Nikon Z9 vs Canon R3 (Which One is Perfect For You!)

Suppose you’re looking at deciding between two powerful cameras from Nikon and Canon, Z9 and R3. In that case, we will be comparing both cameras, which interestingly were launched in the same year, 2021, with only a month difference.

This disparity in timing will enable us to make a fair comparison since both cameras aren’t far apart in age and the technology era they were built.

Ranked among some of the best Pro mirrorless cameras, Z9 and R3 have, since the year they were launched, gained wide popularity and welcomed an unbelievable level of patronage from photographers. Speculations about both brands deliberately going toe-to-toe may or may not be true, but one thing can’t be refuted, the comparison between Nikon Z9 and Canon R3 is a worthy one indeed.

We’ve crafted specific metrics that seem to be particularly of interest to many photographers and that ultimately determine a great shot and match their performance here side by side.

In this post, we have cleared the differences, lifespan, specs and others relevant things for Nikon Z9 and Canon R3 cameras. We hope to satisfy your curiosity at the end.

Is The Nikon Z9 Camera Too Heavy?

When fully loaded with memory and battery, the Nikon Z9 seems a little bit too heavy. An educated guess for a reason for the weight is to help solve the problem of heat dissipation for a camera that shoots 8K videos.

Another possible reason could be the choice of the internal electrical components used in the design of the camera. Nikon stressed that the Z9 is smaller than the D6. However, this doesn’t translate to lighter.

Nikon Z9 vs Canon R3:(The Real Comparison)

When mirrorless cameras graced the scene of photography, Canon and Nikon didn’t first believe in making semi-professional and professional camera bodies that embodied that feature, as they paid more attention to entry-level products like the Canon EF M APS-C series and Nikon 1 system, which is now discontinued.

They finally joined the wagon in 2018, announcing almost at the same time their mirrorless full-frame models. This, of course, paved the way for the two models we will be comparing today in this section, the Nikon Z9 and Canon EOS R3.

01. One model abandoned the mechanical shutter.

Earning its place as one of the most sought-after mirrorless cameras, the Nikon Z9 was the third mirrorless camera to abandon the mechanical shutter system and move on to the electronic shutter.

This brave move, of course, shows the brand is confident in this newly designed sensor, which seems to have the fastest readout time when it was launched.

A technology like this wouldn’t have seen as much difficulty as retiring the previous mechanical models, as users don’t have to worry about the expiration date of the shutter cycle.

One may think even if a comprehensive electronic shutter would become a norm, that it won’t come from a brand like Nikon, but over the years, they’ve been in the business of disproving norms.

The camera also has an option that completely keeps it silent or allows a fake shutter sound to be used on it.

Canon, on the other hand, for its R3 model, retained both the mechanical and electronic options, with the electronic version also being very capable. One doesn’t also have to worry about continuous shooting speed, as they are featured with AE and AF tracking on the two camera models.

Another interesting thing about both cameras is that the AE and AF tracking are programmed to work with live views, with zero blackouts. The implication of this is that users can see subjects live in the EVF during shoot sessions, with very minimal interruptions.

Note, however, that with the EOS R3, the flash sync speed is slightly higher with the mechanical shutter at about 1/200s. While the E shutter is in use, Nikon and Canon are void of distortion, which is especially important for users of the Z9 because, at the onset of a problem, they run out of options.

About the buffer memory, Nikon Z9 can save a whopping over 1000 images at JPG or compressed RAW of high efficiency when the recording is happening at 20fps. Conversely, Canon R3 can save 150 RAW files or 540 JPGs when working at 30fps at full speed.

01. Both sensors are worlds apart.

Both cameras have some awesome features by incorporating full-frame sensors featuring a stacked design, which provides both cameras the ability to achieve optimal and speedy performance bunnings sensor readout, video frame rates, continuous shooting speeds, and even more.

Also, the seismic in Canon has a  back illumination structure. So, what’s the difference between both cameras here? The Z9 sensor has a solid 45.7 MP, while the R3 uses 24.1MP.

Concerning the disparity in both cameras’ sensitivity ranges, a lower pixel number on the R3 allows for a broader ISO range. Nikon, on its end, uses almost the same range for both stills and videos, beginning with the normal base range of ISO 64.

Additionally, the Z9 can record RAW files of 14 bits or the newer High-Efficiency alternative. The latter, however, reduces the size of the file by half, or about two-thirds of it, enabling the camera to process larger volumes of files very quickly.

03. Highly advanced autofocus

Both cameras sport the most advanced autofocus system ever designed by their respective brand, relying on very powerful algorithms that enable them to recognize different kinds of subjects.

The Z9 its 493 hybrid detection points and ultra-high processing speed, while the R3 has the Dual Pixel CMOS AF II system with 60 calculations per second and 1,053 areas.

04. Nikon 8K video, R3 6K

The Nikon Z9 has an awesome ability to shoot 8K video as high as 30p while at the same time offering several codecs, of which Apple Prores HQ is part, making it the first mirrorless camera with the ability to record with the distinguished Apple codec.

The Canon R3 may fall short in its ability to meet the 8K resolution. Nonetheless, its video shooting capabilities are still spectacular, with its 6K and 12-bit RAW options available.

05. In-body stabilization is the same.

Both cameras embody on their sensor the 5-axis image stabilization, with the Z9 reaching a compensation rating up to 6Ev when using Z lenses with VR. The compensation rating of the R3 is a bit higher. Keep in mind, however, that its 8 Ev is not the same for all kinds of lenses.

The 5-axis system can combine optical stabilization and sensor and comes in very handy during movie recording. Nikon Z9 also can lock its IBIS mechanism whenever the camera is off to prevent it from being shaken off.


