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Gear Reviews

Full Frame Showdown: Canon 5D Mark III vs Sony A7

By Anthony Thurston on February 27th 2014

Ever since the Sony A7 was announced, people have wondered how it compares to the current crop of professional level DSLR cameras. The A7r has drawn comparisons to the Nikon D800 mostly, thanks to their similarly high megapixel count and lack of an AA filter. But how does the A7 compare, to say – the Canon 5D Mark III?


That is exactly the question that is answered in DigitalRev’s latest video, in which they compare the Canon 5D Mark III and Sony A7 hands on, side bye side. Let’s take a look and see how this first battle of full frame DSLR vs full frame mirrorless cameras plays out…

If you didn’t catch the drift, here’s the summary: While mirrorless cameras have come a long way, and the new full frame Sony A7 is indeed very good, when put up side by side with today’s professional DSLRs – in extreme situations (low lights, etc) – they are simply not up to par.

One bit from the video that really stood out to me was the performance of the A7 EVF in the low light of the garage. Simply put, it was absolutely dreadful. It is true that EVFs have come a long way, and are indeed a good rival to an OVF in daylight, but once you take them into situation other than ideal, they simply do not stack up.

I also tend to agree with the bit Kai said about buying the A7 now, you are stuck with it when mirrorless gets better later. Why not buy a Canon 5D Mark III now, since it clearly performs better in most situations?

What are your thoughts? Was the video a fair comparison of these two cameras? Share your comments below to join the discussion.

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Anthony Thurston is a photographer based in the Salem, Oregon area specializing in Boudoir. He recently started a new project, Fiercely Boudoir to help support the growing boudoir community. Find him over on Instagram. You may also connect with him via Email.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Jeremy Wallace

    I shoot on a 5DMIII everyday; it’s my workhorse. However, I’m definitely interested in picking up a mirrorless camera for traveling and messing around. They seem pretty capable for that sort of thing.

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  2. Thierry Dauga

    There is a lot of difference between to photograph and to film.
    To film is more rigorous than to photograph, because it adds notions of quantity of photo ( 24 photos / second ), reel resolution (resolution x image per second), of speed limits (2x ips), notions of control of the movement of the camera, etc. The advantage of Sony A7s vs Canon 7D, 5D or 1Dc is especially to film. To film with Sony A7s is for me a real cinematography revolution? Why?
    With one 5d mark iii as with any camera for more than 120 years, it is necessary to choose between the trio speed, aperture and sensitivity! The speed and the aperture are almost unlimited, but the sensitivity is the weak point of the photo, because the noise iso, prevents from choosing freely three other regulations that are the aperture, the speed and the image per second.
    For example, with one 5dii I film it 1080p to F2.8, at 1/50 max, at 24ips with 640 iso maximum. When I puts the pause on a film, of course people are blurry (1/50), my depth of field is always short, and when I pan, the reel resolution is weak (because of the weak 24 ips) and I cannot make of effect of slow motion. With Sony A7s I film it 1080p to F8, at 1/120, at 60ips with 12.800 iso (max of 400.000 iso). When I puts the pause on a film, people are net, my depth of field is short or big and when I pan, the reel resolution is excellent (thanks to 60 ips) and I can decide in footage to place an effect of slow motion.
    The mastered sensitivity of the 7s allows for the first time in the history of the cinema to choose freely the aperture, the speed and the ips! Nothing less! 120 years we are waiting for this revolution …

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  3. Black Z Eddie

    Not sure what the whiners are whining abut the EVF in low light. I have a Sony A77 and shoot low-light for our local bands. I just don’t experience the lag people are whining about. Could be just user stupidity.

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  4. Richard

    I was a Minolta man, and thus became ( by subtle seduction) a Sony one. However I eventually concluded, and still believe, that Sony were not serious about the top end of their range, either bodies or lens, and so switched to Canon, a move I have never regretted. The point is, it’s not whether the A7 is or is not as good as the 5Dmk III, but rather which family of cameras you are happy with. Sony is limited.

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  5. Michel

    Euhhhh…. did you forgot to mention that Canon 5D MarK III is $3299 compared to $1698 for the Sony A7. So you can buy 2 Sony A7 for the price of 1 Canon 5D…

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  6. J Cortes

    It really boils down to what you want the camera to do . The 5DIII is a stellar camera that has great AF and handling, but the A7r which has been mentioned in this article, but not the video (the A7 was) has great image quality. I don’t think anyone is going to get A7/A7r with the intention of running around with it or taking action shots. Different tools for different jobs. It’s a great thing to be a photographer these days as more options are available to us all.

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  7. EPICH

    I usually enjoy their videos because they’re both enjoyable and professional. You get a good load of information in a reasonable time and in an funny way. This one does not show any real life comparison of autofocus, image quality, focus speed, white balance settings, etc. where I’d expect differences between the two. I wonder why they shot the video at all, except to burn down the plastic on a camera or drown it in coffee. They can do better.

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  8. ipfreeze

    Disable live view on the Sony. This will help in performance. Hopefully they learn how to use the camera before reviewing it. However, the IQ is still a disappointment for Sony.

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  9. FSJAL

    I didn’t thought I will see this stupid test taken here seriously. He could just set faster shutter speed. It’s like you set JPEG with maximum compression on 5DIII and complain about picture quality.

    Seriously, I didn’t expect to see this here. Click bait, big thumbs down.

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  10. sohailnazish

    full frame DSLR can’t be vs with stupid mirror less need much more time

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    • hjk

      Mirror-less cameras can’t be stupid, they are not persons!

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  11. Andrew Lynch

    The reason Lok had problems in the garage was because he had it at ISO320 and 2.2 sec shutter!
    That’s just stupid. Try Iso 1600 and a better shutter speed and it wouldn’t of been an issue.

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  12. Jesse Ford

    Personally, I think that it’s the purpose in which you’re using the camera. There are too many different variables as to what you use your camera for to simply say you should buy a 5D M III over a Sony A7. Size, weight, output, AF v MF etc etc… Both are great, just depends on what and why you shoot I think….

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