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Nikon Z7 vs Sony A7R III

The Nikon Z7 and the Sony Alpha A7R III are two enthusiast cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in August 2018 and October 2017. Both the Z7 and the A7R III are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are equipped with a full frame sensor. The Nikon has a resolution of 45.4 megapixels, whereas the Sony provides 42.2 MP.

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

Headline Specifications
Nikon Z7   Sony A7R III
Nikon Z7 Sony A7R III
Mirrorless system camera Mirrorless system camera
Nikon Z mount lenses Sony E mount lenses
45.4 MP, Full Frame Sensor 42.2 MP, Full Frame Sensor
4K/30p Video 4K/30p Video
ISO 64-25600 (32-102400) ISO 100-32000 (50-102400)
Electronic viewfinder (3690k dots) Electronic viewfinder (3686k dots)
3.2" LCD, 2100k dots 3.0" LCD, 1440k dots
Tilting touchscreen Tilting touchscreen
9 shutter flaps per second 10 shutter flaps per second
In-body stabilizationIn-body stabilization
Weathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
330 shots per battery charge650 shots per battery charge
134 x 101 x 67 mm, 675 g 127 x 96 x 74 mm, 650 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Nikon Z7 and the Sony Alpha A7R 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.

Body comparison: Nikon Z7 vs Sony A7R III

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Nikon Z7 and the Sony A7R III. 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.

Size Nikon Z7 vs Sony A7R III
Compare Z7 versus A7R III top
Comparison Z7 or A7R III rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony A7R III is notably smaller (10 percent) than the Nikon Z7. Moreover, the A7R III is slightly lighter (4 percent) than the Z7. 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.

Concerning battery life, the Z7 gets 330 shots out of its EN-EL15b battery, while the A7R III can take 650 images on a single charge of its NP-FZ100 power pack. The battery packs of both cameras can be charged via USB, which can be very convenient when travelling.

The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, just use the right or left arrows in the table to switch to the respective camera. Alternatively, you can also navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from the full list of cameras 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 Z7» 5.3 in 4.0 in 2.6 in 23.8 oz 330 Y Aug 2018 3,399 i i Nikon Z7
 
Sony A7R III« 5.0 in 3.8 in 2.9 in 22.9 oz 650 Y Oct 2017 3,199 i i Sony A7R III
 
Nikon Z6« » 5.3 in 4.0 in 2.6 in 23.8 oz 310 Y Aug 2018 1,999 i i Nikon Z6
 
Nikon D850« » 5.7 in 4.9 in 3.1 in 35.5 oz 1840 Y Jul 2017 3,299 i i Nikon D850
 
Panasonic S1R« » 5.9 in 4.3 in 3.8 in 35.8 oz 380 Y Feb 2019 3,699 i i Panasonic S1R
 
Sony A7 III« » 5.0 in 3.8 in 2.9 in 22.9 oz 610 Y Feb 2018 1,999 i i Sony A7 III
 
Sony A9« » 5.0 in 3.8 in 2.5 in 23.7 oz 650 Y Apr 2017 4,499 i i Sony A9
 
Sony A99 II« » 5.6 in 4.1 in 3.0 in 29.9 oz 490 Y Sep 2016 3,199 i i Sony A99 II
 
Sony A7R II« » 5.0 in 3.8 in 2.4 in 22.0 oz 290 Y Jun 2015 3,199- i Sony A7R II
 
Sony A7S II« » 5.0 in 3.8 in 2.4 in 22.1 oz 370 Y Sep 2015 2,999 i i Sony A7S II
 
Sony A99« » 5.8 in 4.4 in 3.1 in 28.6 oz 500 Y Sep 2012 2,799- i Sony A99
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 A7R III was somewhat cheaper (by 6 percent) than the Z7 at launch, but both cameras fall into the same price category. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. 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.

 

Sensor comparison: Nikon Z7 vs Sony A7R III

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.

Both cameras under consideration feature a full frame sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. They nevertheless have the same format factor of 1.0. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

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

Nikon Z7 and Sony A7R III sensor measures

Despite having a slightly smaller sensor, the Nikon Z7 offers a higher resolution of 45.4 megapixels, compared with 42.2 MP of the Sony A7R III. 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 4.35μm versus 4.52μm for the A7R III). However, it should be noted that the Z7 is a somewhat more recent model (by 9 months) than the A7R III, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that partly offset its pixel-size disadvantage. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that neither of the two cameras has an anti-alias filter installed, so they are able to capture all the detail the sensor resolves.

Unlike the Z7, the A7R III has the capacity to capture high quality composite images by combining multiple shots after shifting its sensor by miniscule distances. This multi-shot, pixel-shift mode is most suitable for photography of stationary objects (landscapes, studio scenes).

The Nikon Z7 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 64 to ISO 25600, which can be extended to ISO 32-102400. The corresponding ISO settings for the Sony Alpha A7R III are ISO 100 to ISO 32000, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 50-102400.

