitrate goes up 170 and 340Mbps respectively. The maximum bitrate of the A7 III in 4K is 100Mbps.

Both cameras can record a maximum of 30 minutes per clip. The High Speed mode on the EOS R6 (1080p/120p) is limited to 7 minutes.

Another difference is the ISO sensitivity: the EOS R6 has a smaller normal range than for stills (100 to 25600) but the extended values go up to 204800 ISO. The A7 III has the same exact range for photography and video: 100 to 51200 ISO and extended values up to 102400.

Both cameras have a microphone input and headphone output.

Concerning stabilisation, in addition to sensor and optical IS, the EOS R6 has an extra setting called Digital IS which adds electronic stabilisation to further improve the result. It crops the sensor as a result however.

Below you can find a quick summery of all my findings. Check the video above for the full comparison.

The A7 III is a bit sharper with the default values. If you tweak the parameters on the R6, you can achieve a similar result

1080p is a bit sharper on the Canon

Colour differences are similar to what I describe with the SOOC JPGs (although the Picture Styles have a bit less contrast in video mode on the R6)

The Picture Profiles on the A7 III have more advanced settings to fine-tune colours and other image parameters

The Canon Log profile has more saturation with the default values

Canon’s 10-bit recording saves more colour information but the H265 format can be computer heavy depending on your setup

Just like for JPG stills, the R6 has more settings to control dynamic range (highlights especially), but the A7 III has more DR when used with S-Log3

Similar performance up to 12800 ISO, then the R6 shows more noise, but you can control Noise Reduction in four steps unlike the Sony

C-AF performance in extreme low light is similar (unlike for stills where the R6 is superior)

The Canon is a bit faster and more precise with C-AF and Face/Eye detection

The A7 III has no Eye AF for video, just face detection, which can sometimes mis-focus such as, for example, when the subject wears a hat

The R6 has better stabilisation for fixed shots or when panning, but walking produces abrupt vertical movements

The A7 III has less rolling shutter for video (unlike for stills, where the R6 does better with the electronic shutter)

In my side by side test, the R6 overheated twice while recording for an hour and half, with a room temperature of 20˚C

6. Design and interface

The EOS R6 is the larger camera and it is a bit heavier too.

EOS R6 : 138 x 97.5 x 88.4mm, 680g

: 138 x 97.5 x 88.4mm, 680g A7 III: 126.9 x 95.6 x 73.7mm, 650g

The Canon has a larger and more rounded front grip. I can rest all my fingers comfortably enough, whereas with the A7 III I struggle to keep my little finger on the surface unless I really squeeze all my fingers together. I also prefer the position of the shutter button, which is higher and more sloped towards the front. Of course this can change depending on whether you have larger or smaller hands than mine.

Both cameras are built around a magnesium alloy chassis and offer weather-sealing.

They offer a good number of controls with an AF joystick and various dials and buttons around the body, and most of them can be customised. The A7 III has an exposure compensation dial on top that the R6 is missing.

Unique to the RF system however is the function ring of the lenses that can be used for different settings.

The control ring of the RF 50mm 1.2.

I found the default configuration of the R6 good to use out of the box. I only had to change the function of the three dials (mainly to move the aperture from the rear wheel to the top one). Most of its buttons are located at the right place. They are easy to reach and softer to press but with an excellent tactile feel and response. The only one I don’t like is the M-Fn button: it is a bit too small and I keep mistaking it for the Rec button when composing with the EVF.

The A7 III has more customisable buttons (10 vs 8, plus the AF Joystick). The rear wheel can be used in four directions in addition to being rotated, whereas on the Canon only the rotation is possible. That said, the one on the R6 is more precise when turned, and that is also valid for the other two exposure dials.

The AF Joystick on the Canon can’t be customised for other functions (only enabled or disabled) but it feels quicker and more precise, and you can also change its sensitivity.

I find the Canon menu system better organised concerning the main sections, and it automatically adapts to the stills or video shooting mode. You get used to it easily but some areas are a bit messy like many of the AF settings that are not easy to understand straight away (that said, Sony also has weird names for some of its parameters).

Canon Sony

Both cameras have a My Menu page where you can save your favourite settings, as well as a Quick Menu (called Fn Menu on the Sony). However the Q menu on the Canon can’t be customised.

They have two SD card slots with the difference being that both slots are UHS-II compliant on the R6, whereas on the Sony only slot 1 is.

Finally, you’ll find a USB C and Micro HDMI port on both products, in addition to the audio input and output we already mentioned in the previous chapter. The A7 model also has a Micro USB 2.0 port.

7. Viewfinder and LCD screen

The EOS R6 has a better viewfinder with more resolution (3.69M dots vs 2.36M dots) and a faster refresh rate (120Hz vs 60Hz). The magnification is slightly larger on the A7 III (0.78x vs 0.76x) and the eyepoint is the same (23mm). Because of the smaller magnification, I can see the extreme corners a bit better on the R6 when wearing glasses.

Another difference concerns the rear screen: the Canon has a multi-angle solution where you can open it to the side and rotate it 180˚, whereas the one on the Sony tilts up and down.

The resolution is higher on the EOS (1.62M vs 0.9M dots) and the R6 offers a more complete touch screen experience including navigating the menu and start movie recording, whereas on the A7 III you can only move the focus point or double-tap to activate magnification. The touch screen is more precise and reactive on the Canon. On both cameras you can use the LCD screen to move the AF point while using the viewfinder.

Another thing is the quality of the display when focus magnification is activated in video mode. On the A7 III, the live view resolution drops drastically and is almost unusable, whereas on the R6 it remains much sharper.


8. Battery life

The EOS R6 has a newly developed battery that increases the power by 14% while maintaining the same form factor as the previous one. The official rating is 380 frames (EVF) or 510 photos (LCD) per charge, although you will be able to take more in real life. It has an amperage of 2130mAh.

The A7 III has a rating of 610 (EVF) or 710 shots (LCD) and its battery has a similar amperage of 2280mAh.

In real world conditions I can easily double the specs of both cameras, if not more. For example after taking nearly 2,600 pictures of the red kites with the R6, the battery charge went from 100% to about 64%. The A7 III can do a bit better than that (around 70%).

For video, the R6 recorded about 113 minutes in 4K 25p (four separated clips plus intervals to cool the camera) before the battery ran out. The A7 III managed to do almost an extra half an hour.

Both cameras can be charged via USB but you will need a high current charger for the Canon. A battery grip is available for both product.

One small annoyance with the A7 III is that it comes without a battery charger (the camera must be plugged straight into the wall socket with the USB adapter). You can of course buy one separately.

9. Lenses

The Canon RF system was launched two years ago, and Canon started from scratch without even including compatibility with its EOS M APS-C mirrorless system. (The mount is different, unlike its EF DSLR system that shares the same mount for APS-C and full frame cameras.)

I have to admit that in this short amount of time, Canon has worked hard to release a lot of high quality lenses, from the 2.8 zoom trinity to fast 1.2 primes to super telephotos. There are now no fewer than 17 native lenses and two teleconverters, including some affordable options. Rumours suggest 17 other lenses in the works for 2021! Of course with the EF to RF adapter, you have access to all the EF DSLR lenses while maintaining excellent autofocus performance.

The Sony full frame E-mount system debuted in 2013, and in seven years the company has built an impressive number of native lenses. The same mount is used for its APS-C series as well which increases the versatility of the system. Third party brands such as Sigma, Tamron, Samyang and Zeiss are actively releasing new lenses for E-mount, so users are now spoiled for choice.

I’m pretty sure that we will start to see more third party RF lenses at some point, and once again you have access to the DSLR equivalents, although it is fair to say that EF lenses work on the A7 III too and there are many adapters available. (the AF performance is not always as fast however)

10. Price

The EOS R6 can be found at the retail price of $2500 / £2500 / €2700 for the body only.

The A7 III being older can be found for less ($1700 / £1750 / €1850).

Note: prices are as of December 2020.

Extra feedback and information

The maximum shutter speed of both cameras is 1/8000s. With flash, the EOS R6 goes up to 1/250s when using the electronic first curtain mode (1/200s with the mechanical shutter). The A7 III does 1/250s with either the mechanical or electronic first curtain shutter.

The EOS R6 has a few extra features that you won’t find in the A7 III such as:

Multiple exposure which works up to 9 frames and various blending methods (additive, average, bright or dark)

which works up to 9 frames and various blending methods (additive, average, bright or dark) RAW image processing to process and convert RAW files into JPGs

to process and convert RAW files into JPGs Time-lapse Movie to create a 1080p or 4K video out of frames captured at a set interval

to create a 1080p or 4K video out of frames captured at a set interval Flexible-priority AE mode (Fv) that lets you set the exposure to full auto, semi-auto or fully manual without the need to change shooting modes

The two cameras have others things in common including:

Exposure and White Balance Bracketing

USB tethering to a computer

Then we have the wireless capabilities which allow you to do a number of different things like transfer images to a smartphone, or control the cameras remotely from your mobile device. I find the Canon app more complete, and you can switch between photo and video mode without the need to turn the physical dial on the camera.

Both cameras allow you to use a bluetooth remote controller, and connect to a FTP server. With the R6 you can also connect to the Canon Cloud Web Service and upload images while shooting (it works rather well!).

