For a (more) level playing field for comparison we also shot our studio scene in RAW mode with each camera and converted it using Adobe Camera RAW. Because Adobe Camera RAW applies different levels of sharpening to different cameras (this confirmed) we had to use the following workflow for these conversions:
Load RAW file into Adobe Camera RAW (Auto mode disabled)
Set Sharpness to 0 (all other settings default)
Open file to Photoshop
Apply a Unsharp mask: 80%, Radius 1.0, Threshold 0
Save as a TIFF (for cropping) and as a JPEG quality 11 for download
This is our standard studio scene comparison shot taken from exactly the same tripod position. Lighting: daylight simulation, >98% CRI. Crops are 100%. Ambient temperature was approximately 22°C (~72°F). Camera settings as per previous pages.
Sony DSLR-A900 (RAW) vs Nikon D700 (RAW)
Sony DSLR-A900 (RAW)
6.1MB JPEG (6048 x 4032)
3.3 MB JPEG (4256 x 2382)
Switching to a standard RAW converter (in this case our benchmark; Adobe Camera RAW) means that the image processing pipeline is equalized between the cameras. Both cameras get a sharpness and detail boost although, due to the D700's conservative default sharpening, the difference is more visible on the Nikon.
Due to its high resolution depth-of-field issues are more obvious on the Sony (paper clips, batteries and top of the Martini bottle are slightly out of focus) but its level of detail cannot be matched by the D700. Looking at the output it's also obvious that the Sony has a slightly stronger anti alias (low pass) filter, giving results that - even in raw - don't quite have the per pixel sharpness of the Nikon.