An in-depth case study of the use of DxOMark data

Tuesday June 09 2009

Sensor Insight
Performance overview | RAW noise analysis | Color blindness & sensor quality | Dynamic range and noise source | Conclusion | Introduction

The Nikon D5000 sensor obtains exceptional results for low ISO settings and outperforms the Canon EOS 500D sensor in dynamic range and color depth. When ISO increases, however, the differences become smaller, but the Nikon D5000 still maintains a slight advantage.

This said, the Canon EOS 500D sensor is nevertheless an exceptional sensor with a very small pixel pitch and very low RAW noise. Two main weaknesses explain the difference between its score and that of the Nikon:

  • The slightly higher readout noise, visible for low ISO settings
  • The larger overlap of color responses

We should keep in mind, too, that the sensor launched by Canon presents more technical challenges than a classic 5.5µm pixel pitch sensor, and in principle should provide slightly higher resolution. Of course, this DxOMark review evaluates only RAW sensor performance and should be considered only in tandem with other more global reviews when choosing a digital camera. While DxOMark does take resolution into account for normalization, users should be aware about the minimum resolution they need before comparing any camera.

Disclaimer: This DxOMark article evaluates only the selected camera’s RAW sensor performance metrics (i.e., Color Depth, Dynamic Range, and Low-Light ISO), and should not be construed as a review of the camera’s overall performance, as it does not address such other important criteria as image signal processing, mechanical robustness, ease of use, flexibility, optics, value for money, etc. While RAW sensor performance is critically important, it is not the only factor that should be taken into consideration when choosing a digital camera.