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News & Insight

Sony A99II vs Nikon D810 vs Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

By Marlon Richardson on November 28th 2016

The  Sony A99II is launching in North America next week, and what better way to kick it off than to have some fun and do a way-too-early specs comparisons between the Sony A99II, Nikon D810, and Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. Here’s a short primer on all three, followed by a direct comparison chart and more.

Sony A99II

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The new Sony A99II SLT camera features 399 point 4D FOCUS with 79 hybrid cross AF points, shoots an astonishing 12 fps continuous shooting, and is equipped with a 42.4MP Full Frame back-illuminated dual sensor BionZ X Image Processor, and Front-End LSI sensors that output 14-bit raw files. With the A99II, Sony is debuting a revamped 5-axis in-body image stabilization system with built-in Wi-Fi and NFC, and the full HD video qualities of the Sony A99II include 1080p/120fps super-slow motion, S-Gamut3.Cine/S-Log-3 and S-Gamut3/S-Log3 and internal UHD up to 30p.

Nikon D810

nikon-D800-D800E-D810-comparison-digitalrev-slrlounge-photography-review-1

The Nikon D810 features a Sony-made but Nikon-tweaked 36.3MP FX-format CMOS sensor sans an Optical Low Pass Filter, and Nikon’s EXPEED 4 Image Processor, ISO performance and speed are near class leading. Continuous shooting speed in FX format is a respectable 5 fps with a slight bump to 7 fps in DX format, and the Nikon D810 can capture uncompressed video via HDMI at 1080p up to 60fps.

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

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The Canon EOS 5D Mark IV DSLR camera features a completely redeveloped 30.4MP Full-Frame CMOS sensor, 3.2″ 1.62m-Dot highly functional touchscreen interface including selection of AF area, can do 7fps with the new DIGIC 6+ image processor, 61-Point High Density Reticular AF with 41 cross-points, DCI 4K MJPEG video at full HD up to 60p and HD up to 120p, 150,000-pixel RGB+IR metering sensor, Dual Pixel RAW, Dual Pixel CMOS AF & Movie Servo AF, built-in Wi-Fi and NFC.

Sony A99II vs Nikon 810 vs Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

Features Sony A99II Nikon D810 Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
Resolution 42.4 MP 36.3 MP 30 MP
AA Filter No No Yes
Image Size 7952×5304 7360×4912 6720×4480
VF Type Electronic Optical Optical
VF/Mag. 100%-.78x 100%-.71x 100%-.70x
Con.FPS 12FPS 5FPS 7FPS
S.Speed 1/8000 1/8000 1/8000
Shutter 300K 200K 150K
Storage SD CF/SD CF/SD
Metering 1200 zones 91K RGB 150K-RGB+IR
ISO 100-25600 64-12800 100-32000
AF System **399/79 51/15 61/41
Video *XAVCS,AVCHD MPEG-4 ***Motion JPEG
Video Res. 3840 x 2160 1920 x 1080 4096 x 2160
Cont.. 30p,24p,25p Up to 60p 30p,24p,25p
HDMI Out YES NO YES
LCD Size 3″ Tilting 3.2″ 3.2″
LCD Res. 1,228,800 1,620,000 1,229,000
Touch LCD NO NO YES
Exp. Comp. +5 +5 +5
Flash NO YES NO
Wi-Fi/NFC YES/YES NO/NO YES/YES
Weight 849g 880g 890g
Price $3,198 $2,797 $3,499


*Sony A99II (full frame + Super 35 4K with no pixel binning.)
**Sony A99II (Depends on Hybrid Phase Detection AF lens compatibility – See List.)

*Canon EOS 5D Mark IV (1.74x crop in 4K)

The Rundown

The Sony A99 II‘s best features include a 42MP full frame sensor, uncropped full-frame 4K video and Super 35, a responsive 399 point hybrid AF system, 12fps continuous shooting, a 5-axis stabilizer, 14-bit RAW output and what looks like class leading ISO performance. It’s a veritable powerhouse camera on paper. The catch, you have to use the just revived A-Mount lens catalog. Don’t get me wrong, the Sony A-Mount lens catalog has some gems to choose from, it’s just not as complete or as up-to-date as what you’d get from Canon, Nikon, or even Sony’s own E-Mount.

