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Nikon D850 vs Sony a7R III Comparison

Storage & Battery

Nikon D850

Nikon D850

Sony a7R III

Sony a7R III camera image
Nikon D850
Sony a7R III
Refers to the year this camera was officially made available for sale.
Announcement Date
Refers to the date the manufacturer publicly announced the upcoming release and general specs of this camera.
August 23, 2017
October 25, 2017
Camera Type
Camera Size
Camera Weight

The Sony a7R III narrowly wins with a score of 83/100 compared to the Nikon D850‘s 82/100. Both cameras were released in 2017, with the Nikon D850 announced on August 23rd and the Sony a7R III on October 25th. They share similarities in launch price, with the Nikon D850 priced at $3300 and the Sony a7R III at $3200.

The Nikon D850, a DSLR, excels with its larger body size of 146 x 124 x 79mm and heavier weight of 1005g (2.22lbs), providing a more robust and stable shooting experience. On the other hand, the Sony a7R III, a mirrorless camera, boasts a smaller, more portable size of 127 x 96 x 74mm and lighter weight of 657g (1.45lbs), making it ideal for on-the-go photography.

In comparing these cameras, the Nikon D850 offers sturdiness and stability, while the Sony a7R III provides portability and convenience. Ultimately, the choice depends on the photographer’s preferences and needs.

Nikon D850 vs Sony a7R III Overview and Optics

The Sony a7R III takes the lead in optics with a score of 84/100, compared to the Nikon D850’s score of 79/100. Both cameras share some common specifications, such as a CMOS sensor, full-frame sensor size, and a DXOMARK sensor score of 100. However, there are notable differences that contribute to the Sony a7R III’s higher score.

The Sony a7R III has a faster shooting speed of 10 frames per second, compared to the Nikon D850’s 7 frames per second. This allows the Sony a7R III to capture fast-moving subjects more efficiently. Additionally, the Sony a7R III features image stabilization, which helps reduce camera shake and produce sharper images, especially in low-light situations. The Nikon D850 lacks this feature.

The Nikon D850 does have a slightly higher megapixel count, at 45.7, compared to the Sony a7R III’s 42.4. This means that the Nikon D850 can capture more detail in images. However, the difference in megapixels is not significant enough to outweigh the benefits of the Sony a7R III’s faster shooting speed and image stabilization.

When it comes to lens mounts, the Nikon D850 uses the Nikon F FX mount, while the Sony a7R III uses the Sony FE mount. This difference may be a deciding factor for photographers who already own lenses compatible with one of these mounts.

In the end, the Sony a7R III outperforms the Nikon D850 in terms of optics, primarily due to its faster shooting speed and image stabilization. The Nikon D850 does offer a slightly higher megapixel count, but this advantage is not enough to surpass the Sony a7R III’s overall optical performance.

