Best dynamic range

DXo Labs just published a tool, DXo Mark, to compare the actual quality of image from different dSLR cameras. They compare

  • color depth
  • dynamic range
  • low light ISO

One of the most interesting or surprising part is the Top 20 of Dynamic range: Would you have named the most successful brand here?

CameraDynamic range
FujiFilm Finepix S5 Pro13.5 ev
FujiFilm Finepix S3 Pro13.5 ev
Nikon D9012.5 ev
Sony Alpha 90012.3 ev
Nikon D312.2 ev
Nikon D70012.2 ev
Nikon D30012 ev
Canon EOS 1Ds mk III12 ev
Canon EOS 1D mk III11.7 ev
Pentax K10D11.6 ev
Sony Alpha 35011.5 ev
Nikon D20011.5 ev
Nikon D40x11.5 ev
Canon EOS 50D11.4 ev
Konica Minolta DYNAX 5D11.4 ev
Nikon D6011.4 ev
Canon EOS 1DS mk II11.3 ev
Leica M811.3 ev
Canon EOS 40D11.3 ev
Sony Alpha 10011.2 ev

The superiority of the Super CCD with its uncommon color pixel arrangement is obvious here. At the same time, it is quite obvious that the most recent cameras (e.g. Nikon D90, Sony Alpha 900, Nikon D700) have the advantage of better technology to the point that you’d hesitate to buy a second-hand camera (except the pro cameras of last generation like the Nikon D3 or the Canon EOS 1Ds mk III, or the still green and impressive Nikon D300).

The color depth analysis is less discriminant. And it seems that there is less obvious winner. All Full Frame sensors have an obvious advantage but did you expect to find the Samsung GX20 right in the middle of the expensive cameras?

Now, if you want to go low light, another part of the DXo Mark comes to support you. And it is quite obvious that the Full Frame sensors are the way to go: Except the Canon EOS 1Ds series, you have to buy one of the 35mm Full Frame (FX) cameras (Nikon D700, Nikon D3, Sony Alpha 900, or even the old but still powerful Canon EOS 5D).

It is quite clear that some cameras are missing. I would like to see the Sony Alpha 700 (obviously the Sony sensor technology is quite good) and many will be expecting eagerly the results from the newest Canon EOS 5D Mk II (it should come somewhere at the high-end of the DXo Mark).

However, I am quite impressed by the apparent supremacy of Nikon in the quality race over Sony and -even more- Canon. The red Japanese brand obviously needs to fight for quality in the next generation of its amateur and enthusiast dSLR cameras.