Canon 7D II vs Sony A900
The Canon EOS 7D Mark II and the Sony Alpha A900 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in September 2014 and September 2008. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are based on an APS-C (7D Mark II) and a full frame (A900) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 20 megapixels, whereas the Sony provides 24.4 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
|Canon 7D II||Sony A900|
|Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Canon EF mount lenses||Sony A mount lenses|
|20 MP, APS-C Sensor||24.4 MP, Full Frame Sensor|
|1080/60p Video||no Video|
|ISO 100-16000 (100-51200)||ISO 200-3200 (100-6400)|
|Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|3.0" LCD, 1040k dots||3.0" LCD, 922k dots|
|Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)||Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)|
|10 shutter flaps per second||5 shutter flaps per second|
|Lens stabilization only||In-body stabilization|
|Weathersealed body||Weathersealed body|
|670 shots per battery charge||880 shots per battery charge|
|149 x 112 x 78 mm, 910 g||156 x 117 x 82 mm, 895 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS 7D Mark II and the Sony Alpha A900? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.
The physical size and weight of the Canon 7D II and the Sony A900 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony A900 is notably larger (9 percent) than the Canon 7D II. However, the A900 is slightly lighter (2 percent) than the 7D Mark II. In this context, it is worth noting that both cameras are splash and dust-proof and can, hence, be used in inclement weather conditions or harsh environments.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. Hence, you might want to study and compare the specifications of available lenses in order to get the full picture of the size and weight of the two camera systems.
The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, just click on the right or left arrow next to the camera that you would like to inspect. Alternatively, you can also use the CAM-parator to select your camera combination among a larger number of options.
|Canon 7D II»||5.9 in||4.4 in||3.1 in||32.1 oz||670||Y||Sep 2014||1,799||Canon 7D II|
|Sony A900«||6.1 in||4.6 in||3.2 in||31.6 oz||880||Y||Sep 2008||2,999||Sony A900|
|Canon T6i« »||5.2 in||4.0 in||3.1 in||19.6 oz||440||n||Feb 2015||749||Canon T6i|
|Canon T5« »||5.1 in||3.9 in||3.1 in||16.9 oz||500||n||Feb 2014||449||Canon T5|
|Canon 70D« »||5.5 in||4.1 in||3.1 in||26.6 oz||920||Y||Jul 2013||1,199||Canon 70D|
|Canon SL1« »||4.6 in||3.6 in||2.7 in||14.4 oz||380||n||Mar 2013||549||Canon SL1|
|Canon T5i« »||5.2 in||3.9 in||3.1 in||20.5 oz||440||n||Mar 2013||649||Canon T5i|
|Canon 6D« »||5.7 in||4.4 in||2.8 in||27.2 oz||1090||Y||Sep 2012||2,099||Canon 6D|
|Canon 60D« »||5.7 in||4.2 in||3.1 in||26.6 oz||1100||Y||Aug 2010||1,399||Canon 60D|
|Canon 7D« »||5.8 in||4.4 in||2.9 in||30.3 oz||800||Y||Sep 2009||1,699||Canon 7D|
|Canon 50D« »||5.7 in||4.3 in||2.9 in||29.0 oz||800||Y||Aug 2008||1,299||Canon 50D|
|Canon 20D« »||5.7 in||4.2 in||2.8 in||27.2 oz||700||n||Aug 2004||1,499||Canon 20D|
|Sony A9« »||5.0 in||3.8 in||2.5 in||23.7 oz||650||Y||Apr 2017||4,499||Sony A9|
|Sony A99 II« »||5.6 in||4.1 in||3.0 in||29.9 oz||490||Y||Sep 2016||3,199||Sony A99 II|
|Sony A7S II« »||5.0 in||3.8 in||2.4 in||22.1 oz||370||Y||Sep 2015||2,999||Sony A7S II|
|Sony A99« »||5.8 in||4.4 in||3.1 in||28.6 oz||500||Y||Sep 2012||2,799||Sony A99|
|Sony A850« »||6.1 in||4.6 in||3.2 in||31.6 oz||880||Y||Aug 2009||1,999||Sony A850|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. The manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The 7D Mark II was launched at a markedly lower price (by 40 percent) than the A900, which puts it into a different market segment. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down.
The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Moreover, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more control over depth-of-field in the image and, thus, the ability to better isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon 7D II features an APS-C sensor and the Sony A900 a full frame sensor. The sensor area in the A900 is 157 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.6 and 1.0. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
In terms of underlying technology, both cameras are build around CMOS sensors.
With 24.4MP, the A900 offers a higher resolution than the 7D Mark II (20MP), but the A900 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 5.94μm versus 4.10μm for the 7D Mark II) due to its larger sensor. However, the 7D Mark II is a much more recent model (by 6 years) than the A900, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units.
The resolution advantage of the Sony A900 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the A900 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 30.2 x 20.2 inch or 76.8 x 51.2 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 24.2 x 16.1 inch or 61.4 x 41 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 20.2 x 13.4 inch or 51.2 x 34.1 cm. The corresponding values for the Canon 7D II are 27.4 x 18.2 inch or 69.5 x 46.3 cm for good quality, 21.9 x 14.6 inch or 55.6 x 37.1 cm for very good quality, and 18.2 x 12.2 inch or 46.3 x 30.9 cm for excellent quality prints.
