Sony A7R vs HX99
The Sony Alpha A7R and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX99 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in October 2013 and August 2018. The A7R is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the HX99 is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on a full frame (A7R) and a 1/2.3-inch (HX99) sensor. The A7R has a resolution of 36.2 megapixels, whereas the HX99 provides 18 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Sony Alpha A7R and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX99? 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.
The physical size and weight of the Sony A7R and the Sony HX99 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 width, height and depth dimensions 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 HX99 is considerably smaller (50 percent) than the Sony A7R. It is worth mentioning in this context that the A7R is splash and dust resistant, while the HX99 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the HX99 has a lens built in, whereas the A7R is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup. You can compare the optics available for the A7R and their specifications in the Sony FE Lens Catalog.
Concerning battery life, the A7R gets 340 shots out of its NP-FW50 battery, while the HX99 can take 370 images on a single charge of its NP-BX1 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 want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, you can move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.
|1.||Sony A7R||127 mm||94 mm||48 mm||465 g||340||Y||Oct 2013||2,299|
|2.||Sony HX99||102 mm||58 mm||36 mm||242 g||370||n||Aug 2018||449|
|3.||Canon SX730||110 mm||64 mm||40 mm||300 g||250||n||Apr 2017||399|
|4.||Nikon D810||146 mm||123 mm||82 mm||980 g||1200||Y||Jun 2014||3,299|
|5.||Sony A7 III||127 mm||96 mm||74 mm||650 g||610||Y||Feb 2018||1,999|
|6.||Sony HX95||102 mm||58 mm||36 mm||242 g||370||n||Aug 2018||429|
|7.||Sony WX800||102 mm||58 mm||36 mm||233 g||370||n||Oct 2018||399|
|8.||Sony A7R III||127 mm||96 mm||74 mm||650 g||650||Y||Oct 2017||3,199|
|9.||Sony A7R II||127 mm||96 mm||60 mm||625 g||290||Y||Jun 2015||3,199|
|10.||Sony RX1R II||113 mm||65 mm||72 mm||507 g||220||n||Oct 2015||3,299|
|11.||Sony HX90V||102 mm||58 mm||36 mm||245 g||360||n||Apr 2015||429|
|12.||Sony A7 II||127 mm||96 mm||60 mm||599 g||350||Y||Nov 2014||1,999|
|13.||Sony A7S||127 mm||94 mm||48 mm||489 g||380||Y||Apr 2014||2,499|
|14.||Sony HX400V||130 mm||93 mm||103 mm||660 g||300||n||Feb 2014||499|
|15.||Sony A7||127 mm||94 mm||48 mm||474 g||340||Y||Oct 2013||1,699|
|16.||Sony RX1R||113 mm||65 mm||70 mm||482 g||270||n||Jun 2013||2,799|
|17.||Sony RX1||113 mm||65 mm||70 mm||482 g||270||n||Sep 2012||2,799|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. 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 HX99 was launched at a lower price than the A7R, despite having a lens built in. 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.
The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors of image quality. A large sensor will tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixel-units 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 are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Sony A7R features a full frame sensor and the Sony HX99 a 1/2.3-inch sensor. The sensor area in the HX99 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 A7R has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the HX99 offers a 4:3 aspect.
With 36.2MP, the A7R offers a higher resolution than the HX99 (18MP), but the A7R nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.88μm versus 1.25μm for the HX99) due to its larger sensor. However, the HX99 is a much more recent model (by 4 years and 10 months) than the A7R, and its sensor will 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 neither of the two cameras has an anti-alias filter installed, so they are able to capture all the detail the sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Sony A7R implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the A7R for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 36.8 x 24.6 inches or 93.5 x 62.4 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 29.4 x 19.6 inches or 74.8 x 49.9 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 24.5 x 16.4 inches or 62.3 x 41.6 cm. The corresponding values for the Sony HX99 are 24.5 x 18.4 inches or 62.2 x 46.6 cm for good quality, 19.6 x 14.7 inches or 49.7 x 37.3 cm for very good quality, and 16.3 x 12.2 inches or 41.5 x 31.1 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Sony Alpha A7R 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 Cyber-shot DSC-HX99 are ISO 80 to ISO 3200, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 80-6400.
