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Canon EOS R5 vs Sony A7R IV (2021): A Mirrorless Digital Camera Showdown

After months of waiting, the Canon EOS R5 is finally here and, so far, it’s living up to the hype. It seems to be Canon’s best work so far, combining the EOS R’s design, the EOS 5D’s functionality, and the EOS -1D X’s professional autofocus capabilities. While a lot of photographers out there would love to have their hands on this new mirrorless camera, is it really the best way to spend your money? There are, after all, more affordable options like the Sony A7R IV. To help you decide if the Canon EOS R5 is right for you or if you’re better off with the Sony A7R IV, here’s an in-depth comparison of the two models, taking their design, image quality, and autofocus systems into consideration.

Canon EOS R5 vs Sony A7R IV Comparison Chart

ModelCanon EOS R5Sony A7R IV
 Canon EOS R5 Full-Frame Mirrorless Camera with 8K Video, 45 Megapixel Full-Frame CMOS Sensor, DIGIC...Sony α7R IV Full-frame Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera (ILCE7RM4/B)
PriceCheck PriceCheck Price
Effective Pixels45 MP61 MP
SensorFull-frame (36 x 24mm)Full-frame (35.7 x 23.8mm)
Maximum Resolution8,192 x 5,4659,504 x 6,336
ISO100 – 51,200 (expandable to 50 – 102,400)100 – 32,000 (expandable to 50 – 102,800)
Screen Size3.15 inches3 inches
Dimensions135.8 x 97.5 x 88mm129 x 96 x 78mm
Weight738g665g

Design and Usability

The Sony A7R IV is better than the Canon EOS R5 when it comes to portability, accessibility, and battery life.

The Canon EOS R5 (left) weights in at 738g while the Sony A7R IV (right) is at 665g.

The Canon EOS R5 is very similar to the original EOS R when it comes to looks, although it’s a little bit heftier at 738g. It’s a good thing that they stuck to its predecessor’s design because it strikes up a good balance between weight, size, and good grip. As for the Sony A7R IV, it’s smaller and lighter compared to the Canon EOS R5, weighing in at 665g. Sony has always made it a point to keep their A7 line as compact as possible and the Sony A7R IV in no exception to this. If portability is a big deal to you, then you’ll probably like the Sony A7R more. Weight aside, both cameras are made from magnesium alloy and are weather-sealed.

As for controls, both camera models come with a number of buttons and dials, including an AF joystick. The Sony A7R IV, however, offers a bit more accessibility given that it has an exposure compensation dial and shooting mode dial up top. On the Canon EOS R5, you’d have to press and hold the M button and then turn one of the dials to change shooting modes. Another usability factor that you need to take into consideration is battery life. On the Canon EOS R5, you can enjoy a CIPA rating of 320 shots if you’re using the viewfinder or 490 shots if you’re using the screen. The Sony A7R fares much better than this, with a CIPA rating of 530 and 670 respectively.

Viewfinder and LCD Screen

Both cameras are tied when it comes to their viewfinders, but the Canon EOS R5 wins when it comes to LCD screens.

The Canon EOS R5’s (left) LCD screen is multi-angle while the Sony A7R IV’s (right) is two-way.

The Canon EOS R5 and the Sony A7R IV are on par with each other when it comes to their viewfinders, each one with a high resolution of 5.65M dots. You won’t have a hard time composing your shots because of the impressive definition both are able to provide. The Sony A7R IV does have a slightly better magnification of 0.78x compared to the Canon EOS R5’s 0.76x, but all their other viewfinder specs are the same, including eye relief of 23mm and refresh rate of 120fps.

While their viewfinders are comparable to each other, the same can’t be said for their LCD screens. The first difference you’ll spot is that the Canon EOS R5 has a tiny LCD screen up top that displays different settings, including how much battery you have left. The Sony A7R IV does away with this. As for their main LCD screens at the back, the Sony A7R IV has a two-way screen that you can move up and down while the Canon EOS R5 has a multi-angle screen that you can open up to the side and even rotate 180 degrees. The latter’s is a little bit more flexible, making it extra easy for you to shoot even at awkward angles.

While the LCD screens on both cameras are touch-sensitive, you can do so much more with the Canon EOS R5’s. You can access both the main menu and the quick menu and change up your settings, all good news for those who don’t like to fiddle around with buttons. With the Sony AR7 IV, the only thing you can do with its LCD screen is change the focal point and magnification.

