Stick With Canon Or Switch To Sony?

Stick With Canon Or Switch To Sony?

Canon has recently announced their new flagship cameras, the R5 and R6. There will be no 5D mark V, and the Canon shooters looking to upgrade will need to eventually sell off their old glass for almost nothing.

I am a 5D Mark III shooter, so I never upgraded to the Mark IV. I was satisfied with what I have, but now that the R5 and the R6 have been introduced, I am certainly looking at the market and what options I have regarding these new breeds mirrorless cameras.

But, what has also happened, is that I started checking across the fence to see what Sony’s top of the range cameras are able to achieve, and I am certainly liking what I see. In fact, last year when I shot the Levi’s videos with the Sony a7R II I was very impressed with the auto-focussing and the IBIS that got me the shots I needed. I must however confess that these technological breakthroughs do not exist in the 5D Mark III, and I couldn’t compare it to the Mark IV because I didn’t have one or a job needing one.

So now I am left with a choice, and it’s a choice I will make that will stand for the next decade, or until the next lens design makes the manufacturers produce a different lens range, which tends to happen every decade or so.

My thinking is to weigh the two cameras I am considering up against one another, and to see what the benefits are of each. These are based on what I will need. I do product photography, and for fun I do street photography. I shoot fashion video and am looking to expand this in future, so video is becoming more and more important for me. 

Canon R5

Pros

  • 8K footage. That means it'll give you a boost when your clients ask for 4K. You've got double that, and might be a selling point for them, although not necessarily for you or your skills and work you do. You're also future-proof, and can crop in should you need to. 
  • The Canon color that photographers and photo-loving people — this means almost everyone — have grown to love so much.
  • It’s a camera for stills and video. It’s going to deliver on both sides of the coin for a photography and video business. 

Cons

  • Overheating is an issue. There are rumors that Canon is holding these cameras back in the market to check demand. Apparently they've done this in the past too, but now with the current situation it's even more aggressively implemented. For your work it can also mean having to carry two bodies or a back up. 
  • The cost of new lenses if you really want the benefit of this new camera body and technology is quite an investment. They're in the same ball park with regards to cost compared to Sony, and it's a completely new kit you're going to have to budget for.

Sony a7S III

Pros

  • There is a hard focus on image stabilization. IBIS, lens stabilization and electronic, gyroscopic stabilization which should give you the same type of video GoPro has achieved with their action cameras but now you've got the lenses, color science and file formats that gives you the options a professional needs. 
  • Sony’s pro-level color science used in their film cameras are now similar, if not the same, in this camera. Don’t make the mistake thinking Sony is behind in color science. Their film cameras have shot some large productions, and with this camera, they're making it more accessible in a smaller body.

Cons

  • It's a new camera that I will need time to dissect, learn from, and digest. And if the comments regarding it's menu system is anything to go by, it's quite a transition from the simplicity Canon offers. The menu has been updated though, and with the touch screen interface it  seems like it will be simpler than the previous generations.
  • Change can also be a positive. Getting out of my comfort zone could be a great thing for not only my work, but the way I do my work and what I shoot too.

Conclusion

Canon has been around for decades, and when the digital revolution came, it was exciting to have video included with the 5D Mark II. But, with them deciding to not launch a Canon 5D Mark V, it confirms that it is the end of the DSLR as we know it. This indirectly proves Sony has been ahead with regards to technology, research, and giving the photographers what they want and need since their entry into the market.

On a technical note, for photography, you won’t get the same quality of an image. It’s only 12 megapixels. I do however believe the Sony A7IV will do better than that with regards to still image quality, but not have the video capabilities of the A7SIII. We'll have to wait and see. 

My Final Verdict

I've been a Canon shooter since the start of my career. It's been great getting to know it's abilities and I am still impressed with what the Mark III has to offer. But, just like changing from a DSLR to mirrorless, I do think changing brands could be a good thing. With this knowledge and with my budget allowing, I will be converting to Sony. I am usually an early adopter and the first to get my hands on new gear, but in this case I will first check what the Sony a7 IV has to offer and then choose between the two.

As a Canon shooter, are you planning on sticking with the brand, or are you also considering switching? Let us know in the comments. 

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84 Comments

Matthew Lacy's picture

"Change can also be a positive. Getting out of my comfort zone could be a great thing for not only my work, but the way I do my work and what I shoot too."

