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Sony a7 IV Versus Sony a7 III: Should You Upgrade?

Sony a7 IV Versus Sony a7 III: Should You Upgrade?

Sony kept fans waiting a long time before finally unveiling the a7 IV, and with the release date quickly approaching, a7 III users will be weighing whether it’s worth the upgrade. And what if you’re pondering your first a7 camera? Should you shell out the extra cash for the newer camera?

Those waiting for the price to drop on the a7 III might have to be patient, as even with all of the holiday season deals happening right now, it’s still not dropped to its previous low point of $1,698. Perhaps we’ll see that shift in the new year once the a7 IV has been on shelves for a few weeks.

Stock for the a7 IV is looking promising, despite all of the news surrounding supply chains and chip shortages. We reported a few days ago that Sony is halting production on a selection of its older imaging equipment in order to manage its chips, but there have been positive reports that European pre-orders of the a7 IV are shipping earlier than expected.

The a7 IV is certainly impressive, but as an a7 III owner, I’m going to hold off, mostly because I can’t afford to change cameras every time an upgrade comes along, but also because the new camera is not the same seismic shift that we witnessed in 2018. While YouTube might give you the impression that everyone on the planet upgrades to the newest model as soon as it’s released, most photographers skip a version or two before shelling out.

Which would you buy? And if you own an a7 III, are you going to upgrade? Let us know in the comments below.

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Are These the 10 Best Lenses for Sony You Can Buy Right Now?

Are These the 10 Best Lenses for Sony You Can Buy Right Now?

There are a plethora of lenses available for Sony’s E-mount, especially when you factor in both APS-C and full frame. Here’s a list of the ten best that you can buy as we approach the end of 2021.

Sony user Arthur R has put together a list of his favorites, all of which he has bought himself and uses regularly. Viewers will be pleased to see that he’s not chosen a ton of Sony’s most expensive glass but has instead opted for a raft of more affordable options that typically perform beyond what you would expect given their price. Also, seeing this list, you appreciate how much of the heavy lifting has been done by Sigma in terms of making Sony’s APS-C cameras a solid choice in the long term for both photographers and filmmakers.

One lens that I’d personally add to this list is the Tamron 17-28mm f/2.8 (currently $100 off at $799), adding a wide-angle zoom to Arthur’s gear. Given that Tamron has just overhauled its ludicrously successful 28-75mm f/2.8, we might see an updated version of this popular lens as well sometime in the next 12 to 18 months.

Which other non-GM lenses would you include? Let us know in the comments below.

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Sony Alpha 7 IV Full-Frame Mirrorless Camera Review

Sony Alpha 7 IV Full-Frame Mirrorless Camera Review

Sony Alpha 7 IV
 

Quick Verdict

Billed as a “full-frame hybrid camera” the Sony A7 IV certainly lives up to its potential. Be it for high-quality stills, high-quality video shooting or streaming and connectivity it’s all there. This of course brings with it a certain level of complexity, so it takes some investment in time to understand and take full advantage of all the versatility that Sony has built in. This is time well spent though and the camera repays this effort in an abundance of functionality worthy of its status as the flagship of the A7 series.

+ Pros

  • Excellent stills image quality
  • Smooth high-quality movie shooting
  • Bionz XR Processor
  • Dust and moisture resistance
  • 5 Axis SteadyShot
  • Human, animal or bird Eye/Face AF tracking
  • Low noise
  • 10fps shooting

– Cons

  • Very complex menus that are not always intuitive
  • Full manual online only

 

 

Sony has an extensive array of interchangeable lens mirrorless cameras, both in full-frame and APS-C formats. To their credit, new models can exist for some time alongside the older versions that they replace, enabling also a variety of price levels and options. The A7 range does not have the highest resolution of the options available but has instead consistently offered a bias towards movie shooting and low noise stills shooting. Technology is now such that the edges of demarcation are blurring and we can expect satisfactorily high pixel counts (33MP in this case) alongside fast frame rates (10fps) and huge buffers (up to 800 shots). Couple this with a very sophisticated set of movie specifications, and we have a true hybrid camera that can satisfy the needs of a wide range of photographers.

The review sample has been provided with the FE 12-24mm f/2.8 GM zoom lens, fully reviewed separately, so let’s take this heavyweight duo out into the field and see what it can do.

