Resolution Chart Comparison

Shots here are of our new '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 +0.7 EV to +1.3 EV.

Canon EOS 5D (3,552 KB; 12.8 MP) Canon EOS 20D (2,415 KB; 8.2 MP)
Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II (4,119 KB; 16.7 MP) Nikon D2X (4,189 KB; 12.4 MP)

Canon EOS 5D Canon EOS 20D
Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II Nikon D2X

Canon EOS 5D Canon EOS 20D
Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II Nikon D2X

Canon EOS 5D Canon EOS 20D
Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II Nikon D2X

Measurable findings (three measurements taken for each camera):

Camera Measurement
Absolute
resolution
Extinction
resolution
Canon EOS 5D Horizontal LPH 2300  2500 
Vertical LPH 2000  2500 
Canon EOS 20D Horizontal LPH 1850  2100 
Vertical LPH 1650  2100 
Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II Horizontal LPH 2800  3000 
Vertical LPH 2400  3100 
Nikon D2X Horizontal LPH 2400  2800 
Vertical LPH 2000  2500 

* 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)
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)

As expected the EOS 5Ds resolution performance slots in somewhere between the EOS 20D and EOS-1Ds Mark II, an owner of the 20D upgrading to the 5D would certainly see a pretty significant jump in resolved detail. Compared to the D2X there is much less in it, the primary difference is in the way each camera handles information beyond absolute resolution, Canon choosing to blur it, Nikon attempting to return some detail (although in this case in the form of moire).