sony vs. canon

Sony Vs. Canon: The Ultimate Photography Debate

Sony Vs. Canon

It seems as though one of the biggest debates when it comes to camera brands is always Sony vs. Canon. Whether you are an amateur, or professional photographer, nearly every photography fan has their own specific preferences when it comes to their gear—specifically when it comes to the brand of gear that they use.

For many reasons, these two brands are the most discussed brands in the photography world and can often cause quite the debate between many photographers. So, which camera company is the best?

Unfortunately, there is no real definitive answer on the topic. The best brand is the one that you prefer and feel more comfortable with. After all, the right camera is essential to creating high-quality photographs.

However, that doesn’t mean I can’t still compare these two brands head-to-head to give my final say on which brand reigns supreme.

yosemite snowfall

Shot on a canon 5D mk IV

Full disclosure—while I do have a preferred brand, I have shot extensively with both Canon and Sony cameras and have been happy with specific devices from both brands. I’ve also found that over the years, my preference has changed as well along with changes in technology.

With this in mind, here’s how I felt that Sony vs. Canon compared when stacked up to one another in a few different categories.

Dynamic Range Options for Videos

Let’s start off with one of my favorite features of all with any of these cameras—the Canon Log function. This function is designed with videos in mind and is featured on cameras such as the Canon 5D Mark IV.

What this function does is it uses a built-in flat picture profile to increase dynamic range. In totally, you get 14 stops of dynamic range to work with when color grading your videos. The result is less blown-out highlights and less lost detail in the dark shadows.

This is a truly fantastic way to restore accurate colors in post—and is something that really separates Canon from Sony, in my opinion.

Now, Sony has their own Slog2 and Slog3 flat picture profile camera settings as well, but they just can’t compete with Canon’s popular “C-Log” feature.

However, Sony does blow Canon out of the field when it comes to Low light capabilities on video — just check out this 4k Video of the Northern Lights I captured two weeks ago. Shot at 10,000 ISO

Iceland Lighthouse Aurora in 4k from Dhaval Patel on Vimeo.

Video Autofocusing

This is another video-based feature that we believe separates Canon from Sony. This is not to say that there aren’t lots of great photo-only features that separates the two cameras, but we believe that the technology that allows for better video content is worth noting.

This is another category where we feel Canon can offer more than Sony, particularly thanks to their autofocus video tracking. This is another feature available on the 5D Mark IV.

Here’s how it works: when the 5D Mark IV is in live view mode, you simply tap on the subject you want to focus on, on your LCD preview screen. Then, whenever that subject goes into the frame, the camera will automatically tack and focus on that subject—and it really works.

Sunset Over Piuma Ridge (Malibu) from Dhaval Patel on Vimeo.


The best part about this feature is how simple it is to use.

Sony, also has some video-based autofocusing features, particularly with their Phase Detection Autofocus and their Contrast Detection Autofocus features. These two features will help you create a clearer, more focused video, but they lack the accuracy that Canon’s feature does. This is particularly true in low light and low contrast situations.

Lens Selection

Any photographer knows that lens selection in an important feature with any camera, especially if you are planning on shooting a wide-range of subjects. While Canon is often known for their lens selection (and I must agree that it is fantastic) this is one area where Sony actually does win-out against Canon.

Sony has a large selection of native lenses and they are constantly developing new ones as well. I  feel as though native lenses are always the way to go, if you are able to. This is why it is so exciting that Sigma has recently partnered with Sony to make native lenses for the brand for E-mount cameras.

ice bubbles

A photo shot during dawn on a cloudy day. Sony’s low light features excel.

However, if you choose to adapt lenses, you are still in great hands with Sony as their E-mount cameras have adapters available for virtually any brand of lens you can imagine.

There are some great Canon lenses and great adapters for Canon cameras. However, the biggest difference really has to do with those taking architectural photographs. This is because Sony allows you to adapt tilt-shift lenses to their cameras—something that Canon still does not offer.

I myself use a Metabones adapter for Canon lenses when shooting on my Sony. The results are amazing and a temporary solution before I invest more heavily in native Sony lenses.

Ease of Use

Let’s be honest, all of the technology and features in both of these brands are great—but they are for nothing if you can’t figure out how to use them. Now, Sony and Canon both have some great technologies and some great features, but Sony’s features are notoriously difficult to access.

In fact, some of the biggest complaints that users have regarding Sony is that their menu systems are confusing, difficult to navigate and almost too expansive. Canon on the other hand, takes pride in crafting a user-friendly, clean, simple and easy-to-navigate menu that puts all of their new technology right at their user’s fingertips.

banff winter photography

Having a touch screen that allows you to toggle between settings is a valuable feature. Additionally a more weatherproofed body allows you to shoot in bad weather.

While there are certainly people who have figured out the science behind navigating Sony’s menu of features, if you are looking for fast, simple, navigation with your camera and the ability to instantly change settings and take advantage of new features, then Canon is the way to go.

Color Science

There is no denying that color rendition is important for any photographer. However, color science isn’t always as simple as it seems. When it comes to reproducing colors and providing natural hues that look the way shooters expect—not all cameras are created equal.

If you want to shoot photos that need less work in the editing room and less color manipulation to look natural—then Canon is your best option. Canon supplies a Look Up Table file that helps with color grade and basically just lets you click once to get the perfect color results you are looking for.

Bishop fall colors

Capturing and pulling natural color is essential when shooting landscape photography.


The Ergonomic Design

Sure, this one may be a little more opinion-based than some of the other categories, but it is one that I feel is worth mentioning. If you are planning on taking your best photographs, you need to have a camera that feels good in your hand while you are shooting. Plain and simple.

This is something that Canon has really put some extra thought and effort into in terms of design. The shape of their cameras, particularly their DSLRs really are created to fit with the curve of your hand.

This is something that you may not truly be able to value until you shoot with a camera that isn’t designed with hand comfort in mind. Trying to hold and maneuver around an awkward and clunky camera design is only going to distract you from what is really important—taking great photos.

If you feel like your camera is comfortable in your hand, then you are going to feel more confident and more relaxed when you are taking photos. Plain and simple.

Final Thoughts

While it is tough to compare two great brands who have delivered many outstanding cameras, I have to say that for us, Canon is the superior of the two brands. I have shot extensively with both Canon and Sony, and just feel, at least know, Canon is my preferred brand—if I had to choose one.

I have found that this simple strategy has worked very well for me. When I am shooting landscape photography during the day my go to is Canon. When I am shooting at dusk or dawn or the night sky Sony is my go to.

One note about Sony, however. This company is known for listening to its customers. If you take a look at the recent improvements Sony has made, particularly when it comes to products such as their mirrorless cameras. When Sony customers complain, the company listens.

mexico cenotes

Sony’s ability to shoot low light without losing detail is an additional bonus.

For example, when Sony only had a single card slot on their mirrorless cameras, their customers immediately started complaining. The next generation of cameras—had two slots. This gives us hope for the future of Sony products and their willingness to take constructive feedback and make positive changes along their equipment line.

However, my professional recommendation is that you focus specifically on the model of camera you need—and focus instead on individual cameras instead of brands. While you may love Canon for one type of photography, Sony may be a better choice for a different type.

I hope that this in-depth comparison of some of the different features I feel separates Sony Vs. Canon will help you in this journey to find the right piece of equipment for you.

In short, if you take your time, do your research and stick with the camera that you think will improve your work, then you are choosing the right one.


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