 

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Sony Alpha 7 IV Features

Sony Alpha 7 IV
 

The A7 IV is a robust, impressively well-made camera body with dust and moisture resistance, inbuilt SteadyShot (5-axis, up to 5.5 stops) and a sturdy 658g in weight, including SD card and battery. The lens provided, the Sony FE 12-24mm f/2.8 GM, fits smoothly and without any hint of rotational movement when mounted. One interesting improvement is that when the lens is removed the sensor is actually covered rather than being fully exposed.

The camera is slightly bulkier than the A7R III that we usually use for reviewing Sony lenses. This can be accounted for by the deeper grip, which works well, and the vari-angle rear monitor that enables a forward view that vloggers will appreciate should they wish to film themselves.

Much of the button placement remains similar to previous models, but there are a few significant tweaks to the layout. The top panel has gained a rotational dial beneath the mode dial to select stills, video and S&Q (Slow and Quick). The exposure compensation dial has lost its engraving, gained a locking button at its centre and gained a full range of adjustment from -5 EV to +5 EV. The rear command dial has become a top operating dial. There is a new actuation switch, marked with a red circle, which starts and stops video recording.

The rear of the camera is no surprise, with the usual control dials and buttons, with a vast array of customisation possible for every one of them. This brings us to the menus which are quite complex by necessity, but perhaps not as intuitive as the previous style. This is, of course, a very personal choice and no doubt with continued use everything will become more familiar and much easier to use.

 

Sony Alpha 7 IV
 

The Quad VGA OLED EVF (1.3cm, 0.5 type) has no less than 3,686,400 dots, gives 100% coverage and offers 0.78x magnification with a 50mm lens at infinity. The EVF has truly come of age, offering a superb, flicker-free view that is totally usable without any trace of eye fatigue. The only clue as to its electronic nature is that we have to switch it on to use it, unlike an optical viewfinder.

The 7.5cm (3.0 type) TFT touch panel monitor has 1,036,800 dots and is equally useful. Menus are crisp and clean. If the touch screen facility is not required then it can be switched off.

Metering has a wide range of sensitivity, from -3 EV to +20 EV. Base ISO values are ISO 100-51,200 and this can be extended to ISO 50-204,800. The ISO performance is excellent, as mentioned later.

Sony Alpha 7 IV
 

AF is a hybrid system using phase detection and contrast detection. It operates from -4 EV to +20 EV and works very well indeed, being sharp, fast and accurate. There is an AF illuminator that is effective from 0.3m to 3.0m. Eye and face recognition AF works beautifully, and now we have the option of selecting Human, Animal or Bird.

Media are accessed through the usual side panel and this has gained an additional locking switch. The camera accepts SD cards (including UHS-I and UHS-II) and CFexpress cards type A. Some video functions are dependent upon using the highest specification cards, be it SD or CFexpress.

There is no doubt that the A7 IV is a highly specified and highly effective tool for both stills photographers and videographers.

 

Key Features

  • 33MP Full-Frame (35.9mm x 23.9mm) Exmoor R CMOS Sensor
  • Shutter speeds 1/8000s to 30s (stills)
  • Shutter speeds 1/8000s to 1/4s (movie)
  • ISO range 100 – 51200 (50 to 204,800 extended)
  • Metering range EV -3 to EV 20
  • Vari-angle 7.5cm (3.0type) TFT touch panel monitor with 1,036,800 dots
  • Quad VGA 1.3cm (0.5 type) OLED EVF 3,686,400 dots, 100% field of view, 0.78x magnification with 50mm lens at infinity
  • 4:2:2 10 bit 4K, 7K oversampling and UHD Video, H.264 and H.265 formats
  • Streaming/webcam capability
  • Bluetooth Ver 4.1
  • Wireless LAN 2.4GHz/5GHz
  • Hybrid AF – phase-detection/contrast detection
  • AF range EV -4 to EV 20
  • Media: SD card (UHS-I and UHS-II compliant), CF Express Type A
  • 10 fps, buffer up to 800 shots
  • SteadyShot (5.5 stops)
  • Anti-Dust
  • 658g with SD card and battery
  • Fully adjustable picture profiles
  • Creative looks: Standard, Portrait, Subdued, Vivid, Vivid + Enhanced clarity, Moody, Monochrome, Sepia, Custom

 

Sony Alpha 7 IV Handling

Sony Alpha 7 IV
 

Handling is pure Sony and from a slow start as cameras morphed from Minolta to Konica Minolta and finally, to Sony, the learning curve and development have been intense, relentless and very, very successful. We now have state-of-the-art performance, design and handling and with so many alternative models something for every style of photographer.

