This article is an in-depth Sony a7 vs Nikon D5300 comparison. By in-depth, we mean that we are comparing the features of one camera against those of the other camera. We won’t leave it at that as we’ll be explaining what those features are so you are not in the dark.
The basic idea of all these is to help you find out which of the cameras is better suited for your needs. Hence, we suggest that you go through the entire review, especially if you are new to the whole photography and camera scene.
However, if you really need to make a quick decision, we’ve got you covered. Just head on to the comparison overview and comparison table sections. Those two sections contain all the information there is in this article, howbeit, in small bite sizes.
Finally, you could expand your scope of options by checking some of our other Sony-Nikon comparisons like the Sony a7 vs Nikon D7100.
Comparison Overview — Sony a7 Vs Nikon D5300
Here is a quick rundown of the basic ideas in this article:
Overall Rating Of The Sony a7 Vs Nikon D5300
We consider both cameras impressive. Granted the Sony a7 has a few more features and performs a bit better in some areas than the Nikon D5300.
However, when you consider that the Sony a7 was introduced as a pro and the Nikon D5300 as an entry-level, you’ll agree with us that the disparity is justifiable without taking anything from the impressiveness of the camera.
Rating Of The Features Of The Sony a7 Vs Nikon D5300
First off, we have to point out that both cameras have an impressive number of features in common. They both have a 24 megapixel sensor resolution and shoot 1080 videos.
Furthermore, they both have an articulating screen (that of the Sony a7 is tilting while that of the Nikon D5300 is full-flex), the Auto Exposure Bracketing feature, a microphone port, an external flash port and an inbuilt wireless connection.
Also, both cameras can be controlled using a smartphone, can shoot in RAW and can detect human faces making them good for taking portraits. On the downside, both cameras do not have in body image stabilization but thankfully have a number of optical stabilization lenses.
That said, the Sony a7 has some more impressive features that you won’t find on the Nikon D5300. These include a headphone port, dust and water resistance and Near Field Communication.
Then there are some features every camera has but where the Sony a7 does better than the Nikon D5300. These include maximum ISO (25600 as against 12800), maximum shutter speed (1/8000 second as against 1/4000 second), and number of focus points (117 as against 39).
Same goes for the Nikon D5300. It has an inbuilt flash, GPS and can time-lapse record without having to download any apps while the Sony a7 does not and cannot. Finally, it does better than the Sony a7 in the areas of battery life (600 as against 340) and number of available lenses (302 as against 102).
Price/Value Ratio — Sony a7 Vs Nikon D5300
Both cameras are decently priced and we believe you’ll get value for your money whichever camera you decide to settle for. However, in our opinion, the Nikon D5300 offers more value for money than the Sony a7. This is because it is significantly more affordable than the Sony a7 but is not so far behind performance wise.
About The Brands
The Sony brand is really popular for a lot of things including entertainment and electronics. Specifically though, Sony cameras (which are mostly mirroless) are popular for their impressive sensors and not so impressive battery life.
On the other hand, Nikon cameras (which are mostly DSLRs) are popular for having affordable bodies and not so affordable lenses. Also, because Nikon has been around for quite some time, it has a more impressive arsenal of lenses and other camera accessories.
Comparison Table — Sony a7 Vs Nikon D5300
|Weight||1.04 pounds||1.06 pounds|
|Dimensions||5 by 3.7 by 1.9 inches||4.9 by 3.9 by 3 inches|
|Sensor Size||Full Frame||APS-C|
|Continuous Shooting||5 frames per second (fps)||5 frames per second (fps)|
|Battery Life||340 shots per charge||600 shots per charge|
|Screen Type||3 inch tilting screen||3.2 inch full-flex screen|
|Near Field Communication||Yes||No|
|Maximum Shutter Speed||1/8000 second||1/4000 second|
|ISO Range||100 to 25600||100 to 25600 and can be expanded to 25600|
Which Is Better For What? — Sony a7 Vs Nikon D5300
|If you are looking for speed, consider getting this camera. Both cameras have the same continuous shooting rate which is 5 frames per second. However, the Sony a7 has the more impressive maximum shutter rate of 1/8000 second.||On the other hand, you’ll be able to use this camera for longer periods at a time because it has the more impressive battery life.|
|Also, this camera is less risky as regards when and where you can use it. This is because it is both dust and water resistant.||Also, this camera will afford you more room to unleash your creativity. Why? It has a full-flex screen so that you can do your shooting by yourself. It also allows you time-lapse record which is pretty neat.|
Common Features — Sony a7 Vs Nikon D5300
Both the Sony a7 and the Nikon D5300 have a viewfinder. However, while that of the Sony a7 is an electronic viewfinder that of the Nikon D5300 is an optical viewfinder. And those are the two kinds of viewfinders there are.
