Photography / Hands-on Review

The Megapixel War's Latest Contenders: the Sony a7R II and Canon 5DS R

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This year saw a huge number of revolutionary cameras, but the obvious standouts were the 50.6-megapixel EOS 5DS R DSLR from Canon and the 42.4-megapixel Alpha a7R II mirrorless from Sony. The main reason was the astounding resolutions and full-frame sensors of each; the second is that this is the first time we have seen such similar feature sets in both a DSLR and mirrorless camera, leaving many customers confused as to which one is best for them. So, we took the 5DS R and a7R II out and put them head-to-head in a variety of tests to help you find out which is best for you.

Resolution

First thing we wanted to know was whether the 8MP difference really was noticeable. Sure, the jump from 8MP to 16MP is great, but once we get to such high megapixel counts, it takes substantially more pixels in order to see a difference. For this test we wanted to make sure that as many variables as possible remained the same, so we used Canon’s excellent EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM lens on both cameras, set to the same aperture.

Sony a7R II
 

As you can see, at base ISO there appears to be an ever-so-slight edge to the Canon, likely due to the additional pixels. Both images are quite spectacular and, if you want to make a large print, I don’t think either will leave you lacking. If we take the Sony file and enlarge it to match the Canon, the difference becomes practically non-existent and the limiting factor will then become either the screen or printer. So, in real-life tests, I would not expect to see a drastic improvement from the extra 8MP of the 5DS R.

Canon 5DS R
 

Results: A tie, as the difference will not be noticeable in real-world use.

ISO Performance

The second most important stat in cameras today is low-light, or ISO, performance. We set both of these cameras up on the same tripod with the same lens and moved through the different ISO levels. This is the first time I saw one camera taking the lead—the Sony a7R II. Once we hit around ISO 3200-6400, you can see that the a7R II is doing a much better job at handling noise, no doubt thanks to the use of a back-illuminated CMOS sensor design and its slightly smaller pixel count.

ISO 50 ISO 100 ISO 200 ISO 400
       
ISO 800 ISO 1600 ISO 3200 ISO 6400
       
ISO 12800 ISO 25600 ISO 51200 ISO 102400

Sony ISO test results
 

What is impressive is that Sony provides low-light performance at least two stops greater than the Canon, which really is not surprising, given the differences in their rated maximum ISOs. Also, with built-in image stabilization of the a7R II, users can get a longer exposure for still subjects. So, if you find yourself constantly shooting in less-than-ideal lighting, the Sony seems to be the better choice.

ISO 50 ISO 100 ISO 200
     
ISO 400 ISO 800 ISO 1600
     
ISO 3200 ISO 6400 ISO 12800

Canon ISO test results
 

Results: Sony takes this one, with at least a two-stop advantage at higher ISOs and the built-in stabilization system.

Dynamic Range and Raw Files

Some of the most demanding scenes you can shoot are landscapes and cityscapes, due to bright skies and dark shadows that test the ability of a camera to handle shadows and highlights. We headed out to Highbridge Park, in the Washington Heights section of Manhattan, to take some shots of the trees and buildings from a high vantage point. We made sure to use the same lenses on both cameras, the Canon 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM and EF 50mm f/1.4 USM, mounted them on a tripod during shooting, and used a spot meter with bracketing to ensure properly exposed shots.

  
Sony a7R II Canon 5DS R

This was a fairly bright and sunny day in New York City, so we had ample opportunity to shoot high-contrast scenes, such as this one that combines light highways, the sky, and trees that have the potential to hide details in the deep shadows. First, let’s take a look at the highlights. Both cameras, when they are set to expose properly, seem to do a great job at retaining detail. When we try to pull detail from an overexposed image, we can see that they are still fairly close, but the Sony appears to a do a better job in keeping data that we would normally expect to just be lost.

On the other end, pushing the shadows revealed a different story. The Canon, when pushed heavily, tends to show a lot more noise, as well as pushing more quickly into a magenta color cast. This is where Sony’s sensitivity advantage seems to play a huge role in the shadows, providing excellent detail with minimal noise even when underexposed.

