Nikon D90 vs Sony Alpha A7 III

  • APS-C
  • 12 megapixels
  • Nikon F
  • 40
    Overall
  • 13
    Imaging
  • 30
    Features
  • 72
    Size
  • 0
    Price
  • Full frame
  • 24 megapixels
  • Sony E
  • 50
    Overall
  • 24
    Imaging
  • 88
    Features
  • 73
    Size
  • 0
    Price

Nikon D90 vs Sony Alpha A7 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 D90 belongs to a Semi-Pro DSLR category, the other model, Nikon D90 is a Pro Mirrorless camera. Both models feature different types of sensors. Thus, Nikon D90 comes with CMOS sensor that has a resolution of 12.0 MP resolution, while our second compared model Sony Alpha A7 III features a 24.0 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 D90 and Sony Alpha A7 III and, after this, we can go on to our detailed comparison of these models.

Nikon D90 Key Features:

  • 12.0 MP APS-C CMOS sensor
  • ISO 200 - 3200 (Expands to 6400)
  • Image Stabilization: No
  • 3″ Fixed Type Screen
  • ViewFinder: Yes
  • 4.5 fps Continuous Shooting
  • Video: 1280 x 720 (24 fps), 640 x 424 (24 fps), 320 x 216 (24 fps)
  • Built-in Wireless: Yes
  • Dimensions: 132 x 103 x 77 mm
  • Weight: 703 g
  • Environmental Sealing: No
  • Built-in GPS: Yes
  • Replaced Nikon D80. Compare
  • Replaced by Nikon D7000. Compare

Sony Alpha A7 III Key Features:

  • 24.0 MP Full frame BSI-CMOS sensor
  • ISO 100 - 51200 (Expands to 50 - 204800)
  • Image Stabilization: Yes
  • 3″ Tilting Screen
  • ViewFinder: Yes
  • 10.0 fps Continuous Shooting
  • Video: 3840 x 2160 (30p, 24p) 1920 x 1080 (120p, 60p, 60i, 24p), 1440 x 1080 (30p), 640 x 480 (30p)
  • Built-in Wireless: Yes
  • Dimensions: 127 x 96 x 74 mm
  • Weight: 650 g
  • Environmental Sealing: Yes
  • Built-in GPS: No
  • Replaced Sony A7 II.

Nikon D90 was substituted by Nikon D7000. Be sure to check out some of our other overviews that may also interest you:
Nikon D90 vs. D7000
Nikon D7000 vs. Sony Alpha A7 III

Nikon D90 substituted Nikon D80. Be sure to check out some of our other overviews that may also interest you:
Nikon D90 vs. D80
Nikon D80 vs. Sony Alpha A7 III

Why is Nikon D90 a better choice than Sony Alpha A7 III

Built-In Flash Yes vs No All the lenses are stabilized
Flash Range 17 vs No 17 better flash range
Battery Life 850 shots vs 610 shots 240 more frames with a single charge

What are the key reasons to pick Sony Alpha A7 III over Nikon D90

NFC Yes vs No Easy wireless connectivity with compatible devices
Bluetooth Yes vs No Connect your camera to other devices via Bluetooth
Timelapse Recording No vs No Creative shooting
Storage Slots 2 vs 1 Extra storage slot
Sensor Resolution 24.0 MP vs 12.0 MP 50% more pixels
Sensor Area 852.04 mm2 vs 372.88 mm2 56.2% larger pixel area
Image Stabilization Yes vs No All lenses are stabilized
Continuous Shooting 10 fps vs 4.5 fps 5.5 fps faster
Max Shutter Speed 1/8000 vs 1/4000 Faster shutter speed
Number Of Focus Points 693 vs 11 682 more focus points
Screen Resolution 922k dots vs 920k dots 0.2% higher resolution screen
Touch Screen Yes vs No Easy control of camera functions
Weight 650 g vs 703 g 53 g lighter
Environmental Sealing Yes vs No Shoot at tough conditions
Max Video Resolution 3840 x 2160 vs 1280 x 720 Higher Resolution Video
Microphone Port Yes vs No High quality audio recording option
Headphone Port Yes vs No Has headphone port
Dxo Color Depth 25 vs 22.7 Better color depth
Dxo Dynamic Range 14.7 vs 12.5 Better dynamic range
Dxo Low Light Iso 3730 vs 977 Better High ISO performance
Viewfinder Magnification 0.78 vs 0.64 0.14 better magnification

Key PROs of Nikon D90 and Sony Alpha A7 III

Screen Size 3″ | 3″ Large display
Viewfinder Optical (pentaprism) | Electronic Better framing and control
Raw Support Yes | Yes Better image quality
AutoFocus Face Detection Yes | Yes Very handy for portraits
Bracketing Yes | Yes Useful for tough lighting conditions and HDR
Flash Sync Port Yes | Yes Port for Flash Sync
Battery Life 850 shots | 610 shots Big number of frames with a single charge

Key CONs of Nikon D90 and Sony Alpha A7 III

Screen Resolution 920k dots | 922k dots Small screen resolution
Timelapse Recording No | Yes No timelapse recording

Nikon D90 vs Sony Alpha A7 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 D90 and Sony Alpha A7 III from the front view.

