The Sony a9 was Sony’s attempt at going head to head with DSLRs in terms of autofocus and speed, and it competed admirably. The Canon EOS R6 II is a newer camera that gives you many of the same features as the Sony a9, with some improvements. Which one of these cameras is ideal for you? Read on to find out!
Sony a9 vs Canon EOS R6 II Specifications Comparison
|Camera Feature||Sony a9||Canon EOS R6 II|
|Announced||April 2017||November 2022|
|Sensor Type||Stacked CMOS||CMOS|
|Image Processor||BIONZ X||DIGIC X|
|Resolution||24.2 MP||24.2 MP|
|Sensor Dimensions||35.6 x 23.8 mm (Full Frame)||36.0 x 24.0 mm (Full Frame)|
|Sensor Pixel Size||5.9µ||6.00µ|
|Low Pass Filter||Yes||Yes|
|IBIS (In-Body Image Stabilization)||Yes||Yes|
|Base ISO||ISO 100||ISO 100|
|Max Native ISO||ISO 51,200||ISO 102,400|
|Extended ISOs||ISO 50-204,800||ISO 50-204,800|
|High-Resolution Sensor Shift||No||No|
|Focus Stack Bracketing||No||Yes|
|Pre-Shoot Burst Mode||No||Yes|
|Fastest Shutter Speed||1/32000||1/16000|
|Longest Shutter Speed||30 seconds||30 seconds|
|Continuous Shooting (Mechanical Shutter)||5 FPS||12 FPS|
|Continuous Shooting (Electronic Shutter)||20 FPS||40 FPS|
|Notes for High FPS Shooting||Compressed 12-bit raw at 20 FPS (uncompressed 12-bit raw is available at 12 FPS)||12-bit raw at 40 FPS (14-bit raw is available at 12 FPS)|
|Buffer Size (Raw)||241 frames (20 FPS)||75 frames (40 FPS), 110 frames (12 FPS)|
|Autofocus System||Hybrid PDAF||Hybrid PDAF|
|Maximum Low-Light AF Sensitivity (Standardized to f/2, ISO 100)||-3 EV||-5 EV|
|Standard Flash Sync Speed||1/250||1/250|
|Curtain to Protect Sensor at Shutdown||No||Yes|
|Maximum Video Bit Depth (Internal)||8 bits||10 bits|
|Maximum Video Bit Depth (External)||8 bits||12 bits|
|Raw Video||No||Yes, externally|
|6K Maximum Framerate||N/A||60 FPS1|
|4K Maximum Framerate||30 FPS||60 FPS|
|1080P Maximum Framerate||120 FPS||180 FPS|
|Additional Video Crop Factor||1.2x crop at 4K 30p (4K 24/25p has no additional crop)||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||SD (UHS-II)||SD (UHS-II)|
|Slot 2 Type||SD (UHS-I)||SD (UHS-II)|
|Rear LCD Size (Diagonal)||3.0 in||3.0 in|
|Rear LCD Resolution||1.44 million dots||1.62 million dots|
|Articulating LCD||Single Axis||Fully Articulating|
|Viewfinder Resolution||3.69 million dots||3.69 million dots|
|USB Type||Type B 2.0||Type C 3.2 Gen 2|
|Battery Life (Viewfinder)||480 frames||320 frames|
|Battery Life (Rear LCD)||650 frames||580 frames|
|Battery Life (Eco Mode)||N/A||760 frames|
|Weight (Body Only w/ Battery + Card)||588 g (1.30 lbs.)||670 g (1.48 lbs.)|
|Dimensions (LxHxD)||127 x 96 x 73 mm (5.0 x 3.8 x 2.9″)2||138 x 98 x 88 mm (5.4 x 3.8 x 3.5″)|
|MSRP, Body Only||$4500 (Discontinued)||$2500 (Check Current Price)|
|Used Prices||Sony a9 Used Prices||Canon EOS R6 II Used Prices|
|1The Canon EOS R6 II supports 6K video, but only with an external recorder over HDMI|
|2The Sony a9’s official dimensions do not include the depth of the protruding viewfinder. To match typical standards today, 10mm were added to the a9’s depth measurement in this table.|
Summary and Recommendations
The question of the Sony a9 versus the Canon EOS R6 II I think is one that makes a lot of sense. Although the Sony a9 came out five years before the R6 II, the a9 is still an amazing camera. At the time, it was Sony’s best camera, and still has one of the best autofocus systems that can be had today, being bested only by a few more recent models.
In fact, sometimes it’s hard to keep the level of mirrorless progress in perspective. One just has to remember that the Sony a9 provides better autofocus than almost every DSLR, save for the few DSLR flagships like the Nikon D6 that can outdo it in certain areas.
Of course, the Sony a9 was not a cheap camera when released. But now that some years have passed, you can certainly find a used one at a cheaper price than the Canon R6 II. Thus, plenty of photographers who might want a new fast-action camera might be curious whether they should get a gently used a9 over the much more recent R6 II.
In terms of autofocus, the cameras are very similar. The a9 is still quite capable, although the R6 II has some new subject recognition modes that aren’t present in the a9. In the vast majority of situations however, both should be quite capable.
The burst rate of the EOS R6 II is slightly faster, but don’t let that deceive you. The a9 shoots at 20FPS in electronic shutter mode whereas the R6 II shoots at 40FPS, but the a9 has a stacked shutter, so you won’t experience rolling shutter, whereas the R6 II does have some rolling shutter. Thus, if you need to avoid rolling shutter, as in the case with many fast action scenes such as birds in flight, you’ll have to use the 12FPS mechanical shutter in the R6 II.
For this reason, as a wildlife photographer, I’d definitely go for the Sony a9 over the R6 II. For every other kind of photography, the two cameras are pretty much equal, so is there any reason to go for the R6 II?
One area where the R6 II definitely makes more sense is video. The a9 is limited to 8-bit video and 4K30 whereas the R6 II shoots 10-bit internal at 4K60 and 6K60. The R6 II in general has some better video tools so I think the Canon R6 II is certainly a more versatile camera.
So, which one should you get? If you’re into fast action, I think the better price of the a9 (if you buy it used) and the fact that you can upgrade your camera later favors the a9. For all other types of photography, the Canon EOS R6 II will give you a few more modern features, and as a bonus, you can buy it new if you want.
What does the Sony a9 offer over the Canon EOS R6 II?
- Stacked shutter, which means no rolling shutter effect for fast action
- Better battery life when using the viewfinder, with approximately 160 more shots according to CIPA measurements
- Lighter weight (82g lighter)
What does the Canon EOS R6 II offer over the Sony a9?
- Superior video, with higher framerates and 10-bit internal
- More AF subject recognition modes
- Much lower price, costing $2000 less—you could take a trip with this savings! (But keep in mind the a9 can be bought used for cheaper)
Questions? Go to our forum, where you can start a conversation and talk to photographers about these two cameras!