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.
|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 stabilization||In-body stabilization|
|Weathersealed body||Weathersealed body|
|330 shots per battery charge||650 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.
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.
|Nikon Z7»||5.3 in||4.0 in||2.6 in||23.8 oz||330||Y||Aug 2018||3,399||Nikon Z7|
|Sony A7R III«||5.0 in||3.8 in||2.9 in||22.9 oz||650||Y||Oct 2017||3,199||Sony A7R III|
|Nikon Z6« »||5.3 in||4.0 in||2.6 in||23.8 oz||310||Y||Aug 2018||1,999||Nikon Z6|
|Nikon D850« »||5.7 in||4.9 in||3.1 in||35.5 oz||1840||Y||Jul 2017||3,299||Nikon D850|
|Panasonic S1R« »||5.9 in||4.3 in||3.8 in||35.8 oz||380||Y||Feb 2019||3,699||Panasonic S1R|
|Sony A7 III« »||5.0 in||3.8 in||2.9 in||22.9 oz||610||Y||Feb 2018||1,999||Sony A7 III|
|Sony A9« »||5.0 in||3.8 in||2.5 in||23.7 oz||650||Y||Apr 2017||4,499||Sony A9|
|Sony A99 II« »||5.6 in||4.1 in||3.0 in||29.9 oz||490||Y||Sep 2016||3,199||Sony A99 II|
|Sony A7R II« »||5.0 in||3.8 in||2.4 in||22.0 oz||290||Y||Jun 2015||3,199||-||Sony A7R II|
|Sony A7S II« »||5.0 in||3.8 in||2.4 in||22.1 oz||370||Y||Sep 2015||2,999||Sony A7S II|
|Sony A99« »||5.8 in||4.4 in||3.1 in||28.6 oz||500||Y||Sep 2012||2,799||-||Sony A99|
|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.
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.
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.
|Nikon Z7»||Full Frame||45.4||8256||5504||4K/30p||26.3||14.6||2668||99||Nikon Z7|
|Sony A7R III«||Full Frame||42.2||7952||5304||4K/30p||26.0||14.7||3523||100||Sony A7R III|
|Nikon Z6« »||Full Frame||24.3||6048||4024||4K/30p||25.3||14.3||3299||95||Nikon Z6|
|Nikon D850« »||Full Frame||45.4||8256||5504||4K/30p||26.4||14.8||2660||100||Nikon D850|
|Panasonic S1R« »||Full Frame||46.7||8368||5584||4K/60p||26.4||14.1||3525||100||Panasonic S1R|
|Sony A7 III« »||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||25.0||14.7||3730||96||Sony A7 III|
|Sony A9« »||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||24.9||13.3||3517||92||Sony A9|
|Sony A99 II« »||Full Frame||42.2||7952||5304||4K/30p||25.4||13.4||2317||92||Sony A99 II|
|Sony A7R II« »||Full Frame||42.2||7952||5304||4K/30p||26.0||13.9||3434||98||Sony A7R II|
|Sony A7S II« »||Full Frame||12.0||4240||2832||4K/30p||23.6||13.3||2993||85||Sony A7S II|
|Sony A99« »||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||25.0||14.0||1555||89||Sony A99|
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.
|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.
|Nikon Z7»||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||3.1||Y||-||Y||Nikon Z7|
|Sony A7R III«||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||3.1||Y||Y||Y||Sony A7R III|
|Nikon Z6« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||3.1||Y||-||Y||Nikon Z6|
|Nikon D850« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||Y||Y||Y||Nikon D850|
|Panasonic S1R« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||full||3.1||Y||-||Y||Panasonic S1R|
|Sony A7 III« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||3.1||Y||Y||Y||Sony A7 III|
|Sony A9« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y||Sony A9|
|Sony A99 II« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y||Sony A99 II|
|Sony A7R II« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony A7R II|
|Sony A7S II« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony A7S II|
|Sony A99« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Sony A99|
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.
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).
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.
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.
|Nikon Z7»||+||89/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||5/5||Aug 2018||3,399||Nikon Z7|
|Sony A7R III«||+ +||90/100||4.5/5||5/5||5/5||Oct 2017||3,199||Sony A7R III|
|Nikon Z6« »||-||-||4.5/5||-||5/5||Aug 2018||1,999||Nikon Z6|
|Nikon D850« »||+ +||89/100||4.5/5||5/5||5/5||Jul 2017||3,299||Nikon D850|
|Panasonic S1R« »||-||-||4.5/5||-||4.5/5||Feb 2019||3,699||Panasonic S1R|
|Sony A7 III« »||+ +||89/100||5/5||5/5||5/5||Feb 2018||1,999||Sony A7 III|
|Sony A9« »||+ +||89/100||5/5||5/5||5/5||Apr 2017||4,499||Sony A9|
|Sony A99 II« »||-||85/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2016||3,199||Sony A99 II|
|Sony A7R II« »||+ +||90/100||5/5||4.5/5||5/5||Jun 2015||3,199||-||Sony A7R II|
|Sony A7S II« »||+||-||4.5/5||5/5||5/5||Sep 2015||2,999||Sony A7S II|
|Sony A99« »||-||84/100||4.5/5||o||4.5/5||Sep 2012||2,799||-||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.
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.
- Canon 1Ds Mark III vs Sony A7R III
- Canon 5D Mark IV vs Nikon Z7
- Canon G7 X Mark II vs Nikon Z7
- Canon M5 vs Sony A7R III
- Fujifilm X-T1 vs Nikon Z7
- Fujifilm X-T10 vs Sony A7R III
- Fujifilm X-T2 vs Sony A7R III
- Nikon D800E vs Sony A7R III
- Nikon Z7 vs Sony A7 II
- Nikon Z7 vs Sony RX10 II
- Olympus E-M5 II vs Sony A7R III
- Sony A6300 vs Sony A7R III
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 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 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|
|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 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|
|Shooting Specs||Nikon Z7||Sony A7R III|
|Autofocus System||On-Sensor Phase-detect||On-Sensor Phase-detect|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/8000/s||1/8000/s|
|Continuous Shooting||9 shutter flaps/s||10 shutter flaps/s|
|Shutter Life Expectancy||200 000 actuations||500 000 actuations|
|Electronic Shutter||no E-Shutter||YES|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||Intervalometer built-in|
|Image Stabilization||In-body stabilization||In-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|
|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 Sealing||Weathersealed body||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Type||EN-EL15b power pack||NP-FZ100 power pack|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||330 shots per charge||650 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||USB charging||USB charging|
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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