LTRLI - pretty hard to feel vindicated here, eh?
This thread goes all over the map. Only noteworthy SENSOR difference I'm really seeing is low ISO DR from DxO's results. Mine are showing the noise structures.
Numbers don't matter for those who may not fully appreciate their significance and their limitations. They're a tool, like any other, to help us differentiate the things they describe. They're certainly more valuable if we know the complete methodology behind them, tho.
I finally had a chance to load the screen results for 5d2, 5d3 and d800 as I couldn't earlier.
They're all pretty darn close at everything except low ISO DR, as expected. whether screen or print, the significance is considerable and disappointing that Canon didn't do better. I still find the screen numbers more believable and useful since I'm not interested in the downscaling benefits as their normalizing doesn't match mine. With screen numbers I have a better idea what to expect when comparing different camera hardware, printing drivers and issues are removed.
Given that, I don't think the D800 deserves a total score as high as it received, nor the 5d3 as low as it received. Not knowing how they weight that final total score means, to me, that it is about the only irrelevant part of DxO's presentation.
OTOH, everything else about the 5D3 has been significantly improved, going by all the numbers and features. It also should be capable of slightly more pushing in post because of reduced banding vs the 5d2, so that raises its subjective IQ and DR a little more than the numbers might suggest.
if I were in the market for the 5D3, at least for stills, I've have no hesitation in buying one. I don't give a rodent's sphincter about video tho, so whatever those results are have no sway in my decision.
As it is, there's not much compelling me to upgrade from my 5D2 unless I get rid of my 7D too and trust the 5d3 can cover both of those bases adequately. Losing the extra "reach" of the 7D is a worthy trade for me considering how horridly bandy mine is. It's good for high speed snapshots, not something I can really massage in post like the 5d2 or D800.
Not having seen more images from the 5d3, or having used it myself, I'll stay with the devils I know for the moment. Well, not counting the new Devil800 I ordered to augment my toolkit because I know I could put faith in some of those abstract numbers describing it.
Now for some visual aids.
images below are from my +4 EV push test. scaled 1/8 linear using bicubic-sharper and then equally fudged in GraphicConverter to quickly bring up the levels just to really show the large-scale banding structure differences. cropped to the upper-left 600x400 so as not to suffer any uncontrolled scaling losses on this forum.
Now, could some lumberjocks please tell me again how much you like plaid and that it just doesn't matter?
Some of us really don't like plaid, I don't want my prints to wear it either.
So I won't be using more bandy-sensored Canons, much as i love using them otherwise, when I need to do some single shot, high-DR imaging.
Use the best tool for the job. (or hire one