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Resolution Chart Comparison (JPEG and Raw)

Images on this page are of our standard 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 we use the relevant prime lens (the same one we use for all the other tests in a particular review). 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 in the white areas.

What we want to show here is how well the camera is able to resolve the detail in our standard test chart compared to the theoretical maximum resolution of the sensor, which for the charts we shoot is easy to work out - it's simply the number of vertical pixels (the chart shows the number of single lines per picture height, the theoretical limit is 1 line per pixel). Beyond this limit (which when talking about line pairs is usually referred to as the Nyquist frequency) the sensor cannot faithfully record image detail and aliasing occurs.

This limit is rarely attained, because the majority of sensors are fitted with anti-aliasing filters. Anti-aliasing filters are designed to reduce unpleasant moiré effects, but in doing so, they also reduce resolution (the relative strength and quality of these filters varies from camera to camera). In theory though, a sensor without an AA filter, when coupled with a 'perfect' lens, will deliver resolution equal to its Nyquist limit. Therefore, even though it may be effectively unattainable with normal equipment in normal shooting situations, an understanding of a sensor's theoretical limit provides a useful benchmark for best possible performance.

On this page we're looking at both JPEG and Raw resolution. For a (more) level playing field we convert the latter using Adobe Camera Raw. Because Adobe Camera Raw applies different levels of sharpening to different cameras (this confirmed) we use the following workflow for these conversions:

  • Load Raw file into Adobe Camera Raw (Auto mode disabled)
  • Set Sharpness to 0 (all other settings default)
  • Open file to Photoshop
  • Apply a Unsharp mask tuned to the camera, usually 100%, Radius 0.6, Threshold 0
  • Save as a TIFF (for cropping) and as a JPEG quality 11 for download
JPEG (6000 x 4000) Raw (6000 x 4000)

Vertical resolution

JPEG 100% crop
Raw 100% crop

Horizontal resolution

JPEG 100% crop Raw 100% crop

With a high quality lens (such as the Nikkor 50mm F1.4 that we use for our studio tests) the D5200's 24MP pixel count results in a lot of detail being captured. As we've seen in other current Nikon DSLRs, the out-of-camera JPEGs are a little soft. With our resolution chart you'd be hard pressed to distinguish detail much beyond approximately 2800 lp/ph. Looking at a Raw file conversion, however, you can see noticeably more detail, resolving up to around 3000 lp/ph, which is about what you'd expect from a Bayer-pattern sensor. Here the trade-off is a bit more prominent color moiré, but in real-world images this is much less of an issue than it might appear from our test-chart. Simply put, if detail resolution is your priority, Raw files provide a much better starting point than out-of-camera camera JPEGs.

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Comments

Total comments: 14
mumbai architect
By mumbai architect (2 months ago)

Hi I am an architect and need to shoot interiors and buildings. I have been seeing D800E as a choice for the camera on the net. I don't have the budget to buy D800...Will D5200 suffice if I go for additional wide angle.? Please advise.

0 upvotes
Rusdy
By Rusdy (2 months ago)

it will be suffice. just buy a wide-lens and there you go

0 upvotes
Christie123
By Christie123 (2 months ago)

Is this better than D5100? I have D3100 and am planning to upgrade... but I am confused between D5100, D3200 and D5200...

0 upvotes
sophi loren
By sophi loren (7 months ago)

I was confused in between nikon D5200 and Nikon D3200 and at last I go with Nikon D5200 for its ultimate power and obviously the ability of great videoing. DPreview really helps me a lot in this case. Recently I read a review aabout Nikon D5200 best buy and the writer really explain lots of intersting facts about D5200 ad alos offer a great price deal there. I think that will help you guys.

Review Link:

http://www.squidoo.com/nikon-d5200-best-buy-a-personal-review

Enjoy with your Nikon and I really proud for my D5200
Thanks

Comment edited 22 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
sophi loren
By sophi loren (7 months ago)

I hope you will get help from that review :)

Comment edited 36 seconds after posting
1 upvote
Zac boy
By Zac boy (2 months ago)

Sophi loren How are you....?? I wanna ask you something...?

0 upvotes
draleks
By draleks (7 months ago)

I don't get it, what is the actual dynamic range of this camera? Without the ADL it seems to be a pretty mediocre 10EV, with ADL extra high it's 13 EV. Is ADL actually extending the dynamic range of the captured information, or is it just some "clever" post-processing?

1 upvote
Swinterschorr
By Swinterschorr (5 months ago)

I have the same question!

0 upvotes
OceanFroggie
By OceanFroggie (8 months ago)

Was torn between the extra physical controls of the D7100 and the tilting screen of the D5200 along with its lighter more ergonomic feel in hand. Image quality between the two seems similar. I opted for the D5200 and so far happy I went for it rather than the slighlty larger D7100. Thought I'd spend the cost difference in better lens quality. The D7100 screw drive would have focused by old film Nikkor lenses, but I thought it better to move to newer DX lenses with the amazing VR which didn't exist when I used film.

Only grip is I would prefer a second dial, but the tilt screen was worth the compromise. I don't bother using the ridiculously high 24mp image size, instead opting for 'medium' which is about 16mp which is more than enough. A very happy camper so far. After defecting from Nikon film SLRs to Fuji compact bridges a decade ago, now very pleased with the compact feel of the D5200 and the images it produces with ergonomic ease.

0 upvotes
DidYouConsider
By DidYouConsider (8 months ago)

I am trying to decide between the Nikon D5200 and the Canon T5i (700D).
I am *totally* confused by the JPG/Noise/ISO data on this page.

DPReview gives higher ratings to the Nikon, both for image quality and for noise. But, when I see the data above, I see the exact opposite. I must be mis-reading the data. I am only interested in the JPEG data. I don't like to use RAW - just takes up way too much space on my harddisk....

From what I see above, the Canon image seems much crisper - much much less noise. Can someone explain why DPReview gives the nod to the Nikon??

When I downloaded the sample image for both cameras, I also think the Canon seems so much crisper and sharper. Why would someone think the Nikon picture is better? They must be seeing something I am missing.

Any insight would be appreciated....

0 upvotes
Duncan Dimanche
By Duncan Dimanche (8 months ago)

big cloister of dead pixels visible in that last visible video sample…. in the center…argh

0 upvotes
PeterDost
By PeterDost (10 months ago)

"particularly if you're prepared to move beyond either of the kit lenses to higher quality optics"

Which lens would provide better image quality providing a similar range like the 18-105?

Recommendations are welcome.

0 upvotes
AdamLeszko
By AdamLeszko (9 months ago)

considering that You have plenty of pixels to crop from 24M, and pretty average performance of mentioned lenses on long end, I would rather use tamron's or sigma's 17-50s with 2.8 light. Both in proce range of about $300-$400. They will actually allow You to take benefit of such big number of pixels.

cheers

0 upvotes
moeskoetie
By moeskoetie (2 months ago)

why is the D5200 better for sports than the D5300?

0 upvotes
Total comments: 14