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Nikon D3 vs Sony A6500

The Nikon D3 and the Sony Alpha A6500 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in August 2007 and October 2016. The D3 is a DSLR, while the A6500 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on a full frame (D3) and an APS-C (A6500) sensor. The Nikon has a resolution of 12.1 megapixels, whereas the Sony provides 24 MP.

Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.

Headline Specifications
Nikon D3   Sony A6500
Nikon D3 Sony A6500
Digital single lens reflex Mirrorless system camera
Nikon F mount lenses Sony E mount lenses
12.1 MP, Full Frame Sensor 24 MP, APS-C Sensor
no Video 4K/30p Video
ISO 200-6400 (100-25600) ISO 100-25600 (100-51200)
Optical viewfinder Electronic viewfinder (2359k dots)
3.0" LCD, 922k dots 3.0" LCD, 922k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Tilting touchscreen
11 shutter flaps per second 11 shutter flaps per second
Lens stabilization onlyIn-body stabilization
Weathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
4300 shots per battery charge350 shots per battery charge
160 x 157 x 88 mm, 1300 g 120 x 67 x 53 mm, 453 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Nikon D3 and the Sony Alpha A6500? 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.

Body comparison: Nikon D3 vs Sony A6500

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Nikon D3 and the Sony A6500 is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Nikon D3 vs Sony A6500
Compare D3 versus A6500 top
Comparison D3 or A6500 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony A6500 is considerably smaller (68 percent) than the Nikon D3. Moreover, the A6500 is substantially lighter (65 percent) than the D3. 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. A larger imaging sensor will tend to go along with bigger and heavier lenses, although exceptions exist. You can compare the optics available for the two cameras in the Nikon Lens Catalog (D3) and the Sony E-Mount Lens Catalog (A6500). Mirrorless cameras, such as the A6500, have moreover the advantage that they can use many lenses from other systems via adapters, as they have a relatively short flange to focal plane distance.

Concerning battery life, the D3 gets 4300 shots out of its EN-EL4a battery, while the A6500 can take 350 images on a single charge of its NP-FW50 power pack. As can be seen in the images above, the D3 has a battery grip built in. This facilitates image-taking in portrait orientation and gives it additional battery power. In order to provide similar functionality for the A6500, there are third party battery grips available as optional accessories (see here on eBay). The power pack in the A6500 can be charged via the USB port, which can be very convenient when travelling.

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, just select a new right or left comparator from among the camera models in the table. Alternatively, you can also move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.

Camera Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(yes/no)
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
 
Nikon D3» 6.3 in 6.2 in 3.5 in 45.9 oz 4300 Y Aug 2007 4,999- i Nikon D3
 
Sony A6500« 4.7 in 2.6 in 2.1 in 16.0 oz 350 Y Oct 2016 1,399 i i Sony A6500
 
Canon 1D Mark III« » 6.1 in 6.2 in 3.1 in 40.7 oz 2200 Y Feb 2007 4,499- i Canon 1D Mark III
 
Fujifilm X-Pro2« » 5.6 in 3.3 in 1.8 in 17.5 oz 350 Y Jan 2016 1,699 i i Fujifilm X-Pro2
 
