Nikon D800 vs Sony Alpha A99 II

  • Full frame
  • 36 megapixels
  • Nikon F
  • 54
    Overall
  • 34
    Imaging
  • 59
    Features
  • 69
    Size
  • 0
    Price
  • Full frame
  • 42 megapixels
  • Sony/Minolta Alpha
  • 63
    Overall
  • 45
    Imaging
  • 69
    Features
  • 71
    Size
  • 0
    Price

Nikon D800 vs Sony Alpha A99 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 provide a detailed evaluation and comparison of two different camera models that fall into the same category - Semi-Pro DSLR. Although these cameras are from the same category, they were introduced by different brands - Nikon and Sony. Models we are reviewing in this article have different types of sensors, Thus, Nikon D800 is equipped with a 36.0 MP CMOS sensor. Sony Alpha A99 II, on the contrary, features BSI-CMOS sensor with a resolution of 42.0 MP.

To get started, let’s take a look at some of the key features of Nikon D800 and Sony Alpha A99 II and, after this, we can go on to our detailed comparison of these models.

Nikon D800 Key Features:

  • 36.0 MP Full frame CMOS sensor
  • ISO 100 - 6400 (Expands to 25600)
  • Image Stabilization: No
  • 3.2″ Fixed Type Screen
  • ViewFinder: Yes
  • 4.0 fps Continuous Shooting
  • Video: 1920 x 1080 (30, 25, 24 fps), 1280 x 720 (60, 50, 30, 25 fps), 640 x 424 (24 fps)
  • Built-in Wireless: No
  • Dimensions: 146 x 123 x 82 mm
  • Weight: 900 g
  • Environmental Sealing: Yes
  • Built-in GPS: Yes
  • Replaced Nikon D700. Compare
  • Replaced by Nikon D810. Compare

Sony Alpha A99 II Key Features:

  • 42.0 MP Full frame BSI-CMOS sensor
  • ISO 100 - 25600 (Expands to 50 - 102400)
  • Image Stabilization: Yes
  • 3″ Fully articulated Screen
  • ViewFinder: Yes
  • 12.0 fps Continuous Shooting
  • Built-in Wireless: Yes
  • Dimensions: 143 x 104 x 76 mm
  • Weight: 849 g
  • Environmental Sealing: Yes
  • Built-in GPS: No
  • Replaced Sony A99.

Nikon D800 was substituted by Nikon D810. Be sure to check out some of our other overviews that may also interest you:
Nikon D800 vs. D810
Nikon D810 vs. Sony Alpha A99 II

Nikon D800 substituted Nikon D700. Be sure to check out some of our other overviews that may also interest you:
Nikon D800 vs. D700
Nikon D700 vs. Sony Alpha A99 II

Why is Nikon D800 a better choice than Sony Alpha A99 II

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
Battery Life 900 shots vs 490 shots 410 more frames with a single charge
Dxo Dynamic Range 14.4 vs 13.4 Better dynamic range
Dxo Low Light Iso 2853 vs 2317 Better High ISO performance

What are the key reasons to pick Sony Alpha A99 II over Nikon D800

Wireless Connectivity Built-In vs No Better connectivity
NFC Yes vs No Easy wireless connectivity with compatible devices
Bluetooth Yes vs No Connect your camera to other devices via Bluetooth
Sensor Resolution 42.0 MP vs 36.0 MP 14.3% more pixels
Image Stabilization Yes vs No All lenses are stabilized
Continuous Shooting 12 fps vs 4 fps 8 fps faster
Number Of Focus Points 399 vs 51 348 more focus points
Number Of Cross Focus Points 79 vs 15 64 more cross focus points
Screen Resolution 1,229k dots vs 921k dots 25.1% higher resolution screen
Weight 849 g vs 900 g 51 g lighter
Max Video Resolution 3840 x 2160 vs 1920 x 1080 Higher Resolution Video
Dxo Color Depth 25.4 vs 25.3 Better color depth
Viewfinder Magnification 0.78 vs 0.7 0.08 better magnification

Key PROs of Nikon D800 and Sony Alpha A99 II

Screen Size 3.2″ | 3″ Large display
Viewfinder Optical (pentaprism) | Electronic Better framing and control
Raw Support Yes | Yes Better image quality
Sensor Resolution 36.0 MP | 42.0 MP Bigger prints and more details
AutoFocus Face Detection Yes | Yes Very handy for portraits
Microphone Port Yes | Yes High quality audio recording option
Headphone Port Yes | Yes Better video control
Timelapse Recording Yes | Yes Creative shooting
Storage Slots 2 slots | 2 slots Extra Storage Slots
Bracketing Yes | Yes Useful for tough lighting conditions and HDR
Flash Sync Port Yes | Yes Port for Flash Sync
Environmental Sealing Yes | Yes Shoot at tough conditions

Key CONs of Nikon D800 and Sony Alpha A99 II

Touch Screen No | No No touch screen
Screen Type Fixed Type | Fully articulated No flexible viewing angles

Nikon D800 vs Sony Alpha A99 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 D800 and Sony Alpha A99 II from the front view.

