Sony a9ii vs Nikon D5 and Z6: High ISO Shootout!

What happens when you take the new Sony a9ii and pit it against the Nikon D5 and Z6 in a high ISO shootout? Will the D5 be able to hold its own against the new kids on the block – or will it be crushed?

Watch the video to find out!

We’ll look at ISOs a stop at a time from 1600 up to 51,2000 and compare the results from all three cameras. Enjoy!

.

Below are links to the comparison images in the video. Make sure you click the image once it loads to be sure you’re viewing it full size. All links open in a new tab.

ISO 1600
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
ISO 12,800
ISO 25,600
ISO 51,200

PS – If you enjoyed this post, I think you’ll REALLY like my e-books and video workshops! Thousands of pages and hours of videos filled with tips, tricks, and techniques – all my best content! Check ’em out – click here (hey, it’s free to look).

Please tell others about this post:
This entry was posted in Reviews, Tests.

39
Leave a Reply

avatar
19 Comment threads
20 Thread replies
22 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
20 Comment authors
Steve PerrySteve Chadwickkyass IncDon NaplesJames Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Steve Chadwick
Guest
Steve Chadwick

This is a great summary! Have you considered including some of the Canon cameras in this type of comparison? It would be great to see something like the Canon Mark II or something similar vs the Nikon D5!

kyass Inc
Guest

Does anyone can tell?? How does the Nikon D5 compare to the Sony A9?

Don Naples
Guest
Don Naples

Spent a month reading your books and watching your videos prior to going to Africa, since I had replaced 4×5 and Hasselblad film cameras when digital became dominant. I had a D7000 but never spent any real effort learning the camera. I gave it to my daughter and purchased a D7100 and a Z6. One advantage I learned with the Z6 is when animals including a 9 year old lion came so close to our vehicle that we had to be still and quiet, I was able to shoot in complete silence. I got some shots that others were unable… Read more »

Karen
Guest
Karen

How does the Nikon D5 compare to the Sony A9 (not the latest version)?

Shiva
Guest
Shiva

The mirrorless held up better than I expected. Where would you say the 850 which has the same Backlit Sensor as the Z6, would land up ? Between the D5 and the Z6 (like I assume the D500 will) or the same/better than D5?

Shiva
Guest
Shiva

Never mind my question. I read the rest of the comments and your answers to them, and it’s as I figured out. Interesting discussion about downsampling issues tho, but I believe you are right. Inthe end, you have to compare images sampled down/up to the same size to make an effective comparison. I would think resizing down should remove noise, so in the end, pixel for pixel, the mirrorless are getting a bit of a boost and still not keeping up with the old stalwart. The D6 will be roughly 24MP too, and should have the same BSI sensor, and… Read more »

David Bennett
Guest

Where would you put the D500? At what max ISO would you say that “in the field, I doubt you’d notice any difference.”?

Bernard DeGruchy
Guest
Bernard DeGruchy

Steve: Your results were as I expected; but only the mirrorless cameras came out better than I thought they would. I shoot sports, mostly, and at the Institute (New Mexico Military Institute) and the marketing guys there just purchased a Z7. He has shot DSLR’s in the past and when I asked him if he’d buy the mirrorless again; his reply was no. The mirrorless cameras just don’t have the response needed (in time shudder trips from when you press the shudder) that the DSLR’s do. I do own the Olympus OM-D mark 5II that i purchased for shooting when… Read more »

James
Guest
James

I enjoy most of your posts. Here, I’m not convinced that when judging noise that the resizing pass is as legitimate. At least before doing that, I’d compare how uniform the pixel noise was at the native resolution while keeping in mind the equivalent areas being represented. Also given the Bayer filter’s pattern decode to make color, and gain being non-linear, the R, G, B gain values imposed at a particular ISO may themselves contribute to what is being perceived as noise in the processed raw file, therefore I’d look closer at different color squares in the captures as well… Read more »

Thomas
Guest

Hi Steve!
Thanks for the interesting (as always) review.
I think years ago there were always a great step in
sensor technology. Nowadays the steps ahead in
the sensor development are quite small.
You can see the differences only in comprehensive special tests…..
Btw. your books autofocus and metering are amazing!

Jack W
Guest
Jack W

Where did this go?
Just for the heck of it, Did you try the base ISO?

Jack W
Guest
Jack W

5

Geoff
Guest
Geoff

Thanks, Steve, this is really interesting! Do you prefer to use your D5 in Costa Rica over the D850 given the better ISO performance, since light is presumably a big issue in the rainforest?

Jack
Guest
Jack

Steve – great video, thanks. What do think about comparing a prime (Nikons) vs a zoom ( Sony)? Any issue there that would affect ISO?

Herb Brail
Guest
Herb Brail

Interesting comparisons, Steve. I am surprised you left out one of your favorite cameras, the Nikon D850, in your testing. If you do another test, please consider including the Nikon D500 which seems often a preferred choice for telephoto wildlife shooters. You threw out an all too brief comment near the end of the video about dynamic range. I appreciate you expanding on that aspect of camera choice in a future video or podcast.

ALEXANDER RAUE
Guest
ALEXANDER RAUE

Hi Steve. Thank your cat for the well placed hair. After years of film photography, finally a situation where the little buddy contributions paid off. 🙂 Keep up your great work.

Chris Nelson
Guest
Chris Nelson

Hi Steve, thank you for the informative video. I am wondering how would A9II compare to A7R4 and Z6 to Z7, given the smaller pixel sizes on the higher resolution cameras? Theoretically, the A7R4 and Z7 should be significantly worse, is the difference noticeable? Thanks.

dale keith
Guest
dale keith

Steve, as I have stated to many of my Nikon shooters, the D6 would really have to be a HUGE techno- advancement for me to replace my D5. I will wait for your D6 comparison video.

Howard Kearley
Guest

Sweet video, glad in real life I came to the same conclusion with some Kingfisher shots,

Vincent Van der Beken
Guest
Vincent Van der Beken

Hey Steve, I guess there is a typo in the title of the video as you use the Z6 and not the Z7 😉
Happy to be a D5 owner, for me the best camera I have ever owned.