Nikon Z9 VS Canon R3 Comparison

This is a comparison between the two most powerful cameras Nikon Z9 VS Canon R3 so comparing them does not make much sense because Canon R1 is coming which is going to sit above those cameras.

I have placed both cameras into battle to check a lot of differences and discover what the differences are taking between them.

Considering that both were not in the same price range the fact that they were both released in 2021 with only in one month.

I will go through the main differences between the Z9 and the R3 so its main advantage over the latter is faster shooting speed longer battery life lowlight help and quality unlimited video record limit, tilting screen and higher sensor resolutionas.

So, now I will share my experience with both cameras with you, and finally deciding which one is perfect has more to do with the system that each one uses and which one has a faster focus and shoots a little faster both are pro level mirrorless bodies with an integrated grip.

Nikon Z9 is one of the top mirrorless cameras in the world for that price range it focuses much better than the Canon R3 and Sony A1.

What are the Differences between Nikon Z9 vs Canon R3?

There are some factors which were different between the Z9 and the R3 one is the limitation on video recording both of them do not have that 30 minute video recording limit.

Second is weght and size with the Z9 and the R3 they are approximately the same with the Z9 at 1340 grams while the R3 is at 1015 grams.

What are similarities between Nikon Z9 VS Canon R3?

They are both similar in some specs they both are able to give outputs with no sensor crop you can take good shots and have two slots for the memory card just like the Canon R5.

What are the Advantages Of the Nikon Z9 VS Canon R3?

There are some advantages of the Z9 over the R3 first is the sensor the Canon R3 is built with a back-illuminated stacked cmos sensor whereas the Nikon Z9 is constructed with a stacked cmos full-frame sensor.

Battery life is on the same level Nikon Z9 is able to take 740 frames while Canon R3 can take up to 860 frames so, the R3 may just have a longer battery life.

the R3 gives you 8 to 12 bit 6K ultra HD videos at 60 fps and at 120 fps it can still give you a 4K resolution footage in comparison with Z9 it has a point in this area it can take 10 bit 8k ultra HD video at 24, 25 and 30 fps.


In terms of ergonomics they’re both really familiar except the difference the grip on the nikon Z9 is definitely deeper than the Canon R3.

The body of the Canon R3 is made of plastic it has a mechanical shutter whereas the Nikon doesn’t, the Canon R3 is giving you plus or minus 3 stops and the Nikon Z9 gives you plus and minus 5 fps.

So, there are a lot of similarities between those cameras at first look the Z9 feels much when than Canon R3 I was shooting horizontally but both didn’t feel great when shooting.

Nikon Z9 VS Canon R3 1

So, going from the Canon to the Nikon in terms of size they’re quite similar but the Nikon Z9 is slightly taller and slightly deeper whereas the R3 is a significantly shorter than the Z9.

the back angle on the R3 is also more pronounced, the grip is a little cramped and the the overall grip page on the back and the depth is not as significant as on the Z9.

Nikon Z9 VS Canon R3 2

the R3 is weather rated from 32 fahrenheit to 104 which for celsius is 0 to 40 whereas the Z9 is rated to a significantly colder temperature 14 fahrenheit to 104 or minus 10 to 40.


In terms of the screen there is a difference between both cameras the Nikon Z9 is slightly larger at 0.8 wereas Canon R3 is 0.78. So, if you like the flip screen is really handy having one like Canon R3.

When it comes to size, both are 3.2 inches with the moving ability of the screen but Nikon is able to move at four axis volcanic screen is able to move at multiple angles up to 180 degrees.

Nikon Z9 LCD
Canon R3

So, R3 has a flip screen that tilts out up into the side so you can get low-down shots, whereas Z9 has the tilting side flipping screen.

But filming with a Nikon Z9 is a great experience and having the fold around screen this is the Nikon first integrated grip mirrorless having articulated screens like a Nikon D5 and Nikon D6.

Nikon Z9 LCD
Canon EOS R3

both have lcd monitors and a viewfinder with the on-screen setting and buttons but the R3 has a better rear monitor resolution at 4.15 million dots versus Z9 2.1 million dots that’s a fairly significant difference.