Concerning the manual focus assists, in addition to magnification and peaking, the R6 has the excellent Focus Guide mode that shows you in which direction and how much you need to adjust focus using the Dual Pixel CMOS AF technology on the sensor. It’s very precise and reliable, and my favourite MF assist to date. If eye detection is enabled, it will automatically show you the adjustment for any eye detected.

One last curiosity: when the R6 is turned off, the shutter closes to protect the sensor while changing the lens, just like the EOS R. This function can be disabled in the menu if you prefer.

Video Review

Below you can watch the full comparison in video format. Don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel!


The A7 III has been the benchmark in the full frame mirrorless category since it was released thanks to its excellent balance of cost, features and quality. It rightfully became one of the most popular full frame cameras ever. Today, it remains a very competitive package thanks to its excellent full frame sensor and accessible price.

That said, the Sony camera is more than two years old now (it was announced in early 2018) and in the meantime, the competition has worked hard to close the gap. In my view, Canon has succeeded with the EOS R6. It represents an important step forward for the RF system after the disappointing EOS R released two years ago, and in many ways it feels like a superior product to the A7 III.

The autofocus system and burst speeds are impressive, and Canon has out-classed Sony in its own territory with features like Animal Detection. The image quality is on par, if not slightly better, albeit with 20% less resolution. The image stabilisation is also superior (although not as much as the official specifications suggest) and I personally prefer the ergonomics, button layout and dials response on the EOS body.

As nice as the R6 sounds, there are some strong points in favour of the A7 III to keep in mind. It may not have 4K/60p or 10-bit internal recording for video, but it doesn’t suffer from overheating as severely as the Canon. There is a plethora of native lenses to choose between for the E-mount system, not just from Sony but also third-party brands, and that also means a better choice of affordable glass. Last but not least, the Sony is less expensive.

The last point to mention is of course the A7 III successor. We don’t know when it will arrive yet, but it is likely than when it does, Sony will improve many features on the camera to make it more competitive specs wise, so what now looks like an inferior product could push its way back to the front whenever the A7 IV makes its appearance.

Choose the Canon EOS R6 if:

you want better autofocus performance in all situations

you want better ergonomics and precise controls

you want better image stabilisation for stills

Choose the Sony A7 III if:

you want to spend less

you want more choice among the native E-mount lenses

you need a reliable A cam for video

Reminder: the links below are affiliate links. If you decided to buy something after clicking the link, we will receive a small commission.

Check price of the Canon EOS R6 on:

Amazon | Amazon UK | B&H Photo | eBay

Check price of the Sony A7 III on:

Amazon | Amazon UK | B&H Photo | eBay

The 10 main differences and full comparison

The Sony A7 IV arrived in 2021, three years after the A7 III, a product that helped Sony soar in popularity as a digital camera manufacturer, and has convinced many people to switch from Canon DSLRs.

With the R6, released in 2020, Canon got back on track with much better performance in comparison to the first EOS R, and a product that shows the company is finally taking the mirrorless market seriously.

Let’s see how these two very capable photography tools compare.

Editor’s note: this article has been upgraded to a full comparison with side by side images and in-depth feedback.

Ethics statement: the following is based on our personal experience with the A7 IV and EOS R6, which we purchased for personal and review purposes. We were not asked to write anything about these products, nor were we provided with any sort of compensation. Within the article, there are affiliate links. If you buy something after clicking the link, we will receive a small commission. To know more about our ethics, you can visit our full disclosure page. Thank you!


– The 10 Main Differences in a Nutshell

– Main Specs

1. Sensor and Image Quality

2. Autofocus

3. Continuous Shooting

4. Stabilisation System

5. Video Recording

6. Design and Interface

7. Viewfinder and Rear Screen

8. Battery Life

9. Lenses

10. Price

– Extra Information

– Video Review

– Conclusion

The 10 Main Differences in a Nutshell

Image quality: the A7 IV has more megapixels (33 vs 20) and a little more noise at high ISOs. Dynamic range is comparable.

Autofocus: they are at a very similar level when it comes to face and eye detection, as well as tracking. They are the best on the market at this price point.

Continuous shooting: the R6 can shoot at double the speed of the A7 IV (20fps vs 10fps). It also has a faster sensor readout, meaning less rolling shutter when using the electronic shutter (in photo mode).

Stabilisation: the R6 allows you to shoot hand-held at 1s, or even 2s. The A7 IV struggles below 1/4s. For video, the R6 delivers better performance when walking with the camera, but the A7 model gives you the best results if you stabilise in post with Sony Catalyst.

Movie mode: the A7 IV offers better dynamic range, more codecs, higher bitrates and doesn’t suffer from overheating, unlike the R6. The only advantage of the Canon is 4K 60p with a small 1.07x crop (vs 1.5x on the Sony).

Design: I prefer the ergonomics of the R6, but the A7 IV is better than previous models and offers more customisation.

Viewfinder and LCD: they are very similar and nice to use.

Battery life: very similar performance (photo and video).

Lenses: Sony has a much larger selection of native lenses, including options from third party manufactures.

Price: very similar (only the Euro price is higher for the A7 IV, as of March 2022)

Main Specs


Sensor : 33.0MP 35mm format BSI Exmor R CMOS

: 33.0MP 35mm format BSI Exmor R CMOS Lens system : E-mount

: E-mount Weatherproof : Yes

: Yes Internal Stabilisation : Yes (5-axis)

: Yes (5-axis) Autofocus : Hybrid with 759 phase and 425 contrast detection points

: Hybrid with 759 phase and 425 contrast detection points Continuous shooting : 3fps to 10fps with AE/AF Tracking

: 3fps to 10fps with AE/AF Tracking ISO Sensitivity : 100 – 51200 ISO (pull 50, push up to 204800)

: 100 – 51200 ISO (pull 50, push up to 204800) Shutter Speeds : 1/8000 to 30s, Bulb

: 1/8000 to 30s, Bulb Viewfinder : 0.5in OLED with 3.69M dots, 23mm eye point, 0.78x magnification and 120fps refresh rate

: 0.5in OLED with 3.69M dots, 23mm eye point, 0.78x magnification and 120fps refresh rate Rear monitor : Multi-angle 3″ LCD (1.04M dots) with touch sensitivity

: Multi-angle 3″ LCD (1.04M dots) with touch sensitivity Movie recording : 4K up to 60fps, Full HD up to 120fps, 10-bit 4:2:2 internal, S-Log, Cinetone and HLG gamma

: 4K up to 60fps, Full HD up to 120fps, 10-bit 4:2:2 internal, S-Log, Cinetone and HLG gamma Built-in Flash : No

: No Extra Features : WiFi, Bluetooth, Bracketing, Intervalometer, Wifi Tethering, USB streaming, Dual SD slots

: WiFi, Bluetooth, Bracketing, Intervalometer, Wifi Tethering, USB streaming, Dual SD slots Dimensions : 131.3 x 96.4 x 79.8 mm

: 131.3 x 96.4 x 79.8 mm Weight : 658g (including battery and memory card)

: 658g (including battery and memory card) Firmware version : 1.00

: 1.00 Release: 2021


Sensor : 20.1MP 35mm format CMOS

: 20.1MP 35mm format CMOS Lens system : RF-mount

: RF-mount Weatherproof : Yes

: Yes Internal Stabilisation : Yes (5-axis)

: Yes (5-axis) Autofocus : Dual Pixel CMOS AF with 6,072 points

: Dual Pixel CMOS AF with 6,072 points Continuous shooting : 12fps or 20fps with e-shutter

: 12fps or 20fps with e-shutter ISO Sensitivity : 100 – 102400 ISO (pull 50, push up to 204800)

: 100 – 102400 ISO (pull 50, push up to 204800) Shutter Speeds : 1/8000s to 30s, Bulb

: 1/8000s to 30s, Bulb Viewfinder : 0.5-in OLED with 3,690k dots, 23mm eye point, 0.76x magnification

: 0.5-in OLED with 3,690k dots, 23mm eye point, 0.76x magnification Rear monitor : Multi-angle 3.0″ LCD (1.62M dots) with touch sensitivity

: Multi-angle 3.0″ LCD (1.62M dots) with touch sensitivity Movie recording : 4K up to 60fps and 340Mbps, Full HD up to 120fps, 10-bit C-Log and HDR PQ

: 4K up to 60fps and 340Mbps, Full HD up to 120fps, 10-bit C-Log and HDR PQ Built-in Flash : No

: No Extra Features : WiFi, Bluetooth, Bracketing, Tethering, Time-lapse, Dual SD slots

: WiFi, Bluetooth, Bracketing, Tethering, Time-lapse, Dual SD slots Dimensions : 138.4 x 97.5 x 88.4mm

: 138.4 x 97.5 x 88.4mm Weight : 680g (including battery and memory card)

: 680g (including battery and memory card) Firmware version : 1.5.1

: 1.5.1 Release: 2020

1. Sensor and image quality

The two cameras feature a 35mm sensor (full frame).

The A7 IV has two leading characteristics: more resolution (33MP vs 20.1MP) and a BSI design (back-illuminated) which collects light more efficiently than the standard design.


Lenses used: Sony FE 35mm F1.8 / Canon RF 35mm F1.8 at f/5.6.

In our first test, you can see the difference in resolution when magnifying both images at 100%. In addition to the larger details, both the RAW file and the JPG of the A7 IV are a bit crisper.

Sharpening Amount / Sharpening Detail: 50 (Lightroom Classic)

Creative Look / Picture Style: Standard (default settings)

Note that you can change various parameters to control image quality on the JPG files, including sharpness.