However, before we go into what the difference is between these two kinds, let’s explain what a viewfinder is. A viewfinder is a little screen that is used in framing a shot.
So basically, you look at the subject you want to shoot through the viewfinder and decide is what you see is what you want. If not, you can make the necessary adjustments.
That said, the two kinds of viewfinders differ in the way they operate. The optical viewfinder shows you what your lens sees so, looking through it is kinda like looking through a window.
Also, this kind of viewfinder doesn’t use up a lot of battery power and is probably the reason DSLRs have better battery lives than mirrorless cameras.
On the other hand, an electronic viewfinder shows you what your sensor sees which is a digital image. The upside to this is that it is a closer representation of what the end product will look like seeing as photos are digital. However, the downside to this is that it consumes battery power heavily.
Anyway, we decided to add this feature to this section because while not all mirrorless cameras have a viewfinder, both the cameras in this review have one each.
2. Sensor Resolution
Here is one of those things that are exactly alike with the Sony a7 and the Nikon D5300. Both cameras have a 24 megapixel sensor resolution which is really impressive.
Now, aside obviously contributing to the quality of the images a camera shoots, a good sensor resolution is absolutely necessary for having good quality images after said images have been touched up.
Here is the thing; when you edit your photo, say blow it up or crop it, the photo loses some details. Now, if your camera doesn’t have enough pixels or details, after it has lost some in the process of being blown up or cut out, what’s left won’t be enough to give you good quality.
On the other hand, with good sensor resolution, which both the Sony a7 and the Nikon D5300 offer, you can crop or blow out your photos and still have enough details left for a good photo. So, that’s basically why we like for cameras to have an impressive sensor resolution.
3. Auto Exposure Bracketing
In the Auto Exposure Bracketing mode, a camera is able to take the same shot in more than one exposure. Exposure is basically a combination of features settings (ISO, shutter speed and aperture) that help make a photo bright or dark.
Now, it is pretty common for people to do their own exposure setting. It is basically about how much light is available, what kind is available and what effect you’re going for.
However, sometimes things could get tricky. You’ll probably always know what effect you’re going for. However, sometimes the lighting could be tricky and so you might have to constantly change settings and shoot till you hit the right one.
This is where the Auto Exposure Bracketing comes in. In this mode, the camera does the work for you by shooting in more than one exposure, you can then decide which of them works for you. Thankfully, both the Sony a7 and the Nikon D5300 have this feature.
4. Wireless Connection
With inbuilt wireless connection, a camera is able to gain access to the internet, provided there is internet connection of course. Via this connection, interesting apps can be downloaded off the internet.
And probably more importantly, photos and videos can be immediately uploaded to an internet storage space or even a social media account. Thankfully, both the Sony a7 and the Nikon D5300 have this interesting feature.
Both cameras also have the smartphone control feature. That is, provided the camera app has been downloaded on the smartphone, a connection can be established between both cameras via said app. And as a result, the phone can be used to take shots without having to touch the camera.
This is an interesting feature that could come in handy if you need to shoot in a place that isn’t really comfortable or safe. You can place the camera in a position where it can capture what it needs to and then go to a safer or more comfortable place to shoot.
What’s probably more interesting is that because the remote is a phone this time around, you can see what you’re shooting right there on the screen. So, you are not just shooting blindly.
