Comparing the Canon R5 With the Sony a1 for Sports, Portraits and Wildlife (and What About Nikon?)

While the Canon EOS R5 and the Sony Alpha 1 may represent different classes of cameras in their respective company hierarchies, there’s a lot more that’s similar about the two than initially meets the eye. It’s with that in mind that Tony and Chelsea Northrup put the two cameras through the gauntlet to see how they compare on the big stuff.

As a Canon EOS R user who been previously impressed with the R system’s eye-detection capabilities, I wasn’t surprised to see both Tony and Chelsea both agree that, at least by the seat-of-the-pants measure, the autofocus on the Canon EOS R5 was more reliable and useful overall, though the Sony a1 wasn’t a slouch by any means. Part of that, at least in these tests, seemed attributable to the more current lens attached to the Canon, but still, even compared to other manufacturers I’ve tried, such as Fuji, Canon’s implementation of this crucial advancement in autofocus seems to be the best, if not the first. On a 45-50 megapixel camera, that lens advantage can really become crucial to eke the most detail out of an image. Both cameras seemed to do decently well with humans and wildlife, though Canon’s camera has the added bonus of being able to track insects fairly effectively.

One of the points that Tony seems to hammer home about the Sony a1 is that its framerate is 10 fps higher than the Canon EOS R5, at 30 fps versus 20 for the Canon. This, in theory, should allow for more chances to catch that definitive moment, especially for sports, though at that speed, autofocus can get a bit dicey. It should also be noted that the Canon EOS R5 is $3900 compared to the a1’s $6500 price tag, and while the 10 extra fps is nice, it’s an open question as to whether that advantage is worth the extra $2600.

While the focus (pun intended) of this video is on the Sony a1 and the Canon EOS R5, there’s one line at the end that really caught me by surprise, where Tony says that Canon and Sony are “so far ahead” of everybody else, including Nikon (not surprised to see Olympus, Pentax, Fuji, and Leica on that list, though).

The Nikon Z 7II is out there, pushing almost as many megapixels, but at half the frame rate for almost as much money. It’s almost enough to make Nikon shooters wonder what their company’s answer is to these two beasts from Canon and Sony.

That said, while we’re waiting for that answer, there are plenty of other tests in the video that Tony and Chelsea put the cameras through, so check it out above.

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