Sony a7S Vs Nikon D500 – Detailed Comparison

The cameras in this review, Sony a7S vs Nikon D500, were introduced to cater to members of different professional classes. That is, the Sony a7S was introduced as a pro camera while the Nikon D500 was introduced as a semi-pro. Whether this has any import on their comparative strengths and weaknesses is what you are about to find out.

What Camera
Sony a7S vs Nikon D500
Get the Sony a7S now!Get the Nikon D500 now!

In this article, you get to see how one camera does against the other through the comparison of features. The basic idea is to help you decide which camera is the better fit for you and not necessarily which is the ultimate better camera.

However, if you need to make a really quick decision, check out the comparison overview and comparison table sections. Those sections contain the basic information in bite sizes that you’ll have no trouble reading through really fast.

One more thing! We recommend that you check out some other Sony-Nikon comparisons like the Sony a7S vs Nikon D610. It will afford you a wider frame of reference.

Sony a7S Vs Nikon D500 — Comparison Overview

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

Overall Rating Of The Sony a7S Vs Nikon D500

We believe that both cameras are decent cameras in their own rights. They have a couple of generally impressive features that we you’ll find useful.

However, we can’t get over the fact that the Sony a7S was introduced to the market as a pro camera and yet it has a not very impressive sensor resolution. Nonetheless, it has a number of redeeming qualities that you’ll see in a short while.

On the other hand, we believe the Nikon D500 was, to a good extent, consistently good. Let’s check out their features.

Rating Of The Features Of The Sony a7S Vs Nikon D500

As we earlier hinted at, the Sony a7S doesn’t have a very impressive sensor resolution which is 12 megapixels. However, it has some redeeming qualities like its inbuilt wireless connection, inbuilt electronic viewfinder, 3 inch tilting screen, dust and weather resistant, all of which the Nikon D500 also has. But what is probably its most redeeming quality is its ISO that can go as high as 409600.

On the other hand, the Nikon D500 has a handful of decent features. It can shoot 4K videos, has a 10 frame per second continuous shooting rate, glow-in-the-dark buttons, 2 storage slots, a 1240 shot per charge battery life and can make use of the Ultra-High speed memory card.

Now more on the similarities. Both cameras have a flash port to which you can attach an external flash. However, they both do not have an inbuilt flash which might or might not be an issue. They both also do not have an in body image stabilization feature but both come with a number of optical stabilization lenses.

Price/Value Ratio – Sony a7S Vs Nikon D500

We have to start by saying that neither the Sony a7S nor the Nikon D500 could exactly be called affordable. They both have a number of interesting features, quite all right but they are pretty pricey.

However, we consider the Nikon D500 the better value for your money. Why? It has a number of features that make it cooler than the Sony a7S, yet it costs a little less than the Sony a7S.

About The Brands


This brand is a really big brand in the entertainment sector. However, when it comes to producing cameras, it actually ranks below Canon and Nikon in no particular order. Sony cameras are known for their really good sensor quality and their not so impressive battery life.


This brand is one of the biggest producers of cameras right now. Nikon has been producing cameras so long (1948) that it has a really impressive arsenal of spare parts and lenses. So, getting a replacement for a bad part or finding the right lens won’t be a problem.

Sony a7S Vs Nikon D500 – Comparison Table


Sony a7S

Nikon D500

Weight 1.08 pounds 1.89 pounds
Dimensions 5 by 3.7 by 1.89 inches 5.8 by 4.5 by 3.2 inches
Battery Life 360 shots per charge 1240 shots per charge
Continuous Shooting 5 frames per second 10 frames per second
Screen Resolution 1230k dots 2359k dots
Touch Screen No Yes
Articulating Screen 3 inch Tilting Screen 3.2 inch Tilting Screen
Max Resolution 12 megapixels 21 megapixels
Video Resolution 1920 by 1080 3840 by 2160
Viewfinder Electronic Optical
Glow-in-the-Dark Buttons No Yes
Storage Slots 1 2
Bluetooth No Yes
ISO 100 to 409600 100 to 51200 and can be expanded to 1640000

Sony a7S Vs Nikon D500 – A Comparison Video

What Camera
Sony a7S vs Nikon D500
Get the Sony a7S now!Get the Nikon D500 now!

Sony a7S Vs Nikon D500 – Which Is Better For What?

