With the Sony A7 IV finally reaching customers hands within the last few weeks, we wanted to sit down and compare it with its top competitor, the Canon EOS R6. Both have been well-received and the Canon EOS R6 has been top of its class for quite some time. Now with the arrival of the Sony A7 IV, let's take a deep dive into how these two stacks up.
Keep in mind, it's unlikely that there will be a definite right answer since each camera comes with a certain set of strengths, this comparison is more to gauge what would make more sense for you. So let's take a look.
Canon EOS R6 vs. Sony A7 IV Specification Chart
|Canon EOS R6||Sony A7 IV|
|Release Date||July 9th 2020||October 21st 2021|
|Mount Type||RF Mount||E-Mount|
|Sensor Resolution||20 MP||33 MP|
|Sensor Type||CMOS||Exmor R CMOS|
|Sensor Size||36 x 24mm||35.9 x 23.9mm|
|Low Pass Filter||Yes||No|
|Sensor Pixel Size||6.56µ||3.76µ|
|Image Size||5,472 x 3,648||7,008 x 4,672|
|Image Processor||DIGIC X||BIONZ XR|
|In-body Image Stabilization||Yes||Yes|
|Max Buffer Capacity (Rated, RAW)||240 images (UHS-II)||Unlimited (CFexpress Type A)|
|Native ISO Sensitivity||100-102,400||100-51,200|
|Boosted ISO Sensitivity||50-204,800||50-204,800|
|Dust Reduction/Sensor Cleaning||Yes||Yes|
|Viewfinder Type||(Electronic) EVF||(Electronic) EVF|
|Viewfinder Resolution||3.69 million dots||3.69 million dots|
|LCD Articulating Screen||Full Articulating||Full Articulating|
|Storage||2x SD (UHS-II)||2x SD (CFexpress Type A + UHS-II)|
|Continuous Shooting Speed||
20 FPS* (electronic)
12 FPS (mechanical)
|Max Shutter Speed||1/8000 to 30 sec||1/8000 to 30 sec|
|Auto Focusing System||Dual Pixel CMOS AF II||Hybrid Phase-Detection|
|Number of AF Positions||6,072||759|
|AF Detection Range||-6.5 to +20 EV||-4 to +20 EV|
|AE Bracketing Range||±3 EV||±5 EV|
|Video Max Resolution||4K 60 FPS||4K 60 FPS|
|1080p Video Max Frame Rate||120 FPS||120 FPS|
|Internal Recording||4:2:2, 10-bit||4:2:2 10-bit|
|Max Recording Time||30 minutes||Unlimited|
|Audio Recording||Built-in stereo microphone, optional external stereo microphone||Built-in stereo microphone, optional external stereo microphone|
|LCD Resolution||1.62 million dots||1.04 million dots|
|Battery Type||LP-E6NH (380 shots)||NP-FZ100 (520 shots)|
|Shutter Durability Count||300,000||Not Officially Stated|
|Weight||1.5 lbs||1.45 lbs|
|Dimensions||5.45 x 3.84 x 3.48 in||5.07 x 3.81 x 2.74 in|
Resolution and Processing Power
The most obvious distinction between the two cameras is resolution. Following the previous crowd-favorite, the Sony A7 III, the A7 IV now has gone beyond the standard resolution of 24MP, offering 33MP compared to 20MP in the Canon R6. So, when it comes to pure resolution and detail, the A7 IV is the obvious winner. In contrast, the lower resolution in the Canon R6 contributes to a higher ISO sensitivity and slight edge in low-light performance over the A7 IV.
As you click on the images above, you can see from our test, the Canon R6 manages less noise and hot pixels than the Sony A7 IV. In this test, we set the shutterspeed to 30 seconds, left the lens cap on and set the ISO. The ISO settings ranged from 1600 to 25600.
The buffer capacity in the Canon R6 is 240 shots on a UHS-II SD card whereas the Sony A7 IV has an unlimited capacity with a CFexpress Type A card. Essentially, this means the Sony A7 IV allows you to shoot continuously until you run out of memory. Which if you're a sports or wildlife photographer, can be quite beneficial.
