What is the best sensor?

The new free site dxomark gives us the answer (based on their own DxOMark scale):

  1. Nikon D3
  2. Nikon D700

You can also analyze and compare a wide range of cameras.

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  • Peter Mueller

    The two sensors are identical and so are the dxomark test scores. The difference between 80.5 and 80.3 is hardly statistically significant. In fact, the closeness of the two scores corroborates nicely Nikon’s claim that they are using the same sensor for both cameras.

  • Stephen

    Ha, I am vindicated. My D90 is better than my friend’s D300.

    • Sorry to end your party bro… And yeah, I myself was battling with the decision of going D90 or D300 up to last week. You are right, the sensor is better, and it has video. But it stops there I think, for me (uwphotographer) the sealing is of utmost importance, as it is the way better AF system, the viewfinder,… and other non-sensor related characteristics that make the D300 a lot “faster” camera, and a more helpful one in getting better pics. But the D90 is a very capable camera still and even if I’m forced to admit that D300 is a better overall camera than the D90, the main thing that sent me to the D300 was the underwater housings avaiable from Sea&Sea: the MDX-D300 seems a L-O-T better than the probable acrylic RDX-D90 for the D90.

      • Stephen

        Yeah, I thought about the same things. I actually had a Fuji S5 and still use it for a lot of things but needed a more modern upgrade. When it came down to it I realize that I generally upgrade every 18months to 2 years, so beating up on a much cheaper camera was what did it for me. Yeah, I know that I upgrade more often than most, but I think that is one of the things that keeps me above the rest. I have newer, better equipment. Okay, I know the camera doesn’t make the photographer, but I would rather have that be one more edge I have on the competition.

  • Mato34

    Going with Stephen, I’m surprised how well did the D90’s sensor.

    I own both D300 and D90, and I can see a (very) slight advantage for D90 regarding DR, but nothing else. In that site the difference it seems enormous though…

  • rhlpetrus

    Big surprise is D90, 6th overall, 3rd in DR. Nikon seems to be doing some very nice R&D with their cameras and sensors. The difference between D300 and D90 is not so huge, once you read the numbers, but still a bit surprising that D90 has done so well, especially compared to much more expensive FFs.

    Now, APS-C Canons …

  • Tim Catchall

    Wow, if you look at the dynamic range tab you see that the D3/D700 sensor is just in a completely different class to just everything else. Unbelievable.

    • rhlpetrus

      Except for Fujis. They are still king and queen in DR, by a full stop over next in line.

      I wonder why Nikon can’t do that with D3/D700.

  • I knew the D3 was ever so slightly better. I know some will debate this.. But this makes my purchase D3 and all it’s pluses even better, That is, if anything upcoming doesn’t relegate my D3 and D700 to the trash bin.

  • CR

    What a ridiculous testing system. The minute it ranked the 1Ds Mark II a better sensor than the 1D Mark III was the minute that site and its methods lost all credibility.

    I actually laughed out loud.

    Even guys like Rob Galbraith (Mr Canon AF is busted) states the 1D3 IQ is superior to any other camera out there below ISO 3200, including the D3.


    • DS

      Sure, some people find it difficult to put aside their misconceptions about which cameras are better. I would prefer to look at these independent test results than listen to fan rants any day

  • CR,

    You’re not taking into account that the 21 megapixels are degrading the performance of the 1Ds Mark III compared to the Mark II. I shoot with the Mark II at work, and I would not trade up to the Mark III because of the increase in noise.

    I really wish I could talk my boss into dumping Nikon and getting D3s. 😀

    And Mark,

    There is no difference between the D3 and the D700. That they are different for other reasons is perfectly valid, but you can’t argue the D3 is better for the very fact that they are identical sensors with identical electronics. The difference in the chart is the statistically insignificant difference.

  • Oops, my last message had an error. Dump Canon and get Nikons is what I meant! 😛

  • a reader

    Just found this http://it365.yesky.com/111245/productid_359839

    and they are selling D700 body at close to US$2000 in China.

  • another reader

    I found it interesting that the D50 sensor ranked at #43. From a user standpoint it’s much better than the 10.2mp sensor I’ve used in all of the Nikon bodies – D200, D80, and D40X (haven’t used the D60 yet…although I’m guessing it’s a bit better, just because of the newer processer).

  • kaki

    What is the best sensor?
    My eyes.

    • Better yet…. Film. I’d take Velvia 50 any day 😉

  • DS

    Very interesting results. It is difficult to argue with independent test results, unlike the subjective reviews that are influenced by marketing and personal preferences.

    No doubt, some [brand] fans will be stung into rubbishing the rating, based on the fact that their pet camera is not first.

  • Jon Paul

    Did anyone see how they account for the differences in lenses used for their tests? I couldn’t find that anywhere, but it’s hard to believe that wouldn’t be important. I don’t think they can say “exactly the same conditions” without specifying whether they’re using exactly the same lenses from test to test.

    • Jon Paul

      But I should say that even though you have to take it with a grain of salt, this is the closest I’ve seen to objective performance testing of camera sensors. I don’t think it’s fair to give each sensor a one-number rating to rank them, though, since that sets an arbitrary (DxO’s) weight on the importance of the different performance characteristics. Photographers themselves will know what they need based on how and what they shoot. For that reason, kudos to DxO for having each component available to check and not just the ranking.

  • Leandro

    Very interesting the result of Nikon D90. I see a big jump of IQ, if you compare with others APS.

    I think the new Nikon FF will be perfect if it carry this same sensor technology.


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