Nikon D850 vs. Sony A7R III: Speedy full-frame titans compared

By Marcus Wong - 30 Jan 2018


Speedy high-resolution contenders

When you talk about high resolution 35mm format digital cameras, three series of cameras come to mind. For the last few years, Canon’s EOS 5DS series, Nikon’s D800 series, and Sony’s A7R series have been flying the flag for 35mm format cameras, with resolution counts breaching the previously unheard 40MP mark to reach medium format territory.

Nikon and Sony have both released new high resolution cameras this year in the D850 and A7R III respectively, but there aren’t the dramatic leaps in resolution counts we’ve seen in previous years. The A7R III maintains the previous resolution mark of 42.4MP, while the D850 moves up to 40MP territory with its 45.7MP sensor. Certainly, it seems like the focus for these models lies in improved response and handling, making them more versatile options overall.

Both cameras are capable of faster continuous capture rates than their predecessors. The D850 does up to 7fps continuous shooting compared to the 5 fps of the D810, while the A7R III does even better at 10fps, easily besting the 5fps of the A7R II. Suffice to say, these improved capture rates means the cameras can be used for more genres of photography, so the photographer has less need to switch cameras.

Before we proceed further, here’s  a quick comparison table to show you how the cameras stack up.


Nikon D850 vs. Sony A7R III
  Nikon D850 Sony A7R III
  Nikon D850 Sony A7R III
Effective pixels
  • 45.7 megapixels
  • 42.4 megapixels
  • 35.9 x 24.0mm CMOS sensor (Nikon FX format)
  • 35.9×24.0mm Full-frame BSI EXMOR R CMOS
ISO rating
  • 64 to 12800 (expandable to ISO 32 to ISO 102400)
  • 100 - 32,000 (Expandable to 50 - 102,400)
Shutter speed
  • 1/8,000 to 30 s in steps of 1/3, 1/2 or 1 EV, bulb, X250
  • Still Images: 1/8,000 to 30s Bulb, Movies: 1/8,000 to 1/4
Auto Focus
  • Multi-CAM 20K autofocus sensor module with TTL phase detection, fine-tuning, and 153 focus points (including 99 cross-type sensors and 15 sensors that support f/8), of which 55 (35 cross-type sensors and 9 f/8 sensors) are available for selection
  • Hybrid - 399 points (phase-detection AF), APS-C mode with full frame lens: 323 points (phase-detection AF), with APS-C lens: 255 points (phase-detection AF) / 425 points (contrast-detection AF)
Exposure Compensation
  • -5 to +5 EV in increments of 1/3, 1/2 or 1 EV
  • -5.0 to +5.0 EV in increments of 1/3 EV or 1/2 EV
  • TTL exposure metering using main sensor
  • 1200-zone evaluative metering
Flash Modes
  • Front curtain sync, slow sync, rear-curtain sync, red-eye reduction, red-eye reduction with slow sync, slow rear-curtain sync, off; Auto FP High-Speed Sync supported
  • Flash off, Autoflash, Fill-flash, Slow Sync, Rear Sync, Red-eye reduction (on/off selectable), Wireless4, Hi-speed sync.
Recording Formats
  • MOV,Linear PCM
  • XAVC S, AVCHD format Ver. 2.0 compliant
  • 3.2-inch, 2359 k-dot (XGA) TFT LCD with touch
  • 3.0" type TFT Drive with 1,440k dots
Storage type
  • SD/SDHC/SDXC memory card, XQD
  • SD(UHS-I/II compliant) memory card, Memory Stick Duo/SD(UHS-I compliant) memory card
  • USB 3.0
  • USB Type-C (SuperSpeed USB (USB 3.1 Gen 1) compatible)
  • 1,840 shots on one Li-ion EN-EL15a
  • Approx. 530 shots (viewfinder), 650 shots (LCD Screen) on one NP-FZ100
  • 146 x 124 x 78.5 mm (W x H x D)
  • 126.9 x 95.6 x 73.7 mm (W x H x D)
  • Approx. 1005g(with battery and memory card, without body cap)
  • 657g (with battery and card)
Image Stabilization
  • 5-axis
Specialty Shooting Modes
  • Pixel Shift Multi Shooting

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