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Sony A7 II versus Nikon P900

The Sony Alpha A7 II and the Nikon Coolpix P900 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in November 2014 and March 2015. The A7 II is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the P900 is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on a full frame (A7 II) and a 1/2.3-inch (P900) sensor. The Sony has a resolution of 24 megapixel, whereas the Nikon provides 15.9 MP. Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their size, their sensors, their features, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison: Sony A7 II vs Nikon P900

The physical size and weight of the Sony A7 II and the Nikon P900 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter. If you prefer, you can also use the toggle button to switch to a comparison in percentage terms (in this case, the camera on the left – the A7 II – represents the basis or 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).

Compare Sony A7 II vs Nikon P900
Compare A7 II versus P900 top
Compare A7 II and P900 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon P900 is notably larger (18 percent) than the Sony A7 II. It is worth mentioning in this context that the A7 II is splash and dust resistant, while the P900 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the P900 has a lens build in, whereas the A7 II is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup. You can find an overview of optics for the A7 II and their specifications in the Sony FE Lens Catalog.

Concerning battery life, the A7 II gets 350 shots out of its NP-FW50 battery, while the P900 can take 360 images on a single charge of its EN-EL23 power pack.

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
Sony A7 II» 127 mm 96 mm 60 mm 599 g 350 Y Nov 2014 1,999- i Sony A7 II
Nikon P900« 140 mm 103 mm 137 mm 899 g 360 n Mar 2015 599- i Nikon P900
Canon SX60« » 128 mm 93 mm 114 mm 650 g 340 n Sep 2014 549- i Canon SX60
Kodak AZ901« » 139 mm 104 mm 119 mm 777 g 400 n Jan 2016 499 i i Kodak AZ901
Nikon P1000« » 146 mm 119 mm 181 mm 1415 g 250 n Jul 2018 999 i i Nikon P1000
Nikon 1 J4« » 100 mm 60 mm 29 mm 232 g 300 n Apr 2014 549- i Nikon 1 J4
Olympus E-M1 II« » 134 mm 91 mm 67 mm 574 g 440 Y Sep 2016 1,999 i i Olympus E-M1 II
Panasonic GH5« » 139 mm 98 mm 87 mm 725 g 410 Y Jan 2017 1,999 i i Panasonic GH5
Ricoh GR II« » 117 mm 63 mm 35 mm 251 g 320 n Jun 2015 699 i i Ricoh GR II
Sony A7 III« » 127 mm 96 mm 74 mm 650 g 610 Y Feb 2018 1,999 i i Sony A7 III
Sony A9« » 127 mm 96 mm 63 mm 673 g 650 Y Apr 2017 4,499 i i Sony A9
Sony A7R II« » 127 mm 96 mm 60 mm 625 g 290 Y Jun 2015 3,199- i Sony A7R II
Sony A7S II« » 127 mm 96 mm 60 mm 627 g 370 Y Sep 2015 2,999 i i Sony A7S II
Sony A77 II« » 143 mm 104 mm 81 mm 647 g 480 Y May 2014 1,199 i i Sony A77 II
Sony A7« » 127 mm 94 mm 48 mm 474 g 340 Y Oct 2013 1,699- i Sony A7
Sony A7R« » 127 mm 94 mm 48 mm 465 g 340 Y Oct 2013 2,299- i Sony A7R
Sony A77« » 143 mm 104 mm 81 mm 732 g 470 Y Aug 2011 1,999- i Sony A77

The camera’s price is obviously a critical decision-making factor. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The P900 was launched at a lower price than the A7 II, despite having a lens build 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.

 

Sensor comparison: Sony A7 II vs Nikon P900

The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants 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. Moreover, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more control over depth-of-field in the image and, thus, the ability to better isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Sony A7 II features a full frame sensor and the Nikon P900 a 1/2.3-inch sensor. The sensor area in the P900 is 97 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.0 and 5.6. The sensor in the A7 II has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the P900 offers a 4:3 aspect.

Sony A7 II and Nikon P900 sensor measures

With 24MP, the A7 II offers a higher resolution than the P900 (15.9MP), but the A7 II nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 5.97μm versus 1.33μm for the P900) due to its larger sensor. However, the P900 is a somewhat more recent model (by 3 months) than the A7 II, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the P900 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

The A7 II has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in relatively fast and reliable autofocus acquisition during video recording.

