Sony Alpha 7 Vs Canon 5D Mark II – Detailed Comparison

In this review today, we are comparing two big cameras – the Sony Alpha 7 Vs Canon 5D Mark II.

This is a detailed review comparison, therefore, it will be a long read.

If you don’t have the time to go through all the details in this article, our comparison overview section should help you. It contains the basic information you need to make a quick, yet intelligent decision.

PS: Click here if you’d like to see another Sony vs Canon matchup.

Click here to buy the Sony Alpha a7 on Amazon now.
Click here to buy the Canon EOS 5D Mark II on Amazon now.

Table of Contents

Comparison Overview — Sony Alpha 7 Vs Canon 5D Mark II

Where Both Cameras Get It Right

First off, both of these cameras have eye-level viewfinders. The Sony Alpha 7 has an electronic viewfinder (EVF), while, the Canon 5D Mark II has an optical viewfinder (OVF).

Now, for the fantastic imaging-related features that these cameras share. They both have face detection focus, auto-exposure bracketing, an external flash shoe, and also support RAW format of images.

Looking at video features, these cameras also do a great job. The two cameras in comparisons both have a Full HD video resolution of 1080p, and also have an external microphone port.

These two cameras also have an environmental-sealing.

Where The Sony Alpha 7 Does It Better

Firstly, this camera has a number of wireless features including built-in Wi-Fi, Near Field Communication connection, and smartphone remote control.

Also, the LCD screen of this camera is a tilting articulated screen with a higher screen resolution than the Canon 5D Mark II.

Of the two cameras in comparison, the Sony Alpha 7 has a lighter weight and a smaller body.

For monitoring the audio while shooting, this camera has a headphone port that allows you to connect a headphone to the camera.

This camera also has a higher number of focus points, sensor resolution, max ISO value, and viewfinder coverage.

Other features where this camera does better include, continuous shooting mode, color depth, dynamic range, and auto-exposure bracketing range.

Where The Canon 5D Mark II Does It Better

The Canon 5D Mark II has an in-built time-lapse recording feature. Its battery also lasts more shots per full charge.

The sensor pixel area of the Canon 5D Mark II is much larger than that of the Sony Alpha 7.

Finally, this camera has a Top LCD display, and a Flash Sync Port.

Click here to buy the Sony Alpha a7 on Amazon now.
Click here to buy the Canon EOS 5D Mark II on Amazon now.

Where Both Cameras Get It Wrong

First, both of these cameras do not have image stabilization.

Then for their individual downsides, starting with the Sony Alpha 7, the Alpha 7 has poor battery life.

And as for the Canon 5D, it isn’t designed with any wireless features. It is also quite heavy.

Which Has The Better Price-Value Ratio: Sony Alpha 7 or Canon 5D Mark II?

The Sony a7 has a better price-value ratio than the Canon 5D Mark II. The Sony camera costs less than the Canon one — even though not by very much — but it still manages to outdo it in the area of features and functions. For example, you get better low light performance, better screen & sensor resolution, and wireless connectivity, all in a more portable body. Awesome, isn’t it?

Click here to buy the Sony Alpha a7 on Amazon now.
Click here to buy the Canon EOS 5D Mark II on Amazon now.

Comparison Table — Sony Alpha 7 Vs Canon 5D Mark II

  Sony Alpha 7 Canon 5D Mark II
Built-in Wi-Fi Yes None
Articulating Screen Yes No
Max Sensor Resolution 24 megapixels 21 megapixels
Number Of Focus Points 117 9
LCD Screen Resolution 1.230k dots 920k dots
Weight 474 grams 850 grams
Color Depth 24.8 23.7
Dynamic Range 14.2 11.9
Near Field Communication Yes No
Smartphone Remote Control Yes No
LCD Screen Size 3.2 inches 3 inches
Continuous Shooting 5 frames per second 6 frames per second
Battery Life 340 shots 850 shots
Low Light ISO 2248 2293
Sensor Pixel Area 35.65 41.08
Top LCD No Yes
Flash Sync Port No Yes
Headphone Port Yes No
ISO Range 50 to 25600 100 to 6400 and can be expanded to 50 to 25600

Prices and images pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:

What Situation Is Each Camera Best For? — Sony Alpha 7 Vs Canon 5D Mark II

Sony Alpha 7 Canon 5D Mark II
The Sony Alpha 7 would be a great camera for shooting professional street photography.

