In this article, we’ll be looking at a detailed Sony a7 vs Nikon D7100 comparison. After going through this article, you’ll be able to decide which of the cameras has the right combination and features to suit your needs specifically and not just which camera is the overall better one.
This is because we have compared the features of one camera against those of the other; helping you see exactly where and where one camera does better than the other.
Furthermore, because we know that you might be in a hurry to make that decision and cannot necessarily go through the entire article, we’ve collapsed the basic info into the comparison overview and comparison table sections. We do advise, though, that you go through the entire thing, especially if you’re new to photography and cameras in general.
One last thing. You can broaden your pool of options by checking out some of our other Sony-Nikon comparisons like the Sony a7R vs Nikon D750.
Comparison Overview — Sony a7 Vs Nikon D7100
Here’s a quick rundown of the basic ideas in this article:
Overall Rating Of The Sony a7 Vs Nikon D7100
In our opinion, both cameras are really impressive. The Sony a7 happens to have a few more features and performs better than the Nikon D7100. But then again the Sony a7 was introduced as a pro camera while the Nikon D7100 was introduced as a semi-pro. So, it is kinda expected.
Ratings Of The Features Of The Sony a7 Vs Nikon D7100
Despite being created to attend to different levels of professionalism, both cameras share a number of similar features. They both have a viewfinder; that of the Sony a7 being mirrorless and that of the Nikon D7100 being optical.
Furthermore, they both have a 24 megapixel sensor resolution, Auto Exposure Bracketing, a microphone port, a headphone port and an external flash port. They both are water resistant and dust resistant, both can shoot in RAW and also have the face detection feature.
That’s about all the similarities they have. The Sony a7, as we earlier said, is a bit more impressive than the Nikon D7100. It has an inbuilt wireless connection, Near Field Communication connection and can be controlled with a smartphone.
Also, it has an articulating screen (the tilting kind to be specific), a more impressive maximum ISO (25600 as against 6400), a lot more focus points (117 as against 51) and more cross type focus points (25 as against 15).
On the other hand, the Nikon D7100 has an inbuilt flash, the more impressive battery life (950 shots as against 340 shots per charge), two storage slots and can time-lapse record without needing to download any special apps.
Finally, both cameras do not have in body image stabilization which could cause blurry photos. However, they both have a number of optical stabilization lenses that can stand in the place of the in body image stabilization lens.
Price/Value Ratio — Sony a7 Vs Nikon D7100
In our opinion, both cameras are really affordable. The Sony a7 happens to be a bit more expensive but that is understandable seeing as it has a few more features than the Nikon D7100. So yes, we believe that you’ll be getting value for your money whichever you decide to get.
About The Brands
The Sony brand is a pretty popular one as it has its hands in entertainment, electronics and even gaming. Sony cameras are also pretty popular as Sony is the highest producer of mirrorless cameras. Its cameras are known for their impressive sensors and not very impressive battery life.
On the other hand, Nikon is the highest producer of DSLRs, alongside Canon. Nikon has been producing cameras for a really long time and as a result, have a more impressive collection of lenses and other accessories.
Additionally, Nikon camera bodies are usually really affordable while their lenses could cost quite a bit.
Comparison Table — Sony a7 Vs Nikon D7100
|Weight||1.04 pounds||1.69 pounds|
|Dimensions||5 by 3.7 by 1.9 inches||5.4 by 4.2 by 3 inches|
|Sensor Size||Full Frame||APS-C|
|Continuous Shooting||5 frames per second (fps)||6 frames per second (fps)|
|Battery Life||340 shots per charge||950 shots per shots|
|Screen Type||3 inch tilting screen||3.2 inch fixed screen|
|Top LCD Screen||No||Yes|
|Near Field Communication||Yes||No|
|ISO Range||100 to 25600||100 to 6400 and can be expanded to 50 to 25600|
Which Is Better For What? –Sony a7 Vs Nikon D7100
|Focusing with this camera will be faster and more accurate because it has more focus points and cross type focus points.||On the other hand, you’ll be using this camera for longer periods at a time because it has the more impressive battery life and also has 2 storage slots.|
|The Sony a7 is also the camera that performs better in low light.||Also, this camera is slightly faster because of its slightly faster continuous shooting rate.|
Common Features — Sony a7 Vs Nikon D7100
A viewfinder is that little screen that helps you frame your shot. And by framing your shot we basically mean getting an idea of what then actual photo will look like and deciding whether or not that is what you’re going for.
