It’s onerous to generalize about Nikon vs Sony mirrorless cameras. The 2 corporations haven’t traditionally competed in the identical markets. Whether or not one digital camera model or the opposite is best for you relies upon largely on which cameras you’re speaking about.
I used to be a Nikon man, and my first skilled Nikon digital camera was a D800. After that, I migrated to the D810 after which the Nikon D850. They had been all respectable DSLR cameras. However as a wildlife photographer, I wasn’t pleased with their body fee or the autofocus.
Consequently, I traded in all my Nikon equipment final yr for 2 Sony a1 mirrorless cameras and numerous lenses. They go well with me effectively, nevertheless it was an costly transition, and also you won’t be in the identical photographic area of interest. So we’ll evaluate every model via my “lens.” However you should determine for your self which is best!
Nikon vs Sony Questions and Comparability
Are you an expert or an fanatic? Do you shoot wildlife, portraits, or landscapes? Are you searching for a full body digital camera or a crop-sensor mannequin? What’s your price range?
All these questions are essential. So there’s no straightforward reply when evaluating the Nikon and Sony manufacturers. I communicate from private expertise. And my examples will usually contain my new Sony a1 and “the one which bought away” (the Nikon Z9).
These are the 2 corporations’ flagship mirrorless cameras, and I’ll take a look at all their key elements:
First, a little bit of background on every digital camera model.
Nikon was based in Tokyo, Japan, in 1917 (beneath one other identify). And since 1988, it has made trades because the Nikon Company. It’s now a multinational conglomerate with over $3.7 billion in gross sales in 2020.
Nikon focuses on optics and imaging merchandise, together with cameras and lenses. However it additionally makes binoculars, microscopes, and lots of different client merchandise.
Nikon might be greatest recognized for its vary of 35mm cameras and lenses based mostly on the F-mount. Its flagship product is the D850, launched in 2017. However Nikon branched out into full body mirrorless cameras in 2018. And the Z9 is now among the best available on the market. It additionally makes compact cameras such because the Coolpix P1000.
Total, Nikon has an excellent fame with shoppers.
Nikon Coolpix P1000
Sony Group Company can be a multinational conglomerate. However it’s far larger than Nikon. It was based in 1946 (additionally beneath one other identify) and managed gross sales of round $81 billion in 2021. Sony produces cameras and lenses as a part of its Digital Merchandise and Options division. However it additionally has a number of different broad enterprise items.
Sony solely began making cameras within the Nineteen Eighties with the Mavica. However it didn’t convey out any extra till the compact CyberShot line in 1996. It used to make A-mount DSLRs up to now, however fashions such because the a900 have been discontinued.
Sony was the primary to launch a full body mirrorless digital camera with the a7 in 2013. It additionally pioneered utilizing a translucent mirror in Single Lens Translucent (SLT) cameras such because the a99.
However it’s now greatest recognized for its APS-C and full body mirrorless cameras such because the Sony a6600 and the a1. And it, too, has a stellar fame with shoppers.
Sony vs Nikon Mirrorless: Which is Higher?
Sony has been producing full body mirrorless cameras for 5 years longer than Nikon. And that exhibits within the wider vary of Sony cameras and lenses accessible.
Nikon Mirrorless Vary
Nikon has not too long ago invested quite a bit in mirrorless on the expense of DSLRs. I used to be desirous about shopping for the D880, the potential successor to the D850. However the venture was deserted! As an alternative, most up-to-date Nikon cameras have been mirrorless, together with the Z6, Z7, and Z9.
Total, Nikon makes solely 9 mirrorless fashions:
DX (or APS-C format):
FX (or full body):
Nikon Z7 II
Sony Mirrorless Vary
Yow will discover a Sony digital camera and lenses in a number of completely different segments of the market:
- Interchangeable lens cameras
- Mirrorless full body cameras
- Mirrorless APS-C cameras
- Cinema Line cameras
- Vlogging and compact cameras
The corporate additionally tends to maintain older Sony cameras available on the market slightly than discontinue them. Meaning you’ll be able to typically get monetary savings for those who don’t suppose the specs must be the newest and biggest!
The one market segments the place Sony and Nikon actually compete are APS-C and full body mirrorless cameras. To make it simpler to check the 2 manufacturers, I’ll focus on their flagship fashions, the Sony a1 and the Nikon Z9.
Along with the Canon R3 or R5, these are the highest full body mirrorless fashions available on the market. So this comparability ought to present what every producer can do!
