Gear

Canon EOS R vs Nikon Z6

They’ve both been eagerly awaited, but suddenly, both Canon and Nikon have launched full-frame mirrorless options. Nikon offers both the Z7 and the Z6, but for this comparison, we’ll be focusing on the Z6 against Canon’s EOS R as, thanks to the two price points currently being just two hundred dollars apart, they are arguably each other’s biggest rivals. So, with mirrorless options aplenty to pick from, which one should you go for?….

Design and build:

A closer look at the sensors of each camera.

Let’s start with the Canon EOS R, which is a full-frame mirrorless camera and gives 30.3-megapixels of resolution from its CMOS sensor. This resolution comes out on top over the Nikon Z6, which serves up 24.5-megapixels from its full-frame mirrorless CMOS sensor. The EOS R features Canon’s powerful DIGIC 8 processor engine, while the Z6 utilises Nikon’s EXPEED 6 engine.

Both cameras look like shrunken down DSLRs and, while there is virtually no difference in the dimensions of the cameras (the Canon measures 135x98x84mm compared to the Nikon’s 134x100x67mm footprint), the EOS R is the slightly heavier model, tipping the scales at 660g compared to the 585g Z6. Both cameras have been designed around completely new mounts, with the Canon using the new RF lens mount, while the Nikon features the Z-mount. However, both bodies can use the lenses from the parent lens range (Canon EF/Nikon F) thanks to dedicated adaptors.

The EOS R and the Z6 both feature one storage card slot, but use different formats – the Canon features an SD card, while the Nikon uses XQD. One of the major differences between the cameras is the inclusion (or non inclusion) of in-built image stabilisation (IBIS). Nikon fans will be pleased to hear that the Z6 features 5-axis in-body image stabilisation – Nikon calls it Vibration Reduction (VR) – that offers five-stops on compensation to photographers. This IBIS will help keep images sharper, especially in low light conditions. However, the new EOS R features no built-in stabilisation – so Canon users will have to rely on lenses with IS for this technology.

When it comes to the autofocus system on the cameras, the Nikon Z6 features 273 AF points while the EOS R sports a 143 area system, where up to 5,655 AF points can be manually selected. The Canon also offers Dual Pixel AF technology that allows for slight tweaks to be made in post-processing to fine-tune the focus. The Nikon strikes back however when it comes to burst rates, allowing users to capture up to 12 frames per second – more than enough to make the Z6 a viable option for wildlife and sports photographers. The EOS R trails behind, offering 8 frames per second in fixed AF or 5 FPS with continuous focus.

Image quality:

As mentioned, the EOS R offers the greater amount of resolution between the two cameras, with the Canon able to produce a maximum image of 6720×4480 pixels. Despite trailing behind on megapixels, the Z6 can still produce a maximum file size of 6048×4024 pixels, meaning both cameras will be able to produce huge prints – well in excess of A3 size.

What the Z6 lacks in resolution, it makes up for in ISO range, offering ISO 100-51,200 which can be further expanded up to ISO 204,800. The EOS R has a native ISO range of 100-40,000 which can be expanded to 102,400. The Z6 doesn’t have it all its own way when it comes to low light performance however as, while ti can focus down to -4EV, the EOS R goes further and can focus down to -6EV, which is virtually darkness!

Video:

The EOS R features a vari-angle screen, while the Z6 has a tilting design.

Both cameras have plenty to offer videographers and each can shoot ultra high-quality 4K footage up to 30p or Full HD at 60p. However, the Z6 proves to be the slow motion champ as it can shoot sequences at 120p in Full HD, while the Canon’s fast frame rate mode is limited to 1280x720p.

Both cameras have ports for headphones and mics and footage can be recorded externally using the brand’s dedicated profiles (C-Log for Canon or N-Log for Nikon). Footage can be composed or reviewed using the touch-sensitive screens that both cameras offer. The Z6 has a slightly bigger monitor (3.2-inches compared to the EOS R’s 3.1-inches), but both LCD’s features the same resolution (2.1million dots) and while the Canon has a proper vari-angle design, the Z6 is restricted to a tilting design.

Vloggers will appreciate the flip screen of the Canon over the Nikon’s tilting screen as it is more versatile but, when it comes to sound, both offer the option to record and monitor enhanced audio.

Other features:

Both cameras feature a top plate LCD.

Both these cameras have far more features than we have room to talk about here, but there are some headline features and functions worth mentioning. The Z6 boasts a mid-sharpening feature that can fine tune the look and feel of both stills and video. Meanwhile the EOS R features an innovative touch bar (think Macbook) that enables users to change functions like ISO and autofocus mode that should speed up operation while out in the field.

The EOS R also has a ‘Touch & Drag’ feature that makes it easy for photographers to select a focus point using the LCD without taking your eye away from the viewfinder. The Canon also includes Focus Peaking and a Dual Pixel Focus Guide. The EOS R uses the same batteries found in the 7D MkII6D and 5D cameras like the MkIII and MkIV, so if you have one of these cameras and intent to add the R to your system, you won’t have to invest in new batteries. Meanwhile the Z6 can use the same battery as the D850, but ships with a slightly different variant, although it’s obviously the same shape and size.

Verdict:

Both cameras are exciting and packed with great features.

Both new systems are complimented by a range of dedicated optics – Canon announced four lenses at launch, while Nikon released three – although Nikon also published a roadmap that explained at least another five Z-mount lenses are coming in 2019. However, what’s even more important is that using adaptors, Nikon photographers can use all their F-mount optics, and Canon users can use all their EF/EF-S lenses. In fact, Canon has three versions of the adaptor, including one that allows for either a circular polariser or variable ND filter to be inserted, which is an exceptional piece of engineering.

The EOS R is priced at £2,349, while the Nikon costs £2,199, so there is very little price wise between the two systems. If you already use a Nikon or Canon DSLR, it’s likely you’ll stick with the brand you own so you can use existing lenses. However, if you are buying in fresh and don’t have any brand loyalty, there are enough differences to help buyers make a decision. The Canon has the greater resolution, but the Nikon can shoot faster, has an ISO and greater options for creating slow motion video footage. Both cameras represent a major step forward for both brands who are now (finally) in the mirrorless game for the long haul.

 Canon EOS RNikon Z 6
Resolution30.3-megapixels24.5-megapixels
ProcessorDIGIC 8EXPEED 6
ISO100-102,400100-204,800
LCD3.1-inch vari-angle3.2-inch tilting
4K video  
Built-in ISX 
Burst rateUp to 8FPS12FPS
Weight660g585g