Please read my answer at #95. Maybe then you'll finally get my point. All your doing when scaling images in software is manipulating existing levels, which really doesn't improve DR. It might mitigate noise, making detail in the shadows appear more accurate....but that has nothing to do with the camera. That has everything to do with software, and software is effectively an infinitely subjective thing. Lets eliminate the subjectivity here, and focus on what the physical device we put in our hands and use to take a photograph can do.
You are missing the point about how to carry out a fairer relative comparison. But if you want to believe a 1DX tech based 36MP FF sensor would do much worse for high ISO noise than a 10D tech based 4MP FF sensor be my guest....
I fully understand the point of normalization for comparison. I also think its a fundamentally flawed concept. You need to get some new material, because repeatedly trotting the "Well you have to compare on an equivalent playing field" argument out over and over just becomes abrasive after a while. I KNOW your argument. Listen to mine: What you do in post with scaling DOES NOT TELL YOU what the hardware can do IN TERMS OF DR. It only tells you what SOFTWARE can do in terms of SIMULATING a DR gain. Mucking with an image in post doesn't change the capabilities of the hardware though.
I know that if you scale a D800 image down to the size of Camera X, or scale the image of Camera X up to the size of the D800, you get a rough picture of how those two cameras images compare...ACCORDING TO THE SOFTWARE THAT DID THE SCALING. I learned about the software by doing a normalized comparison. I didn't learn anything new about the D800 and Camera X, though. What happens on a desktop computer, a laptop, a tablet, hell even a phone...doesn't tell you anything about a camera. It tells you about the destop/laptop/tablet/phone...and the software that particular device is running.
I'm a printer. I don't downscale. I either print at native resolution, or I significantly upscale. The fact that I can mitigate noise and do some fancy dithering to push my 13.2 stop 17x22" image into a 14.4 stop 8x12" image DOES NOTHING FOR ME
. As a printer, I can't use the initial 13.2 stops, let alone 14.4 stops, of dynamic range anyway. I either have to compress the information in such an image into a much smaller 5 or 6 stops, and in the process, even if I maintain very tight control over it and manually tweak levels, white and black point, gamut, etc...LOSE A CONSIDERABLE AMOUNT OF DETAIL (particularly in the shadows...where a D800 has the potential to lose a hell of a lot more than any other camera), or I simply print, and let the printer decide what to discard so it can stuff all that extra DR into a print with less than HALF as much...at best. I could maybe get 7 stops of DR in print, but I would have to use a ridiculously bright and unbelievably glossy paper to do so, which really only looks good for a very few types of photos in a very few kinds of settings. But I can't use much more than 7 stops of dynamic range in an image in the first place...outside of a bit of initial shadow or highlight recovery for the first round of dynamic range compression to fit 10+ stops of DR on a computer screen that ALSO can't utilize as much as any camera on the market produces.
Normalized comparisons tell me about SOFTWARE. They don't tell me anything about DSLR HARDWARE. I can't photograph a scene with 14.4 stops in a single shot with the D800. But all this "Well you have to normalize to compare!" crap tells me I can! That's a serious problem! People believe that kind of S___, and it doesn't tell them jack about the camera they are buying. Hell, DXO could improve their DXO Optics software's scaling algorithms and probably gain another...hmm... 0.2, 0.4 stops of DR? That would suddenly mean the D800 is capable of 14.6...maybe even 14.8 stops of DR, right? Because you have to friggin normalize to compare cameras, RIGHT?! NO!!!!!!
If I want to know about the D800, and what the D800 can do me, and whether the D800 will perform well for my photography
...I haven't asked about any other camera...I've only asked about the D800.
I could care less about how it compares to 500 different cameras. I care about what the D800 itself can ACTUALLY DO. Enough with this "You HAVE TO if you want to compare!" bull...its unhelpful. Not everything is a competition. Not everything is about comparing camera A, B, C, D, and the whole rest of the freakin alphabet. Comparisons are really starting to muddy the waters, to throw out arbitrary "facts" that don't mean anything out of a very specific and very narrow conceptual space (i.e. DXO labs and all of their specific testing hardware and software algorithms). Keep it simple, ppl! HARDWARE. That's what a DSLR is. Hardware. Lets look at the hardware, not software. Its still possible to compare hardware traits directly. You don't need to keep the exact dimensions of a digitized image (which is 100% POST HARDWARE) the same to have an objective comparison of cameras. Hardware statistics tell you everything you need to know about a camera, about two cameras, about how those two cameras compare from a real-world, in-the-field performance perspective (assuming you actually want to know how to cameras compare...however if you just want to know how one camera fares on its own, hardware statistics will tell you that too.)