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Introduction

The Sony A7R II and the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV were officially introduced in August 2015 and June 2016 respectively, and both of them are equipped with a full-frame sensor. So, from the very beginning, you already know that the battle is going to be intense, right?

The A7R II has gained a significant popularity during its existence on the market, and professionals consider it as a serious DSLR alternative thanks to its included components that boost the camera performance at the highest levels, while giving you a freedom in terms of shooting.

On the other hand, we have the Canon EOS 5D Mark II which is one of the most versatile, and complete DSLR camera that you can find on the market, and those who’ve had an opportunity to shoot with it, already know that this camera is suitable for a variety of different photography styles, starting from photography and all the way up to the wildlife.

Are you intrigued by now? If yes, let’s clear all the doubts regarding these cameras and let me make an in-depth review of both cameras, because my intention is to always satisfy my audience with proper information that would help them make the right choice when it comes to the cameras.

Head To Head Comparison

Sony A7R II

Design-wise, the Sony A7R II looks nearly identical to Alpha 7 II and Alpha 7S II, it is bulky, but not as bulky as most of the mirrorless cameras, because it measures 3.8 x 5 x 2.4″ (HWD) and weighs approximately 1.4 pounds.

For your information, the manufacturer has implemented a magnesium alloy on its body and included weather-sealing with the intention to make this model solid and suitable for various situations. If we take this aside, what got my attention the most regarding its design is the front grip which employs textured rubber that wraps both sides, and the place where your right hand will rest naturally, on the rear part of the camera. This is really good due to the fact that the camera will fit nicely and comfortable in your hands and your photo shooting sessions will be exceptionally convenient.

Moreover, there is a large number of controls placed on this camera. Namely, on the top, there are two programmable C1 and C2 function bottoms, a locking mode dial, an EV compensation, power switch and an integrated shutter release. On the top-rear part of the camera, there is a control dial, while slightly below, next to the LCD screen there are a few more buttons. Although you will have multiple options to customize the A7R II according to your preferences, personally, the control layout isn’t the simplest that you can find on numerous cameras, but it is sufficient enough to offer you a comfortable use.

In addition, on the rear, there is a tiltable 3″ 1,229k-dots LCD display that can swivel up to 107 degree, and down to 41-degrees, allowing you to have better positioning in order to achieve better results. The screen is sharp as well, and for this part, I have to admit that I’m satisfied. Before we move to the next section, there is yet another thing worthy of mentioning and that’s the OLED, 2.46-million dot electronic viewfinder with 0.78x magnification that is strong enough to provide you a clear sight even under daylight conditions!

In terms of the connections, this model utilizes a micro HDMI port, internal microphone, a 3.5mm headphone jack, memory card slot that supports SD/SDHC/SDXC memory cards, and it is both, Wi-Fi and NFC-enabled which is delighting!

Moving on, the Sony A7R II outputs a pretty good performance, and the reason behind this is the quality components that are included. To be more precise. this model is armed with a full-frame 5-axis in-body image stabilization, a 42.4MP full-frame sensor, hybrid 399-point AF system with focal-plane phase-detection, decent continuous shooting rate of 5 fps, and an impressive ISO range of up to 102,400!

First and foremost, the Sony A7R II is a quick performer, because of its ability to turn on, focus and shoot in 1.6 seconds, while on the other side, the image quality is excellent regardless if you shoot in low-light or daylight conditions! In fact, JPG images shot at default settings are nearly noise-free, while if you reach ISO 12,800, the noise is existing but what’s interesting is that the overall quality of the imagery isn’t disappointing it at all! Instead, it is good-looking!

At ISO 6400, the clarity and details are preserves as opposed to ISO 25,600, where everything becomes loss, however, once you reach ISO 51,200, the noise becomes stronger and the details are blurred. At the peak of ISO 102,400, noise is even more appealing and I’d recommend you avoid this range.

Furthermore, if you shoot portrait photography, you will love this camera because its performance is virtually unbeatable, while on the other side, if you shoot sports you will be exceptionally satisfied as well thanks to its numerous focal points and its maximum shutter speed of 1/8000s.

Finally, the Sony A7R II records videos 4K footage with excellent clarity, and if you’re a videographer, there is no doubt that you will love the presence of the 5-axis in-body stabilization system that provides a higher level of freedom in terms of recording.