First off, this camera has a pretty light weight for a full frame camera, so, when carrying it around you won’t be bothered about it becoming burdensome.

This camera also has quite a small body, so, fitting it into your bag will not be an issue.

This camera would also be great at shooting landscape photographs.

It’s a fantastic full frame sensor camera that has a pretty high sensor resolution and fantastic LCD screen resolution.
Although being a pretty old camera, this camera packs a punch for shooting nature and landscapes.

First of all, this camera has a  high resolution, so, you can be sure that you’ll always have enough detail on you images.

It is also a  well-known fact that canon cameras are designed with good color science technology.

So, when you need to capture the beauty in the colors of nature, this camera would do justice to that.
Click here to buy the Sony Alpha a7 on Amazon now.
Click here to buy the Canon EOS 5D Mark II on Amazon now.

Common Features — Sony Alpha 7 Vs Canon 5D Mark II

Here are the features common to both the Sony Alpha 7 and Canon 5D Mark II:

i. External flash hot shoe

ii. Viewfinder

iii. RAW support

iv. Face detection focus

v. High maximum sensor resolution

vi. External microphone port

vii. 1080p video

viii. Environmental sealing

ix. Auto exposure bracketing

x. Average ISO range

We will now look at each of these similarities in detail…

External Flash Hot Shoe

The external flash shoe is a feature that allows the photographer to attach an external flash to the body of the camera for light-enhancement purposes.

The external flash is a powerful lighting tool for shooting dark.

Viewfinder

The viewfinder is a feature that allows the photographer to get a view of the scene being shot for proper framing. It also gives better composure when framing the images shot.

The Sony Alpha 7 has a viewfinder type known as the electronic viewfinder – also known as the EVF. This is a viewfinder type that is traditionally found on most mirrorless cameras.

With the EVF, it is to the photographer like looking at a small LCD screen. The image of the scene recorded by the camera’s sensor is electronically projected to the viewfinder, thereby, providing the preview.

As for the Canon 5D Mark II, it has a viewfinder called the optical viewfinder – also known as the OVF. This viewfinder can only be found on DSLR cameras.

This is because the design of the OVF can only function with the use of the mirror mechanism of the DSLRs. This makes use of reflex mirrors and a pentaprism to bounce and direct light from the scene to the viewfinder.

Both of these viewfinder types have their advantages and disadvantages.

The images shown on the EVF will look exactly like the finished product of the image having all the settings applied which is a big advantage. However, the electronic viewfinder is known to consume a lot of battery power.

The optical viewfinder is optical, therefore, it doesn’t consume any battery power at all, however, getting a view on the OVF could be a challenge when shooting in dark scenes.

RAW Support

RAW is an image file format. This is one of the numerous features that determine the quality of images shot by the camera.

When the camera is set to shoot in RAW, the images shot will contain all the detail the camera recorded in the image.

The detail these images carry, in turn, makes the images have large storage sizes.

Face Detection Focus

Face Detection focus is a feature that finds and focuses on images on the scene being shot.

Apart from detecting and focusing, the face detection focus also keeps the face on the scene in focus by locking down on the face.

This simply ensures that the detected face remains the main subject in the image shot.

High Max Sensor Resolution

If you are interested in making large prints for your images or have to do some heavy cropping on your images without losing quality, then, the sensor resolution of the camera has to be high.

