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Nikon Z9 vs Sony a1 Comparison

Storage & Battery

Nikon Z9

nikon z9

Sony a1

sony a1
Nikon Z9
Sony a1
Announcement Date
October 28, 2021
January 26, 2021
Camera Type
Camera Size
Camera Weight

The Nikon Z9 edges out the Sony a1 with a score of 87/100 versus the a1’s 86/100. Both cameras are mirrorless and were released in 2021, with the Z9 announced on October 28th and the a1 on January 26th. They share similar launch prices, with the Z9 at $5500 and the a1 at $6499.

The Nikon Z9 boasts a larger body, measuring 149 x 150 x 91mm, and a heavier weight of 1340g (2.95lbs). This size and weight advantage may provide better stability and handling for some photographers. On the other hand, the Sony a1 has a more compact design, measuring 129 x 97 x 81mm, and a lighter weight of 737g (1.62lbs), making it more portable and easier to carry around.

While the Nikon Z9 scores slightly higher, both cameras are impressive and cater to different preferences. The Z9’s larger build may suit those who prioritize stability, while the a1’s compact size is perfect for photographers who value portability.

Nikon Z9 vs Sony a1 Overview and Optics

The Sony a1 comes out ahead in our optics comparison, scoring 89/100, just one point higher than the Nikon Z9’s 88/100. Both cameras share several optical specifications, including a 30 fps shooting speed, CMOS sensor type, full frame sensor size, and image stabilisation. Additionally, both cameras have a DXOMARK sensor score of 98, indicating their close performance in terms of image quality.

The Sony a1 holds a slight advantage due to its higher megapixel count of 50.1 compared to the Nikon Z9’s 46 megapixels. This difference allows the Sony a1 to capture more detail and produce larger prints. Furthermore, the Sony a1 features a Dual Bionz XR processor, which enables faster image processing and improved performance in low-light situations.

On the other hand, the Nikon Z9 is equipped with the Expeed 7 processor, which, while not as fast as the Dual Bionz XR, still provides impressive image processing capabilities. The Nikon Z9 also features the Nikon Z lens mount, which offers a growing range of high-quality lenses for various shooting scenarios.

Despite the Sony a1’s higher score and megapixel count, the Nikon Z9 remains a strong contender in the optics department. Both cameras excel in their respective areas, with the Sony a1 having a slight edge in resolution and processing speed, while the Nikon Z9 offers a solid lens ecosystem through its Nikon Z mount. Ultimately, the choice between these two cameras will depend on individual preferences and specific shooting requirements.

46 MP
50.1 MP
Image Resolution
8256 x 5504 px
8640 x 5760 px
Sensor Type
Sensor Size
23.9 x 35.9 mm
24 x 35.9 mm
Sensor Format
Full Frame
Full Frame
Frame Rate
30 fps
30 fps
Lens Mount
Nikon Z
Sony FE
Image Processor
Expeed 7
Dual Bionz XR
Aspect Ratio
Minimum ISO (Native)
Maximum ISO (Native)
Minimum ISO (Expanded)
Maximum ISO (Expanded)
Minimum Shutter Speed
900 s
30 s
Maximum Shutter Speed
1/ 32000 s
1/ 32000 s
Autofocus Points
In-body Stabilization
Viewfinder Type
Viewfinder Resolution
3,686,400 dots
9,437,184 dots

Nikon Z9 vs Sony a1 Video Performance

The Nikon Z9 outperforms the Sony a1 in video capabilities with a score of 100/100 compared to the Sony a1’s 86/100. Both cameras share some common specifications, including a maximum video resolution of 8K and maximum video dimensions of 7680 x 4320. Additionally, both cameras have a maximum video frame rate of 120fps, ensuring smooth and high-quality footage.

The Nikon Z9 surpasses the Sony a1 in video functionality, mainly due to its built-in time-lapse feature. This allows users to create stunning time-lapse videos without the need for additional software or equipment. This feature contributes to the higher score and overall superior video capabilities of the Nikon Z9.

On the other hand, the Sony a1 does not have a built-in time-lapse functionality. However, this does not necessarily mean that the Sony a1 is an inferior camera in terms of video capabilities. The Sony a1 still offers exceptional video quality, matching the Nikon Z9 in terms of resolution, dimensions, and frame rate. The lack of built-in time-lapse is the only aspect where the Sony a1 falls short in comparison to the Nikon Z9.

