After an eye-opener video by MKBHD, I though of doing some research about DxOMark rating as well.
Interestingly as pointed by him, I too went through the DxOMark website and this is what I saw. Earlier I too used to think that the DxO marking is out of 100 and I am sure you too must be thinking the same when the news broke out that Nikon D850 has got 100 DxOMark sensor score. Well, that’s not the case as seen in the screenshot.
The highest ever DxOMark sensor score is 108 of RED Helium 8K, which is no where mentioned on their website, until you manually search. Under Camera category, they show you the Nikon D850 at the top, why not RED Helium 8K? Why is a specific camera/brand being highlighted as the top rated product?
Well, I am not questioning the authenticity of DxOMark at all, it is about the number that is being highlighted and no one has yet got in to the details. Here is my attempt to do a detailed comparison of Nikon D850 and the Canon 5D Mark IV and find out if the Nikon D850 is a clear winner here, on the basis of the measurements by DxOMark.
Nikon D850 vs Canon 5D Mark IV – DxO Sensor Score Comparison
I have been asked a lot whether one should go for the Nikon D850 or the Canon 5D Mark IV camera body. In the recent years, the DxO rating have also been in news especially after the launch of Nikon D850 and getting a rating of 100. So I though why not make a comparison post about both the camera bodies.
If you look at the photo above, obviously the Nikon D850 is a clear winner with a rating of 100 over 91 of the Canon 5D Mark IV. Now talking about the factors basis which the sensor score is calculated, there are three main factors as also shown in the photo above. Color depth for portraits, dynamic range for landscape photography and low-light ISO test for sports photography, these are the three tests basis on which the DxO sensor score is calculated.
Now if you look closely, the Nikon D850 easily outperforms the Canon 5D Mark IV in color depth and dynamic range with a decent margin. But if you compare the low-light ISO performance, the 5D Mark IV is a Clear winner here and with a good margin.
Now basis on these ratings, I would suggest the Nikon D850 to friends who are into portrait or landscape photography, but I would suggest the Canon 5D Mark IV to those who are in to sports or action photography.
But wait, let’s not make the decision by just looking at these numbers, we need to get in to the details.
Nikon D850 vs Canon 5D Mark IV – ISO comparison
As per the screenshots above, Nikon D850 has slightly better ISO sensitivity at ISO 100 and beyond. But, at ISO 50 the Canon 5D Mark IV has more sensitivity than the Nikon D850.
Nikon D850 vs Canon 5D Mark IV – Dynamic Range comparison
Now this gets interesting. Till ISO 800, Nikon D850 has better dynamic range no doubt about that. But as you move above ISO 800, the Canon 5D Mark IV outperforms Nikon D850. At ISO 1600, the Nikon D850 gets a dynamic range of 10.37Ev whereas the Canon 5D Mark IV gives 10.48EV. Now at ISO 3200 the D850 gives 9.53Ev, whereas the 5D Mark IV gives 9.68Ev. As we go higher to ISO 12,800, the D850 gives 7.58Ev dynamic range and the Mark IV again outperforms with 7.87Ev. This clearly shows that at any ISO value above ISO 800, the Canon 5D mark IV outperforms the Nikon D850 in terms of dynamic range.
This should be an eye-opener for people considering both these cameras on the basis of dynamic range. If you use your camera on high ISO, the Canon 5D Mark IV would give a better dynamic range. Whereas, if you use your camera at low ISO, Nikon D850 is the ideal choice.
Nikon D850 vs Canon 5D Mark IV – Color Sensitivity comparison
This gets even more interesting. Till ISO 800, the Nikon D850 scores higher bits but as you move beyond ISO 800 the Canon 5D Mark IV takes the lead.
At ISO 100, the D850 scores 22.2 bits whereas the 5D Mark IV scores 21.8 bits. Now as we go to ISO 1600, the D850 scores 17.1 bits and the 5D Mark IV takes the lead with 17.2 bits. Again as we go higher at ISO 6400, the D850 gets 13.8 bits color sensitivity whereas the 5D Mark IV scores 14.2 bits.
Similarly like the dynamic range performance above ISO 800, the Canon 5D Mark IV outperforms the Nikon D850 in terms of color sensitivity as well.
Now I leave it upon you guys to go through the details of Nikon D850 DxOMark measurements and the Canon 5D Mark IV DxOMark measurements and figure it out for yourself. For me, if you are a photographer who does not shoot at high ISO, the Nikon D850 is the ideal camera for you. But, if you shoot at high ISO I see the Canon 5D mark IV as a clear winner on the basis of DxOMark measurements.