When it comes to fundamental specifications and features, the Sony Alpha 9 II and the Canon R3 have a lot in common, so which one should you choose?
This detailed Canon R3 vs Sony A9 II head-to-head comparison will help you decide between these two full-frame mirrorless cameras.
The Sony A9 II sports a Stacked, Back-Side Illuminated (BSI) CMOS sensor with 24 megapixels.
The EOS R3 also has a stacked BSI sensor with the same 24-megapixel resolution as the A9 II.
Canon has been quick to stress out that the new sensor in the R3 was developed entirely by Canon and not by Sony.
Back-Side Illuminated (BSI) sensors may result in superior low-light image quality at comparable ISO levels and faster overall performance.
The Sony A9 II has a native sensitivity range of ISO 100 to ISO 51,200, which may be increased from ISO 50 to ISO 204,800.
The Canon R3 has an ISO range of 100 to 102,400, which may be enlarged to ISO 50 to 204,800, which is the same as the Alpha 9 II.
The Canon EOS R3 features internal 6K/60p recording as well as oversampled 4K video at up to 120p.
We hope that the bigger body and the negative feedback received by Canon about the R5 mean that the new R3 does not overheat in the same way that the R5 did.
That appears to be the case since Canon claims that the R3 can record up to six hours of standard footage or 1.5 hours at high 119.88/100p frame rates.
The Sony A9 II only supports oversampled 4K recording at up to 30fps and 120fps at 1080p, putting it obviously behind the R3.
The Sony A9 II boasts a 693 phase-detection point AF system that covers roughly 93 percent of the image area. It has Real-time Eye AF for humans and animals, but not for birds, as well as Real-time Tracking that maintains precise focus automatically.
With 4779 AF points, the new Canon R3 has the most advanced Dual Pixel CMOS AF that the company has ever produced, as well as a brand new vehicle tracking mode that allows you to expertly track motorbikes, open cockpit Formula cars, GT and rally cars, and even has the ability to prioritize the vehicle or the driver’s helmet!
In an attempt to outdo Sony, the Canon R3 also allows you to select and move the AF point simply by looking through the electronic viewfinder.
It remains to be seen how effective this intriguing new mode will be in practice, but it might give the R3 a significant advantage when it comes to swiftly focus without ever touching the camera controls.
The Canon R3 improves on the EOS R5’s 20fps mode by offering 30fps shooting with an electronic shutter, full AF/AE tracking, and minimum picture distortion for 540 JPEG or 150 RAW shots.
The Sony A9 II’s electronic shutter can only shoot at 20fps with complete AF/AE tracking for up to 361 JPEG or 239 RAW photos.
The EOS R3 also has a tiny advantage when it comes to burst photography with its mechanical shutter – 12fps on the R3 versus 10fps on the A9 II.
Body and Design
The Sony A9 II essentially maintains the tried-and-true design of practically every prior Sony Alpha camera – if it ain’t busted, don’t fix it appears to be the newest Alpha camera’s credo.
The Canon R3 takes a different approach, with a similar integrated grip and replicated vertical controls as the EOS-1D series cameras have traditionally had.
This means that the R3 will be significantly larger and heavier than the A1 out of the box, though adding a battery handle to the top Sony camera may significantly reduce the size and weight discrepancies.
Both cameras are completely weather-sealed, as you’d expect from such high-end devices.
The new Sony A9 II features a 5-axis optical in-body image stabilization system, however, it only offers up to 5-stops of compensation – adequate but not class-leading.
That honor goes to the Canon R5, which boasts a fantastic stabilization mechanism. It has a 5-axis in-body image stabilization (IBIS) system that can deliver up to 8-stops of IS when used with compatible RF-mount lenses.
The new R3 has the same IBIS system as the R5 – its 5-axis In-Body Image Stabilizer can combine with the Optical Image Stabilizer in certain RF lenses to deliver an industry-leading performance worth up to 8-stops, giving Canon an advantage over the Alpha 9 II once again.
The Sony A9 II sports a 3.69M dot electronic viewfinder with 0.78x magnification and a refresh rate of up to 120fps.
The Canon R3 sports the same higher-resolution 5.76M-dot OLED electronic viewfinder as the EOS R5, with 0.76x magnification and a refresh rate of 120fps.
The Sony A9 II features a 3.0-inch LCD screen with 1.44 million dots of resolution that can be adjusted up and down by 107 degrees.
The EOS R3 boasts a more adaptable vari-angle touch screen, which allows for better shooting angle flexibility due to its ability to tilt and rotate into a variety of orientations.
It also has a greater resolution than the Alpha 9’s screen, with 4.1 million dots to be exact.
The Alpha 9 II includes twin memory card ports that enable SD UHS-I/II compliant memory cards, as one would expect from a professional camera.
The Canon R3 has dual card slots as well, but only one UHS-II SD card slot and one ultra-high-speed CFexpress slot.
The Sony A9 II uses the same familiar NP-FZ100 battery as all other current Alpha cameras, providing up to 500 shots with the viewfinder and 690 shots with the LCD panel.
The EOS R3 employs the EOS-1D X III’s LP-E19 series battery rather than the EOS R5’s LP-E6NH series, which gives up to 620 shots while using the viewfinder and 860 shots when using the LCD monitor.
The Sony A9 II is priced at roughly £4,200 for the body only in the UK, and around $4,500 in the US.
At the time of writing, the Canon EOS R3 costs £5,879.99 / $5,999.00, making it substantially more expensive than the A9 II.
The Sony Alpha 9 II is one of the greatest sports and wildlife cameras on the market, but now that Canon has revealed all of the critical specifications, it’s clear that the EOS R3 will be a very serious competitor for the A9 II when it releases later this year in November.