Sony Alpha A7R II vs Nikon D850

  • Full frame
  • 42 megapixels
  • Sony E
  • 64
    Overall
  • 45
    Imaging
  • 64
    Features
  • 74
    Size
  • 0
    Price
  • Full frame
  • 46 megapixels
  • Nikon F
  • 63
    Overall
  • 46
    Imaging
  • 85
    Features
  • 69
    Size
  • 0
    Price

Sony Alpha A7R II vs Nikon D850: 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, Sony Alpha A7R II belongs to a Pro Mirrorless category, the other model, Sony Alpha A7R II is a Semi-Pro DSLR camera. Sony Alpha A7R II is equipped with a 42.0 MP BSI-CMOS sensor, while Nikon D850 comes with a 46.0 MP BSI-CMOS sensor.

Both cameras we are going to look at in our overview fall into two different categories - MirrorLess and DSLR. 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 Sony Alpha A7R II and Nikon D850 and, after this, we can go on to our detailed comparison of these models.

Sony Alpha A7R II Key Features:

  • 42.0 MP Full frame BSI-CMOS sensor
  • ISO 100 - 25600 (Expands to 50 - 102400)
  • Image Stabilization: Yes
  • 3″ Tilting Screen
  • ViewFinder: Yes
  • 5.0 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 60 mm
  • Weight: 625 g
  • Environmental Sealing: Yes
  • Built-in GPS: No
  • Replaced Sony A7R.
  • Replaced by Sony A7R III.

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 II was substituted by Sony A7R III.

Sony Alpha A7R II substituted Sony A7R.

Why is Sony Alpha A7R II a better choice than 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
Number Of Focus Points 399 vs 153 246 more focus points
Weight 625 g vs 1015 g 390 g lighter
Dxo Low Light Iso 3434 vs 2660 Better High ISO performance
Viewfinder Magnification 0.78 vs 0.75 0.03 better magnification

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

Bluetooth Yes vs No Connect your camera to other devices via Bluetooth
Storage Slots 2 vs 1 Extra storage slot
Sensor Resolution 46.0 MP vs 42.0 MP 8.7% more pixels
Continuous Shooting 7 fps vs 5 fps 2 fps faster
Screen Size 3.2″ vs 3″ 0.2" larger screen
Screen Resolution 2,359k dots vs 1,229k dots 47.9% higher resolution screen
Touch Screen Yes vs No Easy control of camera functions
Battery Life 1840 shots vs 290 shots 1550 more frames with a single charge
Dxo Color Depth 26.4 vs 26 Better color depth
Dxo Dynamic Range 14.8 vs 13.9 Better dynamic range

Key PROs of Sony Alpha A7R II and Nikon D850

Screen Size 3″ | 3.2″ Large display
Screen Resolution 1,229k dots | 2,359k dots High resolution screen
Screen Type Tilting | Tilting Help viewing and changing settings easily
Viewfinder Electronic | Optical (pentaprism) Better framing and control
Raw Support Yes | Yes Better image quality
Sensor Resolution 42.0 MP | 46.0 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
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 Sony Alpha A7R II and Nikon D850

Continuous Shooting 5.0 fps | 7.0 fps Low continuous shooting
Built-In Flash No | No No built-in flash

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

Sony Alpha A7R II
Nikon D850
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Now, let’s go on and see how the reviewed models are different or similar by the top view.

Sony Alpha A7R II
Nikon D850
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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 A7R II is a lighter option of these two, as it weights 390g 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 Sony Alpha A7R II and Nikon D850 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 Sony Alpha A7R II and Nikon D850 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. Sony Alpha A7R II features a 42.0 MP Full frame sized BSI-CMOS sensor and boasts of a Bionz X processor . Nikon D850, in its turn, comes with a 46.0 MP Full frame sized BSI-CMOS sensor , which makes it significantly different from the first model.

Take a look below to find the comparison of Sony Alpha A7R II and Nikon D850 by the size of their sensors.

