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Canon 5Ds R vs Sony A7RII vs Nikon D810 comparison

The folks at fstoppers posted an exhaustive and educated comparison between the Canon EOS 5Ds R, the Sony Alpha a7RII, and the Nikon D810. The Alpha a7RII being the underdog in the pack. The Alpha a7RII is not the winner here. As noted by many other sophisticated review sites, the a7RII simply is a product that’s not fully mature yet, and hence not a tool for those who are seriously into photography. From the conclusion:

The truth is that technology is so good now that you could use almost any current camera to get amazing professional results. A few more megapixels or a stop of dynamic range isn’t going to effect your pictures at all.
The Sony A7RII is a great camera. If you don’t already have a lot of money invested in a camera system and 2.8 lenses aren’t a necessity right now, the A7RII may be a fantastic choice. I just didn’t feel like the Sony was able to outperform the DSLR competitors in an area other than 4k video recording. That leads me to conclude that the A7RII isn’t actually better than the D810 or 5DSR, it’s just a really great smaller option.

If you have to read one comparison like this one, then read fstopper’s review. The 16 minutes video above is a very good overview about the review. You may be interested in an opinion piece about the a7RII I wrote some time ago.

eos 5ds r

Canon EOS 5Ds R

Canon EOS 5DS: Amazon, B&H Photo, Digitalrev, eBay, Adorama, Canon USA | Canon EOS 5DS R: Amazon, B&H Photo, Digitalrev, eBay, Adorama, Canon USA

  • Wade Marks

    Another confirmation of what most already knew or suspected: if you want a serious photographic tool you go with Canon or Nikon. The Sony was overhyped and while it has its good points, is still not yet ready for prime time.

    Not only would I take a 5dsr or D810 over the Sony any day, I would take the APS-C 70D over the Sony any day, for its better battery life and overall better usability, and of course, it’s total compatiblity with the fantastic Canon lens and flash lineup.

    • Christian Wilde

      Depending on the job you wouldn’t take a 70D over a A7RII, don’t kid yourself. Of course there might be a few situations where it didn’t matter or some situations where the AF of the 70D might be a tad faster, but please be realistic.

      • Yawn

        You are right, the Sony is 2.234234223% better for lens caps jobs. The “experts” say so.

        • Christian Wilde

          Yawn.

          • Yawn

            Leave that bottle alone for f*** sake!

  • animalsbybarry

    Reviews like this one always promote ignoring the dynamic range, iso, and video features where the a7rii blows away the competition, and instead only consider the camera build type features.
    To me the dynamic range and iso are major advantages and I obviosly dissagree with this review for that reason.
    DXO just named the A7rii thier product of the year.
    Regatdless of which side of the fence you fall on there are times when the extrs dynsmic rsnge..for contrssty subjects for exampl. ..is great to have.
    Then it is nice to have a a7rii stashed in your kit whether you preffer the Sony, Canon, or Nikon.

    • Wade Marks

      If it’s dynamic range you’re after, the D810 and D7200 score higher than the Sony A7r2 on DXO.

      For most people these esoteric stats are just that: statistics with no context or meaning.

      It’s been said again and again, but I can show you photos taken with all 3 cameras, and the vast majority would be hard pressed to tell them apart.

      Camera build, battery life, handling…these are what people notice on a day by day basis. And of course, the system counts…that’s another feature that people really notice.

      • animalsbybarry

        A7rii with uncompressed raw update exceeds d810 range…tests were done before the firmware fix
        Both are Sony sensors so they are close.
        D7500 is diifferrent class of camera…if you want to count that than Sony a7s and a7sii far exceed it in dynamic range.

        • Wade Marks

          As you say they are so close that it really doesn’t matter. But my point is that at this level we are talking numerical differences that have no practical meaning to most photographers.

          I do find the results of the D7200 crop sensor to be quite impressive.

          • animalsbybarry

            Here is where I agree and dissagree.
            Small dynamic range difference between d810 and a7rii..agree
            Insignificant dynamic range differrence berween 5dsr and a7rii…totally dissagree…huge highly visible differrence. Both in dynamic range and iso.
            D8200 sensor is impressive…agree….but I fully expect the next generation of crop sensor manufactured by Sony to blow it away…best current quess Feb 2016…it has been delayed again.

