Nikon P7800 vs Sony A99
The Nikon Coolpix P7800 and the Sony Alpha SLT-A99 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in September 2013 and September 2012. The P7800 is a fixed lens compact, while the A99 is a DSLR. The cameras are based on a 1/1.7-inch (P7800) and a full frame (A99) sensor. The Nikon has a resolution of 12 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 P7800 and the Sony Alpha SLT-A99? 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 P7800 and the Sony A99. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All width, height and depth measures 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 A99 is considerably larger (76 percent) than the Nikon P7800. It is noteworthy in this context that the A99 is splash and dust-proof, while the P7800 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the P7800 has a lens built in, whereas the A99 is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup.
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, you can move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.
|1.||Nikon P7800||119 mm||78 mm||50 mm||399 g||350||n||Sep 2013||549|
|2.||Sony A99||147 mm||111 mm||78 mm||812 g||500||Y||Sep 2012||2,799|
|3.||Canon G16||109 mm||76 mm||40 mm||356 g||360||n||Aug 2013||549|
|4.||Canon G15||107 mm||76 mm||40 mm||352 g||350||n||Sep 2012||499|
|5.||Canon G12||112 mm||76 mm||48 mm||401 g||370||n||Sep 2010||499|
|6.||Fujifilm X30||119 mm||72 mm||60 mm||423 g||470||n||Aug 2014||599|
|7.||Fujifilm X20||117 mm||70 mm||57 mm||353 g||270||n||Jan 2013||599|
|8.||Fujifilm X10||117 mm||70 mm||57 mm||350 g||270||n||Sep 2011||599|
|9.||Olympus Stylus 1||116 mm||87 mm||57 mm||402 g||410||n||Oct 2013||699|
|10.||Panasonic LF1||103 mm||62 mm||28 mm||192 g||250||n||Apr 2013||499|
|11.||Panasonic LX7||111 mm||68 mm||46 mm||298 g||330||n||Jul 2012||499|
|12.||Pentax MX-1||122 mm||61 mm||51 mm||391 g||290||n||Jan 2013||499|
|13.||Sony A9 II||129 mm||96 mm||76 mm||678 g||690||Y||Oct 2019||4,499|
|14.||Sony A99 II||143 mm||104 mm||76 mm||849 g||490||Y||Sep 2016||3,199|
|15.||Sony A77||143 mm||104 mm||81 mm||732 g||470||Y||Aug 2011||1,399|
|16.||Sony A850||156 mm||117 mm||82 mm||895 g||880||Y||Aug 2009||1,999|
|17.||Sony A900||156 mm||117 mm||82 mm||895 g||880||Y||Sep 2008||2,999|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The P7800 was launched at a lower price than the A99, 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.
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. 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 P7800 features a 1/1.7-inch sensor and the Sony A99 a full frame sensor. The sensor area in the A99 is 1881 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 4.5 and 1.0. The sensor in the P7800 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the A99 offers a 3:2 aspect.
With 24MP, the A99 offers a higher resolution than the P7800 (12MP), but the A99 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 5.96μm versus 1.89μm for the P7800) due to its larger sensor. However, the P7800 is a somewhat more recent model (by 11 months) than the A99, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units.
The resolution advantage of the Sony A99 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the A99 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 P7800 are 20 x 15 inches or 50.8 x 38.1 cm for good quality, 16 x 12 inches or 40.6 x 30.5 cm for very good quality, and 13.3 x 10 inches or 33.9 x 25.4 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Nikon Coolpix P7800 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 80 to ISO 3200, which can be extended to ISO 80-6400. The corresponding ISO settings for the Sony Alpha SLT-A99 are ISO 100 to ISO 25600, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 50-25600.
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. Of the two cameras under consideration, the A99 offers substantially better image quality than the P7800 (overall score 35 points higher). The advantage is based on 3.8 bits higher color depth, 2.3 EV in additional dynamic range, and 3 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
| DXO |
|2.||Sony A99||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||25.0||14.0||1555||89|
|9.||Olympus Stylus 1||1/1.7||11.8||3968||2976||1080/30p||20.7||11.6||179||51|
|13.||Sony A9 II||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||25.0||14.0||3434||93|
|14.||Sony A99 II||Full Frame||42.2||7952||5304||4K/30p||25.4||13.4||2317||92|
|16.||Sony A850||Full Frame||24.4||6048||4032||none||23.8||12.2||1415||79|
|17.||Sony A900||Full Frame||24.4||6048||4032||none||23.7||12.3||1431||79|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, but the A99 provides a faster frame rate than the P7800. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/60p, while the Nikon is limited to 1080/30p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The two cameras under review are similar with respect to both having an electronic viewfinder. However, the one in the A99 offers a substantially higher resolution than the one in the P7800 (2359k vs 921k dots). The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Nikon P7800 and Sony A99 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|9.||Olympus Stylus 1||1440||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||7.0||Y||Y|
|13.||Sony A9 II||3686||n||3.0||1440||tilting||Y||1/8000s||10.0||n||Y|
|14.||Sony A99 II||2400||Y||3.0||1229||full-flex||n||1/8000s||12.0||n||Y|
One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The P7800 has one, while the A99 does not. While the built-in flash of the P7800 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.Both cameras have an articulated rear screen that can be turned to be front-facing. This feature will be particularly appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in taking selfies.
