I've been processing photos the last week, something I haven't done on this scale since I went all MFT some three years ago (had a D810 and a D700 before that). Unfortunately, I've had a couple of nasty surprises during the process, the nastiest being the lack of exposure latitude with MFT cameras. I don't have problems with noise at high ISO, since I can use larger apertures to get the ISO down. However, some of my most memorable photos are snapshots and candid portraits taken in high contrast situations where using a flash mostly isn't an option. Like a sunny beach where the faces of the subjects are facing away from the sun, sometimes using a cap or other headwear to further darken their faces.

So I've done some research, trying to find solutions that I can live with. I have mostly used material from dpr, processing files myself and looking at files that they have processed. I wouldn't call it scientific, and I won't publish any samples or figures, but describe my observations.

My criteria is that I should be able to lift shadows up to 4 EV while keeping the noise within manageable limits and at the same time maintaining colours and details as close to the rest of the image as possible. The ranking is not about general high ISO noise.

Here are the most prominent winners and losers:

- Nothing beats the D850 at ISO 64, and the old D810 is surpringly close.
- The Z7 and the A7R III are very close to the D850 up to 4 EV and at ISO 100, but above that the D850 reigns supreme, and the Z7 develops banding.
- The D500 follows the best full frame cameras amazingly well, and is mostly on par with cameras like the Z6 and A7 III.
- I checked the 24MP APS-C sensor of th D7200/D5600 as well, but the 20MP D500 sensor shreds it in every way and shows more detail regardless of test, also at base ISO.
- The Canon R is also excellent, and close enough to the Z6 and A7 III to compete on the same level. It offers more noise, but much more detail than the two competitors, partly because of the higher MP count, but also because of the quality of the lens used, the insanely good 50mm f/1.2 R. That lens alone, big and heavy as it is, makes the Canon very tempting. My claim here is btw. the opposite of dpr's conclusion for that camera, but their reviewers don't seem to be able to balance noise and detail rendering against each other.
- The Canon RP, in spite of having very little noise at high ISO, falls through completely. Exposure latitude is comparable to MFT. Big disappointment.
- Fuji is doing fine when it comes to noise, but loses on colour and detail. Big contrast to the D500 that maintains both remarkably well.
- Panasonic S is not evaluated, since data were not available.

Based on my needs, there are three winners here, the D850, the EOS R and the D500. I am not planning to buying any new camera before the end of the year, but I will see if it's possible to borrow some from friends locally. A friend of mine is probably buying the EOS R tomorrow.

Please again be aware that my evaluation is based on my own needs and a few hours' deep diving into dpr's test images with all the weaknesses that comes with that. Still, I find the results interesting and partly surprising, particularly the D500.