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Sony A7 II vs A9

The Sony Alpha A7 II and the Sony Alpha A9 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in November 2014 and April 2017. Both the A7 II and the A9 are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are equipped with a full frame sensor. Both cameras offer a resolution of 24 megapixels.

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

Headline Specifications
Sony A7 II   Sony A9
Sony A7 II Sony A9
Mirrorless system camera Mirrorless system camera
Sony E mount lenses Sony E mount lenses
24 MP, Full Frame Sensor 24 MP, Full Frame Sensor
1080/60p Video 4K/30p Video
ISO 100-25600 (50-51200) ISO 100-51200 (50-204800)
Electronic viewfinder (2400k dots) Electronic viewfinder (3686k dots)
3.0" LCD, 1230k dots 3.0" LCD, 1440k dots
Tilting screen (no touchscreen) Tilting touchscreen
5 shutter flaps per second 20 shutter flaps per second
In-body stabilizationIn-body stabilization
Weathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
350 shots per battery charge650 shots per battery charge
127 x 96 x 60 mm, 599 g 127 x 96 x 63 mm, 673 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Sony Alpha A7 II and the Sony Alpha A9? 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: Sony A7 II vs A9

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Sony A7 II and the Sony A9. 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 width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Sony A7 II vs Sony A9
Compare A7 II versus A9 top
Comparison A7 II or A9 rear

In this particular case, the Sony A7 II and the Sony A9 have exactly the same width and height, and, thus, have identically-sized bodies. However, the A9 is markedly heavier (12 percent) than the A7 II. 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. In this particular case, both cameras feature the same lens mount, so that they can use the same lenses. You can compare the optics available in the Sony FE Lens Catalog. Mirrorless cameras, such as the two under consideration, have the additional advantage of having a short flange to focal plane distance, which makes it possible to mount many lenses from other systems onto the camera via adapters.

Concerning battery life, the A7 II gets 350 shots out of its NP-FW50 battery, while the A9 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 table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, just click on the right or left arrow next to the camera that you would like to inspect. Alternatively, you can also use the CAM-parator to select your camera combination among a larger number of options.

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» 5.0 in 3.8 in 2.4 in 21.1 oz 350 Y Nov 2014 1,999- i Sony A7 II
 
Sony A9« 5.0 in 3.8 in 2.5 in 23.7 oz 650 Y Apr 2017 4,499 i i Sony A9
 
Nikon Z6« » 5.3 in 4.0 in 2.6 in 23.8 oz 310 Y Aug 2018 1,999 i i Nikon Z6
 
Panasonic GH5« » 5.5 in 3.9 in 3.4 in 25.6 oz 410 Y Jan 2017 1,999 i i Panasonic GH5
 
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 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
 
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 A7« » 5.0 in 3.7 in 1.9 in 16.7 oz 340 Y Oct 2013 1,699- i Sony A7
 
Sony A7R« » 5.0 in 3.7 in 1.9 in 16.4 oz 340 Y Oct 2013 2,299- i Sony A7R
 
Sony A77« » 5.6 in 4.1 in 3.2 in 25.8 oz 470 Y Aug 2011 1,399- i Sony A77
 
Sony A850« » 6.1 in 4.6 in 3.2 in 31.6 oz 880 Y Aug 2009 1,999- i Sony A850
Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. 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 A7 II was launched at a markedly lower price (by 56 percent) than the A9, which puts it into a different market segment. 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 A9

The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors 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. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Both cameras under consideration feature a full frame sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. The sensor area in the A9 is 1 percent smaller. 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.

Sony A7 II and Sony A9 sensor measures

Even though the A7 II has a slightly larger sensor, both cameras offer the same resolution of 24 megapixels. This implies that the A7 II has a lower pixel density and larger individual pixels (with a pixel pitch of 5.97μm versus 5.94μm for the A9), which gives it a potential advantage in terms of light gathering capacity. It should, however, be noted that the A9 is much more recent (by 2 years and 4 months) than the A7 II, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that at least partly compensate for the smaller pixel size.

The Sony Alpha A7 II has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 25600, which can be extended to ISO 50-51200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Sony Alpha A9 are ISO 100 to ISO 51200, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 50-204800.

