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Canon R5 vs Sony A7S III

The Canon EOS R5 and the Sony Alpha 7S III are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public in July 2020. Both the Canon R5 and the A7S III are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are equipped with a full frame sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 44.8 megapixels, whereas the Sony provides 12 MP.

Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.

Headline Specifications
Canon R5 versus Sony A7S III
Canon R5 Sony A7S III
Mirrorless system camera Mirrorless system camera
Canon RF mount lenses Sony E mount lenses
44.8 MP, Full Frame Sensor 12 MP, Full Frame Sensor
8k/30p Video 4K/120p Video
ISO 100-51,200 (50 - 102,400) ISO 80-102,400 (40 - 409,600)
Electronic viewfinder (5760k dots) Electronic viewfinder (9440k dots)
3.2 LCD, 2100k dots 3.0 LCD, 1440k dots
Swivel touchscreen Swivel touchscreen
20 shutter flaps per second 10 shutter flaps per second
In-body stabilizationIn-body stabilization
Weathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
320 shots per battery charge600 shots per battery charge
138 x 98 x 88 mm, 738 g 127 x 97 x 81 mm, 699 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS R5 and the Sony Alpha 7S III? 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.

Body comparison

The physical size and weight of the Canon R5 and the Sony A7S III are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Canon R5 vs Sony A7S III
Compare Canon R5 versus A7S III top
Comparison Canon R5 or A7S III rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony A7S III is notably smaller (9 percent) than the Canon R5. Moreover, the A7S III is markedly lighter (5 percent) than the Canon 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.

The battery packs of both cameras can be charged via USB, which can be very convenient when travelling.

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, just use the right or left arrows in the table to switch to the respective camera. Alternatively, you can also navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from the full list of cameras there.

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Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life 1
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch 2
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
 
Canon R5 5.4 in 3.9 in 3.5 in 26.0 oz 320 Y Jul 2020 3,899 i
 
Sony A7S III 5.0 in 3.8 in 3.2 in 24.7 oz 600 Y Jul 2020 3,499 i
 
Canon R6 5.4 in 3.9 in 3.5 in 24.0 oz 360 Y Jul 2020 2,499 i
 
Canon R 5.5 in 3.9 in 3.3 in 23.3 oz 370 Y Sep 2018 2,299 i
 
Nikon Z7 5.3 in 4.0 in 2.6 in 23.8 oz 330 Y Aug 2018 3,399 i
 
Panasonic S1R 5.9 in 4.3 in 3.8 in 35.8 oz 380 Y Feb 2019 3,699 i
 
Sony A9 II 5.1 in 3.8 in 3.0 in 23.9 oz 690 Y Oct 2019 4,499 i
 
Sony A7R IV 5.1 in 3.8 in 3.1 in 23.5 oz 670 Y Jul 2019 3,499 i
 
Sony A7R III 5.0 in 3.8 in 2.9 in 22.9 oz 650 Y Oct 2017 3,199i
 
Sony A99 II 5.6 in 4.1 in 3.0 in 29.9 oz 490 Y Sep 2016 3,199 i
 
Sony A7R II 5.0 in 3.8 in 2.4 in 22.0 oz 290 Y Jun 2015 3,199i
 
Sony A7S II 5.0 in 3.8 in 2.4 in 22.1 oz 370 Y Sep 2015 2,999i
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.
(1) Number of images that can be taken on a full battery charge according to the CIPA-standard; (2) Official announcement.

Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. The manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The A7S III was somewhat cheaper (by 10 percent) than the Canon R5 at launch, but both cameras fall into the same price category. 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.

Sensor comparison

The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors 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 tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.

Both cameras under consideration feature a full frame sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. The sensor area in the A7S III is 2 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.

Canon R5 and Sony A7S III sensor measures

With 44.8MP, the Canon R5 offers a higher resolution than the A7S III (12MP), but the Canon R5 has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.39μm versus 8.40μm for the A7S III). It is noteworthy in this context that the two cameras were released in close succession, so that their sensors are from the same technological generation.

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 Canon 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 Sony A7S III are 21.2 x 14.2 inches or 53.8 x 36 cm for good quality, 17 x 11.3 inches or 43.1 x 28.8 cm for very good quality, and 14.1 x 9.4 inches or 35.9 x 24 cm for excellent quality prints.

The Canon R5 has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.

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 Sony Alpha 7S III are ISO 80 to ISO 102400, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 40-409600.

Canon R5 versus A7S III MP

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 table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.

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Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
 
Canon R5 Full Frame 44.8 8192 54648k/30p........
 
Sony A7S III Full Frame 12.0 4240 28324K/120p........
 
Canon R6 Full Frame 20.0 5472 36484k/60p........
 