The sensor resolution of the camera is another feature that determines the quality of the images shot by the camera. It is the number of pixels that make up the image shot by the camera.

So, having a high sensor resolution means more pixels make up the images shot, which means more pixels to part with or spread out when editing, printing, or putting on display.

The two cameras in this Sony Alpha 7 Vs Canon 5D Mark II comparison have high values for their max sensor resolution, however, there is a slight difference.

The Sony Alpha 7 has a max sensor resolution of 24 megapixels, while the Canon 5D Mark II has a max sensor resolution of 21 megapixels.

External Microphone Port

For anyone picking up a camera to shoot video professionally, the importance of this feature cannot be overemphasized.

The Microphone port feature allows the user to connect an external microphone to the camera for recording audio while shooting video.

Most cameras are designed with internal microphones, and these work quite alright. However, the built-in microphones can only perform well in shooting video in noiseless or indoor environments.

So, to achieve quality audio with the videos shot, the external microphone port is an essential feature.

Video Resolution

The video resolution of the camera is another feature that has to do with the video shooting capabilities of the camera.

Video resolution is the number of horizontal lines – stacked one on top of the other – the camera has from top to bottom.

Like sensor resolution and image print size, the video resolution determines the size of screen that the videos shot can be displayed on without losing its quality.

The two cameras in this Sony Alpha 7 Vs Canon 5D Mark II comparison have the same max video resolution. They have a Full High Definition resolution of 1920 by 1080 pixels.

This is a pretty impressive video resolution, however, it cannot be used for commercial cinematic purposes. To still have quality, videos in this resolution are restricted to high-end HD televisions and monitors.

Still looking at video capabilities, these cameras also shoot video at impressive frame rates (this determines how flexible you can be with slow-motion videos).

The Sony Alpha 7 shoots video at a frame rate of 60 and 24 frames per second, while, the Canon 5D Mark II shoots at a frame rate of 30 frames per second.

Environmental Sealing

One of the most common causes of damage to digital cameras is when weather elements get into the inner components of the camera. As a result, camera brands now add the feature known as the environmental- or weather-sealing to the body of the camera.

This sealing, made of silicon and rubber gaskets and linings, is added to the parts of the camera that have openings that could be access points for the weather elements.

Note that the weather sealing doesn’t make the components of the camera water-resistant.

Auto-Exposure Bracketing

Auto-exposure bracketing is a feature on the camera that allows you to take multiple images at different automatically set exposure settings.

This feature helps when shooting scenes that have shadows and variation in lighting. Scenes like these usually make selecting exposure settings quite an issue.

So, with the auto-exposure bracketing feature, you don’t have to worry about missing a shot as a result of trying to get the perfect exposure settings.

ISO Range

This feature determines how well your camera will perform under low light conditions. The ISO of a camera is the sensitivity of the image sensor to light from the scene.

So, as you increase the ISO value, the sensor becomes more sensitive to light, therefore, producing brighter images.

For the cameras in this comparison, they have interesting values for their ISO range.

On the one hand, the native ISO of the Sony Alpha 7 ranges from 50 to 25600, and it cannot be expanded.

On the other, while the native ISO of the Canon 5D Mark II ranges from 100 to 6400, its minimum ISO can be expanded to 50 ISO, and its maximum ISO value can be expanded to 25600 ISO.

One important thing to note about ISO is that, increasing the ISO value for brighter images also increases the amount of noise that might be found on the images shot. However, this performance varies across different individual cameras and brands.

To see how the two cameras in this Sony Alpha 7 and Canon 5D Mark II perform under low light conditions at different ISO levels, check out these videos.

Click here to buy the Sony Alpha a7 on Amazon now.
Click here to buy the Canon EOS 5D Mark II on Amazon now.

Unique Features — Sony Alpha 7 Vs Canon 5D Mark II

Which comes with built-in Wi-Fi: Sony Alpha 7 or Canon 5D mark II?

