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Sony A7R III versus Canon T5i

The Sony Alpha A7R III and the Canon EOS Rebel T5i (labelled Canon 700D in some countries) are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in October 2017 and March 2013. The A7R III is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the T5i is a DSLR. The cameras are based on a full frame (A7R III) and an APS-C (T5i) sensor. The Sony has a resolution of 42.2 megapixel, whereas the Canon provides 17.9 MP. Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their size, their sensors, their features, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison: Sony A7R III vs Canon T5i

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Sony A7R III and the Canon T5i. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are presented. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter. If you prefer, you can also use the toggle button to switch to a comparison in percentage terms (in this case, the camera on the left – the A7R III – represents the basis or 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).

Snapsort Sony A7R III vs Canon T5i
Compare A7R III versus T5i top
Compare A7R III and T5i rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Canon T5i is notably larger (9 percent) than the Sony A7R III. However, the T5i is markedly lighter (11 percent) than the A7R III. It is worth mentioning in this context that the A7R III is splash and dust resistant, while the T5i does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.

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. A larger imaging sensor will tend to go along with bigger and heavier lenses, although exceptions exist. You can find an overview of optics for the two cameras in the Sony FE Lens Catalog (A7R III) and the Canon EF Lens Catalog (T5i). Mirrorless cameras, such as the Sony A7R III, have moreover the advantage that they have a relatively short flange to focal plane distance and can thus use many lenses from other systems via adapters.

Concerning battery life, the A7R III gets 650 shots out of its NP-FZ100 battery, while the T5i can take 440 images on a single charge of its LP-E8 power pack.

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, just select a new right or left comparator from among the camera models in the table. Alternatively, you can also move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.

Camera Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(yes/no)
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Sony A7R III» 5.0 in 3.8 in 2.9 in 22.9 oz 650 Y Oct 2017 3,199 i i
Canon T5i« 5.2 in 3.9 in 3.1 in 20.5 oz 440 n Mar 2013 649- i
Canon T6i« » 5.2 in 4.0 in 3.1 in 19.6 oz 440 n Feb 2015 749- i
Canon T5« » 5.1 in 3.9 in 3.1 in 16.9 oz 500 n Feb 2014 449- i
Canon T4i« » 5.2 in 3.9 in 3.1 in 20.3 oz 440 n Jun 2012 849- i
Canon T3i« » 5.2 in 3.9 in 3.1 in 20.1 oz 440 n Feb 2011 599- i
Canon T2i« » 5.1 in 3.9 in 2.4 in 18.7 oz 440 n Feb 2010 699- i
Hasselblad X1D« » 5.9 in 3.9 in 2.8 in 25.6 oz .. Y Jun 2016 8,995 i i
Sony A7 III« » 5.0 in 3.8 in 2.9 in 22.9 oz 610 Y Feb 2018 1,999 i i
Sony A9« » 5.0 in 3.8 in 2.5 in 23.7 oz 650 Y Apr 2017 4,499 i i
Sony A99 II« » 5.6 in 4.1 in 3.0 in 29.9 oz 490 Y Sep 2016 3,199 i i
Sony A6500« » 4.7 in 2.6 in 2.1 in 16.0 oz 350 Y Oct 2016 1,399 i i
Sony A7R II« » 5.0 in 3.8 in 2.4 in 22.0 oz 290 Y Jun 2015 3,199- i
Sony A7S II« » 5.0 in 3.8 in 2.4 in 22.1 oz 370 Y Sep 2015 2,999 i i
Sony A7 II« » 5.0 in 3.8 in 2.4 in 21.1 oz 350 Y Nov 2014 1,999- i
Sony A7R« » 5.0 in 3.7 in 1.9 in 16.4 oz 340 Y Oct 2013 2,299- i
Sony A99« » 5.8 in 4.4 in 3.1 in 28.6 oz 500 Y Sep 2012 2,799- i

The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The T5i was launched at a markedly lower price (by 80 percent) than the A7R III, 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.

