With Canon releasing its 45 MP EOS R5 monster, some of our readers might wonder how it compares to its 2-year old Nikon Z7 rival, which also features a similar-resolution image sensor. Although Nikon already has a Z7 II, many photographers who bought the Z7 may be planning to upgrade it before long, and the Canon EOS R5 is an obvious target.
(If you intended to visit a comparison between the EOS R5 and the newer Nikon Z7 II, we have one of those as well. See Canon EOS R5 vs Nikon Z7 II.)
Camera manufacturers often leapfrog each other, so it is normal for one manufacturer to have a competitive advantage until a real competitor is announced. Although Nikon is likely to release a real competitor to the EOS R5 in the form of the upcoming Nikon Z9 mirrorless camera, that camera does not yet exist, so it is pointless to attempt to make any comparisons at this time. Without a doubt, the Canon EOS R5 is a ground-breaking camera that will force all other camera manufacturers to innovate, which is good for everyone.
Canon EOS R5 vs Nikon Z7 Ergonomics Comparison
Let’s take a look at how the two cameras differ ergonomically. First, we will start from the front view of the two cameras:
While both cameras have their slight differences in terms of buttons and camera model marking placements, I personally prefer the overall aesthetics of the Canon EOS R5, which looks quite sleek when compared to the Z7. I wish Canon included another function button on the front of the camera though – it feels like such a high-end camera would benefit from more customizable buttons.
Next, let’s take a look at how the two cameras appear from the top:
Here, both cameras have their brand differences, with Canon’s traditional Multi-Function button and top dial, and Nikon’s three-button layout on the grip. Both cameras seem to have deep, comfortable grips covered with rubber, so they should provide similar handling experience. Nikon has a more traditional PASM dial approach, whereas Canon went with the more modern Mode button / Dial, which is a copy of what we have previously seen on the Canon EOS R.
Lastly, here is how the two cameras compare when we look at their backs:
Once again, the main differences have to do with different ergonomics specific to each brand. Canon uses a large rotary dial on the back of the camera and a top button-heavy layout, whereas Nikon uses a multi-selector button with an “OK” button in the middle, while pushing more buttons to the bottom of the camera.
I would say the main difference here is the LCD screen. Canon uses a flip-out articulating LCD screen, whereas Nikon’s LCD screen can only tilt up and down. Both have their pros and cons, but the flip-out screen has a distinct advantage for vlogging, since one can see themselves while recording videos. It can also work reasonably well for vertical shooting, something the Nikon Z7 would have challenges with.
Overall, both cameras are superb ergonomically, and I cannot say that one has any serious advantages over the other. If you are a Canon shooter, you will feel right at home with the EOS R5, whereas Nikon shooters will likely prefer the ergonomics of the Z7.
Canon EOS R5 vs Nikon Z7 Specifications Comparison
While both cameras are excellent ergonomically and have very few functional differences, they are completely different when it comes to their capabilities. Let’s take a look at the specifications of the two cameras side-by-side:
|Canon EOS R5
|*Canon’s official specifications say the EOS R5 can autofocus from -6 EV to +20 EV. However, Canon assumes an f/1.2 lens at ISO 100, while other manufacturers assume an f/2 lens at ISO 100 for this specification. Thus, the standardized focusing EV range for the EOS R5 is -4.5 EV to +21.5 EV. Read more at EV explained.
|**The Nikon Z7 official dimensions do not include the depth of the protruding viewfinder. To match the standards of other manufacturers, roughly 15 mm (0.6 inches) must be added to the Z7’s depth measurement, for a total of 85 mm (3.3 inches).
