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Sony A7 III vs A9 II

The Sony Alpha A7 III and the Sony Alpha A9 II are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in February 2018 and October 2019. Both the A7 III and the A9 II 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 III
versus
Sony A9 II
Sony A7 III Sony A9 II
Mirrorless system camera Mirrorless system camera
Sony E mount lenses Sony E mount lenses
24 MP, Full Frame Sensor 24 MP, Full Frame Sensor
4K/30p Video 4K/30p Video
ISO 100-51,200 (50 - 204,800) ISO 100-51,200 (50 - 204,800)
Electronic viewfinder (2359k dots) Electronic viewfinder (3686k dots)
3.0 LCD, 922k dots 3.0 LCD, 1440k dots
Tilting touchscreen Tilting touchscreen
10 shutter flaps per second 10 shutter flaps per second
In-body stabilizationIn-body stabilization
Weathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
610 shots per battery charge690 shots per battery charge
127 x 96 x 74 mm, 650 g 129 x 96 x 76 mm, 678 g

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

The physical size and weight of the Sony A7 III and the Sony A9 II are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. 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 dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

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

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony A9 II is somewhat larger (2 percent) than the Sony A7 III. Moreover, the A9 II is slightly heavier (4 percent) than the A7 III. 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.

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. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, you can use the CAM-parator app to select your camera combination among a large number of options.

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Body Specifications
    Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Sony A7 III 127 mm 96 mm 74 mm 650 g 610 Y Feb 2018 1,999 i
2.
 
Sony A9 II 129 mm 96 mm 76 mm 678 g 690 Y Oct 2019 4,499 i
3.
 
Canon 6D Mark II 144 mm 111 mm 75 mm 765 g 1200 Y Jun 2017 1,999 i
4.
 
Nikon Z6 134 mm 101 mm 67 mm 675 g 310 Y Aug 2018 1,999 i
5.
 
Sony A7C 124 mm 71 mm 60 mm 509 g 740 Y Sep 2020 1,799 i
6.
 
Sony A7R IV 129 mm 96 mm 78 mm 665 g 670 Y Jul 2019 3,499 i
7.
 
Sony A7R III 127 mm 96 mm 74 mm 650 g 650 Y Oct 2017 3,199 i
8.
 
Sony A9 127 mm 96 mm 63 mm 673 g 650 Y Apr 2017 4,499 i
9.
 
Sony A7R II 127 mm 96 mm 60 mm 625 g 290 Y Jun 2015 3,199 i
10.
 
Sony A7S II 127 mm 96 mm 60 mm 627 g 370 Y Sep 2015 2,999 i
11.
 
Sony A7 II 127 mm 96 mm 60 mm 599 g 350 Y Nov 2014 1,999 i
12.
 
Sony A7 127 mm 94 mm 48 mm 474 g 340 Y Oct 2013 1,699 i
13.
 
Sony A99 147 mm 111 mm 78 mm 812 g 500 Y Sep 2012 2,799 i
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 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 III was launched at a markedly lower price (by 56 percent) than the A9 II, 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.

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Sensor comparison

The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant 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. 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 tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.

Both cameras under consideration feature a full frame sensor and have a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 1.0. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the review cameras among the large-sensor cameras that aim for top notch image quality. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Sony A7 III and Sony A9 II sensor measures

The two cameras under review do not only share the same sensor size, but also offer an identical resolution of 24 megapixels. This similarity in sensor specs implies that both the A7 III and the A9 II have the same pixel density, as well as the same pixel size. It should, however, be noted that the A9 II is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 7 months) than the A7 III, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time.

The Sony Alpha A7 III has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 51200, which can be extended to ISO 50-204800. The Sony Alpha A9 II offers exactly the same ISO settings.

A7 III versus A9 II MP

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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 table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.

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Sensor Characteristics
    Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
1.
 
Sony A7 III Full Frame 24.0 6000 40004K/30p25.014.73730 96
2.
 
Sony A9 II Full Frame 24.0 6000 40004K/30p25.014.03434 93
3.
 
Canon 6D Mark II Full Frame 26.0 6240 41601080/60p24.411.92862 85
4.
 
Nikon Z6 Full Frame 24.3 6048 40244K/30p25.314.33299 95
5.
 
Sony A7C Full Frame 24.0 6000 40004K/30p25.014.73407 95
6.
 
Sony A7R IV Full Frame 60.2 9504 63364K/30p26.014.83344 99
7.
 