 

Sensor comparison: Sony A7R III vs Canon T5i

The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. A large sensor will generally have larger individual pixels that offer better low-light sensitivity, provide wider dynamic range, and have richer color depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Moreover, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more control over depth-of-field in the image and, thus, the ability to better isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Sony A7R III features a full frame sensor and the Canon T5i an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the T5i is 61 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.0 and 1.6. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Sony A7R III and Canon T5i sensor measures

With 42.2MP, the A7R III offers a higher resolution than the T5i (17.9MP), but the A7R III nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.52μm versus 4.31μm for the T5i) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the A7R III is a somewhat more recent model (by 4 years and 7 months) than the T5i, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the A7R III has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

Unlike the T5i, the A7R III has the capacity to capture high quality composite images by combining multiple shots after shifting its sensor by miniscule distances. This multi-shot, pixel-shift mode is most suitable for photography of stationary objects (landscapes, studio scenes).

A7R III versus T5i MP

For most cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). Of the two cameras under review, the A7R III provides substantially higher image quality than the T5i, with an overall score that is 39 points higher. This advantage is based on 4.3 bits higher color depth, 3.5 EV in additional dynamic range, and 2.4 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Sony A7R III» Full Frame 42.2 7952 53044K/30p26.014.73523100
Canon T5i« APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.711.268161
Canon T6i« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p22.712.091971
Canon T5« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.911.372463
Canon T4i« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.711.272262
Canon T3i« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.579365
Canon T2i« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.578466
Hasselblad X1D« » Medium Format 51.3 8272 62001080/25p26.214.84489102
Sony A7 III« » Full Frame 24.0 6000 40004K/30p25.014.7373096
Sony A9« » Full Frame 24.0 6000 40004K/30p24.913.3351792
Sony A99 II« » Full Frame 42.2 7952 53044K/30p25.413.4231792
Sony A6500« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40004K/30p24.513.7140585
Sony A7R II« » Full Frame 42.2 7952 53044K/30p26.013.9343498
Sony A7S II« » Full Frame 12.0 4240 28324K/30p23.613.3299385
Sony A7 II« » Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.913.6244990
Sony A7R« » Full Frame 36.2 7360 49121080/60p25.614.1274695
Sony A99« » Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p25.014.0155589

Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, but the A7R III provides a higher video resolution than the T5i. It can shoot video footage at 4K/30p, while the Canon is limited to 1080/30p.

 

Feature comparison: Sony A7R III vs Canon T5i

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the A7R III has an electronic viewfinder (3686k dots), while the T5i has an optical one. Both systems have their advantages, with the electronic viewfinder making it possible to project supplementary shooting information into the framing view, whereas the optical viewfinder offers lag-free viewing and a very clear framing image. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Sony A7R III, the Canon T5i, and comparable cameras. If needed, the dpreview camera hub, for example, contains further detail on the cameras' specs.

Core Features
  Camera Viewfinder
(Type or
'000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
('000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Shutter
speed
(1/sec)
Shutter
flaps
(1/sec))
Build-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Build-in
Image
Stab
Sony A7R III»3686 n 3.0 1440 tilting Y 8000 10.0 n Y
Canon T5i«optical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 5.0 Y n
Canon T6i« »optical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 5.0 Y n
Canon T5« »optical n 3.0 460 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n
Canon T4i« »optical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 5.0 Y n
Canon T3i« »optical n 3.0 1040 swivel n 4000 3.7 Y n
Canon T2i« »optical n 3.0 1040 fixed n 4000 3.7 Y n
Hasselblad X1D« »2360 n 3.0 920 fixed Y 2000 2.3 n n
Sony A7 III« »2359 n 3.0 922 tilting Y 8000 10.0 n Y
Sony A9« »3686 n 3.0 1440 tilting Y 8000 20.0 n Y
Sony A99 II« »2400 Y 3.0 1229 full-flex n 8000 12.0 n Y
Sony A6500« »2300 n 3.0 922 tilting Y 4000 11.0 Y Y
Sony A7R II« »2400 n 3.0 1229 tilting n 8000 5.0 n Y
Sony A7S II« »2400 n 3.0 1229 tilting n 8000 5.0 n Y
Sony A7 II« »2400 n 3.0 1230 tilting n 8000 5.0 n Y
Sony A7R« »2400 n 3.0 1230 tilting n 8000 4.0 n n
Sony A99« »2359 Y 3.0 1229 full-flex n 8000 6.0 n Y