The 7D Mark II has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.
The Canon EOS 7D Mark II has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 16000, which can be extended to ISO 100-51200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Sony Alpha A900 are ISO 200 to ISO 3200, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-6400.
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). Of the two cameras under consideration, the A900 has a markedly higher DXO score than the 7D Mark II (overall score 9 points higher), which will translate into better image quality. The advantage is based on 1.3 bits higher color depth, 0.5 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.4 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
|Canon 7D II||APS-C||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||22.4||11.8||1082||70||Canon 7D II|
|Sony A900||Full Frame||24.4||6048||4032||none||23.7||12.3||1431||79||Sony A900|
|Canon T6i||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/30p||22.7||12.0||919||71||Canon T6i|
|Canon T5||APS-C||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||21.9||11.3||724||63||Canon T5|
|Canon 70D||APS-C||20.0||5472||3648||1080/30p||22.5||11.6||926||68||Canon 70D|
|Canon SL1||APS-C||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||21.8||11.3||843||63||Canon SL1|
|Canon T5i||APS-C||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||21.7||11.2||681||61||Canon T5i|
|Canon 6D||Full Frame||20.0||5472||3648||1080/30p||23.8||12.1||2340||82||Canon 6D|
|Canon 60D||APS-C||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||22.2||11.5||813||66||Canon 60D|
|Canon 7D||APS-C||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||22.0||11.7||854||66||Canon 7D|
|Canon 50D||APS-C||15.1||4752||3168||none||21.8||11.4||696||63||Canon 50D|
|Canon 20D||APS-C||8.2||3504||2336||none||21.9||11.0||721||62||Canon 20D|
|Sony A9||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||24.9||13.3||3517||92||Sony A9|
|Sony A99 II||Full Frame||42.2||7952||5304||4K/30p||25.4||13.4||2317||92||Sony A99 II|
|Sony A7S II||Full Frame||12.0||4240||2832||4K/30p||23.6||13.3||2993||85||Sony A7S II|
|Sony A99||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||25.0||14.0||1555||89||Sony A99|
|Sony A850||Full Frame||24.4||6048||4032||none||23.8||12.2||1415||79||Sony A850|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The 7D Mark II indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the A900 does not. The highest resolution format that the 7D Mark II can use is 1080/60p.
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The 7D Mark II and the A900 are similar in the sense that both have an optical viewfinder. The latter is useful for getting a clear image for framing even in brightly lit environments. The viewfinders of both cameras offer the same field of view (100%), but the viewfinder of the A900 has a higher magnification than the one of the 7D Mark II (0.74x vs 0.63x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Canon 7D II and Sony A900 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|Canon 7D II||optical||Y||3.0||1040||fixed||n||1/8000s||10.0||Y||n||Canon 7D II|
|Sony A900||optical||Y||3.0||922||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||Y||Sony A900|
|Canon T6i||optical||n||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n||Canon T6i|
|Canon T5||optical||n||3.0||460||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n||Canon T5|
|Canon 70D||optical||Y||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||1/8000s||7.0||Y||n||Canon 70D|
|Canon SL1||optical||n||3.0||1040||fixed||Y||1/4000s||4.9||Y||n||Canon SL1|
|Canon T5i||optical||n||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n||Canon T5i|
|Canon 6D||optical||Y||3.0||1040||fixed||n||1/4000s||4.5||n||n||Canon 6D|
|Canon 60D||optical||Y||3.0||1040||swivel||n||1/8000s||5.3||Y||n||Canon 60D|
|Canon 7D||optical||Y||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/8000s||8.0||Y||n||Canon 7D|
|Canon 50D||optical||Y||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/8000s||6.3||Y||n||Canon 50D|
|Canon 20D||optical||Y||1.8||118||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0||Y||n||Canon 20D|
|Sony A9||3686||n||3.0||1440||tilting||Y||1/8000s||20.0||n||Y||Sony A9|
|Sony A99 II||2400||Y||3.0||1229||full-flex||n||1/8000s||12.0||n||Y||Sony A99 II|
|Sony A7S II||2400||n||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||Y||Sony A7S II|
|Sony A99||2359||Y||3.0||1229||full-flex||n||1/8000s||6.0||n||Y||Sony A99|
|Sony A850||optical||Y||3.0||922||fixed||n||1/8000s||3.0||n||Y||Sony A850|
One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The 7D Mark II has one, while the A900 does not. While the built-in flash of the 7D Mark II is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.
The Canon 7D II has an intervalometer built-in. This enables the photographer to capture time lapse sequences, such as flower blooming, a sunset or moon rise, without purchasing an external camera trigger and related software.
The 7D Mark II writes its imaging data to Compact Flash or SDXC cards, while the A900 uses Compact Flash or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards. Both cameras feature dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails.