5. Continuous Shooting
Both the Sony a7 and the Nikon D5300 have the same continuous shooting rate; 5 frames per second. In our opinion, 5 frames per second could be the very definition of average as regards continuous.
Continuous shooting is that mode in which your camera can take more than one shot consecutively in just one second. The idea of this is speed, basically. And so is usually used by photographers who, for one reason or the other, have to be fast like wildlife photographers, sports photographers, paparazzi and even a photographer at a kid’s birthday party.
6. Articulating Screen
Though there are different kinds of articulating screen, it is basically the opposite of a fixed screen. That is, an articulating screen is that kind of camera screen that can be twisted or angled in different directions independent of the camera body.
With this kind of screen, you’ll be able to shoot from some interesting angles like overhead or even waist level without stress. That said, both the Sony a7 and the Nikon D5300 have an articulating screen. However, while that of the Sony a7 is a tilting screen, that of the Nikon D5300 is a full-flex.
The basic difference is in how flexible they are. A full-flex screen is more flexible as it can be turned all around such that you can use that camera to shoot yourself by yourself. A tilting screen can only be turned upwards and then back down.
Since we are already talking about screens, we should mention that the while the Sony a7 has a slightly better screen resolution (1230k dots as against 1037 dots), the Nikon D5300 has a slightly larger screen (3.2 as against 3 inches).
7. External Flash Port
The external flash port is a provision for you to attach an external flash to your camera. While the inbuilt flash (which a good number of cameras have) has its good points, we generally consider the external flash a better light source.
Why? First off, an external flash always has better reach than the inbuilt flash. So, you can shoot with an external flash from a longer distance than with the inbuilt flash.
Also, because the external flash has a faster recovery time (because it has a separate battery source) than the inbuilt flash, the former can be used to shoot faster than the latter. This is why we recommend that you get a camera that has an external flash port if you’ll be doing flash photography. Thankfully, both the Sony a7 and the Nikon D5300 do.
8. Video Resolution
Here is something else that is exactly the same with both cameras. Both the Sony a7 and the Nikon D5300 have a 1920 by 1080 video resolution and can both shoot in 60 p (p is basically frames per second for videos).
While neither camera can shoot 4K videos, we have to admit that the 1080 videos both can shoot is really impressive. Some might not even miss the 4K quality.
9. Microphone Port
This feature also has something to do with video recording. With a microphone port, you’ll be able to attach an external microphone to your camera to record videos with. And in our opinion, the external microphone is better for recording than the inbuilt microphone which most cameras have.
For one, the inbuilt microphone usually ends up capturing a lot of background and handling noise which will definitely affect audio quality.
Also, because the inbuilt microphone is in the camera, you’ll have to be really close to the camera if you want your voice to be well captured. On the other hand, external microphones give you a bit of room as you can usually have them on you as you record. Thankfully, both the Sony a7 and the Nikon D5300 have a microphone port.
We know that this isn’t exactly a feature. However, it is something important that needs to be considered as you decide between cameras so here it is.
Both cameras weigh almost the same with the Sony a7 weighing a modest 1.04 pound and the Nikon D5300 weighing a modest 1.06 pound. The difference between the weights of the bodies might not be much of a deciding factor as it isn’t really significant. However, when lenses are added, things might change a bit.
Here is the thing; while the Nikon D5300 has an APS-C sensor, the Sony a7 has a Full Frame. The implication of this is that, for the same aperture and focal length, the Sony a7 will require larger and heavier lenses than the Nikon D5300 because the Sony a7 has the larger sensor.
11. RAW Support
Both the Sony a7 and the Nikon D5300 can shoot in RAW. RAW is one of the formats that a camera can shoot in and store photos as; another one is jpeg.
Jpeg is a really common format and is kinda like the default format that all cameras come with and shoot in. This format compresses photos so that they save as small files and do not take up so much storage space.
However, some people who do really professional stuff do not like this format basically because it compresses photos.