The Sony a7 comes with built-in Wi-Fi. With this, you can easily connect the camera to a smartphone and share files conveniently. This feature erases the need for wires and cables, making things more convenient and clutter-free.

Which allows for a one touch wireless connection: Sony Alpha 7 or Canon 5D Mark II?

The Sony a7 comes with near field communication (NFC) which is what makes it possible for you to create a wireless connection with an NFC compatible device just by touching them together.

Which can be remote controlled with a smartphone: Sony Alpha 7 or Canon 5D Mark II?

The Sony a7 can be remote controlled using a smartphone. The smartphone remote control method is one of the most advanced and pretty much the best remote control method for various reasons. The first advantage of this feature is that you don’t have to spend an extra dime on any other equipment or gear as you most probably already have a smartphone.

Also, unlike many other older remote control tools, the smartphone doesn’t only trigger the shutter, but also shows you a preview of the scene, allows you to adjust settings, and also allows you to download images shot from the camera directly to your smartphone.

Which aids flexible shooting: Sony Alpha 7 or Canon 5D Mark II?

The Sony a7 comes with an articulating screen, which means it is a good choice to shoot with from rather difficult angles. More specifically, the Alpha 7 has a tilting (or tiltable type) screen. The tiltable articulated screen is designed to move about just one axis. So, your screen can only tilt slightly upwards and downwards.

Which is compatible with headphones: Sony Alpha 7 or Canon 5D Mark II?

The Sony Alpha 7 comes with a headphone port which allows you to connect and use headphones with this camera. The headphones, when connected to the camera, give you the ability to monitor audio while shooting your video. With this, you can always stop and make necessary adjustments to the audio before the final production

Which can record time-lapse videos: Sony Alpha 7 or Canon 5D Mark II?

Actually, you can record time-lapse videos with both the Sony a7 and the Canon 5D Mark II. The difference here is that the time-lapse recording app comes with the Canon camera, however, with its Sony counterpart, you will need an external app.

Have you ever seen videos of sunset, sunrise, or flowers blooming where the activities happen faster than they in the real world? Such videos are created with time-lapse.

In time-lapse, the camera takes the video at a frame rate that is more spread out than the rate at which it will be displayed. This, in turn, makes time to lapse and things happen faster than normal when the video is played back.

Which has an LCD screen on its top side: Sony Alpha 7 or Canon 5D Mark II?

The Canon 5D Mark II is designed with a little LCD display on its top side which displays different settings and makes it easy for you to monitor and change your camera settings while you shoot.

Which is better for flash photography: Sony Alpha 7 or Canon 5D Mark II?

Although both the Sony a7 and the Canon 5D Mark II are compatible with external flashes, only the Canon camera is compatible with off-camera flashes, making it the better choice for flash photography. What makes this feature worth having is that you’re able to test lighting on your subject from various positions without having to change your own position.

Click here to buy the Sony Alpha a7 on Amazon now.
Click here to buy the Canon EOS 5D Mark II on Amazon now.

Unique Pros — Sony Alpha 7 Vs Canon 5D Mark II

Pros Of The Sony Alpha 7

  • Built-in Wi-Fi feature.
  • Tilting or Tiltable articulated screen.
  • Higher max sensor resolution.
  • Higher max ISO value.
  • A high and impressive number of focus points.
  • Higher LCD screen resolution.
  • 100% viewfinder coverage.
  • Better performance in continuous shooting mode.
  • Lightweight camera.
  • Equipped with headphone port.
  • Higher color depth.
  • Higher dynamic range.
  • Higher auto-exposure bracketing range.
  • Near Field Communication connection compatible.
  • Smartphone remote control compatible.

Pros Of The Canon 5D Mark II

  • Longer lasting battery.
  • Has built-in timelapse recording.
  • Larger sensor pixel area.
  • Designed with a top LCD display.
  • Designed with a flash sync port.
Click here to buy the Sony Alpha a7 on Amazon now.
Click here to buy the Canon EOS 5D Mark II on Amazon now.

