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.5D Mark III test data on DxO Mark D7100 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.D7100 test data on DxO Mark 5D Mark III test data on DxO Mark
Superb still and video image quality; Powerful, fast, and accurate AF system with loads of cross-type points, loads of configurability and great frame coverage; Rugged, weather-sealed body with great control layout and user-interface configurability.
Dynamic range is limited by noise in deep shadows; Somewhat heavy-handed noise suppression and sharpening at default settings. (Shooting RAW avoids both.); No AF illuminator.
Solid, ergonomic body design; Stunning, highly detailed photos, thanks to 24.1MP sensor upgrade and removal of optical low-pass filter; Cool 1.3x crop mode extends reach to nearly 2x the full-frame equivalent; Records Full 1080p HD video at up to 30fps with full-time AF; Many pro-level features packed into a consumer-friendly body at reasonable price.
Shallow buffer that hampers continuous burst shooting; AF slightly slower than average for its class; No real-time aperture control while in Movie mode (among other quirks); More noticeable moire patterns and aliasing artifacts (but only found when shooting fabrics with strong, distinct patterns).