Sony a7 Vs D800 – Detailed Comparison

In this article, we’ll be doing a detailed Sony a7 vs D800 comparison. The Sony a7 is obviously a product of the Sony brand while the D800 is a product of Nikon. This, of course is one of the differences between these two cameras. Others, you’ll get to find out soon enough.

What Camera
Sony a7 Vs D800
Get the Sony a7 now!Get the Nikon D850 now!

The basic idea behind this review is to help you decide which camera is better for you and not necessarily which is the overall better camera. This is why we have detailed the features of each camera and compared those of one camera against those of the other.

Nonetheless, we have two sections that contain bite-sized information. If you need to make a quick decision, you can check out the comparison overview and comparison table sections. However, we do recommend that you go through the whole thing to get comprehensive information.

One more thing. Do check out some of our other Sony-Nikon comparison articles like the Sony a7S vs D750.

Sony a7 Vs D800 — Comparison Overview

Here is a quick rundown of the basic facts:

Overall Rating Of The Sony a7 Vs D800

From our research, we have come to the conclusion that both the Sony a7 and the Nikon D800 are pretty good cameras. They both have that thing that makes them stand out from the other.

For the Nikon D800, it is its sensor resolution while the Sony a7 has its size and weight. It is our opinion that whichever of the two cameras you decide to go for will be good for you.

Rating Of The Features Of The Sony a7 Vs D800

First off, the Sony a7 is a mirrorless camera while the Nikon D800 is a DSLR. Automatically, this tells us that the while the Nikon D800 has an optical viewfinder, the Sony a7 has an electronic viewfinder.

Additionally, the Sony a7 is significantly lighter (1.04 pounds) than the Nikon D800 (2.2 pounds). While the Nikon D800 has a longer battery life (900 shots per charge) than the Sony a7 (340 shots per charge).

The Nikon D800 has some other things that make it stand out like its built-in flash, its extra slot for storage and its slightly larger LCD screen (3.2 vs 3 inches).

On the other hand, the Sony a7 has its inbuilt wireless connection, Near Field Communication connection, articulating screen and can even be controlled using a smartphone.

In spite of all these specificities, there are a number of features they have in common. There is the fact that they are both weather sealed, have a microphone port and a headphone port and they both have the face detection feature.

Not only do they share common features, there are also some features that they both do not have like in body image stabilization and the ability to take 4k videos.

Price/Value Ratio – Sony a7 Vs D800

We consider the Sony a7 really affordable like a good number of Sony cameras are wont to be. However, for the Nikon D800, while we appreciate the features it comes with, especially its sensor resolution, we believe it could go for less.

About The Brands

Sony

Sony is a Japanese brand that has its hands in a number of different ventures. The camera producing branch is Sony electronics and has a good rep for having products of good quality and in a wide range of prices.

However, Sony cameras have not exactly been known for having a decent battery life. If you’ll be getting any Sony camera, be ready to settle for a not so impressive battery life.

Nikon

Nikon is also a Japanese brand but it is more specific. It only produces and carries imaging and optics products. And while its products have also been known for being of good quality, they are usually quite pricey.

Sony a7 Vs D800 – Comparison Table

 

Sony a7

Nikon D800

Weight 1.04 pounds 2.2 pounds
Dimensions 5 by 3.7 by 1.9 inches 5.7 by 4.8 by 3.2 inches
Wireless Connection Yes No
Viewfinder Electronic Optical
Sensor Resolution 24 megapixels 36 megapixels
Continuous Shooting 5 frames per second (fps) 4 frames per second
Battery Life 340 shots per charge 900 shots per charge
Screen Type 3 inch tilting screen 3.2 inch fixed screen
ISO Range 100 to 25600 100 to 6400 and can be expanded to 25600
What Camera
Sony a7 Vs D800
Get the Sony a7 now!Get the Nikon D850 now!

Sony a7 Vs D800 – Which Is Better For What?

Sony a7

Nikon D8000

First off, this camera is significantly lighter and smaller than the other. So, consider getting this one if you are much of a traveler. On the other hand, this camera has the better sensor resolution.
Also, the Sony a7 has an inbuilt wireless connection so you can transfer wirelessly files to an online location. Also, the Nikon D800 has the longer battery life.
What Camera
Sony a7 Vs D800
Get the Sony a7 now!Get the Nikon D850 now!

Sony a7 Vs D800 – Common Features

In this section, we want to help you see those areas where the Sony a7 and the Nikon D800 are similar. As a result, we’ve put together those features that you’ll find in both cameras. While some of these features will be exactly, some others will have slight differences.