Sony a7S

Nikon D500

Without any expansions or adjustments, this camera has the higher ISO. So, this would be the better camera to use for your night or dark shooting. On the other hand, this camera will do well in wildlife and sports photography. This is because of its fast (10 frames per second) continuous shooting rate and shutter speed (1/8000s).
Also, if you’ll be doing a lot of traveling, hiking, walking and stuff with your camera, consider getting this one. This camera is both the smaller and lighter of the two cameras making it the more portable one. Also, if you are looking to shooting a couple of videos, this camera will offer you better video quality than its opponent.
What Camera
Sony a7S vs Nikon D500
Get the Sony a7S now!Get the Nikon D500 now!

Sony a7S Vs Nikon D500 – Common Features

In order to find out how similar the Sony a7S and the Nikon D500 are, we’ve compiled those features and functions that you will find in both cameras in this section. Be sure to note that while some of them might be exactly the same, some others will be slightly different.

1. Viewfinder

The viewfinder is that little screen on a camera that is used in focusing the camera. That is, looking through the viewfinder at your subject, you are able to notice if there are changes to be made as regards positioning, lighting and all that stuff.

Not all cameras have a viewfinder, mirrorless cameras especially. And if you ever get a mirrorless camera that has no viewfinder, you’ll have to make do with the LCD screen which is a good idea until you have to use it in very bright light and you can’t see anything on the screen.

That said, there are basically two kinds of viewfinder; the optical kind (which the Nikon D500 comes with) and the electronic viewfinder which you’ll find in the Sony a7S. Basically, they both do the same thing, they just differ in operation.

An optical viewfinder kinda works like a window. You look through this viewfinder at your subject and it appears the way it would to your naked eye. This kind has a quick response and can work without using battery power. However, it doesn’t give the most accurate representation of what your sensor sees; your sensor sees digital while this viewfinder sees optical.

The electronic viewfinder, on the other hand, is basically the opposite of the optical viewfinder. It is a small LCD screen, so images on this viewfinder are digital. However, it uses up a lot of battery power and is not as fast as the optical viewfinder.

Despite all these differences, this feature made it to our common features section because it is present in both cameras.

2. Articulating Screen

Whether you’ll be shooting yourself by yourself or you have subjects for that, we are sure that you’ll find the articulating screen pretty useful. AN articulating screen is that kind of screen that can be moved or twisted without having to move the camera body.

There are two kinds of articulating screens; the tilting screen and the full-flex screen. The tilting screen can be moved upward and then back down again while the full-flex screen can be rotated.

However, whatever the kind of articulating screen, the basic idea is for you to be able to take shots from some really interesting angles which a fixed screen cannot afford. Also, depending on the angles to which you can manipulate your screen, you might actually be able to film yourself by yourself.

That said, both the Sony a7S and the Nikon D500 have a tilting screen. Furthermore, both cameras have an impressive screen size with the Sony a7S boasting a 3 inch screen size and the Nikon D500 boasting a 3.2 inch screen size.

They both also have a pretty impressive screen resolution. The Sony a7S has a 1230k dot screen resolution while the Nikon D500 has a 2359k dot screen resolution.

3. Auto Exposure Bracketing

The exposure of your camera is determined by three things: the ISO, the shutter speed and the aperture. Now, when we say exposure, we mean how dark or light the photos you take will look, basically.

Different exposures are a combination of your setting of the three different features we mentioned. However, if you decide to go with the Auto Exposure bracketing, your camera does these settings automatically.

That is, your camera automatically takes different pictures (usually more than two) with different exposures. It basically does the setting combo for you and you just keep whichever exposure works for you. Thankfully, both the Sony a7S and the Nikon D500 can do this.

4. Wireless Connection

With how digital the world is going, the need for a device that is able to connect to the internet cannot be overemphasized. We like to say that there are two kinds of wireless connections; there is the online kind and the offline kind.

The online kind is basically Wi-Fi; it allows the camera access to the internet from where apps can be downloaded and to where files can be sent for storage.

On the other hand, the offline kind in this instance is the Near Field Communication connection. This one allows the camera connect with other devices that have this feature. And by just placing two devices with this feature close to each other, a connection can be established and files transferred.

Both the Sony a7S and the Nikon D500 have the wireless connection feature. They both can also be controlled using a smartphone. All you need do is download the appropriate app on your smartphone, make the connection and you can take mock shots or even change settings from your smartphone.

What Camera
Sony a7S vs Nikon D500
Get the Sony a7S now!Get the Nikon D500 now!

5. Weather Sealing

Both the Sony a7S and the Nikon D500 have some form of weather sealing. Now what does it mean that a camera is weather sealed? It basically means that the camera has some form of protection against the elements.

In the case of the Sony a7S, you get dust resistance and water resistance while the Nikon D500 offers water resistance and dustproofing.

The implication of this is that both cameras can survive a little bit of contact with water but certainly not submersion. However, while the Nikon D500 can cope with a lot of dust, the Sony a7S can only get by.

