The Nikon Z7 and Sony a9 are among the best mirrorless cameras on the market. They both feature a full-frame sensor which is guaranteed to deliver stunning image quality. Also, they are both compact and equipped with many convenient functions that will make photography easy and fun.
Still, each of these models has its own target group. Except for both being full-frame mirrorless cameras, they do not have a lot in common. The main difference is that the Sony a9 excels at speed, while the Nikon Z7 comes with a huge resolution.
Both of these cameras are great, but each of them has certain strengths and weaknesses. Which one will do a better job for you? Find out by reading this Nikon Z7 vs Sony a9 comparison.
Nikon Z7 vs Sony a9 Specs
As we already mentioned, both the Sony a9 and Nikon Z7 feature a full-frame sensor. However, while the Nikon Z7 has a 45.7-megapixel sensor, the Sony a9 has “only” 24.2 megapixels.
With this being said, Nikon’s camera is certainly better if you intend to make enormous prints for billboards and such. Also, this amount of resolution is useful if you do a lot of cropping in post-processing. In all other cases, a 24.2-megapixel sensor should produce satisfying results.
Although the Nikon Z7 has more resolution, the Sony a9 uses a stacked sensor which boosts the camera’s speed, and it has larger individual pixels (5.93 vs 4.35) that have an effect on the dynamic range of the camera. Also, the a9 has an anti-aliasing filter which does a good job in removing moire from images.
On the other hand, the lack of anti-aliasing filter increases sharpness in images produced by the Nikon Z7. Also, both cameras have a 5-axis stabilization system that will allow you to make sharp and detailed photos even while shooting handheld.
Finally, although the Nikon Z7 captures more detailed images, the Sony a9 performs better in low-light conditions. The camera has a native sensitivity range of ISO 100-51200 (expandable to ISO 50-204800), while the Z7 has an ISO range of 64 through 25600 (expandable to ISO 32-102400).
The Nikon Z7 has a slight advantage when it comes to sensor technology, but the Sony a9 is much better in terms of speed. This camera has a continuous shooting speed of 20 frames per second (without viewfinder blackout) and an impressive camera buffer of 364 images.
The Nikon Z7 performs burst shooting at 9 fps, but if you want to use the camera without viewfinder blackout, you will need to drop the continuous shooting speed down to 5.5 fps. Although this is still a decent speed, it is not even close to the capabilities of Sony’s camera.
The Sony a9 also has a better autofocus system.
While the Nikon Z7 has 493-point phase-detection system, the Sony a9 has 693 phase-detection points. Also, the a9 does better job in focusing on targets in low-light situations.
Nikon Z7 vs Sony a9 Body and Design
The Nikon Z7 and Sony a9 are very compact cameras. They both weigh around 20.7 ounces, although the Z7 has slightly bigger dimensions than the a9 (5.28 x 3.98 x 2.68 inches vs 5.0 x 3.8 x 2.5 inches). The two cameras are weather-sealed against dust and splashes, so you can use them in harsh weather environments without worries that they might break.
Both cameras have an electronic viewfinder and a rear LCD screen. However, the Nikon Z7 has a larger LCD display (3.2” vs 3”), higher LCD screen resolution (2100k vs 1440k dots), and just a little bit higher viewfinder resolution (3690k vs 3686k dots). Moreover, the Nikon Z7 also has a top LCD screen which is helpful for quickly viewing and changing the camera’s settings.
It is good to know that both models have an articulating screen which is useful for shooting stills or videos from uncomfortable angles. Also, both of them use touchscreen technology that is helpful for positioning the focus area.
While the Nikon Z7 has a better viewfinder and an LCD screen, the Sony a9 has a longer battery life (650 vs 330 shots), and it features dual card slots, both being very useful for long photography sessions.
Nikon Z7 vs Sony a9 Video Performance
There are no substantial differences between the Sony a9 and Nikon Z7 in regards to video capabilities. Both models can shoot 4K video at 30p. Still, the Z7 allows you the possibility to record external 10-bit N-Log video, while the a9 features only 8-bit.
Additionally, both cameras have microphone and headphone ports, so you can deal with sound in the video more efficiently while the articulating screen allows you to shoot videos from flexible angles.
Watch these cameras go head to head in the video above by DSLR VS.
Sony A9 and Nikon Z7 Price
As you can see, the Nikon Z7 and Sony a9 have a lot of useful features for photographers and videographers. However, the Sony a9 is much better for sports and street photography than the Nikon Z7. On the other hand, the Nikon Z7 achieves excellent results in landscape and portrait photography.
Now, let’s compare the price of these two camera models. The Sony a9 costs around $3,498.00 (body only) which makes it a bit more expensive than the Nikon Z7 which has a price tag of $2,796.95 (body only).
However, you can save some money if you decide to buy a used Nikon Z7 or Sony a9. For example, on MPB you can find a used Sony a9 for a price as low as $3,044.00. This will leave you with more money for lenses and other photography equipment.
If you're not familiar with MPB, check out our MPB review to learn why it's our top-recommended used gear resource.