Debunking yet another Myth

Started Aug 21, 2009 | Discussions thread
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Hipster Doofus
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Debunking yet another Myth
Aug 21, 2009

There's a myth going around that a camera would need great lenses to take advantage of high resolution sensors. For some odd reason, this has become an established "fact" in these forums. This claim is even made repeatedly in nearly all camera reviews recently. Whenever someone upgrades to a 50D or 5DII, inevitably people will chime in --- "be sure your lenses are good enough for that!"

Well, the truth is in fact the exact opposite. You don't need great lenses to get the most out of high resolution sensors. But you do need high resolution sensors to get the most out of your lenses.

Case in point: Every single test that was ever conducted for the EOS 350D & EOS 50D at photozone.de.

One example among many: The resolution at the extreme corners of an EF-S 17-85 IS shot wide open f/3.5 @ 17mm. That's the absolute worst possible way to shoot a lens. On the 8 megapixel 350D, this ghastly situation results in a resolution of only 1315 LW/PH. That's well below the theoretical maximum 2150 LW/PH of the 8 MP sensor. Clearly, the sensor is outresolving the lens in that situation?

Not so.

In that same test on a 15-megapixel EOS 50D... the corner resolution is up to 1737 LW/PH. This torpedoes the idea of sensors "outresolving" lenses. It clearly shows that there was more than 1315 LW/PH resolution in the extreme corners than the 350D could squeeze out of that lens. Even though the 8 MP sensor could "theoretically" resolve 2150 LW/PH. The 15-megapixel sensor was able to coax 33% more resolution in that situation.

This same pattern exists for every single test conducted on the 350D and 50D at photozone. Every single test. I saw no evidence of a sensor "outresolving" any lens. But there is clear proof that more megapixels always yield to higher resolution in every single lens --- even the cheapest, worst lenses.

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