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Resolution Chart Comparison EOS 5D Mark II vs EOS-1Ds Mark III

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 Mark II (4,897 KB; 21.0 MP) Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III (4,430 KB, 21 MP)

Canon EOS 5D Mark II Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III

Canon EOS 5D Mark II Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III

Canon EOS 5D Mark II Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III

From the crops on the previous pages, we could predict the results of this comparison. These two full frame Canon cameras with 21 megapixel sensors produce the same amount of resolution on our test chart.

Resolution Chart Comparison

Canon EOS 5D Mark II (4,897 KB; 21.0 MP) Sony DSLR-A900 (5,416 KB; 24.6 MP)
Nikon D700 (3,054 KB; 12 MP) Canon EOS 5D (3,552 KB; 12.8 MP)

Canon EOS 5D Mark II Sony DSLR-A900
Nikon D700 Canon EOS 5D

Canon EOS 5D Mark II Sony DSLR-A900
Nikon D700 Canon EOS 5D

Canon EOS 5D Mark II Sony DSLR-A900
Nikon D700 Canon EOS 5D

Measurable findings (three measurements taken for each camera):

Camera Measurement
Absolute
resolution
Extinction
resolution
Canon EOS 5D Mark II Horizontal LPH 2800  3300 *
Vertical LPH 2700  3300 *
Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III Horizontal LPH 2700  3300 *
Vertical LPH 2700  3300 *
Sony DSLR-A900 Horizontal LPH 2700  3700 
Vertical LPH 2700  3700 
Nikon D700 Horizontal LPH 2200  2600 
Vertical LPH 2200  2650 
Canon EOS 5D Horizontal LPH 2300  2500 
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)

On the resolution chart, the Sony A900 shows the value of all those pixels in pure resolution terms, and is still the highest resolution DSLR we have ever tested. The 5D Mark II comes in a very close equal second (with the 1Ds Mark III). In truth there's no practical difference in the resolving power of these three cameras, though there are slight differences in the 'per pixel' sharpness and the amount of sharpening applied to JPEGs.

Given that the 5D Mark II 's high ISO performance - seen elsewhere in this review - is almost as good as the D700, and visibly better than the A900, the 5D Mark II offers a combination of resolution, sharpness and ISO performance that is hard to beat.

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