A7 II versus A9 MP

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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. The Overall DXO ratings for the two cameras under consideration are close, suggesting that they provide similar imaging performance. 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
 
Sony A9« Full Frame 24.0 6000 40004K/30p24.913.3351792Sony A9
 
Nikon Z6« » Full Frame 24.3 6048 40244K/30p25.314.3329995Nikon Z6
 
Panasonic GH5« » Four Thirds 20.2 5184 38884K/60p23.913.080777Panasonic GH5
 
Sony A7 III« » Full Frame 24.0 6000 40004K/30p25.014.7373096Sony A7 III
 
Sony A7R III« » Full Frame 42.2 7952 53044K/30p26.014.73523100Sony A7R III
 
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 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
 
Sony A850« » Full Frame 24.4 6048 4032-23.812.2141579Sony A850

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the A9 provides a better video resolution than the A7 II. It can shoot movie footage at 4K/30p, while the A7 II is limited to 1080/60p.

 

Feature comparison: Sony A7 II vs A9

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 A9 offers a substantially higher resolution than the one in the A7 II (3686k vs 2400k dots). The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Sony A7 II, the Sony A9, 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
 
Sony A7 II»2400 n 3.0 1230 tilting n 1/8000s 5.0 n Y Sony A7 II
 
Sony A9«3686 n 3.0 1440 tilting Y 1/8000s 20.0 n Y Sony A9
 
Nikon Z6« »3690 Y 3.2 2100 tilting Y 1/8000s 12.0 n Y Nikon Z6
 
Panasonic GH5« »3680 n 3.2 1620 swivel Y 1/8000s 12.0 n Y Panasonic GH5
 
Sony A7 III« »2359 n 3.0 922 tilting Y 1/8000s 10.0 n Y Sony A7 III
 
Sony A7R III« »3686 n 3.0 1440 tilting Y 1/8000s 10.0 n Y Sony A7R III
 
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 A7« »2400 n 3.0 1230 tilting n 1/8000s 5.0 n n Sony A7
 
Sony A7R« »2400 n 3.0 1230 tilting n 1/8000s 4.0 n n Sony A7R
 
Sony A77« »2359 Y 3.0 921 full-flex n 1/8000s 12.0 Y Y Sony A77
 
Sony A850« »optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 1/8000s 3.0 n Y Sony A850

One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The A9 has a touchscreen, while the A7 II has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.

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 A9 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).

Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the A7 II and the A9 write their files to SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards. The A9 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the A7 II only has one slot. The A9 supports UHS-II cards (on its first slot), while the A7 II can use UHS-I cards.

 

Connectivity comparison: Sony A7 II vs A9

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 Sony Alpha A7 II and Sony Alpha A9 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
 
Sony A7 II»YstereomonoYYmicro2.0YY-Sony A7 II
 
Sony A9«YstereomonoYYmicro2.0YYYSony A9
 
Nikon Z6« »YstereomonoYYmicro3.1Y-YNikon Z6
 
Panasonic GH5« »YstereomonoYYfull3.1Y-YPanasonic GH5
 
Sony A7 III« »YstereomonoYYmicro3.1YYYSony A7 III
 
Sony A7R III« »YstereomonoYYmicro3.1YYYSony A7R III
 
Sony A7R II« »YstereomonoYYmicro2.0YY-Sony A7R II
 
Sony A7S II« »YstereomonoYYmicro2.0YY-Sony A7S II
 
Sony A7« »YstereomonoYYmicro2.0YY-Sony A7
 
Sony A7R« »YstereomonoYYmicro2.0YY-Sony A7R
 
Sony A77« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0---Sony A77
 
Sony A850« »Y----mini2.0---Sony A850

The A9 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Sony. In contrast, the A7 II has been discontinued (but it can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the A7 II was succeeded by the Sony A7 III. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Sony website.


Review summary: Sony A7 II vs A9

So what conclusions can be drawn? Which of the two cameras – the Sony A7 II or the Sony A9 – 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 Sony Alpha A7 II:

  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 74g or 11 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (56 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in November 2014).


Reasons to prefer the Sony Alpha A9:

  • Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (0.5 stops ISO advantage).
  • Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 1080/60p).
  • More detailed viewfinder: Has higher resolution electronic viewfinder (3686k vs 2400k dots).
  • Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.78x vs 0.71x).
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1440k vs 1230k dots).
  • Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (20 vs 5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (650 versus 350) out of a single battery charge.
  • 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 a more advanced SD data transfer standard (UHS-II vs UHS-I).
  • More modern: Reflects 2 years and 4 months of technical progress since the A7 II launch.

