Sony a7S Vs D800 – Detailed Comparison

In this article, we’ll be doing a detailed Sony a7S vs D800 comparison. This article will help you see which camera is better generally. However, more importantly, you get to see which camera is the better option for you as regards your camera needs.

What Camera
Sony a7S Vs D800
Get the Sony a7S now!Get the Nikon D800 now!

This is why we haven’t just pointed out the different features you’ll find in both cameras. We’ve actually pitted one camera against the other so that you see which camera does what better.

However, because we know that you might need to make a quick decision, we’ve created the comparison overview and comparison table sections. These two sections contain bite sized information that will help you make that quick decision.

We do suggest, though, that you go through the entire article if you can spare the time. You’ll be glad you did. One more thing! We’ve compared the Nikon D800 with the Sony a7S’ older sibling, the Sony a7. Check it out here.

Sony a7S Vs D800 – Comparison Overview

Here is a quick rundown of the basic ideas of this review

Overall Rating Of The Sony a7S Vs D800

Generally, we consider both cameras really good cameras. In fact, if we were asked to pick which we considered the better camera, it would be a really difficult thing to do.

However, we do know that both cameras have what we could call their niche. The Nikon D800 has a really good sensor resolution which will come in handy when you want to edit your photos. On the other hand, the Sony a7S is the better camera for shooting in the dark because of how high its ISO can go.

Rating Of The Features Of The Sony a7S Vs D800

The Sony a7S is a mirrorless camera while the Nikon D800 is a DSLR camera and this already tells us that there are a number of differences. While the Sony a7S has an electronic viewfinder which gives a shows a very close representation of what your sensor sees, the Nikon D800 has an optical viewfinder which doesn’t use so much battery power.

Furthermore, the Sony a7S is a portable camera that can be moved around easily while the Nikon D800 is a heavy camera. Another difference we can point to is that the Sony a7S has an inbuilt wireless connection and a tilting screen while the Nikon D800 has the better battery life and two storage slots.

Both cameras actually have that one thing that they are noised for. The Sony a7S has its impressively high ISO (409600) while the Nikon D800 has its impressive sensor resolution (36 megapixels).

That said, both cameras have areas where they are equally matched. And probably chief among them is their dust and water resistance. There is also the microphone port, the headphone port and the Auto Exposure Bracketing.

Now, while they have these good similarities, they also share an absence of an in body image stabilization feature.

Price/Value Ratio – Sony a7S Vs D800

Basically, we wouldn’t say either camera is exactly affordable. However, the question is whether the price fits the value and we would say yes. Both cameras have a number of features that, in our minds, justify the price they go for.

However, you’d probably want to know that the Sony a7S costs significantly more than the Nikon D800.

About The Brands

Sony

The Sony Corporation is a multinational brand with products that span across a number of different business ventures including entertainment, gaming and electronics.

The electronics arm is what’s responsible for the Sony cameras. A good number of Sony cameras are mirrorless and even some of them that are DSLRs are have an electronic viewfinder.

Sony cameras have come to be known for their versatility as regards price and also their awesome sensor resolution. However, they are also known for having a not so impressive battery life.

Nikon

The Nikon brand, just like Sony, is a Japanese company. However, unlike Sony, its products are more streamlined in that it only has products that are in the imaging and optics sector.

Nikon has been producing cameras from as far back as 1948. And as a result, it has a pretty impressive collection of lenses that you won’t be lacking in that department.

Sony a7S Vs D800 – Comparison Table

 

Sony a7S

Nikon D800

Weight 1.08 pounds 2.2 pounds
Dimensions 5 by 3.7 by 1.89 inches 5.7 by 4.8 by 3.2 inches
Battery Life 360 shots per charge 900 shots per charge
Continuous Shooting 5 frames per second 4 frames per charge
Wireless Connection Yes No
Built-In Flash No Yes
Articulating Screen 3 inch tilting screen 3.2 inch fixed screen
Max Resolution 12 megapixels 36 megapixels
Viewfinder Electronic Optical
Storage Slots 1 2
ISO 100 to 409600 100 to 6400 and can be expanded to 25600
What Camera
Sony a7S Vs D800
Get the Sony a7S now!Get the Nikon D800 now!

Sony a7S Vs D800 – Which Is Better For What?

Sony a7S

Nikon D800

The Sony a7S is the better camera for shooting in the dark and in low light. And that is because of its really high ISO. On the other hand, photos taken with this camera can go through a lot of cropping and still retain its quality. And that is because of its sensor resolution.
Also, this camera is smaller and lighter than the Nikon D800. So, it is a lot easier to transport this camera than its opponent. Also, this camera will last longer than the Sony a7S; battery life, that is.
What Camera
Sony a7S Vs D800
Get the Sony a7S now!Get the Nikon D800 now!

