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Nikon D850 vs Sony A7R III


2017 remembers the release of two powerful cameras, the Nikon D850 and Sony’s A7R III, which came as direct successors of the existing models, but this time, their capabilities simply changed the way of manufacturing professional cameras.

Both of them are kind of exotic and armed with powerful hardware that can easily compete even with most of the existing cameras that were crafted this year.

Nikon D850 is a full-frame DSLR camera, while on the other side Sony A7R III is a full-frame mirrorless camera, and each of them offers various benefits depending on what does a typical photographer wants to achieve in a particular moment, hence, from the very beginning, we are unable to answer the question regarding which is better. Instead, let’s start reviewing both of them and find out why you should consider Nikon D850 or Sony A7R III.

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Head To Head Comparison

Nikon D850

Nikon D850 4

This model has an eye-catching body that is made of a magnesium alloy, and additionally protected with a weather-sealing which by default, adds a higher level of durability and rigidity, since once you start shooting, dirt, dust and moisture will never be your problem!

In terms of the dimensions, the D850 measures 4.9 x 5.8 x 3.1″ (HWD), weighs approximately 2 pounds, same as its predecessor, however, the body is slimmer and has a deeper grip which comes extremely handy during your shooting sessions. For this part, I have to admit that I’m extremely satisfied because of two reasons. The first is the weather-seal protection while the second is regarding the overall comfort you will get in a return with this camera. Now, let’s move on.

The control layout somehow reminds me of the D810, and if want to move on from D810, you will notice that although most of the controls are similar, the top part of the D850 is changed and it looks a way better! To be more precise, on the top you will find a dedicated dial for adjusting the drive mode as well as four other buttons, while around the back, among the most notable controls is the small, dedicatef AF joystick and the 8-way controller.

Also on the rear, slightly below the optical viewfinder that offers up to 100% frame coverage and 0.75 magnification, there is a tilting, 2.35m-dot LCD touchscreen which will support you all the time, regardless if you’re shooting from low-angles or not!

For your information, the D850 employs dedicated sockets for microphone and headphones, and you can find them above the USB 3.0 and HDMI-mini connections that sit on the left side. The D850 is both, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi enabled and supports one XQD and single SD/SDHC/SDXC card0. Overall, I’m pleased with the connection ports because you will have multiple ways for transferring your content.

Performance-wise, Nikon D850 packs a full-frame 45.7MP image sensor, impressive autofocus system with up to 153 points, an exceptionally fast EXPEED 5 image processor and a native ISO range that starts from 64-25,600 which can be expanded up to 32-102,400!

If we take a closer look at these specs, I think that you already know that you can expect capturing crystal clear imagery that will filled with an impressive level of detail in both scenarios, whether you’re shooting in bright light situations or not. 

In fact, i was impressed with it’s performance at night-time, because playing around with it and taking photos was a lot of fun. It’s one of our top-rated night photography cameras.

For instance, results from shooting images up to ISO 3200 is breath-taking indeed, the noise is absolutely set to the minimum. However, if you push to ISO 6400, you may find an undistracted luminance noise, but what’s cool is that even at ISO 12,800 and ISO 25,600 the noise will be pretty well controlled, so, the overall results will be excellent.

In addition, D850 can be used for portrait or landscape photography without any problem, but hey, thanks to its continuous shooting rate of 7 FPS, you can also opt to shoot fast-moving objects and grab the decisive moment exactly as you’d like!

Last but not least, aside from taking breath-taking photos, Nikon D850 is highly capable when it comes to video recording as well. Namely, this model integrates an in-camera 4K UHD recording at 30 fps, and Full HD video recording at 60 fps!

Finally, the battery life can withstand up to 1840 images and 70 minutes of continuous recording, and if you ask me, this would be yet another good reason that should hook you up in an eventual purchase!

