This blog is overdue for some serious photo-geekery. Or maybe this is what comes from being snowbound in the Canadian Appalachians with an over-abundance of leisure time.
To make sense of the table below, you'll need to go to dxomark.com.
DxO Labs, makers of DxO Optics Pro, a high-end RAW conversion and development application, have done the world of digital photography a great favor with their Camera Rankings website. By evaluating the image sensors of the top DSLRs and scoring them according to a combined analysis of color depth, dynamic range and high-ISO performance each camera is given a ranking without regard to price or other considerations such as build, lenses, and feature set. Their focus is strictly on sensor performance and laboratory-measured image quality. This gives photographers an excellent starting point as they begin shopping for a new camera body.
What I've done is divide the DxO score by the price of the camera. Then I moved the decimal point on the result three places to the right. Now we have a bang-for-buck number; I call them Image Quality Value Points or, collectively, the ISVQ: Image Sensor Value Quotient.
Obviously, these numbers of mine need to be viewed with perspective. Please be aware that I put this piece together as a fun exercise. These are all fine cameras - there is no intent here to promote or criticize any manufacturer. Still, I hope my chart is useful where it might cause a bargain to jump off the page. The pros are going to go out and get the camera they want regardless of cost but us enthusiasts can use all possible help in choosing where to direct our camera dollars.
Note: All prices taken from the big American online mail-order houses.