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Sony Alpha A7r Gordon Laing, November 2013
 
 

Sony Alpha A7r vs Nikon D800e Noise JPEG

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  Sony Alpha A7r results
1 Sony A7r vs A7 quality
2 Sony A7r vs A7 noise
3 Sony A7r vs Canon 5D Mark III noise
4 Sony A7r vs Nikon D800e noise
5 Sony A7r vs A7 RAW
6 Sony A7r vs Canon 5D Mark III RAW
7 Sony A7r vs Nikon D800e RAW
8 Sony A7r Sample images

To compare noise levels under real-life conditions, I shot this scene with the Sony Alpha A7r and Nikon D800e, within a few moments of each other using their RAW+JPEG settings at each of their ISO sensitivity settings. On this page I'm comparing their JPEG quality; alternatively see my A7r vs D800e RAW results.

The Alpha A7r was fitted with the Zeiss 35mm f2.8 lens and the D800e with the Nikkor AF-S 35mm f1.4G lens, both set to f8 in Aperture Priority mode. DRO and other contrast enhancers were disabled as they can introduce noise. The White Balance was set manually.

I also have RAW and JPEG comparisons with the Canon EOS 5D Mark III taken moments earlier - see the index above left.


I rented the Canon EOS 5D Mark III and Nikon D800e from BorrowLenses.com - a great service for evaluating gear in the US!

My third noise comparison is between the Sony Alpha A7r and Nikon's D800e. This is arguably the most interesting of all as both share very similar sensor specifications with full-frame coverage, 36 Megapixel resolution and no optical low pass filters (or at least the effect cancelled-out on the Nikon). I fitted the A7r with the Zeiss 35mm f2.8 lens and the D800e with the Nikkor AF-S 35mm f1.4G lens, both set to f8 in Aperture Priority. So once again, what you're looking at below are two 36 Megapixel models without optical low pass filters, so in theory the results should be fairly similar. Do note though these cameras do not have the same actual sensor.

An interesting side note to mention before going any further is the D800e crops show a slightly smaller area than the A7r crops. This is because the 35mm lens selected for the D800e is actually a fraction less wide than the 35mm Zeiss on the A7r. I decided to maintain my shooting position though.

Starting at the lowest sensitivities, both cameras are capturing similar levels of detail, but the A7r is noticeably sharper. Is this down to the image processing, the optics, or a superior sensor? By comparing RAW results and using the same lens on both cameras in future tests I'll be better able to judge, but the bottom line is the A7r in-camera JPEGs are crisper without suffering from over-sharpening artefacts.

At 400 ISO there's slight evidence of increased noise levels and colour shift on the D800e, which becomes more obvious at 800 ISO. At this point the A7r is definitely enjoying a superior result. At 1600 ISO and especially 3200 ISO the noise levels on the D800e become even more apparent, and at 6400 ISO there's a clear difference between the two cameras. Some may prefer the D800e's image at 25,600 ISO, but really it's game over for both cameras before this point.

So I'd say this is a great result for the A7r, at least when comparing JPEGs using the default settings. The Sony A7r enjoys crisper results at lower ISOs without undesirable sharpening artefacts and cleaner results at higher ISOs. The crisper results could be down to a superior lens, and I hope to perform more comparisons in the future when both are fitted with the same lens, but there's no doubt the A7r and Zeiss 35mm combination are capable of delivering highly detailed images which, from the results below, are visibly superior to the Nikon D800e and Nikkor 35mm f1.4 lens. Even taking lenses out of the equation, the A7r's JPEGs also enjoy lower noise at mid to high sensitivities. So this is great news for anyone wanting to match or beat the quality of the D800e with the benefit of a much smaller and lighter combination. Just remember to enjoy these kind of results with the A7r though, you must shoot as carefully as you would with the D800e, or even a medium format camera - that is to say ideally from a tripod with very carefully focusing.

Now check out my Sony A7r vs Nikon D800e RAW comparison, or head over to my Sony A7r sample images page!


Sony Alpha A7r JPEG
 
Nikon D800e JPEG
f8 50 ISO
f8 50 ISO
f8 100 ISO
f8 100 ISO
f8 200 ISO
f8 200 ISO
f8 400 ISO
f8 400 ISO
f8 800 ISO
f8 800 ISO
     
f8 1600 ISO
f8 1600 ISO
     
f8 3200 ISO
f8 3200 ISO
     
f8 6400 ISO
f8 6400 ISO
     
f8 12800 ISO
f8 12800 ISO
     
f8 25600 ISO
f8 25600 ISO
     

Sony Alpha A7r results : A7r vs A7 quality / A7r vs A7 noise / A7r vs 5D3 noise/ A7r vs D800e noise


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