Canon R5 vs Nikon Z6
The Canon EOS R5 and the Nikon Z6 are two enthusiast cameras that were announced, respectively, in July 2020 and August 2018. Both the R5 and the Z6 are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are equipped with a full frame sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 44.8 megapixels, whereas the Nikon provides 24.3 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS R5 and the Nikon Z6? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.
An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Canon R5 and the Nikon Z6 is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Canon R5 and the Nikon Z6 are of equal size. However, the Z6 is markedly lighter (9 percent) than the R5. In this context, it is worth noting that both cameras are splash and dust-proof and can, hence, be used in inclement weather conditions or harsh environments.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. Hence, you might want to study and compare the specifications of available lenses in order to get the full picture of the size and weight of the two camera systems.
Concerning battery life, the R5 gets 320 shots out of its LP-E6NH battery, while the Z6 can take 310 images on a single charge of its EN-EL15b power pack. The battery packs of both cameras can be charged via USB, which can be very convenient when travelling.
The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, you can use the CAM-parator app to select your camera combination among a large number of options.
|1.||Canon R5||138 mm||98 mm||88 mm||738 g||320||Y||Jul 2020||3,899||amazon.com|
|2.||Nikon Z6||134 mm||101 mm||67 mm||675 g||310||Y||Aug 2018||1,999||ebay.com|
|3.||Canon R6||138 mm||98 mm||88 mm||680 g||360||Y||Jul 2020||2,499||amazon.com|
|4.||Nikon Z7 II||134 mm||101 mm||70 mm||705 g||420||Y||Oct 2020||2,999||amazon.com|
|5.||Nikon Z6 II||134 mm||101 mm||70 mm||705 g||410||Y||Oct 2020||1,999||amazon.com|
|6.||Nikon Z7||134 mm||101 mm||67 mm||675 g||330||Y||Aug 2018||3,399||ebay.com|
|7.||Nikon D750||141 mm||113 mm||78 mm||750 g||1230||Y||Sep 2014||2,299||ebay.com|
|8.||Panasonic S1R||149 mm||110 mm||97 mm||1016 g||380||Y||Feb 2019||3,699||amazon.com|
|9.||Sony A1||129 mm||97 mm||81 mm||737 g||530||Y||Jan 2021||6,499||amazon.com|
|10.||Sony A7S III||127 mm||97 mm||81 mm||699 g||600||Y||Jul 2020||3,499||amazon.com|
|11.||Sony A9 II||129 mm||96 mm||76 mm||678 g||690||Y||Oct 2019||4,499||amazon.com|
|12.||Sony A7R IV||129 mm||96 mm||78 mm||665 g||670||Y||Jul 2019||3,499||amazon.com|
|13.||Sony A7 III||127 mm||96 mm||74 mm||650 g||610||Y||Feb 2018||1,999||amazon.com|
|14.||Sony A7R III||127 mm||96 mm||74 mm||650 g||650||Y||Oct 2017||3,199||ebay.com|
|15.||Sony A99 II||143 mm||104 mm||76 mm||849 g||490||Y||Sep 2016||3,199||ebay.com|
|16.||Sony A7 II||127 mm||96 mm||60 mm||599 g||350||Y||Nov 2014||1,999||ebay.com|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The retail prices at the time of the camera’s release place the model in the market relative to other models in the producer’s line-up and the competition. The Z6 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 49 percent) than the R5, which puts it into a different market segment. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down.
The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Both cameras under consideration feature a full frame sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. The sensor area in the Z6 is 1 percent smaller. They nevertheless have the same format factor of 1.0. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
With 44.8MP, the R5 offers a higher resolution than the Z6 (24.3MP), but the R5 has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.39μm versus 5.94μm for the Z6). However, the R5 is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 10 months) than the Z6, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels.
The resolution advantage of the Canon R5 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the R5 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 41 x 27.3 inches or 104 x 69.4 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 32.8 x 21.9 inches or 83.2 x 55.5 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 27.3 x 18.2 inches or 69.4 x 46.3 cm. The corresponding values for the Nikon Z6 are 30.2 x 20.1 inches or 76.8 x 51.1 cm for good quality, 24.2 x 16.1 inches or 61.4 x 40.9 cm for very good quality, and 20.2 x 13.4 inches or 51.2 x 34.1 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Canon EOS R5 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 51200, which can be extended to ISO 50-102400. The corresponding ISO settings for the Nikon Z6 are ISO 100 to ISO 51200, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 50-204800.