Nikon Z9 1 2
Z9 Viewfinder
Canon R3 Viewfinder
R3 Viewfinder

The difference between the viewfinder and the LCD monitor R3 is at an advantage over Z9 when it comes to resolution it is at 5.76 million dots whereas the Z9 is only at 3.69 million dots.


When it comes to magnification Nikon Z9 is slightly highest at 0.8 times versus R3 its 0.76 times.


Nikon Z9 Sensor
Z9 Sensor
Canon R3 Sensor
R3 Sensor

So, in terms of sensor and resolution, they both feature full-frame sensors but the difference between them is Canon R3 is a 24.1 megapixel 30 fps, whereas the Nikon Z9 is a 45 megapixels, 30 fps, they are both flagship sports cameras just like Canon 1DX Mark III or a Nikon D5.


When speaking of the in-body stabilization R3 has an advantage over Z9 both of these cameras have 5-axis stabilization whereas the R3 has at 8 EV while the Z9 is only at 6 EV to the image quality.


In terms of sensitivity and oversampling the R3 can capture for as low as negative 7.5 EV whereas the Z9 is at negative 6.5 EV oversampling.

Z9 can maximize the resolution of the image sensor its 8k resolution video capability to create 4k footage at 30 fps whereas the R3 can do oversampling in 6k and 4k even up to 60p oversampling.

Shutter Type

Nikon Z9 Shutter
Canon R3

in terms of shutters, the Canon R3 has a mechanical and electronic shutter it can shoot through to 1/8000 of a second in comparison to the Nikon Z9 has no mechanical shutter instead it has a sensor guard and it will do electronic shutter through to 32000 of a second.

ISO Performance

in terms of ISO of this again you tend to get higher iso options on lower res sensors the canon’s doing from 100-102400 expandable down to 50-204800 whereas the Nikon Z9 is significantly narrow than that it’s 64-25600 Expand 32-1024000 it will extend down to 32 and up to 51 000 you will lose some stops on the high end but it gives you the capability to go to lower ISO.


In terms of focus, the Canon R3 has more focus points at 1050 whereas the Nikon Z9 has 493 both giving great coverage the Canon state minus 7.5 EV up to plus 20 Nikon Z9 goes down to minus 8.5 and plus 20.

Nikon Z9 Autofocus
Canon R3 AF

the intelligence of the autofocus system with the eye control autofocus the R3 will instruct the camera to detect the subject that is being tracked once it distinguishes the eyes it will follow the movement so even if the subject is moving so long the camera detects the eye it will continue to establish a focus on that subject.

So, the R3 can detect the eyes of the birds allowing you to not lose contact once they’re in flight or in motion.

Nikon Z9 vs Canon R3 Focus Points

Tracking System

the Z9 tracking system is really well it’s definitely a step up over the Nikon Z7 II and it’s on par with the Sony A1. Maybe it’s better than the Canon R3 but I do think that the R5 is better than the Canon R3 and the EOS R5 is on par with the Nikon Z9.

When it comes to tracking the Nikon Z9 actually picking up the eye even earlier than the R3 actually in some testing the R3 was struggled to pick the subject up like eye at first it started a little bit later and the Nikon Z9 locked on very well especially in low contrast areas.

So, both of these cameras have smart enough to detect different objects such as the body the eyes wheels and helmets but nikon is at an advantage on this one because the detection is done automatically while with the r3 you have to manually set it up.

Video Capabilities

In terms of video, they’re both well-rounded cameras but the Nikon Z9 has more sophisticated options the canon will do 4k DCI up to 120 fps and loads of different variations.

When talking about video recording when you record your videos for two hours straight the Z9 will not be overheating.

In comparison the Nikon Z9 will do the same it does regular 4k up to 120 fps but it also does 8k at 30 fps and 8k 60 is on the way and it will actually do 8k 30 for like two hours.

the Canon R3 will do 30 fps in raw but only up to 150 frames which is 5 seconds whereas the Nikon Z9 will do 20 fps in raw but it will do a thousand or potentially unlimited even will do 30 frames a second in full res jpeg or 120 fps down at 11 megapixels.

