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Resolution Chart Comparison

Shots here are of our 'version two' resolution chart which provides for measurement of resolution up to 4000 LPH (Lines Per Picture Height). A value of 20 equates to 2000 lines per picture height. 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 aperture priority (optimum aperture selected), image parameters default. Exposure compensation set to deliver approximately 80% luminance of white area. Note we didn't have Olympus E-420 resolution charts in time for this review, so have used the E-510 instead.

Canon EOS 450D (2.6MB, 12 MP) Olympus E-510 (5,383 KB; 10 MP)
Nikon D60 (2,665 KB, 10 MP) Canon EOS 400D (2,720 KB, 10 MP)
Sony Alpha 350 (2.6MB, 14 MP) Canon EOS 40D (2,646 KB, 10 MP)

Canon EOS 450D Olympus E-510
Nikon D60 Canon EOS 400D
Sony Alpha 350 Canon EOS 40D

Canon EOS 450D Olympus E-510
Nikon D60 Canon EOS 400D
Sony Alpha 350 Canon EOS 40D

Canon EOS 450D Olympus E-510
Nikon D60 Canon EOS 400D
Sony Alpha 350 Canon EOS 40D

Measurable results

Camera Measurement
Absolute
resolution
Extinction
resolution
Canon EOS 450D Horizontal LPH 2300  * 2500 
Vertical LPH 2200  * 2500 
Canon EOS 40D Horizontal LPH 2100  2300 
Vertical LPH 1800  2300 
Nikon D60 Horizontal LPH 2200  2300 
Vertical LPH 1800  2300 
Sony Alpha 350 Horizontal LPH 2300  2700 
Vertical LPH 2200  2500 
Canon EOS 400D Horizontal LPH 2200  2300 
Vertical LPH 1800  2300 
Olympus E-510 Horizontal LPH * 2050  * 2300 
Vertical LPH * 1800  * 2300 

* Moire is visible
+ Chart maximum
LPH Lines per Picture Height (to allow for different aspect ratios the measurement is the same for horizontal and vertical)
Absolute resolution 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 resolution Detail beyond camera's definition (becomes aliased)

As well as a higher pixel count the EOS 450D would appear to have a fairly light low-pass filter (for a Canon) as it produces some of the highest resolution figures we've seen from a consumer grade EOS - and some of the highest in this class of camera. The downside is a little moiré as you approach extinction, though it's fairly well controlled and overall the results look pretty clean, The default settings are, as usual with Canon, a touch over-sharpened for our liking, but that's easy to fix. Interestingly the Sony Alpha 350 produces very similar resolution with an extra two million pixels, though the output is a lot softer.

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