Unfortunately, I am unable to purchase each of these systems individually and make a rational decision in that way. I am simply presented with the information on the internet and asked to determine the winner as all of you are. With that in mind I have become something of an expert at determining winners in this fashion.

I have compiled a chart of the relevant reasons to purchase each one of the above systems. As you may note I have excluded Nikon’s F mount for the simple fact that I know the least about it. I’ve never been much of a fan of Nikon’s DSLR offering for several reasons, among them being the lateness with which they went to a fully electronic mount protocol.

On the other hand, I have included Canon’s EF mount because it is by far the dominant mount even with the ongoing switch to mirrorless. There really isn’t anything wrong with EF mount from a technology standpoint. It is a fully electronic mount, end of story. The amazing thing is all EF mount lenses work on all EF mount and all RF mount cameras (with an RF to EF mount adapter).

The same is true for Nikon’s F mount but Nikon never achieved the wide adoption that Canon did. Canon has sold thousands of lenses to users of different camera systems ranging from Sony mirrorless, to super expensive RED cinema cameras. In fact, Canon lenses are well regarded in the world of cinema and have been used on many different productions.

I personally think that the industry is probably headed towards a mirrorless future so I’ve decided to focus on mirrorless. And because of the wide adoption of EF mount that Canon achieved I’m including EF lenses and cameras in this comparison chart.

Overview
Pros
Cons
bottomline
Nikon Z System
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Overview
A solid new system from Nikon with decent lenses and some exciting new camera bodies like the Z9.
Pros
Entry Level lenses are very good, but a little higher priced. Rapid improvements have been made with new iterations of camera bodies.
Cons
Still a little behind Canon and Sony in AF, image quality, and mindshare. Nikon needs to generate more excitement and interest in their products if they want to stick around much longer.
bottomline
Nikon Z is, as you would expect, a promising system from Nikon that does not match up well to Sony and Canon at the high end of the market. Their early launches were plagued by a total lack of interest and poor performance. Not a good start for Nikon’s mirrorless system. But, cameras like the Z9 have Nikon execs making big promises that it will meet all expectations. Whether the Z9 can compete with Canon and Sony remains to be seen.
Sony E System
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Overview
The most established FF mirrorless system that has gained the most traction amongst amateurs although more and more professionals are picking up Sony bodies these days.
Pros
Well established in the mirrorless space, Sony has a lot to offer. Good cameras and an ever-improving selection of lenses from Sony and 3rd party makers like Tamron and Sigma.
Cons
They easily have the most confusing lineup in the history of camera gear. All the models look practically the same, have very similar names that are typically differentiated by one letter or number added on. Are they trying to be confusing? Me thinks, yes. So, there is an a7 III, a7s III, a7r III a7r IV, a7 IV, a7 II, currently for sale. That looks confusing right? Just wait till you see the pricing, literally no logic at all.
bottomline
Sony has their work cut out for them with Canon releasing some scarily good cameras like the R5 and the R3. Sony immediately countered the R5 with the even faster shooting A1. But it was a bit of a wet mop situation there. Priced at $6,500 the A1 is nearly $3,000 more than the R5. I’m not going to down the camera, it performs very, very well, and a Sony pro will be well served by the A1. I think it’s fair to say that while you may pay a lot for the Sony gear, you’re getting cameras and lenses that can do professional work.
Canon RF System
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Overview
The so far somewhat boring but functional mirrorless system from Canon. Unlike the other’s they seem intent on underachieving by as much as possible with each new release.
Pros
Canon brings excellent engineering to the table that is backed up by decades of experience in camera and lens design.
Cons
It’s hard to say what is and isn’t a con with Canon, if I had to pick one thing it’s that the company is boring to many people. Are they actually boring? Not really, but their presentation certainly is. Where companies like Apple could sell a shiny rock to their customers, Canon seems to believe that a policy of self-flagellation is what will sell the most cameras.
bottomline
Canon doesn’t seem particularly perturbed by Sony or Nikon, although recent efforts like the R5 and R3 do point to at least a slight sense of urgency. Based on recent sales data Canon has taken the top spots in the FF mirrorless world, just barely outselling Sony. The fact that acquiring some Canon gear is next to impossible is probably hurting their sales somewhat too. All in all, Canon seems well poised to continue having a big presence in the camera world of the future.
Canon EF System
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Overview
The market leader by number of users and still by far the largest system of the bunch. I think Canon claims to have sold around 130 million EF lenses.
Pros
Canon EF is a proven system but the real star of Canon’s EF system has always been the lenses. And that’s despite the cameras being the best on the market.
Cons
EF mount may or may not stick around for long. No doubt there will be new cameras in the future, will they be as good or better than what RF mount offers? Nobody knows. The good news is, as of right now Canon seems pretty consistent about getting EF mount lenses to work on RF mount.
bottomline
Nobody knows where EF mount is headed. But top EF mount L lenses are still as expensive as ever and appear to still be coveted by most if not all photographers. Canon really built a great reputation with EF mount mainly through excellent lenses. It’s likely that EF mount may be left as is, but I do think it would be smart for Canon to release a couple EF mount lenses due to their ability to be mounted on any and all mirrorless camera bodies via an adapter.

5 COMMENTS

  1. I don’t know what you mean when you say that Nikon Z mount is behind on image quality? I have never seen a review or in my own personal experience noted that. People have argued over autofocus speed and EAF etc.. being behind Sony and canon which had some merit especially in first generation pre firmware updates. But image quality has never been an issue or second best on Nikon Z.

    • It’s hard to say what is true Mike because I only have the examples that are available on the internet to go by. But going by what I have seen even the Z9 has some mushy looking skin tones. My subject matter is primarily people, so this aspect of image quality is very important to me. And I do notice issues with skin coloration when viewing Nikon files. Of course, if only I could get a Z9 to test I might be able to make a better judgement of its actual performance. I’m shooting a wedding on the 29th, maybe someone will send me a Z9 and 24-70mm f/2.8 and I can compare it with my R5 and RF 28-70mm f/2 L. That is unless Nikon doesn’t think they can hang with Canon’s 3rd most expensive camera.

  2. Mr Shawn your heavy lopsided bias against the Nikon mounts and systems could have been a placard of how you were going to compare it with others.
    Anyone with such reservations should remain with writing about their favourites only.
    It is only fair that your credibility is reflectong on the number and content of the remarks you got.

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