For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Canon EOS 7D Mark II and Sony Alpha A900 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
|Canon 7D II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||-||-||-||Canon 7D II|
|Sony A900||Y||none||none||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Sony A900|
|Canon T6i||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-||Canon T6i|
|Canon T5||Y||mono||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon T5|
|Canon 70D||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-||Canon 70D|
|Canon SL1||Y||mono||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon SL1|
|Canon T5i||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon T5i|
|Canon 6D||Y||mono||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-||Canon 6D|
|Canon 60D||Y||mono||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 60D|
|Canon 7D||Y||mono||none||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 7D|
|Canon 50D||Y||none||none||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 50D|
|Canon 20D||Y||none||none||-||-||none||1.1||-||-||-||Canon 20D|
|Sony A9||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y||Sony A9|
|Sony A99 II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y||Sony A99 II|
|Sony A7S II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony A7S II|
|Sony A99||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Sony A99|
|Sony A850||Y||none||none||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Sony A850|
Both cameras feature a PC Sync terminal to control professional strobe lights, which will be appreciated by studio photographers.
Travel and landscape photographers will find it useful that the 7D Mark II has an internal geolocalization sensor and can record GPS coordinates in its EXIF data.
The 7D Mark II is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Canon. In contrast, the A900 has been discontinued (but it can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the A900 was succeeded by the Sony A99. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Canon and Sony websites.
So what conclusions can be drawn? Is the Canon 7D II better than the Sony A900 or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Advantages of the Canon EOS 7D Mark II:
- Broader imaging potential: Can record not only still images but also 1080/60p movies.
- Better live-view autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident autofocus.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1040k vs 922k dots).
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
- Easier geotagging: Features an internal GPS sensor to log localization data.
- Faster data transfer: Supports a more advanced USB protocol (3.0 vs 2.0).
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (40 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Reflects 6 years of technical progress since the A900 launch.
Arguments in favor of the Sony Alpha A900:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (24.4 vs 20MP), which boosts linear resolution by 11%.
- Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (9 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
- Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (1.3 bits more color depth).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (0.4 stops ISO advantage).
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.74x vs 0.63x).
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (880 versus 670) out of a single battery charge.
- Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in September 2008).
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the 7D Mark II emerges as the winner of the contest (10 : 8 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding on a new camera. A professional wedding photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a travel photog, and a person interested in cityscapes has distinct needs from a macro shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon 7D II and the Sony A900 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera listing whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the 7D Mark II or the A900 perform in practice. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.
This is why expert reviews are important. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, and photographyblog). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.
The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just make your choice using the following search menu. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
- Canon 50D vs Canon 7D II
- Canon 7D II vs Canon T5i
- Canon 7D II vs Fujifilm X-T200
- Canon 7D II vs Olympus E-1
- Canon 7D II vs Olympus TG-4
- Canon 7D II vs Panasonic FZ1000
- Canon 7D II vs Sony A6300
- Canon 7D II vs Sony NEX-5T
- Canon T6i vs Sony A900
- Leica V-LUX Typ 114 vs Sony A900
- Olympus E-P1 vs Sony A900
- Pentax MX-1 vs Sony A900
Specifications: Canon 7D II vs Sony A900
Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.
|Camera Model||Canon 7D II||Sony A900|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Canon EF mount lenses||Sony A mount lenses|
|Launch Date||September 2014||September 2008|
|Launch Price||USD 1799||USD 2999|
|Sensor Specs||Canon 7D II||Sony A900|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||Full Frame Sensor|
|Sensor Size||22.4 x 15.0 mm||35.9 x 24.0 mm|
|Sensor Area||336 mm2||861.6 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||27 mm||43.2 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||20 Megapixels||24.4 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||5472 x 3648 pixels||6048 x 4032 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||4.10 μm||5.94 μm|
|Pixel Density||5.94 MP/cm2||2.83 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/60p Video||no Video|
|ISO Setting||100-16000 ISO||200-3200 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100-51200 ISO||100-6400 ISO|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 6 (Dual)||BIONZ|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||70||79|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||22.4||23.7|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||11.8||12.3|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||1082||1431|
|Screen Specs||Canon 7D II||Sony A900|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||100%|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel||Control Panel|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0 inch||3.0 inch|
|LCD Resolution||1040k dots||922k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon 7D II||Sony A900|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||10 shutter flaps/s||5 shutter flaps/s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||no Intervalometer|
|Image Stabilization||Lens stabilization only||In-body stabilization|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||CF or SDXC cards||CF or MS cards|
|Second Storage Option||Dual card slots||Dual card slots|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon 7D II||Sony A900|
|Studio Flash||PC Sync socket||PC Sync socket|
|USB Connector||USB 3.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||no MIC socket|
|Headphone Socket||Headphone port||no Headphone port|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Geotagging||GPS built-in||no internal GPS|
|Body Specs||Canon 7D II||Sony A900|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||670 shots per charge||880 shots per charge|
149 x 112 x 78 mm
(5.9 x 4.4 x 3.1 in)
156 x 117 x 82 mm
(6.1 x 4.6 x 3.2 in)
|Camera Weight||910 g (32.1 oz)||895 g (31.6 oz)|
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