Nikon D5« » 6.3 in 6.3 in 3.6 in 49.9 oz 3780 Y Jan 2016 6,499 i i Nikon D5
 
Nikon D4S« » 6.3 in 6.2 in 3.6 in 47.6 oz 3020 Y Feb 2014 6,499- i Nikon D4S
 
Nikon D4« » 6.3 in 6.2 in 3.6 in 47.3 oz 2600 Y Jan 2012 5,999- i Nikon D4
 
Nikon D3S« » 6.3 in 6.2 in 3.5 in 43.7 oz 4200 Y Oct 2009 5,199- i Nikon D3S
 
Nikon D3X« » 6.3 in 6.2 in 3.5 in 44.4 oz 4400 Y Dec 2008 7,999- i Nikon D3X
 
Nikon D700« » 5.8 in 4.8 in 3.0 in 37.9 oz 1000 Y Jul 2008 2,999- i Nikon D700
 
Nikon D300« » 5.8 in 4.5 in 2.9 in 32.6 oz 1000 Y Aug 2007 1,799- i Nikon D300
 
Nikon D2Xs« » 6.2 in 5.9 in 3.4 in 44.2 oz 3800 Y Jun 2006 4,699- i Nikon D2Xs
 
Nikon D2X« » 6.2 in 5.9 in 3.4 in 44.2 oz 3800 Y Sep 2004 4,999- i Nikon D2X
 
Panasonic GX8« » 5.2 in 3.1 in 2.5 in 17.2 oz 330 Y Jul 2015 1,199- i Panasonic GX8
 
Sony A6300« » 4.7 in 2.6 in 1.9 in 14.3 oz 400 Y Feb 2016 999- i Sony A6300
 
Sony A77« » 5.6 in 4.1 in 3.2 in 25.8 oz 470 Y Aug 2011 1,399- i Sony A77
 
Sony NEX-7« » 4.7 in 2.6 in 1.7 in 14.1 oz 430 n Aug 2011 1,349- i Sony NEX-7
Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The retail prices at the time of the camera’s release place the model in the market relative to other models in the producer’s line-up and the competition. The A6500 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 72 percent) than the D3, 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.

 

Sensor comparison: Nikon D3 vs Sony A6500

The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. A large sensor will tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixel-units in a sensor of the same technological generation. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Nikon D3 features a full frame sensor and the Sony A6500 an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the A6500 is 57 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.0 and 1.5. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Technology-wise, both cameras are equipped with CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensors.

Nikon D3 and Sony A6500 sensor measures

Despite having a smaller sensor, the A6500 offers a higher resolution of 24 megapixels, compared with 12.1 MP of the D3. This megapixels advantage comes at the cost of a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 3.91μm versus 8.43μm for the D3). However, it should be noted that the A6500 is much more recent (by 9 years and 1 month) than the D3, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently.

The resolution advantage of the Sony A6500 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the A6500 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 30 x 20 inch or 76.2 x 50.8 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 24 x 16 inch or 61 x 40.6 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 20 x 13.3 inch or 50.8 x 33.9 cm. The corresponding values for the Nikon D3 are 21.3 x 14.2 inch or 54.1 x 36 cm for good quality, 17 x 11.3 inch or 43.2 x 28.8 cm for very good quality, and 14.2 x 9.4 inch or 36 x 24 cm for excellent quality prints.

The A6500 has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.

The Nikon D3 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 200 to ISO 6400, which can be extended to ISO 100-25600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Sony Alpha A6500 are ISO 100 to ISO 25600, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-51200.

D3 versus A6500 MP

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). Of the two cameras under consideration, the A6500 has a markedly higher DXO score than the D3 (overall score 4 points higher), which will translate into better image quality. The advantage is based on 1 bits higher color depth, 1.5 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.7 stops of reduced low light sensitivity. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Camera
Model
 
Nikon D3» Full Frame 12.1 4256 2832-23.512.2229081Nikon D3
 
Sony A6500« APS-C 24.0 6000 40004K/30p24.513.7140585Sony A6500
 
Canon 1D Mark III« » APS-H 10.1 3888 2592-22.711.7107871Canon 1D Mark III
 
Fujifilm X-Pro2« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p----Fujifilm X-Pro2
 
Nikon D5« » Full Frame 20.7 5588 37124K/30p25.112.3234388Nikon D5
 
Nikon D4S« » Full Frame 16.2 4928 32801080/60p24.413.3307489Nikon D4S
 
Nikon D4« » Full Frame 16.2 4928 32801080/30p24.713.1296589Nikon D4
 
Nikon D3S« » Full Frame 12.1 4256 2832720/24p23.512.0325382Nikon D3S
 
Nikon D3X« » Full Frame 24.4 6048 4032-24.713.7199288Nikon D3X
 
Nikon D700« » Full Frame 12.1 4256 2832-23.512.2230380Nikon D700
 
Nikon D300« » APS-C 12.2 4288 2848-22.112.067967Nikon D300
 
Nikon D2Xs« » APS-C 12.2 4288 2848-22.210.948959Nikon D2Xs
 
Nikon D2X« » APS-C 12.2 4288 2848-22.110.947659Nikon D2X
 
Panasonic GX8« » Four Thirds 20.2 5184 38884K/30p23.512.680675Panasonic GX8
 
Sony A6300« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40004K/30p24.413.7143785Sony A6300
 