Nikon D850 Sample Footage:

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Sony A7R III

The Sony A7R III measures 3.8 x 5.0 x 2.9″(HWD), weighs approximately 1.5 pounds and if you compare it to Nikon D850, this unit is more compact. In addition, its body looks similar to A7R II, and as a matter of fact, they almost share the same chassis.

As was the case with the Nikon D850, this camera is weather-protected as well, hence, you will have a freedom to have an uncompromisingly convenient shooting session, regarldess if you face excessive rainy, sunny or dusty conditions.

Moreover, the control layout is easy accessible and it is nicely spread across the body of this camera, and that’s one of the factors that I’m always looking at especially when it comes to cameras.

For example, on the rear, left-top corner, there is a C3 button, while on the rear, on the top-plate and on the far right, there are multiple buttons as well as a 3″ LCD screen that sits on the center. Since I’ve mentioned the LCD screen, I’d like you to know that it packs a 1,440k-dot resolution, which is a huge improvement if we compare it with its predecessor.

Above the screen, you can also find a viewfinder that is extremely sharp, with up to 3.6 million dots and a high 0.78x magnification, and so far, I’m very pleased with the overall look.

Connectivity-wise, the Sony A7R III utilizes Bluetooth, NFC, and Wi-Fi, along with physical ports including a 3.5mm microphone and headphone port, a PC Sync for external flash, and two, instead of one memory card slots that support SD/SDHC/SDXC!

Speaking of the performance, this unit merges 42MP full-frame BSI CMOS sensor, 5-axis sensor-based Image Stabilization (IBIS), a highly-improved BIONZ X processing engine that outputs speeds of up to 1.8x, and 425 focus points which is more than Nikon D850.

Capturing photos with the Sony A7R III has never been easier because this camera has a native ISO range from 100-32,000 which is therefore, expandable up to 50-102,400, so in practice, the imagery will look pretty well-defined.

For example, JPG format imagery will have no or minimal noise if you shoot through ISO 5400, but if you go up to ISO 12800, you may notice a bit of noise. But if we take this apart, images won’t have noticeable loss in terms of the quality even if you shoot through ISO 1600!

Where you will notice a slight decrease in clarity is at ISO 3200 and 6400, although you will have to put a significant effort to notice this. Once the ISO 12800 is reached, well, then you can expect loss of quality.

I would also like to mention that this model offers continuous shooting with autofocus of 10 frames per second which is more than Nikon D850, and if you prefer shooting fast-moving objects, you will achieve better results with this camera.

Finally, if you prefer videos, the A7R III records videos of 4K quality at 32/24p, and Full HD videos at 24p/30/60/120p which is unbelievably good. In the contrary, both cameras have 4K capabilities, but Nikon D850 is slightly better due to the fact that you will have an option to create 8K-resolution time-lapse videos, something that A7R III lacks.

Sony A7R III Sample Footage:

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Nikon D850 vs Sony A7R III Feature Comparison

  Nikon D850 Sony A7R III
Camera Type DSLR Mirrorless
Megapixels 45.7 42.4
ISO Range 64-25,600,Expand. 32-102,400 100-32,000 . Expand. 50-102,400
Flip-Out Screen Yes Yes
Microphone Yes Yes
Viewfinder Yes Yes
Touchscreen Yes Yes
Video Recording Yes Yes
Sensor Size CMOS CMOS

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So far, both Nikon and Sony deserve credit because they have made cameras that radiate with excellence, starting from the design, photo quality and all the way to the quality of the video recordings.

Only a few details make them different from each other in terms of the specs, but, as a professional, you know that this may lead to advantages or disadvantages.

That’s why, your choice will depend mostly on your personal preferences, whether you like DSLR or a mirrorless camera.

If we take into consideration the quality of shooting landscapes, Nikon D850 may perform a bit better, however, shooting fast-paced objects could be better done with Sony because it has more FPS rate.

Overall, I think that there isn’t a clear winner, because these cameras are well-matched and regardless of your decision, you can’t go wrong with these cameras!

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