The A7R III is a current model that online retailers, such as amazon, will have in stock. In contrast, the T5i has been discontinued (but it can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the T5i was succeeded by the Canon T6i.

Review summary: Sony A7R III vs Canon T5i

So how do things add up? Is the Sony A7R III better than the Canon T5i or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.

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Reasons to prefer the Sony Alpha A7R III:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (42.2 vs 17.9MP) with a 53% higher linear resolution.
  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • High quality composites: Can combine several shots after pixel-shifting its sensor.
  • Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (39 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
  • Richer colors: Generates images with noticeably better colors (4.3 bits more color depth).
  • More dynamic range: Captures a larger spectrum of light and dark details (3.5 EV of extra DR).
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (2.4 stops ISO advantage).
  • Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 1080/30p).
  • More framing info: Has an electronic viewfinder that displays shooting data.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1440k vs 1040k dots).
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (8000/sec vs 4000/sec) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (650 versus 440) on a single battery charge.
  • Better sealing: Is weather sealed to enable shooting in dusty or wet environments.
  • More legacy lens friendly: Can take a broad range of non-native lenses via adapters.
  • Sharper images: Has hand-shake reducing image stabilization build-in.
  • More modern: Reflects 4 years and 7 months of technical progress since the T5i launch.

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Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS Rebel T5i:

  • Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
  • Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
  • More flexible LCD: Has swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 70g or 11 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • Easier fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (80 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in March 2013).

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the A7R III is the clear winner of the match-up (17 : 7 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding on a new camera.

A7R III 17:07 T5i

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 A7R III or the T5i handle or perform in practice. 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. This is where reviews by experts come in. The adjacent table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). The detailed reviews can be accessed by clicking on the site logo in the table header.

Review scores
  Camera cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Sony A7R III»HiRec90/1004.5/55/55/5 Oct 2017 3,199 i i
Canon T5i«-76/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Mar 2013 649- i
Canon T6i« »-75/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Feb 2015 749- i
Canon T5« »Rec-4/54/54.5/5 Feb 2014 449- i
Canon T4i« »HiRec77/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2012 849- i
Canon T3i« »rev77/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Feb 2011 599- i
Canon T2i« »HiRec77/1004/55/54.5/5 Feb 2010 699- i
Hasselblad X1D« »rev---4/5 Jun 2016 8,995 i i
Sony A7 III« »HiRec89/1005/5-5/5 Feb 2018 1,999 i i
Sony A9« »HiRec89/1005/55/55/5 Apr 2017 4,499 i i
Sony A99 II« »-85/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2016 3,199 i i
Sony A6500« »HiRec85/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Oct 2016 1,399 i i
Sony A7R II« »HiRec90/1005/54.5/55/5 Jun 2015 3,199- i
Sony A7S II« »Rec-4.5/55/55/5 Sep 2015 2,999 i i
Sony A7 II« »Rec82/1004.5/55/55/5 Nov 2014 1,999- i
Sony A7R« »HiRec82/1004.5/55/55/5 Oct 2013 2,299- i
Sony A99« »-84/1004.5/5rev4.5/5 Sep 2012 2,799- i

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 are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored. If you cannot find the camera you are interested in, please send me an email, and I will try to add information on that model to the database.

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