Sony A77« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.013.280178Sony A77
 
Sony NEX-7« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60i24.113.4101681Sony NEX-7

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The A6500 indeed provides for movie recording, while the D3 does not. The highest resolution format that the A6500 can use is 4K/30p.

 

Feature comparison: Nikon D3 vs Sony A6500

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the A6500 has an electronic viewfinder (2359k dots), while the D3 has an optical one. Both systems have their advantages, with the electronic viewfinder making it possible to project supplementary shooting information into the framing view, whereas the optical viewfinder offers lag-free viewing and a very clear framing image. The viewfinders of both cameras offer the same field of view (100%), as well as the same magnification (0.70x). The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Nikon D3, the Sony A6500, and comparable cameras.

Core Features
  Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
'000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
('000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
Camera
Model
 
Nikon D3»optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 1/8000s 11.0 n n Nikon D3
 
Sony A6500«2359 n 3.0 922 tilting Y 1/4000s 11.0 Y Y Sony A6500
 
Canon 1D Mark III« »optical Y 3.0 230 fixed n 1/8000s 10.0 n n Canon 1D Mark III
 
Fujifilm X-Pro2« »2360 n 3.0 1620 fixed n 1/8000s 8.0 n n Fujifilm X-Pro2
 
Nikon D5« »optical Y 3.2 2359 fixed Y 1/8000s 14.0 n n Nikon D5
 
Nikon D4S« »optical Y 3.2 921 fixed n 1/8000s 11.0 n n Nikon D4S
 
Nikon D4« »optical Y 3.2 921 fixed n 1/8000s 11.0 n n Nikon D4
 
Nikon D3S« »optical Y 3.0 921 fixed n 1/8000s 11.0 n n Nikon D3S
 
Nikon D3X« »optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 n n Nikon D3X
 
Nikon D700« »optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 1/8000s 8.0 Y n Nikon D700
 
Nikon D300« »optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 1/8000s 6.0 Y n Nikon D300
 
Nikon D2Xs« »optical Y 2.5 230 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 n n Nikon D2Xs
 
Nikon D2X« »optical Y 2.5 235 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 n n Nikon D2X
 
Panasonic GX8« »2360 n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/8000s 10.0 n Y Panasonic GX8
 
Sony A6300« »2359 n 3.0 922 tilting n 1/4000s 11.0 Y n Sony A6300
 
Sony A77« »2359 Y 3.0 921 full-flex n 1/8000s 12.0 Y Y Sony A77
 
Sony NEX-7« »2359 n 3.0 921 tilting n 1/4000s 10.0 Y n Sony NEX-7

One feature that is present on the D3, but is missing on the A6500 is a top-level LCD. While being, of course, smaller than the rear screen, the control panel conveys some of the essential shooting information and can be convenient for quick and easy settings verification.

The reported shutter speed information refers to the use of the mechanical shutter. Yet, some cameras only have an electronic shutter, while others have an electronic shutter in addition to a mechanical one. In fact, the A6500 is one of those camera that have an additional electronic shutter, which makes completely silent shooting possible. However, this mode is less suitable for photographing moving objects (risk of rolling shutter) or shooting under artificial light sources (risk of flickering).

The Nikon D3 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 D3 writes its imaging data to Compact Flash cards, while the A6500 uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards. The D3 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the A6500 only has one slot.