The thing is, just like when with cropping and expanding, compressing reduces the quality of a photo. And having to crop or blow up a photo that has already lost some of its quality after being compressed could be too much for a camera irrespective of how good the sensor resolution is.
This is why some cameras can shoot in RAW. RAW allows the photos shoot in their original quality. However, because the photos have not been compressed, they save as heavy files and fill up the storage space real quick.
12. Face Detection
Finally, as a result of the face detection feature, both the Sony a7 and the Nikon D5300 can recognize human faces and lock on them. When this happens, they basically make the detected face(s) the major aspect of the photo which makes both cameras a good idea for shooting portraits.
A Sony a7 Demonstration Video — Sony a7 Vs Nikon D5300
Unique Features — Sony a7 Vs Nikon D5300
1. Mirrorless Vs DSLR
This is a significant difference between the Sony a7 and the Nikon D5300 as it explains how and why they function differently. For clarity, the Sony a7 is mirrorless while the Nikon D5300 is a DSLR.
Basically, these two kinds of cameras differ in how light is distributed throughout the camera. And one basic fact of cameras is that it is basically about light; its distribution, amount and rightness.
That said, DSLRs have mirrors and these mirrors are responsible for bouncing off the light from the lens to the optical viewfinder and the sensor. However, mirrorless cameras do not have any mirrors. And as a result, light that comes in through the lens goes right on to the sensor. The sensor then sends a digital image to the electronic viewfinder.
Now, aside distribution of light, DSLRs and mirrorless cameras usually also differ in weight and battery life. DSLRs are usually significantly heavier than their mirrorless counterparts. However, that isn’t always the case as we can see with the Sony a7 vs Nikon D5300.
DSLRs usually also have a more impressive battery life than their mirrorless cameras. And once again, while the Nikon D5300 does have a more impressive battery life than the Sony a7, we do not think the comparison really explains what we just said about DSLRs having a more impressive battery life.
The Sony a7 can take 340 shots per charge while the Nikon D5300 can take 600. There are definitely other DSLRs that do better in that department.
This is one of those features that accounts for how exposed (basically bright or dark) a photo will be. ISO is what tells how sensitive a camera is to light; that is, how much light the camera will let in at a particular time.
The trick to this is knowing how much light is enough for your sensor to achieve whatever effect you’re going for. If the available light in the environment is more than you need, you’ll need to go for a low ISO so that your camera doesn’t let in all that is available.
So, the lower the ISO, the less light your camera will collect. This means that if the available light doesn’t seem enough, you’ll need to go high so that the camera can try to compensate.
Seeing as both sides of the ISO spectrum are necessary, you’ll agree with us that a wide ISO range is useful. That said, both cameras have an impressive ISO range in our opinion.
That of the Sony a7 is between 100 and 25600 while that of the Nikon D5300 is between 100 and 12800. However, you’ll have to consider the fact that the Nikon D5300 can have its ISO range expanded to 25600.
3. Maximum Shutter Speed
Here is another of those features that determines the exposure of a photo. It is basically about speed, however, the faster your shutter, the less light it is able to let in which will lead you to having to compensate with a high ISO. Hence, its relevance to exposure.
However, probably the primary function of shutter speed is in the details. That is, if your shutter can go real fast, the camera will be able to shoot really fast subjects without blurring things up. In fact, you’ll be able to freeze the moment and capture those fast moving subjects in vivid details.
Furthermore, if you slow down your shutter speed some, you could get a blurry shots of moving subjects like cars and animals and stuff. However, that blur could be used to create an illusion of movement or speed on photos.
Having said all that, you need to know that we consider both cameras as having a decent maximum shutter speed. However, the Sony a7’s 1/8000 second speed is more impressive than the Nikon D5300’s 1/4000 second.
4. Weather Sealing
Weather sealing is basically a form of protection against certain weather elements usually water and dust. The protection could be partial (in which case the camera will be said to ‘resistant’) or full (in which case it will be ‘proof’).
That said, of the two cameras, only the Sony a7 is weather sealed and its weather sealing is partial. So, while the Sony a7 is both dust and weather resistant, the Nikon D5300 isn’t.
