This review takes a look at the Canon 5D Mark IV vs Sony A7R II, two cameras that have earned heaps of praise on both sides of the Canon-Sony debate. Both cameras are heavyweights in the professional DSLR category, so this should prove an interesting comparison.
Read on to see how they match up against each other and which is better.
Canon 5D Mark IV: Advantages
- Has touchscreen
- Slightly larger LCD screen (3.2” vs 3”)
- Higher LCD screen resolution (1,620K dots vs 1,229K dots)
- Faster frame rate (7fps vs 5fps)
- Longer battery life
- Extra storage slot
Canon has kept from doing a complete overhaul on 5D models. Instead, they’ve made incremental upgrades so that each model still retains the look and feel of previous models that owners have come to love.
The biggest changes in the Mark IV DSLR is the new 30.4MP Full-Frame CMOS sensor and DIGIC 6+ image processor. This upgraded sensor provides better resolution without compromising on sensitivity. Along with the new DIGIC 6+ processing engine, you get an impressive ISO range from 100-32000.
ISO is great up until 6400 when noise starts to creep in – still a very impressive range, but the Sony A7R II beats it. What the Mark IV does best though is the speed and ease of use. Sony still has a way to go in this department. The movement is smooth and quick on the Mark IV when reviewing photos, zooming in, and other actions.
A few more points the Mark IV wins out on: The touchscreen is seamless, and so easy to use that it’s often hard to go without once you become used to it. The extra card slot, something the A7R II lacks, makes it easier to quickly store photos and keep a backup for emergencies. Lastly, the Mark IV’s battery life is far superior to the A7R II, by about 610 more shots on a single charge.
Canon 5D Mark IV: Disadvantages
- No in-camera image stabilization
- No tilt-swivel LCD screen
- Lower megapixel range (30MP vs 42MP)
- Lower color depth
- Lower dynamic range
- More expensive price tag
The Mark IV, despite being a great camera, has a few disadvantages when measured against the A7R II. To begin with, its sensor has a lower megapixel count. It’s still 30MP, which is more than most photogs will ever need, but compared with the Sony’s 42MP – the difference is staggering. Images still come out very sharp on the Mark IV, but the difference is especially apparent when zooming
This is also the case with the color depth and dynamic range. Despite Canon’s reputation for the best color depth, Sony has really pushed the envelope with this DSLR. As with dynamic range, the differences are very subtle – but the A7R II is clearly the better camera.
The lack of a tilt-swivel LCD screen is also something that the Mark IV is sorely missing, meaning you’ll have a harder time getting low angle shots or shooting video from the hip.
Sony A7R II: Advantages
- Built-in image stabilization
- Tilt-swivel LCD screen
- More AF points (399 vs 61)
- Lighter weight (625g vs 890g)
- Higher color depth (26 vs 24.8)
- Higher dynamic range (13.9 vs 13.6)
- Better ISO performance
Sony has really outdone themselves in recent years with their DSLR line. The A7R II continues this winning streak in innovation and design. What you get here is a high-performance camera capable of competing with others in the same range, combined with all the useful features that we’ve come to expect on a new camera.
The built-in image stabilization allows you to get more steady shots while the Wi-Fi connectivity allows you to connect to any smartphone device when needed. Another great feature is the tilt-swivel LCD screen. With this, videographers can have a much easier time composing their shots and shooting video.
On that point, the video shooting capabilities of the A7R II are nothing short of incredible. Unlike previous cameras in the Alpha series, the A7R II can capture 4K internally using the full width of the 35mm sensor. In contrast, the Mark IV can only capture 4K video in crop mode. The A7R II also wins out in dynamic range, sharpness and focusing when shooting in video.
The A7R II is also surprisingly light compared to the Mark IV, weighing a full 265g less. This makes it very compact and easy to carry, something which the Mark IV certainly is not.
Sony also wins in the auto-focus department. With such a plethora of AF points all the way to the edge of the sensor, along with its easy to use face detection mode, the camera has no trouble focusing near-instantly on any point you choose.
For ISO, both cameras are great – below 6400 ISO. From there, noise becomes slowly more noticeable. The A7R II, however, holds up much better and retains a generally sharper look.
Sony A7R II: Disadvantages
- No touchscreen
- Slightly smaller LCD screen
- Lower continuous shooting rate
- Less battery life
- Only 1 storage card slot
The A7R II’s primary disadvantages here lie in the lack of some features which the Mark IV happens to possess. A touchscreen is hardly a vital aspect in camera design, but if you’ve ever tried it before, you might find yourself impulsively taping the screen on your A7R II.
The A7R II also has a slower continuous shooting rate than the Mark IV, at 5fps vs 7fps. Not a huge difference, but worth considering if you tend to shoot frequently on continuous mode.
Battery life for the A7R II is not anywhere near as good as the Mark IV’s. I’m not entirely sure whether this is due to the battery design or energy consumption of the DSLR camera. The stats suggest the Mark IV can handle up to 900 shots on a fully charged battery, while the A7R II can only handle 290.
Another thing the A7R II is lacking is an extra storage card slot. One of those would you to quickly backup all your photos, or quickly change over if you’re doing a ton of shooting – as a sporting event or wedding photographer tends.
Both the Canon 5D Mark IV and Sony A7R II are terrific cameras in their own right. Both provide unparalleled performance and capabilities that put them in the top realm of advanced, professional DSLR cameras. Both cameras have their ups and downs, but if there’s one I would recommend: it’s the Sony A7R II.
The ability to shoot in 4K, along with the ease of a tilt screen, is a huge boon to videographers of all stripes. Dedicated photographers will love its lightweight, ergonomic design and impressive capabilities. Unless you really need a touchscreen, or already have a large collection of Canon lenses, go with the Sony between these two.Back to Top