Nikon Z9 vs Sony a1 Dealing with
There are two faculties of thought in the case of the shape issue. The primary is that mirrorless cameras might be smaller and lighter than DSLRs, which needs to be celebrated and exploited. Second, cameras might be “too small” to realize good stability, particularly with an extended lens connected. And mirrorless fashions ought to have a built-in vertical grip to enhance battery life.
The Sony a1 and Nikon Z9 are very completely different on this respect. The a1 is small and lightweight and has no built-in grip (though you should buy a grip as an adjunct). The Z9 is bulkier and heavier with an built-in grip.
Which you like is clearly as much as you, however I like the flexibleness of the a1. If I would like the comfort of the vertical grip in switching between panorama and portrait format, I’ll connect it after I want it. If I favor to chop down on the burden to shoot handheld with an extended lens, I’ll take it off.
Battery life isn’t actually an issue for those who shoot in steady mode. And I’ve by no means wanted to switch the battery, even after I’ve crammed up each reminiscence playing cards! The one downside I’ve had is getting a couple of blisters on the fingers of my proper hand after I don’t match the vertical grip, however I can put up with it!
Viewfinder and LCD
Relating to the precise dealing with of those cameras… the primary benefits of the a1 are the digital viewfinder (EVF) and the customization choices.
The a1 has a vibrant, clear 9437K-dot EVF with 0.9x magnification. And it presents blackout-free taking pictures with zero lag. It was so reasonable that I assumed it was an everyday optical viewfinder after I first tried it out! It additionally has a refresh fee that may be pushed as much as 240 fps/Hertz—however on the expense of decision.
The Z9’s EVF has solely 3686k dots and 0.8x magnification. It initially had a refresh fee of solely 60 fps, however the Firmware Model 2.0 doubled that to 120 fps. It has minimal lag and flickering. However it’s not fairly in the identical league because the one on the a1, which has additionally now been fitted to the brand new a7R V.
However the Z9 beats the a1 with its rear LCD display’s measurement, decision, and adaptability. (3.2 inches and 2089 dots vs 3 inches and 1440 dots.) That’s a forty five% benefit in sharpness. And the multi-angle design beats the a1’s tilting display arms down for many functions.
So far as customization goes, each cameras supply loads of choices. The Z9 has 4 taking pictures banks that may be programmed utterly independently. It additionally has 20 buttons and round 200 capabilities. So you would spend all day (and night time) going via all of them!
The a1 solely has 13 buttons on the digital camera physique (plus the main target maintain button on chosen lenses). However the a1 has a big benefit of three customized publicity modes (1, 2, and three on the primary dial). These might be programmed with nearly any settings you want, together with the shutter pace, aperture, ISO, and autofocus modes. Turning the dial to a brand new customized mode resets each setting. This implies it’s a chunk of cake to change from taking pictures portraits to motion, for instance.
I’ve my three presets designed for several types of photographs, and my solely criticism is that it’s important to unlock the primary dial earlier than turning it. It’s a clumsy maneuver for those who try to do it along with your eye on the viewfinder. And it wastes a second or two in what may be a really slim window of alternative when taking pictures wildlife.
I exploit the opposite customized buttons on my a1 our bodies to toggle between my most incessantly used settings, together with focus space and eye detection.
Nikon Z9 vs Sony a1 Sensor Decision
Each cameras have stacked CMOS sensors, and Sony really makes them each! The a1 has a barely bigger sensor (50 MP vs 46 MP). However the distinction in picture high quality is marginal.
Should you take a look at the DxOMark sensor scores, you’ll discover that each rating 98 general, with the Z9 sensor barely forward on shade depth (26.3 vs 25.9 bits). However the z9 is barely behind on dynamic vary (14.5 vs 14.8 EV) and low-light ISO (2451 vs 3163 ISO).
Nikon Z9 vs Sony a1 Autofocus (AF)
That is the primary space the place mirrorless cameras shine. The arrival of human, animal, and bird-eye detection is a significant benefit in most genres of images, particularly wildlife.
Sony has been on the forefront of autofocus innovation in the previous few years. And the a1 in all probability had the very best AF system at its launch. My solely criticism is which you could’t let the digital camera work out what it’s taking pictures. So it’s important to choose Human, Animal, or Chook manually.
However that’s now modified with the brand new a7R V, and it additionally presents car and airplane monitoring modes plus insect detection! I hope a brand new firmware improve brings all that to my a1.
Nikon has needed to play catch-up in mirrorless autofocus, however the Z9 is now a formidable competitor. Its AF hit fee is phenomenal. And also you don’t want to inform the digital camera what you’re making an attempt to give attention to—it might probably work it out for itself!
