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Introduction

If you have read our reviews for a while now you probably know that I love comparing DSLRs with modern mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras, since they are two different styles of cameras that may elevate your photography skills to another level, and in my opinion, every photographer should own at least one of each type of camera. While they generally do the basics pretty well, each one has some advantages over the other one. For example, DSLRs are generally faster and have better autofocus systems, however, with the recent advancements in technology mirrorless cameras are not lacking far behind, and most high-end mirrorless models are equipped with in-body image stabilization systems that DSLRs are pretty far behind.

Another thing that may give the mirrorless world advantage is their small form factor because even the largest of mirrorless cameras are smaller and lighter than DSLRs thanks to the lack of the pentaprism or the mirror, hence the name. But then again if you want the most value for the price you should opt for a DSLR model since for less money you can get more performance and they are compatible with a wide range of lenses, unlike mirrorless models which are pretty new and have limited and pretty expensive lens options. However, in my opinion, a professional photographer can’t survive with just one mirrorless but he can still pretty good with just a DSLR. Today we have two full-frame models, one from the DSLR market the Nikon D750 and one from the mirrorless market the Sony A7R II. Let me introduce you to our cameras.

The Nikon D750 is a full-frame digital single-lens reflex camera that was released in September 2014, for the semi-professional and enthusiast market. It is an extremely durable and versatile camera, faring pretty well in nearly any scenario you will put it through. It is very fast and has a long battery life, and it won’t disappoint you with its image quality and detail.

On the other hand, we have the Sony A7R II, a full-frame mirrorless interchangeable lens camera that was released in August 2015. It was released for the professional market, and it is a very capable camera that can deliver dreamy photographs consistently. However, it is pretty expensive and on top of that its lenses are pretty expensive as well.

Since we are introduced to our cameras let’s take a closer look, and see which one comes out on top.

Head To Head Comparison

Nikon D750

Nikon has been one of the most prominent DSLR camera makers for a long time now and I can comfortably say that you can opt for any camera in their lineup and it will deliver performance, image quality, and value for the price. Each new model from their lineup, have been great hits in the market, especially their entry-level and enthusiast-level cameras. Their semi-pro or enthusiast-level cameras have delivered immense value for their price and have adopted most of the performance of their high-end professional models without major compromises.

The Nikon D750 is such a model, a full-frame enthusiast-level DSLR that delivers amazing build quality, ergonomics, plenty of creative freedom, amazing sensor, capable autofocus system, and many more features. If you want to upgrade from your DX-format camera, this is one of the best options to do so, especially if you already have a Nikon camera since you can use your existing lenses. Despite being released a while ago now, this camera can still perform excellently, and because of that it is very affordable and will deliver tremendous value for its price.

This excellent camera has the classic DSLR design that many users are big fans of, including me, and it looks pretty good overall. The camera has a monocoque build and it utilizes magnesium alloy and carbon fiber to give it durability without raising its weight. While we are at it is worth mentioning that the camera weighs just 1.85-pounds, pretty mediocre for a DSLR, and it measures 5.55×3.07×4.45-inches in total. It is equipped with a pretty deep handgrip delivering a great ergonomics package and as I said earlier it is extremely durable, has dust and weather sealing, and has a kevlar composite shutter.

In the controls department, the Nikon D750 offers plenty of creative freedom and a great enthusiast-level layout that will allow you to further progress your skills and adjust things on the fly. On the rear of the camera, you will spot a 3.2-inch fully articulated tilting LCD screen that has a resolution of 1,229k, but unfortunately, it isn’t touch-capacitive. The viewfinder of this device is excellent, however, as it delivers 100% coverage and 0.7x magnification, the same viewfinder present on its high-end models.

In the autofocus department, this camera can perform without any doubt since it is equipped with the then-new Multi-CAM 3500 II autofocus module that has 51 autofocus points, of which 15 are cross-type points that are more accurate and can perform down to f/8. There are plenty of new focus modes you can utilize and each of them is excellent, and when paired with a good lens, the system is just priceless. Without forgetting, I should state that the focus system is sensitive down to -3 EV meaning that it can excellently perform in low-light conditions.