A7 II versus P900 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 following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Camera
Model
Sony A7 II» Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.913.6244990Sony A7 II
Nikon P900« 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/60p----Nikon P900
Canon SX60« » 1/2.3 14.2 4608 30721080/60p19.210.812739Canon SX60
Kodak AZ901« » 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/30p----Kodak AZ901
Nikon P1000« » 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34564K/30p----Nikon P1000
Nikon 1 J4« » 1-inch 18.2 5232 34881080/60p20.810.742653Nikon 1 J4
Olympus E-M1 II« » Four Thirds 20.2 5184 38884K/30p23.712.8131280Olympus E-M1 II
Panasonic GH5« » Four Thirds 20.2 5184 38884K/60p23.913.080777Panasonic GH5
Ricoh GR II« » APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p23.613.7107880Ricoh GR II
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 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 A77 II« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p----Sony A77 II
Sony A7« » Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.814.2224890Sony A7
Sony A7R« » Full Frame 36.2 7360 49121080/60p25.614.1274695Sony A7R
Sony A77« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.013.280178Sony A77

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 (1080/60p).

 

Feature comparison: Sony A7 II vs Nikon P900

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The two cameras under consideration are similar with respect to both having an electronic viewfinder. However, the one in the A7 II offers a substantially higher resolution than the one in the P900 (2400k vs 921k dots). The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Sony A7 II and Nikon P900 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras. If needed, the dpreview camera hub, for example, contains further detail on the cameras' specs.

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)
Shutter
speed
(1/sec)
Shutter
flaps
(1/sec)
Build-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Build-in
Image
Stab
Camera
Model
Sony A7 II»2400 n 3.0 1230 tilting n 8000 5.0 n Y Sony A7 II
Nikon P900«921 n 3.0 921 swivel n 4000 7.0 Y Y Nikon P900
Canon SX60« »922 n 3.0 922 swivel n 2000 6.4 Y Y Canon SX60
Kodak AZ901« »202 n 3.0 920 swivel n 2000 5.0 Y Y Kodak AZ901
Nikon P1000« »2359 n 3.2 921 swivel n 4000 7.0 Y Y Nikon P1000
Nikon 1 J4« »- n 3.0 1037 Fixed Y 4000 60.0 Y n Nikon 1 J4
Olympus E-M1 II« »2360 n 3.0 1037 swivel Y 8000 18.0 n Y Olympus E-M1 II
Panasonic GH5« »3680 n 3.2 1620 swivel Y 8000 12.0 n Y Panasonic GH5
Ricoh GR II« »- n 3.0 1230 fixed n 4000 4.0 Y n Ricoh GR II
Sony A7 III« »2359 n 3.0 922 tilting Y 8000 10.0 n Y Sony A7 III
Sony A9« »3686 n 3.0 1440 tilting Y 8000 20.0 n Y Sony A9
Sony A7R II« »2400 n 3.0 1229 tilting n 8000 5.0 n Y Sony A7R II
Sony A7S II« »2400 n 3.0 1229 tilting n 8000 5.0 n Y Sony A7S II
Sony A77 II« »2359 Y 3.0 1229 full-flex n 8000 12.0 Y Y Sony A77 II
Sony A7« »2400 n 3.0 1230 tilting n 8000 5.0 n n Sony A7
Sony A7R« »2400 n 3.0 1230 tilting n 8000 4.0 n n Sony A7R
Sony A77« »2359 Y 3.0 921 full-flex n 8000 12.0 Y Y Sony A77

One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The P900 has one, while the A7 II does not. While the build-in flash of the P900 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.

The A7 II writes its imaging data to SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards, while the P900 uses SDXC cards.

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
Sony A7 II»YstereomonoYYmicro2.0YY-Sony A7 II
Nikon P900«-stereomono--micro2.0YY-Nikon P900
Canon SX60« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-Canon SX60
Kodak AZ901« »-stereomono--micro2.0Y--Kodak AZ901
Nikon P1000« »YstereomonoY-micro2.0Y-YNikon P1000
Nikon 1 J4« »-stereomono--mini2.0Y--Nikon 1 J4
Olympus E-M1 II« »YstereomonoYYmicro3.0Y--Olympus E-M1 II
Panasonic GH5« »YstereomonoYYfull3.1Y-YPanasonic GH5
Ricoh GR II« »Ystereomono--micro2.0YY-Ricoh GR II
Sony A7 III« »YstereomonoYYmicro3.1YYYSony A7 III
Sony A9« »YstereomonoYYmicro2.0YYYSony A9
Sony A7R II« »YstereomonoYYmicro2.0YY-Sony A7R II
Sony A7S II« »YstereomonoYYmicro2.0YY-Sony A7S II
Sony A77 II« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-Sony A77 II
Sony A7« »YstereomonoYYmicro2.0YY-Sony A7
Sony A7R« »YstereomonoYYmicro2.0YY-Sony A7R
Sony A77« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0---Sony A77

Both the A7 II and the P900 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The A7 II was replaced by the Sony A7 III, while the P900 was followed by the Nikon P1000.