A higher megapixel count can also give you more room for cropping, if you need to. Additionally, both cameras have an APS-C mode: the A7 IV outputs a 14MP file versus 8MP on the R6.

The Canon has a low pass filter, whereas it is unclear if the Sony has one or not (there is lots of contrasting information on the web). Judging from my tests, if there is one, it is very weak.

Dynamic Range

Moving on to dynamic range, a severe 4 stop recovery shows more noise in the shadows on the A7 IV file, but the R6 also shows more colour artefacts in the darkest areas.

1/100s, f/8, ISO 100

With a 3 stop recovery, the results are more similar. The A7 model stills displays a bit more noise, but also has less colour shift in the darkest zones.

In the bright parts of the image, the amount of highlight preservation is the same.

1/3s, f/8, ISO 100

Concerning image files, the A7 IV can shoot 14-bit RAW with three levels of compression: Uncompressed, Lossless Compressed or Compressed. The R6 has two: 14-bit RAW (lossless) or C.RAW (compressed).

These various options give you the following file sizes (on average):

RAW Quality A7 IV R6 Uncompressed 68MB -- Lossless Compressed 38MB 22MB Compressed 35MB 12MB

Note that with certain settings, RAW decreases to 12-bit. On the R6, this happens when using the electronic shutter. On the A7 IV, it happens when working in continuous shooting mode with Compressed RAW selected.

Both cameras have a few extra settings to control the JPG output. The Sony has the DR Optimiser mode with 5 levels, which opens the shadows mainly.

The R6 has the Highlight Tone Priority mode, which raises the minimum ISO by one stop (200) but maintains the same amount of details in the highlights as ISO 100.

ISO Sensitivity

The ISOs are slightly different between the two cameras as far as the normal range is concerned:

A7 IV R6 100-51,200 ISO

(normal) 100-102,400 ISO

(normal) 50-204,800 ISO

(extended) 50-204,800 ISO


Now is a good time to mention that the brightness is not the same when using the same aperture, ISO and shutter speed on the two cameras. The A7 IV photo is approximately half a stop brighter than the Canon. I noticed the same thing when comparing the R6 with the A7 III.

Although there might be a difference in light transmission between the two lenses I used (FE 85mm F1.8 and RF 85mm F2), I think the two brands have calibrated their sensor slightly differently when it comes to sensitivity.

To make the side-by-side images easier to analyse, I tried to equalise the exposure as much as possible.

As expected, the R6 displays less noise overall, and the difference becomes more noticeable from 6400 ISO.

If you like to work with JPGs, both cameras have a Noise Reduction setting. If you leave NR off, the A7 IV image has more colour noise than the R6. If you set it to Low or Standard, colour noise is gone on the Sony but the Canon image is cleaner.

The R6 has two extra steps: the High level which starts to reduce details a little bit, and the Multi NR mode that merges three images to reduce noise further. The latter gives you a good balance between low noise and sharp details, but it won’t work well with moving subjects in your scene.

Colours and Parameters

With the same parameters applied to both RAW files and, in this specific case, using the Adobe Colour Profile in Lightroom, the R6 image shift towards more magenta, whereas the A7 IV adds more green to the overall tint.

The same difference can be observed with the in-camera JPGs. Each brand has its own set of picture profiles. They are called Creative Look on the Sony and there are 10 of them. The Canon includes 7 Picture Styles.

If we look at a second example to analyse individual colours, you can see how the red of the apple is stronger on the Canon version, whereas the blue of the stone leans towards cyan in the Sony image. This is valid for RAW (equal parameters once again) and the Standard JPG profile.

Most of the other profiles are quite different on each camera. For example, Neutral on the A7 IV has less saturation than the R6 version. Fine Detail on the Canon has lovely vidid colours, whereas Vivid2 on the A7 IV boosts brightness and clarity.

A7 IV, Vivid2 R6, Fine Detail

With skin tones, the R6 produces more red on the RAW file in comparison to the A7 IV (once again with the same parameters in Lightroom).

Switch to JPG and the push towards red becomes more evident on the R6 image. It becomes too strong for my taste on the Portrait Style. The A7 IV maintains a more balanced look.

The Neutral Style is my favourite on the R6 when it comes to skin tones, whereas that of the Sony lacks a bit of saturation with the default settings.

If you don’t like how a profile looks like with the default settings, don’t give up on it right away. Each one of them can be tweaked with various parameters on each camera, including sharpness, contrast and more. The A7 IV allows you to edit 9 different parameters, as opposed to six on the R6. These settings won’t affect the RAW file, only the JPG.

For example, adjusting the colour tone to +2 on the R6 reduces the reddish tone of the skin, giving you a more balanced look.

With RAW, the difference between the two cameras is less important, because you’re likely to post process your images in a different way, using specific presets to match your taste and preferences. Even various photo editor software can deliver different results from one another.

Finally, the A7 IV has a Soft Skin Effect setting that renders smoother skin tones on a person’s face. If you choose the Low level, I find the effect to be very subtle, and it’s not easy to see the difference at first, although the stronger wrinkles are reduced (under the eyes for example).

If you choose Medium, the effect starts to become apparent, whereas the Hi level makes the portrait unrealistic.

Other Settings

The two cameras include a lot of settings to control white balance automatically, with presets or by changing the kelvin temperature manually. If you choose Auto, they deliver similar results but the R6 goes for a cooler rendering when you select White Priority (in comparison to the same setting on the A7 IV).

A7 IV R6

Finally, another option available on both products, in addition to JPG, is HDR/HEIF which works in 10-bit as opposed to 8-bit. Keep in mind that this format is still not widely used, nor is it compatible with every photo editor software (Lightroom can’t open them for example). The R6 can convert HEIF files to JPG in camera. With the Sony, you need to use the Imaging Edge software.

2. Autofocus

Both cameras feature an advanced autofocus system.

The A7 IV uses 759 phase detection points and 425 contrast detection points. The phase area covers 94% of the sensor. There is deep learning A.I. with real-time tracking and Eye AF. The latter works for humans, animals and birds, for photos and movie recording.

A7 IV: 759 phase detection points A7 IV: 425 contrast detection points

The R6 has Canon’s Dual Pixel CMOS AF II technology with 100% coverage when Tracking AF is used. (Otherwise it’s 100% horizontal and 90% vertical with other AF methods.) With the single AF method, there are more than 6,000 points. With the Tracking mode, 1,053 areas are used.

R6: 6,072 points (single point) / 1,053 points (tracking)

The R6 also features a deep learning algorithm and can detect the body, face or eyes of humans and animals, including birds. The latter works for video too.

Additionally, the Canon can detect vehicles (formula race cars, rally cars, motorbikes). Unfortunately, I couldn’t test the this because it came later via a firmware update (1.5.0) and I haven’t found an opportunity to try it at a motorsport event yet.

Single AF

In Single AF mode (One Shot AF on the R6), the two cameras are fast and accurate. I rarely had any issues whatsoever, although I admit I don’t use S-AF at lot. I prefer C-AF and the back button AF method.

A7 IV, 1/1000s, f/6.3, ISO 160

That said, and for the sake of this article, when I put the two cameras side by side, the R6 feels a bit snappier and more reactive overall, whereas the A7 IV can take a little longer to acquire focus. But I am nitpicking here, so don’t worry too much about this. Also, the performance can vary depending on the lens used.

R6, 1/400s, f/7.1, ISO 4000 – RF 100-500mm

Autofocus in Low Light

The R6 has an advantage in low light thanks to the greater sensitivity:

A7 IV : -4Ev (f/2 aperture)

: -4Ev (f/2 aperture) R6: -6.5Ev (f/1.2 aperture, or -5Ev at f/2)

In the sequence below, the subject walked from the living room to the kitchen. There was only a weak LED light behind the TV in the living room, and another small string of LED lights in the kitchen under the shelves.

I set the drive mode to 3fps on both cameras, then selected tracking with eye detection and focus priority. I used the Sony FE 85mm F1.8 and the Canon RF 85mm F2.

The R6 took 26 shots, whereas the A7 IV only managed 9. The Sony was able to follow the person at the beginning of the walk, but then lost her completely until she arrived in front of the camera, which is the reason it took less images.

A7 IV: 9 shots, 2 out of focus (red), 3 sligthly soft (yellow)

The Canon managed to track the subject all the way, but didn’t deliver a perfect sequence. With a 62% hit rate, it did better than the Sony, but also struggled to refocus correctly on the face at the end, where there was better light. It looks like the system got confused.

R6: 26 shots, 6 out of focus (red), 4 sligthly soft (yellow)

Another thing I noticed is that the R6 failed to detect the face and the eyes during the entire sequence, reverting to the normal tracking mode, whereas the A7 model was able to detect the eye most of the time.

What is curious is that in my A7 III vs R6 comparison, the Canon was capable of detecting the eyes in similar dark conditions, and with a slower lens (RF 24-105mm F4). Perhaps the camera struggled more with the 85mm because it has a different AF motor, or maybe the various firmware updates changed something. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the same set of lenses as last time to double-check my findings. The takeaway is that the R6 is better overall, but not 100% reliable either.

As an additional note, both cameras can use phase detection in continuous shooting mode down to f/22, which means that the performance is not affected when using telephoto zoom lenses and teleconverters.