Nikon D800
Sony Alpha A99 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 D800
Sony Alpha A99 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, Sony Alpha A99 II is a lighter option of these two, as it weights 51g less than the Nikon D800. This difference, in fact, can become a significant disadvantage for the photographers, who prefer to have their cameras with them wherever they go.

Battery values for Semi-Pro DSLR cameras:
Nikon D800 — 900 shots
Sony Alpha A99 II — 490 shots
Min: 390 shots
Average: 871 shots
Max: 1840 shots
Thickness values for Semi-Pro DSLR cameras:
Nikon D800 — 82 mm
Sony Alpha A99 II — 76 mm
Min: 64 mm
Average: 75 mm
Max: 86 mm
Weight values for Semi-Pro DSLR cameras:
Nikon D800 — 900 g
Sony Alpha A99 II — 849 g
Min: 479 g
Average: 783 g
Max: 1074 g

Comparing Nikon D800 and Sony Alpha A99 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 D800 and Sony Alpha A99 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 D800 features a 36.0 MP Full frame sized CMOS sensor . Sony Alpha A99 II, in its turn, comes with a 42.0 MP Full frame sized BSI-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 D800 and Sony Alpha A99 II by the size of their sensors.

Nikon D800
Sony Alpha A99 II
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Nikon D800 and Sony Alpha A99 II are identical by this indicator, as each feature a sensor of the same size. Thus, both cameras will provide the same level of control in terms of the depth of field if you use them with the same focal length and aperture.

For Which Fields Of Photography Are Nikon D800 and Sony Alpha A99 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 D800 and Sony Alpha A99 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 D800 Sony Alpha A99 II
Portrait Photography
94%
99%
Street Photography
90%
95%
Sports Photography
92%
100%
Daily Photography
58%
68%
Landscape Photography
99%
99%

Nikon D800 for Portrait Photography

Advantages:

  • Large Full frame (35.9 x 24 mm) sensor
  • High resolution sensor (36 MP)
  • Fast Max Shutter Speed (1/8000s)
  • Face Detection Focusing

Disadvantages:

  • You might not like Nikon skintone
  • No Image Stabilization

Sony Alpha A99 II for Portrait Photography

Advantages:

  • Large Full frame (35.9 x 24 mm) sensor
  • High resolution sensor (42 MP)
  • Fast Max Shutter Speed (1/8000s)
  • Image Stabilization
  • Face Detection Focusing

Disadvantages:

No Significant Disadvantages

Nikon D800 for Street Photography

Advantages:

  • Built-in View Finder
  • Live View
  • Large Full frame(35.9 x 24 mm) sensor
  • Big battery life (900 shots)

Disadvantages:

  • Big size (146 x 123 x 82 mm)
  • No Image Stabilization

Sony Alpha A99 II for Street Photography

Advantages:

  • Built-in View Finder
  • Live View
  • Image Stabilization
  • Large Full frame(35.9 x 24 mm) sensor

Disadvantages:

  • Big size (143 x 104 x 76 mm)

Nikon D800 for Sports Photography

Advantages:

  • Environmental Sealing
  • Fast Max Shutter Speed (1/8000s)
  • Big Number of autofocus Points (51)
  • Nice Low Light ISO (2853)
  • Big size (146 x 123 x 82 mm)

Disadvantages:

  • Slow Continuous Shooting (4.0 fps)
  • Small Number of CrossFocus Points (15)
  • Bad Max Native ISO (6400)

Sony Alpha A99 II for Sports Photography

Advantages:

  • Fast Continuous Shooting (12.0 fps)
  • Environmental Sealing
  • Fast Max Shutter Speed (1/8000s)
  • Big Number of autofocus Points (399)
  • Big Number of CrossFocus Points (79)
  • Nice Low Light ISO (2317)
  • Big size (143 x 104 x 76 mm)

Disadvantages:

  • Small battery life (490 shots)

Nikon D800 for Daily Photography

Advantages:

  • Large Full frame (35.9 x 24 mm) sensor
  • Built-in Flash
  • Built-in View Finder
  • Live View
  • Video is available

Disadvantages:

  • Big weight (900 g)
  • Big size (146 x 123 x 82 mm)

Sony Alpha A99 II for Daily Photography

Advantages:

  • Large Full frame (35.9 x 24 mm) sensor
  • Built-in View Finder
  • Live View
  • Wireless Connectivity
  • Video is available

Disadvantages:

  • Big weight (849 g)
  • Big size (143 x 104 x 76 mm)
  • No Built-in Flash

Nikon D800 for Landscape Photography

Advantages:

  • Large Full frame (35.9 x 24 mm) sensor
  • High resolution sensor (36 MP)
  • Good Dynamic Range (14.4)
  • Environmental Sealing
  • Live View
  • RAW Support
  • Nice Low Light ISO (2853)

Disadvantages:

  • Bad Max Native ISO (6400)

Sony Alpha A99 II for Landscape Photography

Advantages:

  • Large Full frame (35.9 x 24 mm) sensor
  • High resolution sensor (42 MP)
  • Good Dynamic Range (13.4)
  • Environmental Sealing
  • Live View
  • RAW Support
  • Nice Low Light ISO (2317)

Disadvantages:

No Significant Disadvantages

Comparison of Nikon D800 vs Sony Alpha A99 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 D800 or Sony Alpha A99 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 D800 and Sony Alpha A99 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 A99 II deserves a higher Total Score than the Nikon D800. Thus, if you are choosing between these options, we would recommend you to choose the first model over the other one.

Nikon D800 vs Sony Alpha A99 II Table Of Technical Specs

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

Nikon D800 Sony Alpha A99 II
General
Brand Nikon Sony
Model D800 Alpha A99 II
Announced Jun 11, 2012 Sep 19, 2016
Body Type Mid-size SLR Mid-size SLR
Sensor
Sensor Type CMOS BSI-CMOS
Sensor Size Full frame Full frame
Sensor Dimensions 35.9 x 24 mm 35.9 x 24 mm
Sensor Area 861.60 mm2 861.60 mm2
Sensor Resolution 36.0 MP 42.0 MP
Max Image Resolution 7360 x 4912 7952 x 5304
Max Native ISO 6,400 25,600
Max Boosted ISO 25,600 102,400
Min Native ISO 100 100
RAW Support Yes Yes
Lens
Manual Focus Yes Yes
Lens Mount Nikon F Sony/Minolta Alpha
Number of Lenses 287 141
Focal Length Multiplier 1x 1x
Macro Focus Range
AutoFocus
AF Touch No No
AF Continuous Yes Yes
AF Single Yes Yes
AF Tracking Yes Yes
AF Selective Yes Yes
AF Center No Yes
AF Multi Area Yes Yes
AF Live View Yes Yes
AF Face Detection Yes Yes
AF Contrast Detection No Yes
AF Phase Detection Yes Yes
Number of Focus Points 51 399
Number of Cross Focus Points 15 79
Screen
Screen Type Fixed Type Fully articulated
Screen Size 3.2″ 3″
Screen Resolution 921k dots 1,229k dots
Live View Yes Yes
Touch Screen No No
ViewFinder
ViewFinder Optical (pentaprism) Electronic
ViewFinder Resolution 0k dots 2,359k dots
ViewFinder Coverage 100% 100%
ViewFinder Magnification 0.7 0.78
Photography Features
Min Shutter Speed 30 s 30 s
Max Shutter Speed 1/8000 s 1/8000 s
Continuous Shooting 4.0 fps 12.0 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, High-speed sync auto, fill, slow sync, redeye reduction, rear sync, high-speed sync, wireless
External Flash Yes Yes
AE Bracketing Yes Yes
WB Bracketing Yes Yes
Exposure Modes
Multi-Segment Yes Yes
Average Yes Yes
Spot Yes Yes
Partial No No
AF-Area No No
Center Weighted Yes No
DxO Sensor Scores
DxO Sensor Score 95 92
DxO Color Depth 25.3 25.4
DxO Dynamic Range 14.4 13.4
DxO Low Light ISO 2853 2317
Video Features
Video Resolutions 1920 x 1080 (30, 25, 24 fps), 1280 x 720 (60, 50, 30, 25 fps), 640 x 424 (24 fps) n/a
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 Yes Yes
Connectivity
Wireless Connectivity No Yes
HDMI Yes Yes
USB USB 3.0 USB 2.0
Physical
Environmental Sealing Yes Yes
Water Proof No No
Dust Proof No No
Shock Proof No No
Crush Proof No No
Freeze Proof No No
Weight 900 g 849 g
Physical Dimensions 146 x 123 x 82 mm 143 x 104 x 76 mm
Battery Life 900 shots 490 shots
Battery Type Battery Pack NP-FM500H lithium-ion battery & charger
Battery Model EN-EL15 n/a
Other Features
Self Timer Yes Yes
Timelapse Recording Yes Yes
GPS Optional
Storage Type Compact Flash (Type I), SD/SDHC/SDXC UHS-I compliant Dual SD/SDHC/SDXC/MS Duo slots
Storage Slots 2 2

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