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Sony A7R III vs A9 II

The Sony Alpha A7R III and the Sony Alpha A9 II are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in October 2017 and October 2019. Both the A7R III and the A9 II are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are equipped with a full frame sensor. The A7R III has a resolution of 42.2 megapixels, whereas the A9 II provides 24 MP.

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

Headline Specifications
Sony A7R III VS Sony A9 II
Sony A7R III Sony A9 II
Mirrorless system camera Mirrorless system camera
Sony E mount lenses Sony E mount lenses
42.2 MP, Full Frame Sensor 24 MP, Full Frame Sensor
4K/30p Video 4K/30p Video
ISO 100-32000 (50-102400) ISO 100-51200 (50-204800)
Electronic viewfinder (3686k dots) Electronic viewfinder (3686k dots)
3.0" LCD, 1440k 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
650 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 A7R 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

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Sony A7R III and the Sony A9 II is provided 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 A7R III vs Sony A9 II
Compare A7R III versus A9 II top
Comparison A7R 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 A7R III. Moreover, the A9 II is slightly heavier (4 percent) than the A7R 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, 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)
Camera
Model
 
Sony A7R III» 5.0 in 3.8 in 2.9 in 22.9 oz 650 Y Oct 2017 3,199iSony A7R III
 
Sony A9 II« 5.1 in 3.8 in 3.0 in 23.9 oz 690 Y Oct 2019 4,499 iSony A9 II
 
Nikon Z7« » 5.3 in 4.0 in 2.6 in 23.8 oz 330 Y Aug 2018 3,399 iNikon Z7
 
Sony A7R IV« » 5.1 in 3.8 in 3.1 in 23.5 oz 670 Y Jul 2019 3,499 iSony A7R IV
 
Sony A7 III« » 5.0 in 3.8 in 2.9 in 22.9 oz 610 Y Feb 2018 1,999 iSony A7 III
 
Sony A9« » 5.0 in 3.8 in 2.5 in 23.7 oz 650 Y Apr 2017 4,499iSony A9
 
Sony A99 II« » 5.6 in 4.1 in 3.0 in 29.9 oz 490 Y Sep 2016 3,199 iSony A99 II
 
Sony A7R II« » 5.0 in 3.8 in 2.4 in 22.0 oz 290 Y Jun 2015 3,199iSony A7R II
 
Sony A7S II« » 5.0 in 3.8 in 2.4 in 22.1 oz 370 Y Sep 2015 2,999 iSony A7S II
 
Sony A7 II« » 5.0 in 3.8 in 2.4 in 21.1 oz 350 Y Nov 2014 1,999iSony A7 II
 
Sony A7R« » 5.0 in 3.7 in 1.9 in 16.4 oz 340 Y Oct 2013 2,299iSony A7R
 
Sony A99« » 5.8 in 4.4 in 3.1 in 28.6 oz 500 Y Sep 2012 2,799iSony 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 retail prices at the time of the camera’s release place the model in the market relative to other models in the producer’s line-up and the competition. The A7R III was launched at a markedly lower price (by 29 percent) than the A9 II, which puts it into a different market segment. 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

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. 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 II is 2 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 A7R III and Sony A9 II sensor measures

With 42.2MP, the A7R III offers a higher resolution than the A9 II (24MP), but the A7R III has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.52μm versus 5.94μm for the A9 II). Moreover, the A9 II is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 11 months) than the A7R III, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the A7R III has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

The resolution advantage of the Sony A7R III implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the A7R III for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 39.8 x 26.5 inch or 101 x 67.4 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 31.8 x 21.2 inch or 80.8 x 53.9 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 26.5 x 17.7 inch or 67.3 x 44.9 cm. The corresponding values for the Sony A9 II are 30 x 20 inch or 76.2 x 50.8 cm for good quality, 24 x 16 inch or 61 x 40.6 cm for very good quality, and 20 x 13.3 inch or 50.8 x 33.9 cm for excellent quality prints.

Unlike the A9 II, 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 Sony Alpha A7R III has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 32000, which can be extended to ISO 50-102400. The corresponding ISO settings for the Sony Alpha A9 II are ISO 100 to ISO 51200, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 50-204800.

