Sony A9 vs Canon M5
The Sony Alpha A9 and the Canon EOS M5 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in April 2017 and September 2016. Both the A9 and the M5 are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are based on a full frame (A9) and an APS-C (M5) sensor. Both cameras offer a resolution of 24 megapixels. Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their sensors, their features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.
|Sony A9||Canon M5|
|Mirrorless system camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Sony E mount lenses||Canon EF-M mount lenses|
|24 MP, Full Frame Sensor||24 MP, APS-C Sensor|
|4K/30p Video||1080/60p Video|
|ISO 100-51200 (50-204800)||ISO 100-25600|
|Electronic viewfinder (3686k dots)||Electronic viewfinder (2360k dots)|
|3.0" LCD, 1440k dots||3.2" LCD, 1620k dots|
|Tilting touchscreen||Tilting touchscreen|
|20 shutter flaps per second||9 shutter flaps per second|
|In-body stabilization||Lens stabilization only|
|Weathersealed body||Not weather sealed|
|650 shots per battery charge||295 shots per battery charge|
|127 x 96 x 63 mm, 673 g||116 x 89 x 61 mm, 427 g|
Body comparison: Sony A9 vs Canon M5
The physical size and weight of the Sony A9 and the Canon M5 are illustrated 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 size 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 A9 – represents 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Canon M5 is notably smaller (15 percent) than the Sony A9. Moreover, the M5 is substantially lighter (37 percent) than the A9. It is worth mentioning in this context that the A9 is splash and dust resistant, while the M5 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. 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 following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. 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.
|Sony A9»||5.0 in||3.8 in||2.5 in||23.7 oz||650||Y||Apr 2017||4,499||Sony A9|
|Canon M5«||4.6 in||3.5 in||2.4 in||15.1 oz||295||n||Sep 2016||979||Canon M5|
|Canon 77D« »||5.2 in||3.9 in||3.0 in||19.0 oz||600||n||Feb 2017||899||Canon 77D|
|Canon M6« »||4.4 in||2.7 in||1.8 in||13.8 oz||295||n||Feb 2017||779||Canon M6|
|Canon M100« »||4.3 in||2.6 in||1.4 in||10.7 oz||295||n||Aug 2017||499||Canon M100|
|Canon M3« »||4.4 in||2.7 in||1.7 in||12.9 oz||250||n||Feb 2015||679||-||Canon M3|
|Canon M10« »||4.3 in||2.6 in||1.4 in||10.6 oz||255||n||Oct 2015||499||-||Canon M10|
|Olympus E-M1 II« »||5.3 in||3.6 in||2.6 in||20.2 oz||440||Y||Sep 2016||1,999||Olympus E-M1 II|
|Panasonic GH5« »||5.5 in||3.9 in||3.4 in||25.6 oz||410||Y||Jan 2017||1,999||Panasonic GH5|
|Sony A7 III« »||5.0 in||3.8 in||2.9 in||22.9 oz||610||Y||Feb 2018||1,999||Sony A7 III|
|Sony A7R III« »||5.0 in||3.8 in||2.9 in||22.9 oz||650||Y||Oct 2017||3,199||Sony A7R III|
|Sony A6500« »||4.7 in||2.6 in||2.1 in||16.0 oz||350||Y||Oct 2016||1,399||Sony A6500|
|Sony A7R II« »||5.0 in||3.8 in||2.4 in||22.0 oz||290||Y||Jun 2015||3,199||-||Sony A7R II|
|Sony A7S II« »||5.0 in||3.8 in||2.4 in||22.1 oz||370||Y||Sep 2015||2,999||Sony A7S II|
|Sony A7 II« »||5.0 in||3.8 in||2.4 in||21.1 oz||350||Y||Nov 2014||1,999||-||Sony A7 II|
|Sony A99« »||5.8 in||4.4 in||3.1 in||28.6 oz||500||Y||Sep 2012||2,799||-||Sony A99|
|Sony A77« »||5.6 in||4.1 in||3.2 in||25.8 oz||470||Y||Aug 2011||1,999||-||Sony A77|
Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The M5 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 78 percent) than the A9, which puts it into a different market segment. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. 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.
Sensor comparison: Sony A9 vs Canon M5
The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors of image quality. A large sensor will tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixel-units 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 associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Sony A9 features a full frame sensor and the Canon M5 an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the M5 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.
