The Sony A7R II is now the best tested camera at DxOMark

Sony-a7R-II-mirrorless-camera
DxOMark tested the Sony A7R II mirrorless camera and got a new high overall score of 98 (the D810 has an overall score of 97):

Best-cameras-based-on-DxoMark-test
The D810 still has a better dynamic range, but the A7R II wins with better color depth and low-light rating:

Sony-A7R-II-camera-is-now-best-tested-cameras-at-DxOMark

DxoMark's conclusion:

As the first model to introduce a rear-illuminated full-frame sensor — just one of a long list of upgrades that must count as one of the most impressive feature sets in recent times — it’s not difficult to see why the Sony A7R II has caught the imagination of photographers around the world.

However, while the camera’s handling and other aspects of performance are obviously important, our conclusions, as always, are based predominantly on sensor performance. (For a discussion of the handling and other aspects of the camera’s performance, we suggest heading over to our friends at DPReview.)

In short, the Sony A7R II has the most impressive sensor performance that we’ve seen to date. Not only has Sony increased the pixel count over its predecessor the A7R, and that found in the rival Nikon D810, the company has increased the sensor’s low-light capabilities (color sensitivity and dynamic range) while maintaining similar dynamics at low ISOs.
Not only does this epitomize a significant advance over existing proprietary designs, but it also represents a serious challenge to Canon, whose full-frame sensors matched recent Sony models in performance at high ISOs.

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  • Michal Rosa

    How sweet! Love their work. Did they also test the quality of its raw files? They are just SOOOOOOO good and lossless..

    • captaindash

      How’s middle school in the Valley going for you? Did you get like, blonde highlights ‘n stuff?

  • Ufupuw

    “D810 still has a slightly better color depth and dynamic range”

    Wrong. A7RII got better color depth score. Check it again.

    A7RII also has better DR at ISO 400 and up.

    • I was looking at the wrong table, fixed.

    • HF

      To be precise, it should be around ISO640. B. Claffs measurment (tests intermediate ISOs, too) indicate changes in conversion gain at ISO 640.

  • jmb2560

    The A7RII is exactly what a Nikon mirrorless should be. So attractive that I’m now considering buying one (especially if I can attach Nikon lenses without degradation). Good job Sony. Nikon : Wake up!

    • fjfjjj

      Yeah I want a Nikon that can’t produce 14-bit raws…

      • Neopulse

        Actually it can produce 14-bit RAW lossless files. Just that they don’t have the patent licensing to do so.

        • fjfjjj

          I think you mean “could”.

          • Neopulse

            It can, just that it’s limited by software because of legal reasons. There’s already examples of Sony sensors in Nikon cameras that do 14-bit. So yeah it can actually, not possibly or maybe.

          • fjfjjj

            I think you don’t know what “can” and “actually” mean.

          • Neopulse

            You’re right grammar wise. I used “actually” wrong in this case. Will edit it.

          • fjfjjj

            You don’t know what “can” means either.

            Okay, maybe you do. Let’s try it out. “The Hello Kitty Digital Camera can shoot uncompressed raw.” Hmm, that didn’t work.

          • Neopulse

            Now you’re just being a douche. Not the first time though.

          • fjfjjj

            Insulting without substance, now? What’s next for you? Gonna teach a lady what a “douche” is?

          • Neopulse

            You aren’t even worth the substance on the bottom of my shoe. That’s why I don’t waste my time on you.

        • Pat Mann

          That doesn’t even make sense.14-bit data isn’t patentable, though some particular file format (such as NEF) can be.

          • Neopulse

            I read on a few boards pertaining that Canon holds a patent that apparently prevents Sony from pulling it off. Maybe it’s a part of coding that without it can’t be pulled off :-S

      • Ufupuw

        Too bad for Nikon that even compressed raw beats Nikon for image quality, according to dxomark

        • fjfjjj

          Too bad for DxO that their numbers don’t reflect compression artifacts.
          Too bad for you that you take DxO numbers at face value.

          • Ufupuw

            D810 has whole 1EV less DR than A7R at ISO 400 and up.

            A7R sensor is way better than scores would indicate. Look at the graph.

      • jmb2560

        That’s a low level product management type of reply and you missed the entire point: I’m not trying to compare a D810 with the A7RII. I’m talking mirrorless. Oh well…

        • fjfjjj

          I’m not comparing the A7RII with the D810. I’m comparing Sony’s standard for what they call “raw” with Nikon’s. I get your point, but I disagree: The A7RII isn’t everything a Nikon mirrorless should be, even if it’s most things it should be.

    • Dmitry Anisimov

      Mirrorless? Just for sake a small improvement in its sensor?

  • saywhatuwill

    Oh geez, my D810 just broke the moment I read that the A7RII has a better DxOMark. I mean, the D810 is so obsolete now I might as well kick it to the street corner.

    • ThePatriotMuckraker

      Can I have it?

      • saywhatuwill

        I kicked it to the curb about 1/2 minute ago and it’s gone already. Sorry, you weren’t fast enough. Now to get that awesome A7RII. Oh shoot, I don’t have any money and I could have sold the D810…oh man.

