Imaging Resource Tests Sony a7R III vs Nikon D850

Sony a7R III vs Nikon D850

Imaging Resource has posted tests of RAW files from high-resolution flagship cameras Sony a7R III vs Nikon D850. Here’s how their sample images compare side-by-side for sharpness, color and high ISO noise at ISO 100 and 6400.


ISO 100: Sony A7R III (left) vs. Nikon D850 (right)


ISO 6400: Sony A7R III (left) vs. Nikon D850 (right)


ISO 6400: Sony A7R III (left) vs. Nikon D850 (right)

Check out the full Imaging Resource tests (here)

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17 thoughts on “Imaging Resource Tests Sony a7R III vs Nikon D850”

  1. They look really similar honestly. I think the differences you guys are seeing if due to the difference color sciences of the two cameras. They don’t seem to be quite at the same zoom, the Nikon seems to be zoomed in a little more than the sony.

  2. 1. The Sony A7R111 is the sharper in all 3 images.
    2. The first image still goes to the Sony for colour rendition.
    3. The third ‘material’ image is still better with the Sony, although ‘perhaps’ moire has fooled the Nikon sensor?

    1. I suspect the softness in D850 image 3 is due to Nikon’s rather aggressive noise reduction. I’d prefer to control Noise Reduction to my taste in post – rather than have it baked into the file.

      1. Is it me or am i seeing it correctly… It seems that the D850 noise reduction is like “smoothed out” as opposed to being detailed. For example the material image you see more details of the fabric lines on the Sony A7Riii but with D850 you see smoothed out blotches…

        I wonder how useable the image of both the Sony A7R iii and D850 are at even higher ISOs. For me personally on previous cameras i have owned 12800 is the max i have ever used. Your thoughts?

        1. Nikon D850 in-camera noise reduction is definitely a LOT heavier than Sony a7R III. I prefer in-camera noise reduction on the light side since it can always be added to taste in post – but nothing recover the lost detail when it’s too heavy handed.

          High ISO noise is in the eye of the beholder. I find that ISO 25,600 on a7R III to be quite acceptable to my taste – others may prefer higher or lower.

  3. I have both cameras. The Nikon D850 I agree is a tad softer at higher ISO due to the aggressive in camera noise reduction processing. But it’s acceptable. I also agree that i would rather do that in post… I’ve always been a NIKON fan, but the Sony A7r III is a huge improvement over past A7 cameras that I’ve tried and I’m actually moving in that direction now. I’m using different adapters with the Sony A7rIII and nikon glass and getting fairly decent results. I really like your site Brian. It’s become my go to site for reference..

  4. i’m considering one of these two cameras right now. i’d be interested in what you’d suggest, Brian. To start I want the camera for shooting macro shots of insects (focus stacks – i have a cognisys stack shot rail) and reptiles and amphibians and other small wildlife at close range. i’m leaning toward the sony because it’s mirrorless, seems to have a better AF and the 90mm macro lens seems to be sharper than the nikkor 105mm micro. but, in the end, if image quality is going to be better with the nikon, i’d go that route instead…that’s why i’d like to know which lenses you used for this test.

      1. Thanks for the quick response, Brian! I forgot about one thing…since I photograph amphibians and reptiles at night in the rain forest, TTL flash (heavily diffused) is a must….is the A7R iii going to work as well as the D850 in this scenario?


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