10 things you didn’t know about DXO’s sensor scores

by Gannon Burgett

posted Thursday, January 29, 2015 at 12:03 PM EDT


DXO Mark’s sensor test scores have long been the go-to comparison to see how one camera’s sensor compares to another. Using a formulaic test, the DXO Mark team gives each camera dedicated ratings, which determine how and where they best compete with others on the market.

What you might not know is how they come up with the scores and what what the scores actually mean. YouTuber MichaelTheMentor receives questions like this time and time again, so rather than continuing to answer them one-by-one, he’s created this helpful video to explain how DXO Mark’s sensor tests work and what the numbers mean.

The most notable one worth mentioning from the video is that DXO Mark’s scores are not a percentage; something I had never realized. Instead, the numbers are a logarithmic result of three sensor measurements: dynamic range, ISO and color accuracy.

The video also points out a few interesting tidbits, such as the trend that DXO Mark’s scores tend to favor Nikon sensors. As anecdotal evidence, the video shows how Canon’s $6,800 flagship 1DX scores ’83’, while Nikon’s $650 entry-level D3300 scores an ’82’.

The three minute video is a solid watch for anyone wanting to know more about DXO Mark tests. For a rating that’s so highly valued in the pixel-peeper community, it’s important to know how the scores are created and what’s going on behind the scenes.