    • captaindash

      Whoosh…

      • saywhatuwill

        People are always saying their camera is obsolete the moment something better comes out so they need to buy the latest and greatest. It’s as if their current camera instantly breaks the moment they find out there’s something better. So, mine broke the moment I heard the Sony is ONE POINT better than the Nikon D810.

  • Spy Black

    Mary a Canon in sight…

  • fjfjjj

    Less dynamic range, worse noise (according to kasson), can’t produce real raw output. High score! Whatever.

  • fjfjjj

    Less dynamic range, worse noise characteristic (according to Kasson), can’t produce real raw output. High score!!!

    • Neopulse

      I sent a message to DxO about the image limitation it can produce
      (legally). I think they use a different method probably a work around based on just the sensor running off a separate OS to the Sony. The noise bit I still am puzzled.

      • ZMWT

        Send a message to DXO to test the Pentax 645Z, to see things where they really are.

        • El Aura

          Maybe you should be sending them a Pentax 645Z instead of a message.

        • Neopulse

          I have a feeling if the Pentax 645Z isn’t number 1 you’re gonna call bullshit and bash DxO until you’re dying day :-/

          • ZMWT

            DxO is definitely not impartial, they have their sorry reasons. Obviously they are not scientists enough to care enough to test the machine that, by the testimony of photography industry professionals, is nothing short of amazing in low-light performance, sporting most advanced and commercially available chip in the industry.
            That alone is a professional sin beyond redemption. In other words, you have a chance to interview real hero Neil Armstrong, but are more content to interview Ham the Astrochimp instead, because it “costs less”?
            It is irresponsible, it is a scientific sham, and the DxO tables they claim right now, are a lie. Everyone knows there is Pentax 645Z out there, but they pretend it is isn’t? What else you need as an evidence to their partiality?

          • Neopulse

            They did do a short review of it last year without putting it on the roadmap. But you know that for some time now they haven’t tested medium format cameras. Think about it, they haven’t done the Phase One IQ250 nor the Hasselblad 50c digital backs for their roadmap. So something must be up. Probably the companies don’t want to loan it to be torn apart perhaps?

          • Neopulse

            Just realized tha Fuji also hasn’t been reviewed many of their cameras for almost 5 years now. Something must be up.

          • captaindash

            Because they don’t care about Medium Format, that’s why. It’s mostly a DSLR (you know what I mean) site.

          • El Aura

            DxO isn’t a ‘site’ nor are they scientists. There developers of raw conversion software and lens testing software. Both of which they sell or license.

            They don’t select cameras to test out of a desire to further the knowledge on sensor performance, they select them based on a commercial assessment whether adding a camera to the raw converter provides enough extra revenue to justify the costs (or to justify moving test resources from one camera to another).

            They are no different than other raw converter makers in deciding which camera to support with their raw converter. They just realised many years ago that offering the test results to the public is a good PR move.

  • Wallace Koopmans

    Have they tested the 645Z yet?

  • Neopulse

    I have to admit, I am surprised the ISO is better than the A7II. I guess BSI makes a hell of a difference.

    • HF

      Not better. S/N is similar after downsizing, DR of the A7s is pulling away from ISO12800 on.

      • El Aura

        The DxO ‘Sports’ score is the highest ISO for which three conditions are fulfilled:

        SNR >= 30 db

        DR >= 9 EV

        Color Depth >= 18 bits

        Since DxO first set these threshold values, cameras have improved much more in regard to read noise (and thus DR) than in regard to QE (and thus SNR) or colour depth. The result is that SNR or colour depth is the criterium that for most recent cameras is the one that sets the ‘Sports’ score of DxO.

        For the D810 and the A7r II, it’s the SNR limit that sets the low light score. For the A7s it is the colour depth (though the value derived from the SNR limit is very close). Thus the reason that the A7r II scores higher than the D810 is the higher SNR. But the improvement in colour depth would be used as the criterium, the A7r II would score half a stop higher than even the A7s. However, if the DR criterium were used, the A7r II would be one stop ahead of the D810 and the A7s would be two stops better than the D810.

        http://www.dxomark.com/About/Sensor-scores/Use-Case-Scores

  • TheInconvenientRuth

    Not to worry, Nikon will use the same sensor in the D5x and then all will be well again.

    • Neopulse

      F*cking hope not

    • Disqus Discuss

      Given the average rate that Nikon and Canon renew their flagship cameras, I’d say that neither will do a significant refresh for 2-3 years.

    • fjfjjj

      Maybe in the D850. I think Nikon learned a tough lesson about high-MP flagship bodies with the D3x.

      • TheInconvenientRuth

        That was largely due to the very high price of the sensor at that time. If they were to stick a 42mp sensor in the FF D5 they’re making anyway, the price will be far more competitive.

