Canon R3 vs Sony a1 vs Nikon Z9: Digicam Comparability

From a full-frame perspective, the Nikon Z9, Canon R3, and Sony a1 are arguably the perfect cameras you should purchase right now. When it comes to being featured packed, all of them provide the very best for every greenback you put money into them. They’re all stellar performers in their very own proper, exhibiting the top of mirrorless digicam expertise right now. Every of those cameras excels in numerous points. They’re designed to cater to photographers and videographers who demand the utmost efficiency and capabilities. We gained’t decide sides over whether or not any of those flagships are outright winners over the opposite. This comparability goals to point out you the important thing strengths of every of those cameras in relation to the others.

Earlier than we dive into sizing up every of those flagships, let’s pore over the important thing factors that we famous in our evaluations. In our detailed assessment of the Canon R3, we stated

“The Canon R3 has a high burst velocity that’s truly helpful due to an amazing autofocus system and a quicker processor to restrict rolling shutter. This digicam cannot solely shoot at midnight however print ISO 128,000 and nonetheless look good. Whereas the R5 might make extra sense for element work, the R3 is an distinctive low-light and fast-action digicam. “

The Sony a1 is the most expensive among the many three. Other than this minor niggle, we solely had excessive reward for it:

“The Sony a1 is a digicam designed for professionals who want the perfect in stills and video. 50MP photos at 30 frames per second with autofocus make this digicam vital for professional sports activities, professional wildlife, and photojournalists. It’s expensive at $6,499. Nonetheless, for those who want a strong digicam that may produce high-resolution photos by the bucket load and 8K video, the Sony a1 is a no-compromise digicam that delivers.”

The Nikon Z9 is their first mirrorless digicam that basically received its competitors to show heads. And with each vital firmware replace they’ve introduced out, the digicam has gotten so many updates that it’s nearly like a brand new mannequin every time:

“The Nikon z9 is Nikon’s most modern digicam in years. It’s fairly a workhorse with a completely digital shutter, workable 3D monitoring autofocus, and numerous autofocus scene detection options. It’s additionally very properly weather-sealed and has unimaginable battery life. It trails behind Sony and Canon in some methods. However in different methods, it completely blows them out of the water. In my thoughts, it’s the primary genuinely professional-feeling mirrorless digicam that makes use of 35mm full-frame sensors.”


Right here, we’ll speak about improvements from the massive ones.

Upgraded Tech From The Previous

Canon’s bringing again Eye Management AF expertise with the R3. Sure, you learn that proper – you get to manage the autofocus level along with your eyes. It undoubtedly seems like one thing from the long run, but it surely’s truly one thing Canon launched again in 1992. There’s a slight catch; these carrying sun shades and even eyeglasses might face difficulties utilizing this characteristic. It’s one thing that improves over time with frequent calibration.

This characteristic doesn’t transfer the precise autofocus level till you focus the digicam. There’s a brown circle that exhibits the place the digicam goes to focus utilizing Eye Management AF. When you begin to focus, the AF level strikes over.

The Canon R3 additionally comes with a brand new sort of hotshoe that permits audio recording to video by way of it, very similar to what some Sony Alpha vlogging cameras assist.

Rolling Shutter – What’s That?

Utilizing a stacked sensor that takes benefit of high-speed RAM, Sony has nearly eradicated rolling shutter fully whenever you use the digital shutter within the a1. And having a lot RAM additionally allows the a1 to maintain firing away 50-megapixel photos at 30 frames per second with out stuttering. A fowl detection AF mode makes its technique to this digicam too.

Who Wants A Mechanical Shutter Anyway?

Right here’s an actual biggie – there’s no mechanical shutter in any respect within the Z9. Nikon made an actual daring transfer by making the Z9 a totally digital shutter digicam. In addition they added a whole lot of options, in a great way, that Nikon homeowners and followers have been wanting of their mirrorless cameras for years. 3D monitoring, automobile detection AF mode, and illuminated buttons lastly make their debut in a Z digicam.


