Nikon L840 vs Sony A7 III
The Nikon Coolpix L840 and the Sony Alpha A7 III are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in February 2015 and February 2018. The L840 is a fixed lens compact, while the A7 III is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on a 1/2.3-inch (L840) and a full frame (A7 III) sensor. The Nikon has a resolution of 15.9 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.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Nikon Coolpix L840 and the Sony Alpha A7 III? 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 side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Nikon L840 and the Sony A7 III. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The L840 can be obtained in two different colors (black, red), while the A7 III is only available in black.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony A7 III is notably larger (38 percent) than the Nikon L840. It is noteworthy in this context that the A7 III is splash and dust-proof, while the L840 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the L840 has a lens built in, whereas the A7 III is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup. You can compare the optics available for the A7 III and their specifications in the Sony FE Lens Catalog.
The power pack in the A7 III can be charged via the USB port, which can be very convenient when travelling.
The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, you can move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.
|1.||Nikon L840||113 mm||78 mm||96 mm||538 g||590||n||Feb 2015||299|
|2.||Sony A7 III||127 mm||96 mm||74 mm||650 g||610||Y||Feb 2018||1,999|
|3.||Canon SX530||120 mm||82 mm||92 mm||442 g||210||n||Jan 2015||429|
|4.||Canon SX520||120 mm||82 mm||92 mm||441 g||210||n||Jul 2014||399|
|5.||Canon SX60||128 mm||93 mm||114 mm||650 g||340||n||Sep 2014||549|
|6.||Leica X Typ 113||133 mm||73 mm||78 mm||486 g||350||n||Sep 2014||2,295|
|7.||Nikon B600||122 mm||82 mm||99 mm||500 g||280||n||Jan 2019||349|
|8.||Nikon Z6||134 mm||101 mm||67 mm||675 g||310||Y||Aug 2018||1,999|
|9.||Nikon B700||125 mm||85 mm||107 mm||565 g||350||n||Feb 2016||499|
|10.||Nikon B500||114 mm||78 mm||95 mm||541 g||600||n||Jan 2016||299|
|11.||Nikon P900||140 mm||103 mm||137 mm||899 g||360||n||Mar 2015||599|
|12.||Sony A7R IV||129 mm||96 mm||78 mm||665 g||670||Y||Jul 2019||3,499|
|13.||Sony A7R III||127 mm||96 mm||74 mm||650 g||650||Y||Oct 2017||3,199|
|14.||Sony A9||127 mm||96 mm||63 mm||673 g||650||Y||Apr 2017||4,499|
|15.||Sony HX80||102 mm||58 mm||36 mm||245 g||390||n||Mar 2016||349|
|16.||Sony A7 II||127 mm||96 mm||60 mm||599 g||350||Y||Nov 2014||1,999|
|17.||Sony H400||130 mm||95 mm||122 mm||628 g||300||n||Feb 2014||319|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. 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 L840 was launched at a lower price than the A7 III, despite having a lens built in. 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 imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. A large sensor will generally have larger individual pixels that offer better low-light sensitivity, provide wider dynamic range, and have richer color-depth than smaller pixels 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 tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Nikon L840 features a 1/2.3-inch sensor and the Sony A7 III a full frame sensor. The sensor area in the A7 III is 2925 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 5.6 and 1.0. The sensor in the L840 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the A7 III offers a 3:2 aspect.
With 24MP, the A7 III offers a higher resolution than the L840 (15.9MP), but the A7 III nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 5.94μm versus 1.33μm for the L840) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the A7 III is a much more recent model (by 3 years) than the L840, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the L840 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Sony A7 III implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the A7 III for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 30 x 20 inches or 76.2 x 50.8 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 24 x 16 inches or 61 x 40.6 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 20 x 13.3 inches or 50.8 x 33.9 cm. The corresponding values for the Nikon L840 are 23 x 17.3 inches or 58.5 x 43.9 cm for good quality, 18.4 x 13.8 inches or 46.8 x 35.1 cm for very good quality, and 15.4 x 11.5 inches or 39 x 29.3 cm for excellent quality prints.
The A7 III has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.
The Nikon Coolpix L840 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 6400. The corresponding ISO settings for the Sony Alpha A7 III are ISO 100 to ISO 51200, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 50-204800.
