The guys over at DxOMark have done a review of RED Digital Cinema’s EPIC Dragon camera sensor, the 6K video camera sensor that also happens to do pretty great stills. In their review, they found that RED’s EPIC Dragon sensor is actually the best sensor that they have ever tested, and arguably the best camera sensor in the world. While DxOMark doesn’t usually test video camera sensors, they appear to be moving towards them as more and more DSLRs are capable of video and video cameras capable of photos. After all, if you pull a single frame from a RED EPIC camera and review it, you will end up with an 18MP still that you are effectively shooting at 100 FPS. Since the camera is capable of shooting 6K video at 100 FPS.
Then, when you combine all of the capabilities of the camera in terms of resolution, color depth, dynamic range and a bunch of other factors that DxOMark measure, you eventually come out with a composite score of 101. This score is higher than the D800E (98 points) which is the non-AA filter version of the D800 which is the 3rd best camera sensor in the world after the RED EPIC Dragon and the D800E with a score of 95. In their review of the camera’s sensor they found that it had the best color depth and dynamic range of any sensor they have tested. However, it does not have the best low-light performance (ISO) as in that category it came in 10th. But, based on their ranking system, they do not weight low-light as significantly as they do the other two measurements.
Do keep in mind, however that the D800 is a camera that sells for about $3000 while the RED EPIC with the Dragon sensor sells for about $30,000. And the RED camera is a cinema 6K video camera with a very specialized sensor and costs a lot more money to run as well. Not to mention, it’s a lot larger and heavier too. But, even though the D800 does 36 megapixel photos, it is still only a 1080P video camera so that wonderful sensor that it has doesn’t get used to its full potential like on the RED EPIC Dragon. They even provided a side by side comparison of the two, even though the differences are very minuscule. The truth is, this is the first camera that has ever broken 100 points in DxOMark’s tests and that’s really what the big deal is. Hopefully we’ll see more cameras do this in the future hopefully at much more affordable price ranges and with better low-light performance.