Even though the A9 has a larger sensor, both cameras offer the same resolution of 24 megapixels. This implies that the A9 has a lower pixel density and larger individual pixels (with a pixel pitch of 5.94μm versus 3.72μm for the M5), which gives it a potential advantage in terms of light gathering capacity. In addition, the A9 is a somewhat more recent model (by 7 months) than the M5, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time.
The Sony Alpha A9 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 51200, which can be extended to ISO 50-204800. The corresponding ISO settings for the Canon EOS M5 are ISO 100 to ISO 25600 (no boost).
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). Of the two cameras under review, the A9 provides substantially higher image quality than the M5, with an overall score that is 15 points higher. This advantage is based on 1.5 bits higher color depth, 0.9 EV in additional dynamic range, and 1.5 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.
|Sony A9»||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||24.9||13.3||3517||92||Sony A9|
|Canon M5«||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||23.4||12.4||1262||77||Canon M5|
|Canon 77D« »||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||23.6||13.3||971||78||Canon 77D|
|Canon M6« »||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||-||-||-||-||Canon M6|
|Canon M100« »||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||23.5||12.9||1272||78||Canon M100|
|Canon M3« »||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/30p||22.8||11.8||1169||72||Canon M3|
|Canon M10« »||APS-C||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||22.2||11.4||753||65||Canon M10|
|Olympus E-M1 II« »||Four Thirds||20.2||5184||3888||4K/30p||23.7||12.8||1312||80||Olympus E-M1 II|
|Panasonic GH5« »||Four Thirds||20.2||5184||3888||4K/60p||23.9||13.0||807||77||Panasonic GH5|
|Sony A7 III« »||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||25.0||14.7||3730||96||Sony A7 III|
|Sony A7R III« »||Full Frame||42.2||7952||5304||4K/30p||26.0||14.7||3523||100||Sony A7R III|
|Sony A6500« »||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||24.5||13.7||1405||85||Sony A6500|
|Sony A7R II« »||Full Frame||42.2||7952||5304||4K/30p||26.0||13.9||3434||98||Sony A7R II|
|Sony A7S II« »||Full Frame||12.0||4240||2832||4K/30p||23.6||13.3||2993||85||Sony A7S II|
|Sony A7 II« »||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.9||13.6||2449||90||Sony A7 II|
|Sony A99« »||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||25.0||14.0||1555||89||Sony A99|
|Sony A77« »||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.0||13.2||801||78||Sony A77|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, but the A9 provides a higher video resolution than the M5. It can shoot video footage at 4K/30p, while the Canon is limited to 1080/60p.
Feature comparison: Sony A9 vs Canon M5
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 A9 offers a substantially higher resolution than the one in the M5 (3686k vs 2360k dots). The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Sony A9 and Canon M5 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|Sony A9»||3686||n||3.0||1440||tilting||Y||8000||20.0||n||Y||Sony A9|
|Canon M5«||2360||n||3.2||1620||tilting||Y||4000||9.0||Y||n||Canon M5|
|Canon 77D« »||optical||Y||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||4000||6.0||Y||n||Canon 77D|
|Canon M6« »||-||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||4000||9.0||Y||n||Canon M6|
|Canon M100« »||-||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||4000||6.1||Y||n||Canon M100|
|Canon M3« »||-||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||4000||4.2||Y||n||Canon M3|
|Canon M10« »||-||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||4000||4.6||Y||n||Canon M10|
|Olympus E-M1 II« »||2360||n||3.0||1037||swivel||Y||8000||18.0||n||Y||Olympus E-M1 II|
|Panasonic GH5« »||3680||n||3.2||1620||swivel||Y||8000||12.0||n||Y||Panasonic GH5|
|Sony A7 III« »||2359||n||3.0||922||tilting||Y||8000||10.0||n||Y||Sony A7 III|
|Sony A7R III« »||3686||n||3.0||1440||tilting||Y||8000||10.0||n||Y||Sony A7R III|
|Sony A6500« »||2359||n||3.0||922||tilting||Y||4000||11.0||Y||Y||Sony A6500|
|Sony A7R II« »||2400||n||3.0||1229||tilting||n||8000||5.0||n||Y||Sony A7R II|
|Sony A7S II« »||2400||n||3.0||1229||tilting||n||8000||5.0||n||Y||Sony A7S II|
|Sony A7 II« »||2400||n||3.0||1230||tilting||n||8000||5.0||n||Y||Sony A7 II|
|Sony A99« »||2359||Y||3.0||1229||full-flex||n||8000||6.0||n||Y||Sony A99|
|Sony A77« »||2359||Y||3.0||921||full-flex||n||8000||12.0||Y||Y||Sony A77|
One feature that differentiates the A9 and the M5 is in-body image stabilization (IBIS). The A9 reduces the risk of handshake-induced blur with all attached lenses, while the M5 has to rely on optical image stabilization in OIS-equipped lenses to achieve the same effect.The M5 has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in taking selfies. In contrast, the A9 does not have a selfie-screen.