Tracking and Eye AF for Humans

In the test below, the person walked back and forth, and then walked forward again while turning 360˚. The goal was to see not only how precisely each camera would be in maintaining focus on the eyes, but also how they would behave when the face is hidden.

The Sony gave me a very good keeper rate of 80%. It struggled a bit more when the subject walked backward, and when she turned.

A7 IV: 66 shots – 3 out of focus (red), 10 sligthly soft (yellow)

The R6 did better, with a keeper rate of 86%. It’s not a great difference, but the Canon struggled less when the person wasn’t facing the camera.

R6: 63 shots – 1 out of focus (red), 8 sligthly soft (yellow)

With a static subject that only moves his or her head, both cameras do really well. If the person wears a hat, they do a good job of focusing on the eyes even when they are about to be covered by the rim of the hat.

A7 IV, 1/500. f/2.8, ISO 6400 – FE 85mm F1.8

That said, the R6 can occasionally get confused and focus incorrectly for a few shots.

R6, 1/500, f/2.8, ISO 5000 – RF 85mm F2

R6, 1/500, f/2.8, ISO 6400 – RF 85mm F2

Since publishing my A7 III vs A7 IV in-depth comparison, some of you asked me if I had the same front-focusing problem with the Sony when using Eye AF (which was also mentioned by DPreview). The answer is no, I haven’t. I took various portraits of my wife and a lot of pictures of my toddler without finding anything out of the ordinary. Of course, it’s not always 100% accurate, but that is to be expected when using a fast aperture and chasing a young child that never stops moving.

On the R6, face and eye detection only works with the Tracking mode. You can’t select them with other AF Methods (areas). On the A7 IV, Eye AF can be used with any autofocus area, but I advise you to use it in conjunction with Tracking (or real-time tracking as Sony likes to call it).

Tracking on the A7 IV analyses the scene on different levels (brightness, depth, colour, focus, face and eyes) and is very precise. It will prioritise face and eyes when detected, but also continues to track the subject seamlessly when those are hidden. I find it to be the best setting to take pictures of my child walking and running around.

Tracking on the Canon doesn’t have a fancy name like the Sony, but is equally reliable and precise.

Both cameras allow you to prioritise the left or right eye, which is very useful when taking portraits. On the A7 IV, you can do this with the help of a custom button. On the R6, you move the AF Joystick left or right. The latter also allows you to go from one face to the other if there is more than one person in the frame.

Eye AF for Animals and Birds

The R6 can detect different part of the body of animals and birds, including the face and the eye. If the subject is too far, it will concentrate on the body, or the head depending on the situations. It switches to the eye once the animal fills a bigger portion of the frame.

The A7 IV can only detect the eyes of animals and birds, it doesn’t distinguish between body and head like the Canon does. If the eyes are not detected, it follows the subject with the tracking mode or other AF area selected (I recommend using Tracking).

With the Sony, you need to select in the menu (or via a custom button) which subject you want to track: human, animal or bird. The camera won’t switch automatically between them.

On the Canon, you have to choose between humans or animals (which includes birds).

Bird detection works really well. It helps to ensure that the eye of the subject is in focus (as opposed to the body, which can lead to the eye or head being slightly soft). It also makes the composition easier to manage because you don’t have to move a small AF point manually with the joystick.

A7 IV, 1/500s, f/9, ISO 6400 – FE 200-600mm G + TC 1.4x

It can also work well if the animal is partially hidden by a natural element, such as branches on a tree. However it is preferable to start tracking the bird when the body is clear (when possible), otherwise the camera might mis-focus on the nearby branches.

EOS R6, 1/1000s, f/5.6, ISO 3200 – EF 800mm F5.6 with adapter

Eyes are not always detected depending on the species. For example, the A7 IV struggles with ducks, unlike the R6.

Birds in Flight

Moving on to my trusty red kites, both cameras deliver very similar results and the best score is almost identical.

A7 IV R6 Best Score 94% / 99% 93% / 97% Average Score 89% / 97% 86% / 95%

Note: Green (sharp images only) – Blue (sharp and slightly soft images).

The average score includes different days I went to the red kite feeding station, and various setting combinations I tried. Find out more about my birds in flight test.

A7 IV, 1/2500s, f/6.3, ISO 800 – FE 200-600mm G

EOS R6, 1/2000, f/7.1, ISO 3200 – RF 100-500mm at 500mm

In both cases, the tracking mode gave me the best result. Having Eye AF activated doesn’t make a huge difference on the A7 IV. The camera rarely detects the eye, unless the bird is really close to the camera.

A7 IV, 1/3200s, f/6.3, ISO 1000 – FE 200-600mm G

On the R6, I find that Animal detection improves the keeper rate, giving me the best result written in the table above. It may not always detect the eye, but often detects the head, or switches to the body when the bird is more distant. If the bird is not detected (rare), the camera uses the normal tracking mode which is very effective.

EOS R6, 1/2000, f/6.3, ISO 8000 – RF 100-500mm at 400mm

So far, I’ve only tested the A7 IV with the 200-600mm G lens, whereas I had the chance to use the R6 with three different lenses: RF 100-500mm, RF 600mm F11 and the 13 years old Canon EF 800mm 5.6 with adapter. The camera gave me consistent results with all of them.

EOS R6, 1/2000s, f/8, ISO 500 – EF 800mm F5.6 with adapter

AF Settings for Photography

Both cameras offer a series of settings to control how the autofocus behaves. In addition to various focus areas, the A7 IV can make the AF more or less responsive (AF Track. Sens.), and prioritise the release of the shutter or focus accuracy.

The R6 has all that, and then some. It includes the Servo AF Cases with 4 presets that can be edited with two different parameters (Tracking sensitivity and Acceleration/Deceleration Tracking sensitivity). There is also an additional page in the menu with advanced setting that are not easy to understand at first.

Fine-tuning the Canon for the maximum performance can take some time, but it’s worth saying that even without the absolute best settings, the R6 maintains a good performance and keeper rate. You can find out more about all the settings, as well as the best ones to use for wildlife/birds, in our Canon R5 / R6 set-up guide.

Then we have additional options but I won’t dig into them too much. For example, both cameras allow you to exclude certain AF areas from the menu (if you don’t need them), or adjust the number of steps required to move a single AF point on the screen. The A7 IV also allows you to change the colour of the AF area displayed on the screen.

AF Performance and Settings for Video

As stated earlier, face and eye detection also works when recording movie clips.

My tests with a human subject showed that the two cameras perform in the same way. The A7 IV is slightly slower when the subject is close to the lens, whereas the R6 lost focus momentarily when she moved away from the camera.

When she was wearing a hat, both products did an excellent job of keeping focus on the eye, and went back to the eyes after she covered her face momentarily. The R6 didn’t exhibit the same hesitation I found in the photo mode.

Eye AF with animals and birds works as well as it does in photo mode, with the same limitations described above.

Concerning the extra settings, both cameras allow you to control the sensitivity and speed of the autofocus to suit different situations. When set for the fastest performance, the R6 is slower than the Sony, whose focus shift can be almost instantaneous.

Another way to use these settings is to record slow and pleasant transitions from one point to the other in your image. In this case, both cameras allow you to find the right speed, but the R6 has an abrupt beginning and ending, whereas the A7 IV accelerates gradually at the start and decelerates gradually at the finish, giving you a smoother result.

Manual Focus Assist

Both cameras offer focus magnification and peaking, but I would like to talk about two other functions that I find useful.

On the A7 IV there is Focus Map, a setting that overlays a graphic visualisation of your depth of field. Cool colours show what is behind the focus point, and warm colours what is in front of it. The areas of the image where there is no colour overlay show what is in focus, or more precisely what is within the depth of field.

It takes some time to get used to it, and you may find the amount of vivid colours too invasive, but it works really well and with a great amount of precision, even when using a fast aperture.

On the R6, you’ll find my favourite MF assist, Focus Guide. It uses the phase detection points of the Dual Pixel CMOS AF and tells you how much to adjust, and in which direction, to nail focus. Once you’ve achieved focus, the icon becomes green. It is the most precise and easy-to-use function I’ve ever tested on any cameras.

3. Shutter and Continuous shooting

The two cameras offer three shutter modes: mechanical, electronic first curtain and electronic. The maximum shutter speed available is 1/8000s, regardless of the shutter mode used.

When using a flash, the Canon syncs up to 1/250s with the electronic-first curtain and 1/200s with the mechanical shutter. The A7 IV works up to 1/250s with both.

When using the mechanical mode, the R6 has a quieter shutter sound than the A7 IV. With the electronic mode, they can both take pictures without emitting any noise.



Continuous Shooting

The R6 offers more drive speed: it can go up to 12fps with the mechanical shutter, or up to 20fps when using the electronic shutter. These speeds are available with AE and AF Tracking.

The A7 IV has a maximum of 10fps (mechanical or electronic mode), with exposure and autofocus tracking.

Note that the fastest speeds are not always available on the two cameras. For example, the Sony works at 6fps if you shoot with Uncompressed or Lossless Compressed RAW.

On the R6, various conditions such as cold, low battery or a shutter speed slower than 1/1000s can impact the fastest speed and cause it to drop to 9fps or even 7fps when using the mechanical shutter (data for the e-shutter is not available). With the electronic shutter, you can’t select a speed lower than 20fps.

At 10fps on the Sony, or 12fps/20fps on the Canon, live view is disabled and you see the last image taken in rapid succession. This gives you no blackouts, but what you are seeing is not live, but what just happened a few moments earlier. The fast burst of 20fps gives you a smoother view of the action, obviously.