The A7 IV is the pinnacle of a line of development that has looked to cater for those who wanted low noise and the ability to effectively shoot movies, as well as the general need for stills. Thus we move ourselves, perhaps from being pure photographers or videographers to being content creators, a hybrid that needs a hybrid choice of cameras. It’s all in the A7 IV, including a plethora of connection and communication options. With a 33MP sensor, there is plenty of resolution for stills as well.

The only points I would raise are the menus and the instruction manual. The menu system may well be liked by many, but in my opinion, I find it not particularly intuitive, although as with all things this improves with use and familiarity and of course once a camera is set up then the process does not need to be repeated. The instruction manual for an undeniably complex set of options would be helpful in printed form as the online version is not perhaps the most convenient way of getting the information across.

However, to be fair, once set up for stills, and then set up for video, the actual operation is smooth and hazard-free.  

 

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Amazon Black Friday Offer: Save £100 On The Sony Vlog Camera ZV-1

Amazon Black Friday Offer: Save £100 On The Sony Vlog Camera ZV-1

The Sony ZV-1 camera is currently available for under £600 over on Amazon as part of their Black Friday deals.

| 
Sony ZV-1 in Offers

Sony ZV 1 (2)
 

For the next 5 days, the Sony ZV-1 compact camera is available on Amazon for £599.99, saving you £100.

The Sony ZV-1 is designed to be the perfect compact camera for vloggers, with 4K video recording, a vari-angle screen that faces the front, and a number of features specifically for vloggers. It received a ‘Recommended’ award from ePHOTOzine with our reviewer saying it’s definitely a first choice for vloggers at this price point.

If you’re not sure if the Sony ZV-1 is the compact camera for you, we also have other options which scored well when put to the test by ePHOTOzine in our ‘Best Serious Compact Digital Cameras You Can Buy Today’ round-up. 

You can also shop more camera Black Friday deals over on Amazon where the shopping event has launched early. 

Save £100 On The Sony ZV-1

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Chip shortage halts some Sony orders

Chip shortage halts some Sony orders

November 25, 2021

With a global semiconductor shortage continuing to cause problems for camera makers, Sony has announced a temporary halt to orders for the APS-C Alpha 6100 and 6400 mirrorless models, and the full-frame A7 II.

“Parts procurement is delayed due to the effects of global semiconductor shortages,” the company said in an official statement, as reported by Sony Alpha Rumors. “Therefore, after November 19, 2021, we will suspend the acceptance of orders from our distributors and customers at the Sony store for certain models with tight supply.”

Sony promised to publish updates on the product information pages for the various cameras and “deeply apologised” for any inconvenience caused to its customers. The temporary order suspension also affects the ECM-B1M shotgun microphone and PXW-Z190 professional camcorder.

The Japanese business news service, Nikkei, reported that Sony has teamed up with Taiwanese firm TCMC to build in a new factory in Japan to make extra chips, although production is not expected to start until 2024.

Chip shortage halts some Sony orders 1

The TSMC head office in Taiwan

Other makers are also being affected by the global semiconductor shortage, which has affected timely product supply to retailers.

So what’s causing the chip shortage?
A perfect storm of factors has caused the semiconductor shortage, including the global economic impact of the pandemic, an explosion in demand as more and more products rely on semiconductors and various plant closures caused by fire and bad weather.

This Gordian Knot of complexity is unlikely to be unravelled anytime soon, though as we’ve seen with Sony, chip makers are working hard to ramp up production to cover the shortfall and ensure a smoother path for products to market in the future.


Full Sony statement (translated from the Japanese)

Notice and apology regarding temporary suspension of orders for digital imaging products

Thank you for your continued patronage of Sony products.

Currently, with regard to digital imaging products, parts procurement is delayed due to the effects of global semiconductor shortages.

Therefore, after November 19, 2021, we will suspend the acceptance of orders from our distributors and customers at the Sony store for certain models with tight supply. ..

Regarding the resumption of order acceptance, we will consider it while observing the status of parts supply, and will inform you separately on the product information page.

We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience caused to our customers.

We will do our utmost to deliver the product as soon as possible, and we appreciate your understanding.