For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
|1.||Sony A7R||Full Frame||36.2||7360||4912||1080/60p||25.6||14.1||2746||95|
|4.||Nikon D810||Full Frame||36.2||7360||4912||1080/60p||25.7||14.8||2853||97|
|5.||Sony A7 III||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||25.0||14.7||3730||96|
|8.||Sony A7R III||Full Frame||42.2||7952||5304||4K/30p||26.0||14.7||3523||100|
|9.||Sony A7R II||Full Frame||42.2||7952||5304||4K/30p||26.0||13.9||3434||98|
|10.||Sony RX1R II||Full Frame||42.2||7952||5304||1080/60p||25.8||13.9||3204||97|
|12.||Sony A7 II||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.9||13.6||2449||90|
|13.||Sony A7S||Full Frame||12.0||4240||2832||1080/60p||23.9||13.2||3702||87|
|15.||Sony A7||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.8||14.2||2248||90|
|16.||Sony RX1R||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||25.0||13.6||2537||91|
|17.||Sony RX1||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||25.1||14.3||2534||93|
|Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.|
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 HX99 provides a better video resolution than the A7R. It can shoot movie footage at 4K/30p, while the A7R is limited to 1080/60p.
Beyond 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 A7R offers a substantially higher resolution than the one in the HX99 (2400k vs 638k dots). The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Sony A7R and Sony HX99 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|1.||Sony A7R||2400||n||3.0 / 1230||tilting||n||1/8000s||4.0||n||n|
|2.||Sony HX99||638||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||Y||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y|
|3.||Canon SX730||none||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||n||1/3200s||5.9||Y||Y|
|4.||Nikon D810||optical||Y||3.2 / 1229||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0||Y||n|
|5.||Sony A7 III||2359||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||Y||1/8000s||10.0||n||Y|
|6.||Sony HX95||638||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||n||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y|
|7.||Sony WX800||none||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||Y||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y|
|8.||Sony A7R III||3686||n||3.0 / 1440||tilting||Y||1/8000s||10.0||n||Y|
|9.||Sony A7R II||2400||n||3.0 / 1229||tilting||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||Y|
|10.||Sony RX1R II||2360||n||3.0 / 1229||tilting||n||1/4000s||5.0||n||n|
|11.||Sony HX90V||638||n||3.0 / 921||tilting||n||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y|
|12.||Sony A7 II||2400||n||3.0 / 1230||tilting||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||Y|
|13.||Sony A7S||2400||n||3.0 / 921||tilting||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||n|
|14.||Sony HX400V||210||n||3.0 / 921||tilting||n||1/4000s||10.0||Y||Y|
|15.||Sony A7||2400||n||3.0 / 1230||tilting||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||n|
|16.||Sony RX1R||optional||n||3.0 / 1229||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n|
|17.||Sony RX1||optional||n||3.0 / 1229||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n|
One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The HX99 has a touchscreen, while the A7R has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.The HX99 has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in taking selfies. In contrast, the A7R does not have a selfie-screen.
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the A7R and the HX99 write their files to SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards. Both cameras can use UHS-I cards, which provide for Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s.
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 and Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX99 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Sony A7R||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|2.||Sony HX99||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|3.||Canon SX730||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|4.||Nikon D810||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||Y||-||-|
|5.||Sony A7 III||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||micro||3.1||Y||Y||Y|
|6.||Sony HX95||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|7.||Sony WX800||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|8.||Sony A7R III||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||micro||3.1||Y||Y||Y|
|9.||Sony A7R II||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|10.||Sony RX1R II||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|11.||Sony HX90V||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|12.||Sony A7 II||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|13.||Sony A7S||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|14.||Sony HX400V||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|15.||Sony A7||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|16.||Sony RX1R||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|17.||Sony RX1||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
It is notable that the A7R has a hotshoe, while the HX99 does not. This socket makes it possible to easily attach optional accessories, such as an external flash gun.
The HX99 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Sony. In contrast, the A7R has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the A7R was succeeded by the Sony A7R II. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Sony website.
So what is the bottom line? Which of the two cameras – the Sony A7R or the Sony HX99 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Arguments in favor of the Sony Alpha A7R:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (36.2 vs 18MP) with a 45% higher linear resolution.
- Better image quality: Features bigger pixels on a larger sensor for higher quality imaging.
- Richer colors: The pixel size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
- More dynamic range: Larger pixels capture a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
- Better low-light sensitivity: Larger pixels means good image quality even under poor lighting.
- 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 638k dots).
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1230k vs 922k dots).
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
- More flexible: Accepts interchangeable lenses, so that lens characteristics can be altered.
- 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 available for much longer (launched in October 2013).
Advantages of the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX99:
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 1080/60p).
- Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 4 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Ready to shoot: Has an integrated lens, whereas the A7R necessitates an extra lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (102x58mm vs 127x94mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight even though it has a lens built in (unlike the A7R).
- Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
- Easier fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.
- Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
- More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
- More modern: Reflects 4 years and 10 months of technical progress since the A7R launch.
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the A7R emerges as the winner of the contest (14 : 12 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 wildlife photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a family photog, and a person interested in architecture has distinct needs from a sports 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 Sony A7R and the Sony HX99 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera and Best Superzoom Camera listings 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 A7R and the HX99 in practical situations. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.
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 (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], digitalcameraworld [DCW], 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.
|1.||Sony A7R||5/5||+ +||..||82/100||4.5/5||5/5||Oct 2013||2,299|
|2.||Sony HX99||..||..||..||..||4/5||4.5/5||Aug 2018||449|
|3.||Canon SX730||..||+||..||..||4/5||4/5||Apr 2017||399|
|4.||Nikon D810||5/5||..||5/5||86/100||5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2014||3,299|
|5.||Sony A7 III||..||+ +||4.5/5||89/100||5/5||5/5||Feb 2018||1,999|
|6.||Sony HX95||..||..||..||..||..||..||Aug 2018||429|
|7.||Sony WX800||..||..||..||..||..||..||Oct 2018||399|
|8.||Sony A7R III||..||+ +||4/5||90/100||4.5/5||5/5||Oct 2017||3,199|
|9.||Sony A7R II||5/5||+ +||5/5||90/100||5/5||5/5||Jun 2015||3,199|
|10.||Sony RX1R II||5/5||..||..||82/100||..||4.5/5||Oct 2015||3,299|
|11.||Sony HX90V||4/5||+ +||..||..||4/5||4.5/5||Apr 2015||429|
|12.||Sony A7 II||5/5||+||4/5||82/100||4.5/5||5/5||Nov 2014||1,999|
|13.||Sony A7S||4/5||..||..||86/100||4.5/5||5/5||Apr 2014||2,499|
|14.||Sony HX400V||4/5||+ +||..||..||4/5||4/5||Feb 2014||499|
|15.||Sony A7||5/5||+ +||..||80/100||5/5||5/5||Oct 2013||1,699|
|16.||Sony RX1R||5/5||..||..||..||4/5||4.5/5||Jun 2013||2,799|
|17.||Sony RX1||5/5||..||..||79/100||4/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||2,799|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. 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 make your choice using the following search menu. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
Specifications: Sony A7R vs Sony HX99
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||Sony A7R||Sony HX99|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||Sony E mount lenses||24-720mm f/3.5-6.4|
|Launch Date||October 2013||August 2018|
|Launch Price||USD 2,299||USD 449|
|Sensor Specs||Sony A7R||Sony HX99|
|Sensor Format||Full Frame Sensor||1/2.3" Sensor|
|Sensor Size||35.9 x 24.0 mm||6.17 x 4.55 mm|
|Sensor Area||861.6 mm2||28.0735 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||43.2 mm||7.7 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||36.2 Megapixels||18 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||7360 x 4912 pixels||4896 x 3672 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||4.88 μm||1.25 μm|
|Pixel Density||4.20 MP/cm2||64.04 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/60p Video||4K/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 25,600 ISO||80 - 3,200 ISO|
|ISO Boost||50 - 51,200 ISO||80 - 6,400 ISO|
|Image Processor||BIONZ X||BIONZ X|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||95||..|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||25.6||..|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||14.1||..|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||2746||..|
|Screen Specs||Sony A7R||Sony HX99|
|Viewfinder Type||Electronic viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||2400k dots||638k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||1230k dots||922k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Tilting screen||Tilting screen|
|Touch Input||no Touchscreen||Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Sony A7R||Sony HX99|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||no Peaking Feature|
|Continuous Shooting||4 shutter flaps/s||10 shutter flaps/s|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash||Built-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||MS or SDXC cards||MS or SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||UHS-I||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Sony A7R||Sony HX99|
|External Flash||Hotshoe||no Hotshoe|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||micro HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||no MIC socket|
|Headphone Socket||Headphone port||no 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 A7R||Sony HX99|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||not weather sealed|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||340 shots per charge||370 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||USB charging||USB charging|
127 x 94 x 48 mm
(5.0 x 3.7 x 1.9 in)
102 x 58 x 36 mm
(4.0 x 2.3 x 1.4 in)
|Camera Weight||465 g (16.4 oz)||242 g (8.5 oz)|
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