Sony a7S III Versus Canon R5: Which Camera Footage Looks Better?

Videographers should be feeling pretty spoiled at the moment with the camera announcements we've had in the last few months. Two of the most exciting will split the population, but in a side-by-side comparison, which looks better to you?

I'm first going to caveat this by saying this isn't the fairest test. I considered whether it was even worth sharing at first, but I do believe it still has some value and interest. The reason for my hesitation is that Matti Haapoja is comparing the Sony a7S III's 4K footage, with the Canon R5's 8K footage; this undermines the test in a lot of ways.

However, I still found myself interested in the colors and "look" of the footage from both cameras anyway. Presuming the colors — and for the most part the dynamic range — is the same or thereabouts for the R5 between 8K and 4K, it certainly yields different results to the a7S III. The R5 appears to give more true-to-life footage, where as the a7S III looks to my eye to be attempting to achieve better looking footage straight out of the camera. Some people still claim that Sony cameras have a green tinge to the colors which may be true, though I think in this comparison that might be simply because the Canon's colors are warmer.

What do you think? As a videographer, which camera are you drawn to?

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30 Comments

Abe Halpert's picture

The A7SIII...because it actually works

If the R5 could record 4KHQ and 4K60p without overheating, I'd choose the R5 over the A7SIII, especially since i have Canon lenses.

The only thing really bugging me about the A7SIII right now is its sharpened look. I wonder if you can turn off in-camera sharpening. But you can't turn off in-camera noise reduction, so I'm pessimistic.

Christian Fiore's picture

Yes, both Creative Styles and Picture Profiles have sharpening adjustments. They both come set by default at 50%, so you can easily remove any sharpening.

Also, the R5 has forced NR at low ISOs, which will be used more often than the high ISOs that the A7S III's NR turns on at. Also, the A7S III's NR can be defeated by shooting RAW (available up to 4K60).

D R's picture

You can't shoot Raw internally with the A7SIII. You CAN shoot Raw internally with the R5 (in 8K!).

The 4K HQ on the R5 is far more detailed than the 4K HQ on the A7SIII (confirmed time and time again), so that would be a moot point if it was true (which it isn't).

Brent Rivers's picture

If you're a video shooter, you'll know shooting raw internally isn't viable because of storage limitations. Not to mention heat. External recording is the only viable way for working pros, not necessarily vloggers

g coll's picture

Do you shoot stills at all professionally? If so then the A7Siii is not for you.

Black Z Eddie .'s picture

Read the last sentence of the article.

Tovi Andurrson's picture

No more YouTuber.

Jan Holler's picture

You're right, it's a plague! Another one who talks obsessively with his arms and hands, another excruciating video.

Tovi Andurrson's picture

Agreed. YouTubers are just walking ads now, they don't have actual opinions because they are just saying what the brand who pays them the most wants them to.

Wolfgang Post's picture

Considering the amount of post-production that goes into every video, combined with something so basic like White Balance adjustments (didn't we learn that already in the early stages of being a still photographer?) I wonder what sense does it make to ask for a specific 'look' that a camera gives? The sames goes to people shooting stills in Raw format and doing all sorts of editing afterwards. Imho: a completely pointless question and discussion. But I can be wrong and missing something here.

D R's picture

Matti got the white balance all wrong on his outdoor colour tests. Indoors was more accurate, and he said the Canon had better colour (you could see it in the skin). Day before he said "Sony now has better colours". He's either confused, not detail minded, or pandering to the Sony peeps to get viewers.

Tovi Andurrson's picture

Pandering to Sony and not actually knowing what he is doing.

g coll's picture

Seriously you shared a Matti Haapoja video? You may as well go ahead and share Peter McKinnon. These are not the people to go to for trusted reviews. I mean you already said yourself that this comparison is undermined due to 4K vs 8k. Do yourself a favour and ignore those two youtubers in future.

D R's picture

Difference is, Matti isn't a Canon Ambassador, but Peter Is. Pete will never use an A7SIII, nor should he. He already has an R5, Canon Cinema Cameras and more.

g coll's picture

That’s completely not my point. I am not comparing those two youtubers. My point is neither of them are worth watching for a worthwhile, trusted review.

Tovi Andurrson's picture

Correct, these aren't reviews, they are what kind of clickbait title can I make to advertise a product for someone. None of these guys use the best products because they aren't in the industry, they just make videos for people who are. They use the product that pays them the most to do so.

D R's picture

12 MP🤣

This video was dumb and clickbaity. Matti was out shooting with Sony shooter Mark Bone after this, and compared his A7III to the R5 and in Mark's own words "The R5 dynamic range and autofocus blew my A7III out of the water".

When the A7III came out, Matti also said the Sony colours had improved and he was thinking of switching, but then later grew to hate that camera. This was also the case with Potato Jet and many, many other Youtubers who went back to the R about 8 months later.

The R5 is the best mirrorless/hybrid photo camera you can buy, period. I personally know a couple pro photographers (including J. Marcus) who have shot the best from Sony (A7RIV), Nikon (Z7) and now say the R5 is better than both those cameras when it comes to image quality and much better when it comes to autofocus. A few have done comparisons with the Fuji medium format cameras and say it's neck and neck for IQ and the R5 is "better in every other way".