There are basically two kinds of viewfinders and each one is typically found in a kind of camera. The optical viewfinder is the kind you’ll usually find in a DSLR like the Nikon D7100.
Framing your shot with the optical viewfinder is kinda like looking at your subject through a window. It presents the image to you the way the lens sees it.
On the other hand, the electronic viewfinder (which you’ll usually find in a mirrorless camera like the Sony a7) is basically a small LCD screen. So, the images you’ll see on this kind of viewfinder are digital, just the way your sensor sees your subject.
That said, we should quickly point out that not all mirrorless cameras have a viewfinder. For those that do not, you can either get an external viewfinder (if the camera has a viewfinder port) or make do with the LCD screen. Thankfully, both the Sony a7 and the Nikon D7100 have a viewfinder each.
2. Sensor Resolution
A camera’s sensor resolution not only gives us an idea of what the photo quality of that camera will be, it also tells us whether said photo will still be decent after it has been cropped or blown up.
Here is the thing. When you crop or blow up a photo, it loses some of it details which definitely affects its quality. Now, this happens whether or not your camera has an impressive sensor resolution or not.
However, with an impressive sensor resolution, the photos your camera takes will have so much details that even after losing some from being cropped or blown up, they’d still have enough that their quality is still impressive.
That said, both the Sony a7 and the Nikon D7100 have a 24 megapixel sensor resolution which is really impressive.
3. Auto Exposure Bracketing
Exposure is important to photography as it is what determines how bright or dark your photos will be. Now, exposure is usually set manually, depending on how much light is available and even what kind of light is available.
That said, while one can usually determine what the right exposure is (especially if the said one isn’t new to the photography scene), there are times when the lighting is tricky and so determining the right exposure is too.
At those times, the Auto Exposure Bracketing will definitely come in handy. In this mode, the camera is able to take the same shot in more than one exposure it thinks is fitting. You can then decide which exposure is best.
That said, not all cameras have this feature. Thankfully though, both the Sony a7 and the Nikon D7100 have this feature.
4. Continuous Shooting
In this mode, a camera is able to take more than one consecutive shot in just one second which isn’t usual. This mode is usually favored by photographers who have a limited time to shoot or who shoot subjects that move around a lot.
That said, both the Sony a7 and the Nikon D7100 have what could be considered an average continuous shooting speed. The Sony a7 can take 5 frames per second while the Nikon D7100 can take 6 frames per second.
5. Maximum Shutter Speed
The maximum shutter speed is also about speed but a different kind from the continuous shooting. As the name implies, shutter speed talks about how fast the camera’s shutter is.
Now, aside the obvious implication of the shutter speed on the camera’s overall speed, shutter speed could be used for certain other details.
With a fast shutter speed, you are able to freeze the moment, basically. So, you can shoot fast moving subjects and be able to capture them in really fast details as if you paused them in motion.
Furthermore, if you want to create an illusion of speed or motion, you could slow down your camera’s shutter speed. If you slow it down, photos taken of a fast moving subject could come out looking blurry, giving it that illusion of motion or speed.
Thankfully, both the Sony a7 and the Nikon D7100 have a 1/8000 second maximum shutter speed which is enough to maneuver.
6. External Flash Port
Both the Sony a7 and the Nikon D7100 have an external flash port which is, in our opinion, pretty important. We all know how the flash is used to provide a burst of light as we shoot in the dark; basically every device that has the camera feature has a flash too.
However, for cameras, the inbuilt flash is usually not enough. This is because it doesn’t have the best range and is also not the best light source for flash photography.
This is why we said the external flash port (or hot shoe) is pretty important. With this, you can get an external flash to be used with either of these cameras. And you can be guaranteed of a decent range and even good light source for your flash photography.
7. Microphone And Headphone Port
Both the Sony a7 and the Nikon D7100 also have a microphone and a headphone port. They actually have an inbuilt microphone and speaker each. However, those inbuilt things do not offer the best of audio quality because of their tendency to pick up a lot of background noise.
With these ports, you can get an external microphone and a pair of headphones that will offer you the quality you want. You’ll also be able to record and listen to what you’ve recorded without having to be so close to the camera.
