Nikon D5500 vs Sony Alpha A7S II

  • APS-C
  • 24 megapixels
  • Nikon F
  • 49
    Overall
  • 24
    Imaging
  • 64
    Features
  • 73
    Size
  • 0
    Price
  • Full frame
  • 12 megapixels
  • Sony E (NEX)
  • 53
    Overall
  • 29
    Imaging
  • 69
    Features
  • 74
    Size
  • 0
    Price

Nikon D5500 vs Sony Alpha A7S II: a Complete Review and Comparison

Are you looking for the best camera to suit your needs? Due to a wide range of options, making a wise and weighted decision can be rather challenging. Which specs to keep in mind? What are the key pros and cons of each model? This comparison should give some helpful hints!

In this review, we are going to make a detailed comparison of two cameras that fall into different categories. While the first model we are looking at, Nikon D5500 belongs to a Entry-Level DSLR category, the other model, Nikon D5500 is a Pro Mirrorless camera. Nikon D5500 is equipped with a 24.0 MP CMOS sensor, while Sony Alpha A7S II comes with a 12.0 MP CMOS sensor.

Both cameras we are going to look at in our overview fall into two different categories - DSLR and MirrorLess. Keeping in mind all the distinctive features of each category, it will be hard to make a detailed comparison of these two models. However, we will do our best to make this review as unbiased and detailed as possible.

To get started, let’s take a look at some of the key features of Nikon D5500 and Sony Alpha A7S II and, after this, we can go on to our detailed comparison of these models.

Nikon D5500 Key Features:

  • 24.0 MP APS-C CMOS sensor
  • ISO 100 - 25600
  • Image Stabilization: No
  • 3.2″ Fully Articulated Screen
  • ViewFinder: Yes
  • 5.0 fps Continuous Shooting
  • Video: 1920 x 1080 (60, 50, 30, 25, 24 fps), 1280 x 720 (60, 50, 30, 25 fps), 640 x 424 (30, 25 fps)
  • Built-in Wireless: Yes
  • Dimensions: 124 x 97 x 70 mm
  • Weight: 420 g
  • Environmental Sealing: No
  • Built-in GPS: Yes
  • Replaced Nikon D5300. Compare
  • Replaced by Nikon D5600. Compare

Sony Alpha A7S II Key Features:

  • 12.0 MP Full frame CMOS sensor
  • ISO 100 - 102400 (Expands to 50 - 409600)
  • Image Stabilization: Yes
  • 3″ Tilting Screen
  • ViewFinder: Yes
  • 5.0 fps Continuous Shooting
  • Video: 4K (3840 x 2160 @ 30p/24p [60-100Mbps]), Full HD (1920 x 1080 @ 120p/60p/60i/30p/24p [50-100Mbps]), 720p (30p [16Mbps])
  • Built-in Wireless: Yes
  • Dimensions: 127 x 96 x 60 mm
  • Weight: 627 g
  • Environmental Sealing: Yes
  • Built-in GPS: No
  • Replaced Sony A7S.

Nikon D5500 was substituted by Nikon D5600. Be sure to check out some of our other overviews that may also interest you:
Nikon D5500 vs. D5600
Nikon D5600 vs. Sony Alpha A7S II

Nikon D5500 substituted Nikon D5300. Be sure to check out some of our other overviews that may also interest you:
Nikon D5500 vs. D5300
Nikon D5300 vs. Sony Alpha A7S II

Why is Nikon D5500 a better choice than Sony Alpha A7S II

Sensor Resolution 24.0 MP vs 12.0 MP 50% more pixels
Built-In Flash Yes vs No All the lenses are stabilized
Flash Range 12 vs No 12 better flash range
Screen Size 3.2″ vs 3″ 0.2" larger screen
Screen Type Fully Articulated vs Tilting Flexible shooting positions
Touch Screen Yes vs No Easy control of camera functions
Battery Life 820 shots vs 370 shots 450 more frames with a single charge
Weight 420 g vs 627 g 207 g lighter
Dxo Color Depth 24.1 vs 23.6 Better color depth
Dxo Dynamic Range 14 vs 13.3 Better dynamic range