The reported shutter speed and shutter burst refer to the use of the mechanical shutter. In addition, the A9 features 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 A9 writes its imaging data to SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards, while the M5 uses SDXC cards. The A9 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the M5 only has one slot.
Connectivity comparison: Sony A9 vs Canon M5
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 Sony Alpha A9 and Canon EOS M5 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
|Sony A9»||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y||Sony A9|
|Canon M5«||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y||Canon M5|
|Canon 77D« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y||Canon 77D|
|Canon M6« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y||Canon M6|
|Canon M100« »||-||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y||Canon M100|
|Canon M3« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-||Canon M3|
|Canon M10« »||-||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-||Canon M10|
|Olympus E-M1 II« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||3.0||Y||-||-||Olympus E-M1 II|
|Panasonic GH5« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||full||3.1||Y||-||Y||Panasonic GH5|
|Sony A7 III« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||3.1||Y||Y||Y||Sony A7 III|
|Sony A7R III« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||3.1||Y||Y||Y||Sony A7R III|
|Sony A6500« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony A6500|
|Sony A7R II« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony A7R II|
|Sony A7S II« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony A7S II|
|Sony A7 II« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony A7 II|
|Sony A99« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Sony A99|
|Sony A77« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Sony A77|
It is notable that the A9 has a headphone jack, which is not present on the M5 This port makes it possible to attach external headphones and monitor the quality of sound during the recording process.
Both the A9 and the M5 are recent models that feature in their makers' current product line-up. Neither of the two has a direct predecessor, so perhaps they will constitute the origins of new camera lines for Sony and Canon.
Review summary: Sony A9 vs Canon M5
So how do things add up? Is the Sony A9 better than the Canon M5 or vice versa? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Reasons to prefer the Sony Alpha A9:
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (15 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
- Richer colors: Generates images with noticeably better colors (1.5 bits more color depth).
- More dynamic range: Captures a larger spectrum of light and dark details (0.9 EV of extra DR).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (1.5 stops ISO advantage).
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 1080/60p).
- Better sound control: Has a headphone port that enables audio monitoring while recording.
- More detailed viewfinder: Has higher resolution electronic viewfinder (3686k vs 2360k dots).
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (8000/sec vs 4000/sec) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (20 vs 9 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (650 versus 295) on a single battery charge.
- Better sealing: Is weather sealed to enable shooting in dusty or wet environments.
- Sharper images: Has hand-shake reducing image stabilization built-in.
- 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 7 months after the M5).
Advantages of the Canon EOS M5:
- 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 (1620k vs 1440k dots).
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- More compact: Is smaller (116x89mm vs 127x96mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 246g or 37 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 (78 percent cheaper at launch).
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in September 2016).
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the A9 is the clear winner of the match-up (15 : 8 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.
In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the A9 or the M5 handle or perform in practice. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.
