Nikon Z9 vs Sony A1 vs Canon R3: Which Flagship Camera Is King?

Photo manufacturers released some amazing new flagship cameras last year: the Nikon Z9, Sony A1 and Canon EOS R3. All three models feature top-of-the-line technology designed for serious photographers, which begs the question: which camera is best?

In his new video below, pro photographer Manny Ortiz seeks to answer that question. In the 20-minute comparison shootout, he pits the Nikon Z9 vs the Sony A1 vs the Canon R3 to find out which model is "king of the flagships."

"Comparing the best of the best from Sony, Canon and Nikon," Ortiz says. "I've been shooting with the Sony A1 since launch, the R3 since launch and the Z9 for two months now. I'm going to be comparing all of them in this video with a 50mm 1.2 [lens] all native to their camera body. These cameras are equipped with the most advanced tech from each brand."

The Sony A1 can shoot 50MP images, including Raw files, at 30 frames per second (fps). The 45.7MP Nikon Z9 can capture bursts of 30 fps for JPEG images and 20 fps for Raw files. The 24.1MP Canon R3 can capture Raws at up to 30 fps.

Watch below as Ortiz puts each one through a series of tests to determine which (and if) one flagship, full-frame mirrorless camera stands head and shoulders above the others. Spoiler alert: Ortiz has not completely decided even after all his testing but there's one he's leaning towards.

"In my opinion, none of these cameras just stand out as the king," he says. "Although the Z9 is probably the king on the spec sheet. I mean how can you deny that even after firmware 2.0? But what I found is that each camera can do certain things a little better than the other. "

John Reston's picture

I know Shutterbug, like so many pubs, likes to stir up readers and get them engaged, but asking the reader to choose among top-of-the-line cameras from Nikon, Sony and Canon is far-fetched. I doubt that newbies will opt for the most expensive camera in the line-up, which suggests that any reader interested in the best of the best will already have chosen a brand. Photo mags can afford to buy, or borrow, cameras from multiple brands, but most people cannot. We've already chosen what brand to shoot with. Thus, Nikon shooters, for example, won't choose a Canon because of this article. Familiarity with the brand and ownership of legacy lenses will be more influential.