1. Viewfinder

One of the most significant similarities with slight differences is the viewfinder. Now, because the Sony a7 is a mirrorless camera and the Nikon D800 is a DSLR, they both do not have the same kind of viewfinder.

However, we’ve decided to add it to the common features section because not every mirrorless camera has a viewfinder. If you get one that doesn’t, you’ll be expected to use the LCD screen which isn’t always the best.

That said, there is a fundamental difference between the optical viewfinder (which the Nikon D800 has) and the electronic viewfinder (which the Sony a7). But before we go into that, bear in mind that the viewfinder is that small screen that you look through when you prepare to take a shot.

The basic idea of the viewfinder is for you to have a preview of your subject before you shoot. Looking through the viewfinder, you’ll be able to spot if anything is off or out of place and correct it. Now, to the types of viewfinder.

An optical viewfinder is kinda like a window. Images appear on the viewfinder the way they appear to the naked eye. And while this might not afford you the most accurate representation of a digital image, it is sure a battery saving viewfinder.

On the other hand, the electronic viewfinder is basically a little LCD screen. Images on the electronic viewfinder are digital images and are as close to how your sensor sees them as possible. However, because this viewfinder has to wait to receive these digital images, it is not as fast as the optical viewfinder.

2. Flash Shoe

The right lighting is absolutely very important if you want to take the right pictures. However, you won’t always get the right lighting from your environment. You’ll have to take matters into your own hands and make a provision against a poor lighting eventuality.

That said, a good number of cameras have an inbuilt flash to combat that, which is a good thing. However, both the Sony a7 and the Nikon D800 have a flash shoe. The flash shoe is not an extra flash but a provision for you to attach an external flash.

In our opinion, this external flash is a better tool to have in a poor lighting situation than the inbuilt flash. It generally provides better light and has a better coverage. Also, this external flash can be used to take flash photography.

3. Microphone Port

Both the Sony a7 and the Nikon D800 have an inbuilt microphone and also have an external microphone port. The idea of a camera having an inbuilt microphone is for the camera to be able to record videos, seeing as the audio is an important part of a video.

This is why they also have an external microphone port. You can attach an external microphone to either camera and get good quality audio recording, while you might be able to make do with the inbuilt microphone, it makes sense to just get an external microphone since a provision has already been made for it.

4. Headphone Port

Just like with the inbuilt microphone and microphone port, both the Sony a7 and the Nikon D800 have an inbuilt stereo and a headphone jack. And just like the inbuilt microphone, the inbuilt stereo is not your best bet for getting quality sounds.

Now, the stereo thing does not affect the quality of the sound but it does affect how you hear what you’ve recorded. And since a provision has already been made for you to attach headphones, it makes sense to just use headphones instead of struggling with the inbuilt stereo.

What Camera
Sony a7 Vs D800
Get the Sony a7 now!Get the Nikon D850 now!

5. Weather Sealing

You know how nature can be unpredictable and we don’t really have control of how it works? Well, knowing this, some camera manufacturers have decided to take care of things as much as they can by weather sealing their cameras.

Now, a camera that is weather sealed can be dustproof, water resistant, waterproof, a combination of two or all three.

That said, both the Sony a7 and the Nikon D800 are both dustproof and water resistant. What this means is that both cameras are fully protected against dust and so dust won’t be able to get into either camera.

However, they are both only partially protected against water and are not waterproof. What this implies is that while both cameras will be OK with a few water splashes or even light drizzle, you won’t want to use them to take pictures while diving or even swimming.

6. Continuous Shooting

If you shoot in the continuous shooting mode, the camera is able to take more than one shot in one second and with one click of the shutter button.

If you are a sports or wildlife photographer or you just like to take pictures of subjects that tend to move around a lot (like toddlers), this is an important feature to note. The continuous shooting feature will also come in handy if you do not have so much time to take shots of a subject or subjects.

That said, the Sony a7 and the Nikon D800 do not have the exact same continuous shooting rate. However, it is pretty close with the Sony a7 offering 5 frames per second and the Nikon D800 offering 4.

Are we excited about this? Not exactly, there are cameras that will offer you better. Do we think it could serve a purpose? Definitely.

7. RAW Support

A camera can either take pictures in jpeg or in RAW. Jpeg is the regular format that all cameras take pictures in and it has an advantage of saving storage space.

