DxO Labs does something quite tricky: Quantifies the quality of an image sensor's performance, so you can look at a neat number grade for a quick gauge. Surprisingly, a Sony DSLR bests equivalent Canon models.
In their test—which uses the camera's raw output as the basis for measuring sensor performance, evaluating color, dynamic range and low-light shooting—Sony's $1100 A700 outscored Canon's 40D and 50D by a few points, with a 66.3, falling just behind Nikon's D300 and the Pentax K10D. Interestingly, the top scoring sensor of that size is in the Nikon D90, which has a whopping 72.6, 10 points ahead of the Canon 50D's 62.9.
Okay, Sony's Alpha cameras' solid sensor performance actually isn't that surprising, since Sony has a ton of experience making sensors—the Nikon D300 we lurrrrb and that does pretty well in DxO Labs' tests, for instance, packs a Sony sensor. DxO Labs' comparison tool, which has pretty much every major DSLR in its database, is actually pretty neat, if you believe their scores, anyway. [DxO Labs via CNET]