Unique Cons – Sony Alpha 7 Vs Canon 5D Mark II

Cons Of The Sony Alpha 7

  • The battery life of this camera doesn’t last too many shots.

Cons Of The Canon 5D Mark II

  • This camera doesn’t have any wireless feature.
  • Pretty heavy camera.

Check out these other articles:

Common Pros – Sony Alpha 7 Vs Canon 5D Mark II

  Sony Alpha 7 Canon 5D Mark II
External Flash Shoe This feature is especially important here because the Alpha 7 isn’t designed with a built-in flash. Same as the Sony Alpha 7.
Viewfinder The Sony Alpha 7 is designed with an Electronic viewfinder. The Canon 5D Mark II is designed with an Optical Viewfinder.
RAW Support Present Same as the Sony Alpha 7.
Face Detection Focus Present Same as the Sony Alpha 7.
Video Resolution This camera has a video resolution of 1920 by 1080 pixels. Same as the Sony Alpha 7.
Microphone Port Present Same as the Sony Alpha 7.
Environmental Sealing Present Same as the Sony Alpha 7.
Auto Exposure Bracketing This camera has a an AE bracketing range of ±5. The Canon 5D Mark II has an AE bracketing range of ±3.
Click here to buy the Sony Alpha a7 on Amazon now.
Click here to buy the Canon EOS 5D Mark II on Amazon now.

Common Cons – Sony Alpha 7 Vs Canon 5D Mark II

  Sony Alpha 7 Canon 5D Mark II
No Image Stabilization The Sony Alpha 7 doesn’t have a built-in image stabilization.

So you might have to look for special VR lenses to prevent blurry photos as a result of camera shake.

Also, you could shoot with a tripod stand to keep the camera stable (or just be extra careful when shooting hand-held).
Same as the Sony Alpha 7.

What Users Think About Both Cameras — Sony Alpha 7 Vs Canon 5D Mark II

Sony Alpha 7 Canon 5D Mark II
One thing that users really appreciate with the Sony Alpha 7 is its build.

Being such a lightweight camera, with a small body, users are pleased that they can carry this anywhere and still get images with mind-blowing quality.

Also, users are impressed with the ISO performance of this camera and the speed of its auto-focus system.
The first thing users are happy about with this camera is the value it offers for its price tag.

A lot of user are satisfied with the price of this camera when compared to the features the camera offers.

Users are also happy with the image quality this camera produces.   In general, users recommend this camera for any photographer.

It has some impressive video features, still, this camera was built for the photographer.
One major complaint users had with this camera is with the lineup of lenses that it is compatible with.

Users aren’t happy that the lenses for this camera are pretty expensive. According to users, you’ll be spending from about 600 to over 1000 bucks on required lenses.

Also, users aren’t  happy with the battery life of this camera, wishing it could last a bit longer.
For complaints, users aren’t impressed with the speed of the autofocus system of this camera, especially under low-light conditions.

Also, the noise-ISO performance of the Canon 5D Mark II is another feature of this ca
Click here to buy the Sony Alpha a7 on Amazon now.
Click here to buy the Canon EOS 5D Mark II on Amazon now.

Our Take — Sony Alpha 7 Vs Canon 5D Mark II

Sony Alpha 7 Canon 5D Mark II
The Sony Alpha 7 for us, is an impressive camera.

This camera has a lot of features and will give you good image quality.

Also, for a full frame camera, this camera is pretty portable and lightweight.

So, in all honesty, we are happy to say that this camera really makes the cut.
For the Canon 5D Mark II, we really applaud this camera for various reasons.

First and foremost, this camera is supposed to be a semi-pro level camera.

Now, placing it against a pro level camera and seeing how well it does, you cannot but applaud this camera.

