June 28, 2015 at 7:58AM


Canon 5D mk iii vs Sony A7s


I have been shooting both video and stills with my canon 7D for the last 6 years and I am looking to upgrade my kit. I work both as a photographer and a videographer, so my initial thought was to get the 5D Mk III and use it with magic lantern to record video in raw. However, after researching a lot, I have seen that a many people are transitioning to the Sony A7s.

I am seduced by the smaller size of the A7s and the apparently simpler post-production process for video (smaller files that don't require conversion like raw) but I have always loved the look of Canon and I know it will also be great for stills. So it is proving very hard to make a decision!

Does someone have experience using both? Have you transitioned from one to another? Is one superior to the other?


I've shot 5d mark 3 raw and own an A7s.

In terms of image quality the raw video from the 5Dm3 is in another league. If you are shooting narrative, I don't see any reason to choose the A7s. The a7s is useful for docus and low light, but to get the maximum out of it you'll need an external recorder which kind of beats the simplicity advantage. The internal recording uses a decent codec but it is not enough for the s-log2 curve - prepare for plastic skin and occasionally breaking skies.

Also, Magic Lantern comes with a myriad of video shooting tools which are missing even in cameras that cost much much more. That said, shooting raw on a Canon has its issues: data size, lack of good quality shot review in-camera, needs very good CF cards. You can convert the video to compressed raw but it is still more data than the 50 mbps codec on the A7s.

Replicating the Canon look on a Sony camera can be a hassle, skin is much less saturated and less compressed on the a7s, and, in general, the image is less appealing.

In conclusion, base the decision on what you are going to use the camera for, not on buzz on the internets. :)

June 28, 2015 at 11:15AM, Edited June 28, 11:17AM

Ezi Seel

Thank you Ezi, this is probably the most helpful thing I have read so far! :)

I shoot a mix of narrative and documentary but skin is super important, as is the ability to shoot great stills... I am very intrigued by ML but also a little bit scared that I will have to compromise to shooting H264 if I have to do a doc. I guess in an ideal world, I could get both and use the Mk iii for my narrative projects and photographs and the a7 for docs. :(

Thanks again!


June 28, 2015 at 2:50PM, Edited June 28, 2:50PM

first off I own both cameras. and comparing them video wise is like comparing a AMG to an S-class. a7S (AMG) OWNS.

June 29, 2015 at 8:29PM

eric broski
Professional life liver

Using a different analogy, would you say that the 5d is like an English Bulldog while the A7s is like an afghan greyhound?


June 29, 2015 at 9:58PM

When we talk about shooting stills:
the A7s shoots only 12MP stills. A 5D MK3 shoots 22MP.
So what resolution do you need for stills?

June 29, 2015 at 10:50PM

Director, DOP, Writer, Editor, Producer

For stills there is really no comparison of you need high resolution. I've transitioned from 5d to red and use an a7s as a bcam / low light. Its great for that. The color and skin tones have nothing on the canon or red, but a really solid internal codec. If i was using it as an A cam i probably wouldn't notice but it's taking me a bit of time to get the skin tones matching/looking nicer next to the red

June 30, 2015 at 3:55AM, Edited June 30, 3:55AM

Dean Butler
Writer Director Shooter Editor

I own an A7s and have shot a lot with the 5D3 (although never raw). I've not really had a problem with skin tones on the A7s, but then I don't shoot s-log and I never have the colour set to "S-Gamut". I've just found that "S-Gumut" seems to put a yellowish wash over everything and then its really hard to separate the skin from the background. There's A LOT of adjustment you can do to the profiles of the A7s so you can dial in a lot of different looks.
When ever I've shot with the 5D its always looked decent, but just not the same level as the A7s. Not as much detail and not nearly as gradable. To me the skin can easily look very plasticy. This is a different story altogether when you're shooting RAW though.
The small size of the A7s is amazing. I have a Nikon E series 50mm attached which is tiny and decent-ish and a small gorilla pod which I use as a make shift shoulder rig. That set up is such a light weight grab n go kit and the 50mm is also a 75mm due to the crop feature on the A7s. The A7s is also better in low light (although the 5D3 is also very good), it has focus peaking that works pretty well, 60fps at 1080 which looks awesome (60p on a 5D is terrible) and a tilting screen (which you'll be really happy to have in many situations).

In the end if you're wanting to shoot stills and RAW a 5D3 might be better. If most of what you're shooting is in-camera video definitely get the A7s (which can also take really great still btw - just not as high res).

June 30, 2015 at 11:16AM

Mark Relf
Director, Editor

Thank you everyone for your input! I am still undecided so I am renting the A7s for the weekend and will run some tests with magic lantern on my 7D to see what I like best. :)

June 30, 2015 at 3:29PM



if you are interested I dropped some JPEGs and videos from A7S --


Majority of the JPEGs have EXIF intact. You'll see some shots have even ISO 10,000 f/1.3 1/1000.

