Nikon D850 vs Sony Alpha A7R III

  • Full frame
  • 46 megapixels
  • Nikon F
  • 63
    Overall
  • 46
    Imaging
  • 85
    Features
  • 69
    Size
  • 0
    Price
  • Full frame
  • 42 megapixels
  • Sony E
  • 64
    Overall
  • 46
    Imaging
  • 88
    Features
  • 73
    Size
  • 0
    Price

Nikon D850 vs Sony Alpha A7R III: 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 D850 belongs to a Semi-Pro DSLR category, the other model, Nikon D850 is a Pro Mirrorless camera. Nikon D850 is equipped with a 46.0 MP BSI-CMOS sensor, while Sony Alpha A7R III comes with a 42.0 MP BSI-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 D850 and Sony Alpha A7R III and, after this, we can go on to our detailed comparison of these models.

Nikon D850 Key Features:

  • 46.0 MP Full frame BSI-CMOS sensor
  • ISO 64 - 25600 (Expands to 32 - 102400)
  • Image Stabilization: No
  • 3.2″ Tilting Screen
  • ViewFinder: Yes
  • 7.0 fps Continuous Shooting
  • Video: 3840 x 2160 @ 30p, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM
  • Built-in Wireless: Yes
  • Dimensions: 146 x 124 x 79 mm
  • Weight: 1015 g
  • Environmental Sealing: Yes
  • Built-in GPS: No
  • Replaced Nikon D810. Compare

Sony Alpha A7R III Key Features:

  • 42.0 MP Full frame BSI-CMOS sensor
  • ISO 100 - 32000 (Expands to 50 - 102400)
  • Image Stabilization: Yes
  • 3″ Tilting Screen
  • ViewFinder: Yes
  • 10.0 fps Continuous Shooting
  • Video: 3840 x 2160 (30p, 25p, 24p), 1920 x 1080 (60p, 60i, 24p), 1440 x 1080 (30p), 640 x 480 (30p)
  • Built-in Wireless: Yes
  • Dimensions: 127 x 96 x 74 mm
  • Weight: 657 g
  • Environmental Sealing: Yes
  • Built-in GPS: No
  • Replaced Sony A7R II.

Nikon D850 substituted Nikon D810. Be sure to check out some of our other overviews that may also interest you:
Nikon D850 vs. D810
Nikon D810 vs. Sony Alpha A7R III

Why is Nikon D850 a better choice than Sony Alpha A7R III

Sensor Resolution 46.0 MP vs 42.0 MP 8.7% more pixels
Screen Size 3.2″ vs 3″ 0.2" larger screen
Screen Resolution 2,359k dots vs 1,440k dots 39% higher resolution screen
Battery Life 1840 shots vs 650 shots 1190 more frames with a single charge
Dxo Color Depth 26.4 vs 26 Better color depth
Dxo Dynamic Range 14.8 vs 14.7 Better dynamic range

What are the key reasons to pick Sony Alpha A7R III over Nikon D850

Sensor Area 861.6 mm2 vs 858.01 mm2 0.4% larger pixel area
Image Stabilization Yes vs No All lenses are stabilized
Continuous Shooting 10 fps vs 7 fps 3 fps faster
Number Of Focus Points 425 vs 153 272 more focus points
Weight 657 g vs 1015 g 358 g lighter
Dxo Low Light Iso 3523 vs 2660 Better High ISO performance
Viewfinder Magnification 0.78 vs 0.75 0.03 better magnification

Key PROs of Nikon D850 and Sony Alpha A7R III

Touch Screen Yes | Yes Easy control of camera functions
Screen Size 3.2″ | 3″ Large display
Screen Resolution 2,359k dots | 1,440k dots High resolution screen
Screen Type Tilting | Tilting Help viewing and changing settings easily
Viewfinder Optical (pentaprism) | Electronic Better framing and control
Raw Support Yes | Yes Better image quality
Sensor Resolution 46.0 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
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 1840 shots | 650 shots Big number of frames with a single charge

Key CONs of Nikon D850 and Sony Alpha A7R III

Built-In Flash No | No No built-in flash

Nikon D850 vs Sony Alpha A7R III: 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 D850 and Sony Alpha A7R III from the front view.

