The Nikon D850 and the Canon EOS R5 represent one of the best DSLRs and one of the best mirrorless cameras to exist – especially at the time they were released (July 2017 and July 2020 respectively). Both are extremely capable, professional machines with high resolution sensors, great autofocus systems, and excellent features overall. Which one is right for you? Read on to find out!
Nikon D850 vs Canon EOS R5 Specifications Comparison
|Camera Feature||Nikon D850||Canon EOS R5|
|Announced||July 2017||July 2020|
|Sensor Type||BSI CMOS||CMOS|
|Image Processor||EXPEED 5||DIGIC X|
|Resolution||45.7 MP||45.0 MP|
|Sensor Dimensions||35.9 x 23.9 mm (Full Frame)||36.0 x 24.0 mm (Full Frame)|
|Sensor Pixel Size||4.35µ||4.39µ|
|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 51,200|
|Extended ISOs||ISO 32-102,400||ISO 50-102,400|
|High-Resolution Sensor Shift||No||Yes (JPEG only)|
|Focus Stack Bracketing||Yes||Yes|
|Fastest Shutter Speed||1/8000||1/8000|
|Longest Shutter Speed||30 seconds||30 seconds|
|Continuous Shooting (Mechanical Shutter)||7 FPS||12 FPS|
|Continuous Shooting (Electronic Shutter)||7 FPS||20 FPS|
|Notes for High FPS Shooting||Up to 9 FPS with MB-D18 grip||None|
|Buffer Size (Raw)||200 frames (7 FPS)||83 frames (20 FPS), 180 frames (12 FPS)|
|Autofocus System||Phase Detect||Hybrid PDAF|
|Low-Light AF Sensitivity (f/2 Lens, ISO 100)||-4 EV||-4.5 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|
|8K Maximum Framerate||N/A||30 FPS|
|4K Maximum Framerate||30 FPS||120 FPS|
|1080P Maximum Framerate||120 FPS||120 FPS|
|Additional Video Crop Factor||No||No|
|Chroma Subsampling||4:2:0, 4:2:2 (External)||4:2:2|
|Video Recording Limit||30 min||30 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||2.1 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 3.1|
|Battery Life (Viewfinder)||1840 frames||220 frames|
|Battery Life (Rear LCD)||N/A1||320 frames|
|Battery Life (Eco Mode)||N/A||490 frames|
|Weight (Body Only w/ Battery + Card)||1005 g (2.22 lbs.)||738 g (1.63 lbs.)|
|Dimensions (LxHxD)||146 x 124 x 79 mm (5.7 x 4.9 x 3.1″)||138 x 98 x 88 mm (5.4 x 3.8 x 3.5″)|
|MSRP, Body Only||$3000 (Check Current Price)||$3900 (Check Current Price)|
|Used Prices||Nikon D850 Used Prices||Canon EOS R5 Used Prices|
|1Not specified by Nikon|
As you can see, the EOS R5 is definitely ahead of the Nikon D850 overall, but that’s not a huge surprise considering that it’s three years newer. The EOS R5 is also a more expensive camera – a much more expensive camera if you count the used prices of the Nikon D850, which are at absurdly low levels these days.
Yet in some of the most important areas, the Nikon D850 still goes toe-to-toe with the EOS R5 and sometimes even comes out ahead. One of the biggest examples is image quality. Both cameras have 45-megapixel sensors capable of extraordinary levels of detail, but the Nikon D850 actually wins here because of the base ISO of 64. That lower base ISO gives the D850 an advantage in dynamic range and shadow recovery, which can make a big difference to landscape and architectural photographers.
In terms of high-speed photography, the Canon R5’s 20 FPS easily beats the 7 FPS of the D850 (or the 9 FPS if you add the optional MB-D18 battery grip to the D850). The autofocus system of the EOS R5 is also extremely capable. But even though the EOS R5 has far more autofocus points (1053 rather than 153), I would trust the D850’s autofocus system almost as much. It is one of the most refined autofocus systems that Nikon has ever made, and for tracking fast-moving action, the differences between the two cameras are surprisingly slim.
As for other areas, the EOS R5 is clearly ahead. It has in-body image stabilization, better video features, a fully articulating LCD screen, and a smaller form factor. It is the more advanced camera overall. The only hangup if you’re choosing between the two of them is that the D850 manages to keep up surprisingly well, while costing substantially less.
Summary and Recommendations
For landscape photography, it’s a question of whether you favor the D850’s base ISO of 64 more, or the EOS R5’s small form factor more. I’d say that if you tend to hike long distances, the EOS R5 would win for you here.
Sports and wildlife photographers will generally find the EOS R5 to be a better choice, too, although the Nikon D850 can keep up surprisingly well. And because people are moving away from DSLRs, it’s not just the D850 itself, but also Nikon F-mount lenses, that you can find used for excellent prices. If it’s a question of the Nikon D850 with a top-notch exotic telephoto lens, versus the EOS R5 with a basic telephoto, I would go the D850 kit any day.
For videography, the EOS R5 easily wins thanks to its many more advanced features, including 8K internal raw video and in-body image stabilization. That said, the EOS R5 can have occasional overheating issues when filming at the highest quality, so be aware of that before you buy it as a dedicated video camera.
Basically, the EOS R5 is ahead overall, but maybe not by enough to justify the higher cost – especially if you find a used D850 selling for a good price. They are very different cameras, but both are extremely capable, so you really can’t go wrong either way.
What does the Nikon D850 offer over the Canon EOS R5?
- Better battery life when using the viewfinder, with approximately 1620 more shots according to CIPA measurements
- Lower price, costing $900 less – and the difference is even greater on the used market
- Base ISO of 64 allows for more dynamic range
What does the Canon EOS R5 offer over the Nikon D850?
- In-body image stabilization, allowing for easier handheld photography even with non-stabilized lenses
- Lighter weight (267g lighter or about 1.4 times lighter) and smaller size
- Higher burst rate of 20 FPS for photographing fast-moving subjects
- Better video features, including internal raw video recording in 8K
Questions? Go to our forum, where you can start a conversation and talk to photographers about these two cameras!