6. Microphone and Headphone Ports.

Both the Sony a7S and the Nikon D500 come with one microphone port and one headphone port each. And this is a good thing because if you are going to be shooting videos, you’ll need something more than the microphone and the stereo that some cameras come with.

The inbuilt microphone and headphone port are usually nothing much to write home about as far as audio quality goes. So, you’ll really need to invest in some good quality microphones and headphones.

7. Flash Shoe

The right lighting is one of the important factors to getting the right photo. However, you cannot always shoot in a place with super lighting and as such, you’ll need help with the lighting once or twice.

This is why a number of cameras have a flash. Now, some cameras have an inbuilt flash and while that could come in handy a few times, we definitely prefer the external flash. And this is because it has a longer reach and generally offers better lighting than the inbuilt flash.

You can even use your external flash when you do flash photography. Thankfully, both cameras have a flash port on them.

8. RAW Support

Professionals usually prefer shooting in RAW and this is because RAW photos retain their original quality as opposed to jpeg photos. The jpeg format tends to compress files which reduces the quality of the photos. This is probably in a bid to save storage space.

RAW photos, on the other hand, are pretty large. So, if you shoot in this format, you’ll have to invest in memory cards. And just to be clear, both cameras can shoot in RAW.

9. Face Detection

Finally, both cameras can recognize and focus on faces. This helps to stabilize the sensor when you want to shoot faces, specifically, making both cameras a good idea for shooting portraits.

Sony a7S Vs Nikon D500 – A Sony a7S Demonstration Video

Sony a7S Vs Nikon D500 – Unique Features

In order to find out how different the cameras are from each other, we’ve compiled those features and functions that you will only find in one camera but not the other in this section. We’ve also added those features that are in both cameras but are really very different.

1. Mirrorless Vs DSLR

We can’t talk about how different these two cameras are from each other without mentioning that the Sony a7S is a mirrorless camera while the Nikon D500 is a DSLR. This difference is the foundation upon which the difference in operation is built.

The basic difference between a DSLR and a mirrorless camera is the presence/absence of a mirror and an optical viewfinder. Now, because a DSLR has both of those features, when light passes through the lens, it first hits the mirror.

It is the mirror that sends part of the light to the Autofocus sensor and the other part to the Optical viewfinder. This light shone on the optical viewfinder is what helps you see the subject that you’re focusing on.

On the other hand, because a mirrorless camera doesn’t have a mirror, light passes through the lens and hits the sensor straight up. The sensor then sends a digital image to the electronic viewfinder seeing as it is basically an LCD screen.

That said, because of the presence of a mirror in DSLR cameras, they are usually heavier than their mirrorless cameras. It has also been said that DSLR cameras have a longer battery life than mirrorless camera. This could be because electronic viewfinders use up way more battery power than the optical kind.

2. Weight

Yea, weight isn’t exactly a feature but it is surely something you want to consider as you try to decide between cameras. That said, the Nikon D500 weighs significantly more than the Sony a7S; we are looking at about an 8 pound difference with the Sony a7S weighing 1.08 pounds and the Nikon D500 weighing 1.89 pounds.

That is just looking at the body. If you add a lens to either camera, it is going to be heavier than what we’ve written, for sure. However, because there are different kinds of lenses, all weighing differently, we can’t exactly say what the weight of either camera will be when a lens is added.

Nonetheless, we can tell if the weight difference between the two cameras will change if a lens is added to both. How? Sensor size; the camera with the larger sensor will need larger and heavier lenses than the other.

That said, the Sony a7S has a full frame sensor which is larger than the Nikon D500’s APS-C sensor. So, when lenses are attached to both cameras, the weight difference narrows down.

3. Sensor Resolution

This is one of those areas where the Nikon D500 one ups the Sony a7S. The Sony a7S has a 12 megapixel sensor resolution while the Nikon D500 boasts of 21 megapixels.

For a camera that was introduced to the market as a pro camera, we would have expected a better sensor resolution. There are a number of phones and notepads that can offer better. 21 megapixels is definitely good enough.

Now, why are we so particular about a good sensor resolution? The thing is, the better your sensor resolution, the easier it is for you to edit your pictures; cropping them especially.

Whatever the sensor resolution, you’ll definitely be able to crop your pictures. However, the problem is with the details you’ll get when you’ve cropped; you can only get great details with your cropped photo if you have a good sensor resolution.

What Camera
Sony a7S vs Nikon D500
Get the Sony a7S now!Get the Nikon D500 now!