The Nikon P7800 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 P7800 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the A99 uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards. The A99 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the P7800 only has one slot. The A99 supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the P7800 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 P7800 and Sony Alpha SLT-A99 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|9.||Olympus Stylus 1||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|13.||Sony A9 II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||3.1||Y||Y||Y|
|14.||Sony A99 II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Sony A99 (unlike the P7800) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
Travel and landscape photographers will find it useful that the A99 has an internal geolocalization sensor and can record GPS coordinates in its EXIF data.
Both the P7800 and the A99 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The A99 was replaced by the Sony A99 II, while the P7800 does not have a direct successor. 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 what is the bottom line? Which of the two cameras – the Nikon P7800 or the Sony A99 – 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.
Advantages of the Nikon Coolpix P7800:
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (8 vs 6 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- Ready to shoot: Comes with a built-in lens, while the A99 requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (119x78mm vs 147x111mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter even though it comes with a built-in lens (unlike the A99).
- 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 modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 11 months after the A99).
Reasons to prefer the Sony Alpha SLT-A99:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (24 vs 12MP), which boosts linear resolution by 44%.
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (35 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
- Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (3.8 bits more color depth).
- More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (2.3 EV of extra DR).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (3 stops ISO advantage).
- Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60p versus 1080/30p).
- Better sound control: Has a headphone port that enables audio monitoring while recording.
- More detailed viewfinder: Has higher resolution electronic viewfinder (2359k vs 921k dots).
- Easier setting verification: Features a control panel on top to check shooting parameters.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1229k vs 921k dots).
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
- More flexible: Makes it possible to change lenses and thus to use specialty optics.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (500 versus 350) out of a single battery charge.
- Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
- Easier geotagging: Features an internal GPS sensor to log localization data.
- 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.
- Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in September 2012).
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the A99 is the clear winner of the contest (19 : 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 sports photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a street photog, and a person interested in family portraits has distinct needs from a landscape 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 P7800 and the Sony A99 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Travel-Zoom Camera and Best DSLR Camera listings whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the P7800 or the A99. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate.
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 (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], 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 P7800||3/5||..||..||4/5||4.5/5||Sep 2013||549|
|2.||Sony A99||5/5||..||84/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||2,799|
|3.||Canon G16||4/5||+||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2013||549|
|4.||Canon G15||4/5||+||76/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||499|
|5.||Canon G12||4/5||+||73/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2010||499|
|6.||Fujifilm X30||4/5||..||76/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2014||599|
|7.||Fujifilm X20||4/5||+ +||77/100||4.5/5||5/5||Jan 2013||599|
|8.||Fujifilm X10||..||..||76/100||4/5||4.5/5||Sep 2011||599|
|9.||Olympus Stylus 1||..||+ +||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2013||699|
|10.||Panasonic LF1||3/5||+||..||4/5||4.5/5||Apr 2013||499|
|11.||Panasonic LX7||3/5||+ +||75/100||4/5||4.5/5||Jul 2012||499|
|12.||Pentax MX-1||3/5||..||74/100||4/5||4/5||Jan 2013||499|
|13.||Sony A9 II||..||..||90/100||5/5||5/5||Oct 2019||4,499|
|14.||Sony A99 II||..||..||85/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2016||3,199|
|15.||Sony A77||5/5||91/100||81/100||..||5/5||Aug 2011||1,399|
|16.||Sony A850||3/5||..||75/100||..||4.5/5||Aug 2009||1,999|
|17.||Sony A900||..||+ +||+ +||4.5/5||5/5||Sep 2008||2,999|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
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. 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 a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
Specifications: Nikon P7800 vs Sony A99
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 P7800||Sony A99|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||28-200mm f/2.0-4.0||Sony A mount lenses|
|Launch Date||September 2013||September 2012|
|Launch Price||USD 549||USD 2,799|
|Sensor Specs||Nikon P7800||Sony A99|
|Sensor Format||1/1.7" Sensor||Full Frame Sensor|
|Sensor Size||7.6 x 5.7 mm||35.8 x 23.8 mm|
|Sensor Area||43.32 mm2||852.04 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||9.5 mm||43 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||12 Megapixels||24 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4000 x 3000 pixels||6000 x 4000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||1.89 μm||5.96 μm|
|Pixel Density||27.70 MP/cm2||2.82 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/30p Video||1080/60p Video|
|ISO Setting||80 - 3,200 ISO||100 - 25,600 ISO|
|ISO Boost||80 - 6,400 ISO||50 - 25,600 ISO|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||54||89|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||21.2||25.0|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||11.7||14.0|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||200||1555|
|Screen Specs||Nikon P7800||Sony A99|
|Viewfinder Type||Electronic viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||921k dots||2359k dots|
|Top-Level Screen||no Top Display||Control Panel|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||921k dots||1229k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Swivel screen||Fully flexible screen|
|Shooting Specs||Nikon P7800||Sony A99|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||no Peaking Feature||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/4000s||1/8000s|
|Continuous Shooting||8 shutter flaps/s||6 shutter flaps/s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||no Intervalometer|
|Image Stabilization||Lens-based stabilization||In-body stabilization|
|Fill Flash||Build-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||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Nikon P7800||Sony A99|
|Studio Flash||no PC Sync||PC Sync socket|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||External MIC port|
|Headphone Socket||no Headphone port||Headphone port|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Geotagging||no internal GPS||GPS built-in|
|Body Specs||Nikon P7800||Sony A99|
|Environmental Sealing||not weather sealed||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||350 shots per charge||500 shots per charge|
119 x 78 x 50 mm
(4.7 x 3.1 x 2.0 in)
147 x 111 x 78 mm
(5.8 x 4.4 x 3.1 in)
|Camera Weight||399 g (14.1 oz)||812 g (28.6 oz)|
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