[Products subject to suspension of order acceptance]Digital single-lens camera: α7 II series / α6400 series / α6100 body (black)
Shotgun microphone: ECM-B1M
Professional camcorder: PXW-Z190

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Canon R3 Versus Sony a1: Which Has Better Autofocus?

Canon R3 Versus Sony a1: Which Has Better Autofocus?

Canon’s latest full frame mirrorless camera, the EOS R3, was launched only a few months ago, and we’ve had to wait patiently to find out how its autofocus system compares with that of one of its biggest rivals, the Sony a1. This video puts the pair head to head in a real-world situation.

Many of the recent advances in autofocus have been led by Sony, leveraging a mirrorless system that’s been on the market longer and giving the company plenty of opportunity to perform some serious research and development. Slower to the mirrorless party, Canon has been playing catch up but, as this video seems to suggest, it’s no longer behind and some will argue that it has edged ahead.

Obviously, there’s a lot more to a camera than just its autofocus and in terms of user experience — and I say this as a Sony shooter — the Canon is a lot more appealing from what can be seen in this video. Of course, having the Atomos Ninja attached magnifies the viewfinder and amplifies the difference, but what you see when peering through a Canon is in my opinion far more refined than what you experience with the Sony. Of course, much of what’s being displayed can be turned off, but the symbols feel cluttered and inconsistent in terms of both their size and design.

Which gets your vote? Let us know in the comments below.

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Sony FE 12-24mm F/2.8 GM Lens Review

Sony FE 12-24mm F/2.8 GM Lens Review

Sony FE 12-24mm F/2.8 GM
 

Taking a step up from the exisiting very fine Sony FE 12-24mm f/4 G lens, here is the Sony FE 12-24mm f/2.8 G Master. Featuring the largest extreme aspherical element ever produced for Sony E mount lenses and a groundbreaking f/2.8 maximum aperture, there is much potential here, as well of course as a significant price tag to go with it. The concept of a fast, bright f/2.8 constant aperture ultra-wide zoom is a tempting one, so let’s couple it up with the new full-frame Sony A7 IV 33MP camera body and see how it handles and performs.

 

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Sony FE 12-24mm F/2.8 GM Handling and Features

Sony FE 12-24mm F/2.8 GM
 

This is a very well made lens, no doubt about that, and it weighs in at 847g, so not a lightweight lens. However, it does balance well on the A7 IV body. It could also be used on the APS-C bodies, where the “35mm-equivalent” field of view would be 18-36mm, but the size and weight of the lens would put it out of all proportion. It is dust and moisture-sealed, but not 100% waterproof. The front element also has a Fluorine coating that repels dust, grease and moisture. This bulbous front element is protected by a fixed petal lens hood, as usual for ultra-wide lenses. There is no provision for filters here, which would be rather impractical, but there is a gelatin filter slot at the rear of the lens. The lens cap is a large plastic clip-on type that covers the front of the lens effectively.

Immediately behind the hood is the manual focusing ring, which is compatible with all the usual Sony features such as AF, MF and DMF (Direct Manual Focus) and these are all set via the camera menu. There is also an AF/MF switch on the lens barrel, plus a focus hold button. Manual focusing is ultra-smooth and AF is fast and accurate via new upgraded XD Linear (Extreme Dynamic) motors. It is also very quiet and unobtrusive. Focusing is down to 0.28m, 0.92 feet, for a maximum magnification of 0.14x. The lens utilises floating elements to maintain performance at all focusing distances.

Sony FE 12-24mm F/2.8 GM

The zoom ring is also smooth, but more physical in that it moves the lens barrel forwards and backwards. The front element stays within the bounds of the petal lens hood, which is stationary at all times. There are clear markings at 12mm, 14mm, 16mm, 18mm, 21mm and 24mm.

Optical construction is 17 elements in 14 groups, including 3 XD (Extreme Aspherical), 1 Aspherical, 3 ED (Extra-Low Dispersion) and 2 Super ED. The rounded diaphragm comprises 9 blades for improved, smooth bokeh effects. Sony also uses its Nano AR coating technology to improve light transmission and reduce flare.

There is no OSS (Optical SteadyShot) in the lens, instead relying on that built into Sony camera bodies. There is also no compatibility with any of the teleconverters.

The lens mount is smooth and slick, fitting perfectly with no hint of any rotational movement when clicked into place. At the back of the lens, as mentioned, there is a baffle and a filter slot for gelatin filters.

