I’ve been loyal to Nikon for the last 12+ years, but a lot of photographers I know shoot with Canon cameras and absolutely love them. I photograph with a Nikon D850 DSLR and a Nikon Z7ii Mirrorless camera, but something about the grass always being greener on the other side had me yearning to try out a comparable Canon camera. I was trying to find comparisons online, but really wanted to see for myself, in my own studio, with both natural lighting and studio lighting. I decided I needed to do a Nikon Z7ii vs Canon R5 photo comparison in my Lino Lakes studio.
I put out a post to my local group of photographers saying I wanted to compare the Nikon Z7ii vs Canon R5. That’s when Michelle Krohn (from Michelle Krohn Photography) said that she had a Canon R5 and would be happy to come to my studio to let me try it out. Michelle is a fantastic photographer out of Blooming Prairie, MN, and made the two hour drive to come to my studio and let me try her camera. Amazing, right!?! I thought so, too.
I posted a model call since I had some new dresses I also wanted to photograph, and a client who I had done a maternity session for stepped up and said she’d love to come in. Her baby was now 3 months old and unbelievably adorable. We found a day and time that worked for all of us, and made some magic happen. Here are my not-so-scientific but hopefully helpful findings if you’re on the fence between these two cameras and want to see a Nikon Z7ii vs Canon R5 photo comparison. But first, a few notes:
- We kept our settings the same on both cameras, and left them on auto white balance for a fair comparison (I typically do a custom white balance, but the auto white balance on these cameras is actually really good).
- RAW images were pulled into Lightroom. Profile was left on Adobe Color for both.
- Comparison photos below were resized and slightly sharpened for online viewing.
- Nikon gear: Nikon Z7ii mirrorless camera, Nikon 35m/1.8S lens
- Canon gear: Canon R5 mirrorless camera, Canon AF-EOS R adaptor, Canon 35mm/1.4L lens
- “SOOC” images = straight out of camera/without any edits
- Edits were done with one click and the new Refined II presets for Lightroom. Slight exposure adjustments were also made on a couple, but nothing else was changed. Regular edits would be adjusted a bit more, but I wanted to keep these simple for comparison purposes.
- Mom and baby outfits were borrowed from my studio wardrobe collection.
PHOTO SET ONE – SOOC: 35mm, f/3.5, 1/200 sec, ISO 1000, auto white balance.
Edits: Nikon was a bit more yellow (what I typically have found when photographing on white). You can see it in the walls, the blanket color, the pillow color, and in her hair color. Sharpness and grain at this ISO were comparable.
SOOC: 35mm, f/3.5, 1/200 sec, ISO 500, auto white balance.
Edits: Nikon was definitely warmer/more saturated. Sharpness was comparable on both cameras.
PHOTO SET THREE – SOOC: 35mm, f/3.5, 1/250 sec for Nikon, 1/200 sec for Canon, ISO 1250, auto white balance.
Edits: Nikon was definitely warmer/more saturated. You can see it in the color of the curtains and in the white wall behind mom and baby.
So there you have it. My final thoughts on the Nikon Z7ii vs Canon R5 photo comparison? I still can’t decide. I feel like the color of the Nikon more, but the whites of the Canon more. The Canon seemed to do better with lighting wasn’t ideal, and I think overall it would be an easier/quicker edit. The auto white balance on the Canon consistently was at a lower temperature than the Nikon when importing into Lightroom, which would explain why the Canon images look cooler, as far as color-temperature goes. I also felt like my Nikon was much more intuitive for changing settings, but that’s probably something that would just come with time. Sharpness and noise were comparable in both. I don’t use eye focus tracking much so I can’t comment on that. This was such a small comparison that I really can’t say which I like better. I tend to overthink and do lots of comparisons/testing before making any final decisions.
One final comparison, after matching the Canon temp/tint in Lightroom to the same settings the Nikon auto white balance imported at (still with one click Refined II applied). They look a lot more similar. So really – a little editing can probably get the look you want with either camera.
What are your thoughts on the Nikon Z7ii vs Canon R5 photo comparison? Which do you prefer?