Nikon vs Sony and Canon

Started 3 months ago | Discussions thread
OP Nickemmano Forum Member • Posts: 63
Re: Nikon vs Sony and Canon

Andre Yew wrote:

I evaluated the R6 this weekend against my Z6 which I've had since it was first released, but I use my Z6 to shoot dance, and when I did landscapes it was with the D810 and D850, so my experience is probably not applicable to your needs, though I have two conclusions which may apply to you. I'll list them here first, and then get into the nitty-gritty afterwards for anyone who's interested:

1. Lens variety. Canon seems to be concentrating on building out their pro trinity zooms and halo lenses. In particular, they have no wide prime, and there are few to no classic primes (24, 35, 50, 85, 105/135) of somewhat reasonable size and price: only the 35/1.8 is available now, and that's not very wide. The 85 and 50mm lenses are f/1.2, huge, expensive, and heavy.

Nikon on the other hand built out their small prime lineup first including 3 different wide focal lengths. They don't have a native prime longer than an 85 either. This fits how I shoot, so that's important for me. When I shot landscape a lot, I shot with wide primes, like most landscape photographers.

Nikon has now built out their pro trinity, too so they have both small primes and a pro trinity.

2. Price. The R system is more expensive: the system I rented (R6, handgrip, and the 85/1.2L) would cost me $5600 to replicate. That's a heck of a lot of money for one focal length, though the 85/1.2L is a really great lens, and the R6 for the most part is a really fantastic body.

The rest of this stuff probably isn't applicable to landscape shooters, so feel free to skip it. My comparison: R6/85/1.2L vs. Z6/85/1.8.

On my first day with the R6, I thought I had made a very expensive rental, because in use, the camera was so fluid and invisible, that it made the Z6 feel clunky by comparison. In particular, the AF controls are how they should work ... after you set it up correctly, which for inexplicable reasons Canon doesn't. You need to do two things:

1. Go to AF5, and switch the first option to start face tracking from the selected AF point. This lets you place the AF box on your subject and press AF-on or half-press the shutter button to start tracking. Unlike the Z6's tracking, the R6 will automatically switch to face tracking if it thinks the thing under your box is a face, and it worked very well.

The Z's object tracking only works as object tracking, and isn't particularly sticky. If you want to use face/eye detect you need to let the camera pick which face (if any) from the full auto area mode. With the Canon, you give it a starting point so it knows which face you want to focus on.

Even better, when the system invariably screws up (like flipping to another subject), it's easy to fix: just let go of the shutter or AF-on button, recompose or move the box to the thing you want to focus on, and activate AF again. It was so simple and fluid, that I got the hang of it immediately.

There is nothing like that in Nikon's system for face detect. The Canon's face/eye detect also works much further out than Nikon's.

2. Turn on the joystick so you can move the cursor around. When I had a 40D many years ago, this was also turned off by default. I don't know why Canon keeps making this the default.

Anyway, the first day was outdoors in bright afternoon sunlight, and the camera was tracking and getting critically sharp focus like it was no big deal. The Z6 was too, but less fluidly and more slowly. The Canon 85/1.2L's center area is fantastic with high sharpness and almost no chromatic aberration that I could see. This might be different on a smaller pixel pitch sensor than the 20MP FF sensor of the R6.

The second day's shoot was indoors (everyone was masked in a large studio and there were only 5 of us) in artificial light, and the Canon was doing its thing again. However, it started messing up more: it would flip more easily to other faces in the frame. And then I did my version of DPR's drunk cyclist test: I shot in H mode, servo AF, 8FPS on a dancer who was performing choreography and coming towards the camera at a medium fast speed. The face detect box was tracking the dancer's face in almost every frame. Out of 25 shots, only 5 were critically sharp (3 in the beginning and 2 at the end when the dancer was slowing or stopped), 10 were almost hits (like in a DSLR), and 10 were misses.

Normally, I don't advocate shooting dance in continuous bursts because there is usually only 1 correct moment in dance, but I wanted to test the AF to see how good it was. It turns out it's about the same in actual focus acquisition performance as the Z6, and was only operationally more convenient to use. Don't get me wrong, easier to use is huge, but that alone without better AF, coupled with the lack of lens choices and a very expensive system, deterred me completely from switching to the Canon system.

If I were a long-time Canon EF shooter, and wanted to upgrade to mirrorless and I had a nice collection of EF lenses, then yeah, go for it. But since I had a nice set of F-mount lenses already, and I could already make the Z6 take the photos I need it to take, albeit with more effort than the Canon, and I had the lenses I wanted to use as well, it was a no-brainer for me to stick with the Z.

I also liked very much that Canon has a linear focusing mode for their fly-by-wire focus rings, which makes precise manual focus much easier (great for video, macros, and perhaps critical landscapes). And the R6 body itself is probably the most Nikon-like Canon body in terms of grip feel that I've used. The joystick on the battery grip feels a little too low though.

In terms of sensor performance, the R6's shadow DR didn't seem to be as good as the Nikon's. Highlight performance was close enough to be negligible between the two cameras.

Hope this helps!

That really helped out a lot. Ease and accuracy of af is a big factor for me. Maybe because of the aperture of the 85 canon you would miss more. Because the depth is so much narrower it would make sense. However what would you suggest to someone with no brand loyalty (no lens lineup behindme to make me choose one over the other) and for the use case i mentioned earlier (land-cityscape and travel with some portraits)??

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