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. 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"). The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.
|2.||Sony A7 III||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||25.0||14.7||3730||96|
|6.||Leica X Typ 113||APS-C||16.1||4928||3264||1080/30p||..||..||..||..|
|8.||Nikon Z6||Full Frame||24.3||6048||4024||4K/30p||25.3||14.3||3299||95|
|12.||Sony A7R IV||Full Frame||60.2||9504||6336||4K/30p||26.0||14.8||3344||99|
|13.||Sony A7R III||Full Frame||42.2||7952||5304||4K/30p||26.0||14.7||3523||100|
|14.||Sony A9||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||24.9||13.3||3517||92|
|16.||Sony A7 II||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.9||13.6||2449||90|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the A7 III provides a better video resolution than the L840. It can shoot movie footage at 4K/30p, while the Nikon is limited to 1080/60i.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the A7 III has an electronic viewfinder (2359k dots), which can be very helpful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the L840 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Nikon L840 and Sony A7 III along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|1.||Nikon L840||none||n||3.0 / 921||tilting||n||1/4000s||7.4||Y||Y|
|2.||Sony A7 III||2359||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||Y||1/8000s||10.0||n||Y|
|3.||Canon SX530||none||n||3.0 / 461||fixed||n||1/2000s||1.6||Y||Y|
|4.||Canon SX520||none||n||3.0 / 461||fixed||n||1/2000s||1.6||Y||Y|
|5.||Canon SX60||922||n||3.0 / 922||swivel||n||1/2000s||6.4||Y||Y|
|6.||Leica X Typ 113||optional||n||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/2000s||5.0||Y||n|
|7.||Nikon B600||none||n||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/4000s||7.4||Y||Y|
|8.||Nikon Z6||3690||Y||3.2 / 2100||tilting||Y||1/8000s||12.0||n||Y|
|9.||Nikon B700||921||n||3.0 / 921||swivel||n||1/4000s||5.0||Y||Y|
|10.||Nikon B500||none||n||3.0 / 921||tilting||n||1/4000s||7.4||Y||Y|
|11.||Nikon P900||921||n||3.0 / 921||swivel||n||1/4000s||7.0||Y||Y|
|12.||Sony A7R IV||5760||n||3.0 / 1440||tilting||Y||1/8000s||10.0||n||Y|
|13.||Sony A7R III||3686||n||3.0 / 1440||tilting||Y||1/8000s||10.0||n||Y|
|14.||Sony A9||3686||n||3.0 / 1440||tilting||Y||1/8000s||20.0||n||Y|
|15.||Sony HX80||638||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||n||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y|
|16.||Sony A7 II||2400||n||3.0 / 1230||tilting||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||Y|
|17.||Sony H400||210||n||3.0 / 460||fixed||n||1/2000s||0.7||Y||Y|
One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The L840 has one, while the A7 III does not. While the built-in flash of the L840 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.
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 A7 III 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 Sony A7 III 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 L840 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the A7 III uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards. The A7 III features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the L840 only has one slot. The A7 III supports UHS-II cards on its first slot and UHS-I on its second one, while the L840 cannot take advantage of Ultra High Speed SD cards.
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 Coolpix L840 and Sony Alpha A7 III and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Nikon L840||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|2.||Sony A7 III||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||micro||3.1||Y||Y||Y|
|3.||Canon SX530||-||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|4.||Canon SX520||-||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|5.||Canon SX60||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|6.||Leica X Typ 113||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|7.||Nikon B600||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|8.||Nikon Z6||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||micro||3.1||Y||-||Y|
|9.||Nikon B700||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|10.||Nikon B500||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|11.||Nikon P900||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|12.||Sony A7R IV||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||micro||3.1||Y||Y||Y|
|13.||Sony A7R III||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||micro||3.1||Y||Y||Y|
|14.||Sony A9||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|15.||Sony HX80||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|16.||Sony A7 II||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|17.||Sony H400||-||mono / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
It is notable that the A7 III has a microphone port, which can help to improve the quality of audio recordings by attaching an external microphone. The L840 does not feature such a mic input.
The A7 III is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Sony. In contrast, the L840 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the L840 was succeeded by the Nikon B500. 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.
So how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Nikon L840 or the Sony A7 III – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Arguments in favor of the Nikon Coolpix L840:
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Ready to shoot: Has a lens built-in, whereas the A7 III requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (113x78mm vs 127x96mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter even though it comes with a built-in lens (unlike the A7 III).
- Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
- More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in February 2015).
Advantages of the Sony Alpha A7 III:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (24 vs 15.9MP), which boosts linear resolution by 25%.
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Better image quality: Is equipped with a larger and more technologically advanced sensor.
- Richer colors: The sensor size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
- More dynamic range: Larger sensor captures a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
- Better low-light sensitivity: Larger sensor produces good images even in poorly lit environments.
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 1080/60i).
- Better live-view autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident autofocus.
- Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
- Better sound control: Has a headphone port that enables audio monitoring while recording.
- Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 7.4 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- More flexible: Takes interchangeable lenses and can thus be used with specialty optics.
- Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
- Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
- Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
- Faster data transfer: Supports a more advanced USB protocol (3.1 vs 2.0).
- Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
- Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
- Faster buffer clearing: Supports Ultra High Speed (UHS-II and UHS-I) SDXC cards.
- More modern: Reflects 3 years of technical progress since the L840 launch.