Sony FE 12-24mm F/2.8 GM
 

Using ultra-wide lenses does need some care and thought, as there could be a tendency to simply shoot images that are from the usual distances, resulting in very small distant objects in the frame. This can make distant mountains, for example, extremely disappointing. The key is to get in close, then closer, to make the most of dramatic foregrounds and perspective. Interiors obviously can be photographed to advantage, making spaces look vast and spacious. Landscapes need foreground interest. Even portraits are possible though, and one of the advantages of the 12-24mm is that at the longer end we have a perfectly viable choice for reportage/street photography. This makes for an extremely versatile lens.

 

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Sony inks deal with largest US newspaper publisher

The Sony a1

Sony Electronics has scored another significant win for its cameras and lenses this week, announcing the inking of a deal to supply imaging gear for Gannett, the nation’s largest newspaper publisher (by circulation). The deal comes just 18 months after Sony signed a similar deal with The Associated Press, and will see its cameras and lenses used by newsrooms across Gannett’s “USA Today Network“.

About Gannett

USA Today is among the top three US-market newspapers by circulation, but until quite recently it was even larger. As of 2019, Cision Media Research put it in first place nationally. But the covid pandemic and a resulting reduction in its sales to hotels have hit the paper harder than most. 

First launched in December 2015, the USA Today Network encompasses not just USA Today itself, but also more than 250 other local and national publications. Gannett’s overall portfolio is currently said to include 248 daily publications and 256 weeklies covering every US state save for Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, and Wyoming.

In all, the USA Today Network includes more than 5,000 journalists and its newsrooms have garnered a whopping 93 Pulitzer prizes while informing more than 150 million monthly readers. With more than 500 photographers and videographers, the network covers more than 10,000 events each year, producing almost two million edited images and videos by the thousands.

The Sony deal

The deal will see Sony provide not just hardware but also extensive service and support, including on-site support at many industry events. The rollout of Sony imaging kits begins immediately to select markets and will include gear such as the Sony Alpha 1, Cinema Line FX-series cameras, and G Master lenses.

The announcement was warmly welcomed by Bruce Odle, President of Gannett’s in-house photo agency, Imagn.

“Storytelling through images has been a large part of our organization throughout national and local coverage, and through our sports content,” said Odle. “We are excited to bring Sony’s innovative equipment to our journalists to allow them to capture the moments and emotions in new ways to complement the compelling stories of the USA Today Network.”

And not surprisingly, Sony was no less effusive in its praise for a deal that will see its imaging solutions gain a stronger toehold in the valuable pro-market.

“We are extremely pleased to be able to collaborate with Gannett, one of the world’s largest news organizations with an unparalleled commitment to delivering multimedia news and creating digital content,” commented Yang Cheng, Vice President of Imaging Products and Solutions Americas at Sony Electronics. “Gannett’s USA Today Newtwork is an innovative and venerable news brand, preserving local journalism and reinventing national news.  We are honored that they have chosen to equip their talented visual journalists with Sony imaging products, and are confident it will allow them to capture, communicate and share stories in ways they never have before.”

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Here’s How Good the Image Quality Is From the Sony a7 IV

Here’s How Good the Image Quality Is From the Sony a7 IV

The Sony a7 IV is probably one of the best bang-for-buck cameras on the market right now. With its high-resolution 33-megapixel full frame sensor along with a slew of high-end video features, it fits the needs of professional creatives. If you’re thinking about purchasing this camera but want to know how it performs, then this video might be useful to you. 

A recent video from Tony & Chelsea Northrup compares the Sony a7 IV to the Canon EOS R6, the Sony a7R III, the Sony a7 III, and the Sony a9 cameras. The main reason these kinds of tests are useful is that spec sheets and press releases don’t always give a clear view of how a camera will perform.

For example, the Sony a7 IV sensor has an AA filter, which although can help prevent moire, also reduces image quality. It’s difficult to know how much of an impact this AA filter is going to have without doing a side-by-side comparison. Other factors to test and consider include banding in artificial light, high-ISO performance, and how the sensor handles noise. In the video, Northrup goes into detail on how each camera performs and demonstrates some of the key improvements in the new camera. 

Find out how the Sony a7 IV performs by watching the full video linked above. 

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Nikon Z9 Vs Canon EOS R3 Vs Sony Alpha 1

Nikon Z9 Vs Canon EOS R3 Vs Sony Alpha 1

November 17, 2021

There’s plenty of hype around the Nikon Z9, with those eager to read our Nikon Z9 hands-on review, and there are also plenty of people who have already placed their pre-orders! It’s clear that Nikon are onto a winner with the Nikon Z9, but where does it stand in comparison to the competition, notably the high-speed Canon EOS R3 and Sony Alpha 1.