If you want to do full raw you’re getting 30 fps instead of the 20 if you’re using a mechanical shutter. the Canon R3 gives you 12 and has a fast sensor reader where you’re going to get faster frames per second with raw they both have plenty of different options for external recording and they both have logs.

Nikon Z9 Video
Canon R3 1

So, if we take into AK quality for both cameras and see the difference between 8k and 4k 24 from the Canon R3 and doing something like cropping in post you can see a bit of a difference between having this AK option on the Nikon Z9 also when it comes to 4k 120 a lot different with that one.

So, the Canon R3 actually only shoots in that mode but slowing down when you end up with a 30 fps file and there’s no audio in the file the clip will slow down.

So, in comparison the Nikon Z9 shoots 120 fps you still have full audio you have a native 120 fps file you have the full bit rate option.

the Z9 also has the ability to shoot pro res in camera whereas the R3 does have internal raw recording whereas an icon you have to go output into an external recorder like the ninja 5 plus and it’s definitely available on it but internally it’s not available.


in terms of cards, the Canon R3 uses CFexpress type B cards and SD cards whereas the Nikon Z9 uses xqd or cf joule.

With R3 you have one slot for a CFexpress or a type B card and another slot for SD cards with the Nikon Z9 you have two slots for the express type B cards.

So, obviously you’re getting much higher write speeds with SD so if you’re shooting 20 to 30 frames per second with dual raw you can shoot faster.

Nikon Z9 Battery
Canon EOS R3 Dual Card Slots

In the card specifications for the speed and capacity it’s just incredible but what I realized with Z9 is that the card has a heat issue itself and you will get a warning if you’re shooting in the sun and long clips of 4k 120 or 8k that the card starts to get hot.

So, if you want to do raw to both cards and you want maximum performance having the fastest card format is the best so both cameras support wi-fi four and five they both have Bluetooth

Dynamic Range

When it comes to Dynamic Range the Canon R3 has a better dynamic range being able to shoot raw with plenty of dynamic range whereas Nikon Z9 has a flat image profile just like in the Nikon Z6 II it’s not log but its so easy to grade and easy to work with autofocus still works well.

however the built-in noise reduction at standard the R3 performing very strong and if you turn down you’ll get much better results.

Low Light

In terms of low light the Canon R3 definitely is the better probably due to the lower resolution megapixels whereas the Nikon Z9 pretty much unusable above 6400 or 12,800 ISO whereas the R3 could probably pump another one or two stops more in higher ISO.


Canon R3 has four discrete doors for the different port access so if you want to use the flash sync you can open that port and have it exposed.

So, if you want to connect to a lan it’s put together USB and HDMI into one port and has put a mic and headphones together into one port.

If you want to use the mic instead of the headphone you don’t need to have that all open, in comparison the Nikon Z9 only has two doors and if you want to use a mic you have to even expose the ethernet port.


In terms of the battery, the Nikon Z9 has a 3300 milliamp hour whereas the Canon R3 is a 2700 milliamp hour not too much difference in size and weight on both cameras.


they are both magnesium alloy bodies Nikon Z9 is coming heavier its 1340 whereas Canon R3 is 1015g that’s almost like around a 40 increase in weight.

Price Differences

Nikon Z9 vs Canon R3 Price

Nikon Z9 is about the same weight as the previous generations but looks better and more expensive. Its coming around $5,500 and the R3 is priced around $6,000 on B&H Photo.

But you can find different prices from other manufactures so if you want to know you can check my full review for both of them.

So if you’re looking at a combo kit you it will cost you $7000 more for the R3 whereas the Nikon kit is cheaper than Canon.

Which Camera is better Nikon Z9 or Canon R3?

so if you are somebody who does not work with a log or a raw profile user, the Z9 is the right camera for you but if you’re after the most dynamic range shooting log shooting raw than the canon r3 is for you.

Which camera is for you Nikon Z9 or Canon R3?