In terms of underlying technology, the R5 is build around a CMOS sensor, while the Z6 uses a BSI-CMOS imager. Both cameras use a Bayer filter for capturing RGB colors on a square grid of photosensors. This arrangement is found in most digital cameras.
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. The Overall DXO ratings for the two cameras under consideration are close, suggesting that they provide similar imaging performance. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
|1.||Canon R5||Full Frame||44.8||8192||5464||8K/30p||25.3||14.6||3042||95|
|2.||Nikon Z6||Full Frame||24.3||6048||4024||4K/30p||25.3||14.3||3299||95|
|3.||Canon R6||Full Frame||20.0||5472||3648||4k/60p||24.2||14.3||3394||90|
|4.||Nikon Z7 II||Full Frame||45.4||8256||5504||4K/60p||26.3||14.7||2841||100|
|5.||Nikon Z6 II||Full Frame||24.3||6048||4024||4K/60p||25.0||14.4||3303||94|
|6.||Nikon Z7||Full Frame||45.4||8256||5504||4K/30p||26.3||14.6||2668||99|
|7.||Nikon D750||Full Frame||24.2||6016||4016||1080/60p||24.8||14.5||2956||93|
|8.||Panasonic S1R||Full Frame||46.7||8368||5584||4K/60p||26.4||14.1||3525||100|
|9.||Sony A1||Full Frame||49.8||8640||5760||8k/30p||25.9||14.5||3163||98|
|10.||Sony A7S III||Full Frame||12.0||4240||2832||4K/120p||23.7||13.9||2520||86|
|11.||Sony A9 II||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||25.0||14.0||3434||93|
|12.||Sony A7R IV||Full Frame||60.2||9504||6336||4K/30p||26.0||14.8||3344||99|
|13.||Sony A7 III||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||25.0||14.7||3730||96|
|14.||Sony A7R III||Full Frame||42.2||7952||5304||4K/30p||26.0||14.7||3523||100|
|15.||Sony A99 II||Full Frame||42.2||7952||5304||4K/30p||25.4||13.4||2317||92|
|16.||Sony A7 II||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.9||13.6||2449||90|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the R5 provides a higher video resolution than the Z6. It can shoot video footage at 8K/30p, while the Nikon is limited to 4K/30p.
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The two cameras under consideration are similar with respect to both having an electronic viewfinder. However, the one in the R5 offers a substantially higher resolution than the one in the Z6 (5760k vs 3690k dots). The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Canon R5 and Nikon Z6 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|1.||Canon R5||5760||Y||3.2 / 2100||swivel||Y||1/8000s||12.0/s||n||Y|
|2.||Nikon Z6||3690||Y||3.2 / 2100||tilting||Y||1/8000s||12.0/s||n||Y|
|3.||Canon R6||3690||n||3.0 / 1620||swivel||Y||1/8000s||12.0/s||n||Y|
|4.||Nikon Z7 II||3690||Y||3.2 / 2100||tilting||Y||1/8000s||10.0/s||n||Y|
|5.||Nikon Z6 II||3690||Y||3.2 / 2100||tilting||Y||1/8000s||14.0/s||n||Y|
|6.||Nikon Z7||3690||Y||3.2 / 2100||tilting||Y||1/8000s||9.0/s||n||Y|
|7.||Nikon D750||optical||Y||3.2 / 1229||tilting||n||1/4000s||6.0/s||Y||n|
|8.||Panasonic S1R||5760||Y||3.2 / 2100||full-flex||Y||1/8000s||9.0/s||n||Y|
|9.||Sony A1||9437||n||3.0 / 1440||tilting||Y||1/8000s||10.0/s||n||Y|
|10.||Sony A7S III||9440||n||3.0 / 1440||swivel||Y||1/8000s||10.0/s||n||Y|
|11.||Sony A9 II||3686||n||3.0 / 1440||tilting||Y||1/8000s||20.0/s||n||Y|
|12.||Sony A7R IV||5760||n||3.0 / 1440||tilting||Y||1/8000s||10.0/s||n||Y|
|13.||Sony A7 III||2359||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||Y||1/8000s||10.0/s||n||Y|
|14.||Sony A7R III||3686||n||3.0 / 1440||tilting||Y||1/8000s||10.0/s||n||Y|
|15.||Sony A99 II||2400||Y||3.0 / 1229||full-flex||n||1/8000s||12.0/s||n||Y|
|16.||Sony A7 II||2400||n||3.0 / 1230||tilting||n||1/8000s||5.0/s||n||Y|
|Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.|
The reported shutter speed information refers to the use of the mechanical shutter. Yet, some cameras only have an electronic shutter, while others have an electronic shutter in addition to a mechanical one. In fact, both cameras under consideration feature an electronic shutter, which makes completely silent shooting possible. However, this mode is less suitable for photographing moving objects (risk of rolling shutter) or shooting under artificial light sources (risk of flickering).