That is, jpeg pictures are usually light in megabits. However, jpeg is usually not favored among professionals because it doesn’t offer good quality pictures.

On the other hand, RAW photos are usually of decent quality; that is, they retain their original quality. However, they usually take up a bit of storage space because they are large files.

8. Face Detection

Both the Sony a7 and the Nikon D800 are able to detect faces as you set them to take a snap. Once a face has been detected, both cameras are able to lock down on those faces, helping you take more accurate pictures. Because of this, both cameras would be good ideas if you want to take portraits.

Sony a7 Vs D800 – A Sony a7 Demonstration Video

Sony a7 Vs D800 – Unique Features

In this section, we get to see where one camera one ups the other. This section contains those features that are peculiar to each camera and also those features that are in both cameras but are really different.

1. Mirrorless Vs DSLR

This is a very fundamental difference between the Sony a7 and the Nikon D800 as it influences the way both cameras work. The Sony a7 is a mirrorless camera because it neither has a mirror nor an optical viewfinder and the Nikon D800 is a DSLR because it has both.

Now, here is how things work. With a DSLR, the light that passes through the lens hits the mirror first. It is the mirror that now reflects light onto the optical viewfinder, allowing you see the image you’re focusing on. A part of that light goes to the Autofocus sensor also.

On the other hand, because a mirrorless camera does not have that mirror, light passes through the lens and hits the sensor immediately. Furthermore, instead of light, the sensor sends a digital image to the electronic viewfinder or the LCD screen, whichever is the case.

This is the reason an electronic viewfinder is generally kinda slower than an optical viewfinder. Things would have been faster if what the viewfinder receives is just a reflection of light instead of a full on digital image. However, this does not mean that an electronic viewfinder is slow.

That said, the type difference (mirrorless vs DSLR) accounts for a number of other differences you’ll find. Mirrorless cameras are usually more compact and lighter than DSLR cameras while DSLR cameras usually have a better battery life than mirrorless cameras.

2. Weight

In keeping with the general assertion that DSLRs are heavier than mirrorless cameras, the Nikon D800 is significantly heavier than the Sony a7. Look at it, while the Sony a7 weighs a comfortable 1.04 pounds, the Nikon D800 weighs 2.2 pounds.

While the Sony a7 is not the lightest mirrorless camera in the market, it is a pretty comfortable weight and size. The Nikon D800, on the other hand, is a really heavy camera and we really do not see you carry this camera around often. You’ll need to get a tripod if you’ll be comfortable using this camera.

That said, we cannot base our weight conclusions on the weight of the body alone. You’ll be using lenses and those things could be quite heavy. However, seeing as this is a comparative thing, what you need to know is that both cameras have the same Full frame sensor.

The implication of this is that you’ll need lenses of the same weight and size for the same aperture and focal length. In essence, while the lenses could make each individual camera heavier than it already is, they will not affect the weight difference between the two cameras.

3. Wireless Connection

This is one of those features that you’ll only find on one of the cameras and that is the Sony a7. A camera that has the inbuilt wireless feature is able to gain access to the internet. And via this access, apps and stuff can be downloaded of the internet and files can even be transferred to an online location.

Furthermore, the Sony a7 has the Near Field Communication (NFC) connection. This is another medium via which files can be transferred, howbeit, not to an online location. Via the NFC connection, files can be transferred to another device that is also NFC enabled.

One last thing. The Sony a7, and not the Nikon D800, can be controlled using a smartphone. You’ll need to download the right app on your phone and then establish a connection. Once that connection is established, you take trick shots and even change settings from your smartphone.

4. Articulating Screen.

We’ll start off by saying that an articulating screen isn’t exactly an important factor in the quality of the photos or videos. However, it has a very important role in allowing you express your creativity.

An articulating screen is that kind of screen that can be turned in different directions without having to turn the camera body. There are basically two kinds of articulating screens, the tilting screen and the full-flex.

The tilting screen, which the Sony a7 has, can only be turned upward and then back down. On the other hand, a full-flex screen can be rotated.

Whatever the kind of articulating screen, though, the basic idea is for the screen to be moved in such directions that you can take shots from angles which a fixed screen can’t afford. In our opinion, any kind of articulating screen is always a better idea than a fixed screen (which the Nikon D800 has).

Finally, the Nikon D800’s 3.2 inch screen is slightly larger than the Sony a7’s 3 inch screen. However, the Sony a7 redeems itself with its 1230k dots screen resolution which is slightly better than the Nikon D800’s 921k dots screen resolution.

