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Nikon D5 vs Sony a7R II… at ISO 3,276,800

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The $6,500 Nikon D5 DSLR and $3,200 Sony a7R II mirrorless camera are two of the current leaders in low-light, high-ISO shooting, but how do they stack up against each other? This 1.5-minute comparison video will show you.

Photographer Tony Northrup took the two cameras, pointed them at the same scene side-by-side, and shot 4K footage stepping from ISO 6400 all the way up to ISO 3276800. ISO 3 million is 7 stops better than what the Sony a7R II can do — its max extended ISO is 102400 — so the Sony footage had to be digitally pushed for the head-to-head.

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It has a crazy-high max ISO, but “[the D5] is not the low-light champ you’d hope, though,” writes Northrup. “We tested the a7R II in full-frame mode, even though it offers 1 stop better quality in Super 35 mode. We wanted to start testing with the worst case scenario for the Sony… but since it won even while handicapped, I don’t see the need to continue testing.”

“The a7S offers another stop beyond that, so it would be about 2 stops better than the D5. The a7S II offers still another stop improvement, so it whould be about 3 stops cleaner than the D5.”


Image credits: Video and still frames by Tony Northrup

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