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Nikon Z9 vs Sony a9 Comparison

Storage & Battery

Nikon Z9

Nikon Z9 camera

Sony a9

Sony a9 Camera image
Nikon Z9
Sony a9
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
April 19, 2017
Camera Type
Camera Size
Camera Weight

The Nikon Z9 outperforms the Sony a9 with a score of 87/100 compared to the latter’s 80/100. Both cameras share the mirrorless feature, but that’s where the similarities end. The Z9, released in 2021, boasts a larger size of 149 x 150 x 91mm and a heavier weight of 1340g (2.95lbs). This added heft contributes to its superior performance and justifies its higher launch price of $5500.

On the other hand, the Sony a9, released in 2017, is smaller and lighter at 127 x 96 x 63mm and 673g (1.48lbs), making it easier to carry around. Its lower launch price of $4500 also makes it a more budget-friendly option.

When comparing these two cameras, the Nikon Z9 offers better performance, while the Sony a9 provides portability and affordability. Ultimately, the choice depends on the user’s priorities and preferences.

Nikon Z9 vs Sony a9 Overview and Optics

The Nikon Z9 outperforms the Sony a9 in optics with a score of 88/100, a 7-point difference from the Sony a9’s score of 81/100. Both cameras share some common specifications, including a CMOS sensor, full-frame sensor size, and image stabilization. They also have their respective lens mounts: Nikon Z for the Z9 and Sony FE for the a9.

The Nikon Z9 surpasses the Sony a9 in several aspects. With 46 megapixels, the Z9 has almost double the resolution of the a9’s 24.2 megapixels, enabling higher image quality and detail. Additionally, the Z9’s shooting speed of 30 frames per second is faster than the a9’s 20 frames per second, allowing for better capture of fast-moving subjects. The Z9’s Expeed 7 processor contributes to its superior performance, and its DXOMARK sensor score of 98 further highlights the camera’s exceptional image quality.

On the other hand, the Sony a9 has some advantages, although not enough to surpass the Nikon Z9. Its Bionz X processor is reliable, and the camera’s DXOMARK sensor score of 92 is respectable. However, these features do not give the a9 a significant edge over the Z9.

Based on these comparisons, the Nikon Z9 is the superior camera in terms of optics. Its higher megapixel count, shooting speed, and DXOMARK sensor score contribute to its dominance over the Sony a9. While the a9 has some solid features, they are not sufficient to close the gap between the two cameras. Therefore, the Nikon Z9 is the clear winner in this comparison.

The higher the number of megapixels, the more detail the cameras sensor can capture.
46 MP
24.2 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
6000 x 4000 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
23.8 x 35.6 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
20 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
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.
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/ 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.
Viewfinder Resolution
3,686,400 dots
3,686,400 dots

Nikon Z9 vs Sony a9 Video Performance

The Nikon Z9 outperforms the Sony a9 in video capabilities, scoring 100/100 compared to the Sony a9’s score of 56/100. Both cameras share some specifications, but the Nikon Z9 offers superior features that contribute to its higher score.

Both the Nikon Z9 and Sony a9 are capable of recording high-quality videos. However, the Nikon Z9 boasts a maximum video resolution of 8K (7680 x 4320), while the Sony a9 is limited to a 4K resolution (3840 x 2160). This significant difference in resolution results in the Nikon Z9 producing sharper and more detailed videos. Additionally, the Nikon Z9’s maximum video frame rate is 120fps, allowing for smoother motion capture and the option to create impressive slow-motion videos. In contrast, the Sony a9’s maximum frame rate is only 30fps.

Another advantage of the Nikon Z9 is its built-in time-lapse functionality, which the Sony a9 lacks. This feature enables the Nikon Z9 to create stunning time-lapse videos without the need for additional equipment or software.

Despite these differences, the Sony a9 still offers high-quality 4K video recording, which is suitable for most users’ needs. Its 30fps frame rate is sufficient for capturing smooth motion in everyday situations. However, it falls short when compared to the Nikon Z9’s advanced capabilities.

The Nikon Z9 is the clear winner in terms of video capabilities, offering higher resolution, faster frame rates, and built-in time-lapse functionality. The Sony a9 is a capable camera for 4K video recording but falls short in comparison to the superior features of the Nikon Z9.

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
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.
120 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 Z9 vs Sony a9 Features and Benefits

The Nikon Z9 outperforms the Sony a9 with a feature score of 87/100 compared to the Sony a9’s 83/100. Both cameras share several specifications, including touchscreen capabilities, flip screens, WIFI, and Bluetooth connectivity. However, the Nikon Z9 surpasses the Sony a9 in certain aspects, while the Sony a9 has some advantages as well.

The Nikon Z9 has a larger screen size of 3.2 inches compared to the Sony a9’s 3 inches. This difference provides users with a more comfortable viewing experience. Additionally, the Nikon Z9 has a higher screen resolution of 2,088,960 dots, resulting in sharper and clearer image previews. The inclusion of GPS in the Nikon Z9 is another advantage, as it allows photographers to geotag their images for better organization and location-based data.

On the other hand, the Sony a9 remains a strong contender despite its lower feature score. Both cameras have touchscreen functionality and flip screens, which are essential for ease of use and versatile shooting angles. Furthermore, the Sony a9 still offers WIFI and Bluetooth connectivity for seamless file transfers and remote camera control.

The Nikon Z9’s larger screen, higher resolution, and GPS functionality contribute to its higher feature score and make it a more appealing choice for photographers seeking advanced features. However, the Sony a9 remains a respectable option, offering similar specifications and connectivity options. Ultimately, photographers must weigh the importance of these features when deciding between the Nikon Z9 and Sony a9.

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 a9 Storage and Battery

The Nikon Z9 outperforms the Sony a9 in storage and battery, scoring 79/100 compared to the Sony a9’s 65/100. Both cameras have two memory card slots and accept SD, SDHC, and SDXC cards with UHS-II compatibility. However, the Nikon Z9 provides greater flexibility, as it also supports CFexpress and XQD cards.

The Nikon Z9 excels in battery life, offering 740 shots per charge with its EN-EL18d battery, while the Sony a9 delivers 650 shots using the NP-FZ100 battery. Additionally, the Nikon Z9 allows USB charging, making it more convenient for on-the-go photographers.

The Sony a9, despite lagging behind in this comparison, still offers respectable battery life and storage options. However, its lack of USB charging and narrower range of supported memory cards make it less versatile than the Nikon Z9.

Considering storage and battery capabilities, the Nikon Z9 emerges as the superior choice, providing greater compatibility, battery life, and charging convenience than the Sony a9.

Storage and Battery
Storage and Battery
Memory Card
CFexpress, 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.
740 shots
650 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
24.9 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
13.3 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 a9 – Our Verdict

Nikon Z9 vs Sony a9 Comparison image.

Are you still undecided about which camera is right for you? Have a look at these popular comparisons that feature the Nikon Z9 or the Sony a9:

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B&H photo video
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