5. Sensor Resolution

We feel this is one of those features that would do well in either the common features section or this section. However, we’ve added it to this section because we believe that the difference is pretty significant.

That said, we believe it could have made it to our common features section because 24 megapixel and 36 megapixel of sensor resolution are pretty impressive. In either case, you’ll be able to get photos that are of good quality, really detailed and you’ll be able to get large prints.

However, we cannot gloss over the fact that there is a 12 megapixel difference between these two cameras with the Nikon D800 having the upper hand. And really, 12 megapixels is significant enough that you cannot miss the difference.

What Camera
Sony a7 Vs D800
Get the Sony a7 now!Get the Nikon D850 now!

6. ISO Range

The ISO is an important factor that could affect the quality of a camera and that is because it has to do with light and lighting. Basically, the ISO tells us, in numbers, how sensitive a camera is to light. The higher the ISO you choose, the better sensitive the camera becomes to light and the more light it is able to let in.

That said, both sides of the ISO spectrum are important, it just depends on where you are and what the lighting situation is like.

If the light is just too much, you’ll need the low ISO so that your camera doesn’t let in all the light. It only lets in as much as is necessary to take a good picture.

On the other hand, if the lighting is bad, you’ll need all the extra light you can get. Hence, set your camera to a high ISO so that it can let in enough light to balance things out.

That said, the Sony a7 has the more impressive ISO range. Its ISO range is between 100 and 25600 while that of the Nikon D800 is between 100 and 6400. However, you can expand the ISO range of the Nikon D800 up to 25600.

7. Battery Life

Before we go into this, we need you to know that mirrorless cameras have a not so good reputation for having a not so impressive battery life. Add that to the fact that Sony doesn’t usually get it right with its battery life, we don’t expect much from the Sony a7.

That said, the Sony a7 has a battery life of 340 shots per charge while the Nikon can take 900 shots per charge. Now, while 900 shots per charge isn’t the most impressive battery life out there, it is really impressive and the 560 shot difference cannot be ignored.

8. Inbuilt Flash

While both the Sony a7 and the Nikon D800 have a flash shoe, only the Nikon D800 has a flash built in. We already said that we consider the external flash a better source of light than the inbuilt. However, it doesn’t hurt to have a quick source always handy.

9. Time Lapse Recording

This is another feature that doesn’t exactly affect the quality of videos or photos. However, it serves as a channel for your creativity.

When you time lapse record, what actually happens is that your camera records videos in a lower frequency than it would a regular video. However, when such video is played back, it plays faster than a regular video would.

Now, the Nikon D800 has this feature built in. However, with the Sony a7, you can time lapse record but you’ll need to download an app for that.

10. Available Lenses

Finally, this is another thing that the Nikon D800 does better than the Sony a7. The Sony a7 has 102 lenses available to it (59 of which are full frame) while the Nikon D800 has 302 lenses available to it (218 of which are full frame).

However, neither camera has an inbuilt image stabilization feature. And the implication of this is that pictures could come out looking blurry if either camera is jostled.

This is the reason they both have optical stabilization lenses. The Sony 7 has 23 of them available while the Nikon D800 has 88 of them available.

Sony a7 Vs D800 – A Nikon D800 Demonstration Video

Sony a7 Vs D800 – Unique Pros

Sony a7 Vs D800 – Pros Of The Sony a7

  • First off, the Sony a7 has an inbuilt wireless connection that’ll allow you transfer files to an online location.
  • It also has the Near Field Communication connection. This can also be used as a medium to transfer files, howbeit, an off line device.
  • Furthermore, you can control this camera from a smartphone. Provided you download the right app on our smartphone and establish a connection with the camera.
  • The Sony a7 has a tilting screen which you can move to certain degrees upward. This will allow you get shots of your subject from certain interesting angles.
  • Furthermore, the Sony a7 has a better screen resolution than the Nikon D800.
  • Also, the Sony a7 has a better ISO range than the Nikon D800.
  • This camera also has more focus points (117) than the Nikon D800 (51).
  • Finally, this camera is significantly more affordable than the Nikon D800.

Sony a7 Vs D800 – Pros Of The Nikon D800

  • First off, the Nikon D800 has a better sensor resolution than the Sony a7.
  • Furthermore, it has a longer battery life than the Sony a7.
  • It also has a built-in flash while the Sony a7 doesn’t.
  • The Nikon D800 allows for the use of the UHS-I memory card. This kind of memory card allows for files to be transfer to storage at ultra-high speeds.
  • Furthermore, the Nikon D800 has 2 storage slots while the Sony a7 has just 1.
  • Also, this camera has a top level LCD screen. On this screen, you can change settings real quick.
  • Finally, this camera has more lenses available to it than the Sony a7.