Expert reviews: Sony A9 vs Canon M5
This is why expert reviews are important. The table below summarizes the assessments of some of the best known camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). You can find the full text of the reviews by clicking on the site logo in the table header.
|Sony A9»||HiRec||89/100||5/5||5/5||5/5||Apr 2017||4,499||Sony A9|
|Canon M5«||Rec||82/100||4/5||4.5/5||4/5||Sep 2016||979||Canon M5|
|Canon 77D« »||-||82/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2017||899||Canon 77D|
|Canon M6« »||-||80/100||4/5||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2017||779||Canon M6|
|Canon M100« »||Rec||-||4/5||-||3.5/5||Aug 2017||499||Canon M100|
|Canon M3« »||rev||75/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2015||679||-||Canon M3|
|Canon M10« »||-||-||-||rev||4/5||Oct 2015||499||-||Canon M10|
|Olympus E-M1 II« »||HiRec||85/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2016||1,999||Olympus E-M1 II|
|Panasonic GH5« »||HiRec||85/100||4.5/5||5/5||5/5||Jan 2017||1,999||Panasonic GH5|
|Sony A7 III« »||HiRec||89/100||5/5||5/5||5/5||Feb 2018||1,999||Sony A7 III|
|Sony A7R III« »||HiRec||90/100||4.5/5||5/5||5/5||Oct 2017||3,199||Sony A7R III|
|Sony A6500« »||HiRec||85/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2016||1,399||Sony A6500|
|Sony A7R II« »||HiRec||90/100||5/5||4.5/5||5/5||Jun 2015||3,199||-||Sony A7R II|
|Sony A7S II« »||Rec||-||4.5/5||5/5||5/5||Sep 2015||2,999||Sony A7S II|
|Sony A7 II« »||Rec||82/100||4.5/5||5/5||5/5||Nov 2014||1,999||-||Sony A7 II|
|Sony A99« »||-||84/100||4.5/5||rev||4.5/5||Sep 2012||2,799||-||Sony A99|
|Sony A77« »||91/100||81/100||-||4.5/5||5/5||Aug 2011||1,999||-||Sony A77|
The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. 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? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, 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.
- Canon 1300D vs Canon 5D Mark III
- Canon G1 X vs Olympus E-510
- Canon G9 X vs Sony A6000
- Canon T6i vs Canon 200D
- Nikon D3200 vs Panasonic GX80
- Panasonic G80 vs Fujifilm X-T1
- Panasonic TZ100 vs Nikon D3300
- Sony A3000 vs Nikon D3400
- Sony A58 vs Sony A77
- Sony A7 vs Sony A5000
- Sony A7R III vs Sony RX1R II
- Sony A99 II vs Panasonic G9
Specifications: Sony A9 vs Canon M5
|Camera Model||Sony A9||Canon M5|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||Sony E mount lenses||Canon EF-M mount lenses|
|Launch Date||April 2017||September 2016|
|Launch Price||USD 4499||USD 979|
|Sensor Format||Full Frame Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||35.6 x 23.8 mm||22.3 x 23.8 mm|
|Sensor Area||847.28 mm2||332.27 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||42.8 mm||26.8 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||24 Megapixels||24 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||6000 x 4000 pixels||6000 x 4000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||5.94 μm||3.72 μm|
|Pixel Density||2.83 MP/cm2||7.22 MP/cm2|
|Movie Capability||4K/30p Video||1080/60p Video|
|ISO Setting||100-51200 ISO||100-25600 ISO|
|ISO Boost||50-204800 ISO||no Enhancement|
|Image Processor||BIONZ X||DIGIC 7|
|Viewfinder Type||Electronic viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Resolution||3686k dots||2360k dots|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0 inch||3.2 inch|
|LCD Resolution||1440k dots||1620k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Tilting screen||Tilting screen|
|Maximum Shutter Speed||1/8000s||1/4000s|
|Continuous Shooting||20 shutter flaps/s||9 shutter flaps/s|
|Silent Shooting||Electronic Shutter||no E-Shutter|
|Image Stabilization||In-body stabilization||Lens stabilization only|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||MS or SDXC cards||SDXC cards|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||micro HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||External MIC port|
|Headphone Socket||Headphone port||Headphone port|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||Wifi built-in|
|Near-Field Communication||NFC built-in||NFC built-in|
|Bluetooth Support||Bluetooth built-in||Bluetooth built-in|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||Not weather sealed|
|Battery Type||NP-FZ100 power pack||LP-E17 power pack|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||650 shots per charge||295 shots per charge|
127 x 96 x 63 mm
(5.0 x 3.8 x 2.5 in)
116 x 89 x 61 mm
(4.6 x 3.5 x 2.4 in)
|Camera Weight||673 g (23.7 oz)||427 g (15.1 oz)|
Did you notice an error on this page? If so, please get in touch, so that we can correct the information.