As a Nikon user, I remember a time when I envied everything Canon. A few years ago, Canon had the best DSLR video, their cameras were the fastest, and they were the absolute kings of high ISO. Today DxOMark has released their review of the new Nikon D600, and to everyone's surprise it has the 3rd best overall DSLR sensor in the land (beats the D4). More shocking is not a single Canon camera is in the top 10. Has Canon dropped the ball or is DxOMark unbelievably biased?
Here is the list of DxOmark's top 13 Cameras in respect to their sensor performance. Note Canon's 5D Mark III at the very bottom.
Having used and tested the Nikon D800, D4, and D3s, I can personally agree with the ranking of the Nikon cameras in this list (I'm shooting my first wedding this weekend with a few Nikon D600s). If you put weight in the dynamic range and especially the high ISO tests then it makes sense why the Full Frame sensors win in those categories compared to the medium formats.
The following chart shows the Nikon D600 compared to the ancient D700 and the new D800.
For everyone claiming the D600 is just a cheap Full Frame sensor thrown into a D7000 body (which isn't even on the list), here is how the D600 compares to Nikon's last generation of flagship DSLRs.
So the question remains, has Nikon completely destroyed Canon over the last few years with their redesigned CMOS sensors? As a photographer interested in video, I think it's safe to say Canon still wins the best DSLR video award (the Mark III is beautiful for video), but it looks like Nikon has been leading the market in the categories most important to photographers such as ISO, Dynamic Range, and Color Depth.
At this point in my career, I feel like all of these cameras on the list are so beyond what is really necessary to produce amazing photographs (it's all in the photographer anyways, right?) Compared to my first DSLR camera, the Nikon D200, each and every one of these DSLRs is a pure joy to use on location or in the studio. That being said, I can't say that it doesn't make me feel pretty good knowing that the system I have subscribed to is producing some of the most amazing cameras compared to the other options on the market.