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.

Nikon D700 (3.2 KB; 12 MP) Sony DSLR-A900 (5.3 MB, 24.6 MP)
Canon EOS 5D (3.5 MB; 12.8 MP) Nikon D300 (3.3 MB; 12 MP)

Nikon D700

Sony DSLR-A900
Canon EOS 5D Nikon D300

Nikon D700 Sony DSLR-A900
Canon EOS 5D Nikon D300

Nikon D700 Sony DSLR-A900
Canon EOS 5D Nikon D300

Measurable results

Camera Measurement
Absolute
resolution
Extinction
resolution
Nikon D700 Horizontal LPH 2200  2600 
Vertical LPH 2200  2650 
Sony DSLR-A900 Horizontal LPH 2700  3700 
Vertical LPH 2700  3700 
Canon EOS 5D Horizontal LPH 2300  2500 
Vertical LPH 2000  2500 
Nikon D300 Horizontal LPH 2200  2600 
Vertical LPH 2100  2600 

* 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)

The measured resolutions of all 12 megapixel cameras in this comparison are unsurprisingly in the same ballpark. The main differences are down to sensor design (anti-aliasing filter) and JPEG processing. The D700's rather conservative sharpening means the Canon EOS 5D's output looks a little sharper but the difference in measured resolution is marginal.

Naturally the 24 MP Sony DSLR-A900 stands out in this test, offering considerably more resolution than its 12 megapixel competitors. The resolved detail is quite simply staggering.