8. Weather Sealing
Weather sealing could mean different things for different cameras. For some it could mean that they are waterproof and for others it could mean that they are water resistance.
However, for both the Sony a7 and the Nikon D7100, the case is both dust and water resistance. Be careful to note that dust resistant and water resistant doesn’t mean dustproof and waterproof.
A device that is anything proof is totally protected against that thing. So, a waterproof camera is built to withstand any kind of water situation including being dunked and a dustproof camera is built to withstand any kind of dust situation including maybe a sand storm.
However, if it says ‘resistant’ it means it is only partially protected against whatever it is. So, while the Sony a7 and the Nikon D7100 will do alright with a bit of exposure, they should never be consciously into any dusty or wet situation.
9. Video Resolution
Both the Sony a7 and Nikon D7100 have a 1920 by 1080 video resolution. This is a very common video resolution for cameras and is pretty impressive. Additionally, both cameras can in shoot in 60p (p being frames per second for videos) which is also pretty impressive.
10. RAW Support
Basically every digital camera is able to jpeg, however, that isn’t so for RAW. Both jpeg and RAW are formats in which photos are shot and they store photos different.
Jpeg compresses photos before they stored. And just like when cropped or blown out photos, compressed photos lose some of their quality. However, jpeg photos are usually small files because they have been compressed, so, they do not take up so much storage space.
On the other hand, RAW photos are stored in their original format; with all their details and quality. However, because they are not compressed, they are usually large files that fill up the storage space really quickly.
Seeing as these two formats have their good and not good points, you’ll agree with us that it is a good thing both the Sony a7 and the Nikon D7100 can shoot in both jpeg and RAW.
11. Face Detection
Both the Sony a7 and the Nikon D7100 have the face detection feature that makes them good for taking portraits. The face detection feature allows the camera recognize human faces among a number of different elements and then focus on them.
In doing that, the camera is able to make the detected face(s) the major element(s) of the photo. This is why we say they are good for shooting portraits.
A Sony a7 Demonstration Video — Sony a7 Vs Nikon D7100
Unique Features — Sony a7 Vs Nikon D7100
1. Mirrorless Vs DSLR
This is at the core of what’s different between the Sony a7 and the Nikon D7100. The Sony a7 is a mirrorless camera while the Nikon D7100 is a DSLR and this accounts for how the light is transported throughout the cameras (which is the core of how photography works.
DSLRs have mirrors that bounce off the light that comes through the lens onto the sensor and the optical viewfinder.
Mirrorless cameras, on the other hand, do not have a mirror. And because they have an electronic viewfinder that can only receive digital images, the light that comes in goes to the sensor first which then sends a digital image to the electronic viewfinder or LCD screen as the case might be.
That said, the presence/absence of mirrorless do not only affect the way light is distributed but also the weight. DSLRs have been known to be known to be significantly heavier than their mirrorless counterparts of the same functionality.
However, DSLRs have also been known to have a better battery life than their mirrorless counterparts of the same functionality.
Not exactly a feature we agree. But it is definitely something you want to seriously consider as you pick a camera. The Nikon D7100 is significantly heavier (weighing 1.69 pounds) than the Sony a7 (weighing 1.04 pounds). However, we wouldn’t say that the Nikon D7100 is exactly a heavy camera.
Furthermore, both cameras could actually get heavier because lenses would have to be attached to them to take any shot at all.
However, because the Sony a7 has a bigger sensor (Full Frame) than the Nikon D7100 (APS-C), it will actually require lenses that are heavier and bigger than those of the Nikon D7100 for the same aperture and focal length.
The ISO determines a camera’s light sensitivity or to be more specific, how much light the camera lets in. So, the more light you want your camera to get (which invariably affects how bright your photo will look), the higher you want to go with the ISO.
Basically, how high or low you set your ISO is dependent on how much light is available in the environment; too much light and you want to go for a low ISO and not enough light calls for a high ISO. However, it could also be dependent on what you want; that is, the effect you are going for.
Whatever it is though, it makes sense for your camera to have a decent ISO range. That said, the Sony a7 does well with its ISO as it can go as high as 25600. But that of the Nikon D7100 isn’t very impressive as it can only as high as 6400. However, we do concede that the Nikon D7100 can have its ISO expanded to between 50 and 25600 which is pretty impressive.