 
Sony a7R II Canon 5DS R

In a series of other photos we shot in the park, as well as in Jumel Terrace, we can see similar performance and results in both the shadows and highlights. The Sony seems to have a much better dynamic range and more malleable raw files.

Results: Sony squeezes out a victory here, showing better retention of detail in the highlights and shadows. However, it should be noted that in most real-world shooting applications, users will not be pushing and pulling to the extent where these differences will be noticeable. The shots here are some of the more extreme examples shooters will encounter in day-to-day shooting.

Color Rendition

For this test we took on skin tones with a couple of portraits on a neutral background with the Standard picture profile on each camera. Right away, you can see that the 5DS R offers more vibrant and warmer colors, something which is very pleasing to the eye. The Sony comes close, but it lacks the pop of the Canon, partially in the way that it tends to favor a cooler overall color palette. Though, I must admit this one is definitely up to the viewer, but in general, the colors from Canon will start out more pleasing with less work to be done later, which is important if you find yourself shooting JPEGs often.

Sony a7R II Canon 5DS R

Results: Canon wins out-of-the-box regarding colors, especially when it comes to shooting people. This will save many shooters a lot of time when it comes to getting good looking images during the editing stage.

Autofocus

This is definitely a more subjective arena, based on subject matter, but one easy comparison comes with the menu system. The Canon’s AF menu is comprehensive, allowing users to dial-in speed, tracking, priority, and more for a variety of different subject matter. This is much better than Sony’s simplistic two-setting system with fast and standard options for tracking and focusing speed.

On paper, it seems that Sony would easily win with a massive 45% coverage with 399 on-sensor phase-detect AF points, compared to Canon’s 61-point AF sensor. However, in practice, the two come in much closer (in my experience) with the Canon 5DS R being easier to operate, and more reliable when the settings were dialed-in. Also, though both waned in low-light, the independent sensor in the 5DS R appeared to maintain its speed better than the a7R II.

Results: Canon has more reliable focusing, and the ability to dial-in numerous settings keeps the DSLR just a bit ahead of Sony’s impressive 399-point system.

Menus and Operation

Every camera menu has its own quirks and nuances, and every system takes time before one becomes properly adjusted. However, when you have to work with two cameras side-by-side and need to access the same features, simplicity and ease-of-use differences become immediately noticeable. We did a lot of bracketing with images in order to guarantee we had the shots we needed for a fair review, and after switching out bodies, it was clear that Canon’s setup was obviously better. The buttons make sense and the menus are both color coded and understandable.

The Sony’s menu, on the other hand, had vague wording for numerous features, certain tabs that were filled with a variety of unrelated options, and it split up certain items that just make sense to go together. If you followed my review of the a7R II a couple of months ago, you will see that this was one of my huge issues with the camera. The only saving grace here is the ability to customize the buttons to do almost anything you want. But, it really isn’t enough to save a menu system that has been critically panned in every camera that shares the design.

Also involved with operation is battery life. This one was easy, as DSLRs both have larger batteries and are less power hungry. The 5DS R was a clear winner here, with battery life that lasts for hundreds of shots without worry, compared to a camera that requires an extra battery or two for a day of shooting.

Results: Canon’s menus and button layout are much more intuitive and sensible. Also, DSLRs have battery life that can last for days, as opposed to the hours we commonly see with mirrorless bodies.

Body Design

Let us start this debate with the optical versus electronic viewfinder. This really comes down to personal preference, as each has its advantages and disadvantages. The 5DS R’s optical pentaprism viewfinder is a classic design that provides an image with no lag and can be used without turning the camera on. Also, since this is an optical system, users can find that it feels more natural and comfortable than viewing the screen in an EVF.

Sony’s electronic implementation offers a variety of new benefits not possible with the OVF. This includes focus aids such as magnification and peaking; tools such as zebras, histograms, and frame markers; and a what-you-see-is-what-you-get image as it is pulling it directly from the sensor. While important, other features in these cameras will likely have a bigger impact on your decision than the EVF versus OVF.