The Canon R5 and the Nikon Z6 both have an intervalometer built-in. This enables the photographer to capture time lapse sequences, such as flower blooming, a sunset or moon rise, without purchasing an external camera trigger and related software.
The R5 writes its imaging data to CFexpress (type B) or SDXC cards, while the Z6 uses XQD cards. The R5 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the Z6 only has one slot.
For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Canon EOS R5 and Nikon Z6 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Canon R5||Y||mono / mono||Y||Y||micro||3.2||Y||-||Y|
|2.||Nikon Z6||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||micro||3.1||Y||-||Y|
|3.||Canon R6||Y||mono / mono||Y||Y||micro||3.2||Y||-||Y|
|4.||Nikon Z7 II||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||micro||3.2||Y||-||Y|
|5.||Nikon Z6 II||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||micro||3.2||Y||-||Y|
|6.||Nikon Z7||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||micro||3.1||Y||-||Y|
|7.||Nikon D750||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|8.||Panasonic S1R||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||full||3.1||Y||-||Y|
|9.||Sony A1||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||full||3.2||Y||-||Y|
|10.||Sony A7S III||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||full||3.2||Y||-||Y|
|11.||Sony A9 II||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||micro||3.1||Y||Y||Y|
|12.||Sony A7R IV||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||micro||3.1||Y||Y||Y|
|13.||Sony A7 III||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||micro||3.1||Y||Y||Y|
|14.||Sony A7R III||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||micro||3.1||Y||Y||Y|
|15.||Sony A99 II||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|16.||Sony A7 II||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Canon R5 (unlike the Z6) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
The R5 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Canon. In contrast, the Z6 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on ebay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the Z6 was succeeded by the Nikon Z6 II. Further information on the features and operation of the R5 and Z6 can be found, respectively, in the Canon R5 Manual (free pdf) or the online Nikon Z6 Manual.
So how do things add up? Is there a clear favorite between the Canon R5 and the Nikon Z6? Which camera is better? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS R5:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (44.8 vs 24.3MP) with a 36% higher linear resolution.
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (8K/30p vs 4K/30p).
- More detailed viewfinder: Has higher resolution electronic viewfinder (5760k vs 3690k dots).
- More flexible LCD: Has a swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- Faster data transfer: Supports a more advanced USB protocol (3.2 vs 3.1).
- Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
- Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
- More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 1 year and 10 months after the Z6).
Advantages of the Nikon Z6:
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.80x vs 0.76x).
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (49 percent cheaper at launch).
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in August 2018).
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the R5 is the clear winner of the match-up (9 : 3 points). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision. A professional wedding photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a travel photog, and a person interested in cityscapes has distinct needs from a macro shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon R5 and the Nikon Z6 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera listing whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the R5 or the Z6 perform in practice. At times, user reviews, such as those published at amazon, address these issues in a useful manner, but such feedback is on many occasions incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable.