A7R 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"). Of the two cameras under review, the A7R III has a notably higher overall DXO score than the A9 II (overall score 7 points higher), which gives it an advantage in terms of imaging quality. This advantage is based on 1 bits higher color depth, 0.7 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0 stops in additional low light sensitivity. 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 A7R III Full Frame 42.2 7952 53044K/30p26.014.73523100Sony A7R III
 
Sony A9 II Full Frame 24.0 6000 40004K/30p25.014.0343493Sony A9 II
 
Nikon Z7 Full Frame 45.4 8256 55044K/30p26.314.6266899Nikon Z7
 
Sony A7R IV Full Frame 60.2 9504 63364K/30p........Sony A7R IV
 
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 A7 II Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.913.6244990Sony A7 II
 
Sony A7R Full Frame 36.2 7360 49121080/60p25.614.1274695Sony A7R
 
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 have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, and both provide the same movie specifications (4K/30p).

 

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The A7R III and the A9 II are similar in the sense that both feature an electronic viewfinder, which is helpful when framing images in bright sunlight. Moreover, their viewfinders offer an identical resolution of 3686k dots. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Sony A7R III and Sony A9 II along with similar information for a selection of comparators.

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 A7R III3686 n 3.0 1440 tilting Y 1/8000s 10.0 n Y Sony A7R III
 
Sony A9 II3686 n 3.0 1440 tilting Y 1/8000s 10.0 n Y Sony A9 II
 
Nikon Z73690 Y 3.2 2100 tilting Y 1/8000s 9.0 n Y Nikon Z7
 
Sony A7R IV5760 n 3.0 1440 tilting Y 1/8000s 10.0 n Y Sony A7R IV
 
Sony A7 III2359 n 3.0 922 tilting Y 1/8000s 10.0 n Y Sony A7 III
 
Sony A93686 n 3.0 1440 tilting Y 1/8000s 20.0 n Y Sony A9
 
Sony A99 II2400 Y 3.0 1229 full-flex n 1/8000s 12.0 n Y Sony A99 II
 
Sony A7R II2400 n 3.0 1229 tilting n 1/8000s 5.0 n Y Sony A7R II
 
Sony A7S II2400 n 3.0 1229 tilting n 1/8000s 5.0 n Y Sony A7S II
 
Sony A7 II2400 n 3.0 1230 tilting n 1/8000s 5.0 n Y Sony A7 II
 
Sony A7R2400 n 3.0 1230 tilting n 1/8000s 4.0 n n Sony A7R
 
Sony A992359 Y 3.0 1229 full-flex n 1/8000s 6.0 n Y Sony A99

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 A7R 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 A7R 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 A7R III supports UHS-II only on its first slot and UHS-I (data transfer speed up to 104 MB/s) on the second one.

 

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 A7R III and Sony Alpha A9 II 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
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
Camera
Model
 
Sony A7R IIIYstereomonoYYmicro3.1YYYSony A7R III
 
Sony A9 IIYstereomonoYYmicro3.1YYYSony A9 II
 
Nikon Z7YstereomonoYYmicro3.1Y-YNikon Z7
 
Sony A7R IVYstereomonoYYmicro3.1YYYSony A7R IV
 
Sony A7 IIIYstereomonoYYmicro3.1YYYSony A7 III
 
Sony A9YstereomonoYYmicro2.0YYYSony A9
 
Sony A99 IIYstereomonoYYmicro2.0YYYSony A99 II
 
Sony A7R IIYstereomonoYYmicro2.0YY-Sony A7R II
 
Sony A7S IIYstereomonoYYmicro2.0YY-Sony A7S II
 
Sony A7 IIYstereomonoYYmicro2.0YY-Sony A7 II
 
Sony A7RYstereomonoYYmicro2.0YY-Sony A7R
 
Sony A99YstereomonoYYmini2.0---Sony A99

Both cameras feature a PC Sync terminal to control professional strobe lights, which will be appreciated by studio photographers.

The A9 II is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Sony. In contrast, the A7R III has been discontinued (but it can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the A7R III was succeeded by the Sony A7R IV. 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

So what is the bottom line? Which of the two cameras – the Sony A7R III or the Sony A9 II – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.


