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5Dmk2, 5Dmk3, and D800 sensor measurements

Here's a link to an article with newly-released sensor measurements from DxO Labs comparing 5Dmk2, 5Dmk3, and D800.

Until 1600 ISO the D800 has much better dynamic range, in spite of having pixels 1.5x smaller !

The improvement from mk2 to mk3 in terms of SNR appears to be only 0.5 fstops in 3.5 years with pixels of same size.

How those measurements translate to real-word results remains to be seen, but I've noticed that Lloyd Chambers, who makes a living by pixel peeping (he runs a paywall review site) wrote "As for the Canon 5D Mark III, it’s no longer April Fools day. I will give Canon another chance with the 1D X."

To top those findings, the new entry-level D3200 ($700) at 24MP has higher resolution than any of the Canon cameras. Canon is also said to be halting 5D Mk III shipments as it seeks to resolve light leak issue.

I must say that this is very disappointing for a Canon user. On the other hand, in the years before Nikon acknowledged FF, the pixel gap between Canon and Nikon was more than 1.5 in favor or Canon, and Nikons were useless at high ISO.

At this point, who would want to buy into Canon, unless they already have lots invested in the system, or they primarily shoot above 1600 ISO ?
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john lund's profile photoTony Eckersley's profile photoStephen Shankland's profile photoJay Patel's profile photo
12 comments
 
Meh - it's all about what you do with it - hence why I kinda ignore the "numbers" game with DxO...
 
What's a Dx0? I am pretty sure that every one of these cameras are better than me - so until mine breaks I am stuck with it.
 
Well, tremendously good work has certainly been done with the original 5D, and even older DSLRs, but if the 2 fstop DR range difference means a Canon shooter needs a GND or bracket while the Nikon shooter captures it in a single exposure, that makes a difference on how you work, and possibly on what you can do.
 
+QT Luong True - but I also hear that in the real world, it's not quite that dramatic. And ultimately, tremendous work has been created with all sorts of DSLR's, so as long as you have the eye, it doesn't matter at the end of the day. ALso - competition is good. Lets see Nikon push Canon more!
 
Thanks for the link, +QT Luong.

+Joe Azure DxO Labs is a French digital imaging company that (along with licensing its technology for use in mobile phone cameras) offers a detailed look at camera performance. I just wrote a big feature about them: news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-57415777-1/how-dxo-labs-tests-hot-cameras-like-canons-latest-slr/

+Tony Eckersley Yeah, image sensor scores don't tell the whole story, but the image sensor is at the heart of a camera, so to me Canon's relative lack of progress concerning. I find the idea of "it's the photographer, not the camera" rather incomplete. Of course the photographer is vitally important, but the camera is a big deal, too. I have a 5D Mark II, for example, and it lets me shoot news photos in relatively dark situations at high ISO that would have been impossible in the past. I'm not going to jump to Nikon just because of one DxO test, but there are plenty of people who are just joining the SLR market today.
 
+Stephen Shankland It's not just one DxO test. In terms of still image quality in the real world, the D3/S/X cameras have bettered Canons in their respective class. If anything, this new product cycle seems to be showing that the gap is growing.
 
+QT Luong How many megapixels is 5x7 Velvia? Is a D800 + 24mm 3.5 close enough?
 
I'm not sure what I'd do with all the megapixels packed into either the D800 or 5D mk III. The technological payoff for me lies in the E-M5, which looks like it will provide good-enough image quality in an incredibly portable package. It and a couple primes should take up the same amount of room in my pack as my D700 body. Similarly, someone currently packing an MF system will see the D800 as liberating.

As an aside, Lloyd's site is well worth the money. His evaluations have saved me a bunch of dollars over the years in determining wither a new piece of kit provides an improvement over my current gear commensurate with its price tag. The answer has generally been no. His recent D800 vs S2 comparison was also eye opening.
 
The cost of 5D III itself prevented me from looking into it further... so disappointed to see all this as a long time Canon user.
 
I have shot Canons since the 1Ds came out...but bought a D800 a few weeks ago. I love that I can shoot, for example, a full length shot of a model, then if I need a tighter shot I can pretty much crop in to a torso/head shot and still have about 50 megabytes. I also find the D800s controls faster and easier to use. Won't sell my Canon glass though because who knows what will come down the line!
 
+Phil Liao Jack Flesher (of getdpi.com) told me that 5x7 film is about equivalent to his 80MP Phase One IQ 180. Speaking of which, it seems that the consensus amongst early testers is that the D800 challenges 40MP MF, which many (including myself) couldn't see happening because of the difference in sensor size.
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