Canon EOS R6 v Nikon Z7

Canon and Nikon may have been a little late getting to the prosumer mirrorless party, but both companies are now doing their best to make up for lost time. The two cameras we have here both offer a hybrid photographic experience, being well specified for stills and video shooters while also embracing the benefits of mirrorless technology. The Nikon Z7 is the more established model, having launched almost exactly a year ago, while the Canon EOS R6 has been available for less than a month. Their price points, however, put them in direct competition for your attention, despite having some distinct differences in terms of specification. Let’s see how they stack up against one another.

Barely separable in terms of weight, but the Nikon Z7 and Canon EOS R6 do have very different body styles.

Design and build
Cosmetically speaking, this pairing do look different. The Nikon has the more angular design, while the Canon is more rounded and, as a result, a slightly more friendly shape. Both bodies are sealed against the elements for shooting in all weather conditions and have chunky handgrips to ensure a solid hold. There’s little difference in weight. The Nikon body is slightly lighter than the Canon, but in reality there’s a barely detectable 5g between the weights of the two bodies including battery and card.

The electronic viewfinders on both models feature an impressive 3.69 million dots for plenty of detail and provide 100% coverage, but there are some differences when it comes to their respective rear LCDs. The Canon’s is arguably more versatile as it’s vari-angle and can be articulated to the side of the camera as well as being able to flip round for safer storage. The Nikon’s, by comparison, simply tilts. Both provide touchscreen control. The payback for the greater versatility in the Canon’s screen is that it’s marginally smaller – 3 inches to the Nikon’s 3.2 – and has a lower resolution – 1.62 million dots compared to the Nikon’s 2.1 million.

The Canon has the more versatile rear screen, but the Nikon’s is larger and has a higher resolution.

Image quality
If you’re putting all your efforts into out and out image quality then the Z7 is the obvious choice here. It offers more than twice the megapixels of the EOS R6 with an impressive 45.7 megapixel resolution compared to 20.1. However, this larger resolution means a heavier load on its EXPEED 6 processor, which limits the Z7’s overall speed capabilities. The Nikon could hardly be described as sluggish considering it can shoot at nine frames-per-second (fps), but the Canon with its DIGIC X processor delivers 12fps with its mechanical shutter and a blistering 20fps with the electronic shutter. 

The Canon also has the edge in terms of ISO with native settings between 100 and 102,400, while the Nikon natively offers 64 to 25,600. The Canon can be expanded down to 50 and up to 204,800, the Nikon down to 32 and up to 102,400. The EOS R6 edges things again in terms of autofocusing capabilities. It’s sensitive from -6.5 to 20EV, while the Nikon works down to -4EV and up to 19EV. You do need to have the Low Light AF mode activated on the Nikon, though, otherwise -1EV is the lowest AF sensitivity the Z7 has to offer.

The Canon has the more powerful in-body image stabilisation system, offering up to 8 stops of compensation

Both models offer eye detection AF on both human beings and animals, but the Canon also offers face, head and body detection so, theoretically, it will be superior to the Nikon when it comes to tracking moving subjects, human or otherwise.

In-body image stabilization is available on both cameras to help you combat camera shake, but while both offer 5 axis systems, the Canon has up to 8 stops of compensation compared to the Nikon’s 5. You do, however, have to have a specific lens attached to the EOS R6 to achieve this; the RF 24-105mm F4 L IS USM.

The Canon and Nikon should satisfy even the most ardent video shooter. 4K is standard on both models, with the EOS offering a marginally superior 60p resolution compared to the Z7’s 30p. Full HD at 120p is standard on both.

Log file formats and 10-bit recording is on offer from both cameras, but the Nikon has the added benefit of providing Raw video. This is not available straight out of the box, you’ll need to take the camera to get tweaked at your nearest Nikon service centre – a process which could be charged for – but the versatility is available should you really need it. 

The On/Off switch around the shutter release is more intuitive on the Z7 than the separate switch on the EOS R6.

Other features
Neither model offers an integral flash, but you wouldn’t really expect them to for models at this price point. They do offer a full suite of flash functions once a hot-shoe device is attached, of course, and both have a flash sync speed of 1/200sec. WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity is available on both cameras with supporting apps making it easy to quickly share your images.

Metering modes very slightly with the standard multi-pattern options supported by spot, partial and centre-weighted on the Canon and spot, centre-weighted and highlight weighted options on the Nikon. If you’re really particular about your spot metering precision, the Z7 is the better bet; if meters from 1.5% of the frame compared to 2.9% on the EOS R6.

A single XQD card is used to store images and video on the Nikon, whereas the Canon provides a more standard dual SD card slot arrangement. Clearly, the Canon is more versatile and less susceptible to card failure if you set files up to save across both card slots.

Dual card slots or single? Nikon opted for just one in the Z7, whereas Canon put two in the EOS R6.

As you would expect at this price point, these two cameras have much to offer and we’d suggest your decision will be based on which side of the hybrid mirrorless fence you want to sit on.

The Canon EOS R6 is the speed demon with an impressive frame rate for a full frame camera and versatile video functions. In short, it’s a great all-rounder. The Nikon Z7, by comparison, is a more specialised machine and should be the one you should choose if you want the greater resolution or the greater flexibility afforded by the Raw video functionality.

Canon EOS R6Nikon Z7
Resolution20.1 megapixel full frame45.7 megapixel full frame
Rear LCDVari angle 3in, 1.62m dots, touchscreenTilting 3.2in, 2.1m dots, touchscreen
Focusing points6072 (stills), 4968 (movie)493
Shutter speed range30-1/8000sec + Bulb30-1/8000sec + Bulb
Video4K 60p/Full HD 120p4K 30p/Full HD 120p
ISO range100-102,400 (50-204,800)64-25,600 (32-102,400)
Dimensions (WxHxD)138.4 x 97.5 x 88.4mm134 x 100.5 x 67.5mm
Weight (body only)680g (inc. battery and card)675g (inc. battery and card)