The Nikon D810, launched in July 2014, is getting a little long in the tooth compared to the Sony A99II and Canon EOS 5D Mark IV, but it’s up to $700 cheaper for a new body and even greater savings in the pre-owned market. The Nikon D810‘s combination of resolution and dynamic range might still outperform the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV at lower ISO’s and will no doubt still be in the mix with Sony.

The Canon EOS 5D Mark IV is full of innovative new features like Dual Pixel Raw, Auto WB (White Priority), and Dual Pixel CMOS AF, and what you’re really going to love about the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV is its highly capable touchscreen and much improved lens performance with any Canon lens no matter the age – In terms of still photography, the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV is the most substantial jump in IQ and performance we’ve ever seen on a 5D series. With Canon’s choice of Motion JPEG for video and heavily cropped output, so long as you don’t purchase this new Canon camera primarily for video camera you won’t be disappointed.

[REWIND: SONY A99II HANDS ON | THE A99II AF COULD BE IN THE SAME LEAGUE AS THE NIKON D5 & CANON 1DX MARK II]

Conclusion

There is more to a camera than just specs. Our brief list of head to head specifications for these cameras should not be used as a deciding factor of which camera to move to, as for the most part, the system that you already own top glass for should get most of your consideration. If you are still considering changing systems to upgrade, just know that it can be a very expensive process so be sure to rent before you buy. Most photographers who’ve wanted the Nikon D810 have already purchased it and are happy with it. For Sony A99 and Canon EOS 5D III users who are considering an in-system upgrade, the newest offerings although pricey, are definitely worth a look.

If you’re looking to switch systems or upgrade, which one would get your money?

Marlon is a South Florida-based wedding and portrait photographer, writer, and interactive designer. Involved in photography since the 90’s, his background began with repairing film cameras from a master Vietnam veteran, followed by years of assisting professional photographers then before starting his own business in 2006. Marlon at his heart is a tinkerer that has love for and adept in every medium of photography.

When not working Marlon is all about spending time with his wife, Naomi and two boys, Taze and Brassaï.

http://www.marlonrichardson.com

Q&A Discussions

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  1. barbara farley

    I have an a99 first gen and I can’t lie, I am sinfully gear-lusting after this camera. I don’t understand why people that use other systems want to be negative about it though. On the subject of lenses, I have a 24-70, a 70-200, a 50mm 1.7 and an 85. At Photo Plus this year I tried some beautiful prime lenses from Sigma for A-mount. How many lenses do I need? I hope Canon and Nikon come out with bodies even better than this one so we can all be happy with our choice. As far as my Sony choice, at this point, I know where all the buttons are and don’t want to learn another system. Also, I admit that I am constantly amazed by my gear. If I started with either of the other systems I am sure I would be amazed at their capabilities.

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    • Orion Hunter

      Sounds like you’ve assembled a kit that’s good for portraiture. That’s fine and all, but because you chose Sony A-Mount, you miss out on buying from among a host of $200-$600 lenses of low-to-middling performance which can be readily sold to fund the purchase of other $200-$600 lenses of low-to-middling performance.

      From what I can tell, that’s mostly what people are talking about when they complain about “too few lens choices.” Most people aren’t buying an 800mm super-telephotos, nor are they buying tilt-shift wide-angle primes; so what they’d be missing in the Sony lens line-up is the redundant-focal-length, variable-aperture, consumer-grade “walkaround” zooms that exists primarily so that people suffering from LBA can give CaNikon money for a fix 2-3 times a year.

      “How many lenses do you need?” For me, apparently the answer is “six.” If I shot with Canon, I’d have a kit with lenses that are equivalent to the six I own for A-Mount. Nothing more.

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    • Dave Haynie

      “How many lenses do I need?” is an easy question… the answer is, “one more”.

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  2. Paul Empson

    The newest kit will always out-spec existing cameras, or should. Sony’s latest certainly has some impressive stats.

    Bodies tend to be disposable (a certain shelf life) compared to lenses & that is where most people will stick or jump when making a decision: jump manufacturer to the latest & greatest spec body with the, not slight, expense of replacing all their lenses.