Sony A7R III Full Frame 42.2 7952 53044K/30p26.014.73523 100
8.
 
Sony A9 Full Frame 24.0 6000 40004K/30p24.913.33517 92
9.
 
Sony A7R II Full Frame 42.2 7952 53044K/30p26.013.93434 98
10.
 
Sony A7S II Full Frame 12.0 4240 28324K/30p23.613.32993 85
11.
 
Sony A7 II Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.913.62449 90
12.
 
Sony A7 Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.814.22248 90
13.
 
Sony A99 Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p25.014.01555 89

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. 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).

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Feature comparison

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The two cameras under review are similar with respect to both having an electronic viewfinder. However, the one in the A9 II offers a substantially higher resolution than the one in the A7 III (3686k vs 2359k dots). The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Sony A7 III, the Sony A9 II, and comparable cameras.

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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
1.
 
Sony A7 III2359 n 3.0 922 tilting Y 1/8000s 10.0 n Y
2.
 
Sony A9 II3686 n 3.0 1440 tilting Y 1/8000s 10.0 n Y
3.
 
Canon 6D Mark IIoptical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 6.5 n n
4.
 
Nikon Z63690 Y 3.2 2100 tilting Y 1/8000s 12.0 n Y
5.
 
Sony A7C2360 n 3.0 922 swivel Y 1/4000s 10.0 n Y
6.
 
Sony A7R IV5760 n 3.0 1440 tilting Y 1/8000s 10.0 n Y
7.
 
Sony A7R III3686 n 3.0 1440 tilting Y 1/8000s 10.0 n Y
8.
 
Sony A93686 n 3.0 1440 tilting Y 1/8000s 20.0 n Y
9.
 
Sony A7R II2400 n 3.0 1229 tilting n 1/8000s 5.0 n Y
10.
 
Sony A7S II2400 n 3.0 1229 tilting n 1/8000s 5.0 n Y
11.
 
Sony A7 II2400 n 3.0 1230 tilting n 1/8000s 5.0 n Y
12.
 
Sony A72400 n 3.0 1230 tilting n 1/8000s 5.0 n n
13.
 
Sony A992359 Y 3.0 1229 full-flex n 1/8000s 6.0 n Y

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, both cameras under consideration feature an 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 Sony A7 III and the Sony A9 II 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 A7 III writes its imaging data to SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards, while the A9 II uses SDXC cards. Both cameras feature dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. However, while the A9 II supports UHS-II cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 312 MB/s) on both slots, the A7 III supports UHS-II only on its first slot and UHS-I (data transfer speed up to 104 MB/s) on the second one.

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Connectivity comparison

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 III and Sony Alpha A9 II and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

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Input-Output Connections
    Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
1.
 
Sony A7 IIIYstereomonoYYmicro3.1YYY
2.
 
Sony A9 IIYstereomonoYYmicro3.1YYY
3.
 
Canon 6D Mark IIYstereomonoY-mini2.0YYY
4.
 
Nikon Z6YstereomonoYYmicro3.1Y-Y
5.
 
Sony A7CYstereomonoYYmicro3.2YYY
6.
 
Sony A7R IVYstereomonoYYmicro3.1YYY
7.
 
Sony A7R IIIYstereomonoYYmicro3.1YYY
8.
 
Sony A9YstereomonoYYmicro2.0YYY
9.
 
Sony A7R IIYstereomonoYYmicro2.0YY-
10.
 
Sony A7S IIYstereomonoYYmicro2.0YY-
11.
 
Sony A7 IIYstereomonoYYmicro2.0YY-
12.
 
Sony A7YstereomonoYYmicro2.0YY-
13.
 
Sony A99YstereomonoYYmini2.0---

Studio photographers will appreciate that the Sony A9 II (unlike the A7 III) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.

Both the A7 III and the A9 II are recent models that are part of the current product line-up. The A7 III replaced the earlier Sony A7 II, while the A9 II followed on from the Sony A9. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Sony website.

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Review summary

So how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Sony A7 III or the Sony A9 II – 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 III:

  • More dynamic range: Captures a larger spectrum of light and dark details (0.7 EV of extra DR).
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (56 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in February 2018).


Reasons to prefer the Sony Alpha A9 II:

  • More detailed viewfinder: Has higher resolution electronic viewfinder (3686k vs 2359k dots).
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1440k vs 922k dots).
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (690 versus 610) out of a single battery charge.
  • Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
  • More modern: Was introduced somewhat (1 year and 7 months) more recently.