The higher the number of megapixels, the more detail the cameras sensor can capture.
45.7 MP
42.4 MP
Image Resolution
Image resolution is measured in pixels and megapixels, width by height. The higher the number, the higher its resolution.
8256 x 5504 px
7952 x 5304 px
Sensor Type
The camera sensor captures light and records the image. Sensors vary in physical size, the number of pixels, and quality.
Sensor Size
The sensor size contributes to the overall quality as well as the dynamic and tonal range a camera can capture. As a rule of thumb, the more surface there is to read the light, the more information it will capture.
23.9 x 35.9 mm
24 x 35.9 mm
Sensor Format
Refers to the most commonly used sensor sizes.
Full Frame
Full Frame
Frame Rate
The number of sequential frames per second the camera can write to the memory card when shooting in burst or continuous mode.
7 fps
10 fps
Lens Mount
The lens mount will tell you what type of lens range you can fit onto the camera body. Often the same camera company will have different lens ranges for different cameras.
Nikon F FX
Sony FE
Image Processor
The image processor in the camera converts the information collected on the sensor for digital storage on the memory card.
Expeed 5
Bionz X
Aspect Ratio
The aspect ratio refers to the proportional difference between width and height. The most popular aspect ratios are 3:2 and 4:3.
Minimum ISO (Native)
Refers to the lowest native (or 'base') ISO setting. Lower ISO are less sensitive to light but make a cleaner image.
Maximum ISO (Native)
Refers to the highest native (or 'base') ISO setting. Higher ISO is necessary for low-light situations or night photography, but higher ISOs often introduce grain or noise.
Minimum ISO (Expanded)
Expanded (or extended) ISO is a digitally enhanced feature available on some cameras. It allows you to push beyond the native ISO range if necessary.
Maximum ISO (Expanded)
Expanded (or extended) ISO is a digitally enhanced feature available on some cameras. It allows you to push beyond the native ISO range if necessary.
Minimum Shutter Speed
The minimum shutter speed will tell you the longest exposure your camera can take without using an external accessory.
30 s
30 s
Maximum Shutter Speed
The maximum shutter speed tells you the length inside 1 second the camera will capture. These can sometimes be extended with accessories such as extra external batteries.
1/ 8000 s
1/ 8000 s
Autofocus Points
Autofocus points show where the camera is focusing graphically as squares or brackets in Live View or on an electronic viewfinder. These points are also used for light meter readings.
In-body Stabilization
In-body Stabilization means the camera has a certain technology embedded that counteracts camera shake.
Viewfinder Type
The viewfinder type is either electronic or optical. Electronic viewfinders will have a small screen in the viewfinder. Optical viewfinders will use prisms and mirrors to look through the lens.
Optical (pentaprism)
Viewfinder Resolution
3,686,400 dots

Nikon D850 vs Sony a7R III Video Performance

The Nikon D850 outperforms the Sony a7R III in video capabilities, with a video score of 70/100 compared to the Sony’s 56/100. Both cameras share some common specifications, such as 4K max video resolution, 3840 x 2160 max video dimensions, and a max video frame rate of 30fps. However, there are notable differences that contribute to the Nikon D850’s higher score.

One significant advantage of the Nikon D850 is its built-in time-lapse functionality. This feature allows users to create stunning time-lapse videos without the need for external software or accessories. The Sony a7R III lacks this built-in function, which may be a disadvantage for videographers who frequently utilize time-lapse techniques in their projects.

While the Sony a7R III does not excel in any specific video capability when compared to the Nikon D850, it still offers reliable and high-quality video performance. Its 4K resolution and 30fps frame rate are on par with the Nikon D850, and it can produce visually appealing videos for various purposes. However, the absence of built-in time-lapse functionality does set it back in comparison.

Considering the video capabilities of both cameras, the Nikon D850 proves to be the better choice for videographers due to its higher video score and built-in time-lapse functionality. Although the Sony a7R III is not a poor performer, the Nikon D850’s additional features make it a more versatile and practical option for individuals who prioritize video performance in their camera selection.

Indicates if this camera is capable of recording video.
Max Video Resolution
The best resolution this camera can capture video in. Modern cameras can capture up to 8K video.
Max Video Dimensions
Video resolution measured by the greatest number of pixels possible in each frame, width by height. A higher resolution means more detail or clarity in your video.
3840 x 2160 px
3840 x 2160 px
Max Video Frame Rate
How many frames per second your video will capture. Most cameras have options for multiple frame rates, depending on the resolution you shoot in. For a general video, 24p or 30p is the standard, but more serious filmmakers may need a higher frame rate for creative effect.
30 p
30 p
Time-Lapse Built In
A built in time-lapse mode will allow continuous shooting throughout a prolonged period of time to be compressed into a sped up video.
Video File Format
Different cameras can record in various video file formats. The File format you record in can impact how you edit and use the files.
XAVC S, AVCHD Ver. 2.0, MP4

Nikon D850 vs Sony a7R III Features and Benefits

The Nikon D850 outperforms the Sony a7R III with a feature score of 87/100 compared to Sony’s 83/100. Both cameras share several specifications, such as touchscreen capability, the absence of GPS, and the inclusion of WIFI and Bluetooth connectivity. However, there are key differences that set these cameras apart.

The Nikon D850 boasts a larger screen size of 3.2 inches and a higher screen resolution of 2,359,000 dots, making it superior in terms of display quality. This allows for a clearer and more detailed view of images and settings, enhancing the overall user experience. The presence of a touchscreen further improves the ease of use and navigation through the camera’s menus.

