Nikon D780 vs. Sony Alpha 7

Comparison

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D780 image
vs
Alpha 7 image
Nikon D780 Sony Alpha 7
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Megapixels
24.50
24.30
Max. image resolution
6048 x 4024
6000 x 4000

Sensor

Sensor type
CMOS
CMOS
Sensor size
35.9 x 23.9 mm
35.8 x 23.9 mm
Sensor resolution
6062 x 4041
6038 x 4025
Diagonal
43.13 mm
43.04 mm
Sensor size comparison
Sensor size is generally a good indicator of the quality of the camera. Sensors can vary greatly in size. As a general rule, the bigger the sensor, the better the image quality.

Bigger sensors are more effective because they have more surface area to capture light. An important factor when comparing digital cameras is also camera generation. Generally, newer sensors will outperform the older.

Learn more about sensor sizes »

Actual sensor size

Note: Actual size is set to screen → change »
vs
1 : 1
(ratio)
Nikon D780 Sony Alpha 7
Surface area:
858.01 mm² vs 855.62 mm²
Difference: 2.39 mm² (0.3%)
D780 sensor is slightly bigger than Alpha 7 sensor (only 0.3% difference).
Note: You are comparing sensors of very different generations. There is a gap of 7 years between Nikon D780 (2020) and Sony Alpha 7 (2013). Seven years is a lot of time in terms of technology, meaning newer sensors are overall much more efficient than the older ones.
Pixel pitch
5.92 µm
5.93 µm
Pixel pitch tells you the distance from the center of one pixel (photosite) to the center of the next. It tells you how close the pixels are to each other.

The bigger the pixel pitch, the further apart they are and the bigger each pixel is. Bigger pixels tend to have better signal to noise ratio and greater dynamic range.
Difference: 0.01 µm (0.2%)
Pixel pitch of Alpha 7 is approx. 0.2% higher than pixel pitch of D780.
Pixel area
35.05 µm²
35.16 µm²
Pixel or photosite area affects how much light per pixel can be gathered. The larger it is the more light can be collected by a single pixel.

Larger pixels have the potential to collect more photons, resulting in greater dynamic range, while smaller pixels provide higher resolutions (more detail) for a given sensor size.
Relative pixel sizes:
vs
Pixel area difference: 0.11 µm² (0.3%)
A pixel on Sony Alpha 7 sensor is approx. 0.3% bigger than a pixel on Nikon D780.
Pixel density
2.85 MP/cm²
2.84 MP/cm²
Pixel density tells you how many million pixels fit or would fit in one square cm of the sensor.

Higher pixel density means smaller pixels and lower pixel density means larger pixels.
Difference: 0.01 µm (0.4%)
Nikon D780 has approx. 0.4% higher pixel density than Sony Alpha 7.
To learn about the accuracy of these numbers, click here.



Specs

Nikon D780
Sony Alpha 7
Crop factor
1
1.01
Total megapixels
24.92
24.70
Effective megapixels
24.50
24.30
Optical zoom
Digital zoom
No
Yes
ISO sensitivity
Auto, 100-51200 (expands to 50-204800)
100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200, 6400, 12800, 25600
RAW
Manual focus
Normal focus range
Macro focus range
Focal length (35mm equiv.)
Aperture priority
Yes
Yes
Max. aperture
Max. aperture (35mm equiv.)
n/a
n/a
Metering
Multi, Center-weighted, Highlight-weighted, Spot
Multi, Center-weighted, Spot
Exposure compensation
±5 EV (in 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV steps)
±5 EV (in 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV steps)
Shutter priority
Yes
Yes
Min. shutter speed
30 sec
30 sec
Max. shutter speed
1/8000 sec
1/8000 sec
Built-in flash
External flash
Viewfinder
Optical (pentaprism)
Electronic
White balance presets
12
10
Screen size
3.2"
3"
Screen resolution
2,359,000 dots
921,600 dots
Video capture
Max. video resolution
3840x2160 (30p/​25p/​24p)
Storage types
SD/SDHC/SDXC
SD/SDHC/SDXC, Memory Stick Duo/Pro Duo/Pro-HG Duo
USB
USB 3.0 (5 GBit/sec)
USB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)
HDMI
Wireless
GPS
Battery
EN-EL15b lithium-ion battery
NP-FW50 lithium-ion battery
Weight
840 g
474 g
Dimensions
143.5 x 115.5 x 76 mm
127 x 94 x 48 mm
Year
2020
2013




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vs

Diagonal

Diagonal is calculated by the use of Pythagorean theorem:
Diagonal =  w² + h²
where w = sensor width and h = sensor height

Nikon D780 diagonal

w = 35.90 mm
h = 23.90 mm
Diagonal =  35.90² + 23.90²   = 43.13 mm

Sony Alpha 7 diagonal

w = 35.80 mm
h = 23.90 mm
Diagonal =  35.80² + 23.90²   = 43.04 mm


Surface area

Surface area is calculated by multiplying the width and the height of a sensor.