Nikon D90
Sony Alpha A7 III
HTML
BB

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

Nikon D90
Sony Alpha A7 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 A7 III is a lighter option of these two, as it weights 53g less than the Nikon D90. 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 D90 and Sony Alpha A7 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 D90 and Sony Alpha A7 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 D90 features a 12.0 MP APS-C sized CMOS sensor . Sony Alpha A7 III, in its turn, comes with a 24.0 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 D90 and Sony Alpha A7 III by the size of their sensors.

Nikon D90
Sony Alpha A7 III
HTML
BB

One more distinctive feature of compared models is the sensor size. Sony Alpha A7 III is equipped with a sensor that is 0.4x larger than the one featured in Nikon D90. 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 D90 and Sony Alpha A7 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 D90 and Sony Alpha A7 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 D90 Sony Alpha A7 III
Portrait Photography
66%
98%
Street Photography
75%
95%
Sports Photography
70%
99%
Daily Photography
56%
69%
Landscape Photography
85%
99%

Nikon D90 for Portrait Photography

Advantages:

  • Large APS-C (23.6 x 15.8 mm) sensor
  • Face Detection Focusing

Disadvantages:

  • You might not like Nikon skintone
  • No Image Stabilization

Sony Alpha A7 III for Portrait Photography

Advantages:

  • Large Full frame (35.8 x 23.8 mm) sensor
  • High resolution sensor (24 MP)
  • Fast Max Shutter Speed (1/8000s)
  • Image Stabilization
  • Face Detection Focusing

Disadvantages:

No Significant Disadvantages

Nikon D90 for Street Photography

Advantages:

  • Built-in View Finder
  • Live View
  • Large APS-C(23.6 x 15.8 mm) sensor
  • Big battery life (850 shots)

Disadvantages:

  • Big size (132 x 103 x 77 mm)
  • No Image Stabilization
  • Small Number of autofocus Points (11)

Sony Alpha A7 III for Street Photography

Advantages:

  • Built-in View Finder
  • Live View
  • Image Stabilization
  • Large Full frame(35.8 x 23.8 mm) sensor

Disadvantages:

  • Big size (127 x 96 x 74 mm)

Nikon D90 for Sports Photography

Advantages:

  • Big size (132 x 103 x 77 mm)

Disadvantages:

  • Slow Continuous Shooting (4.5 fps)
  • No Environmental Sealing
  • Slow Max Shutter Speed (1/4000s)
  • Smal Number of autofocus Points (11)
  • Bad Low Light ISO (977)
  • Small battery life (850 shots)

Sony Alpha A7 III for Sports Photography

Advantages:

  • Environmental Sealing
  • Fast Max Shutter Speed (1/8000s)
  • Big Number of autofocus Points (693)
  • Nice Low Light ISO (3730)
  • Big size (127 x 96 x 74 mm)

Disadvantages:

  • Slow Continuous Shooting (10.0 fps)
  • Small battery life (610 shots)

Nikon D90 for Daily Photography

Advantages:

  • Large APS-C (23.6 x 15.8 mm) sensor
  • Built-in Flash
  • Built-in View Finder
  • Live View
  • Wireless Connectivity
  • Video is available

Disadvantages:

  • Big weight (703 g)
  • Big size (132 x 103 x 77 mm)

Sony Alpha A7 III for Daily Photography

Advantages:

  • Large Full frame (35.8 x 23.8 mm) sensor
  • Built-in View Finder
  • Live View
  • Wireless Connectivity
  • Video is available

Disadvantages:

  • Big weight (650 g)
  • Big size (127 x 96 x 74 mm)
  • No Built-in Flash

Nikon D90 for Landscape Photography

Advantages:

  • Large APS-C (23.6 x 15.8 mm) sensor
  • Good Dynamic Range (12.5)
  • Live View
  • RAW Support

Disadvantages:

  • Low resolution sensor (12 MP)
  • No Environmental Sealing
  • Bad Low Light ISO (977)

Sony Alpha A7 III for Landscape Photography

Advantages:

  • Large Full frame (35.8 x 23.8 mm) sensor
  • High resolution sensor (24 MP)
  • Good Dynamic Range (14.7)
  • Environmental Sealing
  • Live View
  • RAW Support
  • Nice Low Light ISO (3730)

Disadvantages:

No Significant Disadvantages

Comparison of Nikon D90 vs Sony Alpha A7 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 D90 or Sony Alpha A7 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 D90 and Sony Alpha A7 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 A7 III deserves a higher Total Score than the Nikon D90. Thus, if you are choosing between these options, we would recommend you to choose the first model over the other one.