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the A9 II emerges as the winner of the match-up (5 : 3 points). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision. 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 III 03:05 A9 II

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Sony A7 III and the Sony A9 II 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 remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the A7 III or the A9 II. 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

This is where reviews by experts come in. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular 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.

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Expert Camera Reviews
     Camera 
 Model 
 AP 
 score 
 CL 
 score 
 DPR 
 score 
 EPZ 
 score 
 PB 
 score 
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Sony A7 III..+ +89/1005/55/5 Feb 2018 1,999 i
2.
 
Sony A9 II....90/1005/55/5 Oct 2019 4,499 i
3.
 
Canon 6D Mark II4/5+80/1004.5/54/5 Jun 2017 1,999 i
4.
 
Nikon Z65/5....4.5/55/5 Aug 2018 1,999 i
5.
 
Sony A7C3.5/5..86/1004/54/5 Sep 2020 1,799 i
6.
 
Sony A7R IV5/5+91/1004.5/55/5 Jul 2019 3,499 i
7.
 
Sony A7R III..+ +90/1004.5/55/5 Oct 2017 3,199 i
8.
 
Sony A95/5+ +89/1005/55/5 Apr 2017 4,499 i
9.
 
Sony A7R II5/5+ +90/1005/55/5 Jun 2015 3,199 i
10.
 
Sony A7S II5/5+..4.5/55/5 Sep 2015 2,999 i
11.
 
Sony A7 II5/5+82/1004.5/55/5 Nov 2014 1,999 i
12.
 
Sony A75/5+ +80/1005/55/5 Oct 2013 1,699 i
13.
 
Sony A995/5..84/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 2,799 i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.

Sony A7 III:
Check Amazon price
Sony A9 II:
Check Amazon price

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 make your choice using the following search menu. 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: Sony A7 III vs Sony A9 II

    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 III Sony A9 II
    Camera Type Mirrorless system camera Mirrorless system camera
    Camera Lens Sony E mount lenses Sony E mount lenses
    Launch Date February 2018 October 2019
    Launch Price USD 1,999 USD 4,499
    Sensor Specs Sony A7 III Sony A9 II
    Sensor Technology BSI-CMOS BSI-CMOS
    Sensor Format Full Frame Sensor Full Frame Sensor
    Sensor Size 35.6 x 23.8 mm 35.6 x 23.8 mm
    Sensor Area 847.28 mm2 847.28 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 42.8 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 5.94 μm 5.94 μm
    Pixel Density 2.83 MP/cm2 2.83 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 4K/30p Video 4K/30p Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 51,200 ISO 100 - 51,200 ISO
    ISO Boost 50 - 204,800 ISO 50 - 204,800 ISO
    Image Processor BIONZ X BIONZ X
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 96 93
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 25.0 25.0
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 14.7 14.0
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 3730 3434
    Screen Specs Sony A7 III Sony A9 II
    Viewfinder Type Electronic viewfinder Electronic viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100% 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.78x 0.78x
    Viewfinder Resolution 2359k dots 3686k dots
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 922k dots 1440k dots
    LCD Attachment Tilting screen Tilting screen
    Touch Input Touchscreen Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs Sony A7 III Sony A9 II
    Focus System On-Sensor Phase-detect On-Sensor Phase-detect
    Manual Focusing AidFocus PeakingFocus Peaking
    Max Shutter Speed (mechanical) 1/8000s 1/8000s
    Continuous Shooting 10 shutter flaps/s 10 shutter flaps/s
    Shutter Life Expectancy200 000 actuations500 000 actuations
    Electronic ShutterYESup to 1/32000s
    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 MS or SDXC cards SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Dual card slots Dual card slots
    UHS card support Single UHS-II Dual UHS-II
    Connectivity Specs Sony A7 III Sony A9 II
    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 NFC built-in NFC built-in
    Bluetooth Support Bluetooth built-in Bluetooth built-in
    Body Specs Sony A7 III Sony A9 II
    Environmental SealingWeathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
    Battery Type NP-FZ100 NP-FZ100
    Battery Life (CIPA)610 shots per charge690 shots per charge
    In-Camera Charging USB charging USB charging
    Body Dimensions 127 x 96 x 74 mm
    (5.0 x 3.8 x 2.9 in)
    129 x 96 x 76 mm
    (5.1 x 3.8 x 3.0 in)
    Camera Weight 650 g (22.9 oz) 678 g (23.9 oz)

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