The Best Cameras for Color Reproduction, Ranked

June 25, 2018

By Greg Scoblete

Pexels CC

When it comes to reproducing colors, not all cameras are created equal. If you’re interested in discovering which camera does the best job reproducing colors, we’ve collected data from our testing partner, Image Engineering, and ranked cameras from most to least accurate.

How Image Engineering Tests for Color

Image Engineering sets the camera color space to sRGB using the factory default for a color profile.

To measure color reproduction, they use color patches within the TE42 test target. The colors in these patches have been selected with reference to the well-known X-Rite ColorChecker SG color target. Each of the 96 color patches is individually measured using a calibrated spectrophotometer. Reference data is provided to the analysis software along with the image being tested. With the knowledge of the RGB color space (the commonly used sRGB), they convert the RGB data to the CIE-LAB color space. Based on the LAB color space, they calculate color error and differences in brightness, saturation and color tone.

Each camera test produces a chart which shows color deviations (Delta E). Red cells indicate that the camera produced a strong deviation from the reference color, light green represents a “noticeable” deviation and dark green represents a moderate. For our list, we tallied the total number of noticeable and strong deviations for each camera. Strong deviations were weighted double and the list was generated accordingly. The actual color data, plus the deviations, is included in each entry.

(If you’d like the full breakdown of how Image Engineering tests cameras across a variety of metrics, pour yourself a strong cup of coffee and read this.)

The Caveats

Image Engineering has only been conducting tests for us since 2017, so its catalog of results is still limited relative to the entire universe of available cameras. In other words, this list isn’t exhaustive though it does encompass a wide range of models and will be updated regularly as new cameras are tested.

The List

#1 Sony a7 III

Sony a7 III Review

Read: Sony a7 III Review

#2 Sony a7R III

Read: Sony a7R III Review

#2 (tied)  Fujifilm X-E3

Read: Fujifilm X-E3 Review

#2 (tied) Leica CL

Read: Leica CL Review

#3 Sony a9

Read: Sony a9 Review

#4 Fujifilm X-H1

Read: Fujifilm X-H1 Review

#4 (tied) Panasonic GH5S

Read: Panasonic GH5S Review

#5 Nikon D850

Read: Nikon D850 Review

# 5 (tied) Canon EOS M50


Leica CL Color Chart

Read: Canon M50 Review

#6 Pentax K-1 Mark II

#7 Canon 6D Mark II

Read: Canon 6D Mark II Review

#8 Panasonic G9

Read: Panasonic G9 Review

#9 Olympus E-M10 Mark III

Read: Olympus E-M10 Mark III Review

#9 Fujifilm X-T100 (tied)

Best Cameras for Color Fuji X-T100

Read: Fujifilm X-T100 Review