        • fjfjjj

          Is that really true? The same sensor was packaged into the Sony A900 which was priced under $3k, but Nikon priced the D3x at $8k, even though the same body sold concurrently with a 12Mp sensor at $5k (D3s). Those numbers don’t seem to support the idea that sensor cost forced Nikon’s pricing. Neither did Sony squeeze Nikon on the pricing of that sensor, seeing as Nikon’s own IP made it possible.

          It seems to me that Nikon priced the D3x to align with the Canon 1Ds3, and to avoid cannibalizing D3s sales or creating D3/D3s buyer’s remorse.
          The lesson they learned, and that Canon learned with the 1Ds3, was not to put a high-megapixel sensor in a flagship PJ body because it doesn’t sell. This is why the 1Ds4 and 1DX saw a megapixel drop, and why there’s no sign of a D4x, and why the D8xx’s and the new 50Mp Canon junk are in smaller bodies… I think…

          • TheInconvenientRuth

            IIRC (I discussed this with a NPS rep when the 3x came out), the price was so much higher for the D3x because the rejection rate of produced sensors was much higher than Nikon expected, Sony happily put sensors in their camera that Nikon would have scrapped at that time. But I may be wrong, where’s Thom when you need him…?

          • captaindash

            They may have used ‘rejected’ sensors, but were the rejected sensors bad by an order of magnitude? That may work for a 25% cost increase, but not at the numbers we saw.

  • dclivejazz

    It’s cool that the A7II is a good camera, but not generating lossless RAW files would really bug me. Maybe I’m too hung up on having access to more, unbaked-in data, but the Sony-style RAW file definitely gives me pause.

    • Vanitas Foto

      And one has to wonder how does DXO compares data if one of the files has loseless compression and another is uncompressed?

      DXO is meaningless in the end.

      • Pat Mann

        I find the information in their tests valuable, but the secret recipe for their overall scores makes those highly suspect, and their lens composite scores also don’t produce the results I would expect from the differences in the individual components..

  • yepits me

    Do people really buy Camera,s based on DxOMark ?
    Like who really cares what they say…Not Me

    • captaindash

      Pixel peepers.

  • ZMWT

    This is true only because lazy DXO did not test the *Pentax 645Z*. That camera is undoubtedly world’s ISO king, with score most likely way above 100. In the meantime, they are testing cheap toys and befuddling us.

  • Disqus Discuss

    How is the 4k video in the 810? Or any Canon? What about the ability to use other lenses with IBIS? There is more than one way to judge a camera, and all others fail in so many ways.

    • captaindash

      Yeah, as covered by DXO in the article itself. Just sayin.

  • Ornery

    Good thing I saw this comparison chart before buying a PhaseOneIQ180.

    • Neopulse

      That Phase still kicks ass though

  • I just say Fuji X-T1 😉 Thats it 😉

    • Neopulse

      It’s a great camera. Glad they added tethering with it to LR5 directly rather than through some proprietary program.

  • Brett Monroe

    It’s kinda disappointing how people frame the DXO results to be about the camera. The rating DXO gives is to the sensor (and to a lesser extent, the camera’s CPU), not the camera as a whole. I know it sounds like I am splitting hairs but it is very relevant as there are a number of features DXO doesn’t test and doesn’t care about.

    • El Aura

      It’s kinda disappointing how people accuse others of framing the DxO results to be about the camera. It’s a classic diversion tactic. Divert the attention from the actual results to a fabricated malfeasance supposedly committed by every person that is discussing the test results.

      I guess that whenever we discuss the lens performance of a fixed lens camera we are actually framing the lens performance to be about the camera. Because every sentence that is not a holistic assessment of a product is framing the assessment of a component as being about the camera.

    • Will

      I find DXO to be insanely accurate for what it does

      I’ve tested most of these cameras and the sensor performance seems to be on par with what DXO suggests

      Many people (esp Canon users) at butthurt at these results, I personally chose the 5DS over the A7R II after testing both and even I admit that the Sony has a much, much better sensor

  • That’s cool. I think I’ll wait to get one until the price drops (unless the put out a cheaper A7S II before then). This plus that Zeiss manual focus 50mm seems like something I’d enjoy.

  • Vanitas Foto

    I am always amazed at how stubborn people are…

    DXO says the measuring system is only meaningful between cameras of the same sensor size (Full frame camera x vs Full frame camera y) and is NOT meant to be cross comparable with sensors of different sizes (Full Frame camera vs APS-C or Medium Format cameras)

    I am glad Sony has the best Full Frame Sensor as I intend to buy one, but please stop comparing different sized sensors

    :/

  • “DR” measure in DxO is flawed but no one understands this because they have no idea about how things work.

    • captaindash

      That’s a very specific, informative answer. Thanks for contributing to our knowledge. We now take your view after getting the balanced opinion.

      • If you went and learned how these things work you won’t need your sarcasm.

        And how about asking nicely? The government didn’t send me to compensate for the education you never got… FYI

  • taildraggin

    The A7, A7R, A7S, A7II, A7RII, A7SII, A7III, A7RIII , A7SIII will be a game changer.

  • Martin Francis

    I still feel that Sony’s Alpha range never feel like they left Beta.

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