Sensor and Image Quality

You can expect better performance from the Sony A7R IV’s sensor.

The Sony A7R IV is the first digital camerta to house a full-frame 61MP sensor.

When it comes to image quality, neither Canon nor Sony held back, equipping their new models with their best sensors. The Canon EOS R5 was given a brand new 45MP sensor while the Sony A7R IV became the world’s very first digital camera to house a full-frame 61 MP sensor. That said, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the Sony A7R wins this round-its sensor a lot more capable than that of the Canon EOS R5’s. This is especially true when it comes to dynamic range. While both brands make their own sensors, Sony has always been ahead of the pack while Canon plays catch-up. Canon did say, however, that you can expect many improvements with the EOS R5’s 45MP sensor.

Another advantage that the Sony A7R IV has over the Canon EOS R5 is that its sensor has a BSI structure which places the photodiodes nearer to the micro lenses. This allows them to catch more light, boosting the sensor’s performance in terms of dynamic range. The Canon EOS R5 does, however, have an anti-aliasing filter in front of its sensor which enhances the sharpness of images. To cap off the sensor comparison, the last thing we need to look at is cropping. Again, the Sony A7R IV takes the cake, able to produce 25 MP of resolution even in APS-C mode. The Canon EOS R5, on the other hand, is only able to deliver around 17MP.

Autofocus

The Canon EOS R5 and the Sony A7R IV are on par with each other when it comes to autofocus.

Both the Canon EOS R5 (left) and the Sony A7R IV (right) make use of deep learning technology to improve their autofocus.

When it comes to autofocus, both the Canon EOS R5 and the Sony A7R IV use advanced systems based on phase detection. The Canon EOS R5 makes use of a new technology called the Dual Pixel CMOS AF II and what’s different about it is that each pixel is composed of two photodiodes instead of just one. Separately, the two photodiodes measure the incoming light as well as the phase difference. Combined, they form the photograph. As for the Sony A7R IV, it’s equipped with a more conventional system wherein pairs of pixels on the sensor are partially masked and they then measure the light and phase difference.

To further improve their autofocus performance, both cameras make use of deep learning technology. The Sony A7R IV has something called Real-Time Tracking which is able to understand the different elements of an image such as the face, eyes, colors, and depth, allowing for much better tracking of the subject. It’s definitely one of the best tracking systems out there, although the Canon EOS R5 doesn’t fall too far behind. It, too, can track the eyes and faces of both humans and animals.

Verdict

The Canon EOS R5 is impressive, but it’s not able to beat the Sony A7R IV.

Canon was definitely out to impress when it released its most recent model. The Canon EOS R5 has powerful specs that would have both photographers and videographers drooling. But how does it fare against its opponent? Let’s just say it needs to step up its game just a bit more. The Sony A7R IV trumps the Canon EOS R5 when it comes to sensor performance, able to produce a better dynamic range. So if image quality is a big deal to you, you might be better off with the Sony model. Not only will you be able to take better quality images, but you’ll also be able to save more money.

FAQs

📌 Which one has better design and usability, the Canon EOS R5 or the Sony A7R IV?

The Sony A7R IV is better than the Canon EOS R5 when it comes to portability, accessibility, and battery life.

📌 Which one has a better viewfinder and LCD screen, the Canon EOS R5 or the Sony A7R IV?

The Canon EOS R5 and the Sony A7R IV are on par with each other when it comes to their viewfinders, each one with a high resolution of 5.65M dots. You can, however, do so much more with the Canon EOS R5’s LCD screen. You can access both the main menu and the quick menu and change up your settings.

📌 Which one has better sensor and image quality, the Canon EOS R5 or the Sony A7R IV?

The Canon EOS R5 was given a brand new 45MP sensor while the Sony A7R IV became the world’s very first digital camera to house a full-frame 61 MP sensor. That said, the Sony A7R wins this round, its sensor a lot more capable than that of the Canon EOS R5.

📌 Which one has better autofocus, the Canon EOS R5 or the Sony A7R IV?

When it comes to autofocus, both the Canon EOS R5 and the Sony A7R IV use advanced systems based on phase detection. They also make use of deep learning technology to enhance their autofocus.

Last update on 2021-07-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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Denise Jose

Senior Editor at Compare Before Buying. Researcher and yoga teacher passionate about article writing, photography, wellness, and mindfulness.