This is where reviews by experts come in. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], digitalcameraworld [DCW], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.
|1.||Canon R5||4.5/5||+||4/5||91/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2020||3,899||amazon.com|
|2.||Nikon Z6||5/5||..||5/5||89/100||4.5/5||5/5||Aug 2018||1,999||ebay.com|
|3.||Canon R6||5/5||+ +||4/5||90/100||4.5/5||5/5||Jul 2020||2,499||amazon.com|
|4.||Nikon Z7 II||4.5/5||..||4.5/5||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2020||2,999||amazon.com|
|5.||Nikon Z6 II||4.5/5||..||4/5||89/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2020||1,999||amazon.com|
|6.||Nikon Z7||5/5||+||4.8/5||89/100||4.5/5||5/5||Aug 2018||3,399||ebay.com|
|7.||Nikon D750||5/5||+ +||4/5||90/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||2,299||ebay.com|
|8.||Panasonic S1R||4.5/5||..||4.6/5||89/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2019||3,699||amazon.com|
|9.||Sony A1||5/5||o||4.5/5||93/100||4.5/5||5/5||Jan 2021||6,499||amazon.com|
|10.||Sony A7S III||..||+ +||5/5||91/100||4.5/5||5/5||Jul 2020||3,499||amazon.com|
|11.||Sony A9 II||..||..||5/5||90/100||5/5||5/5||Oct 2019||4,499||amazon.com|
|12.||Sony A7R IV||5/5||+||4.5/5||91/100||4.5/5||5/5||Jul 2019||3,499||amazon.com|
|13.||Sony A7 III||..||+ +||4.5/5||89/100||5/5||5/5||Feb 2018||1,999||amazon.com|
|14.||Sony A7R III||..||+ +||4/5||90/100||4.5/5||5/5||Oct 2017||3,199||ebay.com|
|15.||Sony A99 II||..||..||4.5/5||85/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2016||3,199||ebay.com|
|16.||Sony A7 II||5/5||+||4/5||82/100||4.5/5||5/5||Nov 2014||1,999||ebay.com|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just use the search menu below. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.
Specifications: Canon R5 vs Nikon Z6
Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.
|Camera Model||Canon R5||Nikon Z6|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||Canon RF mount lenses||Nikon Z mount lenses|
|Launch Date||July 2020||August 2018|
|Launch Price||USD 3,899||USD 1,999|
|Sensor Specs||Canon R5||Nikon Z6|
|Sensor Format||Full Frame Sensor||Full Frame Sensor|
|Sensor Size||36.0 x 24.0 mm||35.9 x 23.9 mm|
|Sensor Area||864 mm2||858.01 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||43.3 mm||43.1 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||44.8 Megapixels||24.3 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||8192 x 5464 pixels||6048 x 4024 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||4.39 μm||5.94 μm|
|Pixel Density||5.18 MP/cm2||2.84 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||8K/30p Video||4K/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 51,200 ISO||100 - 51,200 ISO|
|ISO Boost||50 - 102,400 ISO||50 - 204,800 ISO|
|Image Processor||DIGIC X||EXPEED 6|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||95||95|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||25.3||25.3|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||14.6||14.3|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||3042||3299|
|Screen Specs||Canon R5||Nikon Z6|
|Viewfinder Type||Electronic viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||5760k dots||3690k dots|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel||Control Panel|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.2inch||3.2inch|
|LCD Resolution||2100k dots||2100k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Swivel screen||Tilting screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon R5||Nikon Z6|
|Focus System||On-Sensor Phase-detect||On-Sensor Phase-detect|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/8000s||1/8000s|
|Continuous Shooting||12 shutter flaps/s||12 shutter flaps/s|
|Shutter Life Expectancy||300 000 actuations||200 000 actuations|
|Electronic Shutter||up to 1/8000s||up to 1/8000s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||Intervalometer built-in|
|Image Stabilization||In-body stabilization||In-body stabilization|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||CFexB or SDXC cards||XQD cards|
|Single or Dual Card Slots||Dual card slots||Single card slot|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon R5||Nikon Z6|
|Studio Flash||PC Sync socket||no PC Sync|
|USB Connector||USB 3.2||USB 3.1|
|HDMI Port||micro HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||External MIC port|
|Headphone Socket||Headphone port||Headphone port|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||Wifi built-in|
|Bluetooth Support||Bluetooth built-in||Bluetooth built-in|
|Body Specs||Canon R5||Nikon Z6|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||320 shots per charge||310 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||USB charging||USB charging|
138 x 98 x 88 mm
(5.4 x 3.9 x 3.5 in)
134 x 101 x 67 mm
(5.3 x 4.0 x 2.6 in)
|Camera Weight||738 g (26.0 oz)||675 g (23.8 oz)|
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