Canon R6 II Versus Sony a7 IV: A Battle of Two Well-Rounded Cameras

In Calgary, Alberta, there is a huge annual fair called the Calgary Stampede. A once-a-year celebration dubbed “The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth”. Full of rides, games, and lots of rodeo events, this show attracts 1.5 million visitors each year. One of these guests was the illustrious Ted Forbes and we thought, why not have a good old-fashioned showdown, wild west style?

You will likely know Ted Forbes from his YouTube channel “The Art of Photography” and he was also a regular host with our very own editor-in-chief Jaron Schneider on a podcast show of the same name a couple of years ago. He has been a good friend of mine personally for almost a decade as well; I always look forward to seeing him on the press circuit.

Ted Forbes with Sony A7IV
Ted Forbes raises the Sony a7 IV to add another photo to our competition.

This year though, Ted flew up to see us here in Calgary and we had a great time drinking craft beer and catching up. It also presented us with an excellent opportunity to tackle one of our latest video ideas. You see, the Sony a7 IV has already become a highly sought-after camera and it promises stiff competition in the full-frame mirrorless market; Particularly against the Canon EOS R6 Mark II. I would battle Ted to see which camera comes out on top. He, with a Sony a7IV in hand, and myself with the Canon.

Canon EOS R6 mkII
Featuring excellent ergonomics and state-of-the-art autofocus, the Canon R6 II is a serious photographer’s tool.
Sony A7 IV
The Sony a7 IV represents an ideal all-around camera that is perfect for enthusiasts and professionals alike.

To keep things fair, both of us were equipped with 24-105mm f/4 zooms but we were also allowed to choose one additional lens with which to do battle. Ted chose a trusty Sony 50mm f/1.4 G Master and I decided to mix things up and take the Canon 600mm f/11. Although Ted figured he would have an advantage with shallow depth-of-field shots I knew I would have the reach with the 600mm to create unique images.

Friendly smile Canon EF 600mm f/11
I had to stand farther away, but this gentleman gave me a wonderful smile to capture with the 600mm f/11.

As we proceeded to battle it out in various categories it was obvious that both cameras made a strong showing. The Canon R6 II would edge out the Sony in terms of ergonomics and handling, but then the a7 IV fought back and took the image quality category. Although both cameras feature excellent eye detection and subject detection capabilities, the Sony won the autofocus challenge due to its excellent real-time tracking.

Sony A7 IV street portrait
Ted captures a beautifully framed moment in time.

Both cameras tied in terms of ruggedness, fully articulating LCD screens, and 3.69 million dot EVFs. However, the Canon R6 II broke the stalemate with a vastly superior 8-stop in-body image stabilization (IBIS) system which provides way more stability than the Sony a7 IV and its 5-stop IBIS. The R6 II also dominated when it came to burst rates and the use of the electronic shutter — it could push to 40 shots per second and still have less rolling shutter than the Sony.

Canon EOS R6 mkII
I preferred to center on people shots and the R6 mkII delivered accurate focus on the eyes.
Sony A7 IV Bow Building Face
Ted captured a moody scene of one of Calgary’s more popular art installations.

It didn’t end there, because the Canon R6 II also has the edge in video. With its excellent C-Log 3 profile and no crop in 4K 60p modes, it was the clear winner. The Sony battled back though, barely taking the battery life category, despite both cameras having similar CIPA ratings.

Where Sony clearly won was in the next category: lens choice. Sony has done an amazing job allowing third-party manufacturers to build lenses for the E-mount, in stark contrast to Canon who have cut off all support for the same companies. Sony has also created a vast line of lenses themselves leaving Canon in the dust — an issue we brought up in our “Worst Thing About Every Camera Brand” video.

Canon R6 mkII Flowers
The R6 mkII continues the Canon tradition of providing vibrant colors.
Sony A7 IV fire escape
Ted aims the Sony a7 IV to capture the play of light and shadow on the building.

In the end, we have two cameras that are evenly matched and similarly priced. Which one wins? Watch our above video and you be the judge.

Huge thanks to Ted Forbes for helping us out with this video. He definitely made our “friendly” battle humorous and enjoyable.