The viewfinder of the Z9 is an electronic type with a resolution of 3.69M dots, which seems very impressive, judging by what’s obtainable from other competitors who have 5M or even 9M.

However, Nikon boasts of being the brightest EVF currently available with 3000-nit. R3, quite unsurprisingly, has a higher resolution, featuring a 5.7M-dot, but with a slightly lower 0.76x magnification.

06. Interface, cards, and battery life

The Z9 features dual card slots, both of which are TCFexpress type B. Canon R3 also has dual slots, but with the difference being that one is reserved for CFexpress cards, while one is for SD UHS-II cards. They also both share a similarity in their cameras having LAN/ethernet port, a microphone input, and a Type C USB.

Battery life for both cameras is almost the same, with Nikon being able to do up to 740 frames with its LCD or up to 700 if the EVF is in use. The Canon beats the Nikon here with several about 100, by having a battery capacity that with the LCD can do up to 860.

The Major Differences between two giant Brands(Video)

How Long Can the Nikon Z9 Last?

The Nikon Z9 uses its own manufactured Nikon EN-EL18D battery, which works with an impressive high voltage of nearly 11 volts and a high capacity of 3300mAh.

What you get from shooting with the Nikon Z9 is enough to cover a whole day of shooting sessions and maybe even reserve for later. Offering you the luxury of being able to capture up to 700 to 770 shots, many cameras can only dream of this.

What’s most interesting about the battery durability of the Nikon Z9 is that it surpasses the extraction of an average mirrorless camera since most of them are known to provide a battery life of only up to 350-400 shots per charge.

On the overall longevity of the Nikon Z9 camera, having been built to have weatherproofing properties coupled with its magnesium alloy frame, the natural expectation of it keeping up with operation for a good number of years wouldn’t be met with disappointment.

Does the Nikon Z9 Have a Mechanical Shutter?

For the launch of the Z9, Nikon chose to ditch the mechanical shutter system and rely on the electronic one alone. This is quite strange, as many other mirrorless cameras all incorporate both the mechanical and electronic shutter systems in their designs.

Many have wondered if this is a potential design error or merely a progressive effort to change the camera design narrative this time. Mechanical shutters in digital cameras serve as both protection to the image sensor and also open the camera to accept the light, thereby creating your photographs.

Originally deployed in film cameras and fielding two types which were the leaf and focal plane, the latter has two metal curtains that shut out and welcome light, with leaf shutters having a circular arrangement of blades overlapping on each other.

Most cameras incorporate the electronic shutter design, which lacks moving parts but rather captures images by merely turning them on and off. For a very long time, most cameras have featured both mechanical and electronic shutters.

The Nikon Z9, however, was the first to go electronic alone. So to the question, why did Nikon do this? The answer is because its new design modifications allow for that. The sensor design of the Z9 and its supporting processing speed allows for a digital camera for the first time that works without a mechanical shutter.

Nikon Z9 vs Canon R3 Specs

Camera feature Nikon Z9 Canon R3
Camera type Mirrorless Mirrorless
Sensor resolution 45.4 megapixel 24.0 megapixel
Sensor type BSI-stacked CMOS BSI-stacked CMOS
Image size 8256×5504 pixels 6,000 x 4000 pixels
High-Res sensor shift No No
Base ISO ISO 64 ISO 100
Viewfinder coverage 100% 100%
Highest native ISO 25, 600 102,400
Built-in flash No No
Max continuous shooting time Over 40 seconds 14 seconds
Longest shutter speed 900 seconds 30 seconds
Shutter design Electronic only Mechanical, Electronic and EFCS
Durability of shutter Unlimited 500,000 cycles
HDR video No Yes
LCD touchscreen Yes Yes
Built-in wired LAN 1000 Base-T support 1000 Base-T support

Does Canon R3 Have Wifi and GPS?

The EOS R3 has a built-in GPS that geotags each image you take with your location, keeping the internal clock as accurate as possible.

It supports several satellite systems, including GLONASS and MICHIBIKU satellites, to be able to more versatility in positioning. It also features a mobile app for file transfer that allows your images to be automatically transferred, as you’re shooting, to your tablet or mobile phone.

Is Z9 Better Than R3?

The best way to put an end to the Z9 vs. R3 camera feud is to say both cameras perform excellently in different ways and score a winning margin in some features over the other. Both cameras are impressive, with the Z9 being particularly attractive to creators whose interest is to shoot 8K videos.

R3, on the other hand, is an excellent camera for sports or other active content due to its low light ability and faster continuous shooting rate when one is shooting RAW files. It also wins in the fight for resolution, as its screen and viewfinder are a mile ahead when compared to Nikon Z9.

Top Questions (FAQs)

For 30 fps and 20fps, are there lens limitations?

Nikon affirms that there are no lens limitations for its product Z9. In Nikon’s brochure, there are 94 compatible F-mount lenses, all suitable for these modes. Also, all Z-mount lenses support this too.

Can I lock the direction pad with my Nikon Z9?

No, the Zikon Z9 omits the lock lever in its design this time. Nonetheless, a user can assign a lock and unlock button for the camera control, which includes the direction pad. Custom setting #F4 can also be deployed for this, specifically to lock aperture or focus point.

Who made the Nikon Z9 sensor?

Sony made the Nikon 9 EXPEED sneaker. A lot can be said about this new sensor featured for the first time in a Z-series, as it uses a chip different from that of the Z7 and also attained an incredible bandwidth improvement.

Final Thoughts

The Nikon Z9 vs. Canon R3 debate, even though not a very heated one in the photography industry, is worth looking into, as both cameras overlap in certain areas of functionality, with features that produce almost the same result.

They, however, have certain undeniably significant disparities in a few areas like resolution, image size, and base ISO numbers.

So ultimately, which is a better camera? Well, we’ve provided you with all the details, we’ll leave you to decide on that.