Sony a7S Vs D800 – Common Features

In this section, we see how similar the cameras are to each other. We get to see those features and functions that are in both cameras. And while some of these features will be exactly the same, others will be slightly different.

1. Viewfinder

The very first similar feature we mention happens to be slightly different with the cameras. While the Sony a7S has an electronic viewfinder, the Nikon D800 has an optical one. However, this has made it here because both cameras have a viewfinder which we cannot say for all mirrorless cameras.

That said, let’s look at the difference between the viewfinders. Basically, an optical viewfinder is kinda like a window or a pair of binoculars in that what you see through the viewfinder is what your naked eyes see, howbeit, more contained.

As a result, this viewfinder doesn’t give the most accurate representation of what the sensor sees. However, one good thing about this viewfinder is that it is battery saving.

On the other hand, an electronic viewfinder is basically a small LCD screen. And so images you see on this viewfinder are digital images which are as close a representation of what the sensor sees.

However, aside using up battery power quicker than an optical viewfinder, an electronic viewfinder is slower in response than an optical viewfinder.

Finally, as we hinted at earlier, not every mirrorless camera has a viewfinder. And just so you know, if you ever get a mirrorless camera that doesn’t have a viewfinder, you’ll have to make do with the LCD screen.

The LCD screen is actually a good enough place holder until you have to take shots in very bright light and you can’t really see what’s on the screen.

2. Flash Shoe

Light is a very important factor to taking the right picture and you don’t even have to be a professional photographer to figure this out. However, because you can’t always control your environment and the amount of light it gives, you need a backup or backups.

Enter in the flash. A number of cameras have an inbuilt flash which is a good enough idea. However, that isn’t as good an idea as the external flash. An external flash generally has the better range and can even be used for flash photographer.

However, you can only attach an external flash to a camera if it has a flash shoe. And thankfully, both the Sony a7S and the Nikon D800 have this external flash port.

3. Weather Sealing

When we say a camera is weather sealed, it could mean a number of different things. It could mean that the camera is dust resistant, dustproof, water resistant, waterproof or a combination of some of those.

The case is the same with both the Sony a7S and the Nikon D800 as they are both dust resistant and water resistant. Please notice that we wrote resistant and not proof.

The implication of this is that both cameras can take a bit of moisture and dust. However, neither of them is the most appropriate camera for swimmers, divers or people who shoot in desserts. The cameras are not protected against such intense weather elements.

4. Microphone Port

This will probably make you happy if you intend getting either camera to record videos. If you’ve ever tried recording videos with just the inbuilt microphone that a camera comes with, you’d have probably come to the conclusion, just like we did, that the inbuilt microphone isn’t the best thing.

Thankfully, both the Sony a7S and the Nikon D800 have a microphone port. And as a result, you can attach an external microphone that will help you record better quality audio quality.

5. Headphone Port

Just like inbuilt microphone isn’t the best, the inbuilt headphone isn’t the best also. And if you’ll be recording videos, you’ll good quality feedback to judge the quality of your recording.

That said, both the Sony a7S and the Nikon D800 have a headphone port. So, you can attach a pair of headphones and hear what you are supposed to.

What Camera
Sony a7S Vs D800
Get the Sony a7S now!Get the Nikon D800 now!

6. Auto Exposure Bracketing

This is a mode on a camera. When you select this mode, your camera is able to automatically take a number of shots (usually more than two) and each of them are taken with different exposures.

This is actually a cool mode and both of these cameras have this feature. Why do we consider this a cool mode? It is because you can almost be 100% sure that at least of those pictures that you’ve shot will have the proper exposure.

Furthermore, and probably more seriously, the AE bracketing helps you capture scenes with high contrast which will help you shoot HDR.

7. Continuous Shooting

This is another mode that you can select on your camera. However, this mode allows the camera take more than one shot in one second and with just click of the shutter button.

The basic idea of the continuous shooting mode is to allow for speed which you’ll come to appreciate if you are a wildlife photographer, a sports photographer or you generally shoot subjects that tend to move around a lot.

That said, both cameras have what we consider just an average continuous shooting rate. With the Sony a7S offering 5 frames per second and the Nikon D800 offering 4 frames per second, you’ll get a bit of speed.

8. RAW Support

Both the Sony a7S and the Nikon D800 can shoot RAW photos which is actually really nice. However, to understand why we think it nice, let’s put things in perspective.

