The Best Of DxO – Nikon 810 and Sony A7R Beat Canon 5DS

July 15th, 2015

CameraComparisonEver since the Canon 5DS was announced I’ve been wondering what the dynamic range and low light performance was.

Dxomark.com now has tested the 5DS so you can compare it to other new cameras now.  While the 5DS cameras have very slightly (.7 EV) higher dynamic range than the 5DMkIII and very slightly better low-light performance both the Nikon 810 and Sony A7R have significantly better dynamic range (2+ EV) than the 5DS. It seems to me if you are a real estate photographer there’s not much point in upgrading to the 5DS. Just more pixels is not much of a motivation for a real estate shooting.

A better alternative, if you are searching for more dynamic range and low-light performance would be to go with the Sony A7R and adapting your Canon glass to it with the Metabones Canon EF Lens to Sony NEX Camera Lens Mount Adapter. If you are a Nikon shooter you could use a Metabones Nikon Lens to Sony NEX Lens Mount Adapter. And you get all the other benefits of mirrorless as well. It appears that the ability to use non-Sony lenses is a big help for Sony to get photographers to switch to their full frame mirrorless line.

Any mention of the Sony A7R at would be incomplete without pointing out that there’s a new Sony A7RII about to be released (expected Aug 10), but this new Sony will be $1500+ more than the A7R.

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12 Responses to “The Best Of DxO – Nikon 810 and Sony A7R Beat Canon 5DS”

  • I am considering the option of switching to this combination of a Sony A7* and Canon Glass. However, I was reading that Sony’s do not have AEB so bracketing must be done manually. Can anyone confirm or provide any details on this along with any other pros/cons?

  • I have been shooting with the full frame D800 and now D810 for a while. Coupled with a 14-24mm lens it is an incredible RE photography set up. Stunning detail is what I am getting. I normally shoot 5 and 7 exposure brackets and the results are very good. One tip is to drop it from 14 to 12 bit and lossless compression reduces file size to 30 mb and the quality remains exceptional.

  • These tests are so arbitrary – lighting and composition are far more important than which body you use!

  • Even my lowly APS-C Sony A6000 has a better dynamic range than any Canon camera. What high DR does is open up the shadows with less noise and it gives more detail in window photos too.

  • My switch from Nikon to Sony has been on again, off again, and now potentially on again. Currently shoot with D610 (and 16-35 f4 for RE) and borrowed an A7 last year for daughter’s wedding in Canary Islands and very pleased with the camera. As a side benefit, was a lot easier to lug around than the prior year with my D610 in Switzerland. For tax reasons, this year is the year to get new equipment and I did purchase an A7II. Took it on a shoot and was shocked at how much better they looked with essentially the same sensor, native 16-35f4 (Zeiss and Nikkor) on each. While those were random, took across the street to lake and set up parallel tripods and the differences were confirmed. These were outside only as I didn’t have the lighting for the Sony at that time. Unfortunately, the Sony developed a warranty repair issue still within the return period, where repair would take past return period, so was an easy decision to return. Plus, they just announced the A7RII, which makes it a difficult decision – another A7II, or an A7RII. The D610 holds me now, but have some Sony glass for the change. A few things I disliked? Battery is one but just carry more. Perhaps a lb to 1 1/2 lb savings with the newer body, and lens weigh roughly the same, but what I found was the lack of bloat where zeiss uses metal for thinner lens vs the current generation of resin/plastic to save weight makes a fatter lens. The body is about the size of my old film Canon AE-1 so much more space in the camera bag. The one thing I do dislike is Camranger not available for Sony, and when I used the Sony app for some pole photography, despite the camera being set for RAW only, it recorded and saved in jpg on the SD card and I could not find a RAW file when I got home. Don’t know if there is an override but would be a major issue for Camranger users who use it for the entire shoot.

    In terms of adapters, probably better for Canon shooters as Metabones transfers the electronic signals for aperture and focus. All other cameras, including Nikon, it is a dumb tube adapter with no electronic transmission. That said, there is a company in China in final beta testing of a Nikon adapter for “G” lens that transfers electronic, anticipated in a month or so. That said, with any adapter, there is no lens profile in Lightroom that matches a Sony body with a Canon, Nikon, Leica or any other brand lens, just the native FE glass.

  • As a Canon shooter I am taking a very serious look at the new Sony A7RII and the Sony FE 16-35. According to tests that lens is razor sharp and the A7RII adds 2 stops + to the dynamic range. I don’t believe I need more megapixels, I need more dynamic range as others have testified. The host of improvements on the new A7RII make it a real contender for the architectural and real estate shooters camera bag. As soon as Lens Rentals or Borrow Lens has the A7RII available for rental I plan on giving it a thorough test before buying.
    Thank you Sony for setting the bar above Canon….and Nikon too.