At 8fps and lower speeds, the two cameras show you live view with blackouts.

On the R6, there is a setting called High Speed Display that works with the H burst only (8fps). When activated, the camera ‘covers’ the blackout with the image you just captured. Basically, the view constantly alternates between a live image and recorded image. Canon says that this solution makes the display more responsive, but I personally don’t like it because it gives you a feeling of latency.

Electronic Shutter Limitations

The advantage of the electronic shutter is to take pictures in silent mode. Also, it doesn’t affect the life-cycle of the mechanical shutter. Additionally, in the case of the R6, it allows you to record with a faster burst rate.

Using this function brings well known limitations you need to remember. The first is the rolling shutter effect, where lines appear distorted when moving quickly with the camera. The R6 suffers visibly less from it than the A7 IV, as you can see below.

Another problem of using the electronic shutter is banding, which is a series of horizontal lines that appear in your photos when working with certain types of light sources (fluorescent, LED). Sometimes it is very visible in the live view, sometimes you’ll need to magnify the image to notice it.

To reduce the chance of banding appearing in your images, the A7 IV has a setting called Variable Shutter, which allows you to adjust the shutter speed to a higher degree of precision than the default 1/3 step, and match the same frequency of the light source. It is available for photos and video.

In the example below, you can see how choosing a speed of 1/64.2s got rid of the problem.

A7 IV, 1/50s (Variable Shutter Off)

A7 IV, 1/64.2s (Variable Shutter On)

Note that the Variable Shutter might not always be 100% effective so, when you can, take a few test shots and inspect your images carefully.

Finally, the Variable Shutter is different from the Anti-Flicker function, that is also available on the R6. The latter adjusts the speed of continuous shooting to match the 100Hz or 120Hz frequencies, which is useful to maintain a constant exposure across all the frames. It works with the mechanical shutter only.


The A7 IV can shoot at 10fps for more than 30 seconds with RAW or JPG, as long as you use the CFexpress card. If you use an SD UHS-II card, the camera slows down after 5s when using RAW, continuing the burst at half the speed.

The R6 maintains the full speed of 12fps (mechanical shutter) for about 20 seconds. Then it does something different than the Sony: rather than slowing down the frame rate, it maintains the 12fps burst but with pauses of 2 seconds in-between.

At 20fps with the electronic shutter, the full speed on the R6 lasts for about 5 seconds, then there are 4 seconds-long pauses between bursts.

4. Stabilisation system

The A7 IV includes 5-axis stabilisation (IBIS) with an official rating of 5.5Ev of compensation.

The R6, on paper, offers superior performance with a record 8 stops of compensation. Keep in mind though that the rating can drop down to 7.5, 7 or even 6 stops depending on the lens used.

Stabilisation In Photo Mode

My test consists of taking 10 pictures for each shutter speed I want to try, and then analyse how many images are sharp and how many have motion blur.

I used the FE 35mm F1.8 on the A7 IV, and the RF 35mm F1.8 IS on the R6.

As you can see above, the R6 can manage a few shots with a shutter speed of two seconds, which is really good. The keeper rate improves from half a second, and is perfect from 1/8s. What is also interesting is that, among the bad shots taken at 2s and 1s, none of them are extremely blurred. You really need to zoom in on the image to notice the lack of clear details.

The A7 IV struggles with anything below 1/4s. Although it represents a minor improvement over its predecessor, the performance remains very similar to older A7 cameras, including the mark II model released in 2014 (the first full frame camera with IBIS).

A7 IV, 1/8s, f/5.6, ISO 1600 – FE 20mm F1.8 G

The 35mm lens I used with the R6 has optical stabilisation, and at this point you might want to point out that it’s not a fair comparison, since the Sony lens lacks OSS.

The quick excuse for this is that I didn’t have a non-stabilised Canon lens, or a stabilised Sony lens with me. But there is also another factor to consider.

Canon has designed its IBIS system in conjunction with optical stabilisation on its lenses. They are designed to work together and most RF lenses are stabilised, except for a few primes.

EOS R6, 2s, f/5.6, ISO 200 – RF 24-105mm f4 at 24mm

There are fewer Sony lenses with optical stabilisation, I guess because the brand thinks the internal IBIS of the camera is enough (there might be other reasons of course).

That said, I can provide you with additional feedback, because in 2020 I tested the R6 with the RF 50mm F1.2, which lacks optical stabilisation. Compared with my results on the A7 IV using the Sony 55mm lens, this is what happens.

The performance is more similar, but the R6 remains capable of better results with slower shutter speeds.

It is also worth pointing out that a Sony lens with good OSS, like the 24-105mm F4, can improve the results a little.

Stabilisation In Video Mode

Stabilisation is available with movie recording, and both cameras offer additional settings to improve the performance.

With a static shot, using an 85mm lens, the A7 IV does a better job, keeping the movements more contained in comparison to the R6. The latter fails to deliver consistent performance. There are moments where it looks better than the Sony, but three seconds later it can appear worse.

You can activate electronic stabilisation (called Active on the Sony, Digital IS on the Canon) to improve the quality, but bear in mind that the field of view is cropped as a consequence.

The A7 IV continues to offer better performance, although the advantage is reduced. The R6 has an extra step, Digital IS Enhanced, but the crop is more severe and the result doesn’t change a lot.

When walking with each camera, using a 35mm lens, the footage looks much better on the R6 without electronic stabilisation. The A7 IV is unusable with just IBIS, but the quality improves with the Active mode, getting closer to the performance of the Canon. The results are still far from perfect, with random jerkiness that ruins the shot. Digital IS Enhanced on the R6 doesn’t make a lot of difference.

There is another possibility with the A7 IV that involves the Sony Catalyst software. You leave IBIS off, and stabilise the footage in post where the software uses the data of the camera’s gyro sensor.

For fixed shots, Catalyst doesn’t make a relevant difference, but when walking, it gives you the best result out of all the options described above. One thing to keep in mind is that Catalyst reduces sharpness on the image a little.

You can watch examples of all this in my video review available in chapter 5 below.

5. Video recording

You can watch part 2 of our video review, or continue reading for a written version.

Frame Rate and Resolution

Both cameras can record 4K up to 60fps, but the A7 IV has to crop the sensor by 1.5x in order to do so, whereas the Canon performs a smaller crop of 1.07x for all frame rates in 4K. Up to 30p, the Sony uses the entire width of the sensor.

In Full HD, they can both record up to 120fps. The Canon is limited to 7 minutes / clip and this setting is only available with the High Frame Rate mode. This means that you get the slow motion effect in camera, but there is no sound. The A7 IV offers you both options: normal mode with audio, or S&Q mode.

In 4K, both cameras record by oversampling, meaning that they use all the pixels available and downscale the image to 4K, giving you the best image quality possible.

The A7 IV has a 33MP sensor as opposed to 20MP on the R6, so it uses a considerably higher number of pixels to create the video. This could lead us to think it delivers better sharpness, but in my tests I found the results to be very similar. In fact, the R6 might appear a bit sharper at first because its picture profile has more contrast.

As I wrote in my A7 III vs A7 IV full comparison, I think (but I could be wrong) that Sony decreases the sharpness a little with the image processor, perhaps to avoid excessive noise.

You can increase sharpness on the picture profiles of both cameras. I wouldn’t go past 6 on the R6, whereas the A7 IV looks fine even with the highest setting.

The results are the same in 4K / APS-C mode. In Full HD and full frame mode however, the R6 is a bit sharper.

Colour Depth and Bitrate

Both cameras offer 10-bit 4:2:2 internal recording. In the case of the R6, this is available only when selecting the Canon Log or HDR PQ settings, and it works with the H.265 codec.

The A7 IV can record with a maximum bitrate of 600Mbps when the XAVC S-I codec (All-Intra) is selected. The R6 reaches 340Mbps when recording 10-bit, or 230Mbps in 8-bit.

Here is a recap of all the options available.

A7 IV R6 SD Card 8-bit 4:2:0

10-bit 4:2:0*

10-bit 4:2:2 8-bit 4:2:0

10-bit 4:2:2* HDMI 10-bit 4:2:2 10-bit 4:2:2 Codec XAVC S (H.264 Long GOP)

XAVC S-I (H.264 ALL-Intra)

XAVC HS (H.265 Long GOP)* H.264 Long GOP

H.265 Long GOP Bitrate (max.) 200Mbps (Long GOP)

600Mbps (ALL-Intra) 230Mbps (8-bit)

340Mbps (10-bit) *Note: 10-bit 4:2:0 works in H.265 only on the A7 IV.

10-bit 4:2:2 is H.265 only on the R6.

Profiles and Dynamic Range

The difference in colour rendering we highlighted in the first chapter is even more evident when recording video. The R6 consistently generates an image with more reds, which becomes too extreme with the Portrait style (if you leave it to the default settings). I much prefer the Canon Neutral profile when it comes to skin rendering.

Keep in mind that just like for stills, the Look and Style profiles on each camera can be customised. For example, the colour tone parameter on the R6 allows you to reduce the reddish skin tone.

The A7 IV has a second set of profiles called… well, Picture Profiles! They include more advanced parameters that you also find on Sony’s cinema cameras. It is also the place where you can select Log and HLG curves, as well as Cinetone.

The R6 has HDR PQ (another HDR standard similar to HLG) and two Canon Log settings (C.Log and C.Log3).

