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Old 14-08-2019, 03:37 PM
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Canon EOS R versus Sony A7riii

I have had a Canon EOS R now for about 9 months and a Sony A7riii for about 2.5 years.

I have used both now extensively for nightscapes as well as regular photography.

They both have their pluses and minuses and I thought I would do a mini review for those interested.

A7riii is a technical whizkid of a camera. Sensor IBIS means stabilised images down to 5.5 EV a big help for getting sharp images indoors.

42.4 megapixel backside illuminated, copper wired sensor is amazing and sensitive. Super sharp.

4K video is very advanced and has a lot of features although I don't use my cameras for video that much.

EVF is very good. Ergonomics are fine for me but the menus could be better and the grip could be a bit better.
It has a tilt rear LCD screen which is fine for me. Some prefer the Canon as it will flip all the way around which is good for selfies or for vlogging which I don't do. The Canon flip screen I find doing nightscapes is not quite as practical as Sony's tilt screen. But hardly an issue as both are great. Its just sometimes the Canon one ends up on its side a bit plus an L angle makes it so you can't open it fully. There are now 1 or 2 L angles that will allow it open fully - so they say.

The camera also has pixel shift technology which is where the camera takes 4 images of up to 30 seconds each and shifts the sensor 1 pixel so each shot is taken on each colour of the Bayer matrix over the sensor. The idea is less noise, greater colour depth and sharper images.

It really only works well on static scenes so it needs a tripod. It can tolerate some movement especially if you develop the raws using Raw Therapee which has a movement mask option.

I find it good for nightscapes as it seems to pull out some extra colour and sharpness and detail. Plus low noise as 4 images get combined into 1. So its similar to filtered imaging in that every pixel gets full colour information rather than 2 are green 1 is red and 1 is blue in your regular images.

Noise is low but there is what is called spatial filtering of RAWs which means hot pixel removal by identifying bright single pixels and then reducing that pixel to surrounding pixels values. This can mistake a dim pinpoint star as a hot pixel and dim it or reduce the red and blue and leave it greenish.

Also shadows do exhibit colour speckle noise of blue and red spots. This removes with the dust and scratches tool set to 1 and 30 in Photoshop.

It received an autofocus update recently so its cutting edge focus system is arguably the best out there. Amazing and simple to use. AI picks up faces or eyes and focuses on the nearest eye and tracks it and if it turns away tracks the face and if the eye reappears it reaquires it. Just amazing.

Canon EOS R.

I got this mainly because of Canon colours and astro history and for the competitions sponsored by Canon.

EOS R has excellent IQ and dynamic range. Similar to Sony but a little less as its 30mps versus 42.

Colours are fabulous but I also have a camera colour profile for my Sony to emulate its colours.

The 24-105 RF lens is fantastic. The whole camera has a quality build and feel to it. It has less bells and whistles than the Sony but its nicer in the hand with a lovely grip, a better EVF, better menus, some features the Sony does not have and an excellent AF system. It will even AF on a bright star with my Sigma Art 14 1.8 lens.

It has a bit more noise in long exposures than the Sony but no spatial filtering so star colours are spot on and undamaged.

I really like the touch screen and the flippy LCD screen is clever how it can turn around and close with its back outwards protecting the screen.

The new mode called flexible value is very handy allowing changing exposure time, ISO and F stop easily and quickly.

Even the controversial multi function bar isn't too bad in use. I have mine set to 5X, 10X magnify and tap to turn on/off the electronic level. Both Sony and Canon have an electronic level. I prefer Sony's but the Canon isn't bad just a bit too large and bright. Canon EVF is better than the Sony.

The EOS R has a fabulous touch screen which works just like a smartphone so its very familiar. Sony has a limited touch screen for moving the focus point only and nothing else. Its crude and basic and I don't use it. Canon's works on all menu items, reviewing images etc and is fantastic. I also use it to activate nightscape images using touch screen shutter activation.

Canon images don't have colour speckle in long exposure shadows compared to Sony. But noise levels are a tad higher, not a lot but there is a difference.

Canon has a bulb timer where you can set any length image time and the number of exposures and it will take them. Sony does not. It has an intervalometer but maxes out at 30 seconds.

Overall I think the Canon EOS R is the better nightscape camera but there isn't a lot in it. They both can get the shot.

The Canon has a few oddities. I find it harder to change ISO on compared to Sony where the rear thumbwheel always changes ISO.
The Sony EVF always shows WYSIWYG so what you see in the EVF is what the image will be. Canon is supposed to do that too but a few times it has mysteriously taken super overexposed images where the EVF showed proper exposure. I am still not sure what happened there, it was a manual lens.

Sony's auto setting is really very good and always gets the shot. I would rate the Sony higher for always getting the shot - indoors running kids in low light, dim light outside, bright light you name it and it nails it.

EOS R got criticised for only a single slot for memory cards (the Sony has dual slots) no IBIS (Sony is now 2nd gen 5.5 stops), crop on 4K video (Sony doesn't have a crop - I think). A7riii got a long life battery, faster all round performance, better AF, good 4K video, an intervalometer even if somewhat crude, wifi. The Canon battery is much the same size as the new Sony one but the Sony one lasts longer. The Canon one though lasts quite a while so its not an issue to me. Its not a weak point.

Fortunately these shortcomings don't concern me or get in the way of its use.

The Canon RF to EF lens adapter is also very good. Mine is the one with the control ring which you can assign features to. I don't use it but a wedding person might. I believe the Canon autofocus will work in even dimmer light than the 6D's centre point which was the best around at the time.

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