 

Connectivity comparison: Nikon D3 vs Sony A6500

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 Nikon D3 and Sony Alpha A6500 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Type
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
Camera
Model
 
Nikon D3»Y----mini2.0---Nikon D3
 
Sony A6500«YstereomonoY-micro2.0YY-Sony A6500
 
Canon 1D Mark III« »Y-----2.0---Canon 1D Mark III
 
Fujifilm X-Pro2« »YstereomonoY-micro2.0Y--Fujifilm X-Pro2
 
Nikon D5« »YstereomonoYYmini3.0---Nikon D5
 
Nikon D4S« »YmonomonoYYmini2.0---Nikon D4S
 
Nikon D4« »Ymonomono--micro2.0---Nikon D4
 
Nikon D3S« »Ystereo---mini2.0---Nikon D3S
 
Nikon D3X« »Y----mini2.0---Nikon D3X
 
Nikon D700« »Y----mini2.0---Nikon D700
 
Nikon D300« »Y----mini2.0---Nikon D300
 
Nikon D2Xs« »Y-----2.0---Nikon D2Xs
 
Nikon D2X« »Y-----2.0---Nikon D2X
 
Panasonic GX8« »YstereomonoY-micro2.0YY-Panasonic GX8
 
Sony A6300« »YstereomonoY-micro2.0YY-Sony A6300
 
Sony A77« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0---Sony A77
 
Sony NEX-7« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0---Sony NEX-7

It is notable that the A6500 offers wifi support, which can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location. In contrast, the D3 does not offer wifi capability.

Studio photographers will appreciate that the Nikon D3 (unlike the A6500) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.

The A6500 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Sony. In contrast, the D3 has been discontinued (but it can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the D3 was succeeded by the Nikon D4. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Nikon and Sony websites.


Review summary: Nikon D3 vs Sony A6500

So how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Nikon D3 or the Sony A6500 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.

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Arguments in favor of the Nikon D3:

  • Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (0.7 stops ISO advantage).
  • Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
  • Easier setting verification: Features an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
  • Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
  • More portrait friendly: Features an integrated vertical grip for easier portrait shooting.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (4300 versus 350) on a single battery charge.
  • Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
  • Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in August 2007).

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Reasons to prefer the Sony Alpha A6500:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (24 vs 12.1MP), which boosts linear resolution by 41%.
  • Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (4 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
  • More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (1.5 EV of extra DR).
  • Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 4K/30p video.
  • Better live-view autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident autofocus.
  • More framing info: Has an electronic viewfinder that displays shooting data.
  • More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
  • Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
  • Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
  • More compact: Is smaller (120x67mm vs 160x157mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 847g or 65 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
  • Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
  • More legacy lens friendly: Can use many non-native lenses via adapters.
  • Easier fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.
  • Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
  • Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (72 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Reflects 9 years and 1 month of technical progress since the D3 launch.

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the A6500 is the clear winner of the contest (18 : 10 points). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision. 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.

D3 10:18 A6500

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Nikon D3 and the Sony A6500 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera and Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera listings 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 D3 or the A6500 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.

Expert reviews: Nikon D3 vs Sony A6500

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.

Review Scores
  Camera
Model
cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
 
Nikon D3»-+ +5/5o4.5/5 Aug 2007 4,999- i Nikon D3
 
Sony A6500«+ +85/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Oct 2016 1,399 i i Sony A6500
 
Canon 1D Mark III« »---o- Feb 2007 4,499- i Canon 1D Mark III
 
Fujifilm X-Pro2« »+83/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jan 2016 1,699 i i Fujifilm X-Pro2
 