          • Yawn

            You forgot one: nincompoop underexposing by 6 stops holding the camera, and trying to fix it in post. That “blows me away”.

          • animalsbybarry

            I almost never need to do any shadow or highlight recovery with my a7rii.
            Occasionally I deliberately increase the contrast and darkenvthe shadows if I want it to look just like the Canon pictures.
            It is easy to make the Sony look like the Canon in post processing, because ther is a lot of color detail to work with.
            Usually I prefer the Sony right out of the camera because I like seeing every detail from highligt to shadow.

          • Yawn

            Maybe, but the Sony feels like dog crap.

          • animalsbybarry

            You seem to have an obsesion with canine feces, which you refer to in multiple comments, but that is not a subject I plan to debate with you.

          • Yawn

            So “subtle”, and yet so incompetent.

          • Wade Marks

            I’ve read that the yields for the A7r2 BSI sensor are lower than what Sony expected. Now their next crop sensor keeps being pushed back.

            I wonder if Sony is trying to do too much too fast?

          • animalsbybarry

            Do not worry…a rejected a7rii sensor will not be put into an a7rii camera.
            As for the a6xxx delay various NOT CREDIBLE rumors suggest
            Not wanting to compete with a7rii sales
            Extreme high demand for a7rii
            Totally new technology with bugs to work out
            Change of desighn to compete with expected new Canon camera.
            Don’t forget Canon announced thier intention to release a 120mp camera soon.
            Sony is sure to be ready for it.

          • Mr. Low Notes

            No doubt you love Sony! ;-)

          • Wade Marks

            So basically, all of those non credible rumors suggest that Sony bit off more than it could chew and was trying to do too much at once, so they had to scale back one of their major projects…which isn’t so bad in and of itself…I’m not saying it to be criticial, just to speculate on what may have happened…

    • Mr. Low Notes

      Nothing wrong with owning all 3 if you can afford it. Get my email Barry?

      • animalsbybarry

        The only way both Canon and Nikon lenses will be compatable with each other is if you put them both on the Sony camera.
        I did not see your email..try resending it.

        • Mr. Low Notes

          That wasn’t what I meant but that works too. I sent it through your website. I’ll try again.

        • Yawn

          It is “compatible”, not “compatable”. The ill-engineered Sony mount will make any lens look like poo, too. Sorry you haven’t noticed that…

          • Wade Marks

            And who wants to worry about getting all of these adapters for all of these lenses, always worrying about which adapter is best for which lens.

            And these adapters are not cheap; the latest metabones one comes in at $400. So basically if we want to use the Sony with Canon or Nikon lenses, we have yet another component to worry about, another item to carry, another expense…and even then the lenses won’t work as well as with the Canon or NIkon bodies.

            One problem with mirrorless is that this complicates my life instead of making it easier. It used to be one had to worry about lens and body choice…with the Sony one also has to worry about choice of adapter and expense, if one wants to use non-Sony lenses.

  • Ufupuw

    Posting only reviews that agree with your own POV. There are tons of positive A7RII reviews, both in print and on youtube, that prefer A7RII over Canon. You simply won’t post them, huh?