Moving on to the rest of the body, the immediate difference is that the Sony a7R II is much smaller than the 5DS R. This is good and bad, depending on who you are. Some people may find the compact Sony body to be just a little too cramped. I personally found the height of the a7R II a little on the short side, with my pinky not able to fit at the bottom. Also, after a day of holding it my hand felt a little tired, something I have never experienced with a DSLR. The 5DS R is an excellent design, something the Canon engineers have spent decades refining. It shows here with an incredibly comfortable and secure feel with buttons that you don’t even have to think about finding when you are out working.

Last, but not least, are the LCD screens. Canon’s is larger at 3.2" compared to Sony’s at 3.0", but the a7R II offers tilt for working at odd angles, while the 5DS R is fixed. Sony's also features a higher 1,228,800-dot resolution count, compared to Canon's 1,040,000-dot resolution. Having shot with both on tripods, the a7R II was definitely easier to work with, but the screen of the 5DS R was clearer and easier to see, especially during live view in daylight conditions. It seemed that the video processing for live view was also much better on the 5DS R.

Results: Tie. Canon’s DSLR form is tried-and-true, with each new camera improving ever so slightly on the last. However, if weight is a critical factor in your camera purchase or you prefer a smaller form, Sony’s lightweight mirrorless bodies are definitely built to handle heavy workloads. The choice of viewfinder and LCD monitor is subjective, as each has its own distinct benefits and drawbacks that can suit one person and bother the other. Sony's designs are more modern and flexible, whereas Canon's are proven technologies that simply work.

Video

This is not a fair comparison, but an important one. Canon came right out and said that the 5DS R was not intended for videographers, while Sony released the a7R II with guns blazing, packing 4K and a Super35 setting without any pixel binning. To keep this part short and to the point, users who are desperately looking for a hybrid camera will definitely be better off with the Sony, thanks to a heavy focus on video features.

One area that could be compared, though, is time lapse. Canon’s 5DS R comes with a built-in intervalometer setting that enables users to get started right away with programmed shoots, while Sony’s a7R II requires the additional purchase of a PlayMemories Camera App to add this function.

Results: Sony easily takes the video category with internal 4K, Picture Profiles, and other incredible options.

Conclusion

While many around here were expecting one camera to easily take the top prize (me included), the actual results of the test were surprising, and once again tell us that the best camera for you comes down to many personal choices. To make a decision easier for you, there are a few clear points that will sway users in one direction or another.

Why should you pick the Canon 5DS R? If you work in a studio or always in good light, prefer the form factor and grip of a DSLR, and want the highest in resolution, the Canon is the better choice. With a variety of different connections for tethering and lights, a more natural feel—thanks to the tried-and-true DSLR body—and an intuitive menu system, photographers will be able to work quickly with a system that has been dependable for years.

Along with this, Canon did take the autofocus section, so users who find they constantly need to shoot action will find the programmable AF system indispensible for capturing images. And, if you already shoot with a Canon DSLR, the 5DS R is a very logical upgrade; especially when you take into account Canon's vast system of native lenses.

Why should you pick the Sony a7R II? Let’s start with the obvious: video. If you require a hybrid camera that can give you the best of both worlds, the Sony a7R II is the camera to beat right now, with a 42.4MP BSI sensor that is capable of recording UHD 4K internally. You will have access to high-res stills and video in a single small package. For stills and raw performance, the Sony did win out here in dynamic range, with the ability to capture fine details in shadows while preserving highlights when pushing and pulling the files.

Also, the back-illuminated sensor provides excellent low-light performance, and the AF system, while not quite as reliable as an SLR, is the best you can get in a mirrorless camera. And, shooters looking to shrink their gear bag will also find the compact mirrorless design very appealing.

Sony a7R II Canon 5DS R
 
Sony a7R II Canon 5DS R

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I think I detect a little Canon prejudice, i.e.: long time DSLR user but a very fair comparison.