    Or wait for their camera maker of choice to unveil its latest incarnation. Which is what I anticipate the majority will do.

    My D810 does everything I want & need it to, right now. While the Sony may be the new Top Trump (yikes) on the block its rein will only be fleeting.

    I’ve shipped out several camera bodies over the years though I’m still using 24-70 & 70-200 I bought with my first. It’s that £3.5k of major lens investment that keeps me mainly Nikon.

    If Nikon or other can make a Mirrorless, like the Fuji-X system with the performance of an SLR, that could be a body to jump to.

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  3. Branko Mitic

    Comparing DSLR-s without mentioning lenses at all. How childish and YouTubeish. The main reason why most people choose DSLR are lenses, speedlights and whole system.

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    • Marlon Richardson

      We named the lack of updated lenses as the main weakness of Sony A-Mount. Unless you think Canon or Nikon’s lens collections are lacking it would best if you tried reading the entire article before commenting next time.

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  4. adam sanford

    The Sony appears to be quite a beast… but so did the Samsung NX1 in the APS-C space. It similarly had the highest resolution, mountains of AF points and a comical 15 fps with AF. So I think there’s more to a camera than its specs.

    Sony has tried to steal share with brute force specs/features like this in the past and it didn’t exactly work out.

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    • Marlon Richardson

      The biggest difference is that this isn’t a new mount or from a company new to making cameras. Sony’s other FF’s sold decent and E-Mount is class leading in sales and specs for mirrorless.

      It just comes down to lenses for the A99II. If Sony commits to dropping some G-Master grade and Carl Zeiss brands to A-Mount inside of 18 months, I think we will definitely see a new player to challenge Canikon’s DSLR dominance.

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    • adam sanford

      Marlon, “class leading in sales” for FF + Mirrorless means that they are outselling… what? Leica? That’s a comically far cry from outselling SLRs or one of the Big Two.

      Agree, lenses are their biggest bugaboo, but *people need to read the fine print as well*. In 12 fps (Hi+) mode, from the manual — depending on the lens you use, focus may be locked after the first exposure!

      Also, from the manual: “The shooting speed during continuous shooting becomes slower when
      [ RAW File Type] is set to [Uncompressed] in [Continuous Shooting: Hi+] mode.”

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    • Marlon Richardson

      @Adam – Earnings wise Sony is the #2 imaging maker worldwide behind only Canon and it’s been that way for 2-3 years.

      I quoted what you might have been referring to about the AF. But regardless, anyone coming to A-Mount right now buying any of the last 2-3 generations of new lenses will get full AF capabilities from the A99II.

      There is really nothing not to like about the Sony A99II’s stills images specs. Just imagine if Canon or Nikon released the exact camera. You’d call it a world beater and praise them for pushing the bar. Sometimes you need to know when it’s appropriate to give credit where it is due. This is one of those times.

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  5. Bing Putney

    That a99ii looks like a beast. At 12fps, if the AF system works as well as if should, it might compete with the Nikon D5 and Canon 1D-X. This, of course, is all using the sensor from the A7Rii, which still holds the top sensor score on DxoMark. And it has IBIS!

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    • Kishore Sawh

      It is. I spent a little time with is two weeks ago and there’s no getting around how impressive it is. It feels good too. I mean, I’m generally using Nikon but it really felt good

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    • Marlon Richardson

      The AF is in the same league as the D5 and 1D-X. Although it’s using the A7rII sensor the A99II has a larger body better for heat dispensation, a more powerful Bionz X sensor and a front LSI sensor. Sony has gone on record that the new A99II should exceed the A7RII in IQ.

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    • Eliot Gonzo

      ive got an a99ii on preorder, if its as fast as the d500(havent played with a d5) id be shocked and faint in amazement. that d500 was like it didnt have to focus. inside a dim camera store, with the sigma 50-100/1.8, it was INSTANT from near to infinity on a gloomy day thru the filthy windows. i almost bought 2… but.. optical viewfinder… so, ill keep my fingers crossed on that af performance :D if its as good as my 5d3 and a77ii, im fine with it! any improvements are +++

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    • Kishore Sawh

      Eliot, I’ve spent a good amount of time with the D500 and a little with the a99ii, and in my opinion thus far, it focuses faster. Maybe not blow-you-into-the-middle-of-next-week fastER, but it is.

