Gear Reviews

Nikon Z 5 v Canon RP: Head-to-head

It’s the battle of the entry-level full-frame mirrorless cameras, but which one should you buy?

Nikon has just released the Z 5, a more affordable version from its Z range of full-frame mirrorless cameras. The announcement comes hot on the heels of Nikon’s old foe, Canon, releasing new full-frame mirrorless cameras called the R5 and R6, but it’s the slightly older Canon EOS RP which can be seen as the Z 5’s biggest rival.

So, which one should you spend your money on? Well, to help you make your decision, we’re drilling down deep into the specifications list to highlight the key differences between the cameras.

One – Resolution:

The new Nikon Z 5 delivers a decent resolution of 24-megapixels, but this is beaten by the older RP (launched in February 2019), which offers photographers 26-megapixels. This means the max file size of the RP is 6240x4160pixels, compared to 6016 x 4016 pixels from the Z 5. Safe to say, both cameras have enough resolution to make prints up to A3, which is what the majority of photographers need.

Two – Focus points:

Generally, the more focal points a camera can offer, the better chance it has of locking on to a subject, ensuring you bag an image that is sharp. The new Nikon Z 5 serves up 273 AF-points, which is a decent number. However, the Canon RP offers an astonishing 4779 selectable AF points. AF points don’t tell the whole story though, as the Nikon features Animal AF technology, while the Canon RP features the brand’s acclaimed Dual Pixel AF technology.

Three – Burst rate:

A speedy burst rate will enable photographers to capture action sequences and although the Z 5 and RP are no speed machines, they aren’t too slow either. The Z 5 can fire out 4.5 frames per second while the Canon RP offers 4 frames per second (5 without AF tracking). In fact the RP can shoot at this rate for 50 RAW images, or in JPEG until it fills the memory card.

Four – Memory cards:

Talking of memory cards, this is one area where there is a big difference between the two cameras. While the Canon offers just on SD card slot, the entry-level Z 5 delivers two SD card slots. This enables Nikon users to make an instant back-up to another card, or choose to record stills to one card and video to the other. The Z 5 is different to its Z-range stable mate, the Z 7, which uses an XQD card and it should be pointed out that SD cards cost a lot less too.

Five – IBIS:

Perhaps one of the headline differences between the two cameras is when it comes to IBIS (In Body Image Stabilisation). This is missing from the canon RP (although is present in the newer R5/R6), but the Z 5 is the first ever full-frame mirrorless Nikon to offer this technology. The 5-axis system (which works for both stills and video) will help keep shots sharp, especially in low light situations that can often cause shake and blue in frames.

Six – ISO range:

Another feature that makes a real difference in low light shooting is a camera’s ISO range. The Canon RP features a native ISO of 100-40000 that can be expanded to 50-102400 while the Nikon Z 5 offers a slightly higher native ISO (100-51200) but features the same expanded ceiling (ISO 102400).

Seven – LCD design:

Flip out LCDs have graduated from compact cameras all the way up to full-frame models because they make it easy for the photographer to set up awkward high/low compositions. The new Z 5 features a large 3.2-inch 1040k-dot LCD with a tilting design and touchscreen technology. While the LCD on the Canon RP is smaller (3-inch), it features the same resolution and also benefits from a vari-angle design, enabling users to flip the LCD out and even rotate when taking selfie pictures or filming Vlogs.

Eight – Video:

Speaking of filming, both these cameras have some excellent specifications that are sure to interest videographers. Both cameras can shoot at 4K, with the Nikon Z 5 offering 4K 30p, and the Canon topping out at 4K 35p. It should also be noted that both cameras feature a crop when filming in 4K. Full HD is also available with both cameras up to 60p and the presence of jacks for both headphones and an external microphone means that enhanced audio can be both recorded and monitored.

Nine – Weight and size:

The massive benefit of full-frame mirrorless cameras over their DSLR counterparts is that they are smaller and lighter – particularly useful for photographers who are travelling and want to save on space. The new Nikon Z 5 tips the scales at 675g (with battery and memory card), while the Canon RP is slightly lighter at 485g (with battery and memory card). The RP is also slightly smaller, measuring 132.5 × 85.0 × 70.0 mm compared to the Z 5 (134 x 100.5 x 69.5 mm).