Compared to... Nikon D700

As with the majority of our studio image quality comparisons we selected the nearest competition by category, specification, price and feature set. Although as discussed on the previous page the Alpha 900 has little in the way of direct competitors we've included comparisons to the only other currently available 'compact' full frame cameras, the Nikon D700 and the Canon EOS 5D (we'll update the review to include the EOS 5D Mark II when we get a production body). Just out of interest we've also included comparisons to the Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III.

Lenses used

For direct comparisons we always use sharp prime lenses stopped down (F6.3-F8). Here we have used the Sony 85 mm F1.4 ZA, Canon EF 85 mm F1.8 and Nikon 85 mm F1.8.

SStudio scene comparison (JPEG)

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).

Sony DSLR-A900 vs Nikon D700

Camera settings:

  • Sony DSLR-A900: Sony 85 mm F1.4 lens, Aperture Priority, ISO 100 JPEG Large/Fine,
    Manual WB, Default Parameters (Standard), Self-Timer (auto MLU)
  • Nikon D700: Nikkor 85 mm F1.8 lens, Aperture Priority, ISO 200 (default base)
    JPEG Large/Fine, Manual WB, Default Parameters (Normal), Self-Timer, Exposure delay
Sony A900
Nikon D700
6.1 MB JPEG (6048 x 4032)
3.7 MB JPEG (4256 x 2382)

If you want high resolution (and you've got good enough glass on the front) the Alpha 900 delivers it in spades. Even when - as here - you're using the camera's 'out of the box' settings and shooting JPEGs, the amount of detail captured is superb. The output is a touch soft (and there's some evidence of sharpening), but in the areas on the plane of focus the resolution is as good as you'd expect from a 24MP sensor. Note that in this test the main problem with the Alpha 900 is the very limited depth of field. By comparison the D700 looks visibly 'cleaner' (less processed) but the gap in resolving power is obvious.