DXOMark has published its review of the sensor inside Canon flagship 1D X Mark III DSLR, giving it a surprisingly low score of just 83. That score has photographers questioning if DXO somehow messed up its testing of this brand new, and much-praised, DSLR.
To understand the criticism, you need only look at the overall and category scores, and compare them to the Canon 1D X Mark III’s predecessors. The newer camera actually lost to the Mark II in every category, and it got particularly trounced in the “Sports” category, which is DXOMark-speak for “low-light ISO.”
How in the world is it possible that Canon took a big step backwards with the sensor in this camera? Wouldn’t the sensor have to be at least as good as the previous model?
Looking at the individual category scores, the Mark III even scores lower than the original Canon 1D X in two out of three categories, and that camera was released in 2011. You can see why some people are skeptical of the results:
Interestingly, DXO doesn’t mention this discrepancy at all in their review, only comparing the 1D X Mark III against the Nikon D5 and the Sony a9 Mark II. In their conclusion, they largely write off the low score, writing that its the camera’s autofocus and buffer that will convince users to purchase the new camera:
Although we at DXOMARK test only sensor performance and no other features, at face value it’s an incredibly fast DSLR with not only blazing AF speed, incredible continuous shooting rates and a prodigious buffer, but also an equally impressive sensor. Admittedly, it’s not quite at the cutting edge in our metrics for sensor performance, but there’s far more to it than that.
You can check out the full review from DXO Mark at this link if you want to dive into each of the three category tests and see how they arrived at the scores above.
So far, DXO hasn’t responded to the comments on their review criticizing the score, but we’ve reached out to see if the team there can shed any light on why the 1D X Mark III’s sensor tested so poorly. We will update this post if and when we hear back.