Google Pixel 2 gets a DXOMark score of 98! What is it all about?

DxOMark score of Pixel 2

By the end of 2016, when the original Pixel phones were launched, we heard about a new rating system for the credibility of cameras, called the DxOMark score. Many people were wondering about its importance. Are you one of them too? The Mr. Phone is here to solve all your doubts and queries on this subject! Read on to find out.

What exactly is a DxOMark score?

DxOMark is a website which provides ratings regarding the camera sensors of various devices. They do a host of camera tests which measure the credibility of various camera sensor parameters by analyzing images from cameras in various lighting and situational scenarios.

DxOMark was created in 2003 and it computes the industry standard DxO score by referencing image analysis from thousands of samples, taken on a plethora of devices.

The company itself uses a line of methodologies that stringently test the camera capabilities. For the first time, professional photographers are in much ease when out in the market for a brand new camera. The DxOMark score is a gold mine as the research for a good camera in the market simply comes down to looking up its respective score and comparing it to the others in the same price point!

How does the DxOMark calculate a score?

Testing Labs.

So, the DxOMark performs a lot of tests to find out the image credibility derived out of a camera. They have Labs which are painted matte black or dark grey so that no reflections are produced from any of the walls. The site color is checked using a spectrometer for color neutrality.

Also, an ambient temperature of approximately 23°C and humidity of approximately 50% is maintained, which are the standard values according to ISO (International Standards Organization).

Other types of equipment like tripods, light sources and frames are used to recreate visual scenarios in the most appropriate manner. The light sources can light up targets, ranging from 5 to several thousand Lux at 5% spatial uniformity!


Testing noise and Dynamic Range.

Here, the noise and HDR are tested by altering the lighting of the test subject by using filters which have an absorption rate of light from 0% to 99%. The lesser the light, more would be the noise when capturing the image, where the capability of the lens to capture light would be tested.

The noise and HDR are tested across the RGB color spectrum where the mean gray level and noise values for each patch and all images are shot at different ISO settings.

Other tests.

Other tests include ISO sensitivity where they determine the sensitivity measurement which is met by the necessary exposure to reach a given sensor’s saturation point. Then there are tests for color sensitivity, MTF (Modulation Transfer Function), Distortion, LCA, Vignetting and light transmission.

Each of these tests have their individual scores and based on these scores, the DxOMark score is derived. The interesting part is that even though the DxOMark score for a camera is high, it doesn’t mean that it would outperform a lower scored camera under all circumstances.

For example, the Mate 10 Pro has a DxO score of 97 and the Pixel 2 XL has a score of 98. We might automatically think that the Pixel 2’s camera is definitely a better choice. But then if you look closely at the individual scores, you’ll find that the Mate 10 Pro definitely scores a lot better in taking photos but is lower on taking videos, where the pixel cameras score slightly better, thus the average score of the pixel is higher. Look at the comparisons given below –

DxOMark score of Mate 10 Pro

DxOMark score of Pixel 2

The scoring for the cameras is being done for the smartphones now. Earlier they would do the scoring for DSLR cameras. And till date, only one camera sensor could gather the score of 100, which is the Nikon D850.

In smartphones, the highest that a DxO score has reached is 98 and that has been attained by the Google pixel 2. The iPhone 8 plus ranks third in the list after the Huawei Mate 10 Pro. Take a look at the listings below which would give a better idea of the phones and their camera performances.

DxOMark score of various phones

To find the in-depth score details of each and every phone, visit the DxOMark website and go to the mobile category.

So DxOMark uses their home built software called the DxO analyzer which takes the inputs from all the parameters that they measure and the software generates the score. Along with providing a score, they have a list of tech bloggers who write interesting articles about a phone’s camera performance along with the data captured.

This is a one-stop shop for all tech enthusiasts or for people looking for a new phone, having a decent camera. Gone are the days, where we walk into a store hundreds of times and click pictures in the store lighting to figure out the camera quality.

DxO has become the industry standard for camera quality of smartphones but then it doesn’t mean that your opinions on a camera cannot be different. Photography is a subjective art and it pleases the viewer based on perception. You might be into saturated high contrast photos like the S8 Plus or you might be into natural looking photos like that of the iPhone 8 plus.

DxOMark likely aligns to the majority of the people’s choice, since they do data mining on several historical opinions and also scientific tests performed with best possible scenario replications. I love the Pixel 2 camera hardware and software.

I have no doubts in DXO’s decision to rate them as number 1, what about you? Did I gave you the whole picture or is something missing? Let us know in the comments below!

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A tech enthusiast by hobby and a cloud architect by profession. I live to read and love to write tech. My desire remains to see Jarvis from iron Man to actually run things around. I love to play guitar too and compose my songs. Music keeps me sane :)