The 10 Best Camera Sensors According to DXOMark for March 2019

full frame mirrorless camera
Cameras are moving and shaking once again now that DXOMark are back from their extended nap.

Yes, we know: DXOMark rankings are not the be all and end all when it comes to camera performance. There are so many things to take into consideration when it comes to how well a camera performs.Ergonomics, lens choices, ease of use, and hundreds of features that set cameras apart from one another. All of these play a role in how good a camera is, but sensor performance is an important metric, one that many photographers look at when choosing a camera. The top 10 performing cameras in regards to sensor output has changed since the last time we looked at DXOMark, so it’s time for a refresher.

Whether you love DXOMark or you hate it, the fact is that many people go to their website when they are thinking about buying a new camera. A lot of people like to see how well a cameras sensor can perform in a controlled environment, and that’s okay. When you’re about to drop a large chunk of change on a new camera it’s smart to look at it from many different points of view. Real world tests like we do are fantastic, and controlled tests like the ones DXOMark do are great too. Some new cameras have recently been tested by DXOMark, and of course the DXOMark top 10 list is moving and shaking once again. Here’s a look at the top 10 cameras according to DXOMark, and what we feel the pros and cons are of each of them after putting them through our real world tests.

 

Hasselblad X1D-50C

 

Pros

  • Small size and weight makes it easy to handle
  • Feels nice in the hand thanks to the great grip
  • Autofocus is fast enough even for street photography
  • Easy to navigate menu system
  • Exceptional Image quality with gorgeous colors

Cons

  • Poor battery life

Check out our full review

Buy now ($5,495): Amazon

 

Pentax 645Z

 

Pros

  • Excellent high ISO performance
  • Out of this world dynamic range
  • Incredible detail can be captured
  • Despite its size the camera is nice to hold

Cons

  • Only 27 autofocus point and they’re all in the center
  • Auto focusing is a slow affair which is limiting
  • This camera is huge and weighs a fair amount
  • No rear joystick

Check out our full review

Buy now ($5,499.90): Amazon

 

Nikon D850

 

Pros

  • Fantastic image quality
  • Built like a tank
  • Buttons that light up
  • Touch screen makes the menu navigation so much better
  • Great color depth and versatility
  • Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
  • Putting the ISO button on the right side of the camera by the grip is the better long term strategy
  • Weather sealing
  • Lots of video options
  • Dual Card slots
  • The best viewfinder of any DSLR that I’ve used, but still not as great as many older medium format DSLRs and SLRs.

Cons

  • Slower autofocus than the Nikon D810 in some situations
  • I wish the white balance levels were a bit more adjustable. Many of you may groan about fixing it in post and I know photographers who would want to smack you, accordingly. But I maintain the judgement that having a consistent, film-like white balance can help you in the editing process so much more when it comes to both exposures and working with color channels.
  • Sort of shocked the dual card slots aren’t both SD; I don’t know anyone that used XQD. Sony, the developer of the card, doesn’t even use them in their still cameras.
  • I’m over DSLRs at this point except if they’re medium format. The viewfinders are bugging me now.

Check out our full review

Buy now ($3,129.95): Amazon

 

Sony A7r III

 

dxomark

Pros

  • Weather sealing
  • Lots of RAW file versatility
  • Sony a9’s autofocus
  • Nice ergonomics
  • New battery makes shooting with it for prolonged periods of time so much better
  • RAW files work fantastic with Capture One
  • Touch screen capabilities for shooting
  • Fast shooting capabilities
  • Silent shooting abilities

Cons

  • No one is going to actually use the Pixel Shift imaging mode because it’s so complicated to work with and few people want to use Sony’s own software
  • I’d love a top LCD screen
  • I’d love to navigate the menus with the Touchscreen capabilities
  • Sony got rid of the PlayMemories apps and therefore all abilities to do more with the cameras such as the touchless shutter. It absolutely baffles me as to why Sony doesn’t just put all that stuff into the cameras.
  • Wireless flash capabilities need to be enabled via the menu in order to use them

Check out our full review

Buy now ($2,798): Amazon

 

Nikon Z7

 