The minimum native ISO is 800 for the two Sony log curves, whereas C.Log starts from ISO 400 and C.Log3 from ISO 800 on the R6. In both cases, you can set a lower ISO value but it is an extended value and dynamic range decreases as a result.

The A7 IV has better dynamic range, particularly in the highlights where it saves more information than the R6. This is valid with the HDR and Log profiles. Additionally, S-Log3 on the Sony has brighter shadows than the Canon Log3.

ISO for Video

The R6 has a reduced ISO range when recording video: 100 to 25,600 ISO, although the extended values still reach 204,800 ISO. For the A7 IV, only the extended ISO is more limited (up to 102,400).

Like in photo mode, the A7 IV image is brighter when using the same exposure settings. I tried to even the exposure as best I could to make the footage easier to compare.

The R6 shows more noise than the A7 IV, despite the lower megapixel count. It becomes more apparent from ISO 6400, but the Canon also preserves colours better at the highest settings.

Unlike the A7 IV, the R6 has a noise reduction option for movie recording. If you leave NR off, the noise increases as expected. With the High setting, the image is much closer to the A7 IV, which makes me think that the Sony applies noise reduction automatically.

Rolling Shutter

The rolling shutter effect (distortion when moving quickly with the camera) is about the same on both cameras. It is visible when moving slowly, and very invasive when panning quickly in full frame mode.

With the APS-C crop (Super35 on the A7), the distortion is less severe.

The Variable Shutter setting that can reduce or eliminate flickering on the A7 IV also works for video.

Recording Limitation and Overheating

The Sony has an advantage with long hours of recording, because it doesn’t have the 30 minute per clip limitation like the R6.

Furthermore, the A7 model has been designed to reduce overheating with the help of a heat dissipation structure. In my test, I was able to record without interruption for more than two hours (room temperature was 21˚C).

The R6 not only has the 30 minute limitation, but can overheat much more easily. In the same conditions, the warning icon appeared approximately 15 minutes after starting the second clip (total of 45 min). Ten minutes later, the camera shut down.

After a 5 minute break, the R6 let me record another 20 minutes, before shutting down again.

The test was performed with the Auto Power Off Temperature option set to High on the A7 IV, and the Standby Low Res setting (formerly Overheat Control) set to On for the R6.


Both cameras have a 3.5mm microphone input and headphone output.

The A7 IV can also work with digital audio via its multi-function shoe. You can record 24-bit audio up to 4 channels with compatible microphones.

Additional settings

The A7 IV has various extra settings designed for video. Some are very simple yet useful, like the possibility of displaying a red frame on the LCD screen when recording.

Another useful feature is called Breathing Compensation. When enabled, it eliminates the small change in angle of view that happens when focusing from the foreground to the background (a characteristic of many photographic lenses). Note that the field of view is cropped a little and not all lenses are compatible (see the list on the Sony website).

On the R6, there is the possibility to change the aperture in 1/8 steps rather than the standard 1/3, to make more precise adjustments.

6. Design and interface

Size and Grip

The Canon R6 is a bit larger and heavier than the Sony A7 IV. They are built with a magnesium alloy chassis and include weather-sealing.

A7 IV : 131.3 x 96.4 x 79.8mm, 658g

: 131.3 x 96.4 x 79.8mm, 658g R6: 138 x 97.5 x 88.4mm, 680g

Sony has made good improvements concerning the ergonomics, which for years was one of the A7 series’ weakest points. I can rest my fingers more comfortably and the camera is less tiring to hold for an entire day of shooting, or with a large lens.

That said, the Canon grip remains more comfortable. Although the size is not dissimilar, it is more rounded and a bit larger. Furthermore, the shutter button is higher and more sloped towards the front, and feels a bit more natural to reach.

Buttons and Dials

Both cameras offer a good range of controls, including various dials and the AF joystick on the rear.

I found the dials a bit easier to turn on the R6, whereas the buttons are responsive and easy to press on both models. The only one I’m not fond of on the Canon is the M-Fn button because it is too small and in an uncomfortable position.

The A7 IV has one extra dial on top with a lock button. By default, it changes the exposure compensation, but you can assign another function to it.

Both models have the classic PSAM / Auto shooting dial on top. However Sony decided to separate video by adding a smaller switch underneath, so that you can change more quickly between the photo mode, video mode or S&Q mode (Slow & Quick motion).

This allows you to use any of the PSAM modes on the main dial for video too, rather than digging into the menu. On the R6, once you set video on the top dial, you need to open the menu or the quick menu to choose the exposure mode.

Menu and Customisation

The Sony offers more customisation concerning the dials and number of custom buttons (12 vs 8).

Both cameras allow you to customise the function buttons separately for stills and video, but on the A7 IV you can do the same with the Fn menu too, whereas the Quick menu on the R6 cannot be personalised.

One thing that only the Canon system offers, is the possibility to customise the function ring that is available on every Canon RF lens. Select Sony lenses have a function button on the barrel.

On the two cameras, basic settings such as exposure and focus area can be adjusted independently in still and video mode. On the A7 IV, you can select in the menu which setting remains independent.

The A7 IV features Sony’s new menu system, which is much better organised than the old one. That of the Canon is clear and easy to navigate for the most part.

Sony Canon

Both cameras allow you to use the touch screen to navigate the menu. On the R6, you can also access the quick menu or start video recording by touching the monitor.

The camera settings change accordingly when switching from still to video and vice versa, and both cameras have a My Menu section where to save additional settings.

Cards and Interface

Both cameras can use two memory cards at the same time. The R6 takes two UHS-II SD cards just like the A7 IV, but the latter is also compatible with CFexpress Type A cards (first slot only).

The advantage of the CFexpress card is a better buffer when shooting in continuous mode, as well as faster transfer speed with a compatible CFexpress card reader. It is also required when you want to record 4K 60p at the maximum quality and bitrate with the S&Q mode. The disadvantage is a much higher price tag than SD cards.

Next, we have the physical connections. Both cameras have:

a microphone input / headphone output (3.5mm)

HDMI output (full size on the Sony, Micro on the R6)

USB Type C (10Gbps on the Sony, 5Gbps on the Canon)

7. Viewfinder and rear screen

The two cameras have a similar viewfinder when it comes to the resolution, size, refresh rate and eyepoint:

3.69M dots

0.5-in OLED panel

120Hz max.

23mm eyepoint

The magnification is a bit higher on the Sony (0.78x vs 0.76x).

They are good viewfinders with enough clarity and a fast refresh rate, and I have little to complain about. They are also easy to use when wearing glasses.

On the rear, we find a multi-angle 3-inch LCD that is also touch sensitive. The R6 monitor has more resolution (1.62M vs 1.04M).

An interesting option on the A7 IV is that you can close the monitor to put the camera in stand-by mode. When you open it again, the camera wakes up.

Unfortunately, cables connected to the side of both cameras can get in the way of the LCD mechanism when it is fully open on the side and you want to rotate the screen up or down. They also block part of the view when the screen is flipped 180˚.

8. Battery life

The A7 IV uses the excellent NP-FZ100 battery and has a good rating of 610 frames per charge (LCD).

The R6 has worse performance, with an official rating of 510 photos (LCD).

In real world conditions, I was able to capture nearly 2,600 photos of flying birds with the R6, and have about 60% juice left. The A7 IV battery performs on a similar level.

For video, the R6 recorded about 113 minutes in 4K 25p (four separated clips plus intervals to cool the camera) before the battery ran out. The A7 IV managed two extra minutes.

Both cameras can be charged or powered via USB but keep in mind that you need a high current charger for the Canon. A battery grip is also available for both.

One last thing is that the A7 IV comes without a battery charger in the box. You need to use the USB adapter, which means you can’t charge a battery while using a second one without buying an optional charger.

9. Lenses

The Sony full frame E-mount series started in late 2013 and, over eight years, the company has designed a superb range of lenses.

Thanks to the support of third party brands such as Sigma and Tamron there are now almost 100 lenses to choose from, for every budget and need (even more if you include manual focus lenses). Furthermore, Sony uses the same mount for its APS-C mirrorless series, which offers extra versatility.

The Canon RF system started in 2018, and Canon has developed no fewer than 26 lenses. Support from third party brands is more limited as of now. Unlike Sony, Canon started from scratch by building a new mount and ignoring its EOS M APS-C mirrorless system.

Canon EF DSLR lenses can be adapted on both cameras, although you need a third party adapter for the A7 IV, and the performance is not as good as that of the Canon, with the latter producing its own EOS R to EF adapter.

10. Price

The A7 IV is available for $2500, £2400 or €2800 (body only).

The R6 can be bought for a similar price (depending on the currency), starting at $2500, £2400 or €2500 (body only).

Prices as of March 2022.

Extra Information

The R6 has a series of extra features you won’t find on the A7 IV:

Multiple exposure (up to 9 frames with various blending methods)

(up to 9 frames with various blending methods) RAW image processing (convert RAW to JPG)

(convert RAW to JPG) Time-lapse Movie (1080p or 4K)

The Sony on the other hand has more options for wired transfer and streaming.

You can use the camera as a webcam with the USB C connection, after selecting the streaming option in the menu. You don’t need to install a plugin on your computer for it to work, unlike the R6 which needs the Canon Utility Webcam. It works up to 4K 15p, or 1080p 60p, and you can record simultaneously to the memory card.

