The Nikon D850 and the Canon EOS R3 are two very different cameras, yet both of them are full-frame professional beasts. Although the Nikon D850 is an older camera and a DSLR, it still has some meaningful advantages over the EOS R3. Here’s what you need to know if you’re deciding between these two cameras.
Nikon D850 vs Canon EOS R3 Specifications Comparison
|Camera Feature||Nikon D850||Canon EOS R3|
|Announced||July 2017||September 2021|
|Sensor Type||BSI CMOS||Stacked CMOS|
|Image Processor||EXPEED 5||DIGIC X|
|Resolution||45.7 MP||24.0 MP|
|Sensor Dimensions||35.9 x 23.9 mm (Full Frame)||36.0 x 24.0 mm (Full Frame)|
|Sensor Pixel Size||4.35µ||6.00µ|
|Low Pass Filter||No||Yes|
|IBIS (In-Body Image Stabilization)||No||Yes|
|Base ISO||ISO 64||ISO 100|
|Max Native ISO||ISO 25,600||ISO 102,400|
|Extended ISOs||ISO 32-102,400||ISO 50-204,800|
|High-Resolution Sensor Shift||No||No|
|Focus Stack Bracketing||Yes||Yes|
|Fastest Shutter Speed||1/8000||1/64000|
|Longest Shutter Speed||30 seconds||30 seconds|
|Continuous Shooting (Mechanical Shutter)||7 FPS||12 FPS|
|Continuous Shooting (Electronic Shutter)||7 FPS||30 FPS|
|Notes for High FPS Shooting||Up to 9 FPS with MB-D18 grip||195 FPS is possible, but only for 0.25 seconds of shooting. Auto exposure is locked at high FPS.|
|Buffer Size (Raw)||200 frames (7 FPS)||420 frames (30 FPS)|
|Autofocus System||Phase Detect||Hybrid PDAF|
|Low-Light AF Sensitivity (f/2 Lens, ISO 100)||-4 EV||-6 EV|
|Standard Flash Sync Speed||1/250||1/250|
|Maximum Video Bit Depth (Internal)||8 bits||12 bits|
|Maximum Video Bit Depth (External)||8 bits||12 bits|
|6K Maximum Framerate||N/A||60 FPS|
|4K Maximum Framerate||30 FPS||120 FPS|
|1080P Maximum Framerate||120 FPS||240 FPS|
|Additional Video Crop Factor||No||No|
|Chroma Subsampling||4:2:0, 4:2:2 (External)||4:2:2|
|Video Recording Limit||30 min||360 min|
Physical and Other Features
|Slot 1 Type||CFExpress Type B||CFExpress Type B|
|Slot 2 Type||SD (UHS-II)||SD (UHS-II)|
|Rear LCD Size (Diagonal)||3.2 in||3.2 in|
|Rear LCD Resolution||2.36 million dots||4.2 million dots|
|Articulating LCD||Single Axis||Fully Articulating|
|Viewfinder||Pentaprism / OVF||EVF|
|Viewfinder Resolution||N/A||5.76 million dots|
|USB Type||Type A 3.0||Type C 3.2 Gen 2|
|Battery Life (Viewfinder)||1840 frames||440 frames|
|Battery Life (Rear LCD)||N/A1||760 frames|
|Battery Life (Eco Mode)||N/A||860 frames|
|Weight (Body Only w/ Battery + Card)||1005 g (2.22 lbs.)||1015 g (2.24 lbs.)|
|Dimensions (LxHxD)||146 x 124 x 79 mm (5.7 x 4.9 x 3.1″)||150 x 143 x 107 mm (5.9 x 5.6 x 4.2″)2|
|MSRP, Body Only||$3000 (Check Current Price)||$6000 (Check Current Price)|
|Used Prices||Nikon D850 Used Prices||Canon EOS R3 Used Prices|
|1Not specified by Nikon|
|2The Canon EOS R3’s official dimensions do not include the depth of the protruding viewfinder. To match the typical standards today, 20mm were added to the EOS R3’s depth measurement in this table.|
As you can see, the Canon EOS R3 goes all-in on sports and wildlife photography features. It has 30 FPS shooting, a simply massive buffer size, and one of the best autofocus systems on the market. (It even has a system that senses the photographer’s eye and initiates focus where you’re looking!) The EOS R3’s video features are better across the board, too, with the capability to film internal 6K raw video and 4K at 120 FPS.
If you look in the columns above, you’ll see a huge number of wins for the EOS R3 and practically none for the D850. That makes sense considering that the EOS R3 is newer and $3000 more expensive. Yet, there are still two very important areas where the Nikon D850 gets the win: resolution and base ISO.
The simple fact is that not everyone needs a ton of megapixels, but if you do, the Nikon D850 has them in spades. The D850 also has a base ISO of 64, giving it some of the best dynamic range of any camera you can buy. Plus, the D850 is substantially smaller than the EOS R3 (though not meaningfully lighter in weight) which is good for travel. These factors make the D850 the better choice for landscape photography, in my opinion.
Summary and Recommendations
Even though I’d pick the Nikon D850 for landscape photography (and other high-resolution, high dynamic range needs), it is clear that the EOS R3 is the more advanced camera. It simply wallops almost every other camera on the market in terms of processing power, which makes it a fantastic choice for sports, wildlife, events, and any other genre of photography where you need to capture fast-moving moments.
Not to mention the difference in video performance. If you are a videographer, the EOS R3 is a fantastic option with 6K internal raw recording, great slow motion options, and a six-hour video recording limit. The large size makes it a difficult option to film handheld from a gimbal, but other than that, it’s one of the best “video stills cameras” on the market today.
In terms of price, I still think you can’t beat the D850’s excellent value, especially on the used market (where it’s selling for simply ridiculous prices). But in pure quality, the EOS R3 would be my choice for anything other than landscape photography.
What does the Nikon D850 offer over the Canon EOS R3?
- 1.90 times more megapixels (45.7MP vs 24.0MP)
- Better battery life when using the viewfinder, with approximately 1400 more shots according to CIPA measurements
- Much lower price, costing $3000 less—you could buy a bunch of cool lenses!
What does the Canon EOS R3 offer over the Nikon D850?
- Higher frame rate of 30 FPS at full resolution (and up to 195 FPS for a 1/4-second burst!) plus a massive buffer
- Significantly better video features with up to 6K internal raw video recording
- In-body image stabilization, allowing for easier handheld photography even with non-stabilized lenses
- Higher resolution rear display, with about 1.8x more dots, making image review in the field easier
Questions? Go to our forum, where you can start a conversation and talk to photographers about these two cameras!