Canon R Full Frame 30.1 6720 44804K/30p24.513.5274289
 
Nikon Z7 Full Frame 45.4 8256 55044K/30p26.314.6266899
 
Panasonic S1R Full Frame 46.7 8368 55844K/60p26.414.13525100
 
Sony A9 II Full Frame 24.0 6000 40004K/30p25.014.0343493
 
Sony A7R IV Full Frame 60.2 9504 63364K/30p........
 
Sony A7R III Full Frame 42.2 7952 53044K/30p26.014.73523100
 
Sony A99 II Full Frame 42.2 7952 53044K/30p25.413.4231792
 
Sony A7R II Full Frame 42.2 7952 53044K/30p26.013.9343498
 
Sony A7S II Full Frame 12.0 4240 28324K/30p23.613.3299385

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 Canon R5 provides a higher video resolution than the A7S III. It can shoot video footage at 8k/30p, while the Sony is limited to 4K/120p.

Feature comparison

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The two cameras under review are similar with respect to both having an electronic viewfinder. However, the one in the A7S III offers a substantially higher resolution than the one in the Canon R5 (9440k vs 5760k dots). The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon R5, the Sony A7S III, and comparable cameras.

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Core Features
  Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
(000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
 
Canon R55760 Y 3.2 2100 swivel Y 1/8000s 20.0 n Y
 
Sony A7S III9440 n 3.0 1440 swivel Y 1/8000s 10.0 n Y
 
Canon R65760 n 3.0 1620 swivel Y 1/8000s 12.0 n Y
 
Canon R3690 Y 3.2 2100 swivel Y 1/8000s 8.0 n n
 
Nikon Z73690 Y 3.2 2100 tilting Y 1/8000s 9.0 n Y
 
Panasonic S1R5760 Y 3.2 2100 full-flex Y 1/8000s 9.0 n Y
 
Sony A9 II3686 n 3.0 1440 tilting Y 1/8000s 10.0 n Y
 
Sony A7R IV5760 n 3.0 1440 tilting Y 1/8000s 10.0 n Y
 
Sony A7R III3686 n 3.0 1440 tilting Y 1/8000s 10.0 n Y
 
Sony A99 II2400 Y 3.0 1229 full-flex n 1/8000s 12.0 n Y
 
Sony A7R II2400 n 3.0 1229 tilting n 1/8000s 5.0 n Y
 
Sony A7S II2400 n 3.0 1229 tilting n 1/8000s 5.0 n Y

One feature that is present on the Canon R5, but is missing on the A7S III is a top-level LCD. While being, of course, smaller than the rear screen, the control panel conveys some of the essential shooting information and can be convenient for quick and easy settings verification.

Both cameras have an articulated rear screen that can be turned to be front-facing. This feature will be particularly appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in taking selfies.

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 has 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 Canon R5 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the A7S III uses CFexpress or SDXC cards. Both cameras feature dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. The Canon R5 supports UHS-II cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 312 MB/s), while the A7S III can use UHS-I cards (up to 104 MB/s).

Connectivity comparison

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 Sony Alpha 7S III and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

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Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
 
Canon R5YmonomonoYYmicro3.2Y-Y
 
Sony A7S IIIYstereomonoYYfull3.2Y-Y
 
Canon R6YmonomonoYYmicro3.2Y-Y
 
Canon RYstereomonoYYmini3.1Y-Y
 
Nikon Z7YstereomonoYYmicro3.1Y-Y
 
Panasonic S1RYstereomonoYYfull3.1Y-Y
 
Sony A9 IIYstereomonoYYmicro3.1YYY
 
Sony A7R IVYstereomonoYYmicro3.1YYY
 
Sony A7R IIIYstereomonoYYmicro3.1YYY
 
Sony A99 IIYstereomonoYYmicro2.0YYY
 
Sony A7R IIYstereomonoYYmicro2.0YY-
 
Sony A7S IIYstereomonoYYmicro2.0YY-

Both the Canon R5 and the A7S III are recent models that are part of the current product line-up. The A7S III replaced the earlier Sony A7S II, while the Canon R5 does not have a direct predecessor. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Canon and Sony websites.

Review summary

So how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Canon R5 or the Sony A7S III – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.

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Reasons to prefer the Canon EOS R5:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (44.8 vs 12MP) with a 93% higher linear resolution.
  • Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (8k/30p vs 4K/120p).
  • Better live-view autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident autofocus.
  • Easier setting verification: Features an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.2" vs 3.0") for image review and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (2100k vs 1440k dots).
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (20 vs 10 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
  • Faster buffer clearing: Supports a more advanced SD data transfer standard (UHS-II vs UHS-I).

