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Resolution Chart Comparison

Shots here are of the PIMA/ISO 12233 standard resolution test chart (more of which are available in our comparison database). This resolution 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.

Studio light, cameras set to auto, all settings factory default. Aperture selected for optimum sharpness. Exposure compensation +0.7 EV to +1.3 EV. Sigma SD9 image processed with default parameters.

Canon EOS-1Ds Canon EOS-D60
Sigma SD9 Fujifilm S2 Pro (12 mp size)

Canon EOS-1Ds Canon EOS-D60
Sigma SD9 Fujifilm S2 Pro (12 mp size)

Canon EOS-1Ds Canon EOS-D60
Sigma SD9 Fujifilm S2 Pro (12 mp size)

Canon EOS-1Ds Canon EOS-D60
Sigma SD9 Fujifilm S2 Pro (12 mp size)

Canon EOS-1Ds Canon EOS-D60
Sigma SD9 Fujifilm S2 Pro (12 mp size)

Beyond our chart? Almost

Clearly the EOS-1Ds has resolution beyond our standard resolution chart when shot normally, however we can shoot the chart from a farther subject distance so that the chart is exactly half its normal size (2032 x 1352 on the 4064 x 1704 frame - indicated by the red box in the thumbnail below). This allows us to measure resolution up to 4000 LPH. When reading the crops below values on the chart now represent 1/200th lines per picture height. So a value of 15 equates to 3000 lines per picture height.

Measurable findings (three measurements taken for each camera):

Camera Measurement Absolute Res. Extinction Res.
Canon EOS-1Ds Horiz LPH 2400  * 2600 
Vert LPH 2000  * 2600 
5° Diagonal LPH 2000  n/a 
Canon EOS-D60 Horiz LPH 1600  * 1800 
Vert LPH 1400  1800 
5° Diagonal LPH 1000  n/a 
Sigma SD9 Horiz LPH 1550  >2000 
Vert LPH 1550  >2000 
5° Diagonal LPH 1000  n/a 
Fujifilm S2 Pro
(12 mp size)
Horiz LPH 1800  2000 
Vert LPH 1700  2000 
5° Diagonal LPH 1000  n/a 

* Visible moiré artifacts

Definition of terms:

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 Resolution Still defined detail (below Nyquist frequency*)
Extinction Resolution Detail beyond camera's definition (becomes a solid gray alias)
n/a Not Available (above the capability of the test chart)
n/v Not Visible (not visible on test results)

* Nyquist frequency defined as the highest spatial frequency where the sensor can
still faithfully record image detail. Beyond the Nyquist frequency aliasing occurs

As expected the EOS-1Ds made a joke of our standard resolution chart when shot at normal subject distances (filling the frame), however a cunning step back and some careful shooting and we can get some real measurements.

The resolution of the EOS-1Ds goes beyond anything we've previously tested, it's the new king of the resolution chart, but as you would expect with 11 million pixels at its disposal. What's amazing is that this leap in resolution and pixel count has been produced almost effortlessly*, Canon have simply delivered far more than we had expected by the end of 2002.

* Canon's R&D department obviously deserve a lot of credit for this, after all not only is the camera developed by Canon but also the CMOS sensor - unique in the D-SLR world

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