Right here we’re discussing ergonomics.

Good Controller Anybody?

The Canon R3 is a type of mirrorless cameras that feels ergonomically as comfy to seize as a DSLR. Fortunately it’s considerably lighter (a 3rd, to be exact) than the Canon EOS 1DX Mark III digicam it was modeled after. The addition of the vertical grip enhances its dealing with and introduces an additional array of controls tailor-made for portrait-oriented capturing. Necessities just like the shutter, entrance and rear dials, M-Fn button, AF on, AF joystick, and AF space mode are readily accessible even when the digicam is held on this orientation. To distinguish it from extra prosumer fashions just like the Canon R6, an additional LCD has been added to the highest of the R3. The mode dial has additionally disappeared from right here and has been changed by a mode button beside the rear dial. A strong 5.76 million dot decision LCD resides on the again.

Arguably, the standout characteristic of the Canon R3 is the addition of what they name the Good Controller. It’s a sensor embedded within the AF-ON button catering to again button focus practitioners. Photographers utilizing this focusing approach can drag their fingers throughout it to leap to totally different AF factors. Consider it as a tiny touchscreen characteristic that means that you can slide throughout the assorted AF factors, selecting one a lot quicker than for those who might through the use of the joystick.

Deja Vu

Like a lot of its fellow mirrorless counterparts, the Sony a1 intently resembles the Sony a7s III by way of ergonomics. The digicam’s hand grip is notably deep and cozy, making certain a agency maintain accommodating even these with bigger fingers.

Acquainted Really feel In A New Look

Visibly Nikon, however not similar to any of its flagship DSLRs, is the Z9. Hardcode Nikon customers might be delighted with this digicam’s placement of dials and buttons. Although it’s smaller than the D6, you continue to get three Fn buttons within the entrance on your customization. The big LCD tilts in 4 axes, a primary for Nikon mirrorless cameras. There’s a secondary, smaller LCD on the highest and a Kensington lock on the left. They’ve additionally lastly added a lever within the on/off swap that means that you can illuminate the buttons.

Construct High quality

We take our high quality assessments very significantly at The Phoblographer. Particularly climate sealing assessments. If a producer claims a sure degree of climate resistance for his or her gear, make certain that we’ll take a look at these claims to see in the event that they maintain up.

Lives Up To Its Worth Tag

It’s USD 6000, and for that worth, the Canon R3 undoubtedly seems like an all-weather sort of digicam. The controls and dials felt nice throughout our assessments, and a light-weight drizzle did nothing to dampen the operation speeds of the digicam. We doused it with a glass of water to see how it might maintain up – no points in any respect. If you wish to swap out lenses, a bodily shutter helps shield the R3’s sensor from the weather.

A lot Improved

In comparison with earlier fashions, the construct high quality of the Sony a1 is a big enchancment. Port covers aren’t flimsy anymore, and the general contact and really feel responses are reassuring. The a1 might be the perfect digicam they’ve introduced out by way of climate sealing. Regardless of utilizing it in difficult situations for per week, no mud made its technique to the sensor.

All Climate Marvel

Even an NYC blizzard couldn’t cease the Nikon Z9 from working with no hitch. And I’ve used it in Dubai in over 100F temperatures outdoor with none points. That is Nikon’s hardest cookie but.

Ease Of Use

With the Canon R3, even seasoned Canon photographers may discover the educational curve to be a bit steeper than they’d have initially anticipated. And a whole lot of this has to do with getting familiarized and cozy with the brand new Eye Management AF and the Good Controller button. Being two utterly new options for many Canon customers, getting used to those and imbibing them into their workflow might be time-consuming. The animal and fowl AF can undoubtedly end in much more keepers, when used for wildlife pictures. And sports activities photographers particularly will respect the flexibility to shoot as much as 195fps stills.

