Canon R5, Nikon Z 6II, Sony a7 III: An Autofocus Comparison for Portraiture

Autofocus performance on modern cameras is impressive, but it's one of the areas where most photographers can't stand for anything less than the best they can get. So which of these three mirrorless bodies has the best subject tracking and autofocus for portraiture?

In our discipline, there are a few irritants that I can't abide; tripods that aren't sturdy, memory cards with slow write speeds, and sluggish recycle times on strobes are three that jump to mind straight away. However, poor autofocus performance easily tops the list, and whenever I encounter it, I am ready to shot put my camera into a canal.

I think most of us photographers have noticed it at some point. What's typically known as hunting is one of the most infuriating aspects of poor autofocus performance, where the camera cannot identify what the subject is and usually goes too close and then too far a few times before settling. If you're photographing products this is irritating, if you're photographing something that move, it could cost you a great shot.

In this video, Manny Ortiz compares the Nikon Z 6II, Canon EOS R5, and Sony a7 III for their autofocus performance when out on the street shooting portraiture. I'll let Ortiz present the information without coloring it any, but one takeaway for me is that the Nikon Z 6II is looking highly impressive on this front!

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8 Comments

Ryan Cooper's picture

AF performance was the main reason I am still shooting Nikon DSLR and never picked up a Z-line mirrorless. I have a strong suspicion that I will be the owner of a Z6-II sometime soon.

Jim Bolen's picture

Right there with you! I'm looking for a new portrait rig, and the Z6 II is very tempting.

Ken Yee's picture

The pole half press lock on pole actually made more sense to me.
You could argue eye autofocus was turned on though...would be another software option to look only for faces in that mode..

meshal alawadhi's picture

wow they still cant beat old sony camera hehe

Michael JENKINSON's picture

At last. Someone who isn't trying to trash Nikon. Maybe still some room for improvement, but they're getting better and better. Z7ii for me though.

Timothy Zdrale's picture

Sony a7iii came out as a leader and Nikon & Canon trailed in the AF performance as each one these newer cameras were released . . . For the money the Sony a7iii is hands down still quite a bargain!

Rick Rizza's picture

Glad that Nikon performed well. I hope it will sell as well.

Frank Wu's picture

Well tbh if the he switched the R5 to the R6 it would make more sense in my mind but is really much of difference between the two tho?