© 2014 The Authors. We present results from a study of the photometric redshift performance of the Dark Energy Survey (DES), using the early data from a Science Verification period of observations in late 2012 and early 2013 that provided science-quality images for almost 200 sq. deg. at the nominal depth of the survey. We assess the photometric redshift (photo-z) performance using about 15 000 galaxies with spectroscopic redshifts available from other surveys. These galaxies are used, in different configurations, as a calibration sample, and photo-z's are obtained and studied using most of the existing photo-z codes. A weighting method in a multidimensional colour-magnitude space is applied to the spectroscopic sample in order to evaluate the photo-z performance with sets that mimic the full DES photometric sample, which is on average significantly deeper than the calibration sample due to the limited depth of spectroscopic surveys. Empirical photo-z methods using, for instance, artificial neural networks or random forests, yield the best performance in the tests, achieving core photo-z resolutions σ68 ~ 0.08. Moreover, the results from most of the codes, including template-fitting methods, comfortably meet the DES requirements on photo-z performance, therefore, providing an excellent precedent for future DES data sets.
- Astronomical data bases: surveys
- Galaxies: distances and redshifts
- Galaxies: statistics
- Large-scale structure of Universe