Sony did the sensible factor and ported their new menu system to the a1. It’s a welcome addition, particularly contemplating the worth you’re paying for it. Whereas the EVF is packed spectacularly with 9.44 million dots, we solely want they’d been as beneficiant with the LCD, which is caught with a 1.4 million dot panel. One thing that basically wants mentioning once more is the unbelievable digital sensor on the Sony a1. Absolutely the lack of rolling shutter impact within the photos we took actually left us in awe on the velocity of the sensor readout. The IBIS is nice sufficient to take a 1-second publicity with none noticeable shake within the photos.

Why Doesn’t Each Digicam Have Illuminated Buttons

Illuminated buttons on the Nikon Z9 needs to be commonplace on all cameras by now. It’s a disgrace that Nikon feels solely the flagships deserve this characteristic. Nonetheless, from a software program perspective, Nikon continues to wow Z9 customers with every new firmware replace. The Jan 2023 model provides a Pre Launch Seize, which lets you pre-record as much as a second earlier than you press the shutter. You can even set it to document even a bit after releasing the identical. With the latest firmware 4.0 launch, you get Auto Seize. This characteristic permits the digicam to mechanically set off the shutter when one thing walks into a particular portion of the body. A superb addition for distant digicam pictures in wildlife and sports activities.

Autofocus Comparability

We’re all dying to know concerning the autofocus, proper?

Canon R3 – 1053 level twin pixel AF

May you actually ask for extra factors to replenish the viewfinder? Canon maximizes the potential of every of those with superfast autofocus that’s greater than able to maintaining with the 30fps burst fee. Using what seems to be an EVF WYSIWYG simulation, even when it’s actually darkish, to completely nail focus, the R3 had no hassle specializing in a face, even within the dimly lit state of affairs seen above.

There gave the impression to be no hassle with the Canon R3’s autofocus system locking completely on the eyes of even tiny birds, comparable to this Black-Capped Chickadee. Even on small bugs, the AF system might clearly distinguish the pinnacle from the remainder of the physique. Face detection and monitoring aren’t restricted to some AF modes like older Canon mirrorless cameras. Nevertheless it won’t work completely when the face isn’t taking over an excessive amount of of the body, comparable to whereas utilizing an ultrawide lens.

Sony a1 AF – Nice In Good Gentle

If you happen to’re capturing in well-lit to low-light situations, the autofocus system on the Sony a1 gained’t disappoint you. Regardless of the focus and/or topic mode you select, anticipate it to ship the products on time. That’s to not say it’s a poor performer in poorly lit situations. AF stays correct even right here, however the velocity with which it locks on to topics appropriately takes a little bit of a success. Don’t fear about its Eye AF capabilities; the a1 by no means actually missed this throughout our testing.

Animal and Hen AF modes have been separated with the most recent firmware replace launched in August 2022. However later, in Feb 2023, they mixed the 2 to provide you a further animal/fowl AF mode. The keepers are astounding when the a1 nails the main target in Hen AF mode, however we do want the hit fee was increased. Throughout our assessments, whereas photographing shifting birds, we discovered about 4 in 10 photographs to be completely centered.

Nikon Z9 – Flip Off Publicity Preview For Finest Outcomes

This bit of recommendation holds good for many mirrorless cameras right now however for none greater than the Nikon Z line. Particularly in low mild, be taught to belief the meter and switch your LCD preview off. You’ll discover that the AF monitoring and accuracy are quite a bit increased. However placing that tip apart, the AF efficiency of the Z9 blows the Z6 and Z7 strains out of the water. There may be merely no comparability on this regard. The Z9 doesn’t simply comply with your topic’s eyes much better than the opposite Z cameras; its focusing accuracy provides you far more keepers. It could actually lock on to human and animal faces even at a lot additional distances than the Z6/II and Z7/II cameras can.

The above picture was shot with a Z9 and an F-mount 200-400mm f4 lens. This fowl flew so quick that I might barely see it because it whizzed previous me. All I keep in mind was briefly pointing the lens towards the place I first noticed it and activating focus earlier than letting off a shutter burst. The Hen AF monitoring was on Auto AF mode, completely nailed focus. I’m under no circumstances a wildlife photographer, however even I used to be tremendous stunned with how a lot help this focus mode might present.