 

Canon 5D Mark IV

To begin with, the Canon 5D Mark IV features a magnesium alloy and polycarbonate body that measures 4.6 x 5.9 x 3.0 ” (HWD), measures around 1.8 pounds and it is smaller than the A7R II, but what they have in common is that both cameras are dust and weather-sealed which is awesome.

In addition, this unit has a comfortable, deep grip that lets the photographer have a comfortable hold in his/her hands, and up to this point, both cameras share relatively the same things.

When it comes to the controls, the camera’s button layout is almost identical to its predecessor, the 5D Mark III, however, since it is a newer model, it has a few changes such as the inclusion of a new switch that is set on the rear part of the body.

I won’t be naming all the controls because there’s a button for almost every setting you want to use and adjust, and all of them are intuitively designed and set on the top, and rear part of the body with the intention to offer you a quick and easy access!

On the top part of the body, there is a hot shoe, while slightly below, if you view from the rear you will notice two things. The first is the 100% optical, Intelligent Viewfinder II which will provide you with an excellent sight for whole day shooting, while in the center, there is a 3.2″ 1.62 million-dot, low-reflection LCD touchscreen that is responsive enough to detect all your gestures and as a plus, your view will be filled with clarity. The main drawback is that the screen is fixed, but, if we compare it to Sony A7R II whose screen is tiltable but not touch-sensitive, I will leave up to you to decide who wins the race here. I think the result is a tie.

Before we move to the next section, I’d like to note that the connection ports of the 5D Mark IV include a remote control port, PC Sync, mic, headphone, mini HDMI, micro USB 3.0 memory card slot that supports CompactFlash and a Secure Digital ( SD/SDHC/SDXC) card, and as was the case with A7R II, this model is also Wi-Fi and NFC-enabled!

Speaking of the performance, this model incorporates a 30MP full-frame image sensor, 61-point autofocus system, continuous shooting rate of 7fps, DIGIC 6+ image processor, and a native ISO range that starts from 100-32,000 but it is expandable up to 50-102,400, which when combined, do output an amazing performance indeed!

Namely, the details are top-notch and I have to admit that I’m impressed by the 30.4MP sensor that drastically enhances the quality and the overall definition of the details.

Moreover, images look excellent through most of the ISO settings, but I would suggest you avoid shooting through 51,200 and 102,400, because the image quality isn’t perfect although you won’t be disappointed by the results.

In my opinion, the best results are at ISO 800, because the clarity is insane, and, as you’re increasing the settings to ISO 1600 or even 3200, the clarity is still preserved without drastic changes in terms of noise, while at ISO 6400, JPG images look great as well!

Last but not least, the 5D Mark IV records 4K videos at 24/30 fps, 1080p videos at 60 fps, and 720p at 120 fps. Here, although their capabilities are pretty close, I would choose Sony A7R II as a better performer because it outputs in focus, sharpness and at the dynamic range when you record videos.

Feature Comparison

Sony A7R II Canon 5D Mark IV
Camera Type
Mirrorless
DSLR
Megapixels
30.1
42.2
ISO Range
100-25600 (50-102400)
100-32000 (50-102400)
Flip-Out Screen
Yes
No
AF Points
399 AF points
61 AF points
Viewfinder
Yes
Yes
Touchscreen
No
Yes
Video Recording
Yes
Yes
Sensor Size
Full-Frame
Full-Frame

Conclusion

As I’ve stated at the beginning, choosing the best option between the two cameras isn’t the easiest thing in the world, because both of them are outstanding in their category, and both of them have disadvantages which are proof that nothing is perfect in this world.

So, which one is better? Well, it really depends if you prefer having a mirrorless camera that aside from letting you achieve great results in photography, would also offer you a top-notch performance for video, then the Sony A7R II would be the right choice for you. Also, this camera outputs sharper images than the 5D Mark IV, outputs richer colors, has a larger viewfinder image, and has a flexible LCD screen.

On the contrary, 5D Mark IV would be an excellent choice if you prefer having a DSLR camera that has a more detailed and larger LCD screen than the Alpha 7R II, better button layout, faster data transfer, brighter framing, and faster burst rate.