If you dive into the comments on the recent news of the Nikon D850's chart-topping DxOMark score of 100, you'll notice a trend: people claiming that the Pentax 645Z actually scored 101 way back in 2015... before that score was unceremoniously scrubbed from the DxOMark website. So what's going on here? Conspiracy? Foul play? Piles of money being passed around under corporate board room desks?
Not quite. The truth, as is so often the case, is a little less salacious.
A full review of the Pentax 645Z was never published, and that score of 101 only appeared online as part of a top cameras chart that showed up in DxOMark's review of the Sony RX1R II sensor. The chart (below) showed Pentax on top with a score of 101, followed by the Sony A7R II with a score of 98. People asked about the score in the comments and were told a full review was "delayed" but "on its way," yet that review never arrived. Later, the score was quietly removed and the chart was replaced.
Speaking to DxOMark earlier today, photography blog PetaPixel finally learned why DxOMark decided to pull that score: not for some nefarious reason, but because they never actually finished the review. Before they could publish, the company decided to pause medium format sensor reviews altogether.
"We made a pause on medium format a few years ago just because of our production bandwidth," a DxOMark spokesperson told PetaPixel, explaining that they simply couldn't keep up with the other tests they needed to do. "We will now soon republish this type of camera, and Pentax 645Z should be published soon […] in a matter of days."
That last part is very exciting news. As medium format—and especially mirrorless medium format—becomes more affordable, people will be very curious indeed to see how these larger sensors stack up against the amazing full-frame sensors we've seen lately in cameras like the Nikon D850 and Sony a7R II.
We've had our own request for comment about this same issue out to DxOMark for a couple of days now, and will update this post with a full statement as soon as we hear back. But in the meantime, it sounds like the Nikon D850 might not retain its chart-topping score for long... at least not if it has to go head-to-head against medium format sensors.