I bought an A7R as a backup camera in late 2013; liked it so much I followed up with the A7S, A7 II and A7R II.  I sold several of my Canon bodies and gave the last one to my wife.  Kept all my Canon glass for use on the A7 series bodies; work wonderfully with Metabones III/IV adapters!

Interesting article but I can't help thinking the lens adaptor may have degraded the Sony's results. I would have liked to see a comparison of of shots with equal focal lengths using each manufacturers best direct mount lenses.

The dynamic range and low light performance of the Sony are incredibly inpressive, as is the resolution on both cameras.  I've been a Canon person since my very first AE-1 Progam back in the 1980's, but I'm seriously considering the addition of this Sony to my arsenal, and perhaps slowly making a complete switch.   The reduced weight and bulk of the Sony is very attractive too since I like to take my highest resolution camera on hikes and backpacking outings to very scenic locations, and sometimes produce large prints of what I capture.

  Finally a really useful article clearly done by a person who uses a camera and can compare real functionality and results from these two cameras. I chose the right one for my purposes using much less comparative data and really only the fact that it felt comfortable and familiar in my big hands and having a lot of optics that might or. Ishtar not work on an adapted Sony I chose the Canon. Tis true in terms of shadows feign swallowed in junky black if one is not careful but like my experience in the old film days using high contract BW dokupan do and other crazily slow super fine grained films, one works around the limitations. The limitations on the Canon are trivial as I do not shoot available light and tend to ISO of 50 or 100 if at all possible for the maximum derail possible. As I have mentioned elsewhere in site commentary, I have been very satisfied,with y ma y assorted lenses with the high resolving advantages of this camera to my 20 D mark 2 and other bodies. The lenses actually show more of their qualities with a higher sensor system as the need to resize or up res is decreased by the enormous file size and raw dimensions. People seem to miss this great advantage and you will find your lenses show sparkle and detain you simply did not know existed in them. I have proven this to myself over and over and have found that lenses that ought to have been considered perhaps a compromise were in fact excellent on the new body as there was little need to resize beyond the 24 by the 36 image size which is my standard target. I find focus is best achieved using the smallest spot focus option and it never fails ..ever! 

Very insightful article. I wished you also included Nikon since I use Nikon and Sony. For me both brands address different needs. And I wish I can only carry one brand.... 

Also, I'd appreciate any additonal thoughts on Sony's compatibility with special features of professional strobes like Profoto, Broncolor, Briese and the likes? As of now, I can only use the TTL and High Speed Sync functions of Profoto B1 with my Nikon D810. Profoto has not come up with a special trigger for Sony A7 series to allow TTL and High Speed Sync functions. I just wonder why. Any thoughts? Thanks! 

Hello George,

We did consider including Nikon, but decided to stick with the 5DS R and a7R II as they are the most current offerings that each have a unique sensor and megapixel count that is not available in any other interchangeable lens cameras. Also, the ability to use Canon EF glass on the Sony body meant we could be very objective in the testing stage as well as, to a limited amount, test the autofocus claims with adapted lenses on the a7R II (which unfortunately we had issues).

Now, for strobes. This is one of my main issues with Sony's system, which I hope is simply due to the relative newness of the E mount system and the proprietary nature of the Multi Interface Shoe compared to the hot shoe design of other manufacturers. I myself use Profoto B1s and tend to stick with Canon when I need to use any type of lighting, including speedlites. As to why Profoto has not developed a dedicated TTL trigger, I cannot tell you that. It could be do to many factors involving general business operations or they could be working on one right now and surprise us next year. Canon and Nikon have very developed systems with a simple interface that is likely easy to design for, and has a much larger customer base. Over time I believe we will start to see more professional-level accessories for the Sony system.

Thanks for reading.

I just read your article comparing the Sony with the Canon. What was not mentioned about the Canon was: The pixel size is much smaller than the Sony's. I thought the Sony was a half to a stop more, since the shadows appeared to be more "Open". I would go with the Canon. If you shoot a lot of video, I would test the video quality before making a decission. Also, if the tilt monitor is "important" for you, then the Sony, but as another person said, "I like the size and weight of a full size DSLR". The Canon may be worth more in the future, if you are thinking of selling it. Good luck.

