Canon EOS R vs. Nikon Z7 vs. Sony A7R IV- Mirrorless Face and Eye AF Compassion

Photographer Matt Granger published an interesting video comparing three of the most advanced mirrorless cameras Sony, Nikon and Cano currently have to offer with their latest firmware versions and testing at how well they all focus in different situations.

Recently Canon released an important update for the EOS R that significantly improved AF performance (ver.

Granger tested all three cameras both indoors and outdoors looking at the face but mostly eye AF performance. Testing all 3 cameras and looking at which recognize the face and the eyes first. Results here (all using 24-70mm lenses) are interesting – Sony recognized the face from the furthest distance but the Canon with the new firmware recognized the eye first (very impressive given the performance of the Canon prior to the recent update when it comes to eye AF).

When trying to shoot with some obstruction to see which system can focus on this condition the best as well as which system can re-acquire the subject after losing it the fastest. The Canon, in this case, did the worst and the Sony did better but the Nikon apparently performed the best in this category.

Shooting with the 85mm lenses through some haze the Canon did the worst the Sony was better and the Nikon did the best. If you are trying to lock into animal eyes – only Sony currently has this feature – so keep this in mind.

Trying to capture a model moving her face from side to side the Canon again did the worst with the Sony better and Nikon taking the lead with accuracy although it very quickly ran out of buffer (which is strange given the Sony didn’t and it has 61MP compared to the 45MP of the Z7).

Trying another version of the obstruction AF this time with a model and a hair blower so her hair is obstructing the face and eyes – this time the Sony did the best with a large margin from the other two.

Bottom line – all did very well – some better than others in specific scenarios. It is a bit hard to call a definite winner (it also depends on the lens and your specific use case) but it seems to Granger that Sony still has the overall edge but it is no longer a wide gap as it used to be and Canon and Nikon are catching up.

It is important to mention that Granger only looked at one half of the AF operation – stills shooting. He didn’t test AF performance during video mode that might very well give very different results.

The cameras in this comparison:

You can check out more of videos from our photography gear guides section here on LensVid.

Iddo Genuth
Iddo Genuth is the founder and chief editor of He has been a technology reporter working for international publications since the late 1990's and covering photography since 2009. Iddo is also a co-founder of a production company specializing in commercial food and product visual content.

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