Most digital cameras can shoot in jpeg which is actually decent quality but definitely not as good as RAW. While jpeg pictures are basically compressed and so their quality reduced, RAW photos retain their original quality which is why they could be quite large.

9. Face Detection

Both cameras are able to detect faces and steadily focus them when you get ready to a shot. This goes a long way to eliminating blur when you shoot humans. And it is the reason both cameras would make good portrait cameras.

10. Video resolution

You’ve probably heard about 4K videos before and if you haven’t, they are really good quality videos. The reason such videos are referred to as 4K videos is because they are shot with cameras whose video resolution is approximately 4000 pixels horizontally.

That said, both cameras have the same video resolution but the bottom line is that neither of them can shoot 4K videos. They both have a 1920 by 1080 video resolution. However, while the Sony a7S can shoot in 60p, the Nikon D800 can only shoot in 30p.

Sony a7S Vs D800 – A Sony a7S Demonstration Video

Sony a7S Vs D800 – Unique Features

In this section, we get to see how different the cameras are from each other. As a result, this section contains those features and functions that you’ll find on one camera but not the other. You’ll also find those features that are on both but are really very different.

1. DSLR VS Mirrorless

This is the very foundation of the differences between the Sony a7S and the Nikon D800. And straight up, the Sony a7S is the mirrorless camera while the Nikon D800 is a DSLR. Now what is the difference?

The basic difference between a DSLR and a mirrorless camera is the presence/absence of a mirror and an optical viewfinder. A DSLR is usually the kind with and the mirrorless camera the kind without. That said, the presence/absence of these features generally affects the way the different kinds of cameras work.

When light passes through the lens on a DSLR, it first hits the mirror which is present in the camera. The mirror then reflects part of the light onto the optical viewfinder which allows you see the subject you’re about to shoot. Part of the light goes on to hit the autofocus sensor.

On the other hand, because a mirrorless camera doesn’t have a mirror, when light passes through the lens, it goes straight on to the sensor. The sensor, instead of sending light now, sends a digital image to the electronic viewfinder or the LCD screen as the case may be.

This is kinda the reason why an electronic viewfinder has a slightly slower response time than an optical viewfinder. That said, the presence/absence of a mirror is usually responsible for the weight of a camera.

2. Weight

While the weight of a camera isn’t exactly a feature, it definitely is something to consider. And DSLRs are usually heavier than their mirrorless counterparts as the two cameras in this review typify.

The Sony a7S weighs 1.08 pounds while the Nikon D800 weighs 2.2 pounds. Truth be told, the Sony a7S isn’t the lightest cameras, especially for a mirrorless camera. However, it cannot be called heavy and in fact, we consider it the right size.

On the other hand, weighing 2.2 pounds, the Nikon D800 is definitely heavy. If you decide to go with this camera, you’ll want to be particular about getting a tripod.

Now, that is just considering the camera body. Add a lens to the camera and the weight is affected. However what we really need to know is whether attaching a lens will affect the relative weight of the cameras.

To know this, we look at the sensor size. If one camera has a larger sensor than the other, it will require larger and heavier lenses than the other.

That said, both cameras have a Full frame sensor and so will require lenses of the same weight and size for the same aperture and focal length.

3. Sensor Resolution

This is one area that the Nikon D80 has the Sony a7S totally beat. The Nikon D800 has more than twice the sensor resolution of the Sony a7S. You get 36 megapixels with the Nikon D800 while you only get 12 megapixels with the Sony a7S.

Basically, what this implies is that the Nikon D800 has a better capacity to give you better quality pictures than Sony a7S.

However, more specifically, 36 megapixels will allow you crop photos to very particular details without compromising the image quality. It will also allow you print your pictures large also without compromising the quality of image.

On the other large 12 megapixels isn’t very impressive. A good number of phones will offer you better than that. Thankfully, a good picture isn’t just dependent on the sensor resolution; there is also the aperture and even lighting.

What Camera
Sony a7S Vs D800
Get the Sony a7S now!Get the Nikon D800 now!

4. Wireless Connection

The wireless connection doesn’t actually have anything to do with the quality of the photo but it does make life a bit easier. The Sony a7S has an inbuilt wireless connection, both online and offline.

As a result of the inbuilt online wireless connection, the Sony a7S is able to gain access to the internet. And via this connection photos and videos can be transferred to an online location.

The offline wireless connection is the Near Field Communication (NFC) connection. This one allows one device that is NFC enabled connect to another device that is also NFC enabled just by bringing them in close proximity of each other. And via this connection, files can be transferred, of course.

