Resolution comparison

Started Mar 25, 2012 | Discussions thread
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boggis the cat
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Resolution comparison
Mar 25, 2012

Following on from this thread:

I thought it would be worthwhile discussing this, since it seems to have got buried in the original thread. The OP was discussing image quality overall, and not just resolution, when comparing the E-M5 to the Nikon D800, but here I am considering resolution alone.

The best lens available for the D800 yields 47 lp/mm* on a D3x (47 lp/mm × 24 mm = 1128 line pairs), and the best lens available for the E-M5 yields 81 lp/mm** on an E-PL1 (81 lp/mm × 13 mm = 1053 line pairs). That's a whopping 7% resolution advantage to that 85% taller sensor.

Let's assume that more pixels will improve these lenses equally. The D3x has 4032 vertical pixels, the D800 has 4912, or 22% more; the E-PL1 has 3024 vertical pixels, the E-M5 has 3456, or 14% more. 1128 lp × 1.22 = 1376 lp, 1053 × 1.14 = 1200 lp. So now it's improved to a 15% resolution advantage for that 85% extra sensor height (hypothetically).

So, you appear to require better lenses than the newest and best performing lenses available to make the D800 achieve a higher resolution.

Based on pixel count alone, however, the D800 only has 42% more vertical pixels -- so you could argue that you get that hypothetical 15% extra resolution from a mere 42% more sensor resolution. That's certainly better, but not really ideal.

* The "best fixed-focal lenses can reach as high as 46-47 lpmm", according to Lenstip:

** Panasonic Leica DG MACRO-ELMARIT 45 mm f/2.8 ASPH. M.O.I.S.:

Comments and criticism?

In particular, what are the best lenses in terms of resolving power, if this information is incorrect. I'd like to determine what you can actually get from the sensor resolution of the D800 and how that compares to the E-M5.

(You could always simply look at the DPR studio tests, but then some people seem to have serious problems with evaluating real photos.)

 boggis the cat's gear list:boggis the cat's gear list
Olympus E-5 Olympus E-M1 Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 12-60mm 1:2.8-4.0 SWD Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 50-200mm 1:2.8-3.5 SWD Olympus 12-40mm F2.8 +7 more
Nikon D3X Nikon D800 Olympus PEN E-PL1
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