Sony Alpha A7R II
Nikon D850
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Sony Alpha A7R II and Nikon D850 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 Sony Alpha A7R II and Nikon D850 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 Sony Alpha A7R II and Nikon D850 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 Sony Alpha A7R II Nikon D850
Portrait Photography
99%
94%
Street Photography
97%
88%
Sports Photography
98%
99%
Daily Photography
68%
68%
Landscape Photography
100%
100%

Sony Alpha A7R 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 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 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 (127 x 96 x 60 mm)

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 II for Sports Photography

Advantages:

  • Environmental Sealing
  • Fast Max Shutter Speed (1/8000s)
  • Big Number of autofocus Points (399)
  • Nice Low Light ISO (3434)

Disadvantages:

  • Slow Continuous Shooting (5.0 fps)
  • Small battery life (290 shots)

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

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 II for Landscape Photography

Advantages:

  • Large Full frame (35.9 x 24 mm) sensor
  • High resolution sensor (42 MP)
  • Good Dynamic Range (13.9)
  • Environmental Sealing
  • Live View
  • RAW Support
  • Nice Low Light ISO (3434)

Disadvantages:

No Significant Disadvantages

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

Comparison of Sony Alpha A7R II vs Nikon D850: 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, Sony Alpha A7R II or Nikon D850, 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 Sony Alpha A7R II and Nikon D850 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 II 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.

Sony Alpha A7R II vs Nikon D850 Table Of Technical Specs

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

Sony Alpha A7R II Nikon D850
General
Brand Sony Nikon
Model Alpha A7R II D850
Announced Jun 10, 2015 Aug 24, 2017
Body Type SLR-style mirrorless Mid-size SLR
Sensor
Sensor Type BSI-CMOS BSI-CMOS
Sensor Size Full frame Full frame
Sensor Dimensions 35.9 x 24 mm 35.9 x 23.9 mm
Sensor Area 861.60 mm2 858.01 mm2
Sensor Resolution 42.0 MP 46.0 MP
Max Image Resolution 7974 x 5316 8256 x 5504
Max Native ISO 25,600 25,600
Max Boosted ISO 102,400 102,400
Min Native ISO 100 64
RAW Support Yes Yes
Lens
Manual Focus Yes Yes
Lens Mount Sony E Nikon F
Number of Lenses 83 287
Focal Length Multiplier 1x 1x
Macro Focus Range
AutoFocus
AF Touch No 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 399 153
Number of Cross Focus Points n/a 99
Screen
Screen Type Tilting Tilting
Screen Size 3″ 3.2″
Screen Resolution 1,229k dots 2,359k dots
Live View Yes Yes
Touch Screen No Yes
ViewFinder
ViewFinder Electronic Optical (pentaprism)
ViewFinder Resolution 2,359k dots 0k dots
ViewFinder Coverage 100% 100%
ViewFinder Magnification 0.78 0.75
Photography Features
Min Shutter Speed 30 s 30 s
Max Shutter Speed 1/8000 s 1/8000 s
Continuous Shooting 5.0 fps 7.0 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 Yes No
Built-in Flash No No
Flash Range 0 0
Flash Modes no built-in flash Front-curtain sync (normal), Rear-curtain sync, Red-eye reduction, Red-eye reduction with slow sync, Slow 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 No Yes
AF-Area No Yes
Center Weighted No Yes
DxO Sensor Scores
DxO Sensor Score 98 100
DxO Color Depth 26.0 26.4
DxO Dynamic Range 13.9 14.8
DxO Low Light ISO 3434 2660
Video Features
Video Resolutions 3840 x 2160 (30p, 25p, 24p), 1920 x 1080 (60p, 60i, 24p), 1440 x 1080 (30p), 640 x 480 (30p) 3840 x 2160 @ 30p, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM
Max Video Resolution 3840 x 2160 3840 x 2160
Video Formats MPEG-4, AVCHD, XAVC S MPEG-4
Microphone Port Yes Yes
Headphone Port Yes Yes
Connectivity
Wireless Connectivity Yes Yes
HDMI Yes Yes
USB USB 2.0 USB 3.0
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 625 g 1015 g
Physical Dimensions 127 x 96 x 60 mm 146 x 124 x 79 mm
Battery Life 290 shots 1840 shots
Battery Type Battery Pack Battery Pack
Battery Model NP-FW50 EN-EL15a
Other Features
Self Timer Yes Yes
Timelapse Recording Yes Yes
GPS
Storage Type SD/SDHC/SDXC, Memory Stick Duo/Pro Duo/Pro-HG Duo SD/SDHC/SDXC (UHS-II supported) + XQD
Storage Slots 1 2

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