I'm sick of the Youtube vloggers telling people they need what they need. 90% of people buying cameras need photos first (part of the reason the R5 is breaking sales records and is backordered for months). The 10% who need to shoot video professionally do NOT want a mirrorless camera, they need a dedicated cinema camera. Almost all of the people who say they want the A7SIII are youtubers who also own Reds, Arri's, Canon Cinema Cameras, and/or at least one other high MP photo camera (Potato Jet and Matti H are prime examples). The A7SIII is not selling as well as the R5 and for good reason, the same reason the A7SII wasn't a huge selling camera either (not versatile, the A7III outsold the A7SII by a fair margin).

If you vlog and have $5000 cdn to spend on an A7SIII, then great!

With that said, the R5 video IQ looked better than the A7SIII in most regards, Matti had said "sony colours are better" the day prior, then "the R5 colours are better" in this video (then didn't set the proper white balance for the outdoor comparison).

A7SIII overheats outdoors on hot days (Proven by Dan Watson and The Elephant guy) but probably wont be a problem.

Just watched a pro food photographer's channel called "Brunch Boys" and he went out with the R5 in 100F temps in NYC, shot photos all day, and took 4K HQ videos for his channel and guess what. "Amazing camera and no overheating". <- This makes the R5 the best hybrid mirrorless you can buy, and the A7SIII is a one trick pony with 2007 sensor resolution.

With all that said, the best IQ I've seen so far is from the R5... and not just because of it's capabilities, but because the people who are using it are more talented than the people who are mad Sony brand loyalists (or want views from Youtube watchers).

Manuel Bustos's picture

All the reasoning you give cannot hide the fact that only one of them is plagued whith a major flaw: OVERHEATING. We all love Canon colours Canon autofocus Canon lenses... but the reality is stubborn; it gets hot like hell and wantonly stops working hence the product is defective and should be recalled. I'm a Fuji shooter and I'd love to go with the Canon R6 but there is no way I can fork out that kind of money for a defective product.

Neu Porabno's picture

Exactly how much do you know about R6 overheating?? Since you call it a “defective” product. R6!?

Christian Santiago's picture

Gerald undone shot photos for 30 minutes and couldn’t use any of the higher but rate modes because the camera was already overheating, which negates all of its high res advantages.

The raw video on the R5 is practically unusable and is an extremely storage hungry codec. People with the highest Specced computers are complaining that it slows their systems to a crawl. Same goes with the H.265 10bit 4:2:2 on the HQ. So again, that negates it’s high res advantage.

The 60fps and 120 modes on the R5 look horrible. The result of mushy line skipping. A7s iii does a full 1;1 readout in its high frame rate modes.

The A7siii has 15 stops of dynamic range with slog 3, which is way more important than resolution. Canon won’t even release their dynamic range numbers but with clog one it’s probably not more than 12.

“ The A7SIII is not selling as well as the R5 and for good reason, the same reason the A7SII wasn't a huge selling camera either (not versatile, the A7III outsold the A7SII by a fair margin).”

-you lost any little credibility you had there. The A7sii is one of the best selling cameras of all time. It’s used universally by filmmakers everywhere. Nobody who is buying these cameras (A7s line) gives a fuck about Photography. The A7siii has been the mirrorless video camera ppl have been waiting for for years. You’re delusional if you think Sony isn’t going to break records selling it. 😂

Brent Rivers's picture

Coming from a mad Canon loyalist? Canon's color science is not true to life colors. Like using equalization in music. But doesn't matter, the R5 isn't usable in the field, hence the reason the C line will survive

D V's picture

Dude, you sound like someone who's watching way too many camera youtubers, but who clearly is not working in the industry. First off, 90% of freelance videographers today use mirrorless cameras. I don't know what part of the world you're living in where people can buy RED and Arri cameras left and right, but the reality is that only bigger production companies use more expensive cameras. Hell, I don't know a single videographer or journalist who even uses a C series camera or a sony FS. And guess what? Most of the videography professionals who shoot weddings, corporate, news, etc, mostly use GH5s. People who were (or even still are in some capacity) using 1/2 inch sensor camcorders a couple of years ago really don't care about the "full frame look". So lower and mid tier videographers all do, in fact, use mirrorless, not a Red or an Arri or a Canon that cost 3, 10 or 30 times as much. Not to mention the costly ecosystems needed to support those cameras and all the extra shit that you need to actually work with them (like REALLY expensive tripods, rails, batteries, SSDs)

As for photography...people complaining about the 12 MP sensor make me laugh. I don't know what you're doing with your photos, but chances are, they're going online. If you're doing 12 meter prints, then you clearly at a level where you need to switch to medium format. All the big name photographers I've worked with who display they work in galleries cringe at the very idea of using full frame...and 12 MP is plenty enough for any kind of web use.

In the real world, professionals care much less about what Matti thinks and more about cost/ease of use, and then "image quality" comes a distant third. Mostly because it matters only to Youtubers who don't know what the hell they're talking about and who freak out that oversampled 8k is just a little sharper than full readout 4k.

Fristen Lasten's picture

Nice video Matti. Thank you.

g coll's picture

LOL. Matti didn't write the article and is unlikely to be visiting FStoppers.

Fristen Lasten's picture

Who cares jack. Are you the Fstoppers comment police? I was thanking Matti for the video.

g coll's picture

I know. It just seemed strange. Relax bro :)

Black Z Eddie .'s picture

Lol at the folks throwing a tantrum every time Sony gets a favorable review; or even just an article about them. smh

Tovi Andurrson's picture

Garbage video. I am about done with Fstoppers posting this garbage.

Stefan Rasch's picture

The last weeks I saw a lot of comparison between Sony A7S III and Canon R5. There is only one I liked. Check out Dan Watson. (It is about ISO, sharpness, rolling shutter etc)