Add this to the other numerous fantastic features that the Canon 5D Mark II has, then, you’ll understand what a masterpiece this camera is.
We do believe however, that the Sony alpha 7 could use a few improvements on some features, but, this doesn’t mean that we wouldn’t still recommend it for you (if it satisfies your work needs). The Canon 5D mark ii might not function to maximum satisfaction when placed in some situations, however, when placed in the perfect situations like we pointed out earlier in the article, this camera will do a wonderful job.
Click here to buy the Sony Alpha a7 on Amazon now.
Click here to buy the Canon EOS 5D Mark II on Amazon now.

Sony Alpha 7 Vs Canon 5D Mark II — FAQs

Which is better: Canon 7D or 5D Mark II?

The Canon 7D and 5D Mark II are really similar cameras, but when you do a really close comparison, you will see that the 5D Mark II comes out on top, even though only slightly. It will be producing photos with 16 percent more pixels than the 7D, it has the longer lasting battery, larger viewfinder, larger sensor pixel area, better color depth, better dynamic range, better low light performance; all in a more compact body.

The Canon 7D, however, does best the 5D MII in some areas. It has the more accurate viewfinder, faster continuous shooting, more focus points, and wider auto exposure bracketing range.

Is the 5D Mark II still worth buying?

Although the Canon 5D Mark II was released in 2009, it is still worth buying more than a decade later. Yes, with this camera, you miss out on the latest technology, especially in wireless connectivity, remote control, and screen flexibility. But all that aside, and the 5D MII is a really good bargain.

This camera is weather sealed, does amazing in flash photography, has a long lasting battery, and comes with a pentaprism optical viewfinder. The 5D MII also does pretty good in video mode. This camera is such a good bargain, because for all it does, it costs only about 500 dollars.

How old is the 5D Mark II?

The Canon 5D Mark II was announced on the 17th of September, 2008, and was officially released in February of 2009. It was received with a lot of delight by Canon enthusiasts as it was the first camera in the Canon EOS series to come with video mode. And on that front, it came up strong, being able to record full HD.

The 5D Mark II succeeded the Canon 5D and was later succeeded by the Canon 5D Mark III 3 years later.

Is the Canon 5D Mark II good for photography?

The Canon 5D Mark II is a good fit for different types of photography. Number one on that list would probably be flash photography, as this camera is compatible with regular external flashes and also off-camera flashes.

More so, coming with a weather sealed body and a pentaprism optical viewfinder, the 5D MII is great for any form of outdoor photography, too. Furthermore, it does not have the widest auto exposure bracketing range, but it will be good for HDR photography anyway.

In addition to that, it is a full frame camera, so, you just know it is an amazing choice for portrait photography.

Is the Sony a7 good for vlogging?

The Sony a7, first of all, guarantees good video quality as it shoots full HD. On top of that, you can get equally good audio quality as it is compatible with many external microphones. Also, with this camera, you can monitor your audio while you record using headphones, that will come in handy for vloggers every once in a while.

Not to forget, the Sony a7 has a screen that can be tilted to different angles. This makes it possible to self-record, and, of course, that is very important for vloggers.

Does the Sony a7 have Wi-Fi?

The Sony a7 comes with built-in Wi-Fi which makes it easy for you to transfer files from this camera to a nearby device. Well, it gets even easier with this camera, if you have a device that is NFC compatible, you can create a wireless connection with just one touch.

Creating a wireless connection between the a7 and your smartphone does not only let you transfer files, this camera also has a function that makes it possible for you to use your connected smartphone as a remote control.

Uche

Uche is a professional writer, a reader, an ardent researcher, and a content creator. He is fascinated by cameras and quite passionate about photography. Uche has been researching on and writing about cameras for about 2 years now. In his free time, he likes to read a book, spend time with family, catch up with friends, or take random photos. He often says that he believes that the world looks a lot better when looked at through a photographer's lens.

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