Z7 versus A7R III MP

For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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"). The Overall DXO ratings for the two cameras under consideration are close, suggesting that they provide similar imaging performance. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-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 Z7» Full Frame 45.4 8256 55044K/30p26.314.6266899Nikon Z7
 
Sony A7R III« Full Frame 42.2 7952 53044K/30p26.014.73523100Sony A7R III
 
Nikon Z6« » Full Frame 24.3 6048 40244K/30p25.314.3329995Nikon Z6
 
Nikon D850« » Full Frame 45.4 8256 55044K/30p26.414.82660100Nikon D850
 
Panasonic S1R« » Full Frame 46.7 8368 55844K/60p26.414.13525100Panasonic S1R
 
Sony A7 III« » Full Frame 24.0 6000 40004K/30p25.014.7373096Sony A7 III
 
Sony A9« » Full Frame 24.0 6000 40004K/30p24.913.3351792Sony A9
 
Sony A99 II« » Full Frame 42.2 7952 53044K/30p25.413.4231792Sony A99 II
 
Sony A7R II« » Full Frame 42.2 7952 53044K/30p26.013.9343498Sony A7R II
 
Sony A7S II« » Full Frame 12.0 4240 28324K/30p23.613.3299385Sony A7S II
 
Sony A99« » Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p25.014.0155589Sony A99

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, and both provide the same movie specifications (4K/30p).

 

Feature comparison: Nikon Z7 vs Sony A7R III

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The two cameras under consideration are similar with respect to both having an electronic viewfinder. However, the one in the Z7 offers a slightly higher resolution than the one in the A7R III (3690k vs 3686k dots). The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Nikon Z7, the Sony A7R III, 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 Z7»3690 Y 3.2 2100 tilting Y 1/8000s 9.0 n Y Nikon Z7
 
Sony A7R III«3686 n 3.0 1440 tilting Y 1/8000s 10.0 n Y Sony A7R III
 
Nikon Z6« »3690 Y 3.2 2100 tilting Y 1/8000s 12.0 n Y Nikon Z6
 
Nikon D850« »optical Y 3.2 2359 tilting Y 1/8000s 9.0 n n Nikon D850
 
Panasonic S1R« »5760 Y 3.2 2100 full-flex Y 1/8000s 9.0 n Y Panasonic S1R
 
Sony A7 III« »2359 n 3.0 922 tilting Y 1/8000s 10.0 n Y Sony A7 III
 
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 A7R II« »2400 n 3.0 1229 tilting n 1/8000s 5.0 n Y Sony A7R 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

One feature that is present on the Z7, but is missing on the A7R III 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 A7R 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 Nikon Z7 and the Sony A7R III both have 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 Z7 writes its imaging data to XQD cards, while the A7R III uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards. The A7R III features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the Z7 only has one slot.

 

Connectivity comparison: Nikon Z7 vs Sony A7R III

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 Z7 and Sony Alpha A7R III 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 Z7»YstereomonoYYmicro3.1Y-YNikon Z7
 
Sony A7R III«YstereomonoYYmicro3.1YYYSony A7R III
 
Nikon Z6« »YstereomonoYYmicro3.1Y-YNikon Z6
 
Nikon D850« »YstereomonoYYmini3.0YYYNikon D850
 
Panasonic S1R« »YstereomonoYYfull3.1Y-YPanasonic S1R
 
Sony A7 III« »YstereomonoYYmicro3.1YYYSony A7 III
 
Sony A9« »YstereomonoYYmicro2.0YYYSony A9
 
Sony A99 II« »YstereomonoYYmicro2.0YYYSony A99 II
 
Sony A7R II« »YstereomonoYYmicro2.0YY-Sony A7R II
 
Sony A7S II« »YstereomonoYYmicro2.0YY-Sony A7S II
 
Sony A99« »YstereomonoYYmini2.0---Sony A99

Studio photographers will appreciate that the Sony A7R III (unlike the Z7) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.

Both the Z7 and the A7R III are recent models that are part of the current product line-up. The A7R III replaced the earlier Sony A7R II, while the Z7 does not have a direct predecessor. 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 Z7 vs Sony A7R III

So what conclusions can be drawn? Is there a clear favorite between the Nikon Z7 and the Sony A7R III? Which camera is better? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.

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Arguments in favor of the Nikon Z7:

  • Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.80x vs 0.78x).
  • Easier setting verification: Features an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.2" vs 3.0") for image review and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (2100k vs 1440k dots).
  • More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 9 months after the A7R III).

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Reasons to prefer the Sony Alpha A7R III:

  • High quality composites: Can combine several shots after pixel-shifting its sensor.
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (0.4 stops ISO advantage).
  • Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (650 versus 330) out of a single battery charge.
  • Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
  • 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 on the market for longer (launched in October 2017).

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the A7R III emerges as the winner of the match-up (8 : 5 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.

Z7 05:08 A7R III

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Nikon Z7 and the Sony A7R III place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera listing 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 says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the Z7 and the A7R III in practical situations. 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.

