Data Mining DxO Results - Absolute Camera/Lens Resolution

Started 11 months ago | Discussions thread
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Scott McMorrow
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Data Mining DxO Results - Absolute Camera/Lens Resolution
11 months ago

DxO has the largest repository of publicly available lens measurements taken across multiple Nikon camera/sensor systems. If we assume some validity to the data, we can make some interesting conclusions regarding different Cameras and Lens with regards to what DxO calls Perceptual MegaPixel (P-Mpix). Although the numbers reported are measured with reasonable measurement methods, the P-Mpix number is a weighted average that is not documented. If we assume that these numbers are relatively accurate across all the measurement made, we can form some conclusions based on the results.

In this first plot, the P-Mpix results for 54 lens measured with 7 cameras is plotted. D610 and D800 are at the top of the chart resolution, while the D700 and D7000 are down at the bottom. In between lay the D4, D3200, and D7100. Here we see that with the same lens, an upgrade to a higher resolution sensor generally achieves higher overall resolution. Clearly between a D700 and a D800 you obtain a mighty hefty overall resolution increase.

We see that most lenses (from lens 12 out to lens 41) have essentially the same P-Mpix resolution on the same camera, and as the camera is upgraded to a higher resolving sensor, the P-Mpix result increases.

We also see that below lens 41 there are a few "bad actors" that just don't resolve well on any camera system, but, they still do resolve better on a D800 than on a D700.

From lens 1 to 11 we see the truly good lenses. Some might call them "magic" lenses. They stand out from the crowd across all sensors, and have exceptional resolution. Most are not cheap. Only 3 are sub-$1K.

However, there is an interesting result when comparing the D800 and D610 results. Essentially lens 11 through 54 have the same P-Mpix resolution on both cameras. Upgrade from a 24 MP sensor to a 36 MP sensor makes no difference. It is only with the exceptional lenses that we see a difference between these two sensors. Ultimately the top 3 lenses outrun the resolving power of the D610, as seen by the plateau in the chart, yet continue to peak on the D800.

Just for fun, here are the top 10 lenses in these plots, ordered by their D800 resolution results.

  1. Carl Zeiss Distagon T* Otus 1.4/55 ZF.2 Nikon
  2. Carl Zeiss Apo Sonnar T* 2/135 ZF.2. Nikon
  3. Nikon AF-S Nikkor 200mm f/2G ED VR II
  4. Nikon AF-S Nikkor 400mm F2.8G ED VR
  5. Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 300mm f/2.8G ED VR II
  6. Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM A Nikon
  7. Carl Zeiss Distagon T 25mm f/2 ZF.2 Nikon
  8. Nikon AF-S Nikkor 85mm f/1.4G
  9. Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 28mm f/1.8G
  10. Samyang 14mm f/2.8 IF ED UMC Aspherical Nikon

I would caution about drawing too many conclusions from this data. DxO does not publish their methods or their weighting factors. The results are definitely interesting. I'd be interested in other thoughts.

Nikon D3200 Nikon D4 Nikon D610 Nikon D700 Nikon D7000 Nikon D7100 Nikon D800
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