    • animalsbybarry

      In every measurable objective performance criteria the a7rii always comes out on top.
      Those reviews that favor Canikon allways suggest that the actual measurable superior performance should be ignored and instead very subjective features such as ergonomics, menu setup “PLEASING COLORS” lens selection should be the only things considered.
      The more natural colors are exclusive to light complexion skin tones, all other colors are more natural on Sony…
      All lenses can be used on the a7rii and most will autofocus…so the lens selection on the a7rii is far greater than the lens selection on Canon or Nikon because you can use all the Canikon lenses.
      Battery life is shorter..for my style of shooting I get about 1200 shots per battery…because I shoot bursts..I can change a battery in under 3 seconds blindfolded….and the display constantly informs me of battery status so I cannot be surprised by an exhausted battery.
      As for no dual card slot…I have never used dual cards, and since I use high quality sdxc cards I have never had a card fail on me. So I do not personall consider it an important issue…furthermore I always shoot with 2 or more seperate cameras….when I first learned photography this was the very first thing I was taught.
      So although I consider battery life and single card slot as legitamate issues, they are both easy to work around and should not hamper work flow.
      As for menu layout and ergonomics….that is totally subjective…if for example you are a Canon dslr user you will naturally be more comfortable with Canon ergonomics and menu layout.
      But if you use the a7rii regularly you will become accustomed to it and it will be just as easy to use.
      If you desire a bigger bulkier camera with larger easier to use controls and longer battery life..
      The Meike battery grip will accomplish that for about $80…or you can spend more money and get the Sony battery grip.
      If you can afford an a7rii I strongly suggest adding one to your kit.
      Regardless of which camera you preffer there aredeffinitely times when the a7rii will be much more usefull…especially in difficult or unpredictable lighting conditions, and the increased dynamic range, iso will allow you to extract far more highlight and shadow detail that you might otherwise lose.

      • Wade Marks

        The problem is that all of the “objective” measures you cite are subjectively chosen! :)

        And many of those numbers that DXO cites are just that: numbers. Thom Hogan compares this to the era of HiFi equipment and I think this is an apt comparison. I remember, for instance, when one vendor might advertise something like, my equipment produces sound that goes up to 28 KHz, and the competitor only goes to 26 KHz…but even the most sensitive human ear only hears up to 20 KHz. So there’s a bunch of numbers bantered about…which seem objective and scientific…but you have to dig beneath the surface.

        And the problems that you say are not so big, well, for many they are objectively far more important…such as battery life, dual card slots, etc. I’ve met someone where that dual card slot literally saved a paying job…and they too used high quality cards….but even they sometimes fail. I drive a good car with good tires, but I still carry a spare. And I won’t even go into the pain of having such a poor battery life as the Sony.

        Rather than add an A7r2 to my kit, I’d rather spend the very high amount of money on lenses, and if I need another body, then one that works and feels the same as my other ones…it’s a pain to switch back and forth between a Canon and a Sony, esp. given that almost everyone agrees that the Sony menus are among the worst in the entire industry.

        • animalsbybarry

          As we have previosly agreed…we dissagree on these matters.

    • Wade Marks

      It should be expected that a Canon enthusiast site generally tend to post articles that are pro-Canon. Most pro-Sony sites tend to post those articles that are pro-Sony. The same with Nikon, Fuji, etc.

      This is a site for enthusiasts of Canon gear, not the news…and of course by now we know that even news sites have their own biases one direction or the other.

      • animalsbybarry

        I would expect readers to benefit from a little balenced opposing view, rather than just ” Canon is great no matter what the do”
        I do my part to provide a little reasonable balence…none of the companies are without both flaws and virtues

        • Mr. Low Notes

          Well said Barry. However we never want one brand to dominate completely for obvious reasons.

      • Wade Marks

        I don’t think this site is any different from any other enthusiast site, whether for Canon, Nikon, Sony, Fuji, et al. Before the A7r2 was announced no one would have ever accused this site of being too pro-Canon.

        But then the A7r2 hit, and there was this push to evangelize the world for the Sony camera, esp. among Canon users and sites. It was like an evangelical Christian entering a Jewish synagogue and trying to convert Jews, or going to Japan and trying to convert Buddhists, when both Jewish and Buddhists are perfectly happy with their faith.

        So naturally there was pushback. This site has just made a few posts suggesting that the A7r2 is not the holy grail of cameras, which by now everyone pretty much agrees.

        I am glad that this site dares to post an opinion on this, and I think it to be healthy if it spurs the sort of discussion that it has.

  • Yawn

    There is one point I never see in Sony “reviews”: its mount is too narrow for 135. This makes all sorts of trouble when designing or adapting optics.
    Just look for pictures taken with these cameras and you will see plenty of corner errors, beside the known artifacts. For nerds, corners are all there is. Try shooting lens caps in the corner and see what I mean. Ouch!
    And then, there is the plasticky toyness, but we all know about it.