If change is a positive, I'm not sure this should be in the cons list.

Rayann Elzein's picture

Haha I was just about to write the same. The way this statement is written is definitely not a con. It looks like the author is writing a cons list just for the sake of it, but you'll notice that the 3 cons are actually turned around as positives for him.

Matthew Lacy's picture

The format goes, "This is a con, but that doesn't matter."

Erich Tucker's picture

"Sony have never released a DSLR camera."
I'm not trying to come off wrong here, but I don't quite get the statement that Sony has never released a DSLR camera. I thought everything from the A100 - A900 were DSLRs. Am I missing something? Sure, they used the old Minolta mount, but they were Sony branded products. Were they not true DSLRs?

J Cortes's picture

Yeah, he may not be familiar with the history of the early Sony DSLRs & DSLTs. Also, Canon lenses are expensive, but depending on how many canon lenses you have it will cost you to change over. Lastly, the R5 and SONY A7SIII are two different cameras not necessarily meant to appeal to the same demographic.

Michael Herb's picture

You were right suspecting that comment about Sony and DSLRs. I clearly remember going into the sharper image in the mall and checking out Sony’s newest line of Digital camera. This is back when I needed my parents to drive me to the mall! I did a little research as the author should have done and sure enough my memories were right. A series Sony’s with three digits are all DSLR

Jerome Brill's picture

The funny thing is Sony still sells their A99 II and A77 II series. The A99 II has a 42 MP sensor, shoots 4k, 12fps photo and has a flippy screen. The negative? It's A mount glass. Some are great but I think the mirrorless versions with dual focus motors are better. ISO performance wasn't as good as the aR7II but the A99 II only trails the Canon 5D Mark IV that came only a month after it in 2016.

If they came out with an A99 III,mirrorless and had those general ergonomics but updated, no one could possibly complain. It would be 5D Mark III feelings all over again. Give it 50mp to temp people from the aR7III and boom, sales.

Black Z Eddie .'s picture

I had the a77 II with the Sony/Zeis 135 f1.8 back in 2015. That combo was so dead on balls accurate. Then, one day, I decided to update the firmware. The focusing was never the same. I had to set the Micro AF Adjust to about -10. Still, was not focusing consistently.

Had I never updated the damn firmware which ruined everything, I most likely would still be shooting with it today.

Dan An's picture

Probably Just a young man who probably started shooting 2yrs ago and calls himself a pro

Thomas H's picture

F-Stopper should have never published such factual falsehood.

VINICIUS YUZO ZUCARELI's picture

Canon already dismissed rumors of delays or recalls.

Gerald Undone did a LOT of testing and recording externally can improve record times by a lot. Also several modes have unlimited recording and quality equivalent to today's hybrid offering (a7s3 excluded but that also overheats, but Sony has better PR budget).

R5 is stills first, and that is fine! It is not a sin to release a stills camera in 2020, not everyone needs video first and crazy high resolution. The non over sampled modes that do not overheat are pretty damn good already.

I figure I will still be using EF glass for at LEAST two decades. And I doubt it will lose much value at all in the next 5 years.

EF glass is by far and far and far the best value in lenses you can get. And they work just as well with the new R family. This is a great value proposition in a ecosystem.

Rayann Elzein's picture

Just like you I am hoping that my EF glass will last me another few years. I don't think 2 decades is realistic though considering that there's always a risk for something to break down, and when the parts are not available anymore we'll be screwed. For example, my 1.4x extender has a stuck pin, I just came back from Canon's tech center here and the technician told me he has to replace the whole mount. Not possible anymore in 10 years when these will all have been discontinued :(

VINICIUS YUZO ZUCARELI's picture

Plenty people still use FD glass.

I don't think the actual lenses I own will last 20 years, I sure hope so, but am not counting on it. But I will probably be able to get copies of them in 20 years and they will still be awesome.

Rayann Elzein's picture

FD glass didn't have AF (well the vast majority) and IS, which are prone to eventually break. I'm not saying they won't work, but if something breaks and Canon doesn't offer the spare parts anymore, you won't be able to fix it.

D R's picture

Yeah man, R5 is a photo/hybrid beast and is the first mirrorless to shoot 4K 120 and 8K. But you can also make money as a pro photographer with it. Sony's PR budget is HUUUUGE! Every time they put out a new camera, my Youtube feed blows up with "Is this <insert sony model#> the greatest vlogging camera ever?!" This even happened when the tiny ZV1 came out... for 2 weeks... then I never heard of it again.