All three are top of the range mirrorless cameras from Canon, Sony and Nikon, and command premium prices. But what are the main differences, and how do they compare to each other. Find out here in our Nikon Z9 vs Canon EOS R3 vs Sony Alpha 1 comparison!

Price – How much!?

  • Canon EOS R3: £5879 body only
  • Nikon Z9: £5299 body only
  • Sony Alpha 1: £6499 body only

These are the RRP prices, and it’s quite clear that although all three cameras can easily be considered expensive, there’s also a big difference in price, with the Nikon Z9 (the lowest price here) being £1200 cheaper than the Sony Alpha 1.

As a comparison, the Canon EOS-1D X Mark III is £6999, and the Nikon D6 is £6299, making the R3 and Z9 appear to be good value for money in comparison. Sony don’t have a DSLR “alternative”, but the other high-speed model from Sony, the A9 II is priced at £4199, making the Sony Alpha 1 appear expensive in this line-up.

Sony Alpha 1 Full-frame sensor

The Alpha 1 is built around a new 50MP full-frame sensor

Image Sensor

  • Canon EOS R3: 24.1MP FF stacked BSI CMOS sensor
  • Nikon Z9: 45.7MP FF stacked BSI CMOS sensor
  • Sony Alpha 1: 50.1MP FF stacked BSI CMOS sensor

A stacked sensor gives a quicker readout speed allowing for high-speed continuous shooting, as well as high-speed video recording. BSI = back-side illuminated, and gives better low-light performance compared to standard CMOS sensors.

The Sony Alpha 1 has a clever feature to get even higher resolution images, and uses the sensor-shift system to create high-resolution images using multiple shots, this means you can put together high-resolution images on your computer later, giving you 200MP images. The Sony Alpha 1 was also the first camera released.

Continuous Shooting Speed

  • Canon EOS R3: 30fps (electronic) with AF/AE tracking, 150 frame buffer, or 1000 when shooting 12fps mechanical shutter
  • Nikon Z9: 30fps (electronic), JPEG only, 20fps with RAW (1000 frame buffer), 120fps (at 11MP)
  • Sony Alpha 1: 30fps at 50MP, 30fps (electronic) with AF/AE tracking, 10fps mechanical shutter, up to 238/400 raw/JPEG shots (JPEG Fine L)

All three cameras offer up to 30fps continuous shooting, with the only limitations being found in how many shots you can shoot, and on the Nikon Z9, you can only shoot at 30fps when shooting JPEG only. If you switch to raw then the speed drops to 20fps. However, the 1000 frame buffer on the Nikon Z9 is impressive letting you shoot more than the other cameras.

Nikon Z9 sensor shield

This shutter shield protects the sensor when the camera is switched off, and despite appearances, it’s not a mechanical shutter on the Z9.

Shutter speeds available:

  • Canon EOS R3: 30 – 1/8,000s (mechanical), 1/64,000s (electronic)
  • Nikon Z9: 30 – 1/32,000s (electronic)
  • Sony Alpha 1: 30s – 1/8,000s (mechanical), 1/32,000s (electronic)

The Nikon Z9 shutter is entirely electronic, with a “shutter shield” to protect the sensor when the camera is off or a lens is not present. The EOS R3 and Alpha 1 both give you the choice of a mechanical or electronic shutter, with shutter speeds above 1/8,000s using the electronic shutter. The Canon EOS R3 has the fastest shutter speed available, at 1/64,000s.

Image stabilisation

  • Canon EOS R3: 5-axis sensor-shift, up to 8 stops, with optically stabilised lens
  • Nikon Z9: 5-axis sensor-shift, up to 6 stops
  • Sony Alpha 1: 5-axis sensor-shift, 5.5 stops

All three cameras use In-Body Image Stabilisation (IBIS) which moves the sensor to counter any camera shake, and all three cameras will give better image stabilisation when used with an optically stabilised lens as the in-camera and lens stabilisation systems work together.

Canon give image stabilisation performance of the camera and image-stabilisation lens, whilst Sony and Nikon give the figure when using a non-stabilised lens, so it’s difficult to directly compare the performance of the cameras.

