Nikon D800 vs Sony Alpha DSLR-A900

  • Full frame
  • 36 megapixels
  • Nikon F
  • 54
    Overall
  • 34
    Imaging
  • 59
    Features
  • 69
    Size
  • 0
    Price
  • Full frame
  • 25 megapixels
  • Sony/Minolta Alpha
  • 50
    Overall
  • 28
    Imaging
  • 46
    Features
  • 69
    Size
  • 0
    Price

Nikon D800 vs Sony Alpha DSLR-A900: 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. Although Nikon D800 and Sony Alpha DSLR-A900 are both equipped with the same CMOS sensor, they boast of different resolution. Thus, Nikon D800 has a sensor with a resolution of 36.0 MP, while Sony Alpha DSLR-A900 has a different resolution of 25.0 MP.

To get started, let’s take a look at some of the key features of Nikon D800 and Sony Alpha DSLR-A900 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 DSLR-A900 Key Features:

  • 25.0 MP Full frame CMOS sensor
  • ISO 100 - 6400
  • Image Stabilization: Yes
  • 3″ Fixed Type Screen
  • ViewFinder: Yes
  • 5.0 fps Continuous Shooting
  • Built-in Wireless: No
  • Dimensions: 156 x 117 x 82 mm
  • Weight: 895 g
  • Environmental Sealing: Yes
  • Built-in GPS: No

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 DSLR-A900

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 DSLR-A900

Why is Nikon D800 a better choice than Sony Alpha DSLR-A900

Timelapse Recording Yes vs No Creative shooting
Sensor Resolution 36.0 MP vs 25.0 MP 30.6% more pixels
Built-In Flash Yes vs No All the lenses are stabilized
Flash Range 12 vs No 12 better flash range
Number Of Focus Points 51 vs 9 42 more focus points
AutoFocus Face Detection Yes vs No Very handy for portraits
Screen Size 3.2″ vs 3″ 0.2" larger screen
Battery Life 900 shots vs 880 shots 20 more frames with a single charge
Dxo Color Depth 25.3 vs 23.7 Better color depth
Dxo Dynamic Range 14.4 vs 12.3 Better dynamic range
Dxo Low Light Iso 2853 vs 1431 Better High ISO performance

What are the key reasons to pick Sony Alpha DSLR-A900 over Nikon D800

Image Stabilization Yes vs No All lenses are stabilized
Continuous Shooting 5 fps vs 4 fps 1 fps faster
Screen Resolution 922k dots vs 921k dots 0.1% higher resolution screen
Weight 895 g vs 900 g 5 g lighter
Viewfinder Magnification 0.74 vs 0.7 0.04 better magnification

Key PROs of Nikon D800 and Sony Alpha DSLR-A900

Screen Size 3.2″ | 3″ Large display
Viewfinder Optical (pentaprism) | Optical (pentaprism) Better framing and control
Raw Support Yes | Yes Better image quality
Sensor Resolution 36.0 MP | 25.0 MP Bigger prints and more details
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
Battery Life 900 shots | 880 shots Big number of frames with a single charge

Key CONs of Nikon D800 and Sony Alpha DSLR-A900

Touch Screen No | No No touch screen
Screen Resolution 921k dots | 922k dots Small screen resolution
Screen Type Fixed Type | Fixed Type No flexible viewing angles
Continuous Shooting 4.0 fps | 5.0 fps Low continuous shooting

Nikon D800 vs Sony Alpha DSLR-A900: 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 DSLR-A900 from the front view.

Nikon D800
Sony Alpha DSLR-A900
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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 DSLR-A900
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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 DSLR-A900 is a lighter option of these two, as it weights 5g 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 DSLR-A900 — 880 shots
Min: 390 shots
Average: 871 shots
Max: 1840 shots
Thickness values for Semi-Pro DSLR cameras:
Nikon D800 — 82 mm
Sony Alpha DSLR-A900 — 82 mm
Min: 64 mm
Average: 75 mm
Max: 86 mm
Weight values for Semi-Pro DSLR cameras:
Nikon D800 — 900 g
Sony Alpha DSLR-A900 — 895 g
Min: 479 g
Average: 783 g
Max: 1074 g

Comparing Nikon D800 and Sony Alpha DSLR-A900 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 DSLR-A900 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 DSLR-A900, in its turn, comes with a 25.0 MP Full frame sized CMOS sensor and Bionz processor , which makes it significantly different from the first model.

Take a look below to find the comparison of Nikon D800 and Sony Alpha DSLR-A900 by the size of their sensors.