4. ISO Range

If you’ve ever heard anybody talk about the Sony a7S, they probably mentioned how high the ISO can get. Now what is this ISO? Basically, the ISO is what determines how much light your camera takes in as you shoot with it. Hence, the higher the ISO you choose, the more light the camera lets in and vice versa.

ISO usually exists as a spectrum or a range and this is because different lighting situations call for different ISOs. The darker the place you are shooting, the higher the ISO you ought to choose so that your camera can compensate for the lack of light by letting in as much light as is available or as the ISO allows.

This then means that the brighter the place you are shooting, the lower the ISO you ought to choose so that your photo isn’t all light and no substance. Having known all these, you’ll now agree with us that the wider the ISO range, the better for everyone involved.

That said, the Sony a7S, has a really impressive ISO range, more impressive than that of the Nikon D500. The ISO of the Sony a7S can go as high as 409600 while that of the Nikon D500 can only go as high as 51200.

However, here’s an interesting thing. The ISO range of the Sony a7S cannot be expanded beyond what we have already stated. However, that of the Nikon 500 can be expanded to 1640000.

One more thing we like about having an ISO that can go really high is that there are reduced chances of having grainy pictures when you shoot in a high ISO.

5. Continuous Shooting

This one kinda tells how fast a camera is. That is, shooting in continuous shooting mode allows your camera take a number of shots in just one second. And this could be a really handy mode if you are a wildlife photographer, sports photography or you generally intend to shoot in places where there is a lot of movement, including a kid’s birthday party.

This is another feature where the Nikon D500 clearly one ups the Sony a7S. It has twice the continuous shooting speed of the Sony a7S. So, while the Sony a7S can only take 5 shots in one second, the Nikon D500 can take 10 shots in one second.

6. Video Resolution

Just like with the sensor resolution, the Nikon D500 is winning with the video resolution. If you’ve ever heard of 4K videos, they are basically videos that are shot with devices whose video sensor resolution is approximately 4000 pixels horizontally.

4K video sensors allow for really nice detailing and are a good idea if you are shooting really fast paced stuff. The immediate step-down is the 1080 video which is actually really cool and is what a lot of movies are shot as.

That said, the Sony a7S has a video resolution of 1920 by 1080 while the Nikon D500 has a video resolution of 3840 by 2160.

7. Available Lenses

Both the Sony a7S and the Nikon D500 are interchangeable lens cameras, that is, their lenses are not built-in. And as a result, you’ll have to get them separately from the camera body. Hence our pointing out to you how many lenses each camera has available to it.

The Sony a7S has 102 lenses, 59 of which are full frame lenses seeing as it has a full frame sensor, while the Nikon D500 has 302 lenses available.

Furthermore, neither camera has an in body image stabilization feature. The implication of this is that you could get blurry pictures if your camera is jostled while you shoot. To prevent this, you’ll have to get optical stabilization lenses. The Sony a7S has 23 of these available while the Nikon D500 has 88.

Sony a7S Vs Nikon D500 – A Nikon D500 Demonstration Video

Sony a7S Vs Nikon D500 – Unique Pros

Sony a7S Vs Nikon D500 – Pros Of The Sony a7S

  • We definitely have to start by mentioning the Sony a7S’ really impressive ISO.
  • The Sony a7S is also significantly smaller and lighter than the Nikon D500 making it the more portable of the two.

Sony a7S Vs Nikon D500 – Pros of the Nikon D500

  • First off, the Nikon D500 has the better sensor resolution which definitely helps with your editing.
  • Furthermore, this camera has a more impressive battery life (1240 shots per charge) than the Nikon D500 (360 shots per charge).
  • This camera also has a more impressive screen resolution (2359k dots) than the Sony a7S (1203k dots).
  • With a continuous shooting rate of 10 frames per second, the Nikon D500 is twice as fast as the Sony a7S.
  • Furthermore, this camera has a touch screen which makes controlling things a bit easier.
  • This camera also has glow-in-the-dark buttons. So, you won’t need to grope in the dark searching for the right buttons to click on.
  • The Nikon D500 has a top level LCD screen which is basically a small LCD screen on the top of the camera that you can use to view stuff and make quick changes.
  • Furthermore, this camera has two storage slots which you’ll definitely appreciate if you shoot in RAW. And that’s because RAW photos are quite large and will fill up your storage real quick.
  • This camera also has way more focus points (153) than the Sony a7S (25).
  • The Nikon D500 has a Bluetooth feature for extra connectivity.
  • Furthermore, this camera supports the use of the Ultra-High Speed memory card, the UHS-II kind specifically.
  • Also, this camera can shoot 4K videos which is generally more impressive than the Sony a7S’ 1080 video shooting capability.
  • And finally, this is the more affordable of the two cameras.