On a similar note, continuous shooting setting on a Canon offers a mechanical 12fps vs 10fps in the Sony A7 IV. Canon boasts 20fps when using an electronic shutter but there are some caveats when using this mode. For example, users might find some distortion in a fast-moving subject and it does drop down to 12-bit mode reducing the dynamic range. Although the Sony A7 IV drops down to 12-bit when shooting at 10fps as well and when you add the resolution differences on top of everything, the comparison is a hard one.
In a side-by-side test, both present pleasing JPEGs. These images were taken hand-held at 1/125s, F4, ISO 800 with a 24-105mm F4 lens at 50mm. The stark difference in color science from each brand is very apparent. The Canon providing more warm tones in contrast to the Sony’s cool and green hues.
On paper, the two cameras share the same 4K 60p, 4:2:2 10-bit recording settings, but when you look into it further, there are some considerable differences.
On par with Sony's previous Alpha models, the A7 IV has an unlimited recording limit compared to EOS R6 being limited to 30 minutes. At the highest record setting and when recording to both card slots, be aware of overheating restrictions on both cameras.
When Canon came out with the EOS R, users were deterred by the fact that the it had a 1.7x crop when shooting video. The Canon EOS R6 has proven better, for example, it has a slight 1.07x crop when shooting at 4K 60p. It seems there are only a few cameras that have a no crop. Two being the A7S III and the Black Magic Pocket Cinema 4K. The Sony A7 IV, along with the EOS R6, falls in the crop factor category with a 1.5x crop.
Camera Design and Construction
First off, the size and weight of both cameras are extremely similar. The Canon R6 is slightly larger but not by much. They both incorporate a magnesium-alloy body and include weather-sealing. Both cameras come with a good number of physical controls, including the AF joystick on the back.
The Sony A7 IV does provide more customization options through dials and custom buttons. Consistent with the Canon mirrorless line, the EOS R6, does however offer a customizable control ring on all of the RF lenses. Sony also made it easy to switch to photo, video and S&Q modes by adding an extra switch beneath the classic mode dial.
Both cameras come with image stabilization. In fact, the IBIS in both cameras has proven to work exceptionally well for both hand-held video and stills. There are 5 stops of image stabilization in the Canon EOS R6 that can be combined to a total of 8 stops when paired with certain image stabilized lenses. The Sony claims 5.5 stops in the A7 IV.
Storage can be a big determining factor. Both cameras come with the praised two card slots, but the Sony A7 IV has a dedicated slot compatible with the ultra-high speed, CFexpress Type A card that also doubles as a UHS-II slot. The EOS R6 offers two UHS-II card slots.
These two cameras have impressive autofocus systems. Focus tracking for face and eye on humans, animals and birds is a no brainer. The Sony A7 IV features a hybrid phase-detection system with 759 phase detection points which covers 94% of the sensor.
The Canon EOS R6 has a Dual Pixel CMOS AF II system that allows 6,079 single focus points covering 100% of the sensor. One minor difference or exception to the autofocusing system is the low light capability threshold. In the case of the R6 camera, it's a half a stop greater at EV -6.5.
In terms of battery life, the Sony A7 IV comes out on top with a rating of 520 shots compared to 380 shots with the Canon EOS R6. With a 35% higher capacity found in the Sony, it's safe to say users will find an improvement in life duration when using the A7 IV.
If you shoot video and are constantly needing power, both cameras have the ability to receive constant power via USB. Something to be aware of is the Sony A7 IV actually only comes with the USB cord to charge your camera and not a wall charger. If you’re planning on charging a second battery, you might want to plan on purchasing a charger.
When it all comes down to it, there are definitely some pros and cons to both cameras. To put it simply, if you’re needing a camera that can perform well in low-light, go with the Canon R6. If you’re concerned about overall resolution, go with the Sony A7 IV. When comparing the price, both are listed for $2,499 for the body only.