Why Canon is Better than Sony

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MarshallG Veteran Member • Posts: 6,808
Why Canon is Better than Sony

I've compared the Canon 5D Mark IV (and similar) to the Sony A7R III (and similar). Here is why I think Canon is a much better camera than Sony. In summary: It's a lot easier to take pictures with a Canon.

Let's take a look at the top of these cameras. This explains a lot:

When you look at the top of the Canon, you can see that there are controls for Exposure Mode (PASM), White Balance, Metering Pattern, Continuous/Single Drive, Continuous/Single Auto Focus, Flash Exposure Compensation, and ISO. And I can see all of those settings, even in total darkness. Oh, and there's a useless button called M-Fn. In decades of photography, I've never learned what an "M-Fn" is, so I never press that button.

Top side view of the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

Now let's take a look at the top of the Sony:

The top of this camera has Exposure Mode, and what looks like Exposure Comp. How do I set my metering pattern, or change White Balance, or drive mode, or any of those other things I can directly do on the Canon? Let's look at the back of the Sony, maybe they're there?

Back of the Sony A7R III

Huh. Looking at the top, I can make the Menu appear. And it looks like there's a Record button, which starts video recording? And I can start back-button Focus with AF-ON, and Lock Exposure with AEL. Ok, Sony gets a point here for labelling AE Lock as AEL instead of *, like Canon does.

Looks like there's a way to set drive mode and ISO by tapping that dial.

So how do you operate this camera? Well.... you've got two basic choices: Assign features you need to the C1 - C4 buttons. And maybe the Fn button. And if you can remember that C3 is Flash Exposure Compensation... Whoopie! Otherwise, you're going to hit that menu button.

Summary: The bottom line for me, at this point, is that this Sony design is not a usable camera design for me. I don't use Flash Exposure Comp very often, but when I do, I need it. I change drive and focus modes constantly. Most of the top-mounted settings are changed every time I shoot, often several times. For me, personally, I am not able to remember what each of those C1 through C4 settings will do. I assume I can assign White Balance to C1... but I won't be able to remember that as I'm shooting. That is why, for me, Canon is better than Sony.

About Sony's menu button: It's a great camera, but when you hit that Menu button, you're going to navigate through THIRTY-FIVE MENU PAGES. (My head is numb). That "Fn" button will help you, it tries to give you commonly-used settings, like so:

Um... This is still a pretty confusing menu. You can set DRO. Cool, I learned all about DRO when I studied photography. DRO is, uh... probably related to PP. It's in the chapter on the other weird icons. I can't make sense of this screen. Apparently it has a zebra stripes feature, which Canon doesn't have. Cool, I think.

Canon has a much cleaner rear panel:

Canon 5D Mark IV Rear

Lots of customizability, but seven well-labeled buttons on the left (apart from the one with the paintbrush). Another six buttons on the right, each is pretty well-labeled, except for Q and the top-right button, which is as useful to me as the Paintbrush and the M-Fn button.

The Canon has a Quick Menu; that's what the Q button is for:

You can completely customize the Q menu, although I guess the Sony can as well. These items are each adjustable using the touchscreen... tap on 1/125, and you can change the shutter speed. Touch Exposure Comp, you can change that, and so forth.

In summary, for me, I think Canon has a much more usable camera than Sony. I've used Canon cameras for many years, and I've gained a lot of experience with them. Nonetheless, I put most of the full feature set of my camera to use. I use nearly all of the labeled buttons on my Canon nearly every time I go out shooting. With Sony, there are no buttons for those features, and memorizing the customized button functions probably wouldn't work for me, without at least a year of experience. Look at the top of the Canon again... now imagine those four little buttons weren't labeled. Would you remember which one is the Drive Mode button?

 MarshallG's gear list:MarshallG's gear list
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM Canon EF 16-35mm F2.8L II USM Canon EF 70-200mm F2.8L IS II USM +2 more
Sony a7R III
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