However, be careful to remember that the Sony a7 is dust and water resistant not dust and waterproof. So, while the camera could be fine with mild contact with dust and water, you do not want to use it under intense dust and water conditions.
5. Near Field Communication Connection
This is kinda like having an inbuilt wireless connection in that it allows for wireless transfer of files to an off-camera location. However, this one has nothing to do with having an internet connection.
Basically, any camera that has the Near Field Communication (NFC) connection can connect with another device (say a smartphone) that also has this feature. And via this connection, the transfers can be made. That said, off the two cameras in this review, only the Sony a7 has this feature.
6. Headphone Port
Just like with the inbuilt microphone, the inbuilt speaker usually doesn’t offer the best audio quality. With the headphone port, you can attach a pair of headphones that will offer you the quality you seek. However, unlike with the microphone port, only the Sony a7 has this feature.
This feature allows the camera tag a photo with the location where it is shot. It is a neat feature that helps you keep track of your shooting locations. Interestingly, this is one of the features that the Nikon D5300 has as an edge over the Sony a7.
8. Inbuilt Flash
Here is another feature that the Nikon D5300 has over the Sony a7. We already mentioned that both cameras have an external flash port and that we consider the external flash a better light source than the inbuilt kind.
However, we also mentioned that the inbuilt flash has its own good sides. And the most important one for us is its availability. Because it is built into the camera, you can be sure that it will always be available. We also like that it doesn’t affect the weight of the camera or require you to get a different power source specifically dedicated to it.
9. Available Lenses
Finally, the Nikon D5300 has more with 302 lenses available with it while the Sony a7 has 102 (59 of which are full frame). Furthermore, neither camera has in body image stabilization. As a result, photos shot with either camera could come out looking blurry if the camera is jostled mid-shot.
To prevent this, there are a number of things you could do. You could place the camera on a sturdy surface or a tripod and hope nobody moves anything. Or you could try to be really steady with your hands.
However, the more effective option is to invest in optical stabilization lenses. These lenses do the same thing as the in body image stabilization, howbeit, at a cost. That said, the Sony a7 has 23 of those while the Nikon D5300 has 88 of them available.
A Nikon D5300 — Sony a7 Vs Nikon D5300
Unique Pros — Sony a7 Vs Nikon D5300
Pros Of The Sony a7 — Sony a7 Vs Nikon D5300
- First off, the Sony a7 has a slightly more impressive ISO than the Nikon D5300.
- Furthermore, this camera has a slightly more maximum shutter speed.
- The Sony a7 has a more impressive number of focus points (117) than the Nikon D5300 (39). As a result, this camera will focus faster and more accurately than the Nikon D5300.
- Furthermore, this camera has more cross type focus points (25) than the Nikon D5300 (9).
- Also, this camera has a 100% viewfinder coverage while that of the Nikon D5300 is 95%. Hence, the viewfinder of the Sony a7 will be able to show you the entirety of the image you’re shooting unlike that of the Nikon D5300.
- The Sony a7 has a headphone port.
- Furthermore, this camera is both dust and water resistant. As a result, you’ll be able to use it in certain dusty and wet situations unlike the Nikon D5300.
- The Sony a7 has the better color depth (24.8 as against 24.0).
- This camera also has the better dynamic range (14.2 as against 13.9).
Pros Of The Nikon D5300 — Sony a7 Vs Nikon D5300
- First off, the Nikon D5300 has an inbuilt flash which you can be sure will always be available.
- Furthermore, this camera has an inbuilt GPS feature that allows you keep track of your shooting locations.
- The Sony a7 has the more impressive battery life.
- Also, this camera can time-lapse record without needing to download a special app for it.
- Finally, the Nikon D5300 has more lenses available with it than the Sony a7.
Unique Cons — Sony a7 Vs Nikon D5300
Cons Of The Sony a7 — Sony a7 Vs Nikon D5300
- First off, the Sony a7 doesn’t have a very impressive battery life.
