Sony A7R II vs Nikon D810
Let’s take a look at how the full-frame Sony A7R II compares to the Nikon D810. For this test, I had to down-sample Sony A7R II images to 36 MP in order to match D810’s resolution:
There is practically no difference between the two cameras at low ISOs. Both cameras look great and the performance is very comparable.
The same goes for ISO 1600 – both cameras look very comparable.
At ISO 3200, the Sony A7R II shows a very slight advantage in chroma noise. If you look at the shadows, the D810 shows a bit of chroma noise here and there, while the A7R II looks cleaner in comparison.
When I initially saw the ISO 6400 results from both cameras, I was honestly a bit shocked to see the D810 perform worse. This is the first time when I see a Sony camera beat Nikon in noise performance!
The difference is much more noticeable at ISO 12800. We can now see that the D810 is visibly worse throughout the image.
And although both cameras show rather poor performance at ISO 25600, the A7R II clearly stands out in comparison here.
ISO 51200 also looks terrible on both cameras, but you can again see just how much better the A7R II looks.
As you can see, Sony’s new 42 MP BSI CMOS sensor is truly superb. It shows superior performance at every ISO above 1600!
Sony A7R II vs Canon 5DS R
Now that we know that the A7R II performs better than the Nikon D810, let’s take a look at the current resolution champion, the Canon 5DS R and see how it compares. For this test, I downsampled the 5DS R images to 42 MP for the comparison:
Once again, there is practically no difference at lower ISOs. Both cameras look great from ISO 100 to 800, showing very similar performance.
Similar to what we have seen between the A7R II and the D810, the Canon 5DS R starts to fall short at higher ISOs. At ISO 1600, we see a bit more chroma noise in some spots on the Canon 5DS R, while the A7R II looks fairly clean.
We see a similar situation at ISO 3200, where the Sony A7R II looks a tad cleaner.
The situation takes a drastic change at ISO 6400, where the A7R II demonstrates significantly better overall performance.
And you can see that ISO 12800 again shows the A7R II being noticeably superior. The Canon 5DS R lost a lot of colors and turned into a red mess, while the A7R II retained far more data.
Sony A7R II Comparison Summary
Sony’s move to the BSI CMOS sensor certainly proved to be a good choice – the A7R II performed admirably against arguably the best high-resolution full-frame DSLRs on the market, the Nikon D810 and the Canon 5DS R. Although all cameras performed similarly at low ISOs, the A7R II proved to be noticeably cleaner at ISO 1600 and above, which is something I see for the first time in such direct comparisons. Mirrorless beating full-frame DSLRs, how about that! When it comes to dynamic range, I felt that the Sony A7R II performed amazingly well for recovering highlights and shadows when compared to my Nikon D810. Sadly, I cannot say the same thing about the Canon 5DS R, which looked disappointingly bad when doing direct comparisons, particularly when it came to recovering shadow details – the noise in images looked far worse.
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