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the A9 is the clear winner of the contest (13 : 3 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.

A7 II 03:13 A9

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Sony A7 II and the Sony A9 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 comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the A7 II or the A9 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.

Expert reviews: Sony A7 II vs A9

This is why expert reviews are important. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear 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
 
Sony A7 II»+82/1004.5/55/55/5 Nov 2014 1,999- i Sony A7 II
 
Sony A9«+ +89/1005/55/55/5 Apr 2017 4,499 i i Sony A9
 
Nikon Z6« »--4.5/5-5/5 Aug 2018 1,999 i i Nikon Z6
 
Panasonic GH5« »+ +85/1004.5/55/55/5 Jan 2017 1,999 i i Panasonic GH5
 
Sony A7 III« »+ +89/1005/55/55/5 Feb 2018 1,999 i i Sony A7 III
 
Sony A7R III« »+ +90/1004.5/55/55/5 Oct 2017 3,199 i i Sony A7R III
 
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 A7« »+ +80/1005/54.5/55/5 Oct 2013 1,699- i Sony A7
 
Sony A7R« »+ +82/1004.5/55/55/5 Oct 2013 2,299- i Sony A7R
 
Sony A77« »91/10081/100-4.5/55/5 Aug 2011 1,399- i Sony A77
 
Sony A850« »-75/100-4/54.5/5 Aug 2009 1,999- i Sony A850
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (-) not available.

The above review scores should be interpreted 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. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.

Sony A7 II:
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Sony A9:
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Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just use the search menu below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.

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    Specifications: Sony A7 II vs Sony A9

    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 Sony A7 II Sony A9
    Camera Type Mirrorless system camera Mirrorless system camera
    Camera Lens Sony E mount lenses Sony E mount lenses
    Launch Date November 2014 April 2017
    Launch Price USD 1999 USD 4499
    Sensor Specs Sony A7 II Sony A9
    Sensor Technology CMOS BSI-CMOS
    Sensor Format Full Frame Sensor Full Frame Sensor
    Sensor Size 35.8 x 23.9 mm 35.6 x 23.8 mm
    Sensor Area 855.62 mm2 847.28 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 43 mm 42.8 mm
    Crop Factor 1.0x 1.0x
    Sensor Resolution 24 Megapixels 24 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 6000 x 4000 pixels 6000 x 4000 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 5.97 μm 5.94 μm
    Pixel Density 2.80 MP/cm2 2.83 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 1080/60p Video 4K/30p Video
    ISO Setting 100-25600 ISO 100-51200 ISO
    ISO Boost 50-51200 ISO 50-204800 ISO
    Image Processor BIONZ X BIONZ X
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 90 92
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 24.9 24.9
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 13.6 13.3
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 2449 3517
    Screen Specs Sony A7 II Sony A9
    Viewfinder Type Electronic viewfinder Electronic viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100% 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.71x 0.78x
    Viewfinder Resolution 2400k dots 3686k dots
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0 inch 3.0 inch
    LCD Resolution 1230k dots 1440k dots
    LCD Attachment Tilting screen Tilting screen
    Touch Input no Touchscreen Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs Sony A7 II Sony A9
    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 5 shutter flaps/s 20 shutter flaps/s
    Shutter Life Expectancy200 000 actuations500 000 actuations
    Electronic Shutterno E-Shutterup to 1/32000s
    Image StabilizationIn-body stabilizationIn-body stabilization
    Fill Flash no On-Board Flash no On-Board Flash
    Storage Medium MS or SDXC cards MS or SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Dual card slots
    UHS card support UHS-I Single UHS-II
    Connectivity Specs Sony A7 II Sony A9
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    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 NFC built-in NFC built-in
    Bluetooth Support no Bluetooth Bluetooth built-in
    Body Specs Sony A7 II Sony A9
    Environmental SealingWeathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
    Battery Type NP-FW50 power pack NP-FZ100 power pack
    Battery Life (CIPA)350 shots per charge650 shots per charge
    In-Camera Charging USB charging USB charging
    Body Dimensions 127 x 96 x 60 mm
    (5.0 x 3.8 x 2.4 in)
    127 x 96 x 63 mm
    (5.0 x 3.8 x 2.5 in)
    Camera Weight 599 g (21.1 oz) 673 g (23.7 oz)

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