|Yes, High Resolution OLPF
|In-Body Image Stabilization
|36.0 x 24.0mm
|35.9 x 23.9mm
|8192 x 5464
|8256 x 5504
|Electronic / EVF
|Electronic / EVF
|Viewfinder Type / Resolution
|OLED / 5.76 Million Dots
|OLED / 3.69 Million Dots
|Flash Sync Speed
|1x CFexpress, 1x SD UHS II
|1x XQD / CFexpress
|Continuous Shooting Speed Mechanical / Electronic
|12 FPS / 20 FPS
|9 FPS / 9 FPS
|Buffer Capacity (RAW, 14-bit Lossless Compressed)
|Max Shutter Speed
|Electronic Front-Curtain Shutter
|Exposure Metering Sensor
|TTL metering using camera image sensor
|Native ISO Sensitivity
|Low-Light AF Sensitivity* (f/2, ISO 100)
|-4.5 EV to +21.5 EV
|-2 to +19 EV (-4 to +19 EV with Low-Light AF enabled)
|Video Maximum Resolution
|8K DCI @ up to 30p, 4K DCI @ up to 120p
|4K @ up to 30p, 1080p @ up to 120p
|Full sensor width
|Full sensor width
|HDMI Out / LOG
|4:2:2 10-bit HDMI Output / Yes
|4:2:2 10-bit HDMI Output / Yes
|3.2″ Diagonal LCD
|3.2″ Diagonal LCD
|Wi-Fi / Band
|802.11a/ac/b/g/n / 2.4 GHz and 5 Ghz
|802.11a/ac/b/g/n / 2.4 Ghz and 5 Ghz
|Battery Life (CIPA)
|Weather Sealed Body
|Weight (with Battery and Card)
|738 g (1.63 lbs)
|675 g (1.49 lbs)
|138 x 97.5 x 88.0mm
|134 x 100.5 x 67.5mm
|$3,899 (check current price)
|$3,399 (check current price)
From the above specifications, we can clearly see that the Canon EOS R5 has more powerful features compared to the Nikon Z7. As a stills camera, it is capable of shooting 12 FPS continuously with its mechanical shutter and 20 FPS using the electronic shutter, while the Nikon Z7 is capped to 8 FPS in high-speed continuous shooting mode (only 5.5 FPS normally) for both. The EOS R5 has a huge buffer of 180 images when shooting in RAW, which allows the camera to shoot for a whopping 15 seconds without filling the buffer. In comparison, the Nikon Z7 will slow down to a crawl in about 2 seconds – a huge difference for shooting action!
The Canon EOS R5 also has a much better focusing system than the Nikon Z7. The EOS R5 is equipped with Canon’s new Dual Pixel CMOS AF II hybrid autofocus system with 1053 focus points, while Nikon utilizes a 493-point hybrid autofocus system. Having used both side by side, I can confirm that it’s hardly a contest. While the Z7’s eye-tracking AF works great when there’s a person’s face or an animal with prominent eyes in your frame, the EOS R5 is much better for general subject tracking. For something like bird photography, it’s night and day in favor of the Canon.
Another huge advantage of the EOS R5 is the dual memory card slots. Both Nikon and Canon got a lot of heat for only including a single memory card slot on their first-generation mirrorless cameras, so Canon made sure to address the problem with the release of the EOS R5 and EOS R6. The EOS R5 has one CFexpress slot, and one SD UHS-II slot, while the Nikon Z7 only has one XQD / CFexpress compatible memory card slot. (Though the newer Nikon Z7 II has dual card slots, fixing that issue.)
Video shooters will obviously prefer 8K DCI video shooting capabilities of the Canon EOS R5, but at this time it is hard to say how usable it is going to be in the real world. Canon did not do a proper job with the thermal design of the EOS R5, and it looks like the camera will overheat after 30 minutes of use. Spencer and I have been using the Nikon Z7 cameras for 4K video shooting and we have not yet encountered any issues with the camera overheating. Still, I have to say that it is pretty incredible that the EOS R5 can shoot 8K DCI 10-bit video both internally and externally – an amazing achievement by Canon for sure! Given how fast this camera can shoot, Canon was able to overcome a lot of technical challenges with its sensor and image processor. I don’t think the Nikon Z7 EXPEED processor would be able to handle such data throughput, not even close.
Other than these key differences, there are a few other minor advantages to the EOS R5. Its OLED viewfinder has more resolution (5.76 million dots vs 3.69), the LCD screen is fully articulating (while the Z7 LCD screen is tilt-only) and the EOS R5 uses the newer Bluetooth 5.0 specification.
Nikon only has a few areas where it stands out. It has a base ISO of 64, its viewfinder has a slightly larger 0.80x magnification, and it is slightly lighter at 675 grams vs 738 grams. The biggest advantage of the Nikon Z7 is its price. Although Nikon introduced the Z7 at $3,399 MSRP (which is already $500 lower than the Canon EOS R5), the camera can be bought today for $2,800 or less – we’ve seen it as low as $2300. Camera prices always vary, so you may want to check here what the prices are right now at B&H: EOS R5 current price and Z7 current price.
When it comes to lenses, Canon has done an excellent job with releasing powerful RF lenses for its mirrorless system. Lenses like the new Canon RF 100-500mm f/4-7.1L IS USM, the RF 600mm f/11 IS STM and the RF 800 f/11 IS STM are much needed for the Nikon Z system. As of today, Nikon does not have a single super-telephoto lens for the Nikon Z mount, and its Z 70-200mm f/2.8 has been delayed for too long. However, Nikon has done a better job releasing wide-angle lenses so far, with some excellent options like a 14-30mm f/4 and 20mm f/1.8.
If you’re still trying to decide between these two cameras, you may find it helpful to check out our full Canon EOS R5 review and Nikon Z7 review. Also consider checking out our review of the newer Nikon Z7 II, which catches up to the EOS R5 in some key areas.