- Also, because this camera does not have an inbuilt flash, you’ll have to always carry your external flash wherever you shoot.
Cons Of The Nikon D5300 — Sony a7 Vs Nikon D5300
- First off, the Nikon D5300 is not weather sealed at all. So, you cannot use it around or in water.
- Also, because this camera doesn’t have the Near Field Communication connection and the Bluetooth feature, you can only wireless transfer your files via an internet connection.
Common Pros — Sony a7 Vs Nikon D5300
|Viewfinder||The Sony a7 has an electronic viewfinder for framing. If it didn’t, the alternative is the LCD screen and that usually comes up short in bright light; you’ll struggle to see what’s on the screen in bright light.||DSLRs always come with a viewfinder which is optical in the case of this camera.|
|Sensor Resolution||A 24 megapixel sensor resolution is enough room to crop or blow up your photos without affecting the quality of said photos.||Same as the Sony a7.|
|Auto Exposure Bracketing||You can make use of this mode at those times when it is difficult to determine what the right exposure is.||Same as the Sony a7.|
|Wireless Connection||With the inbuilt wireless connection, you can immediately upload your photos to your social media pages straight from the camera. Also, this camera can be controlled from a smartphone provided you download the camera app on your smartphone.||Same as the Sony a7.|
|Microphone Port||You can attach an external microphone to this camera in order to record better audio.||Same as the Sony a7.|
|Articulating Screen||The tilting screen will allow you shoot from some interesting angles without stress.||A full-flex screen will afford you even more flexibility as you’ll be able to shoot yourself by yourself.|
|RAW Support||The Sony a7 can shoot photos in RAW which means your photos get to retain their original quality.||Same as the Sony a7.|
|Face Detection||Finally, this camera is able to detect human faces and focus on them making it a good camera for taking portraits.||Same as the Sony a7.|
Common Cons — Sony a7 Vs Nikon D5300
|Image Stabilization||The Sony a7 doesn’t have in body image stabilization. As a result, there is a high possibility of the camera producing blurry photos especially if it is jostled mid-shot. Thankfully though, this can be prevented by getting optical stabilization lenses.||Same as the Sony a7.|
What People Think About Both Cameras — Sony a7 Vs Nikon D5300
|A good number of people pointed out the ergonomics of this camera as one of the things they really like about it. Apparently, the Sony a7 is the right weight and is built such that it fits well in one’s palm. However, the most talked about high point is the quality of photos this camera takes. Some people have attributed this to the camera’s sensor resolution and some others the fact that the sensor is full frame. A number of people have also expressed their excitement at this camera being waterproof.||One of the most common things that have been praised about this camera is the quality of images it produces. Apparently, the camera renders colors precisely and beautifully. A few people have also mentioned that the menu is easy to get around because of how it is arranged. And some have also given the camera credit for its battery life.|
|However, there have been complaints that the lenses that the Sony lenses that are compatible with this camera could get really expensive. Some others have said the same about the camera apps.||However, a lot of people have complained about its Wi-Fi and GPS. Apparently, either these features do not always work or one might have to jump through hoops to get them to function properly.|
Our Take — Sony a7 Vs Nikon D5300
|The Sony a7 was introduced to the market as a pro camera. And while we are skeptical about its suitability for that, we consider the Sony a7 an impressive camera, and why not? It shoots good quality photos, records decent videos and does both while being considerable lightweight, weather sealed and having an inbuilt wireless connection.||We also like the Nikon D5300. And for a camera that was introduced to the market as entry-level, we are really impressed. Truth be told, it doesn’t perform as well as the Sony a7 in certain areas but we feel it does well in the areas that really matter when it comes down to it. It takes impressive photos, records decent videos and does both while being considerably lightweight and having an inbuilt wireless connection.|
|There are a few things that could have been improved on to bump this camera up to pro level in our opinion. One of those is the battery life. However, if you consider this camera just right for your needs, get the Sony a7 now!||Granted, the wireless connection doesn’t always work, but it is an entry-level camera. So, there is only so much we can expect from it. Interested? Get the Nikon D5300 now!|