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Resolution Chart Comparison

Comparison cameras:

  • Panasonic DMC-LX2 (10MP, 4x zoom)
  • Ricoh GR-Digital (8MP, 28mm fixed lens)
  • Canon PowerShot S80 (8MP, 3.6x zoom)
  • Panasonic DMC-LX1 (8MP, 4x zoom)

Shots here are of our standard resolution chart (version one or two). This chart allows us to measure the actual performance of the lens and sensor system. It measures the ability of the camera to resolve lines at gradually higher resolutions and enables us to provide a definitive value for comparison purposes. Values on the chart are 1/100th lines per picture height. So a value of 15 equates to 1500 lines per picture height. (Note that on version two of our chart the vertical resolution 1000 - 2000 lines have been horizontally flipped but are otherwise identical). For each camera the relevant prime lens was used. The chart is shot at a full range of apertures and the sharpest image selected.

Studio light, cameras set to auto, settings all factory default. If possible aperture was selected for optimum sharpness. Exposure compensation +0.3 EV to +1.3 EV.

Panasonic DMC-LX2 (4,821 KB; 10 MP) Canon PowerShot S80 (2,889 KB; 8 MP)
Panasonic DMC-LX1 (3,382 KB; 8.3 MP) Ricoh GR-Digital (2,739 KB; 8 MP)

Resolution chart crops

Panasonic DMC-LX2 Canon PowerShot S80
Panasonic DMC-LX1 Ricoh GR-Digital
Panasonic DMC-LX2 Canon PowerShot S80
Panasonic DMC-LX1 Ricoh GR-Digital

Measurable findings

Camera Measurement
Absolute
resolution
Extinction
resolution
Panasonic DMC-LX2 Horiz LPH 1550 2050*
Vert LPH 1650 2100*
5° Diagonal LPH + 1000 n/a 
Canon PowerShot S80 Horiz LPH 1600 2000
Vert LPH 1700 * 2200
5° Diagonal LPH +1000 n/a
Panasonic DMC-LX1 Horiz LPH 1500 *1900
Vert LPH 1600 *1950
5° Diagonal LPH + 1000 n/a 
Ricoh GR Digital (JPEG) Horiz LPH 1550 *2000
Vert LPH 1500 *1900
5° Diagonal LPH +1000 n/a

* Moiré is visible
# Jagged diagonals
+ Chart maximum
LPH Lines per Picture Height (to allow for different aspect ratios the measurement is the same for horizontal and vertical)
5° Diagonal Lines set at 5° diagonal
Absolute res. Point at which all lines of a resolution bar are still visible and defined, beyond this resolution loss of detail occurs (below Nyquist frequency).
Extinction res. Detail beyond camera's definition (becomes aliased)
n/a Not Available (above the capability of the test chart)
n/v Not Visible (not visible on test results)

Our tests show a small increase in resolution over the LX1 - roughly in line with the small increase in the number of pixels (there are only 216 extra pixels in the vertical direction). Once again this puts it near - though not at - the top of the pack; most of the better 8-10MP compacts resolve roughly the same amount of detail. Of course this is high contrast detail, not affected overly by noise reduction or JPEG artefacts, low contrast detail is a different matter altogether. The images are fairly clean, with only a hint of moiré visible at the very highest frequencies. Not bad at all.

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