The Very Best Camera Sensors According to DXOMark (August 2019)

The camera sensors in these 10 camera bodies will perform above all expectations.

If you’re in the market for a new camera and want one that has been thoroughly tested in both lab settings and in the real world, you need to see this roundup. We have put together a list of the top 10 performing camera sensors according to the guys and gals over at DXOMark. We have also complimented their findings with the pros and cons of each camera from our real-world reviews.  Join us after the break to see the list of the top 10 performing camera sensors for August 2019.

It has been another quiet month in terms of movement with camera sensors, but this is likely to change very soon. With the incredible Bayer Sensor powered Fujifilm GFX 100 hitting the streets, and with the imminent release of the Sony a7R IV, some of these now long-in-the-tooth cameras will slide out of the DXOMark top 10 camera sensors league table. While movement here may have stalled, the prices of some of these cameras continue to move in the right direction, with some prices dropping drastically.

Surely the Bayer sensor in the GFX 100 will find a home in this table soon.

Perhaps Panasonic knows that, in order to compete with upcoming cameras, they needed to drop the price of the third-placed S1R by $700, and the 645z’s price drop of $2,000 shows that Pentax is more than likely feeling the squeeze by cameras like the Fujifilm GFX50S and GFX 50R. Check out the list below to see the top 10 sensors for August 2019. Take it in, and just know that some of your favorite cameras may soon drop out of the top 10. Remember to check out all the real-world reviews we do on cameras too.

 

Hasselblad X1D-50C

 

Pros

  • Small size and weight makes it easy to handle
  • Feels nice in 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 used (from $4,399): Adorama

 

Pentax 645Z

 

Pros

  • The 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
  • Autofocusing 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 ($4,996.95): Adorama

 

Panasonic S1R

 

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Good image quality
  • Decent autofocus but not great by any stretch
  • Weather sealing throughout the body and the lenses
  • Direct buttons to get you exactly what you want
  • We really like the top LCD screen

Cons

  • The buttons and switches can probably get in the way of your shooting unless you thoroughly memorize them
  • It’s big, and when you put a lens on it, it gets bigger
  • Abysmal battery life

Buy now ($2,997.99): Adorama

 

Nikon D850

 

Pros

  • Fantastic image quality
  • Built like a tank
  • Buttons that light up
  • The 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 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
  • We wish the white balance levels were a bit more adjustable. Many of you may groan about fixing it in post, and we know photographers who would want to smack you, accordingly. But we maintain the judgment that having a consistent, film-like white balance can help you in the editing process much more when it comes to both exposure and working with color channels.
  • Sort of shocked the dual card slots aren’t both SD; we don’t know anyone that used XQD. Sony, the developer of the card, doesn’t even use them in their still cameras.
  • We’re over DSLRs at this point, except if they’re medium format. The viewfinders are bugging me now.

Check out our full review

Buy now ($2,996.95): Adorama

 

Sony A7r III

 

dxomark camera sensors

Pros

  • Weather sealing
  • Lots of RAW file versatility
  • Sony a9’s autofocus
  • Nice ergonomics
  • The new battery makes shooting with it for prolonged periods 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 complicated to work with and few people want to use Sony’s own software
  • We’d love a top LCD screen
  • We’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 ($2,498): Adorama

 

Nikon Z7

 

dxomark camera sensors

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
  • We 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?
  • We’d really prefer dual card slots
  • Changing the white balance I feel is the slowest thing
  • While we understand Nikon’s philosophy in putting a dedicated ISO button, we’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 ($2,996.95): Adorama

 

Sony A7r II

dxomark camera sensors

 

Pros

  • The best image quality that we’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): Adorama

 

Nikon D810

 

dxomark camera sensors

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
  • The 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 used (From $1,749.95): Adorama

 

Sony RX1r II

 

dxomark camera sensors

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 with 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):  Adorama

 

Leica Q2

 

dxomark camera sensors

Pros

  • Good image quality, though arguably better offerings from competitors
  • Weather sealed
  • Feels nice in the hands
  • Beautiful
  • The lens is exceptional

Cons

  • This is questionable, but the Leica Q2 could have really used a joystick. Not everyone wants to manually focus the lens.
  • High ISO output is a bit under par
  • The LCD screen is pretty low resolution
  • Autofocus in very low light isn’t great
  • Could have used a few more function buttons

 

Check out our full review

Buy now ($4,995): Adorama