VINICIUS YUZO ZUCARELI's picture

Yeah, the ZV-1 is a nice example. For a few days it read lauded as the best camera ever.

Then some responsible reviews started to tear it apart and it was clear to me that it is hugely over priced and far from perfect, specially for vlogging.

Who tf vlogs with 35mm+ lenses on the widest end?

Tammie Lam's picture

Completely pointless and out of touch article. Good job, keep'em coming!

FocusPulling (.com)'s picture

Pretty awful and outdated analysis in that "pros" section for the Sony (this coming from someone who was rooting for Sony). IBIS is terrible and far inferior to the Canon; the digital stabilization layer is a terrible compromise and doesn't even make up for the 8 stops on the Canon, versus 5 on the Sony. And the vague improvements to color science are not a straight port of Cinetone-S from the VENICE/FX9, but way more importantly: are irrelevant to log modes that have stayed exactly the same, Sony's icky color science (especially in low light as a matter of physics).

And as someone else pointed out, the writer is way behind on the "rumor" of Canon withholding shipments. They addressed that rumor officially days ago, and everyone but this article's writer seems to know about it.

Douglas Liebig's picture

I'm also confused by the fact that the writer apparently doesn't know about the adapter for EF lenses to R Mount cameras that people have said works flawlessly.

Jamie Bates's picture

"but way more importantly: are irrelevant to log modes that have stayed exactly the same"
What? Sony has confirmed they have made S-Gamut3.Cine to match their pro cameras. That works with S-Log3.

Also, let's not pretend that the A7S III's adaptive digital IS doesn't look incredibly smooth for a relatively minor crop. I'll take an up to 10% crop over that horrible IBIS wobble on the R5 (and don't get me started on the overheating from still image capture).

Rayann Elzein's picture

Another guy who's judging the R5's wobble from overly exaggerated camera movements from idiotic Youtube reviewers. IBIS isn't made to improve a shot taken from a roller-coaster jeez.

Jamie Bates's picture

You can see it while people are doing slow pans. I'm not saying it's a dealbreaker, but the OP made out as if the Sony system was far worse, when it's definitely not.

Lan Lievense's picture

The ‘battle” between Canon & Sony et al is now moot to me. I am fully capable with Canon Mik III and Mk IV with full compliment of “L” lenses. The few gigs which require special lenses are easily met with rentals (or better, free loaners from Canon professional services.) At my age (76) and career level (accepting no new clients and cutting back) I watch with waning interest the “newest, best, etc” releases. In fact, most changes are evolutionary rather than revolutionary. But then, I’ve always wanted to return to large and larger format again which is where I started at age 14 with the demands of film and a Crown Graflex.....

Gary Diamond's picture

Or the writer of this article could just rent both and shoot with them for a week and see which one he prefers. Rather than selling armfuls of perfectly good Canon glass and jumping from Canon to Sony and buying their equivalent E mount lenses. Although the GM series tend to be incredibly good to be fair, even Ken Rockwell loved them on the A7R IV and he's notoriously strict and honest when reviewing gear.

The colour science on the A7s III is improved but still not pro FX9 level. Colour grading can fix a lot of this but in camera, Canon are still quite likely to win, as they are for ergonomics and better menu systems. This is coming from an A7s shooter by the way.

Les Sucettes's picture

Neither. Image Quality sucks when compared to similar sized (especially when including lenses) / similar priced GFX50s (the r is for amateur).

Rick Rizza's picture

All EF lenses will work with eos R5 just fine. What's the problem? Who said you need to reinvest in new lens? Haven't you read anything before writing this article? Or you just another Sony fanboy pretending to be a Canon user?

Bill Christian's picture

Now seems like a great time to stay Canon. They really have made the camera/s everyone wanted.

Kenneth Muhlestein's picture

Exactly. I currently use an EOS R with only EF glass. Granted, they are all third party. RF glass is crazy expensive, but you get what you pay for. They are on another level. I've got my eye on that R6. Higher DR than my R and great high iso performance has me sold. Plus, I've been playing with some raw files from dpreview and I'm very satisfied with what I'm seeing. The 5.1k oversampled 4k60 doesn't hurt either.

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