I’ve been doing sports activities pictures for over 15 years now, and the Nikon Z9 ranks as the most effective cameras for this style of pictures. Some months in the past, the World Tennis League held in Dubai was held in a makeshift stadium with floodlights that weren’t as vivid as what sporting stadiums would sometimes have. Even in such difficult situations, the Z9 might precisely monitor and appropriately deal with fast-moving tennis gamers with its Eye AF.

Picture High quality

So what’s the perfect?

Canon R3 – Editor’s Alternative Winner

With the smallest decision sensor among the many three, the Canon R3 produces the perfect low-light, high-ISO outcomes. Even at ISO 12800, the information might be printed in giant sizes. Whereas capturing RAW, you’ll be able to rapidly get well information with three or extra stops of underexposure. Holding the sensor to simply 24 megapixels, whereas undoubtedly not even near that of its essential opponents, actually helps the R3 within the low-light outcomes division. The Canon R3 was the most effective cameras we’ve examined lately, and it bagged our Editors Alternative Award. Take a look at our gallery of photos taken with the Canon R3 right here.

Sony a1 – Distinctive Dynamic Vary

The above picture was deliberately underexposed to see what the a1’s sensor might do. The quantity of element we might get well within the shadows right here is fairly unimaginable.

ISO 12800

Regardless of having a really high-resolution sensor, the Sony a1 nonetheless shoots unimaginable photos at excessive ISO values. Haven’t any concern snapping away at even ISO 6400; there are a great deal of particulars and hardly any noise in there. It additionally gained our Editor’s Alternative Award. Discover extra photos shot with the Sony a1 in our gallery right here.

Nikon Z9 – Their Finest Digicam So Far

If you happen to’re not a pixel peeper like most of us, you’d battle to see any distinction within the noise ranges (as much as ISO 6400) between photos produced from the Nikon Z9 and the opposite two cameras right here. Although Nikon used a Sony sensor for this digicam, it nonetheless produces extra noise within the shadows than you’d see on a Sony digicam. Chalk that as much as Sony’s secret noise processing formulae. We had nice outcomes when capturing with pure lighting. With blended and synthetic lighting, the outcomes have been a little bit of a hit-and-miss at occasions.

It grabbed an entire 5 stars however missed out on the Editor’s Alternative Award. See extra photos shot with the Z9 in our gallery right here.

Tech Specs Comparability

Canon R3 Sony a1 Nikon Z9
24.1 50.1 45.7
Sensor-Shift, 5-Axis Sensor-Shift, 5-axis compensation Sensor-Shift, 5-Axis
100 to 102400 (Prolonged: 50 – 204800) 100 – 32,000
(Prolonged 50 – 102,400)
64 to 25600 (Prolonged: 32 – 102400)
Max shutter velocity 1/8000 (mechanical)
1/64000 (digital)
1/8000 (mechanical)
1/32000 (digital)
Publicity Compensation -3 to +3 EV -5 to +5 EV -5 to +5 EV
Steady Taking pictures (stills) As much as 30 fps (digital), 12 fps (mechanical) As much as 30 fps (digital), 10 fps (mechanical) As much as 30 fps at full decision
As much as 120 fps at 11 MP
Autofocus Factors 1053 Section Detection factors 759 phase-detection and 425 contrast-detection factors 493 Section Detection factors
Viewfinder Decision 5.76 million Dots 9.44 million dots 3.69 million dots
LCD measurement 3.2″, 4.15 million dots 3″, 1.44 million dots 3.2″ (8.1cm), 2.1 million dots
Card slot(s) Twin CFexpress Sort B, SD card Twin SD/CFexpress Sort A Twin Slot: CFexpress Sort B / XQD
(W x H x D)
5.9 x 5.6 x 3.4″ 5.08 x 3.82 x 3.19″ 5.9 × 5.9 × 3.6″
Weight (Physique Solely) 1.8 lbs. (822g) 1.6lbs (737g) 2.6 lbs (1179g)