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Nikon Z9 vs Sony a1 Comparison

Storage & Battery

Nikon Z9

Nikon Z9 camera

Sony a1

Sony A1 product image
Nikon Z9
Sony a1
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.
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.

The higher the number of megapixels, the more detail the cameras sensor can capture.
46 MP
50.1 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
8640 x 5760 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.
30 fps
30 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 Z
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 7
Dual Bionz XR
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.
900 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/ 32000 s
1/ 32000 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.
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.

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.
7680 x 4320 px
7680 x 4320 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.
120 p
120 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.
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
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.
2,088,960 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 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
Approximately how long this cameras battery will last measured by how many photographs you will be able to take.
740 shots
530 shots
USB Charging
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.'
26.3 bits
25.9 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.'
14.4 EVs
14.5 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'

Nikon Z9 vs Sony a1 Alternatives

Nikon Z9 vs Sony a1 comparison image
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