ISO range available

  • Canon EOS R3: ISO 50-204800 (extended)
  • Nikon Z9: ISO 32-102,400 (extended)
  • Sony Alpha 1: ISO 50-102,400 (extended)

The highest ISO speed available is from the Canon EOS R3, and whilst it’s unlikely that you’re going to want to use the highest ISO speeds on these cameras, it does give you an idea of the usable ISO range. From this, it’s likely that you’ll be able to use a 1-stop higher ISO speed with the Canon EOS R3 when compared to the others, however, we’ll have to wait till we’ve reviewed the camera to confirm this.

The lowest ISO speed available is found on the Z9, and whilst we wouldn’t expect there to be a massive amount of difference between ISO50 and ISO32 on these cameras, the slightly lower ISO speed will allow for slightly improved flexibility.

Nikon Z9 in hand

The Nikon Z9 will feel familiar to Nikon users

Auto Focus

  • Canon EOS R3: 4779 AF points – phase detection, animals (including birds) and human face/eye detection, vehicles including cars and motorbikes – you select the subject, choosing between human, animals, vehicles, Eye-control AF
  • Nikon Z9: 493 AF points, AI detection for humans, dogs, cats, birds and vehicles, AI automatically detects the subject, without having to pre-select before shooting
  • Sony Alpha 1: 759 PDAF points, animal, bird, and human face/eye detection, you select the subject pre shooting, choosing between animals, birds, and humans

If you need to shoot vehicles, then you’re out of luck with the Sony Alpha 1. Whilst you can still shoot vehicles with AF-tracking, it doesn’t have a specific AF mode dedicated to it like the other cameras.

Another camera to support multiple subjects, is the 20MP Olympus OM-D E-M1X, which supports detection for vehicles (including trains, planes and automobiles), and birds. It also supports face and eye detection AF.

The Z9 looks to offer the most advanced auto-detection of objects, however the Canon’s Eye-control AF is particularly impressive.

Video recording

  • Canon EOS R3: 6K up to 60fps, 4K DCI/UHD up to 120fps (17:9/16:9)
  • Nikon Z9: 8K 30fps, 4K UHD upto 120fps (16:9)
  • Sony Alpha 1: 8K 30fps, 4K UHD upto 120fps (16:9)

Nikon say the Z9 will continue recording for up to 2 hours without overheating. It’s worth noting that the Nikon Z9 does not support DCI/CINE aspect ratios, instead offering 16:9 aspect ratios for 8K and 4K. Perhaps a future firmware update will add this support, as they have said they will be adding raw video support in the future.

The Sony Alpha 1 also doesn’t offer CINE/DCI-4K as an option, instead offering 4K UHD. 8K video is also offered at 16:9 aspect ratio. Sony say the camera is designed to record continuously for more than 30 minutes.

The Canon EOS R3 does not offer 8K as the sensor simply does not have the resolution to support it, and for better video specifications from a Canon, you’d be better off looking at the Canon EOS R5, which has 8K video recording. The EOS R3 does offer DCI 17:9 aspect ratio video at 6K/4K resolutions, as well as 6K raw 12bit.

Canon EOS R3 sensor

The EOS R3 is built around a new 24MP full-frame stacked-CMOS sensor

Handling and controls

  • Canon EOS R3: 2 front buttons (function / DOF preview) repeated for vertical use, top LCD
  • Nikon Z9: 3 front function buttons, top LCD
  • Sony Alpha 1: No front function buttons, no top LCD

You’ll find a top LCD panel on the EOS R3 and Nikon Z9, but not on the Alpha 1. The Sony Alpha 1 has the smallest body, and as you can see when looking at it, it also has the least function buttons, with the larger two cameras featuring front function buttons. For those that like the professional style body with integrated vertical grip, the Canon EOS R3 and Nikon Z9 are the ones to choose.

Canon EOS R3 Rear Screen

The R3 viewfinder is superb, while the fully articulated screen facilitates shooting at awkward angles

Rear Screen

  • Canon EOS R3: 3.2inch, 4.15m dot fully articulated touchscreen
  • Nikon Z9: 3.2inch, 2.1m dot 3-way tilting touchscreen
  • Sony Alpha 1: 3inch, 1.44m dot 2-way tilting touchscreen

On a £6500 camera, the Sony Alpha 1 has by bar the most lacklustre screen, and you would expect a larger, higher-resolution screen, especially considering the price. The Canon EOS R3 has the most impressive screen here with the highest resolution, and it’s also fully articulated so you can tilt it forwards if you want. The Nikon Z9 has a 3-way tilting touchscreen.