4. Wireless Connection
This is another area where the Sony a7 has the Nikon D7100 beat as the former has an inbuilt wireless connection while the latter doesn’t. As a result, you’ll be able to immediately share your photos and videos online directly from your Sony a7. You’ll also be able to download some fun apps directly to your Sony a7.
In addition, the Sony a7 has the Near Field Communication connection. This is another means of transferring files off the camera, howbeit, offline.
It allows the camera connect to another device that is also NFC enabled just by putting both devices close to each other. And via this connection files can be sent off from the camera to the connected device. The Nikon D7100 doesn’t offer this option.
Also, of the two cameras in this review, only the Sony a7 can be controlled from a smartphone. This is a very handy if you’ll be shooting in uncomfortable or even dangerous places.
You’ll have to download the camera app on your smartphone to connect the camera to it. Once that is done, you can place your camera wherever it will capture what it needs. You can then go somewhere comfortable to take your shots with your phone screen acting as your viewfinder and control panel.
5. Articulating Screen
Once again, of the two cameras in this review, only the Sony a7 has an articulating screen, a tilting screen to be specific. The basic idea behind an articulating screen is flexibility; because this kind of screen can be moved in certain directions without having to move the camera, one can comfortable shoot from some tricky positions.
There are different kinds of articulating screens that differ according how much range they have. However, the tilting kind can be moved upward and then back down again.
Since we are on the topic of screens, let’s point out that both cameras have an impressive screen resolution with that of the Nikon D7100 being 1229k dots while that of the Sony a7 is 1230k dots. However, the Nikon D7100’s screen is .2 inch larger than the Sony a7’s 3 inch screen.
6. Top LCD Screen
This is a small LCD screen (or control panel if you must) placed on the top of a camera for convenience. Because of where it is placed, one can make really quick changes to the camera settings without compromising the camera’s position. That said, of the two cameras in this review, only the Nikon D7100 has this feature.
7. Inbuilt Flash
This is something else that only the Nikon D7100 has. And while we maintain that the external flash is a better light source than the inbuilt flash, we actually like the idea of an inbuilt flash. Because it is built into the camera, you can always be sure that it is available. Plus, it doesn’t add to the weight of the camera.
8. Available Lenses
The Sony a7 has only 102 lenses available (59 of which are Full Frame) while the Nikon D7100 has 302 lenses available. Furthermore, because neither camera has in body image stabilization the Sony a7 has 23 optical stabilization lenses available while the Nikon D7100 has 88 available.
In body image stabilization helps stabilize the lens which eliminates the possibility of that camera producing blurry photos. The optical stabilization lenses do the same thing for the cost of them.
A Nikon D7100 Demonstration Video — Sony a7 Vs Nikon D7100
Unique Pros — Sony a7 Vs Nikon D7100
Pros Of The Sony a7 — Sony a7 Vs Nikon D7100
- First off, the Sony a7 has the more impressive maximum ISO.
- It also has a more impressive low light ISO (2248) than the Nikon D7100 (1256).
- The Sony a7 has an inbuilt wireless connection which means you’ll be able to immediately upload your photos and videos online.
- Furthermore, it has the Near Field Communication connection that allows you wirelessly transfer your files to a device that also has this feature.
- Also, this camera can be controlled using a smartphone.
- The Sony a7 has a tilting screen which allows for flexible shooting.
- Furthermore, this camera has more focus points (117) than the Nikon D7100 (51). And this allows the Sony a7 focus faster and more accurately.
- It also has more cross type focus points (25) than the Nikon D7100 (15).
- The Sony a7 has a better color depth (24.8) than the Nikon D7100 (24.2).
- It also has a better dynamic range (14.2) than the Nikon D7100 (13.7).
- The Sony a7 has a better sensor pixel area.
- Finally, the Sony a7 is significantly lighter and smaller than the Nikon D7100.
Pros Of The Nikon D7100 — Sony a7 Vs Nikon D7100
- First off, the Nikon D7100 has a way better battery life (950 shots per charge) than the Sony a7.
- Furthermore, this camera has an inbuilt flash which is really handy.
- Also, this camera can time-lapse record without having to download any special apps which usually cost money.
- The Nikon D7100 has two storage slots.
- Furthermore, the Nikon D7100 has a center point autofocus aperture while the Sony a7 doesn’t.
- This camera also has a top LCD screen which allows you make quick settings changes without changing the camera’s position.