In the sensor department, it is equipped with a full-frame 24.2MP CMOS sensor that delivers an excellent balance and image quality without any problem in any scenario. But it has an anti-aliasing filter, which is a little disappointing, however, the results were great as it could efficiently eliminate noise even in high ISO levels, it is also worth mentioning the ISO range that spans from 100 to 12,800 and can be expanded from 50 to 51,200.

The performance of the Nikon D750 is pretty good as it delivers 6.5 frames per second in burst shooting mode without losing any focus, and the exposure metering thanks to its 91,000-pixel RGB sensor is handled perfectly. It also has face detection metering and combined with its long battery life of 1,230 shots, you can shoot all day without any worry.

Sony A7R II

Sony released its full-frame mirrorless model in 2013, with the A7, A7S which was a video-focused camera, and the top of the crop A7R, and since the release of those cameras, the manufacturer has not looked back. It gave a rebirth to their camera manufacturing and since then they have delivered excellent upgrades all innovative and futuristic in their own right.

The Sony A7R II, as its name implies is the second generation of the series, and it is a true professional camera, that is perfect for landscape, portrait, street photography, and it is even capable of wildlife and sports photography thanks to its speed. Without forgetting it is a great video camera as well since it can capture beautiful 4K footage. It may be a pretty expensive camera, with not a rich selection of lenses, but it is still a very capable camera able to shoot amazing photographs thanks to its sensor and image processor.

Like every other mirrorless interchangeable lens camera in the company’s lineup the Sony A7R II rocks a pretty retro vintage, Fujifilm styled design and aesthetics that has a hint of futurism to it. It is pretty compact as well measuring 5×3.8×2.4-inches in total and it weighs about 22-ounces and compared to the D750 it is very lightweight. The Sony A7R II has a full magnesium alloy body that is also weather and dust sealed, and while it is not as indestructible as some DSLR models, it can hold itself in its own right. The handgrip on the body is extremely balanced and pretty deep, allowing you to attach heavier and bigger lenses without a sense of discomfort.

The controls of the device are excellent, as they deliver great creative freedom with the 10 customizable buttons, and every dial and buttons are very well placed to allow you to operate faster. The electronic viewfinder is one of the best as it is an OLED 2.4million dot one that delivered perfect colors and an accurate representation of the scene. The 3-inch tilting touch-screen display is very responsive as well and allows you to select focus points easily, while the live view performance was the best.

As a true full-frame mirrorless this camera has a pretty sophisticated autofocus sensor and system that combines contrast-detect and phase-detect systems in the 399 point autofocus system. It covers the majority of the screen and it makes it extremely easy to focus on the subject without any regard for light conditions as it is extremely sensitive, and I found out that it can track fast-moving subjects decently.

In the image quality department, it utilizes a 42.4MP full-frame BSI-CMOS sensor that has no optical low-pass filter bringing great images. On top of that, the Bionz X image processor captures beautiful photographs with great detail retention and gorgeous colors, and it isn’t surprising as to why it is great for professionals. The ISO range is decent as it spans from 100 to 25,600 and can be expanded from 50 to 102,400.

In the continuous drive mode, it could shoot just 5 frames per second, which is not the best for wildlife and action photography, but what it does it excellently. The battery life is very poor, at just 290 shots, but for a mirrorless camera, it is typical.

Feature Comparison

Nikon D750 Sony A7R II
Camera Type
Full-Frame DSLR
Full-Frame Mirrorless
Megapixels
24.2
42.4
ISO Range
100-12,800(50-51,200)
100-25,600(50-102,400)
Flip-Out Screen
Yes
Yes
AF Points
51 AF Points
399 AF Points
Viewfinder
Yes
Yes
Touchscreen
No
Yes
Video Recording
Yes
Yes
Sensor Size
CMOS
BSI-CMOS

Conclusion

While we see a pattern forming, telling us which is the best from both of these, the choice is not very straightforward. This is mostly because the Sony A7R II is a very expensive camera, and it is best on the hands of a professional, that already has a DSLR at the disposition, if you fit that category than the A7R II is the perfect camera for you.

But then again if you are just an enthusiast and want a camera to further progress your skills, and want amazing value for the price, the Nikon D750 might be a better option for you.

Still, it will depend on your personal taste, and both of these cameras are fantastic.