Review summary: Sony A7 II vs Nikon P900

So what conclusions can be drawn? Which of the two cameras – the Sony A7 II or the Nikon P900 – has the upper hand? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.

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Advantages of the Sony Alpha A7 II:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (24 vs 15.9MP) with a 25% higher linear resolution.
  • Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
  • Better image quality: Features bigger pixels on a larger sensor for higher quality imaging.
  • Richer colors: Larger pixels generate images with better, more accurate colors.
  • More dynamic range: Capable of capturing a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Can be used in poorly lit environments and still produce good images.
  • Better video autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident movie 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.
  • More detailed viewfinder: Has higher resolution electronic viewfinder (2400k vs 921k dots).
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1230k vs 921k dots).
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (8000/sec vs 4000/sec) to freeze action.
  • More flexible: Accepts interchangeable lenses, so that lens characteristics can be altered.
  • More compact: Is smaller (127x96mm vs 140x103mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Better sealing: Is weather sealed to enable shooting in dusty or wet environments.
  • Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in November 2014).

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Reasons to prefer the Nikon Coolpix P900:

  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • More flexible LCD: Has swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (7 vs 5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Ready to shoot: Has an integrated lens, whereas the A7 II necessitates an extra lens.
  • Easier fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.
  • More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a build-in lens.
  • More modern: Was introduced somewhat (3 months) more recently.

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the A7 II is the clear winner of the match-up (17 : 7 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.

A7 II 17:07 P900

In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras is instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the A7 II or the P900 handle or perform in practice. At times, user reviews, such as those published at amazon, address these issues in a useful manner, but such feedback is on many occasions incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable. This is where reviews by experts come in. The table below summarizes the assessments of some of the best known camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). You can find the full text of the reviews by clicking on the site logo in the table header.

Review Scores
  Camera
Model
cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
Sony A7 II»Rec82/1004.5/55/55/5 Nov 2014 1,999- i Sony A7 II
Nikon P900«-77/1004/54.5/54/5 Mar 2015 599- i Nikon P900
Canon SX60« »HiRec75/1004/5-4.5/5 Sep 2014 549- i Canon SX60
Kodak AZ901« »--3.5/5-3/5 Jan 2016 499 i i Kodak AZ901
Nikon P1000« »Rec73/1003.5/5-3.5/5 Jul 2018 999 i i Nikon P1000
Nikon 1 J4« »--4.5/5-4/5 Apr 2014 549- i Nikon 1 J4
Olympus E-M1 II« »HiRec85/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Sep 2016 1,999 i i Olympus E-M1 II
Panasonic GH5« »HiRec85/1004.5/55/55/5 Jan 2017 1,999 i i Panasonic GH5
Ricoh GR II« »--4.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2015 699 i i Ricoh GR II
Sony A7 III« »HiRec89/1005/55/55/5 Feb 2018 1,999 i i Sony A7 III
Sony A9« »HiRec89/1005/55/55/5 Apr 2017 4,499 i i Sony A9
Sony A7R II« »HiRec90/1005/54.5/55/5 Jun 2015 3,199- i Sony A7R II
Sony A7S II« »Rec-4.5/55/55/5 Sep 2015 2,999 i i Sony A7S II
Sony A77 II« »-80/1004.5/54/55/5 May 2014 1,199 i i Sony A77 II
Sony A7« »HiRec80/1005/54.5/55/5 Oct 2013 1,699- i Sony A7
Sony A7R« »HiRec82/1004.5/55/55/5 Oct 2013 2,299- i Sony A7R
Sony A77« »91/10081/100-4.5/55/5 Aug 2011 1,999- i Sony A77

The review scores listed above should be treated 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 comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. 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. An an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool. If you do not see the camera that you are looking for, please contact me, and I will try to update the database with the necessary infos.

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