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    • adam sanford

      Everyone should note that at 12 fps you don’t get uncompressed RAW, and in some lens instances, your focus is locked after the first exposure (!!!).

      It’s a heck of a new rig, don’t get me wrong, but *do your homework* on how it will work with your gear or you may be let down a bit.

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    • Marlon Richardson

      @Adam I don’t see anywhere saying that uncompressed RAW can’t be shot at 12fps. Even if true that’s perfectly acceptable IMO.

      Also from the Sony A99II brochure:
      “The supported focus area will depend on the shooting mode and lens used. Furthermore, when
      “Continuous Shooting: Hi+” is selected, focus will be fixed at the first frame shot when Hybrid Phase
      Detection AF is active at aperture settings of F9 or higher, or when Hybrid Phase Detection AF is not
      active at aperture settings of F4 or higher.”

      So if you are using screw driven lenses you will get 79 AF points instead of 399. Otherwise I think you got it wrong with the AF-C based on what’s coming from Sony

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    • adam sanford

      Marlon, head here to see: https://goo.gl/KHwGUF

      For slower speed with RAW –> Page 47: “The shooting speed during continuous shooting becomes slower when [RAW File Type] is set to [Uncompressed] in [Continuous Shooting: Hi+]
      mode

      For AF functionality, see chart on page 46: an incompatible f/4 lens locks focus on first exposure unless I’m reading that incorrectly.

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    • Marlon Richardson

      So the user gets possibly 9-11fps in Uncompressed RAW. That’s still faster than the Canon 5D Mark IV (7fps) and Nikon D810 (5fps).

      Sony released a list of fully compatible lenses for it’s hybrid AF here: http://support.d-imaging.sony.co.jp/www/support/ilc/focus/ilca-99m2/en/index.html?id=cscs_lens

      It’s a list that consists of all the pro lenses A-Mount lenses made in the 8 last years. I still own 7 A-Mount lenses and they are all on the list.

      It should be noted that many non-pro A-Mount lenses, 3rd party lenses, and Konica Minolta lenses don’t support the full hybrid AF and are subject to restrictions you mentioned.

      I’m adding that to the chart for this article as a “*” for Sonys “399/79”.

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    • adam sanford

      About that A7R II sensor in there. It’s just fine, but that translucent mirror sitting in front of it apparently doesn’t help things:

      http://www.thephoblographer.com/2016/12/01/dxomark/#.WEBXupJ_3-8

      92 = great, but 6 points lower than the A7R II it apparently poached it’s sensor from. Something like 2/3 of a stop worse low light performance is the standout difference.

      Still a fine sensor, but wow, I had no idea the translucent mirror was such a hit on light gathering.

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    • Orion Hunter

      @ adam sandford:

      No discussion of a Sony SLT camera would be complete without someone expressing their shock[!] as to the impact the translucent mirror has on low-light performance.

      And yet Sony’s SLT cameras have consistently outperformed Canon’s DSLRs in that area–as well as every other quantifiable measurement of sensor-performance that affects image-quality. Despite consistent class-trailing sensor performance, people somehow manage to get by using Canon; but the translucent mirror in an SLT is such a massive detriment to IQ that it would be downright irresponsible and just…unkind not to call attention to it each.and.every.time. an SLT camera is discussed.

      You can sleep well knowing that you may have saved vast dozens from owning the camera which is currently in the top 5 for sensor performance.

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    • adam sanford

      Orion, it wasn’t a smear so much as a lesson learned yesterday. I honestly had not given the A mount products a hard look before the A99 II, so I didn’t know the pellicle mirror setup blocked that much light. That said, it’s still a formidable camera and should sell well.

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    • David Cartagena

      Just to correct the people who says the mirror in the a99II steals a lot of light. In real world it’s negligible. It’s only 1/3 of a stop. In shutterspeed it’s like going from 1/160 to 1/125.

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