Ezi mentioned skin being plastic but wait a second... plastic is a material, not color. And A7S beats 5D when it comes to showing texture. A7S's XAVC grades much better then the AVCHD. So calling skin rendition as being plastic-y is something I need a further clarification on.

I had A7S for a few month, switched from Canon. I cant see myself going back. Furthermore, Canon's DSLRs rose to fame due to magic lanter, not due to Canon. Sony is giving Canon a run for their money in $2,000 segment. Kinda takes a moment to take this in: once I did I realized my choice of Canon cameras was a coincidence that was not even due to Canon's hardware. I mean: no slow mo, bad moire, narrow dynamic range compared to competition. And Canon does not want to recognize this trend and does not want to support it. For me it made sense to reward Sony with my support for noticing the entry level filmmakers and producing a camera that provides the functions I need within my budget.

June 30, 2015 at 5:34PM

Alex Zakrividoroga

I think you are missing the point. :)
The discussion is about shooting Canon raw video with Magic Lantern, not about shooting vanilla video with it. And there is no contest between Canon ML raw and A7s XAVC-S. ML raw destroys XAVC-S from the A7s in terms of image density. It is just incomparably better.

I wish this wasn't the case, cause I like the size of the A7s and, welll, I own it already. But I keep on renting 5dm3 for narrative, because it has a proper dense picture. I'd say 5dm3 ML raw is the best FullHD image you can find (downsampling higher resolution cameras notwithstanding).

Ezi Seel

July 1, 2015 at 3:56AM

For stills wise on detail and resolution wise you can't compare 5DmkIII to A7s.
5DmkIII has better IQ in my opinion. Other factor is that you need to have the native glass on the A7s in order to use the full potential of the full 12mgpixel. I use lot of none native lenses on the A7s and on video you can't tell the difference but on stills you will notice all the barrel distortion because of the flange distance. It gets better with the lenses that has longer focal length. I also have a full frame Nikon D3 that is 12mgpixel as well. Nikons first full frame camera. When I use that with my nikkor 85mm f/1.4, one of my sharpest lens I own and push the raw up to 25mgpixel in PS. It looks sharper than Canon's 5DmkIII images I shoot in studio. It's crazy how glass makes a difference.
If you are doing lot of low light photography I think both camera won't disappoint you.
If you are doing lot of low light video, A7s is way to go. It's insane.
For skin tones and all that, in my opinion I think Nikon is the best for stills and Panasonic for video(also own GH2), so that tells you it's all personal preference and you could always fix it in post, both stills and motion.

Just my experience, I think it's good that you are renting it out.
Like I always say to everyone, there is no perfect camera, but there is a camera that fit your needs.

July 1, 2015 at 10:14AM, Edited July 1, 10:18AM

Keith Kim

I've shot with both, and as much as I absolutely love the look of ML RAW, if you don't have a DIT or any other people who will be doing all of that stuff for you, it's a gosh darn nightmare to work with. The a7S, on the other hand, is freaking wonderful to work with. (And S-Log + Film Convert looks straight-up spectacular, even using the in-camera codec.) You don't have nearly the same level of detail as RAW (which you can basically do a lossless zoom in up to like 140%, which is bonkers), but unless you're willing to put in the excessive amount of work required to get everything out of the 5DIII, the a7S is a better bet.

Though really, you should just wait until the a7R II comes out. I've used that thing, albeit briefly, and... yeah. Just get that one.

July 1, 2015 at 2:07PM

Alec Kubas-Meyer

I first upgraded to a 5D which was a great step up from the 7D, however - not long after I bought a second hand C100 which solves a lot of issues the 5D has and it's been a blessing!

The 'cheaper' Sony cams have very nice specs but the colors are offputting - even when graded it just doesn't completely suit my style, don't forget to factor that in your decision.

July 3, 2015 at 1:33AM, Edited July 3, 1:33AM


If you're shooting docs, I can't imagine the amount of CF cards and hard-drive space you'd need to shoot raw with ML. Yes, you get a ton more color info with ML over XAVC, but the a7s picture looks fantastic, I feel like the color looks very rich. You can adjust your internal settings on the Sony to get closer (not identical) to Canon's color. Color is super important, but does it outweigh everything else that comes with it? Longer workflow times & extra equipment costs?
Keep your 7D for stills, my advice is to go with the Sony. (I own the a7s, Canon 6D & 60D, I love them all for different reasons)

July 3, 2015 at 1:45PM

Sean Kenney
Event Cinematographer

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