You also have the option of working with a LAN connection using a USB C to Ethernet adapter, or connect it via USB to a tethered smartphone.

Both cameras have Wifi and Bluetooth, and allow you to connect to an FTP server. On the R6, you can also upload your images to the Canon Cloud Web Service which works really well.

Finally, the Sony has copied Canon and introduced the Anti-dust Function. When enabled, the shutter curtains cover the sensor when the camera is turned off, in order to protect it from dust when changing lenses. Canon introduced this idea with the original Eos R four years earlier.

Keep in mind that the mechanical curtains are very delicate, and some users even recommend not enabling this function as they can be more easily damaged than the sensor itself.

Video Review

This comparison is also available in video format. Don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel!


In the conclusion of my A7 III vs R6 full comparison, I said that Canon had closed the gap and even outperformed the Sony in key areas such as autofocus, stabilisation and video specifications. Obviously the age difference (the mark III model was two years older) could explain some of the differences in performance.

With the arrival of the A7 IV, the battle has resumed and part of my conclusion has changed.

A7 IV, 1/640s, f/5.6, ISO 100 – FE 20mm F1.8 G

In terms of autofocus, the two cameras are on the same level. You need specific situations to see a small advantage for one or the other, but overall they deliver an excellent level of speed and precision, and a similar keeper rate.

The R6 maintains an advantage with in-body image stabilisation (photos especially) and continuous shooting speed. I also prefer the Canon ergonomics, although the Sony is much better than before, and offers more customisation.

Concerning image quality, the main difference is the higher resolution of the A7 IV, which adds a bit more noise at high ISO, but has nothing to fear when it comes to dynamic range.

Then, there is video, where I think the A7 IV has the edge. Not only does it deliver more latitude with HDR and Log profiles, but it also has more codecs to offer, higher bitrates and can record for longer without overheating. The latter remains Canon’s weakest point.

The only real advantage for the R6 when it comes to movies is the possibility to record 4K 60p with a small sensor crop, whereas you need to accept a 1.5x crop on the A7 model.

R6, 1/160s, f/8, ISO 100 – RF 24-105mm F4

Finally, if you take into account the excellent choice of lenses for E-mount, I think it becomes a bit easier to recommend the A7 IV. That said, they are both excellent cameras and it’s really up to you to decide which one is the best, based on what your needs are.

I hope this article can help you make a decision if you’re hesitating between these two products, and of course don’t hesitate to leave a comment if you have any questions. Thank you for reading!

Reminder: the links below are affiliate links. If you decided to buy something after clicking the link, we will receive a small commission.

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Mirrorless vs. DSLR: How to Choose the Right Camera System

If you're reading this, you're likely shopping for an interchangeable lens camera. You might be a longtime photographer thinking about changing systems, or a relative newbie looking to move beyond a smartphone. Either way, there are a bevy of options out there.

In today's market, if you're serious enough about photography to buy an interchangeable lens camera, you're probably thinking about adding some additional lenses, too. It makes looking at the entire system, not just the camera you're buying, an important aspect.

Here, we break down the different systems sold by the big three camera makers—Canon, Nikon, and Sony—and let you know what their competitors have to offer as well.

Mirrorless vs. DSLR Pros and Cons

If you don't follow the camera market closely, your brain is likely still wired to think of SLRs as the only interchangeable lens option. But after decades of being the bee's knees of camera tech, the flapping mirror and optical viewfinder have given way to mirrorless tech.

Sony a9

Mirrorless cameras swap out the optical finder for an electronic one, and use the image sensor itself to autofocus for faster, more accurate results. Electronic viewfinders show a truer preview of an image, including any color or filter effects you're applying in-camera, and spread autofocus coverage to the edges of the frame. And, while sizes do vary, EVFs tend to show an image that's larger to the eye than optical alternatives, especially when comparing them with entry-level SLRs.

They're also where we see serious improvements in performance and capabilities emerge. We saw the first full-frame stacked sensor in the mirrorless Sony a9, and the Canon EOS R5 includes sensor stabilization and 8K video capture—you won't find either in Canon's SLRs.

There are still arguments to be made for SLRs. Some photographers absolutely prefer the optical viewfinder. But we see more disadvantages to SLRs, and more advantages for cameras with full-time electronic viewfinders.

It's because of this that, in 2020, we recommend most photographers look to a mirrorless model first. You can still buy good SLRs, and if that's your preference, you should check out models from Canon, Nikon, and Pentax.

Canon EOS-1D X Mark II

The question is, for how long? Canon has stated that it is all-in on mirrorless development, and doesn't plan(Opens in a new window) on bringing new EF lenses to market, though it's still upgrading camera bodies. It rolled out the professional EOS-1D X Mark III this year, and Nikon is joining with the update to its NFL-sideline model, the D6, also new for 2020.

Which System Is Right for You?

Mirrorless systems tend to be a little pricier than SLRs at the lower end of the market. Whether or not the extra upfront cost is worth it is a question you'll have to answer yourself. We think it is, though, especially if you value speedy autofocus when recording video (something you won't get with every SLR).

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Buying a camera system isn't just about deciding whether you want one with an optical or electronic viewfinder. When you pick a camera, you're locking yourself into a proprietary lens mount and flash system, compatible with only select lenses and accessories.

Some are better supported than others. Well-established mirrorless systems, including Fujifilm X, Micro Four Thirds, and Sony E, have been on the market long enough to enjoy broad first- and third-party support. Canon and Nikon have only been serious players in mirrorless for a couple of years, but offer compatibility with SLR lenses via adapters to supplement their growing RF and Z mirrorless libraries.

For SLRs, you can't go wrong with Canon EF or Nikon F when it comes to lens selection; they've got the broadest first- and third-party libraries. With the niche option, Pentax K, you won't have access to as many lenses—it's been years since Sigma or Tamron has released a new lens in K-mount.

Some camera makers maintain multiple lens options, and they typically aren't cross-compatible. Canon has three distinct systems currently in production, while others, including Nikon, Fujifilm, and Panasonic, offer two. Read on to get the details on what each manufacturer offers.

Canon's Alphabet Soup

Canon EOS SLR with EF-S Lens Mount

Canon has four lens mounts right now—EF, EF-S, EF-M, and RF. The EF and EF-S are used by full-frame and APS-C sensor size SLRs, respectively. For mirrorless, its EOS M system uses an APS-C sensor format and the EF-M lens mount, while the EOS R series is full-frame, with the RF lens mount.

If you buy an EF-S SLR, you can still use full-frame EF lenses, but you can't mount an EF-S lens to a full-frame EF camera. Either mirrorless system can use EF-S and EF lenses with an adapter, but the cross-compatibility doesn't go beyond that. You can't share a set of lenses between the two mirrorless systems.

That's a lot to digest. It just means that, if you buy Canon, you should take care in choosing your system as there aren't always clear upgrade paths that allow you to take existing lenses from one camera to another.

Flashes are another matter. All of Canon's current line uses the same metering system, so any Speedlite will work with any camera. If you're buying a third-party flash, just make sure it supports Canon E-TTL.

Canon Mirrorless: EOS M vs. EOS R

With Canon's mirrorless options, it's especially important to choose between the smaller, consumer-friendly APS-C sensor and the larger, full-frame format used by more serious photogs at the jump.

Canon EOS M50

The EOS M system, which uses the mirrorless EF-M mount, has been around for a few years now. The cameras are good, with newer models delivering excellent autofocus response. While the lens selection isn't vast, Canon has worked to keep the entire system compact.

Most of Canon's EF-M lenses are small zooms with narrow apertures, but there are a handful of prime options. Sigma sells its trio of F1.4 primes for the system, adding a bit of appeal for enthusiasts in want of a very portable kit.

But if you want room to grow as a photographer, it's not my top recommendation. The really great lenses aren't there, and we don't expect them to be. EOS M is a better fit for families who want something easy to use, quick to focus, and small enough to pack for trips.

Canon EOS RP

The full-frame RF system is much better suited for shutterbugs. It has exotic glass, including F1.2 primes and stabilized F2.8 zooms, along with some low-cost zoom and prime options for photographers who don't have a big budget for lenses.

Canon SLR: EF-S and EF

Canon's SLR mount dates back to the film days, so calling it well-established is an understatement. Its popular Rebel SLR series uses the EF-S mount, and full-frame models use EF.

Because of its age, and Canon's long perch atop the sales charts, lens support is vast. In addition to dozens of lenses available from Canon itself, all of the major third-party lens makers support the system.

Canon EOS 90D

If you prefer an SLR, Canon's current line has some strong features, including speedy Dual Pixel focus for live view photography and video in all but the most basic models.

You should take care to read reviews of individual models, though, because there are some older ones still on sale that aren't up to snuff by today's standards. Canon tends to reuse older technology in its entry-level models, and if you're serious about photography, I'd look at a midrange option (the 90D is the latest) as a reasonable entry point into the system. Forget about the bare-bones T7; it's way behind the times.


Fujifilm has two systems. Its X series uses APS-C sensors, while its GFX models use pro-grade medium format chips—bigger than those you'll find in full-frame 35mm models. We're going to assume you're not in the market for a GFX.

Fujifilm X-T30

The X system debuted nearly a decade ago, and has proven to be a hit with enthusiasts thanks to analog-style controls, retro aesthetics, and high-quality lenses. It also includes the only autofocusing mirrorless camera you can get with an optical viewfinder, the X-Pro3.