Sony a7 Vs D800 – Unique Cons

Sony a7 Vs D800 – Cons Of The Sony a7

  • First off, this camera does not have as long a battery life as the Nikon D800.
  • Also, this camera has only one storage slot. As a result, you might have to frequently change the memory card as it fills up.

Sony a7 Vs D800 – Cons Of The Nikon D800.

  • First off, this camera does not have a wireless connection, an NFC connection or the Bluetooth feature. And as a result, you cannot wirelessly transfer files to an off-camera site.
  • Also, this camera has a fixed screen which doesn’t allow you enough room to express your creativity as it pertains to taking shots from different angles.

Sony a7 Vs D800 – Common Pros

 

Sony a7

Nikon D800

Viewfinder The Sony a7 comes with an inbuilt electronic viewfinder. This will help in focusing and detecting if there are changes that need to be made. Same as the Sony a7. However, that of the Nikon D800 is an optical viewfinder.
Microphone Port A microphone can be attached to this camera which will help you record better quality audio. Same as the Sony a7.
Headphone Port Also, a pair of headphones can be attached to the Sony a7 which will allow get better feedback from your camera. Same as the Sony a7.
Weather Sealing The Sony a7 is both dustproof and water resistant. This means that it is completely protected against dust and partially protected against water. Same as the Sony a7.
RAW Support Also, this camera can take pictures in RAW and RAW photos are usually of better quality than jpeg photos. Same as the Sony a7.
External Flash Port An external flash can be attached to the Sony a7 and this external flash will offer you better light even for flash photography. Same as the Sony a7.
Face Detection Finally, this camera can detect and lock on faces. This makes it a good camera for portraits. Same as the Sony a7.
What Camera
Sony a7 Vs D800
Get the Sony a7 now!Get the Nikon D850 now!

Sony a7 Vs D800 – Common Cons

 

Sony a7

Nikon D800

Image Stabilization The Sony a7 doesn’t have the inbuilt image stabilization feature. As a result, photos could come out looking blurry if the camera is jostled mid-shot. However, this can be taken care of by getting optical stabilization lenses. Same as the Sony a7.
4K Videos Additionally, this camera has a 1920 by 1080 video resolution. This means that it cannot take 4k videos. But you’ll only have issues with this if you decide to use your camera to not only take photos but also record videos. Same as the Sony a7.

Sony a7 Vs D800 – What People Think About Both

Sony a7

Nikon D800

One thing that people praise about this camera is its full frame sensor. A good number of people like that the camera is mirrorless and still has a full frame sensor. People also commend the ergonomics of the Sony a7. Apparently, this camera is just the right size and weight that it fits comfortably in the palm without being a burden. The picture quality is another thing that is like by a number of customers. Basically everyone is raving about the sensor resolution of this camera and who wouldn’t? Some of the other features that people seem to like are the 100% viewfinder coverage, the battery life. And just because people can’t seem to stop talking about this, we’ll mention the sensor resolution again. Apparently, the pictures that this resolution affords are awesome.
However, the lenses seem to be an issue for some. Not because they are of no good because they are but because they are quite pricey. However, there are a number of people that say that this camera could be quite complicated to figure out. In fact, one customer said if you don’t take your time to figure out how the camera works, you could end up taking worse pictures than what a phone would take despite the sensor resolution.
What Camera
Sony a7 Vs D800
Get the Sony a7 now!Get the Nikon D850 now!

Sony a7 Vs D800 – Our Take

Sony a7

Nikon D800

We can’t help but love the Sony a7. It has a decent sensor resolution and ISO range; both of which will give you really decent quality pictures. Then there is the fact that the camera is the right size and weight, so it can be easily transported. Let’s not forget that it has an inbuilt wireless connection and so can allow you transfer your files to an online location. We also love the Nikon D800 and we are sure you know one of the reasons. That sensor resolution is really something but that’s not all. There is also the battery life, the extra slot for memory card and even the fact that you can use a UHS-I memory card with it.
There a few things that we are not particularly excited about this camera like we have already pointed out. However, if you are not very bothered about those, get the Sony a7 now! There are also a number of things we do not like about this camera as we have already pointed. However, if they also do not bother you, get the Nikon D800 now!