Hello Geoffrey,

You make good points about each of these items, but to clarify our decision in terms of video, the reason for not directly testing them is that in our experience with both, the Sony is an obvious choice. It provides mic input and headphone output, UHD 4K video recording options, professional Picture Profiles, S-Log2, clean HDMI output, and more. The Canon on the other hand omits the mic input, only has Full HD (which could be fine for many users but in terms of a comparison the ability to record in 4K as well as HD is a huge plus), and though this wasn't directly tested, I suspect it may be more prone to aliasing and moire than the 5D Mark III due to the high resolution sensor.

Thanks for reading.

Why did you not ALSO test auto modes with internal processing for jpg photos to compare right out of the camera photos for varying situations, light, color, DR, and speed conditioons? 

Hi Norma,

The reason we didn't go into Auto modes is that it adds too many variables. What we may decide to be fair others may consider to be a terrible choice. With raw files at least we can guarantee the maximum quality achievable with each, which in our opinion was a more important factor.

Thanks for reading.

*Norman, my apologies.

A major reason for choosing the Canon is for use of supertelephoto lenses. The Canon lenses are legendary, the Sony E-mount ones don't exist.

Did you use the Metabones EF adapter or something else?
Are you making the AF judgments on each camera's native lenses? My experience with EF lenses on Sony is AF is basically unusable.

Hello Jon,

We used the Fotodiox adapter which you can see here. For most tests we relied on manual focus and just needed to control aperture and this worked well.

The AF judgements were made using native glass and during time spent with each camera. I have been fortunate enough to handle these cameras for a long period of time, including doing reviews separately on each, and that is how I can to a determination as to AF performance. And I will agree that I have had some issues with AF when using the adapter, but I have also seen some combinations where it works perfectly. This is going to depend on specific pairings of course and it would be hard to recommend the a7R II if one is entirely dependent on this function.

Thanks for your question.

Can all the Lens be used on Sony with Auto Focus - as you mention that Canon 100mm was used on both.

Thanks.

Hello Anand,

We actually had issues with a couple lenses, including the 100mm, and the electronic adapter we were using in regards to autofocus not working. But with other lenses, such as the 35mm f/2 IS, I have had no problems. This will have to be taken on a case by case basis. I have not had an issue with controlling aperture with any lens yet and usually we relied on manual focus.

What is the 'electronic adaper' and will it work on Canon 800mm and 100-400mm ?

Regards

Hello Anand,

We used the Fotodiox Adapter you can see here and while we didn't have it at the time Metabones also makes their own version which is very highly regarded. I couldn't tell you whether it will work with the 800mm and 100-400mm lenses since I don't have direct access to those lenses, but at the very least these adapters will provide you with aperture control.

Hope this helps a bit.

I took the kool-aid and tried the Sony. Yes it's a great camera.... but as you mentioned the EVF just did not let me see the fine adjustments to lite and composition that I need to evaluated in the viewfinder.  This was the #1 deal breaker for me.

The Canon sensor also has the better out of the box color rendition for my work.... The Sony would require a custom camera profile... not a major big deal but it adds to the negatives.

The body of the Sony and the menus and the erogonomics all look good until you use it for a period of hours.... the dials are not quite right... the size is attractive on paper but loses its appeal after real world use.... Your comments are spot on!

The 3rd party support is most important for me.... Adobe..Tether tools... Quantum  flash.... Profoto flash. Canon and Nikon are the big boys and get the attention when changes are made... they also do a MUCH better job of communicating product spec and changes to 3rd party photo companies. This is the second major deal breaker for the Sony...

I just picked up my second 5DS R today at B&H. I really..really wanted the Sony to work out but after a real work evaluation I stuck with the Canon. 