There's a good balance of affordable lenses and premium options, covering views ranging from ultra-wide to telephoto. Many offer weather protection, matching the build quality of Fuji's top-end cameras. More importantly, almost every optic released to date has proven to be a stellar performer—there are but a few underwhelming Fujinon lenses.

Fujifilm X-Pro3

The cameras also benefit from Fujifilm's history as a maker of film stocks. It has put the same kind of color science into its image processing engine, letting X cameras mimic the looks of many classic films like Velvia, Kodachrome, and Acros. You can still work in Raw format and process to your heart's content, but the in-camera looks for JPG shooters are above and beyond what's offered by competitors.

L-Mount Alliance (Leica, Panasonic, and Sigma)

Leica is one of the legendary photographic brands, and is most closely associated with its rangefinder cameras, which use a manual focus M-mount. The latest are the M10 Monochrom and M10-R.

Leica SL2

It also has a more consumer-friendly system, with support for autofocus. The L-mount was introduced in 2014, but lived in relative obscurity for years. That changed in 2018, with Panasonic and Sigma signing on to use the mount for their cameras.

Since then, the L-mount has gained a bit of traction. You can buy a high-end model like the Leica SL2, or opt for something that's competitive with other full-frame cameras in terms of price, like the Panasonic S1 or Sigma fp.

Leica's lenses cost as much as you'd expect, but the ones we've used live up to their pedigree. Panasonic and Sigma offer growing libraries, all with full-frame coverage. There are a handful of APS-C models and lenses too, all from Leica. We've seen no indicators that Panasonic and Sigma will develop anything short of full-frame, though, especially with Panasonic continuing its support for the smaller Micro Four Thirds sensor format, covered in detail later on.

Panasonic S1R

The L system has some special appeal for creatives who work primarily with video. It includes models that record Raw quality 4K—the Sigma fp—and Panasonic's Netflix-certified S1H, with 6K video and 24MP stills.

There's one area where it's not quite as competitive: high-speed photography. To date, all L cameras use contrast detection autofocus tech, and are not quite as adept at high-speed tracking as competitors with phase detection. If you need a camera that tracks subjects at 10fps or faster, L-mount won't measure up.

Micro Four Thirds (Olympus, Panasonic, et al.)

The modern mirrorless camera movement started with Micro Four Thirds, a joint venture from Olympus and Panasonic. The sensor format is a little smaller than others, so focal lengths have to be a bit shorter to net wide-angle views, but it also means that there are many compact options available.

Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III

There are certainly some limitations that come with the smaller sensor—to date, the highest resolution we've seen from a Micro Four Thirds camera is 20MP, and the smaller format means that you need to reach for big f/1.2 lenses to shoot images with a razor-thin plane of focus, when an inexpensive f/1.8 will net similar results on a full-frame camera.

But bokeh isn't everything for everyone. If you're buying into Micro Four Thirds, you should do so because you value a light kit. There's also the cost proposition. Even at the entry level, it's easy to find cameras with 4K recording and in-body stabilization, and for a bit more money you can get a camera with very strong weather protection, too.

Panasonic GX85

Olympus' models tend to emphasize all-weather features and stabilization. It's begun to add some computational features for long-exposure and multi-shot imaging, and has a huge lens library. Panasonic cameras, especially the GH series, are the darling of the video world, thanks to very early support for 4K video. There are plenty of Panasonic lenses too, sold under the Lumix banner, and lenses are cross-compatible.

There's some support from others as well. Sigma makes a few autofocus primes for the system, the same F1.4 trio it sells for competing mirrorless systems, and you can get manual focus lenses from Rokinon, Venus Laowa, and others.

The future of Olympus is in flux—it's in the process of being sold, and while future owner JIP has stated that it plans to continue on with existing camera lines, only time will tell.


Nikon supports two lens mounts, each with APS-C and full-frame sensor models available. Its SLRs use the F-mount for compatibility with lenses dating back decades. Mirrorless models use the Z mount, and offer compatibility with Nikkor SLR lenses via an adapter.

Nikon Z 50

The company designates its APS-C sensor models as DX, with FX reserved for full-frame cameras. It previously supported a smaller CX format, but it discontinued the Nikon 1 cameras that used it prior to introducing the Z system.

There's one DX mirrorless camera so far, the Z 50, but I see it as a hard sell for budding shutterbugs. Nikon isn't likely to develop a range of dedicated Nikkor Z DX; its development roadmap is focused on full-frame lenses.

Nikon Z 6

Because of that, the FX sensor Z cameras are better starting points if you put an emphasis on the interchangeable lens aspect of an interchangeable lens camera. Nikon has continued to improve its first-generation models since launch with firmware updates, so the Z 6 and Z 7 remain competitive with features like eye detection for pets and people.

The lens system is still young, though, and you may have to reach for the FTZ adapter and an SLR lens at times. Nikon hasn't released a dedicated macro lens for the Z system as of yet, nor any primes brighter than f/1.8. That'll change in the future, but it's a concern if you're buying today, especially given the general lack of third-party support for the system.

Nikon D3500

For SLRs, Nikon's basic models offer more appeal for photographers on a strict budget when compared with what you can get from Canon. Despite not offering as many bells and whistles, the D3500 is as good a camera as you'll find for less than $500. You can move up the price chain to net faster focus and more features. Nikon's most advanced DX SLR, the D500, is certainly gray around the temples, but offers blazingly fast focus.

Nikon's full-frame SLRs are favorites of pros, and you shouldn't forget about them if you prefer an optical viewfinder. The recent D780 is an especially appealing choice, as the shooting experience when using the rear display is almost exactly the same as the Z 6, complete with on-sensor phase detection focus.

Nikon D780

And the SLR lens library is one of the strongest out there. There are ultra-wide and fish-eye options at one end of the spectrum, and exotic telephotos at the other. And unlike with the newer Z mount, third-party options are ample when shopping for F-mount glass.

As for flashes, Nikon Speedlights and compatible third-party i-TTL flashes can be used across the line, regardless of lens mount or sensor format.

Ricoh Pentax

Pentax, an imprint of Ricoh, is a recognizable name to photographers who have been around long enough to remember what life was like before autofocus. It's continued on in the digital era, with models supporting the APS-C and full-frame sensor sizes. It's even dabbled in digital medium format with the 645 series.

Pentax KP

Pentax APS-C and full-frame cameras use the K-mount, which dates back to 1975. Because of this continuity, you can use almost any K-mount lens with modern digital SLRs. Of course, many will be limited to manual focus.

While the cameras do offer some solid features, including weather sealing at even basic price points, they lag behind the competition in other areas. None support 4K, and autofocus doesn't match up to what you can get from a Canon or Nikon SLR, let alone a mirrorless camera.

Pentax K-1 Mark II

The brand has its devotees, but it's been a few years since we've seen a new Pentax camera, making it a tougher recommendation for photographers investing in a new system. Photographers who want ruggedized, all-weather gear with high-quality but lightweight lenses are much better served by Fujifilm's X system today.

Ricoh promises to release a new, upgraded Pentax SLR later this year. It's already been teased at trade shows. It may make us change our tune, but for the time being, Pentax cameras are best suited for photographers already entrenched in the system.


Sony entered the camera space after gobbling up Minolta. In recent years, it's changed from an upstart with a new mirrorless system to a dominant force in the industry. An early bet on going full-frame paid off, giving the company a five-year head start on Canon and Nikon in mirrorless development.

Sony a7 III

The company still sells some A-mount cameras, an SLR system it acquired along with Minolta's camera business. But you shouldn't buy one today. It hasn't released a new camera or lens in years, and we don't expect any more down the road. Scratch the a68, a77 II, and a99 II off your shopping list.

The E-mount mirrorless system is, conversely, as alive and kicking as you can get. It includes APS-C models—the a6400 is the one we recommend most enthusiastically—and full-frame options too. The a7 III is as good a camera as you can find for the price, and the a7R IV offers best-in-class 60MP resolution.

It enjoys robust support from third-party lens makers, with autofocus options available from Rokinon, Sigma, Tamron, Tokina, and Zeiss. Boutique brands like Voigtlander and Venus Laowa round out your choices with throwback manual focus designs.

Sony a6400

As for Sony's first-party lenses, the offerings are vast, right up there with what you'll find from Canon and Nikon. Its full-frame lenses are generally newer and of higher build quality than glass with dedicated coverage for the smaller APS-C sensor size, though.

We place Fujifilm slightly ahead when looking at purpose-built lenses for the smaller sensor size, but Fuji doesn't give you a full-frame upgrade path. If you're thinking about getting started with an APS-C model, but want the option to go full-frame later, Sony gains the edge.

Your Best Shot

There's a lot to consider when buying a camera with swappable lenses. If you expect to pick up photography as a hobby, it won't be too long before you're itching to move beyond a starter zoom. While every system covers the basics, you may find one that's better suited to your wants and budget than others.

You'll also want to think about the sensor format. If you love images with loads of background blur, or shots with ultra-high resolution, you'll like a full-frame camera more than an APS-C or Micro Four Thirds model. Conversely, you may find a smaller sensor better suited if you prefer a light kit for hiking and travel.

You may find that going with a model from the big three—Canon, Nikon, and Sony—best suits your needs and wants. But it's worth it to explore all of your options. You could find a camera system that's a perfect fit, even if it doesn't sit atop the sales chart.

Once you've picked the right camera system, start shooting by using our 10 beyond-basic digital photography tips.

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