The 10 best camera sensors on the market will surprise you

The 10 best camera sensors on the market (sorry, Canon users)
(Image credit: Ricoh)

Do the best camera sensors make the best cameras? It's an interesting question – and one that just got a lot more interesting, as benchmarking site DxOMark has updated its database of the best sensors available. 

There's a new entry in the top 10 best camera sensors, as making its debut in the DXOMark rankings is the Nikon Z7 II (opens in new tab) – one of the best Nikon cameras, and its sensor boasts a score of 100, tying it with 3 other models for the best sensor on a full-frame camera. Here's how the top of the table shakes out:

1) Hasselblad X1D-50c (opens in new tab) (102)
2) Pentax 645Z
(101)
3)
Panasonic S1R (opens in new tab) (100)
4)
Nikon D850 (opens in new tab) (100)
5)
Sony A7R III (opens in new tab) (100)
6)
Nikon Z7 II (opens in new tab) (100)
7)
Sony A7R IV (opens in new tab) (99)
8)
Nikon Z7 (opens in new tab) (99)
9)
Sony A7R II (opens in new tab) (98)
10)
Nikon D810 (opens in new tab) (97)

What's curious is that the Z7 II possesses the same image sensor as the original Nikon Z7 – yet it has been benchmarked by DxOMark with a higher score (100 compared to 99). While the Z7 II's dual processors no doubt squeeze extra performance out of the system, it seems unusual to reward the sensor for something it didn't actually do. 

Nonetheless, it's quite an achievement for Nikon to hold four of the top slots – and very impressive for its latest camera to come second only to a pair of medium format monsters. You can check out the whole database here (opens in new tab)

It's still a rough ride for Canon users, though, as the brand doesn't make an appearance in the database until position 17 with the Canon EOS R5 (opens in new tab) (scored at 95), and then it's absent again until positions 32 and 33 with the Canon EOS-1D X Mark III (opens in new tab) and Canon EOS 5D Mark IV (opens in new tab) respectively (both scoring 91).

In case you're wondering, DxOMark used to be owned by DxO Labs (producer of processing suites like Nik Collection 3 (opens in new tab) and the new DxO PureRaw (opens in new tab)) but it now an independent company. 

• See also 12 highest resolution cameras (opens in new tab) of 2021

Read more: 

Hasselblad X1D-50c review (opens in new tab)
Panasonic S1R review (opens in new tab)
Nikon D850 review (opens in new tab)
Sony A7R III review (opens in new tab)
Nikon Z7 II review (opens in new tab)
Sony A7R IV review (opens in new tab)
Nikon Z7 review (opens in new tab)
Sony A7R II review (opens in new tab)
Nikon D810 review (opens in new tab)

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The editor of Digital Camera World, James has 21 years experience as a magazine and web journalist and started working in the photographic industry in 2014 (as an assistant to Damian McGillicuddy, who succeeded David Bailey as Principal Photographer for Olympus). In this time he shot for clients as diverse as Aston Martin Racing, Elinchrom and L'Oréal, in addition to shooting campaigns and product testing for Olympus, and providing training for professionals. This has led him to being a go-to expert for camera and lens reviews, photographic and lighting tutorials, as well as industry analysis, news and rumors for publications such as Digital Camera Magazine (opens in new tab)PhotoPlus: The Canon Magazine (opens in new tab)N-Photo: The Nikon Magazine (opens in new tab)Digital Photographer (opens in new tab) and Professional Imagemaker, as well as hosting workshops and demonstrations at The Photography Show (opens in new tab). An Olympus and Canon shooter, he has a wealth of knowledge on cameras of all makes – and a fondness for vintage lenses and instant cameras.