Advantages of the Sony Alpha A7R III:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (42.2 vs 24MP) with a 33% higher linear resolution.
  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • High quality composites: Can combine several shots after pixel-shifting its sensor.
  • Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (7 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
  • 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 (29 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in October 2017).


Arguments in favor of the Sony Alpha A9 II:

  • Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
  • More modern: Was introduced somewhat (1 year and 11 months) more recently.

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the A7R III is the clear winner of the match-up (7 : 2 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.

A7R III 07:02 A9 II

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Sony A7R 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 comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the A7R III or the A9 II. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.

Expert reviews

This is where reviews by experts come in. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major 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
cam
era
  labs  
dp
re
  view  
e
photo
  zine  
ima
ging
resource
photo
graphy
  blog  
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
 
Sony A7R III+ +90/1004.5/55/55/5 Oct 2017 3,199iSony A7R III
 
Sony A9 II....5/5..5/5 Oct 2019 4,499 iSony A9 II
 
Nikon Z7+89/1004.5/54.5/55/5 Aug 2018 3,399 iNikon Z7
 
Sony A7R IV+91/1004.5/55/55/5 Jul 2019 3,499 iSony A7R IV
 
Sony A7 III+ +89/1005/55/55/5 Feb 2018 1,999 iSony A7 III
 
Sony A9+ +89/1005/55/55/5 Apr 2017 4,499iSony A9
 
Sony A99 II..85/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2016 3,199 iSony A99 II
 
Sony A7R II+ +90/1005/54.5/55/5 Jun 2015 3,199iSony A7R II
 
Sony A7S II+..4.5/55/55/5 Sep 2015 2,999 iSony A7S II
 
Sony A7 II+82/1004.5/55/55/5 Nov 2014 1,999iSony A7 II
 
Sony A7R+ +82/1004.5/55/55/5 Oct 2013 2,299iSony A7R
 
Sony A99..84/1004.5/5o4.5/5 Sep 2012 2,799iSony A99
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 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 A7R III:
Check Ebay offers
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 use the search menu below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.

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    Specifications: Sony A7R 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 A7R III Sony A9 II
    Camera Type Mirrorless system camera Mirrorless system camera
    Camera Lens Sony E mount lenses Sony E mount lenses
    Launch Date October 2017 October 2019
    Launch Price USD 3199 USD 4499
    Sensor Specs Sony A7R III Sony A9 II
    Sensor Technology BSI-CMOS BSI-CMOS
    Sensor Format Full Frame Sensor Full Frame Sensor
    Sensor Size 35.9 x 24.0 mm 35.6 x 23.8 mm
    Sensor Area 861.6 mm2 847.28 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 43.2 mm 42.8 mm
    Crop Factor 1.0x 1.0x
    Sensor Resolution 42.2 Megapixels 24 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 7952 x 5304 pixels 6000 x 4000 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 4.52 μm 5.94 μm
    Pixel Density 4.90 MP/cm2 2.83 MP/cm2
    Moiré control no AA filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 4K/30p Video 4K/30p Video
    ISO Setting 100-32000 ISO 100-51200 ISO
    ISO Boost 50-102400 ISO 50-204800 ISO
    Image Processor BIONZ X BIONZ X
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 100 93
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 26.0 25.0
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 14.7 14.0
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 3523 3434
    Screen Specs Sony A7R III Sony A9 II
    Viewfinder Type Electronic viewfinder Electronic viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100% 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.78x 0.78x
    Viewfinder Resolution 3686k dots 3686k dots
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0 inch 3.0 inch
    LCD Resolution 1440k dots 1440k dots
    LCD Attachment Tilting screen Tilting screen
    Touch Input Touchscreen Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs Sony A7R III Sony A9 II
    Focus 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 10 shutter flaps/s 10 shutter flaps/s
    Shutter Life Expectancy500 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 A7R III Sony A9 II
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    Studio Flash PC Sync socket 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 A7R III Sony A9 II
    Environmental SealingWeathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
    Battery Type NP-FZ100 NP-FZ100
    Battery Life (CIPA)650 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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