On the other hand, the Sony a7R III has a flip screen, a feature that the Nikon D850 lacks. This flip screen offers greater flexibility in shooting angles and is particularly useful for capturing images from challenging perspectives. This advantage is especially beneficial for photographers who frequently shoot in unconventional positions or need to compose their shots from various angles.

In terms of features, the Nikon D850 is the stronger contender due to its larger screen size and higher resolution. The Sony a7R III, however, offers the advantage of a flip screen, providing added versatility in certain shooting situations. Ultimately, the choice between these cameras depends on the specific needs and preferences of the photographer. The Nikon D850 is better suited for those who prioritize display quality and ease of use, while the Sony a7R III is ideal for photographers seeking flexibility in shooting angles.

Built-in Flash
A built-in flash will often be positioned right above the lens. This will automatically pop up when you activate it.
External Flash
External flashes are often connected through a hot shoe at the top of a camera, or a cable at the side of the camera.
GPS features in a camera will include location metadata to each of your photographs.
Weather Sealing
Weather sealing capabilities will give you more confidence when shooting in unfavourable conditions.
Screen Type
Touch Screen
Touchscreen allows you to change camera settings and access menus with a swipe of your finger, instead of using buttons.
Screen Size
Screen Resolution
Screen dots indicate the resolution of the LCD screen by including each sub pixel.
2,359,000 dots
1,440,000 dots
Flip Screen
A flip screen (or articulating screen) is a second screen which can flip out from the side or top of the camera. This rotating screen allows you more freedom to take photos at different angles.
Live View
Live View feature allows you to see a continuous live video of what is being seen through your lens.
Bluetooth capabilities allow you wireless control of your camera with other external devices.

Nikon D850 vs Sony a7R III Storage and Battery

The Nikon D850 outperforms the Sony a7R III in storage and battery with a score of 84/100, compared to Sony’s 65/100. Both cameras share common specifications, such as two memory card slots and compatibility with SD, SDHC, and SDXC (UHS-II) cards. However, the Nikon D850 has an advantage with an additional XQD card compatibility.

The D850’s battery life significantly surpasses the a7R III, providing 1840 shots per charge with its EN-EL15a battery, while the Sony a7R III offers only 650 shots with its NP-FZ100 battery. Neither camera supports USB charging.

Although the Sony a7R III has a lower score in this comparison, it still offers reliable storage options and a decent battery life for a wide range of photography needs. However, the Nikon D850’s superior battery life and additional memory card compatibility make it a stronger choice for those prioritizing storage and power capacity.

Storage and Battery
Storage and Battery
Memory Card
SD / SDHC / SDXC (UHS-II compatible), XQD
SD / SDHC / SDXC (UHS-II compatible)
Dual Memory Card Slots
Battery Type
Battery Life
Approximately how long this cameras battery will last measured by how many photographs you will be able to take.
1,840 shots
650 shots
USB Charging
Photography Genre
Graded from the first-hand experience of one of our writers
Beginner Friendly
Sports and Action
Value for Money
Sensor scores tested by DXOMARK
Overall Score
DXOMARK overall sensor score.
Portrait (Color Depth)
As described by DXOMARK 'The Portrait score in our camera sensor reviews defines color depth performance and its unit is a number of bits. A color depth of 22 bits is excellent; differences below 1 bit are barely noticeable.'
26.4 bits
26 bits
Landscape (Dynamic Range)
As described by DXOMARK 'The Landscape score in our camera sensor tests defines the maximum dynamic range of the camera sensor and its unit is an exposure value (EV). A value of 12 EV is excellent with differences below 0.5 EV usually not noticeable.'
14.8 EVs
14.7 EVs
Sports (Low-Light ISO)
Described by DXOMARK as 'The maximal value of ISO sensitivity needed to reach a given value of Signal-to-Noise Ratio (SNR). The greater the value, the better'

Alternatives to the Nikon D850 and Sony a7R III

Nikon D850 vs Sony a7R III Comparison image.

Are you still undecided about which camera is right for you? Have a look at these popular comparisons that feature the Nikon D850 or the Sony a7R III:

User Scores
B&H photo video
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