Electronic Viewfinder

  • Canon EOS R3: 5.76M dot, 0.76x magnification, upto 120fps refresh
  • Nikon Z9: 3.69M dot, 0.8x magnification
  • Sony Alpha 1: 9.44m dot, 0.9x magnification electronic viewfinder

Sony has decided to make up for the smaller screen, by including an extremely high-resolution electronic viewfinder (EVF), with an incredible 9.44m dot resolution, as well as the highest magnification at 0.9x. The Canon EOS R3 EVF has a high resolution with 5.76m dots, and 0.76x magnification. The Nikon Z9 EVF has a resolution of 3.69M dots, which is the lowest resolution here, but should still provide a good view of the scene, with a 0.8x magnification.

Storage and memory cards

  • Canon EOS R3: Dual: 1x CFexpress type B, 1x UHS-II SD
  • Nikon Z9: Dual: 2x CFexpress type B slots or XQD cards
  • Sony Alpha 1: 2x UHS-II SD / CFexpress A slots

All cameras support CFexpress either type B or type A on the Sony, with the Canon and Sony cameras also supporting SD cards, which will be welcome for those that don’t like the high prices of CFexpress cards. However, if you are buying one of these cameras, then lookout for offers, as sometimes you can get a free memory card thrown in with the purchase.

Canon EOS R3 connections

The R3 connections, including Gigabit ethernet, are found under these covers on the side

Connections (inc Wi-Fi / Bluetooth)

  • Canon EOS R3: 5GHz Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0, Gigabit Ethernet, FTP, Microphone, Headphone, HDMI, USB C
  • Nikon Z9: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0, Gigabit Ethernet, FTP, Microphone, Headphone, HDMI, USB C
  • Sony Alpha 1: 5GHz Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0, NFC, Gigabit Ethernet, FTP, Microphone, Headphone, HDMI, USB C 3.2 Gen 2 (10GB)

All three cameras offer multiple connection options with high-speed Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0, and Gigabit Ethernet (RJ45) connections letting you quickly transfer images when needed. There’s also FTP support, which is essential for sports and news reporters needing to get images to news agencies as quickly as possible.

Battery life

  • Canon EOS R3: 860 shots (LCD), 620 shots (EVF)
  • Nikon Z9: 770 shots (LCD, energy saver mode), 740 shots (EVF), 170min video
  • Sony Alpha 1: 430 (EVF), 530 (LCD)

If you plan on shooting with the LCD screen, then the Canon EOS R3 offers the longest battery life, but if you shoot with the EVF, then the Nikon offers the longest battery life.

The Sony Alpha 1 offers the shortest battery life, but if you add the optional battery grip, the VG-C4EM, then this will improve matters. With room for two batteries, it effectively doubles the battery life, so you should be able to get roughly 860/1060 shots (EVF/LCD).

Size

  • Canon EOS R3: 150 x 142.6 x 87.2mm
  • Nikon Z9: 149 x 149.5 x 90.5mm
  • Sony Alpha 1: 128.9 x 96.9 x 80.8mm

As a camera without an integrated vertical battery grip, the Sony Alpha 1 is clearly the smallest model here, and for those who want a smaller camera, then the Alpha 1 is definitely it.

Both the Canon EOS R3 and Nikon Z9 follow the “traditional” professional DSLR style design with integrated vertical grip, allowing for a larger battery to be included. The Nikon Z9 is the largest in size, but there’s not a huge difference between the Z9 and R3 in terms of the overall size.

Shooting with the Sony Alpha 1

Sony’s Alpha A1 is the most compact of the three cameras

Weight

  • Canon EOS R3: 1015g with battery and memory card
  • Nikon Z9: 1340g with battery and memory card
  • Sony Alpha 1: 737g with battery and memory card

As well as being the smallest, the A1 is also the lightest camera here, as expected. The weight difference is particularly noticeable when you look at the weight of the Nikon Z9, the heaviest of the three cameras. The Canon EOS R3 is just slightly over 1kg.


Technical specifications are only one part of the story, and it’s worth looking at what’s most important to you and what you value the most when choosing a camera.

Using the camera, how it feels in the hand, image quality, and the lenses available are also massively important factors when choosing a camera, so be sure to have a look at our features on these full-frame monsters:


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