What are the key reasons to pick Sony Alpha A7S II over Nikon D5500

NFC Yes vs No Easy wireless connectivity with compatible devices
Sensor Area 847.28 mm2 vs 366.6 mm2 56.7% larger pixel area
Image Stabilization Yes vs No All lenses are stabilized
Max Shutter Speed 1/8000 vs 1/4000 Faster shutter speed
Number Of Focus Points 169 vs 39 130 more focus points
Screen Resolution 1,229k dots vs 1,037k dots 15.6% higher resolution screen
Environmental Sealing Yes vs No Shoot at tough conditions
Max Video Resolution 3840 x 2160 vs 1920 x 1080 Higher Resolution Video
Headphone Port Yes vs No Has headphone port
Dxo Low Light Iso 2993 vs 1438 Better High ISO performance
Viewfinder Magnification 0.78 vs 0.55 0.23 better magnification

Key PROs of Nikon D5500 and Sony Alpha A7S II

Screen Size 3.2″ | 3″ Large display
Screen Resolution 1,037k dots | 1,229k dots High resolution screen
Screen Type Fully Articulated | Tilting Help viewing and changing settings easily
Viewfinder Optical (pentamirror) | Electronic Better framing and control
Raw Support Yes | Yes Better image quality
AutoFocus Face Detection Yes | Yes Very handy for portraits
Microphone Port Yes | Yes High quality audio recording option
Bracketing Yes | Yes Useful for tough lighting conditions and HDR
Flash Sync Port Yes | Yes Port for Flash Sync

Key CONs of Nikon D5500 and Sony Alpha A7S II

Continuous Shooting 5.0 fps | 5.0 fps Low continuous shooting

Nikon D5500 vs Sony Alpha A7S II: Comparing Two Models By Physical Characteristics

Before heading straight to the technical characteristics of each model, let’s start with comparing their physical specs. Let’s start with looking at the physical difference of the two products. Below are images that clearly show the sizes of Nikon D5500 and Sony Alpha A7S II from the front view.

Nikon D5500
Sony Alpha A7S II
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Now, let’s go on and see how the reviewed models are different or similar by the top view.

Nikon D5500
Sony Alpha A7S II
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After looking at these images, you should get a clear idea of each model’s dimensions and how they are different from each other. However, we are not going to stop there. The next characteristic worth looking at is the weight. Of course, not every photographer is concerned about the weight, for example, it wouldn't be a decisive point for those who shoot in a studio. However, it is still an important factor because if you happen to go on a long photo session or just love having the camera with you wherever you go, you want to be sure that the chosen model isn't too heavy.

Speaking of weight, Nikon D5500 is a lighter option of these two, as it weights 207g less than the Sony Alpha A7S II. This difference, in fact, can become a significant disadvantage for the photographers, who prefer to have their cameras with them wherever they go.

Comparing Nikon D5500 and Sony Alpha A7S II by the type of Sensor and Resolution

Sensor is, without a doubt, the most significant element of every digital camera. Its type, size, and resolution are the factors that define the quality of future shots. Thus, it is barely possible to pick a suitable camera without looking at these specs.

Are Nikon D5500 and Sony Alpha A7S II any different in terms of sensor type?

In fact, that's exactly what makes these two models really different. Thus, it is a good point to consider if your are choosing between these two cameras. Nikon D5500 features a 24.0 MP APS-C sized CMOS sensor . Sony Alpha A7S II, in its turn, comes with a 12.0 MP Full frame sized CMOS sensor and Bionz X processor , which makes it significantly different from the first model.

Take a look below to find the comparison of Nikon D5500 and Sony Alpha A7S II by the size of their sensors.

Nikon D5500
Sony Alpha A7S II
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One more distinctive feature of compared models is the sensor size. Sony Alpha A7S II is equipped with a sensor that is 0.4x larger than the one featured in Nikon D5500. Compared to the cameras with smaller sensor area, the ones with larger sensors ensure more control on the blurry background and depth of field if you shoot in the same aperture and focal length. Thus, the first model has a significant advantage here.

For Which Fields Of Photography Are Nikon D5500 and Sony Alpha A7S II Suitable?

If you are interested in photography or has made a career in this field, you should know that different types of shooting actually require different camera characteristics. While one model can produce outstanding portraits, at the same time, it can be terrible for shooting landscapes, and so on. Thus, before you purchase a specific camera, it is vital to decide, which type of shooting you do most often and consider an option that suits it the most.

This section of our comparison is devoted to the performance of Nikon D5500 and Sony Alpha A7S II in different fields of photography. Here we are going to look at the five main areas and evaluate how well each of the reviewed models performs in them. This will help you choose an option that suits your needs the most depending on your interest in one or several of these fields.