    • Ayoul

      The 24-70 is indeed poor in the corners… But I don’t see that in the batis 25 and 85, the Sony/zeiss 55, the 90 macro…

      • Yawn

        Sure, but those are very expensive lenses.
        With money, you can get around optical limitations, but this makes the system unnecessarily expensive. Adapting other lenses can be very tricky, too.

        • Ayoul

          I honestly don’t know if the price of these lenses are related to a special optical design made for this “corner issues”. The equivalent Fuji lenses are very expensive too. The Fuji 16 1.4, (same fov and dof as a 24 f/2) cost 1000€ here in France. It’s not a lot less expensive… And to be fair, 55 1.8, 25 f/2 and 85 1.8 seems to be in a league of their own regarding their optical quality…

          Anyway, IMHO, regarding the prices, comparisons shouldn’t be done with DSLR lenses. It’s still a far bigger market with a lot of concurrence between the brands. This leads logically to better prices. This is not the case with mirrorless. For now…

          But I agree with you in some way, i’m pretty sure that they didn’t think about a FF E-mount when they designed a mount both so short AND narrow.

          But if you look at the others zooms, the 16-35mm seems not as good as the Canon at the long end, but from 16 to 24-28 it does really well. The 70-200 has very good reviews too. In fact, only the 24-70 is not on par with the concurrence in the corners. (Too bad, it’s maybe the most important lens when you launch a line-up ^^)

  • Ayoul

    And he links to his “opinion piece” again… Personally, I see nothing to be proud of…

  • animalsbybarry

    Breaking news…!!!!
    Sony A7rii just won DP Review best ff system camera of the year.
    And yesterday it also won DXO top honor best product of the year award.

    • Mr. Low Notes

      No surprises there. DPReview and dxomark seem to be pretty pro Sony. I recently read an interview with Sony, on IR I think, that Sony plans on being at least number 2 in the camera world. It looks like they are working hard to do that and Canon has a bullseye on their back. I think Canon must do more than make incremental advancements on their cameras. Are they sitting on technology releasing a little at a time? Purposely leaving out features like 4k that everybody is screaming for to protect sales of cinema series? No matter. I think Canon is the only company other than maybe Samsung that can complete with Sony in the sensor market. I know there’s some others but they are not even close in market penetration. As a loyal Canon user I think Canon will have to do better or Sony will eventually overtake them. Sony is bigger and has the resources and motivation. And the clock is ticking…..

    • Wade Marks

      To quote someone else here…yawn regarding those camera of the year awards.

      Most of these review sites are run by techies who like the gadget type stuff, who never use the camera like someone in the real world would over a long enough period of time to really get to know it, and do not place any value on real world concerns like reliability, service options, etc.

      Even battery life is not an issue to a reviewer who will use it for a few hours at best, maybe over a time of a few days, then box it up and move on to the next latest camera.

      Reviewers love novelty, love companies that just rush out new products that fill up a spec sheet, and give them something to write about.

      Now I don’t necessarily blame the reviewers: they are going to be techies, they don’t have time to put every camera through a rigorous long term test,

      But we do need to understand the inherent biases and weaknesses of these reviews and awards.

  • Alex K

    “a7RII simply is a product that’s not fully mature yet, and hence not a tool for those who are seriously into photography” AAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! I guess I better retire then! Seriously people! It’s simply not true. The A7Rii is a great professional camera. The 5DSR is a great professional camera. The Nikon D810 is a great professional camera. I would defy 99.999% of viewers to actually be able to tell (or care) which camera you used without some really obsessive pixel-peeping.

    I (professionally) take food pictures, portraits, architecture and landscapes… and I love the A7Rii for form-factor and lens adaptability. Not ONCE have I looked at any of the pictures I’ve taken and thought “I wish that had just ever so slightly more res (like the 5DSR)” or “I wish that had just ever so slightly more DR (like the D810)… I use Canon lenses, Sony lenses, and a variety of vintage glass. And it all works lovely!

    • Mr. Low Notes

      That’s it! If it works for you and you like it then use it. Be it a Canon, Nikon or Sony or what ever brand. No shame in having a favorite band either. Going out of one’s way to bash a brand isn’t nice. You didn’t do that and I respect and admire that. :-)

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