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Arguments in favor of the Sony Alpha 7S III:

  • More detailed viewfinder: Has higher resolution electronic viewfinder (9440k vs 5760k dots).
  • Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.91x vs 0.76x).
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (600 versus 320) out of a single battery charge.
  • More solid recording: Has a full-sized HDMI port for a sturdy connection to an external recorder.

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the Canon R5 is the clear winner of the match-up (9 : 4 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 wildlife photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a family photog, and a person interested in architecture has distinct needs from a sports shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

Canon R5 09:04 A7S III

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon R5 and the Sony A7S III 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 specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the Canon R5 and the A7S III in practical situations. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate.

Expert reviews

This is why expert reviews are important. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, and photographyblog). 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.

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Review Scores
  Camera
Model
camera
  labs  
dp
review  
ephoto
  zine  
imaging
resource
photography
  blog  
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
 
Canon R5.......... Jul 2020 3,899 i
 
Sony A7S III.......... Jul 2020 3,499 i
 
Canon R6.......... Jul 2020 2,499 i
 
Canon Ro79/1004.5/54/54/5 Sep 2018 2,299 i
 
Nikon Z7+89/1004.5/54.5/55/5 Aug 2018 3,399 i
 
Panasonic S1R..89/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Feb 2019 3,699 i
 
Sony A9 II....5/5..5/5 Oct 2019 4,499 i
 
Sony A7R IV+91/1004.5/55/55/5 Jul 2019 3,499 i
 
Sony A7R III+ +90/1004.5/55/55/5 Oct 2017 3,199i
 
Sony A99 II..85/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2016 3,199 i
 
Sony A7R II+ +90/1005/54.5/55/5 Jun 2015 3,199i
 
Sony A7S II+..4.5/55/55/5 Sep 2015 2,999i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, 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.

Canon R5:
Check Amazon price
Sony A7S III:
Check Amazon price

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.

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    Specifications: Canon R5 vs Sony A7S III

    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 Specifications
    Camera Model Canon R5 Sony A7S III
    Camera Type Mirrorless system camera Mirrorless system camera
    Camera Lens Canon RF mount lenses Sony E mount lenses
    Launch Date July 2020 July 2020
    Launch Price USD 3,899 USD 3,499
    Sensor Specs Canon R5 Sony A7S III
    Sensor Technology CMOS BSI-CMOS
    Sensor Format Full Frame Sensor Full Frame Sensor
    Sensor Size 36.0 x 24.0 mm 35.6 x 23.8 mm
    Sensor Area 864 mm2 847.28 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 43.3 mm 42.8 mm
    Crop Factor 1.0x 1.0x
    Sensor Resolution 44.8 Megapixels 12 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 8192 x 5464 pixels 4240 x 2832 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 4.39 μm 8.40 μm
    Pixel Density 5.18 MP/cm2 1.42 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 8k/30p Video 4K/120p Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 51,200 ISO 80 - 102,400 ISO
    ISO Boost 50 - 102,400 ISO 40 - 409,600 ISO
    Image Processor DIGIC X BIONZ XR
    Screen Specs Canon R5 Sony A7S III
    Viewfinder Type Electronic viewfinder Electronic viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100% 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.76x 0.91x
    Viewfinder Resolution 5760k dots 9440k dots
    Top-Level Screen Control Panel no Top Display
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.2inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 2100k dots 1440k dots
    LCD Attachment Swivel screen Swivel screen
    Touch Input Touchscreen Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs Canon R5 Sony A7S III
    Focus System On-Sensor Phase-detect Contrast-detect AF
    Manual Focusing AidFocus PeakingFocus Peaking
    Max Shutter Speed (mechanical) 1/8000s 1/8000s
    Continuous Shooting 20 shutter flaps/s 10 shutter flaps/s
    Shutter Life Expectancy300 000 actuations200 000 actuations
    Electronic Shutterup to 1/8000sYES
    Time-Lapse PhotographyIntervalometer built-inno Intervalometer
    Image StabilizationIn-body stabilizationIn-body stabilization
    Fill Flash no On-Board Flash no On-Board Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards CFexpress or SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Dual card slots Dual card slots
    UHS card support UHS-II UHS-I
    Connectivity Specs Canon R5 Sony A7S III
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 3.2 USB 3.2
    HDMI Port micro HDMI full 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 Sony A7S III
    Environmental SealingWeathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
    Battery Type LP-E6NH NP-FZ100
    Battery Life (CIPA)320 shots per charge600 shots per charge
    In-Camera Charging USB charging USB charging
    Body Dimensions 138 x 98 x 88 mm
    (5.4 x 3.9 x 3.5 in)
    127 x 97 x 81 mm
    (5.0 x 3.8 x 3.2 in)
    Camera Weight 738 g (26.0 oz) 699 g (24.7 oz)

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