Finally, of the two cameras, only the Sony a7S can be controlled using a smartphone. You basically just need to download the right app on your smartphone and then establish a connection between the smartphone and the camera.

Once this is done, you can take mock shots and maybe even change settings on your smartphone. You see on your smartphone screen what your camera sees.

5. Articulating Screen

Your camera screen is either fixed or articulating. It is fixed if its position cannot be changed in anyway which automatically means an articulating screen can be moved in certain directions without moving the camera body.

There are basically two kinds of articulating screens; there is the tilting screen and the full-flex screen. The tilting screen can only be turned up and back down again while a full-flex screen can basically be rotated.

However, whatever kind of articulating screen it is, you’ll agree with us that it is a better idea than a fixed screen. Especially considering the fact that an articulating screen will allow you take shots from some nearly impossible angles. That said, the Sony a7S has a tilting screen while the Nikon D800 has a fixed screen.

Still on the subject of the LCD screen, it might interest you to know that while the Nikon D800 has a slightly larger screen than the Sony a7S (3 inches as against 3.2 inches), the Sony a7S has a slightly better screen resolution than the Nikon D800 (1230k dots as against 921k dots).

6. ISO Range

Here is a very important factor that affects the quality of pictures taken. The ISO has to do with how much light the camera lets in as you shoot. And knowing how important having the right lighting is, you are probably beginning to appreciate the importance of the ISO.

The ISO comes in a range of numbers and the higher the ISO number you set your camera to, the more light the camera lets in. This comes in handy when you shoot in the dark or in dim light. Set to a high ISO, the camera tries to compensate for the lack of light by letting in as much light as the ISO limit allows.

On the other hand, if you are shooting in a place that is too brightly lit or even out in the sun, you’ll want to set your camera to a low ISO. This way, it only lets in as little light as is necessary so that you do not have more light than substance as your photo.

Having known all these, you’ll agree with us that a wide ISO range is nice seeing as it allows you room to make as many adjustments as possible. That said, the Sony a7S has one of the most impressive ISO ranges in the market which is between 100 and 409600.

The Nikon D800 isn’t as impressive with its between 100 and 6400 ISO range. However, it can be expanded to 25600 which actually makes a lot of difference.

7. Inbuilt Flash

Of the two cameras, only the Nikon D800 has an inbuilt flash. And while we do not consider this as good a lighting option as the external flash, we like that it is always available. We also like that it doesn’t add anything to the weight of the camera.

8. Lenses Available

Both the Sony a7S and the Nikon D800 are interchangeable lens cameras. What this implies is that both cameras do not have their lenses built in, so you’ll have to get lenses separate from the cameras.

That said, because Nikon has been producing cameras longer than Sony has, Nikon cameras usually have more lenses available than their Sony counterparts. So, while the Sony a7S has 102 lenses available, 59 of which are full frame, the Nikon D800 has 302 lenses available, 218 of which are full frame.

Furthermore, because neither camera has an in body image stabilization feature, you’ll have to get optical stabilization lenses so that your pictures do not come out looking blurry. That said, the Sony a7S has 23 of those while the Nikon D800 has 88 of those available.

Sony a7S Vs D800 – A Nikon D800 Demonstration Video

Sony a7S Vs D800 – Unique Pros

Sony a7S Vs D800 – Pros Of The Sony a7S

  • Probably the most talked about pro of this camera is its ISO range. Between 100 and 409600 is really impressive across board.
  • Furthermore, we like that this camera has the inbuilt wireless connection features; both online (Wi-Fi) and offline Near Field Communication connection. These two features allow one to wirelessly transfer files to an off-camera location.
  • Also, the Sony a7S has a tilting screen which will allow you take shots from some really interesting angles.
  • We have to mention that this camera is significantly lighter than the Nikon D800.
  • Let’s not forget that this camera has a slightly better screen resolution than the Nikon D800.
  • And finally, this camera can be controlled using a smartphone.

Sony a7S Vs D800 – Pros Of The Nikon D800

  • Probably the most talked about pro of this camera is its sensor resolution. 36 megapixels is really impressive across board.
  • Furthermore, we like the battery life of this camera  is more impressive (900 shots per second) than that of the Sony a7S (360 shots per second) which isn’t very surprising as Sony cameras aren’t exactly known for its wonderful battery life.
  • We also like that this camera has more focus points (51) than the Sony a7S (25) which will help in focusing the camera.
  • We cannot talk about pros without mentioning that this camera has two storage slots. If you’ll be shooting in RAW, you’ll find out that your storage fills up really quickly because RAW photos are large files. So you’ll agree with us that the other storage slot does have its uses.
  • Still talking storage, this camera is compatible with the Ultra High Speed (UHS) memory cards; the UHS-I to be precise. And this kind of memory card allows for files to be transferred at ultra-high speeds.
  • The Nikon D800 has a top level LCD screen with which you can make really quick changes in settings.
  • Finally, this camera has more lenses available with it than the Sony a7S.

