Study: Nikon and Canon can’t match the dynamic range of Sony’s a7R lll

Sony’s still the king of dynamic range. Photonstophotos pitted the dynamic range of Canon’s EOS R and Nikon’s Z7 against that of Sony’s a7R lll, and Sony came out on top.

The main goal of the test was to see how the three companies’ full frame mirrorless cameras compare to each other in terms of dynamic range. Here are the results of the study:

Photonstophotos dynamic range comparison results
Photonstophotos dynamic range comparison results

The results show Sony as the king of dynamic range

At ISO 100, the Sony a7R lll has a Photographic Dynamic Range (PDR) of 11.64. Under the same ISO, the Nikon Z7 has a PDR of 10.98 and the Canon EOS R has a PDR of 10.6. That’s closer to the dynamic range of the APS-C Sony a6500 with a PDR of 10.31. Overall, Sony edges out both Nikon and Canon, beating Nikon by almost a full stop.

While Sony leads the test overall, Nikon and Canon battle it out at higher ISOs. At ISO 25600, Sony scored a 4.32. Meanwhile, Canon scored a 4.25 and Nikon a 3.85. The test determined that Nikon actually outperforms Canon at lower ISOs. But at higher ISOs, Canon scored better than Nikon.

Nevertheless, in terms of overall dynamic range, Sony is king. Also, keep in mind that Sony’s a7R lll isn’t exactly the newest camera, while Canon and Nikon just released their full-frame mirrorless cameras. Sonyalpharumors expects the dynamic range gap between the cameras will grow wider than Sony announces new models.

Still, these aren’t bad results for Nikon and Canon

It’s true that Sony’s PDR bested Nikon and Canon, their mirrorless systems PDR levels aren’t anything to scoff at. As PetaPixel puts it, “all three cameras have very similar dynamic range performance that’s in line of what’s expected of top full-frame cameras.”

Sony’s numbers are the highest, but that doesn’t mean Nikon and Canon’s cameras don’t offer great dynamic range as well. Also, dynamic range isn’t the only factor that determines the overall quality of a camera.

Sean Berry
Sean Berry
Sean Berry is Videomaker's managing editor.

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