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Nikon D850 vs Sony A7R III: Battle of Two Best Full Frame Cameras

Want to invest on a full frame camera? Two models you have to consider: Nikon D850 and Sony A7R III. Both Nikon D850 and Sony A7R are the best full frame cameras from Nikon and Sony, respectively. The two have one thing in common: they have the same score on DxOMark: 100.

100 is the maximum score a camera can earn on the DxOMark test. This indicates that Nikon D850 and Sony A7R III have an excellent quality. But, which is the better?

Well, Sony A7R III might is not a direct competitor of Nikon D850 since they are different systems. Nikon D850 is a DSLR camera while Sony A7R III is a mirrorless camera. Instead of Sony A7R III, it will be more proper to mention Canon 5D Mark IV as the Nikon D850 competitor. However, since both D850 and Sony A7R III adopt a full frame sensor, there will always be comparisons between them.

Nikon D850 and Sony A7R III are released in the same year, 2017 so they are relatively new. D850 is the successor of D810 while A7R III is the successor A7R II. Let’s start this comparison from the specs.

Specs comparison: Nikon D850 vs Sony A7R III

 Nikon D850Sony A7R III
AnnouncedAugust 2017 October 2017
Sensor45.7 MP BSI CMOS full-frame FX42.4 MP Exmor R CMOS full-frame
DxOMark score100100
Color filter arrayRGBRGB
Resolution8288 x 55208000 x 5320
ISO32 - 102400100 - 32000
Fastest - Slowest speed (s)1/8000 - 30.01/8000 - 30.0
Frame rate (fps)910
Mount typeNikon F FXSony FE
Weight2.22 lbs1.43 lbs
Battery typeLi-ion, EN-EL15a, 7.0V, 1900mAhLi-ion, NP-FZ100, 7.2V, 2280mAh
Number of autofocus points153425
Autofocus modesSingle-servo AF (AF-S), Full-time-servo AF (AF-F), Continuous-servo AF (AF-C)AF-A (Automatic AF), AF-S (Single-shot AF), AF-C ( Continuous AF)
StorageXQD, SD, SDHC, SDXCMemory Stick Duo, Memory Stick PRO Duo, Memory Stick PRO Duo (High Speed), Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo, Memory Stick XC-HG Duo, SD, SDHC, SDXC
Image formatJPEG, RAW (NEF), TIFFJPEG, RAW (ARW)
Other featuresLive view, tropicalization, mirror lockup, articulating screen, touch screen, exposure bracketing, WB bracketing, USB, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, sound recording, extermal micro, histogram, live autofocusLive view, stabilization, articulating screem, touch screen, exposure bracketing, WB bracketing, USB, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, sound recording, external micro, histogram, live autofocus, video stabilisation
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It would be much easier to compare the specs of two cameras if you could see the specs table side by side. That’s why we created the table above to makes it easier for you to compare the specs between Nikon D850 and Sony A7R III.

As the professional grade cameras, the specs offered by Nikon D850 and Sony A7R III are above the average. The most stand out one is sensor of course. Both Nikon D850 and Sony A7R III are full frame cameras so the sensor size is bigger than any mid-range cameras. On the sensor section, these two cameras also adopt a high enough resolution. Nikon D850 with 45 megapixel and Sony A7R III with 42 megapixel. Thus, be it Nikon D850 or Sony A7R III is capable of generating photos with the maximum resolution of 8288 x 5520 and 8000 x 5320.

On the ISO section, Nikon D850 offers more ISO options you can set to. This camera offers an ISO range of 32 – 102400 compared to 100 – 32000 belong to Sony A7R III.

Battery is another section where Nikon D850 is one step ahead. On a single charge, you can use Nikon D850 to take about 1840 pictures, while Sony A7R III is only capable of taking about 650 pictures. This is one of the biggest differences between DSLRs and mirrorless cameras. Typically, a DSLR camera has a longer battery life than mirrorless camera. The larger body of DSLRs make it possible for camera manufacturers to apply larger battery capacity.

Sensor comparison: Nikon D850 vs Sony A7R III

Every photographer knows that sensor is the main component of a camera. Cameras with a larger sensor offer unlimited creativity for photographers. They are better for taking pictures on a low-light condition and have richer color depth. Both Nikon D850 and Sony A7R III adopt a full frame sensor so the sensor size of these cameras is larger. Following is the comparison between the sensor size of Nikon D850 and Sony A7R III.

As you can see, the sensor of Sony A7R III is slightly larger than Nikon D850. Even so, Nikon D850 adopts a higher resolution so it is capable of generating photos with higher maximum photo resolution. One thing in common between the the sensor of Nikon D850 and Sony A7R III. They have the same format factor of 1.0. They also have the same aspect ratio, 3:2.

Body comparison: Nikon D850 vs Sony A7R III

The most noticeable difference between a DSLR and mirrorless camera is the body. Due to the absence of optical component (mirror), mirrorless cameras have a way more compact body than DSLRs. We have created the images below in order to makes it easy for you to compare the body between Nikon D850 and Sony A7R III.

Despite its small body, Sony A7R III features a viewfinder to allow you aiming at the target more easily and comfortably. Many photographers prefer to use viewfinder rather than screen when composing photos. Because Nikon D850 has a larger body than Sony A7R III, it is also heavier in weight.

Photo results comparison: Nikon D850 vs Sony A7R III

You might need some examples of photos taken using Nikon D850 and Sony A7R III to convince yourself about the quality of those cameras before you make a purchase. To save you time on doing a research, we have done it for you. We explored Pixabay to find photos taken using both Nikon D850 and Sony A7R III.

  • Nikon D850

  • Sony A7R III

Conclusion

Both Nikon D850 and Sony A7R are full frame cameras so they are a good option if you need a professional grade gear to fulfill your photography needs. Be it Nikon D850 or Sony A7R earned high score on the DxOMark test. Nikon D850 even became the first DSLR to reach the score of 100 on DxOMark. Both Nikon D850 and Sony A7R III have a good quality but there are some sections that make them different.

This will depend on your tendency. If you love a camera with a compact design then Sony A7R III is the camera you have to choose. Conversely, if you are a conventional photographer who still comfortable with DSLRs then Nikon D850 is the choice. Be it Nikon D850 or Sony A7R III has their pros and cons. Nikon D850, due to its bigger body, has a larger battery capacity. It also has a longer ISO range than Sony A7R III.

On the other hand, Sony A7R III has more autofocus points and fps which theoretically is better for taking photos of moving objects. Be it Nikon D850 or Sony A7R III is capable or recording 4K videos, but Nikon D850 has no video stabilisation feature while Sony A7R III has one. On the display section, Nikon D850 is better than Sony A7R III. It has a 3.2-inch touch screen LSD display with 2,359,000 while Sony A7R III has a 3-inch touch screen LCD display with 1,440,000 dots. Overall, be it Nikon D850 or Sony A7R III is a great camera.

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