Sony a7S Vs D800 – Unique Cons

Sony a7S Vs D800 – Cons Of The Sony a7S

  • First off, 12 megapixels isn’t a very impressive sensor resolution. There are some phone cameras that offer better.
  • Also, this camera doesn’t have a very impressive battery life which isn’t very surprising.

Sony a7S Vs D800 – Cons Of The Nikon D800

  • First off, this camera has a fixed screen which doesn’t do much for your creativity. You won’t be able to take shots from certain angles.
  • Also, this camera doesn’t have as impressive an ISO range as the Sony a7S. However, when said range is expanded, it could try.
  • Finally, the Nikon D800 is a heavy camera.

Sony a7S Vs D800 – Common Pros

 

Sony a7S

Nikon D800

Viewfinder We like that this camera has a viewfinder as using it to prep yourself for your shots is a better idea than using the LCD screen. Same as the Sony a7S. However, while that of the Sony a7S is electronic, that of the Nikon D800 is optical.
Microphone and Headphone Ports This camera has both a microphone port and a headphone port. So, one need not bother oneself trying to record some quality audio or get some quality feedback with the inbuilt microphone and speaker respectively. Same as the Sony a7S.
Weather Sealing We like that this camera is both dust resistant and water resistant. So, while you do not want to immerse this camera in water or use it in a place where there is a lot of dust, it has a level of protection against these factors. Same as the Sony a7S.
AE Bracketing We also like that this camera has this feature that allows it automatically shoot a subject with different exposure. You are guaranteed that one of those shots will have the right exposure. Same the Sony a7S.
RAW Support The Sony a7S can shoot RAW photos which are better quality than jpeg photos. Same as the Sony a7S.
Face Detection Finally, this camera is a good idea for taking portraits because it is able to detect faces and the focus on them as you shoot. And this reduces the possibility of blur when shooting portraits. Same as the Sony a7S.
What Camera
Sony a7S Vs D800
Get the Sony a7S now!Get the Nikon D800 now!

Sony a7S Vs D800 – Common Cons

 

Sony a7S

Nikon D800

Image Stabilization This camera does not have an in body image stabilization feature. So, if you do not want your photos to come out looking blurry, you’ll need to get optical stabilization lenses. Same as the Sony a7S.

Sony a7S Vs D800 – What People Think About Both

Sony a7S

Nikon D800

As we pointed out earlier, probably the most talked about feature of this camera its high ISO. Basically everybody agrees that 409600 is really high for an ISO. In fact, one customer pointed out that one can shoot in really dark areas without using the flash; just crank the ISO high enough. There have also been a few talks about the camera’s weight. Some customers consider it the right weight, neither to heavy nor too light. On the other hand, this camera gets a good number of positive feedback because of its sensor resolution. Especially seeing as this camera was introduced to the market as a semi-pro camera. People also seem to like the battery life because apparently, the camera lasts long enough before it needs to be charged.
However, the sensor resolution is one thing that a good number of customers are not excited about. Especially seeing as this camera was introduced into the market as a pro camera. However, a few customers have noted that this camera isn’t really easy to figure out. Apparently, you might need some help to navigate your way through the camera. The demonstration video will be of help.
What Camera
Sony a7S Vs D800
Get the Sony a7S now!Get the Nikon D800 now!

Sony a7SVs D800 –Our Take

Sony a7S

Nikon D800

We like the Sony a7S and yes because of its high ISO. But more than that, we like the weight and size of this camera as it is portable and will fit into smaller spaces than the Nikon D800. And while it doesn’t have a very impressive sensor resolution, the video quality it records is good enough. We also like the Nikon D800 and yes because of its awesome sensor resolution, like who wouldn’t? But more than that, we like the battery life of this camera and we also like that it has 2 storage slots, especially if one will be shooting in RAW.
There are a number of other things we do not like as we mentioned in the cons section. However, if you do not consider them deal breakers, you can get the Sony a7S now! There are also a number of things we do not like about this camera as we have already pointed out. However, if you do not consider them deal breakers, you can get the Nikon D800 now!

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