What my camera sensor can deliver? (28.09.2012)


There is a company named DXO Labs that does very thorough tests of like in this case, the quality of what the sensor can deliver.

We really would like to point out how DXO Labs is working and what they measure:

1. The color depth in portrait pictures (the skin tones is really, really hard to reproduce);

2. The dynamic range in Landscape pictures (dynamic range = the greatest possible amplitude between light and dark details a given sensor can record picture information);

3. Sports, low light ISO (Low-Light ISO indicates the highest ISO sensitivity to which your camera can be set while maintaining a high quality).

So how does the top list in the world look like? Here it is:

NrCameraMpixSensor formatPrice EUROverall ScorePortrait (Color
Depth) (Bits)
Landscape (Dynamic
Depth) (Bits)
Sports (Low Light
1Nikon D800E36Full Format29999625,614,32979
2Nikon D80036Full Format25999525,314,42853
3Nikon D60024Full Format21909425,114,22980
4Phase One IQ180 Digital Back81Medium Format329999126,513,6966
5Nikon D416Full Format49998924,713,12965
6Phase One P65 Plus60Medium Format309998926131158
7Nikon D3X24Full Format66898824,713,71992
8Phase One P40 Plus40Medium Format154998725,3131307
9Pentax 645D41Medium Format74998224,612,61262
10Nikon D3s12Full Format34958223,5123253
11Pentax K516APS-C7998223,714,11162
12Nikon D320024APS-C5498124,113,21131
13Canon EOS 5D Mark III23Full Format2990812411,72293
14Sony NEX-724APS-C9998124,113,41016

* Prices are approximate, you need to contact the dealer to find out final price.

As we see 50% of the cameras within Top 14 are NIKON! Please also look on the Phase One and Pentax price tags compared with Nikon.

One thing that is worth to mention about the Canon 5D MKIII (place 13th), they have an maximum ISO of 102.400, while e.g. the D600 “only” has up to ISO 25.600 – looks like a clean win for Canon when looking on the bragging tech specs. But when DXO really test the sensors highest ISO sensitivity to which your camera can be set while maintaining a high quality the D600 scores a 30% better result.

So, what do we learn from this? The specification on a paper is the same as assuming that the car with the speedometer that goes the highest, is the fastest….

You may read more details about the test:



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