Photography Type Nikon D5500 Sony Alpha A7S II
Portrait Photography
83%
97%
Street Photography
99%
97%
Sports Photography
55%
96%
Daily Photography
42%
68%
Landscape Photography
96%
97%

Nikon D5500 for Portrait Photography

Advantages:

  • Large APS-C (23.5 x 15.6 mm) sensor
  • High resolution sensor (24 MP)
  • Face Detection Focusing

Disadvantages:

  • You might not like Nikon skintone
  • No Image Stabilization

Sony Alpha A7S II for Portrait Photography

Advantages:

  • Large Full frame (35.6 x 23.8 mm) sensor
  • Fast Max Shutter Speed (1/8000s)
  • Image Stabilization
  • Face Detection Focusing

Disadvantages:

No Significant Disadvantages

Nikon D5500 for Street Photography

Advantages:

  • Built-in View Finder
  • Live View
  • Fully Articulated Screen
  • Large APS-C(23.5 x 15.6 mm) sensor
  • Big battery life (820 shots)

Disadvantages:

  • Big size (124 x 97 x 70 mm)
  • No Image Stabilization

Sony Alpha A7S II for Street Photography

Advantages:

  • Built-in View Finder
  • Live View
  • Image Stabilization
  • Large Full frame(35.6 x 23.8 mm) sensor

Disadvantages:

  • Big size (127 x 96 x 60 mm)

Nikon D5500 for Sports Photography

Advantages:

No Significant Advantages

Disadvantages:

  • Slow Continuous Shooting (5.0 fps)
  • No Environmental Sealing
  • Slow Max Shutter Speed (1/4000s)
  • Smal Number of autofocus Points (39)
  • Small Number of CrossFocus Points (9)
  • Small battery life (820 shots)

Sony Alpha A7S II for Sports Photography

Advantages:

  • Environmental Sealing
  • Fast Max Shutter Speed (1/8000s)
  • Big Number of autofocus Points (169)
  • Nice Low Light ISO (2993)

Disadvantages:

  • Slow Continuous Shooting (5.0 fps)
  • Small battery life (370 shots)

Nikon D5500 for Daily Photography

Advantages:

  • Large APS-C (23.5 x 15.6 mm) sensor
  • Built-in Flash
  • Built-in View Finder
  • Live View
  • Wireless Connectivity
  • Video is available

Disadvantages:

  • Big weight (420 g)
  • Big size (124 x 97 x 70 mm)

Sony Alpha A7S II for Daily Photography

Advantages:

  • Large Full frame (35.6 x 23.8 mm) sensor
  • Built-in View Finder
  • Live View
  • Wireless Connectivity
  • Video is available

Disadvantages:

  • Big weight (627 g)
  • Big size (127 x 96 x 60 mm)
  • No Built-in Flash

Nikon D5500 for Landscape Photography

Advantages:

  • Large APS-C (23.5 x 15.6 mm) sensor
  • High resolution sensor (24 MP)
  • Good Dynamic Range (14.0)
  • Live View
  • RAW Support

Disadvantages:

  • No Environmental Sealing

Sony Alpha A7S II for Landscape Photography

Advantages:

  • Large Full frame (35.6 x 23.8 mm) sensor
  • Good Dynamic Range (13.3)
  • Environmental Sealing
  • Live View
  • RAW Support
  • Nice Low Light ISO (2993)

Disadvantages:

  • Low resolution sensor (12 MP)

Comparison of Nikon D5500 vs Sony Alpha A7S II: Final Verdict

Hopefully, our detailed overview of these models has helped you consider all the main specs, pros and cons of each cameras. Maybe, after reading this comparison, some of you have already decided which option to opt for depending on your needs and preferences. However, if you are still wondering which option is a better choice, Nikon D5500 or Sony Alpha A7S II, below you can see what scores each of them received in five different aspects. To wrap up, we have used our unique Decision Algorithm that assesses different camera models upon 63 different factors including their price, and, if possible, DxO Mark scores. This algorithm allows us to make our verdict more consistent and objective.

What is our final verdict? Based on our comparison and the final scores of Nikon D5500 and Sony Alpha A7S II here is what we can say in conclusion:

According all the factors that we considered in the process of comparing these two cameras, Sony Alpha A7S II deserves a higher Total Score than the Nikon D5500. Thus, if you are choosing between these options, we would recommend you to choose the first model over the other one.