Considering the video capabilities of both cameras, the Nikon Z9 is the clear winner due to its built-in time-lapse feature, which enhances its overall video functionality. Despite this, the Sony a1 remains a strong contender, offering similar video quality and performance. Users should weigh the importance of time-lapse functionality when choosing between these two cameras, as it is the primary distinction in their video capabilities.

Max Video Resolution
Max Video Dimensions
7680 x 4320 px
7680 x 4320 px
Max Video Frame Rate
120 p
120 p
Time-Lapse Built In
Video File Format
LPCM 2ch(48 kHz 16bit), LPCM 2ch(48 kHz 24bit), LPCM 4ch(48 kHz 24bit), MPEG-4 AAC-LC 2ch

Nikon Z9 vs Sony a1 Features and Benefits

The Nikon Z9 outperforms the Sony a1 in features, scoring 87/100 compared to Sony’s 83/100. Both cameras share several specifications, including touchscreen functionality, flip screens, WIFI, and Bluetooth connectivity. However, the Nikon Z9 excels in certain areas, while the Sony a1 also has its advantages.

The Nikon Z9 surpasses the Sony a1 in screen size and resolution. It possesses a 3.2-inch screen with a resolution of 2,088,960 dots, providing a larger and clearer display for users. Additionally, the Z9 includes a GPS feature that the a1 lacks, which offers location-based data for photographers who need geographical information.

On the other hand, the Sony a1 is not without its merits. Despite having a smaller 3-inch screen and a lower resolution of 1,440,000 dots, the a1’s display still provides sufficient clarity and functionality for most users. The absence of GPS in the a1 may not be a significant drawback for photographers who do not require location data, and the camera still offers excellent connectivity with its WIFI and Bluetooth features.

In comparing the Nikon Z9 and Sony a1, the Z9 holds a slight advantage due to its larger screen, higher resolution, and additional GPS feature. The Sony a1, however, remains a strong contender and may be suitable for photographers who do not require the extra features provided by the Nikon Z9. Ultimately, the choice between these two cameras will depend on individual preferences and specific needs.

Built-in Flash
External Flash
Weather Sealing
Screen Type
Touch Screen
Screen Size
Screen Resolution
2,088,960 dots
1,440,000 dots
Flip Screen
Live View

Nikon Z9 vs Sony a1 Storage and Battery

The Nikon Z9 outperforms the Sony a1 in storage and battery with a score of 79/100, compared to the Sony a1’s 73/100. Both cameras share common features such as two memory card slots and USB charging capabilities. However, the Nikon Z9 excels in several aspects.

The Nikon Z9 accepts a wider range of memory cards, including SD, SDHC, SDXC (UHS-II compatible), CFexpress, and XQD, while the Sony a1 is limited to SD and CFexpress Type A (UHS-II compatible) cards. This flexibility allows Nikon Z9 users to choose from various card options for their storage needs.

Additionally, the Nikon Z9 offers a superior battery life of 740 shots per charge, using the EN-EL18d battery. In contrast, the Sony a1 provides 530 shots with its NP-FZ100 battery. This difference in battery life ensures that Nikon Z9 users can capture more images without the need for frequent battery replacements or recharging.

On the other hand, the Sony a1 does not have any distinct advantages in the storage and battery department, as both cameras share the same number of memory card slots and USB charging functionality.

In terms of storage and battery, the Nikon Z9 emerges as the clear winner due to its broader memory card compatibility and extended battery life. The Sony a1, while offering similar features, falls short in comparison.

Storage and Battery
Storage and Battery
Memory Card
CFexpress, XQD
SD,CFexpress Type A (UHS-II compatible)
Dual Memory Card Slots
Battery Type
Battery Life
740 shots
530 shots
USB Charging
Sensor scores tested by DXOMARK
Overall Score
Portrait (Color Depth)
26.3 bits
25.9 bits
Landscape (Dynamic Range)
14.4 EVs
14.5 EVs
Sports (Low-Light ISO)

Nikon Z9 vs Sony a1 Alternatives

Nikon Z9 vs Sony a1 comparison image
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