Nikon D850
Sony Alpha A7R III
HTML
BB

Now, let’s go on and see how the reviewed models are different or similar by the top view.

Nikon D850
Sony Alpha A7R III
HTML
BB

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 A7R III is a lighter option of these two, as it weights 358g less than the Nikon D850. 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 D850 and Sony Alpha A7R III 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 D850 and Sony Alpha A7R III 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 D850 features a 46.0 MP Full frame sized BSI-CMOS sensor . Sony Alpha A7R III, 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 D850 and Sony Alpha A7R III by the size of their sensors.

Nikon D850
Sony Alpha A7R III
HTML
BB

Nikon D850 and Sony Alpha A7R III 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 D850 and Sony Alpha A7R III 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 D850 and Sony Alpha A7R III 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 D850 Sony Alpha A7R III
Portrait Photography
94%
99%
Street Photography
88%
95%
Sports Photography
99%
99%
Daily Photography
68%
68%
Landscape Photography
100%
100%

Nikon D850 for Portrait Photography

Advantages:

  • Large Full frame (35.9 x 23.9 mm) sensor
  • High resolution sensor (46 MP)
  • Fast Max Shutter Speed (1/8000s)
  • Face Detection Focusing

Disadvantages:

  • You might not like Nikon skintone
  • No Image Stabilization

Sony Alpha A7R III 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 D850 for Street Photography

Advantages:

  • Built-in View Finder
  • Live View
  • Large Full frame(35.9 x 23.9 mm) sensor
  • Big battery life (1840 shots)

Disadvantages:

  • Big size (146 x 124 x 79 mm)
  • No Image Stabilization

Sony Alpha A7R III for Street Photography

Advantages:

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

Disadvantages:

  • Big size (127 x 96 x 74 mm)

Nikon D850 for Sports Photography

Advantages:

  • Environmental Sealing
  • Fast Max Shutter Speed (1/8000s)
  • Big Number of autofocus Points (153)
  • Big Number of CrossFocus Points (99)
  • Nice Low Light ISO (2660)
  • Big battery life (1840 shots)
  • Big size (146 x 124 x 79 mm)

Disadvantages:

  • Slow Continuous Shooting (7.0 fps)

Sony Alpha A7R III for Sports Photography

Advantages:

  • Environmental Sealing
  • Fast Max Shutter Speed (1/8000s)
  • Big Number of autofocus Points (425)
  • Nice Low Light ISO (3523)
  • Big size (127 x 96 x 74 mm)

Disadvantages:

  • Slow Continuous Shooting (10.0 fps)
  • Small battery life (650 shots)

Nikon D850 for Daily Photography

Advantages:

  • Large Full frame (35.9 x 23.9 mm) sensor
  • Built-in View Finder
  • Live View
  • Wireless Connectivity
  • Video is available

Disadvantages:

  • Big weight (1015 g)
  • Big size (146 x 124 x 79 mm)
  • No Built-in Flash

Sony Alpha A7R III 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 (657 g)
  • Big size (127 x 96 x 74 mm)
  • No Built-in Flash

Nikon D850 for Landscape Photography

Advantages:

  • Large Full frame (35.9 x 23.9 mm) sensor
  • High resolution sensor (46 MP)
  • Good Dynamic Range (14.8)
  • Environmental Sealing
  • Live View
  • RAW Support
  • Nice Low Light ISO (2660)

Disadvantages:

No Significant Disadvantages

Sony Alpha A7R III for Landscape Photography

Advantages:

  • Large Full frame (35.9 x 24 mm) sensor
  • High resolution sensor (42 MP)
  • Good Dynamic Range (14.7)
  • Environmental Sealing
  • Live View
  • RAW Support
  • Nice Low Light ISO (3523)

Disadvantages:

No Significant Disadvantages

Comparison of Nikon D850 vs Sony Alpha A7R III: 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 D850 or Sony Alpha A7R III, 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 D850 and Sony Alpha A7R III 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 A7R III deserves a higher Total Score than the Nikon D850. Thus, if you are choosing between these options, we would recommend you to choose the first model over the other one.