Expert reviews: Nikon Z7 vs Sony A7R III

This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular 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 Z7»+89/1004.5/54.5/55/5 Aug 2018 3,399 i i Nikon Z7
 
Sony A7R III«+ +90/1004.5/55/55/5 Oct 2017 3,199 i i Sony A7R III
 
Nikon Z6« »--4.5/5-5/5 Aug 2018 1,999 i i Nikon Z6
 
Nikon D850« »+ +89/1004.5/55/55/5 Jul 2017 3,299 i i Nikon D850
 
Panasonic S1R« »--4.5/5-4.5/5 Feb 2019 3,699 i i Panasonic S1R
 
Sony A7 III« »+ +89/1005/55/55/5 Feb 2018 1,999 i i Sony A7 III
 
Sony A9« »+ +89/1005/55/55/5 Apr 2017 4,499 i i Sony A9
 
Sony A99 II« »-85/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2016 3,199 i i Sony A99 II
 
Sony A7R II« »+ +90/1005/54.5/55/5 Jun 2015 3,199- i Sony A7R II
 
Sony A7S II« »+-4.5/55/55/5 Sep 2015 2,999 i i Sony A7S II
 
Sony A99« »-84/1004.5/5o4.5/5 Sep 2012 2,799- i Sony A99
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (-) not available.

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, 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. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

Nikon Z7:
Check Amazon price
Sony A7R III:
Check Amazon price

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 use the search menu below. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.

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    Specifications: Nikon Z7 vs Sony A7R 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 Specifications
    Camera Model Nikon Z7 Sony A7R III
    Camera Type Mirrorless system camera Mirrorless system camera
    Camera Lens Nikon Z mount lenses Sony E mount lenses
    Launch Date August 2018 October 2017
    Launch Price USD 3399 USD 3199
    Sensor Specs Nikon Z7 Sony A7R III
    Sensor Technology BSI-CMOS BSI-CMOS
    Sensor Format Full Frame Sensor Full Frame Sensor
    Sensor Size 35.9 x 23.9 mm 35.9 x 24.0 mm
    Sensor Area 858.01 mm2 861.6 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 43.1 mm 43.2 mm
    Crop Factor 1.0x 1.0x
    Sensor Resolution 45.4 Megapixels 42.2 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 8256 x 5504 pixels 7952 x 5304 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 4.35 μm 4.52 μm
    Pixel Density 5.30 MP/cm2 4.90 MP/cm2
    Moiré control no AA filter no AA filter
    Movie Capability 4K/30p Video 4K/30p Video
    ISO Setting 64-25600 ISO 100-32000 ISO
    ISO Boost 32-102400 ISO 50-102400 ISO
    Image Processor EXPEED 6 BIONZ X
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 99 100
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 26.3 26.0
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 14.6 14.7
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 2668 3523
    Screen Specs Nikon Z7 Sony A7R III
    Viewfinder Type Electronic viewfinder Electronic viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100% 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.80x 0.78x
    Viewfinder Resolution 3690k dots 3686k dots
    Top-Level Screen Control Panel no Top Display
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.2 inch 3.0 inch
    LCD Resolution 2100k dots 1440k dots
    LCD Attachment Tilting screen Tilting screen
    Touch Input Touchscreen Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs Nikon Z7 Sony A7R III
    Autofocus System On-Sensor Phase-detect On-Sensor Phase-detect
    Manual Focusing AidFocus PeakingFocus Peaking
    Max Shutter Speed (mechanical) 1/8000/s 1/8000/s
    Continuous Shooting 9 shutter flaps/s 10 shutter flaps/s
    Shutter Life Expectancy200 000 actuations500 000 actuations
    Electronic Shutterno E-ShutterYES
    Time-Lapse PhotographyIntervalometer built-inIntervalometer built-in
    Image StabilizationIn-body stabilizationIn-body stabilization
    Fill Flash no On-Board Flash no On-Board Flash
    Storage Medium XQD cards MS or SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Dual card slots
    Connectivity Specs Nikon Z7 Sony A7R III
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    Studio Flash no PC Sync PC Sync socket
    USB Connector USB 3.1 USB 3.1
    HDMI Port micro HDMI micro HDMI
    Microphone Port External MIC port External MIC port
    Headphone Socket Headphone port Headphone port
    Wifi Support Wifi built-in Wifi built-in
    Near-Field Communication no NFC NFC built-in
    Bluetooth Support Bluetooth built-in Bluetooth built-in
    Body Specs Nikon Z7 Sony A7R III
    Environmental SealingWeathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
    Battery Type EN-EL15b power pack NP-FZ100 power pack
    Battery Life (CIPA)330 shots per charge650 shots per charge
    In-Camera Charging USB charging USB charging
    Body Dimensions 134 x 101 x 67 mm
    (5.3 x 4.0 x 2.6 in)
    127 x 96 x 74 mm
    (5.0 x 3.8 x 2.9 in)
    Camera Weight 675 g (23.8 oz) 650 g (22.9 oz)

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