So, if you don’t shoot wildlife or sports photography the Z9 is right camera for you it’s a little lighter than the Nikon D6 and a lot lighter than the Canon 1DX Mark III.

If you are looking a camera with the best image quality, intelligent autofocus system, and high resolution videos then the Nikon Z9 would be the right camera for you.

But if you want a camera with great sensitivity to low light conditions, eye control autofocus, and body stabilization, the resolutions of the viewfinder and the monitors then the canon R3 is just for you.

Wrapping Up

So, compared body to body and some of the differences between them the first hands-on with both of these cameras Canon is lighter like Canon R5 both of them have like that shutter closing but Nikon Z9 is definitely by far the best like of nikon cameras compared to cameras like Nikon Z6 II and Nikon Z7 II.


The EOS R5 and Sony A1 are more compact cameras and can do almost all the same things as the Canon R3 for what you need but the Z9 is a huge leap in tech compared to the Nikon Z6 II and the Z7 II.

Nikon Z9

Canon EOS R3

Release Date28 October 202114 April 2021
Body TypeSLR Style MirrorlessSLR Style Mirrorless
Sensor TypeFull Frame Stacked CMOSFull frame Stacked CMOS
Sensor Size36 x 24mm36 x 24mm
Sensor Pixels4624
Sensor Resolution8256 x 55046000 x 4000
ProcessorExpeed 7Digic X
Lens MountNikon ZCanon RF
Color Filter ArrayBayesprimary Color Filter
ISOAuto 64-25600
Expand 32-1024000
Auto 100-102400
Expand 50-204800
Image Stabilizationsensor shift 5 axis 6.0 stopssensor shift 5 axis 8.0 stops
Autofocus TypeHybridDual Pixel CMOS AF II
Autofocus Points 4931053
Manual FocusYesYes
Focal length multiplier1x1x
Screen TypeArticulated Tilting Touch LCDFully Articulated Touch LCD
Screen Size3.2″3.2″
Screen Resolution2,088,960 dots4,150,000 dots
Viewfinder TypeElectronic OledElectronic Oled
Viewfinder Resolution3,686,400 dots5,760,000 dots
Viewfinder Magnification0.8x0.76x
Shutter TypeElectronic Controlled Vertical Traverse Focal PlaneElectronic Controlled Vertical Traverse Focal Plane
Shutter SpeedMin 30 Sec
Max 1/8000 sec
Electronic 1/32000
Min 30 sec
Max 1/8000
Electronic 1/64000
Continuous Drive30fps30fps
Buil in Flash NONO
External FlashYesYes
Sync Speed 1/2001/250
Exposure Compensation+/-5 at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV steps+/-5 at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV steps
AE Bracketing +/-3 at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV
WB BracketingYesYes
Video Resolution8K – 30
4K – 120
FHD – 120
6K – 60p
4K – 120
FHD – 120
Log Gamma N LogC Log
Video Format H.264, H.265MPEG-4, H.264, H.265
CFexpress type BXQD
CFexpress Type B XQD
ConnectivityUSB 3.2 Gen1/ 5GBit/secUSB 3.2 Gen2 10GBit/sec
Wireless Transmitter802.3u/ab 5GHz802.11ac 5GHz
Build in BluetoothYesYes
Battery Life CIPA740760
Dimensions149 x 150 x 91mm150 x 143 x 87mm
Custom White BalanceYesYes
Self TimerYesYes
Recording Limit120 min UHD 8KUnlimited
Battery TypeEN-EL18dLP-E19
Build in GPSYesYes
Timelapse RecordingYesYes

Is Nikon Z9 Better than Canon R3?

So, if you are somebody who does not work with a log or a raw profile user, the Z9 is the right camera for you but if you’re after the most dynamic range shooting log shooting raw then the canon r3 is for you.

If you’re not shooting log the R3 is an 8-bit file you have to go into a log or like the hdr modes in order to be able to lock down that 10-bit profile whereas the Nikon Z9 can shoot full 10-bit 422 in any of these modes and picture profile standard.


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