Nikon D5« »-89/1004.5/55/55/5 Jan 2016 6,499 i i Nikon D5
 
Nikon D4S« »--4.5/55/54.5/5 Feb 2014 6,499- i Nikon D4S
 
Nikon D4« »--4.5/5-4.5/5 Jan 2012 5,999- i Nikon D4
 
Nikon D3S« »-89/1004.5/55/55/5 Oct 2009 5,199- i Nikon D3S
 
Nikon D3X« »-86/1004/55/55/5 Dec 2008 7,999- i Nikon D3X
 
Nikon D700« »89/100+ +4.5/55/54.5/5 Jul 2008 2,999- i Nikon D700
 
Nikon D300« »+ ++ +5/5o4.5/5 Aug 2007 1,799- i Nikon D300
 
Nikon D2Xs« »---o- Jun 2006 4,699- i Nikon D2Xs
 
Nikon D2X« »-+ +-o- Sep 2004 4,999- i Nikon D2X
 
Panasonic GX8« »+82/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Jul 2015 1,199- i Panasonic GX8
 
Sony A6300« »+85/1005/55/55/5 Feb 2016 999- i Sony A6300
 
Sony A77« »91/10081/100-4.5/55/5 Aug 2011 1,399- i Sony A77
 
Sony NEX-7« »+ +81/1004.5/55/55/5 Aug 2011 1,349- i Sony NEX-7
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (-) not available.

The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.

Nikon D3:
Check Ebay offers
Sony A6500:
Check Amazon price

Other camera comparisons

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    Specifications: Nikon D3 vs Sony A6500

    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 Specifications
    Camera Model Nikon D3 Sony A6500
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Mirrorless system camera
    Camera Lens Nikon F mount lenses Sony E mount lenses
    Launch Date August 2007 October 2016
    Launch Price USD 4999 USD 1399
    Sensor Specs Nikon D3 Sony A6500
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format Full Frame Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 36.0 x 23.9 mm 23.5 x 15.6 mm
    Sensor Area 860.4 mm2 366.6 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 43.2 mm 28.2 mm
    Crop Factor 1.0x 1.5x
    Sensor Resolution 12.1 Megapixels 24 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4256 x 2832 pixels 6000 x 4000 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 8.43 μm 3.91 μm
    Pixel Density 1.40 MP/cm2 6.55 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability no Video 4K/30p Video
    ISO Setting 200-6400 ISO 100-25600 ISO
    ISO Boost 100-25600 ISO 100-51200 ISO
    Image Processor EXPEED BIONZ X
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 81 85
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 23.5 24.5
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 12.2 13.7
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 2290 1405
    Screen Specs Nikon D3 Sony A6500
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Electronic viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100% 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.70x 0.70x
    Viewfinder Resolution 2359k dots
    Top-Level Screen Control Panel no Top Display
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0 inch 3.0 inch
    LCD Resolution 922k dots 922k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Tilting screen
    Touch Input no Touchscreen Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs Nikon D3 Sony A6500
    Autofocus System Phase-detect AF On-Sensor Phase-detect
    Manual Focusing AidNo Peaking FeatureFocus Peaking
    Max Shutter Speed (mechanical) 1/8000/s 1/4000/s
    Continuous Shooting 11 shutter flaps/s 11 shutter flaps/s
    Shutter Life Expectancy300 000 actuations200 000 actuations
    Electronic Shutterno E-ShutterYES
    Time-Lapse PhotographyIntervalometer built-inno Intervalometer
    Image StabilizationLens stabilization onlyIn-body stabilization
    Fill Flash no On-Board Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium CF cards MS or SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Dual card slots Single card slot
    Connectivity Specs Nikon D3 Sony A6500
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    Studio Flash PC Sync socket no PC Sync
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI micro HDMI
    Microphone Port no MIC socket External MIC port
    Wifi Support no Wifi Wifi built-in
    Near-Field Communication no NFC NFC built-in
    Body Specs Nikon D3 Sony A6500
    Environmental SealingWeathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
    Battery Type EN-EL4a power pack NP-FW50 power pack
    Battery Life (CIPA)4300 shots per charge350 shots per charge
    In-Camera Charging no USB charging USB charging
    Body Dimensions 160 x 157 x 88 mm
    (6.3 x 6.2 x 3.5 in)
    120 x 67 x 53 mm
    (4.7 x 2.6 x 2.1 in)
    Camera Weight 1300 g (45.9 oz) 453 g (16.0 oz)

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