Nikon D5500 vs Sony Alpha A7S II Table Of Technical Specs

For better understanding of each model’s technical characteristics, find the detailed comparison below:

Nikon D5500 Sony Alpha A7S II
General
Brand Nikon Sony
Model D5500 Alpha A7S II
Announced Jan 06, 2015 Oct 12, 2015
Body Type Compact SLR SLR-style mirrorless
Sensor
Sensor Type CMOS CMOS
Sensor Size APS-C Full frame
Sensor Dimensions 23.5 x 15.6 mm 35.6 x 23.8 mm
Sensor Area 366.60 mm2 847.28 mm2
Sensor Resolution 24.0 MP 12.0 MP
Max Image Resolution 6000 x 4000 4240 x 2832
Max Native ISO 25,600 102,400
Max Boosted ISO n/a 409,600
Min Native ISO 100 100
RAW Support Yes Yes
Lens
Manual Focus Yes Yes
Lens Mount Nikon F Sony E (NEX)
Number of Lenses 287 83
Focal Length Multiplier 1.5x 1x
Macro Focus Range
AutoFocus
AF Touch Yes No
AF Continuous Yes Yes
AF Single Yes Yes
AF Tracking Yes No
AF Selective Yes Yes
AF Center Yes Yes
AF Multi Area Yes Yes
AF Live View Yes Yes
AF Face Detection Yes Yes
AF Contrast Detection Yes Yes
AF Phase Detection Yes No
Number of Focus Points 39 169
Number of Cross Focus Points 9 n/a
Screen
Screen Type Fully Articulated Tilting
Screen Size 3.2″ 3″
Screen Resolution 1,037k dots 1,229k dots
Live View Yes Yes
Touch Screen Yes No
ViewFinder
ViewFinder Optical (pentamirror) Electronic
ViewFinder Resolution 0k dots 2,359k dots
ViewFinder Coverage 95% 100%
ViewFinder Magnification 0.55 0.78
Photography Features
Min Shutter Speed 30 s 30 s
Max Shutter Speed 1/4000 s 1/8000 s
Continuous Shooting 5.0 fps 5.0 fps
Shutter Priority Yes Yes
Aperture Priority Yes Yes
Manual Exposure Mode Yes Yes
Exposure Compensation Yes Yes
Custom White Balance Yes Yes
Image Stabilization No Yes
Built-in Flash Yes No
Flash Range 12 0
Flash Modes Auto, Red-eye, Slow sync, Rear curtain no built-in flash
External Flash Yes Yes
AE Bracketing Yes Yes
WB Bracketing Yes Yes
Exposure Modes
Multi-Segment Yes Yes
Average No No
Spot Yes Yes
Partial No No
AF-Area No No
Center Weighted Yes No
DxO Sensor Scores
DxO Sensor Score 84 85
DxO Color Depth 24.1 23.6
DxO Dynamic Range 14.0 13.3
DxO Low Light ISO 1438 2993
Video Features
Video Resolutions 1920 x 1080 (60, 50, 30, 25, 24 fps), 1280 x 720 (60, 50, 30, 25 fps), 640 x 424 (30, 25 fps) 4K (3840 x 2160 @ 30p/24p [60-100Mbps]), Full HD (1920 x 1080 @ 120p/60p/60i/30p/24p [50-100Mbps]), 720p (30p [16Mbps])
Max Video Resolution 1920 x 1080 3840 x 2160
Video Formats MPEG-4, H.264 MPEG-4, AVCHD, XAVC S
Microphone Port Yes Yes
Headphone Port No Yes
Connectivity
Wireless Connectivity Yes Yes
HDMI Yes Yes
USB USB 2.0 USB 2.0
Physical
Environmental Sealing No Yes
Water Proof No No
Dust Proof No No
Shock Proof No No
Crush Proof No No
Freeze Proof No No
Weight 420 g 627 g
Physical Dimensions 124 x 97 x 70 mm 127 x 96 x 60 mm
Battery Life 820 shots 370 shots
Battery Type Battery Pack Battery Pack
Battery Model EN-EL14,EN-EL14a NP-FW50
Other Features
Self Timer Yes Yes
Timelapse Recording Yes Yes
GPS Optional
Storage Type SD/SDHC/SDXC SD/SDHC/SDXC, Memory Stick Duo/Pro Duo/Pro-HG Duo
Storage Slots 1 1

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