In my testing I used the 100mm L macro also, 24-70L II and a 24 TS II for kicks. The Metabones MkIv adapter does work very well with the short lens' I used. That was a bonus.  and no I'm not drinking the Zeiss lens mystique for the Sony.... call me a stick in the mud but Zeiss glass made in Japan is not my idea of Zeiss... I have a long memory of(complete with negatives and positives) of images made with Zeiss and Leica glass made in Germany not Japan.  

Conclusion... I will look at the next version of the A7R III with interest.... the camera has great promise but needs some maturing to compete with the Canon product at this level.

Shawn your comparison is straight to the point and accurate.

thankx

Wally

As a professional photographer who has shot many different fields of photography for 40 plus years,

I have to go with the Sony for dependability reasons. I have owned both through the years, way back before Sony took up where Minolta left off. Many Cannons, and several breakages. I have shot in bad weather, NASCAR, magazine covers (over 40), weddings (many years ago) to web marketing for real estate.

I never had a Minolta or Sony to go down on me, but I have had three Canons through the years.

Dependability plays a big role for me.

I would have liked to have seen the test done with Sony using their lens as you would buy it, not a Cannon lens.

Respectfully,

Mike

Hello Mike,

Thanks for your input. Long term experience will always tell you more than reviews generally can, though this will also be an area that others will have differing opinions and choose accordingly.

In order to remain objective we did use Canon lenses as we could use them on both, and the Canon 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM is an excellent performer. The autofocus section was determined through experience over time using both cameras with native glass. And, if you would like to see the a7R II used mainly with native glass, I did do a review here on Explora.

Thanks.

IThank you for such a well thought out report-I appreciate it.

I not a professional,a bit of a 'kit' person-lots of canon lenses which of course can be used on the Sony.

Like your tester I love the feel of the Canon and how it fits,nevertheless the Sony is so nice and light.

Because of the huge pixel count of the Canon,hand held shots with longer lenses have the appearance of camera shake because of the technology of the Sony this just does not happen.

I bought the Canon first.Both have a place.In no way should I be considered an expert.

I have used both cameras and my experience is that the Sony body I have used is not focusing as accurately as the Canon. You seem to say the same thing. I would be able to overcome this problem if the Sony had a live view that was as easy to focus as the Canon (using the same lens). I desperately want to lighten my kit. I often shoot at dawn therefore the Sony would have a huge advantage over the Canon. So my questions are 1) Is there an equilivent in the Sony to live view in the Canon where one can focus and not be overwhelmed by pixels? I have yet to see this mentioned. If there is a way that would overcome my focus problem (when on a tripod). 2) Could I have used a defeective Sony that is slightly off in the focusing?

Thank you.

Great comparison, thank you. I have both cameras but prefer the 5dsr over the a7r2 any time when I need the AF. Tha A7r2's AF, especially with adapted lenses (via Metabones MK4) is not reliable at all. The a7r2 is nice to shoot the short telephoto MF lenses like the Otus 85 and the 135 APO: the EVF w/zoom and color peaking + IBIS combo is hard to beat :) Going over ISO3200 sucks on both cams. But at the end those are really different cameras, not a substitution for each other.

A side note - C1 supports both Sony can Canon RAW formats better than LR, LR is acceptable for the a7r2, and terrible for the 5dsr. Not sure why...

I picked up a 5ds, not a 5dsr, a few months ago. How do you think it would have fared against the Sony in this case? Obviously some of the differences are the same as the 5dsr. Any advantages or glaring disadvantages?

Hello Andrew,

Compared to the standard 5DS the only real difference is a very slight difference in the resolution feature, otherwise performance is identical to the 5DS R. Here it will probably be very comparable to the a7R II's resolution if I were to guess based on my time using both the 5DS and 5DS R for an earlier review, though a margin of a few megapixels once you get this high is almost negligible. It is entirely possible that you will gain the advantage of less moire and aliasing due to the low-pass filter, which both the 5DS R and a7R II omit, which could be very important to your work.

Hope you have been enjoying your camera!

Thats faily good review but I think it misses the most important point... And that is lens systems. If your willing to spend the money for either of these cameras then you sure as heck arn't going to be using cheap glass.