Nikon D800
Sony Alpha DSLR-A900
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Nikon D800 and Sony Alpha DSLR-A900 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 DSLR-A900 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 DSLR-A900 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 DSLR-A900
Portrait Photography
94%
98%
Street Photography
90%
85%
Sports Photography
92%
90%
Daily Photography
58%
97%
Landscape Photography
99%
92%

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 DSLR-A900 for Portrait Photography

Advantages:

  • Large Full frame (35.9 x 24 mm) sensor
  • High resolution sensor (25 MP)
  • Fast Max Shutter Speed (1/8000s)
  • Image Stabilization

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 DSLR-A900 for Street Photography

Advantages:

  • Built-in View Finder
  • Image Stabilization
  • Large Full frame(35.9 x 24 mm) sensor
  • Big battery life (880 shots)

Disadvantages:

  • Big size (156 x 117 x 82 mm)
  • Small Number of autofocus Points (9)

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 DSLR-A900 for Sports Photography

Advantages:

  • Environmental Sealing
  • Fast Max Shutter Speed (1/8000s)
  • Big size (156 x 117 x 82 mm)

Disadvantages:

  • Slow Continuous Shooting (5.0 fps)
  • Smal Number of autofocus Points (9)
  • Bad Max Native ISO (6400)
  • Small battery life (880 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 DSLR-A900 for Daily Photography

Advantages:

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

Disadvantages:

  • Big weight (895 g)
  • Big size (156 x 117 x 82 mm)
  • No Built-in Flash
  • Video is not available

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 DSLR-A900 for Landscape Photography

Advantages:

  • Large Full frame (35.9 x 24 mm) sensor
  • High resolution sensor (25 MP)
  • Good Dynamic Range (12.3)
  • Environmental Sealing
  • RAW Support

Disadvantages:

  • Bad Max Native ISO (6400)

Comparison of Nikon D800 vs Sony Alpha DSLR-A900: 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 DSLR-A900, 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 DSLR-A900 here is what we can say in conclusion:

According all the factors that we considered in the process of comparing these two cameras, Nikon D800 deserves a higher Total Score than the Sony Alpha DSLR-A900. 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 DSLR-A900 Table Of Technical Specs

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

Nikon D800 Sony Alpha DSLR-A900
General
Brand Nikon Sony
Model D800 Alpha DSLR-A900
Announced Jun 11, 2012 Oct 22, 2008
Body Type Mid-size SLR Mid-size SLR
Sensor
Sensor Type CMOS 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 25.0 MP
Max Image Resolution 7360 x 4912 6048 x 4032
Max Native ISO 6,400 6,400
Max Boosted ISO 25,600 n/a
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 x
Macro Focus Range
AutoFocus
AF Touch No No
AF Continuous Yes Yes
AF Single Yes Yes
AF Tracking Yes No
AF Selective Yes Yes
AF Center No Yes
AF Multi Area Yes Yes
AF Live View Yes No
AF Face Detection Yes No
AF Contrast Detection No No
AF Phase Detection Yes Yes
Number of Focus Points 51 9
Number of Cross Focus Points 15 n/a
Screen
Screen Type Fixed Type Fixed Type
Screen Size 3.2″ 3″
Screen Resolution 921k dots 922k dots
Live View Yes No
Touch Screen No No
ViewFinder
ViewFinder Optical (pentaprism) Optical (pentaprism)
ViewFinder Resolution 0k dots 0k dots
ViewFinder Coverage 100% 100%
ViewFinder Magnification 0.7 0.74
Photography Features
Min Shutter Speed 30 s 30 s
Max Shutter Speed 1/8000 s 1/8000 s
Continuous Shooting 4.0 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, High-speed sync Auto, Red-Eye, Slow Sync, Rear Curtain, Fill-in, Wireless
External Flash Yes Yes
AE Bracketing Yes Yes
WB Bracketing Yes Yes
Exposure Modes
Multi-Segment Yes Yes
Average Yes No
Spot Yes Yes
Partial No No
AF-Area No No
Center Weighted Yes Yes
DxO Sensor Scores
DxO Sensor Score 95 79
DxO Color Depth 25.3 23.7
DxO Dynamic Range 14.4 12.3
DxO Low Light ISO 2853 1431
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
Video Formats MPEG-4, H.264 n/a
Microphone Port Yes No
Headphone Port Yes No
Connectivity
Wireless Connectivity No No
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 895 g
Physical Dimensions 146 x 123 x 82 mm 156 x 117 x 82 mm
Battery Life 900 shots 880 shots
Battery Type Battery Pack Battery Pack
Battery Model EN-EL15 NP-FM500H
Other Features
Self Timer Yes Yes
Timelapse Recording Yes No
GPS Optional
Storage Type Compact Flash (Type I), SD/SDHC/SDXC UHS-I compliant Compact Flash (Type I or II), Memory Stick Duo / Pro Duo, UDMA Mode 5, Supports FAT12 / FAT16 / FAT32
Storage Slots 2 2

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