Maximum effective ISO is an estimate of the highest sensitivity at which a camera can capture excellent quality photos.
Cameras with higher effective ISO will be better choices for indoor photography, night shooting, and indoor sports photography, especially if you intend to make large prints.
You can learn more at our glossary entry.
Maximum effective ISO test data courtesy of DxO Mark.A7 II test data on DxO Mark E-M10 test data on DxO Mark
Cameras with more dynamic range allow you to take photos with dramatic differences in highlight and shadow areas while retaining detail in both.
Think of a brilliant sunset on a rocky beach: Bright sunset in the background, with dark rocks in the foreground. High dynamic range means more of the extremes will be faithfully reproduced.
Dynamic range test data courtesy of DxO Mark.A7 II test data on DxO Mark E-M10 test data on DxO Mark
Great image quality especially from RAW files; Excellent dynamic range for a Four Thirds sensor; Very good high ISO performance; Realistic colors and excellent hue accuracy; Built-in Wi-Fi with remote control and sharing features; Improved HD video; Lightweight and very portable; Built-in pop-up flash; Minimal EVF lag time.
Contrast-Detect AF struggles with small and low-contrast subjects; Mediocre battery life; No external microphone or headphone jack; Mediocre burst speed with continuous AF; No weather sealing; Heavy-handed high ISO noise reduction.
Excellent 5-axis sensor-shift image stabilization; Sensor-shift IS brings stabilization to nearly any lens; Much-improved ergonomics and top-deck control layout; 'Mark II' maintains same impressive image quality, dynamic range and high ISO performance; XAVC S 50Mbps video format; Faster start-up time; Hybrid AF performs well with good continuous AF.
(Similar to A7): Loud shutter (but electronic first-curtain helps); Battery life could be better; Low-light AF still not as good as most DSLRs; High ISO JPEGs look over-processed; Slow buffer clearing; Limited selection of native Sony FE lenses (but it's getting better).