I own a 5Ds R and it wasn't really a question of what camera I would buy because I have 6k in cannon mount glass. But, even if I was starting from scratch, If I'm going to spend 3-4k on a body then I'm going to want to know how good the availible glass is. In that sense I personally think the canon is the winner by far. Buying the best sensor in the world doesn't mean much if you don't have lenses to match and that is especially true and high resolution photography. Unfortunatly, right now, mirrorless of any kind doesn't have the glass to keep up my needs. So even with the dynamic range and iso limitations, I will still get way better results with my Canon 70-200, or Sigma 50 Art lenses. So unless real results don't matter, a 5ds canon + highest lens system is the clear winner.

Not necessarily. As noted, the Sony a7R II is not limited to Sony E-mount lenses. I know of at least one long-time Canon acolyte --highly regarded landscape photographer Gary Hart ("Eloquent Nature") -- who bought a Sony a7R and, after using it with his significant collection of Canon lenses, declared he was never going back to Canon bodies. (He subsequently acquired the Sony a7S and a7R II, as well as some excellent native E-mount Sony/Zeiss lenses.) 

I have anly just read this in a bit of a hurry.  Seems to me you have entirely missed the main point of the Sony.   Leica and other camera makers will be terrified of this new IMAGE STABILISED beast of a camera.   All those Leica lenses for 50 years and many others can now be image stabilised.   Who else can come near that????

You probably need to read it again - the ISO test:  "Sony takes this one, with at least a two-stop advantage at higher ISOs and the built-in stabilization system."

Yes but you made no mention of that in your Summary - it's a major point not a minor one and deserves a stronger emphasis

I agree.  This is one of the greatest advatages of Sony.   It has made many shots for me that would not have made without it.

Just to be picky: Only the Leica M series lenses are the "Legendary" Leica lenses, mainly because of their lower contrast but and they are/were the only lenses by Leica that are/were individualyy tested. I agree Leica lenses are great but, the new "better" lenses by Nikon/Canon/Sony, Mainly because of computer design/calculations are as good. Especially for the price. As a small comment: I do/would not use steady shot with any lens wider than 50mm, especially at speeds over 60th, since they cause the loss of, a bit of, "Quality". Maybe not very much. I alwasy say: Test, Test, Test... Print very large and see, Even if you don't usually print so large or even if your work is for the web. If it is only for the web and sharp 8x10s are good enough (Which they really are in real life, since most photos printed in magazines and newspapers are smaller than that) save your mones and buy a $400-$600 camera, with RAW, if possible. Look at the Fuji XM1, with RAW and no TPF.

Which Leica lenses would you recommend for this Sony a7r2, for  wide angle, portraits and telephoto? Also will they need an adapter? 

With an adapter, you could use pretty much any Leica M-mount lens.  Are you looking for a lens with a particular focal length, or do you have questions about any specific Leica lenses?  I would suggest sending us an email with as much information as you can about what you are looking for in a lens so that we could make a couple suggestions.  AskPhoto@bhphoto.com

This reiew seems very bios to me, I can see clearly that the images are better on the Canon side, why they pull them as better on an overpriced mirrorless micro 4/3 sony camera? I do not get it. Sorry but open your eyes. I do not agree with the Sony winnings. Canon retains color quality and faithfulness way better than Sony sensors always had and always will.

Hello moniKphoto,

I understand your concerns on the photos, but image quality is not always about how it looks when it comes out of the camera, but in how photographers are able to manipulate the images in editing. In the video world there is something called a Log gamma which produces extraordinarily flat images but that hold dynamic range much better when using compressed codecs. BUT, these require work in post-production and editing in order to actually make the footage look good, though it usually can turn out better than standard profiles.

There is merit to the thought that color is more faithfully represented on the Canon, but working digitally, it is relatively easy to adjust colors in post and produce final images that are just as good. One such software is Capture One Pro from Phase One, which has a phenomenal color editor and will allow users to set up profiles for their cameras to create specific looks.

