Sony Versus Nikon Mirrorless

Updated

The brand wars are heating up now that Nikon put two models directly against two Sony models. Lots of discussion about "which is better?" 

Let's see if I can try to get the feature advantages/disadvantages right. I'm going to try to stay away from as many subjective things as possible for the moment, and stick mostly to verifiable differences.

First for the Z6 versus A7m3:

  • Nikon Advantage: better body seals
  • Nikon Advantage: better EVF (3.69m dot versus 2.35m dot, better eyepoint)
  • Nikon Advantage: better LCD (2.1m dot versus 921k, 3.2" versus 3")
  • Nikon Advantage: fuller touchscreen implementation
  • Nikon Advantage: HDMI uncompressed video output (10-bit 4:2:2 N-Log)
  • Nikon Advantage: higher bit rate on 4K recorded internally  (144Mbps versus 100)
  • Nikon Advantage: faster media (XQD)
  • Nikon Advantage: built-in Time-lapse
  • Nikon Advantage: external battery charger included
  • Nikon Advantage: better grip/controls (yes subjective, but I believe true)
  • Nikon Advantage: top LCD for status
  • Nikon Advantage: larger mount opening
  • Nikon Advantage: higher frame rate (though without live view)
  • Nikon Advantage: multiple exposures
  • Nikon Advantage: cleaner hot pixel correction algorithms (no star eater)
  • Nikon Advantage: more raw format choice (12-bit/14-bit, lossless compressed, etc.)
  • Nikon Advantage: new three-level "sharpening" controls
  • Nikon Advantage: doesn't steal pixels for on-sensor IS (6048 versus 6000, about .8%) 
  • Nikon Advantage: easy to see red/green AF points (Sony black/green)
  • Nikon Advantage: EVF stays high resolution for shooting (Sony only playback)


  • Sony Advantage: two slots (one is slower, though)
  • Sony Advantage: more native lenses currently available (25+ versus 3)
  • Sony Advantage: existing third-party lens support
  • Sony Advantage: higher CIPA shots per charge rate
  • Sony Advantage: better CIPA image stabilization number (5.5 versus 5)
  • Sony Advantage: slightly smaller/lighter
  • Sony Advantage: dedicated exposure compensation dial
  • Sony Advantage: powered flash hot shoe connector
  • Sony Advantage: larger buffer
  • Sony Advantage: more PD sensors across frame (693 versus 273)
  • Sony Advantage: higher flash sync (1/250 versus 1/200)
  • Sony Advantage: free CaptureOne (Sony limited version)
  • Sony Advantage: 8 fps live view versus 5.5 fps
  • Sony Advantage: higher EVF refresh rate possible (120Hz versus 60Hz)
  • Sony Advantage: face detect in all focus modes (Nikon limits)
  • Sony Advantage: available vertical grip

And for the Z7 versus A7Rm3:

  • Nikon Advantage: better body seals
  • Nikon Advantage: slightly higher pixel count (45.7 versus 42.4)
  • Nikon Advantage: better LCD (2.1m dot versus 1.44m, 3.2" versus 3")
  • Nikon Advantage: fuller touchscreen implementation
  • Nikon Advantage: HDMI uncompressed video output (10-bit 4:2:2 N-Log)
  • Nikon Advantage: higher bit rate on 4K recorded internally (144Mbps versus 100)
  • Nikon Advantage: faster media (XQD)
  • Nikon Advantage: more PD sensors across frame (493 versus 399)
  • Nikon Advantage: built-in Time-lapse
  • Nikon Advantage: better grip/controls (yes subjective, but I believe true)
  • Nikon Advantage: top LCD for status
  • Nikon Advantage: larger mount opening
  • Nikon Advantage: lower ISO (64 versus 100)
  • Nikon Advantage: focus stacking feature
  • Nikon Advantage: multiple exposures
  • Nikon Advantage: cleaner hot pixel correction (no star eater)
  • Nikon Advantage: more raw format choice (12-bit/14-bit, lossless compressed, etc.)
  • Nikon Advantage: new three-level "sharpening" controls
  • Nikon Advantage: 90% frame coverage for focus (versus 68%)
  • Nikon Advantage: easy to see red/green AF points (Sony black/green)
  • Nikon Advantage: EVF stays high resolution for shooting (Sony only playback)


  • Sony Advantage: higher frame rate (though without live view)
  • Sony Advantage: two slots (one is slower, though)
  • Sony Advantage: higher EVF refresh available (120 Hz versus 60 Hz)
  • Sony Advantage: more native lenses currently available (25+ versus 3)
  • Sony Advantage: existing third-party lens support
  • Sony Advantage: higher CIPA shots per charge rate
  • Sony Advantage: better CIPA image stabilization number (5.5 versus 5)
  • Sony Advantage: slightly smaller
  • Sony Advantage: dedicated exposure compensation dial
  • Sony Advantage: powered flash hot shoe connector
  • Sony Advantage: larger buffer
  • Sony Advantage: higher flash sync (1/250 versus 1/200)
  • Sony Advantage: flash sync socket
  • Sony Advantage: pixel shift
  • Sony Advantage: free CaptureOne (Sony limited version)
  • Sony Advantage: 8 fps live view versus 5.5 fps
  • Sony Advantage: face detect in all focus modes (Nikon limits)
  • Sony Advantage: higher EVF refresh rate possible (120Hz versus 60Hz)
  • Sony Advantage: price (US$200 at list prices, more in current sale)
  • Sony Advantage: available vertical grip

You may note I didn't list "eye detect" for Sony. That's because I'm waiting for a response from Nikon about how "face detect" is actually handled. Likewise I haven't talked about the low pass filter on the A7m3/Z6 models for similar reasons (Sony has a single axis one, Nikon hasn't revealed what the Z6 has, it might also be single axis).

I'm not going to get into pricing, as that gets complicated once we add in kit lenses and products going on/off discount. 

As I get deeper into the comparisons, I'll add/correct this list. But as of the date below, it's as accurate as I can produce at the moment.

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