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Resolution Chart Comparison

Comparison cameras:

  • Canon PowerShot SX1 IS (10.0 MP, 20x zoom)
  • Canon PowerSHot SX10 IS (10.0 MP, 20x zoom)
  • Sony DSC-HX1 (9MP, 20x zoom)
  • Panasonic DMC-FZ28 (10 MP, 18 x 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. When possible, the aperture was selected for optimum sharpness. Exposure compensation +0.7 EV to +1.3 EV.

Canon PowerShot SX1 IS (3,746 KB;10 MP) Canon PowerShot SX10 IS (3,303 KB;10 MP)
Sony DSC-HX1 (3,772 KB;10 MP) Panasonic Lumix FZ28 (3,964 KB;10 MP)

Resolution Chart Crops

Canon PowerShot SX1 IS Canon PowerShot SX10 IS
Sony DSC-HX1 Panasonic Lumix FZ28
Canon PowerShot SX1 IS Canon PowerShot SX10 IS
Sony DSC-HX1 Panasonic Lumix FZ28

Measurable findings

Camera Measurement
Absolute
resolution
Extinction
resolution
Canon PowerShot SX1 IS Horizontal LPH 1800 2300*
Vertical LPH 1800 2200*
5° Diagonal LPH 1600 n/a
Canon PowerShot SX10 IS Horizontal LPH 1800 2200*
Vertical LPH 1800 2200*
5° Diagonal LPH 1600 n/a
Sony DMC-HX1 Horizontal LPH 1800 2300*
Vertical LPH 1800 2200*
5° Diagonal LPH 1600 n/a
Panasonic Lumix FZ28 Horizontal LPH 2000 2400*
Vertical LPH 2000 2400*
5° Diagonal LPH 1600 n/a

* Moiré is visible
+ Chart maximum
Jagged diagonals
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)

The current generation of superzoom cameras has better resolution then the last generation, with all but the FZ28 resolving about the same (the FZ28 does noticeably better and looks cleaner). You can also see how much higher the Sony's default sharpening is in these crops.

In testing the SX1 IS, we found that F4.5 was the optimum aperture (as it was also for the SX10 IS), and as you shoot at apertures above 5.6 diffraction effects started to reduce resolution. As you get towards the edges of the frame, the image is noticeably softer then the center, and shows CA. One other issue was that the lens hood included needs to be fitted exactly in the right position, or else it can cause vignetting.

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