Canon R5 v Nikon Z 7: Head-to-head

Canon and Nikon’s flagship full-frame mirrorless cameras go toe-to-toe, but which one is right for your photography?

Canon’s latest flagship full-frame mirrorless camera, the EOS R5, has shaken up the world after it was revealed to the industry alongside the EOS R6. But how exactly does this new wonder camera stack up against its main rivals? Well, thi comparison is pitting the two old foes ‘Canon v Nikon, against each other as we measure up the new R5 against Nikon’s flagship full-frame mirrorless cameras – the Nikon Z 7, which was launched back in August 2018. Let’s get this comparison started…

One: Resolution

Interestingly, despite the Nikon Z 7 being almost two years older, there’s very little difference in resolution between the two cameras. The Canon R5 serves up 45-megapixels, which is a massive jump up from the original 30-megapixel EOS R. The Z 7 however offers 46-megapixels. This means that the Canon R5 delivers a maximum file size of 8192x5464pixels while the Z 7 offers 8256 x 5504pixels, so when it comes to printing out your files, there is realistically no difference between the cameras and photographers will be able to make prints in excess of A3.

Two: Burst rate

Fast burst rates enable photographers to capture action sequences and despite the large resolutions of both cameras, photographers should be pleased with the rates. However, there is a big difference as while the Z 7 can shoot 9FPS (frames per second), the R5 offers 12FPS using the mechanical shutter and a whopping 20FPS using the Electronic shutter. 20 FPS ptus the R5 level with the Sony a9 and makes the cameras very temping for sports and wildlife shooters.

Three: IBIS

One of the headline features of the new EOS R5 is that (along with the R6) the R5 is Canon’s first pro camera to feature IBIS (In Body Image Stabilisation). Unfortunately, this technology is missing on the Nikon Z 7, while the Canon employs a sophisticated 5-axis system that, when combined with selected lenses, offers up to 8-stops of compensation. This can make a massive difference in low light conditions and can make the difference between a steady, sharp image or a blurred mess.

Four: LCD Design

While both cameras offer a large LCD size (3.2-inches), which is preferable for reviewing images and composing scenes via Live View. However, there is a big difference in the design of the LCDs between the two models. While the Nikon Z 7 relies on a tilting LCD design, the R5 makes use of a vari-angle screen, which is arguably more preferable, especially when filming video footage.

Five: Video features

Talking of video features, the R5 has been lauded for breaking new ground and enables videographers to capture 8K RAW video – a huge leap forward for full frame mirrorless cameras. The Canon also offers 4K at 60p and by contrast, the Nikon Z 7 tops out at 4K 30p. This may be even for some videographers, but if video is critical to your buying decision, the Canon is the clear winner.

Six: Card slots 

Dual card slots are desirable because they allow photographers to make an instant back-up or their images or video files by writing to both cards at once. Alternatively, with two cards, you can choose to keep video files on one card and stills images on the other. The Canon R5 has two card slots – one SD and one CFExpress. The Nikon Z 7 however only has the one, which fits an XQD memory card.

Seven: Focus points

The more AF points a camera offers, the more chance the autofocus system has of locking on to a subject smoothly and accurately. While the Nikon Z 7 does well, offering 493 AF points, the Canon R5 goes further, offering 1053 AF points in auto, and 5940 points in manual focus selection. 

Eight: Weight

One of the main reasons full-frame mirrorless cameras are preferred to their DSLR counterparts is because they are much lighter. For example, the new EOS R5 tips the scales at just 738g (with card and battery) – to put this in comparison, the 5D MkIV weighs 800g. The Nikon Z 7 is lighter than its Canon rival, weighing in at just 675g (with battery and memory card). The Nikon is also slightly smaller at 134 x 100.5 x 67.5 mm, compared to the EOS R5 (135.8 x 97.5 x 88mm).

Nine: Battery life

While mirrorless cameras can’t match the battery capacity of DSLRs, they have improved greatly over the last couple of years. Both cameras offer more or less the same amount of shots on a single charge (330 for the Nikon and 320 for the Canon). Again, as a comparison, the 5D Mark IV offers 900 shots on a single charge.