Nikon D850 vs Sony Alpha A7R III Table Of Technical Specs

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

Nikon D850 Sony Alpha A7R III
General
Brand Nikon Sony
Model D850 Alpha A7R III
Announced Aug 24, 2017 Oct 25, 2017
Body Type Mid-size SLR SLR-style mirrorless
Sensor
Sensor Type BSI-CMOS BSI-CMOS
Sensor Size Full frame Full frame
Sensor Dimensions 35.9 x 23.9 mm 35.9 x 24 mm
Sensor Area 858.01 mm2 861.60 mm2
Sensor Resolution 46.0 MP 42.0 MP
Max Image Resolution 8256 x 5504 7952 x 5304
Max Native ISO 25,600 32,000
Max Boosted ISO 102,400 102,400
Min Native ISO 64 100
RAW Support Yes Yes
Lens
Manual Focus Yes Yes
Lens Mount Nikon F Sony E
Number of Lenses 287 83
Focal Length Multiplier 1x 1x
Macro Focus Range
AutoFocus
AF Touch Yes Yes
AF Continuous Yes Yes
AF Single Yes Yes
AF Tracking Yes Yes
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 Yes
Number of Focus Points 153 425
Number of Cross Focus Points 99 n/a
Screen
Screen Type Tilting Tilting
Screen Size 3.2″ 3″
Screen Resolution 2,359k dots 1,440k dots
Live View Yes Yes
Touch Screen Yes Yes
ViewFinder
ViewFinder Optical (pentaprism) Electronic
ViewFinder Resolution 0k dots 3,686k dots
ViewFinder Coverage 100% 100%
ViewFinder Magnification 0.75 0.78
Photography Features
Min Shutter Speed 30 s 30 s
Max Shutter Speed 1/8000 s 1/8000 s
Continuous Shooting 7.0 fps 10.0 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 No No
Flash Range 0 0
Flash Modes Front-curtain sync (normal), Rear-curtain sync, Red-eye reduction, Red-eye reduction with slow sync, Slow sync Auto, Fill-flash, Slow Sync, Rear Sync, Red-eye reduction, Wireless, Hi-speed sync
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 Yes No
AF-Area Yes No
Center Weighted Yes No
DxO Sensor Scores
DxO Sensor Score 100 100
DxO Color Depth 26.4 26.0
DxO Dynamic Range 14.8 14.7
DxO Low Light ISO 2660 3523
Video Features
Video Resolutions 3840 x 2160 @ 30p, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM 3840 x 2160 (30p, 25p, 24p), 1920 x 1080 (60p, 60i, 24p), 1440 x 1080 (30p), 640 x 480 (30p)
Max Video Resolution 3840 x 2160 3840 x 2160
Video Formats MPEG-4 MPEG-4, AVCHD, XAVC S
Microphone Port Yes Yes
Headphone Port Yes Yes
Connectivity
Wireless Connectivity Yes Yes
HDMI Yes Yes
USB USB 3.0 USB USB 3.1 Gen 1(5 GBit/sec)
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 1015 g 657 g
Physical Dimensions 146 x 124 x 79 mm 127 x 96 x 74 mm
Battery Life 1840 shots 650 shots
Battery Type Battery Pack Battery Pack
Battery Model EN-EL15a NP-FZ100
Other Features
Self Timer Yes Yes
Timelapse Recording Yes Yes
GPS
Storage Type SD/SDHC/SDXC (UHS-II supported) + XQD Two SD/SDHC/SDXC slots (UHS-II support on one)
Storage Slots 2 2

Most popular cameras

Pentax K-5 II 16.0 MP CMOS
APS-C
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH3 16.0 MP CMOS
Four Thirds
Olympus OM-D E-M10 16.0 MP CMOS
Four Thirds
Pentax K-5 IIs 16.0 MP CMOS
APS-C
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4 16.0 MP CMOS
Four Thirds