Area trials present the Z9 and a1 AF programs carry out virtually equally effectively. So let’s see what Nikon and Sony can give you of their subsequent firmware updates!
Nikon Z9 vs Sony a1 Body Price and Buffer Measurement
The body fee was one of many primary issues with my outdated DSLR (D850). It may solely handle 7 fps (frames per second) or 9 fps with the battery grip. And that was simply not adequate for wildlife images.
Combining a mirrorless digital camera with an digital shutter makes a lot greater body charges potential. The Sony a1 can shoot lossy compressed RAW information at 30 fps, whereas the Z9 can shoot lossless compressed RAW information at 20 fps. (Or 11MB JPEGs at 120 fps, however that doesn’t really matter!)
As a wildlife photographer, I would like the very best potential RAW body fee, so the a1 “wins” on that. However it additionally does effectively on the buffer measurement. You possibly can shoot as much as 238 frames in lossy compressed RAW format or 96 frames losslessly compressed. In principle, the Z9 blows that out of the water with a 1,000-shot buffer at 20 fps. However a subject take a look at has proven that to be very optimistic!
The Sony a1 is constructed for pace, however the alternative of the proprietary CFexpress Sort A card is odd. The read-write speeds of the Z9’s Sort B playing cards are round twice as quick, so it appears to be the higher choice. You possibly can all the time use SD playing cards with the a1, nevertheless it dramatically limits the buffer measurement!
Nikon Z9 vs Sony a1 Video
Each cameras supply 8K video, nevertheless it’s not so simple as that. The a1 has nice autofocus and many image profiles. These embody S-Cinetone (for cinema-like shade), S-Log3 (for max dynamic vary), and HLG (for “immediate” HDR). However it doesn’t have oversampled 4K. Meaning the footage is way much less detailed than you get with the Z9.
The Z9 checks all of the bins for a hybrid mirrorless digital camera. You possibly can report 4K and 8K footage and even ProRes footage proper to the reminiscence card. Firmware updates additionally promise inside Nikon Uncooked and Apple ProRes Uncooked recording.
Total, Nikon and Sony are each wonderful digital camera manufacturers. Should you’re trying to substitute your current mannequin, it’s good to determine precisely what sort of digital camera you’re searching for. The 2 corporations function in barely completely different markets. Sony focuses on compact and mirrorless digital camera our bodies. And Nikon has steadily transitioned from DSLRs to mirrorless.
Should you’re taking a look at full body cameras, the Nikon Z9 and Sony a1 are neck and neck. If you have already got a cabinet filled with Nikon gear, then the Z9 might be the safer and cheaper alternative, however Sony can be an excellent choice. In spite of everything, I switched from the D850 to the a1 and by no means regarded again!
Is Nikon higher than Sony?
They’re each well-established digital camera manufacturers with years of trade expertise. Historically, Nikon and Canon had been all the time the Massive Two, however that was within the days of DSLR dominance. When mirrorless fashions got here alongside, Sony stole a march on them. And so they’ve solely not too long ago been in a position to match Sony’s high-end merchandise by way of picture high quality and performance.
Ought to I change to Sony from Nikon?
I did, and I’ve no regrets! Sure, it’s costly—particularly in case you have quite a lot of “legacy” gear, together with cameras, lenses, and equipment. However for those who’re dedicated to discovering the very best digital camera system to work with, then Sony mirrorless fashions take some beating. Or you’ll be able to all the time hold your current Nikon lenses and use them with an FTZ lens adaptor on the Z9.
Do skilled photographers use Sony?
More and more so, sure. Historically, most experts in all probability had DSLRs such because the Canon EOS 1D X Mark III or the Nikon D850. However these days, an terrible lot of them are switching to mirrorless. Sony is likely one of the premium mirrorless digital camera producers, so it’s pure to contemplate shopping for an a7R IV or an a1.
Which is the No 1 DSLR digital camera model?
Canon had a 59.8% share of the DSLR market in 2021, adopted by Nikon with 33.9%. However, the DSLR market is shrinking quickly. Canon has already introduced that it gained’t develop any extra flagship DSLRs, and the remainder of the trade will in all probability observe go well with.
Nonetheless uncertain which digital camera model to decide on? We additionally study Canon vs Sony, Fujifilm vs Sony, Fujifilm vs Canon, or Fujifilm vs Olympus. If you wish to evaluate the specs of particular Sony vs Nikon fashions, strive our digital camera comparability instrument!