There are lots of posts about DxOMark, lots of support, lots of bashing, some of it fact-based, much of it hearsay and knee-jerk reaction. There are many posts about sales figures, generally fewer than about DxOMark, and generally with even less of them with real facts.
So...let's do a little reality check, about the past 5 years in DxOMark-land and the past 5 years in the real world.
The year is 2007. Nikon has the D3 as a flagship and the D300 as the prosumer APS-C body. Canon has the 1DsIII and D40, respectively. DxOMark scores the D3 as 81, the 1DsIII as 80 - a meaningless difference, by their standards. The D300 scores a 67, while the 40D scores a 64 - that is starting to look like a real difference.
2008 saw Nikon enter the 'affordable' FF market with the D700, which DxOMark scores an insignificant 1 point higher than Canon's 5DII at 80 vs. 79. 2009 had updates to the high-end prosumer APS-C segment, and Nikon's D300S scores a 70, while Canon's 7D scores a 66. 2010 brought us mid-range APS-C updates, and while the 60D with the 7D's sensor scores a 66, the D7000 scores an 80, beating Canon's then-current FF sensors.
This year, the somewhat-less-affordable FF battle continues, with the 5DIII scoring 81, barely better than it's predecessor, while the D800/E scores a very impressive 95/96, soundly beating all Canon cameras as well as every other sensor DxOMark has ever tested, including medium format bodies with sensors with 2.5-times larger sensors.
So, it seems quite clear that over the past 5 years in DxOMark-land, Nikon has been dramatically improving, Canon has been stagnating, and Nikon is way ahead. But that's DxOMark-land. What about the real world?
Canon and Nikon are publicly traded companies, and as such, they publish their annual and quarterly reports (in the Investor Relations sections of their corporate websites). IDC (a market analysis firm) also publishes annual summaries of the market as a whole.
, Canon had 43% of the dSLR market, Nikon had 40%. In 2010
, Canon had 44.5% of the dSLR market, Nikon had 29.8%. So, over years while Nikon was bringing us better sensors than Canon, Nikon was losing market share while Canon was gaining it. Ok, fine, but that's 2010. What about this year?
In 2Q2012 (by calendar year, they report it as 1QFY2013
), Nikon had an 18% y/y growth of unit sales of dSLRs and lenses. In 2Q2012
, (they report by CY, not FY), Canon had a 47%
y/y growth of unit sales of dSLRs and lenses.
So, DxOMark has said Nikon has had better sensors for years, and the sales data show that Canon has sold more dSLRs and lenses for those same years, and continues to do so, as of the most recent data available. The straightforward conclusion from the above is that while DxOMark's Scores have a huge impact on the number of inflammatory posts on Internet discussion boards, they have no meaningful impact on the real world aggregate buying decisions of consumers.