Sony a7S Vs Nikon D500 – Common Cons

Sony a7S Vs Nikon D500 – Cons Of The Sony a7S

  • First off, the Sony a7S doesn’t have a really impressive sensor resolution.
  • This camera also does not have a very impressive battery life.

Sony a7S Vs Nikon D500 – Cons Of The Nikon D500

  • The Nikon D500 is kinda heavy, especially as compared to the Sony a7S.

Sony a7S Vs Nikon D500 – Common Pros


Sony a7S

Nikon D500

Viewfinder We like that the Sony a7S comes with an electronic viewfinder and one need not rely on the LCD screen which isn’t very reliable. Same as the Sony a7S. However, this camera has an optical viewfinder.
Articulating Screen This camera has a tilting screen which you can flip up to take shots from some interesting angles. Same as the Sony a7S.
Wireless Connection The Sony a7S has an inbuilt wireless connection with which you can gain access to the internet. It also has the Near Field Communication connection feature with which you can connect with other devices that have this feature. And finally, this camera can be controlled from a smartphone provided a connection has been established between said smartphone and said camera. Same as the Sony a7S.
Weather Sealing The Sony a7S is both dust resistant and water resistant. On the other hand, this camera is dustproof and water resistant.
Microphone and Headphone Ports This camera has both a microphone port and a headphone port. So, you need not bother about the inbuilt mic and stereo that usually do not offer very good audio quality. Same as the Sony a7S.
Auto Exposure Bracketing The Sony a7S can automatically shoot in more than one exposure. That is more room for you to choose which exposure works for you. Same as the Sony a7S.
RAW Support The Sony a7S can shoot in RAW in addition to shooting in jpeg. Same as the Sony a7S.
Face Detection Finally, this camera is able to recognize and focus on faces as you shoot. It stabilizes the sensor when you shoot portrait so that the photos are not blurry. Same as the Sony a7S.
What Camera
Sony a7S vs Nikon D500
Get the Sony a7S now!Get the Nikon D500 now!

Sony a7S Vs Nikon D500 – Common Cons


Sony a7S

Nikon D500

Image Stabilization The Sony a7S doesn’t have an in body image stabilization feature. As a result, the photos shot could come out looking blurry. However, this can be prevented by getting optical stabilization lenses which will stabilize the sensor. Same as the Sony a7S.
Inbuilt Flash This camera also does not have an inbuilt flash. While the inbuilt flash isn’t the best source of light, we like that it is inbuilt and so always available. But this camera does not have this, so, you’ll have to be careful to always have your external flash with you. Same as the Sony a7S.

Sony a7S Vs Nikon D500 – What People Think About Both

Sony a7S

Nikon D500

The Sony a7S is celebrated by a lot of people for having a really impressive ISO range. That the ISO can go really high reduces the risk of having grainy pictures with high ISOs and people are really getting behind this. One customer even said that if you set the ISO high enough, you can shoot in the dark without the flash. There are also a number of people that like the weight and fit of the camera, especially those who travel with their cameras a lot. On the other hand, a lot of people seem to think that this camera does really good wildlife and sports photography. And they attribute this to the fast continuous shooting rate, the shutter speed of 1/8000s and funny enough, the weight. A good number of people compare the weight of this camera to the weight of some other older and newer Nikon cameras and seem to think that those other cameras come up short. People also praise this camera for how easy it is to navigate through the camera’s workings. There are glow-in-the-dark buttons, a touch screen and a top level LCD screen.
However, there are those who are not excited about the sensor resolution and believe that it could have been better. However, some people have an issue with the fact that this camera is not compatible with batteries from other manufacturers.
What Camera
Sony a7S vs Nikon D500
Get the Sony a7S now!Get the Nikon D500 now!

Sony a7S Vs Nikon D500 – Our Take

Sony a7S

Nikon D500

We like the Sony a7S and we cannot deny that its high ISO is one of the greatest attractions for us. Aside that, there aren’t many things that stand out for us with this camera. It has the regular features like the wireless connection, articulating screen and weather sealing (OK, that one is pretty impressive). We consider it an OK camera. We really like the Nikon D500. Granted, its original ISO doesn’t go as high as that of the Sony a7S. However, if expanded, you’d be pleasantly surprised. We especially like the glow-in-the-dark buttons as they allow you locate your stuff in the dark. Add this to the touch screen and the top level LCD screen and you see how working this camera could be easy.
However, if you’ve decided on this camera, you can get the Sony a7S now! There are definitely a number of things that could have been better with this camera. However, if you still want to go with for it, get the Nikon D500 now!