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DxOMark marks down Canon 50-meg sensor

They must be tough markers over at DxO Mark, the leading independent lab for testing camera and lens image quality. Canon would probably be inclined to think so.

The Canon EOS 5DS is Canon's top-ranking camera in DxOMark's rankings. Trouble is, there are 21 cameras in front of it!
The Canon EOS 5DS is Canon’s top-ranking camera in DxOMark’s sensor rankings. Trouble is, there are 21 cameras from other manufacturers in front of it!

While the 50.6-megapixel, $4999 Canon EOS 5DS out-rates any other Canon DSLR for sensor performance, it is still, almost incredibly, outside the Top 20 ranked cameras tested. The other full-frame, high resolution models it is up against, the 36-megapixel, $2500 Sony A7R and the $3500 Nikon D810 (with Sony 36-meg sensor), are ahead of it in all measures, for a considerably higher overall score.

‘…the headline scores for the EOS 5DS suggest that it’s far behind the best sensors we’ve tested,’ the DxO test team concluded. ‘The Nikon D810 and the Sony A7R, for example, both offer around two-thirds of a stop better image quality, with overall scores of 97 and 95 points, respectively, compared to 87 for the 5DS.

‘For Colour Sensitivity, the D810 and the A7R are also two-thirds of a stop better than the 5DS at base ISO, with scores of 25.7/25.6 bits, respectively, compared to 24.7 for 5DS. For screen results, the Nikon/Sony advantage for colour is maintained as sensitivity is increased, although the gap narrows marginally. For print results, however, the difference between the three sensors is much closer, with the EOS 5DS sensor only fractionally behind the Nikon/Sony competition.

But it’s in dynamic range at low-to-moderate ISO that the 5DS really falls down, according to DxO: ‘For Dynamic Range, however, there’s a much bigger difference among the three sensors at base ISO, where the Nikon D810 and Sony A7R sensors are far ahead. Landscape scores of 14.8Ev for the D810, compared to 12.4Ev for the 5DS, put the Nikon over two stops ahead, and the A7R just under two stops ahead with 14.1Ev. Despite this wide gap at base ISO, however, the gap narrows significantly as sensitivity is increased and by ISO800, all three sensors offer the same Dynamic Range. So the D810 and the A7R have an advantage for Dynamic Range only between ISO50 and ISO400, but this two-stop advantage will be significant for photographers shooting at the lower ISO sensitivities.

The Canon 5DS, with an overall score of 87, comes in at #22 in the DxOMark rankings, just behind the Nikon D7200 (24 megapixel, APS-C format) and Sony A7R (12 megapixel, full frame). (The Canon 5DS R – with low-pass filter – scores 86.)

The current DxOMark ‘Top 10’ is:
1. Red Epic Dragon  101
2. Nikon D810             97
3. Nikon D800E          96
4. Sony A7R               95
5 Nikon D800              95
6. Nikon D600             94
7. Nikon D610             94
8. Nikon D750             93
9. Sony RX1               93
10. Phase One IQ80  91

For a full listing of DxO Mark sensor ratings, click here.

– Now it would be easy – especially for Canon fanboys/girls – to write this off as some kind of conspiracy to take Canon down. But it’s supported by Amazon’s camera review website, DPReview: ‘EOS 5DSR and 5DS sit in 21st and 22nd place in the company’s overall rankings. This is well behind cameras with current-generation Sony CMOS sensors. DxO’s results mirror essentially what we found when we put the 5DS R through our Raw dynamic range tests…’

– And then there’s one of those hilarious flame wars as the pro-Canon and anti-Canon obsessives go at it hammer and tongs.

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