Nikon D90 vs Sony Alpha A7 III Table Of Technical Specs

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

Nikon D90 Sony Alpha A7 III
General
Brand Nikon Sony
Model D90 Alpha A7 III
Announced Oct 13, 2008 Feb 27, 2018
Body Type Mid-size SLR SLR-style mirrorless
Sensor
Sensor Type CMOS BSI-CMOS
Sensor Size APS-C Full frame
Sensor Dimensions 23.6 x 15.8 mm 35.8 x 23.8 mm
Sensor Area 372.88 mm2 852.04 mm2
Sensor Resolution 12.0 MP 24.0 MP
Max Image Resolution 4288 x 2848 6000 x 4000
Max Native ISO 3,200 51,200
Max Boosted ISO 6,400 204,800
Min Native ISO 200 100
RAW Support Yes Yes
Lens
Manual Focus Yes Yes
Lens Mount Nikon F Sony E
Number of Lenses 287 83
Focal Length Multiplier 1.5x 1x
Macro Focus Range
AutoFocus
AF Touch No Yes
AF Continuous Yes Yes
AF Single Yes Yes
AF Tracking No 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 Yes Yes
AF Phase Detection Yes Yes
Number of Focus Points 11 693
Number of Cross Focus Points n/a n/a
Screen
Screen Type Fixed Type Tilting
Screen Size 3″ 3″
Screen Resolution 920k dots 922k dots
Live View Yes Yes
Touch Screen No Yes
ViewFinder
ViewFinder Optical (pentaprism) Electronic
ViewFinder Resolution 0k dots 2,359k dots
ViewFinder Coverage 96% 100%
ViewFinder Magnification 0.64 0.78
Photography Features
Min Shutter Speed 30 s 30 s
Max Shutter Speed 1/4000 s 1/8000 s
Continuous Shooting 4.5 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 Yes No
Flash Range 17 0
Flash Modes Auto, Front curtain, Rear curtain, Red-Eye, Slow Sync no built-in flash
External Flash Yes Yes
AE Bracketing Yes Yes
WB Bracketing Yes Yes
Exposure Modes
Multi-Segment Yes Yes
Average No Yes
Spot Yes Yes
Partial No No
AF-Area No No
Center Weighted Yes No
DxO Sensor Scores
DxO Sensor Score 73 96
DxO Color Depth 22.7 25.0
DxO Dynamic Range 12.5 14.7
DxO Low Light ISO 977 3730
Video Features
Video Resolutions 1280 x 720 (24 fps), 640 x 424 (24 fps), 320 x 216 (24 fps) 3840 x 2160 (30p, 24p) 1920 x 1080 (120p, 60p, 60i, 24p), 1440 x 1080 (30p), 640 x 480 (30p)
Max Video Resolution 1280 x 720 3840 x 2160
Video Formats Motion JPEG MPEG-4, AVCHD, XAVC S, H.264
Microphone Port No Yes
Headphone Port No Yes
Connectivity
Wireless Connectivity Yes Yes
HDMI Yes Yes
USB USB 2.0 USB 1
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 703 g 650 g
Physical Dimensions 132 x 103 x 77 mm 127 x 96 x 74 mm
Battery Life 850 shots 610 shots
Battery Type Battery Pack Battery Pack
Battery Model EN-EL3e NP-FZ100
Other Features
Self Timer Yes Yes
Timelapse Recording No Yes
GPS Optional
Storage Type SD/SDHC SD/SDHC/SDXC, Memory Stick Duo/Pro Duo/Pro-HG Duo
Storage Slots 1 2

Most popular cameras

Canon EOS 70D 20.0 MP CMOS
APS-C
Pentax K-5 IIs 16.0 MP CMOS
APS-C
Sony SLT-A68 24.0 MP CMOS
APS-C
Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5S 10.0 MP CMOS
Four Thirds
Pentax K-5 II 16.0 MP CMOS
APS-C