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the A7 III is the clear winner of the contest (25 : 7 points). However, the relative importance of the various individual camera aspects will vary according to personal preferences and needs, so that you might like to apply corresponding weights to the particular features before making a decision 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 Nikon L840 and the Sony A7 III place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Superzoom Camera and Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera listings whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the L840 or the A7 III. 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 where reviews by experts come in. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], digitalcameraworld [DCW], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). 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.
|1.||Nikon L840||..||+ +||..||..||3.5/5||4/5||Feb 2015||299|
|2.||Sony A7 III||..||+ +||4.5/5||89/100||5/5||5/5||Feb 2018||1,999|
|3.||Canon SX530||..||+ +||..||..||4/5||4/5||Jan 2015||429|
|4.||Canon SX520||..||+||..||..||3.5/5||3.5/5||Jul 2014||399|
|5.||Canon SX60||3/5||+ +||..||75/100||4/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||549|
|6.||Leica X Typ 113||3.5/5||..||..||..||3.5/5||4/5||Sep 2014||2,295|
|7.||Nikon B600||..||+||..||..||3.5/5||3/5||Jan 2019||349|
|8.||Nikon Z6||5/5||..||5/5||89/100||4.5/5||5/5||Aug 2018||1,999|
|9.||Nikon B700||..||+||..||..||4/5||4/5||Feb 2016||499|
|10.||Nikon B500||..||+||..||..||4/5||3.5/5||Jan 2016||299|
|11.||Nikon P900||..||..||..||77/100||4/5||4/5||Mar 2015||599|
|12.||Sony A7R IV||5/5||+||4.5/5||91/100||4.5/5||5/5||Jul 2019||3,499|
|13.||Sony A7R III||..||+ +||4/5||90/100||4.5/5||5/5||Oct 2017||3,199|
|14.||Sony A9||5/5||+ +||4.8/5||89/100||5/5||5/5||Apr 2017||4,499|
|15.||Sony HX80||..||..||..||..||..||..||Mar 2016||349|
|16.||Sony A7 II||5/5||+||4/5||82/100||4.5/5||5/5||Nov 2014||1,999|
|17.||Sony H400||..||o||..||..||3.5/5||3.5/5||Feb 2014||319|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, 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 are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make your choice using the following search menu. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.
Specifications: Nikon L840 vs Sony A7 III
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||Nikon L840||Sony A7 III|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||22.5-855mm f/3.0-6.5||Sony E mount lenses|
|Launch Date||February 2015||February 2018|
|Launch Price||USD 299||USD 1,999|
|Sensor Specs||Nikon L840||Sony A7 III|
|Sensor Format||1/2.3" Sensor||Full Frame Sensor|
|Sensor Size||6.17 x 4.55 mm||35.6 x 23.8 mm|
|Sensor Area||28.0735 mm2||847.28 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||7.7 mm||42.8 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||15.9 Megapixels||24 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4608 x 3456 pixels||6000 x 4000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||1.33 μm||5.94 μm|
|Pixel Density||56.73 MP/cm2||2.83 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/60i Video||4K/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 6,400 ISO||100 - 51,200 ISO|
|ISO Boost||no Enhancement||50 - 204,800 ISO|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||96|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||25.0|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||14.7|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||3730|
|Screen Specs||Nikon L840||Sony A7 III|
|Viewfinder Type||no viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||2359k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||921k dots||922k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Tilting screen||Tilting screen|
|Touch Input||no Touchscreen||Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Nikon L840||Sony A7 III|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||On-Sensor Phase-detect|
|Manual Focusing Aid||no Peaking Feature||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/4000s||1/8000s|
|Continuous Shooting||7.4 shutter flaps/s||10 shutter flaps/s|
|Electronic Shutter||no E-Shutter||YES|
|Time-Lapse Photography||no Intervalometer||Intervalometer built-in|
|Image Stabilization||Lens-based stabilization||In-body stabilization|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||MS or SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Dual card slots|
|UHS card support||no||Single UHS-II|
|Connectivity Specs||Nikon L840||Sony A7 III|
|External Flash||no Hotshoe||Hotshoe|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 3.1|
|HDMI Port||micro HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Microphone Port||no MIC socket||External MIC port|
|Headphone Socket||no Headphone port||Headphone port|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||Wifi built-in|
|Near-Field Communication||NFC built-in||NFC built-in|
|Bluetooth Support||no Bluetooth||Bluetooth built-in|
|Body Specs||Nikon L840||Sony A7 III|
|Environmental Sealing||not weather sealed||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||590 shots per charge||610 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||no USB charging||USB charging|
113 x 78 x 96 mm
(4.4 x 3.1 x 3.8 in)
127 x 96 x 74 mm
(5.0 x 3.8 x 2.9 in)
|Camera Weight||538 g (19.0 oz)||650 g (22.9 oz)|
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