This week DxO Mark released their scores for both the Sony A6500 and the Panasonic G85, both the latest mirrorless cameras of their respective manufacturers. Since DxO Mark is located in Europe, the G85 is called G80 there but that is exactly the same camera except for its labelling.
First up, the unexpected news. Panasonic took a fall with the G80. It scores a mere 71 which puts at at the level of cameras featuring 1″ sensors with 2.7X crop, rather than the 2X one for Four-Thirds sensors. This makes the excellent Panasonic GX8 reviewed here still the best performing Micro Four-Thirds mirrorless to date with a score of 75. The more recent Olympus PEN F scores similarly a 74 which slightly less dynamic-range yet notably better low-light performance. Given such a dull performance, it’s no surprise that the Sony A6500 scores considerably better.
What is becoming increasly clear is that sensor is performance. Even the best scoring Four-Thirds Sensor for low-light performance in substantially behind most APS-C sensor cameras such as the class-leading Sony A6500 which scores an 85. It is ahead in terms of dynamic-range by over one stop with 13.7 EV vs 12.4, while it wipes the floor with the PEN-F when it comes to low-light, scoring 1405 vs 895 which is over 50% better.
The bottom line is that as improvements happen, all sensor sizes get better which will always leave an advantage to larger sensors. Those who mostly shoot from a tripod can use low ISO sensitivities but now that the A6500 has 5-axis image-stabilization, the advantage of Olympus mirrorless cameras has been greatly diminished. When it comes to high ISO, APS-C mirrorless are miles ahead while still provided an impressive saving in size when compared with full-frame digital cameras.