Bought a NEX
I couldn't agree more that DxoMark scores are not indicative of a camera's real world performance. I do not refer to their tests anymore for making a decision on a camera.
I'll give two examples.
Case study #1: GX-1 vs. E-PL5. I sold my Panny GX-1 and bought an E-PL5 based on the fact that the E-PL5 bested the GX-1 on Dxomark (72 vs. 55 overall score). After reviewing the images from both, including some controlled studio comparison shots, the GX-1 images were at least as good if not better than the E-PL5 with exactly the same lens! In my studio shots, with identical settings, the OOC jpegs from the GX-1 were sharper, cleaner and had better color. I literally had to shell out $250 more to find out I had a lesser camera than I started with. Of course, the E-PL5 has more features but, at the end of the day, the images were no better. The GX-1 is better built and less than 50% the price of the E-PL5.
Case study#2: XZ-1 vs. S100/S110 (had both). XZ-1 score=34, S100 score=50. Let me say, this is simply incredible. The S100, as good as it is, can't touch the XZ-1 in IQ. Just look at the lenses, side by side in a front view and note the hefty glass in front of the XZ-1 sensor, which is also slightly bigger. I've taken many shots with both cameras and several shots at the same subject at the same time and when you A/B the images, the S100 disappoints. The S100 images look great if you don't compare them side-by-side with the likes of an XZ-1. Canon sure knows how to get nice punchy bright pictures out of their cameras, which a lot of people like. I prefer a nuetral ooc jpeg and the option to brighten it up later in pp. Thanks Canon but, no thanks to your "vision" of what my image should look like. Even noise at base ISO is noticeably greater in the S100 than it is in the XZ-1 yet, the S100 score blows the XZ-1 away on paper. I call BS.
So, on-line authorities like Dpreview, DxoMark, Image-Resource, etc are not to be trusted entirely for judging cameras or basing purchase decisions on. You have to do your own due diligence. Take your own pictures.
I'm entirely open to suggestions but, these are my axioms of photographic equipment as of now:
1. Expensive, full frame DSLR's, with expensive, heavy lenses take the best pictures. Mine are sitting in the closet, collecting dust. How about yours?
2. M43 cameras are a waste of money. They cost more than entry level DSLR's and take worse pictures. The lenses are expensive and slow. My Nikon D60 with the kit 18-55 VR II takes better pictures than any OMD EM5 and is not much more bulky or heavier to carry and has an enjoyable and truly handy optical viewfinder, for a fraction of the price. Have you seen the body only price of the OMD-EM1? WTF?!?!
3. Any EVF-ILC cameras such as NEX, Fuji X, etc. See Axiom #2 above.
4. Premium compacts are the way to go for the best balance of IQ and portability. The Sony RX100 (not the RX100M2) is the finest camera in the world, regardless of IQ, size or price. It's not the best of any one thing, it just puts so many great things together into a small, well built body that it's ridiculous. Kudos to Sony for producing the masterwork that is RX100. I love mine and would not part with it. Just in the first few days of use, I fell in love with it. It really is that good. You literally NEED no other camera, unless you make money taking pictures. Apart from the RX100, I still enjoy my XZ-1 as it makes me feel so good when I'm using it. An F1.8 lens and the 1/1.63" CCD sensor are a dynamite combination and a true benchmark for small sensor compacts. The RX100 is better but, with a bigger, more modern Sony sensor and incredibly sharp Carl Zeiss glass, that's no surprise. Maybe I'll use my XZ-1 less now but, it's still the camera I throw in the glove box on every trip. Even when I have the RX100 out for a shoot, the XZ-1 is not far away from me. My other favorites are the LX7, G15 and S110.
5. Mega-zooms, super-zooms and any bridge camera. Not for me. Any camera that has as much noise at base ISO as my XZ-1 has at 800, is garbage, sorry. I could maybe try an FZ-200 but, it's not cheap and I would feel like a tourist with that camera. In any case, I'm developing an aversion for any camera with an EVF.
6. Fixed Focal Length Premium Compacts such as the X100S, Ricoh GR, Sony RX1, etc. Based on what I have read and heard, they have great IQ and high quality builds. Several drawbacks for me however. 1. Expensive. 2. Not compact. 3. No zoom. I love rangefinder style cameras. That's probably why I love the compacts in general. The Fujifilm X100S seems like a camera I would really love. Haven't had the guts to buy one yet though.
Looks like I got long winded again. Time to take a break.