Pros

  • Good feeling in the hand
  • Solid weather sealing
  • Lots of focusing points
  • Good high ISO output
  • Lots of resolution
  • A touch screen
  • Image stabilization is very good
  • The viewfinder is beautiful
  • I genuinely appreciate the top LCD screen
  • Outstanding battery life

Cons

  • Little things annoy me, like not being able to push the joystick in to bring the focusing point back to the center
  • Why the hell is there an XQD card slot?
  • I’d really prefer dual card slots
  • Changing the white balance I feel is the slowest thing
  • While I understand Nikon’s philosophy in putting a dedicated ISO button, I’d have preferred a dial of some sort
  • Did we mention the autofocus isn’t up to par?
  • Nikon created a brand new camera system and yet they decided to keep the single most awkward mounting system that, like their DSLRs, requires you to screw the lenses in to the left instead of to the right like LITERALLY EVERYONE ELSE DOES!
  • The muscle memory learning curve is steeper than with most other cameras
  • Expensive

Check out our full review

Buy now ($3,996.95): Amazon

 

Sony A7r II

 

Pros

  • The best image quality that I’ve seen from a camera yet
  • Surprisingly good high ISO results
  • Very good RAW file versatility, but not the best
  • Feels great in the hand
  • Fastest autofocus of any Sony ILC camera body
  • Improved battery life over previous generations
  • 4K video is a nice addition

Cons

  • Really, really want a direct joystick of some sort to move the focusing points rather than pressing a button and then moving them around.
  • That cost…
  • Sony could use better weather sealing for a camera body this expensive

Check out our full review

Buy now ($1,798): Amazon

 

Nikon D810

 

Pros

  • Probably the only DSLR you’ll ever need
  • Absolutely, positively, amazing high ISO performance
  • Great color output
  • Some of the most versatile RAW files that we’ve ever seen in Adobe Lightroom 5
  • Fast autofocus in great lighting even with third party lenses
  • Build very solidly yet isn’t too heavy
  • Small RAW mode can be a lifesaver when you don’t have high capacity cards
  • Same old simplistic Nikon menu system
  • Quiet shooting mode makes this one of the most stealthy DSLRs that we’ve tested. But the shutter is already much quieter than previous Nikon DSLRs

Cons

  • Price point
  • Autofocus in extremely low lit situations (we’re talking about candlelit events) is inconsistent and requires lots of thought to carefully place a focusing point on a high contrast spot
  • A tilting LCD screen when shooting timelapse videos would have been really, really useful
  • AF assist lamp is in a weird spot that doesn’t always help enough
  • Wish there was WiFi transmission built in instead of needing to use an external dongle

Check out our full review

Buy now ($2,796.95): Amazon

 

Sony RX1r II

 

dxomark

Pros

  • Excellent image quality
  • Fast focusing
  • Great lens
  • Small
  • Lightweight
  • For most of us, it’s all the camera you’d possibly need
  • EVF addition is welcome.
  • Fair battery life for a Sony camera

Cons

  • Sometimes very hard to hold and shoot when doing street photography
  • When used with a radio flash trigger, the EVF can get in the way

Check out our full review

Buy now ($3,298): Amazon

 

Pentax K1

 

dxomark

Pros

  • Weather sealing
  • Great, versatile image quality
  • Composition adjustment is awesome for studio shooting on a tripod
  • Fast autofocus in most situations
  • Programmable dial is a very nice feature, and Pentax’s execution of it is quite unique and innovative
  • Nice feel in the hand

Cons

  • Viewfinder doesn’t let the autofocus points to be easily seen in some situations
  • LCD screen sometimes feels like it’s going to break off
  • I’d love a direct joystick to change the AF points like Canon, Nikon, and Sony have vs pressing a button and then changing them

Check out our full review

Buy now ($1,799.99): Amazon

 

Nikon D800

 

Pros

  • More than enough megapixels for most photographers
  • Feels nice in the hands, Nikon users will feel at home
  • Dual memory card slots
  • 100% viewfinder
  • Accurate metering
  • Excellent high ISO performance

Cons

  • Low resolution LCD compared to other cameras on the market
  • Good autofocus performance but not any better than it’s older sibling, the D700

Check out our full review

Buy now (used from $850): Amazon