- Finally, the Nikon D7100 has more lenses available with it than the Sony a7.
Unique Cons — Sony a7 Vs Nikon D7100
Cons Of The Sony a7 — Sony a7 Vs Nikon D7100
- The Sony a7 doesn’t have an impressive battery life.
- Also, this camera doesn’t have any autofocus aperture.
Cons Of The Nikon D7100 — Sony a7 Vs Nikon D7100
- The Nikon D7100 doesn’t have any wireless means of file transfer. So, you’ll have to invest in adapters and all that stuff.
- Also, this camera has a fixed screen which might be a hindrance to shooting from certain positions.
Common Pros — Sony a7 Vs Nikon D7100
|Viewfinder||The Sony a7 has an electronic viewfinder which is better at framing than an LCD screen.||Same as the Sony a7. However, that of the Nikon D7100 is an optical viewfinder.|
|Sensor Resolution||The Sony a7’s 24 megapixel sensor resolution gives enough room to crop and blow out without compromising quality.||Same as the Sony a7.|
|Auto Exposure Bracketing||This feature saves you the stress of trying to figure out what the right exposure should be at those times when it is difficult.||Same as the Sony a7.|
|External Flash Port||You’ll be able to use an external flash with this camera and an external flash usually has better range than the inbuilt flash. It is also the better option for flash photography.||Same as the Sony a7.|
|Microphone and Headphone Ports||You’ll also be able to use an external microphone and a pair of headphones with this camera.||Same as the Sony a7.|
|Weather Sealing||The Sony a7 is both dust resistant and water resistant. So, while you do not want to use this camera in really intense weather conditions, it will be fine with a few mild encounters.||Same as the Sony a7.|
|RAW Support||The Sony a7 is able to shoot in RAW which allows the photo retain its original unlike the alternative.||Same as the Sony a7.|
|Face Detection||Finally, this camera has the face detection feature that allows it detect human faces and focus on them as you shoot. This helps reduce the possibility of blur when you shoot portraits.||Same as the Sony a7.|
Common Cons — Sony a7 Vs Nikon D7100
|Image Stabilization||The Sony a7 doesn’t have in body image stabilization. As a result, if the camera is not held still or placed on a sturdy surface, photos shot could come out looking blurry. You could get optical stabilization lenses to prevent all that.||Same as the Sony a7.|
What People Think About Both Cameras — Sony a7 Vs Nikon D7100
|Basically everybody agrees that this camera takes a great photos. And this has been attributed to its impressive sensor resolution, good image processing and even its Full Frame sensor. A few people mentioned that the Sony a7 is good on ergonomics. Apparently, with the way the camera is built, it isn’t only comfortable to hold but also easy to reach the control buttons. A few people also mentioned the water resistance as something they like about the camera. And for a lot of people, the fact that the camera has the features it does and performs as well as it does while being small and light is something they absolutely.||People actually have a lot more good things to say about this camera than bad. A lot of people have nothing but praise for the way the camera is built. Apparently, the camera is solid and rugged enough to be used in different terrains and the water resistance does contribute to it. People are also of the opinion that the camera takes really good pictures which is really important. And the fact the Nikon D7100 does all these impressive things and doesn’t cost an arm and a leg is something that people seem happy about.|
|However, a lot people have complained that the lenses that would be great with this camera cost quite a lot. And a few people complained that the Sony camera apps are also quite expensive.||However, a few people have said that because this camera has a lot of possibilities, figuring it out isn’t the easiest thing to do.|
Our Opinion — Sony a7 Vs Nikon D7100
|We like the Sony a7 and believe that it could still serve as the pro camera it was introduced to the market as. In our opinion, it has the right combination features for taking good photos and recording videos too. Plus, it has a number of features that make it both ergonomically right and also rugged. And let’s not forget that it is really portable.||We also like the Nikon D7100. It was introduced as a semi-pro camera which is still fitting. In fact, with its features it could actually serve as pro or maybe a backup pro camera. It is made of solid stuff, isn’t exactly heavy, takes good photos and records good videos too. So, why not?|
|So, maybe getting lenses might be expensive and there are a number of other things that could have been added or improved upon. However, we still think it is impressive. Interested? Get the Sony a7 now!||Of course, there are a number of things that could have been added or improved on. However, we still think it is impressive. Interested? Get the Nikon D7100 now!|