  • I was using my Nikon D-700 full frame & 20mm f 2.8, and 24-85mm for my real estate work, but find my D-7000 & Tokina 12-28 to give me excellent results. The downside of Nikon, is having to deal with their terrible customer service.

    last year, for fine art and travel, I invested in a Fuji X-Pro 1 mirror less camera and hi-end Fuji glass. The image quality of Fuji lenses rival almost any lenses I have ever owned including my Leica M glass. But, I feel the dynamic range of my Nikons are slightly higher than my Fuji X-Pro 1 and X-2E.

    The Fuji rumor (at this time) is that the new X-Pro 2 will us the same sensor as the Sony A7000 and have a better dynamic range (about 15 stops) then the new Sony full frame. If that is the case, I will consider dumping all my Nikons and stay with the Fuji, which is much lighter and somewhat more compact.

    At this time, I think Sony and Fuji are truly the innovative companies to watch.

  • One of the main reasons that Canon and Nikon are the top two choices for most professionals is the array of third party accessories. Flashes, CamRanger and even firmware hacks like MagicLantern can make a bigger difference than greater dynamic range and a larger pixel count. “Better is the enemy of good enough” ~ Arthur C. Clarke. For most RE work, a crop sensor DSLR camera is more than adequate. Even if you are doing more critical work that demands a body with better specs, bringing the APS-C body to an RE job instead lowers the wear and tear, and possible damage to the more expensive body.

    Often times these days, it’s the resolving power of the optics that is the limiting factor. Adding more pixels to the sensor just leads to larger files that take more computing power to handle and not much of an increase in quality.

    Finally, photography is a marriage between art and science. The first pre-release professional Nikon digital camera in the hands of Dave Black made images good enough for the cover of Sports Illustrated at a point in time where film was at it’s highest technical level. Dave blew others away by being better at the “art” side of the equation and that more than made up for any shortcomings in the technology. Instead of spending the money on the latest bit of gear, maybe you can up your game by spending more money on yourself by subscribing to an online tutorial site and/or going to some photo workshops. The annual major workshop in Dubai looks awesome and there are several in Iceland that look rather cool.

  • As much as this post is about the Nikon/Canon versus the Sony in quality, I have to agree with Ken that cropped sensors work great for this and almost any of our photographic situations, even weddings that can not be re shot.
    My advice to new photographers, is to invest in the best quality glass you can afford, (or even can’t afford). Nikon and Canon are the most mainstream companies, easier to find accessories and you might be able to find great deals on their hi-end lenses used. Digital bodies, (until they can be upgraded in the factory) are now considered disposable. for years we kept our prized Nikon or Canon film bodies and weren’t suckered into replacing them every few months as people do now. How much MP do you really need, not that much, but you always need great glass.

    Invest in learning your craft, seminars and tutorials, and especially lighting, which is one of the most important aspects of RE photography, and something that realtors have no idea what that means. Lighting is one of the most important aspects of any photography shoot and the longest to master.

    Last month I attended the Hasselblad seminar in Miami to find out about a back for my Hasselblad’s. it was mostly fashion and commercial photographers, who were drooling about the New cameras (starting about $28,000 with one lens, and each additional was $5k-$9K. Almost a $50,000 investment that will be obsolete in a few months. The 50MP back to my Hasselblad was on sale for $15,000. Hasselblad was so excited to let me know that it used to be $40,000. But even if I could afford it, this new breed of medium format camera was so heavy and uncomfortable to use. It’s not the wonderful Hasselblad I am used to using, which was a true joy. And it is only a matter of time before the new 35mm and cropped sensor cameras will equal (almost) the medium format, and at least be affordable.

  • B&H having a sale on this full frame 35mm camera and very fast sharp lens
    Might be a great all around camera, for this price

    HV DSLR Camera with 24-70mm Len

    $3999. Was $11,000

  • @ Eric- Basically it’s a Sony A99 in fancy clothing.

  • That’s what I heard too Jerry, but it was supposed to be an upgraded,supercharged ( for lack of a better term) version. And since it is a Hasselblad edition, it’s usually has been tested or tweeked for performance. Kind of like a rolls Royce version of a Bentley.
    But, to get a Hasselblad product ( was $11,999) at a Sony price $3,999 might be worth looking into. Too bad these cameras are not around for trying. That lens is $1,999 alone. Zeiss lenses used to be the finest lenses available (perhaps only Leica might surpass them)
    Hasselblad is not doing well and this camera might even come down lower.
    All their products are hi end and worth keeping an eye on this.

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