Also, the Sony is full frame, not Micro Four Thirds as you claim.

Its not a micro 4/3 sony camera.....its full frame. That makes a big difference to me shooting video. Its lighter so i can use it on a drone more easily. Viewfinder is fantastic, especially with peaking. As far as image quality goes, I can grade any image from a Sony or Canon to look the same as long as canon haven't baked in their crushed blacks look like the 5DMk2....which I still have. And you can take high res stills. Its all a matter of where your priorities lay. For me its a no brainer. For pure stills photography, I get the form factor might not be the best. For me...smaller form factor is better. Ultimately.....its the glass that makes the difference to me.....a good lens, such as the canon 70-200 will take beautiful images no matter what its attached to....Alexa, Red Dragon, Sony A7s, Canon 5DMk3.

You are kidding, right?

As an amateur astronomer, I have a Canon EOS modified for astronomy...(IR filter removed).  The Sony sounds like a great camera for this work, but I wish it was available for astrophotos.

One question: how did you use the Canon lenses on the Sony?

Is there some adapter? If so, what functions are lost?

 Hello ocoolar,

We used an electronic adapter from Fotodiox which you can find right here. We were able to control aperture, use image stabilization (we were tripod mounted so we turned off all IS), and have limited autofocusing during use (we used manual focus anyway so it wasn't really an issue for us) with the 50mm and 100mm lenses we used (this may have been just a firmware thing as my copy is relatively old, newer models could be better). If you are looking for retaining more functionality, Metabones also makes an electronic adapter which can actually retain use of the a7R II's super fast phase-detect AF points when using many Canon lenses, though whether or not it works on your specific lens will require some research. This model also has a USB port for upgrading the firmware yourself later on for better compatibility.

There are a couple of adapters, IMO the leader of the pack is the Metabones.  Will run you about $350 but it gives you full function versus losing some function from the less expensive ones available.  Will mention that there was a problem with the quality of the build at one time but they say they've solved that problem and there can be a bit of a lag in focus speed which they talk about on their web site

The Sony wins for me! Try doing the same test with Sony lens only. LOL...

I'm willing to bet that the better contrast that the canon has is at least in part due to the glass

In the example of the Jumel Terrace shot. I noticed that the the light (fixture, especially the edge of the glass) is clear and sharp on the Canon, but blurry on the Sony. Any ideas?

Thanks for posting this! Regarding dynamic range: was the Canon 5DSr set to "highlight tone priority" for the DR tests?

Hello John,

It was not set for highlight tone priority. All images were shot in manual and in raw format for having the most control over the results.

Thanks!

Perfect timing. I've been testing the Sony this week for architecture and have determined that I prefer Canon OVF for more confident manual focusing with TS lens and don't like the sensation of lag time between shutter and image with the Sony. I don't typically need the extreme low light abitilty or better video so, I'm upgrading to the 5Dsr from the Mark II. Your evaluations helped me decide. 

No mention here of one wonderful feature of the Sony...due to it's electronic viewfinder.

Often in bright light, it's difficult to see an image just taken on the  LCD screen.

With the Sony, one can look into the electonic viewfinder to see that just taken image, even blow it up, with eye shieled from sunlight.

Hello Richard,

Please see my response to Laurence above, as he brings up a point on the topic as well. I will give you the win in that viewing in bright sunlight definitely gives the EVF the win. But modern LCDs, especially those from Canon I find, are very good at resisting glare. As you can see in an image above, I was using the LCD of the 5DS R to make sure images were lined up before shooting and we didn't have much issue. Also, many photographers, myself included, don't generally rely on reviewing images on camera during time crtical events. And if you ever shot film, there was no way to do it, so I would make the argument that this isn't necessarily a strong point in favor of choosing the a7R II over the 5DS R, as many other difference will likely draw you one way or the other.

Again, I'm sure many will disagree with me, but many will also agree, meaning that deciding between an EVF or OVF is not a clear cut choice.

Thanks for adding your opinion to the discussion.

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