D780 sensor area

Width = 35.90 mm
Height = 23.90 mm

Surface area = 35.90 × 23.90 = 858.01 mm²

Alpha 7 sensor area

Width = 35.80 mm
Height = 23.90 mm

Surface area = 35.80 × 23.90 = 855.62 mm²


Pixel pitch

Pixel pitch is the distance from the center of one pixel to the center of the next measured in micrometers (µm). It can be calculated with the following formula:
Pixel pitch =   sensor width in mm  × 1000
sensor resolution width in pixels

D780 pixel pitch

Sensor width = 35.90 mm
Sensor resolution width = 6062 pixels
Pixel pitch =   35.90  × 1000  = 5.92 µm
6062

Alpha 7 pixel pitch

Sensor width = 35.80 mm
Sensor resolution width = 6038 pixels
Pixel pitch =   35.80  × 1000  = 5.93 µm
6038


Pixel area

The area of one pixel can be calculated by simply squaring the pixel pitch:
Pixel area = pixel pitch²

You could also divide sensor surface area with effective megapixels:
Pixel area =   sensor surface area in mm²
effective megapixels

D780 pixel area

Pixel pitch = 5.92 µm

Pixel area = 5.92² = 35.05 µm²

Alpha 7 pixel area

Pixel pitch = 5.93 µm

Pixel area = 5.93² = 35.16 µm²


Pixel density

Pixel density can be calculated with the following formula:
Pixel density =  ( sensor resolution width in pixels )² / 1000000
sensor width in cm

One could also use this formula:
Pixel density =   effective megapixels × 1000000  / 10000
sensor surface area in mm²

D780 pixel density

Sensor resolution width = 6062 pixels
Sensor width = 3.59 cm

Pixel density = (6062 / 3.59)² / 1000000 = 2.85 MP/cm²

Alpha 7 pixel density

Sensor resolution width = 6038 pixels
Sensor width = 3.58 cm

Pixel density = (6038 / 3.58)² / 1000000 = 2.84 MP/cm²


Sensor resolution

Sensor resolution is calculated from sensor size and effective megapixels. It's slightly higher than maximum (not interpolated) image resolution which is usually stated on camera specifications. Sensor resolution is used in pixel pitch, pixel area, and pixel density formula. For sake of simplicity, we're going to calculate it in 3 stages.

1. First we need to find the ratio between horizontal and vertical length by dividing the former with the latter (aspect ratio). It's usually 1.33 (4:3) or 1.5 (3:2), but not always.

2. With the ratio (r) known we can calculate the X from the formula below, where X is a vertical number of pixels:
(X × r) × X = effective megapixels × 1000000    →   
X =  effective megapixels × 1000000
r
3. To get sensor resolution we then multiply X with the corresponding ratio:

Resolution horizontal: X × r
Resolution vertical: X

D780 sensor resolution

Sensor width = 35.90 mm
Sensor height = 23.90 mm
Effective megapixels = 24.50
r = 35.90/23.90 = 1.5
X =  24.50 × 1000000  = 4041
1.5
Resolution horizontal: X × r = 4041 × 1.5 = 6062
Resolution vertical: X = 4041

Sensor resolution = 6062 x 4041

Alpha 7 sensor resolution

Sensor width = 35.80 mm
Sensor height = 23.90 mm
Effective megapixels = 24.30
r = 35.80/23.90 = 1.5
X =  24.30 × 1000000  = 4025
1.5
Resolution horizontal: X × r = 4025 × 1.5 = 6038
Resolution vertical: X = 4025

Sensor resolution = 6038 x 4025


Crop factor

Crop factor or focal length multiplier is calculated by dividing the diagonal of 35 mm film (43.27 mm) with the diagonal of the sensor.
Crop factor =   43.27 mm
sensor diagonal in mm


D780 crop factor

Sensor diagonal in mm = 43.13 mm
Crop factor =   43.27  = 1
43.13

Alpha 7 crop factor

Sensor diagonal in mm = 43.04 mm
Crop factor =   43.27  = 1.01
43.04

35 mm equivalent aperture

Equivalent aperture (in 135 film terms) is calculated by multiplying lens aperture with crop factor (a.k.a. focal length multiplier).

D780 equivalent aperture

Aperture is a lens characteristic, so it's calculated only for fixed lens cameras. If you want to know the equivalent aperture for Nikon D780, take the aperture of the lens you're using and multiply it with crop factor.

Since crop factor for Nikon D780 is 1, the equivalent aperture is aperture.

Alpha 7 equivalent aperture

Aperture is a lens characteristic, so it's calculated only for fixed lens cameras. If you want to know the equivalent aperture for Sony Alpha 7, take the aperture of the lens you're using and multiply it with crop factor.

Crop factor for Sony Alpha 7 is 1.01

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