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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. Nyquist is indicated in these crops with a red line.

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 (3872 x 2595) 4.5MB RAW (3872 x 2595) 2.5MB

Vertical resolution

JPEG
RAW

Horizontal resolution

JPEG RAW

Next to the competitors in the mirrorless bracket of the market the J1 and V1's pixel count is low. That said, with an absolute resolution of approximately 2000 LPH (Lines Per Picture Height) their 10MP sensor does a decent, if not outstanding job in our resolution test, partly helped by fairly strong default sharpening. Unfortunately there is also a fairly large amount of moiré pattern visible although we haven't experienced any problems in real-world shooting.

Converting your images in Adobe ACR gets you a very small amount of extra detail out of your image files but moiré levels remain unchanged. Overall the camera is capable of capturing a good level of detail for its 10MP pixel-count but ultimately in terms of resolution it's not on the same level as its competitors in the mirrorless market which offer larger sensor sizes and higher pixel-counts - significantly higher in the case of the 16MP Sony NEX-C3, 5N and Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3.

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Comments

Total comments: 4
CHEAW HON MING

I have 2 V1s — one bought in USA and one in Malaysia (last year in January and April 2014) and my wife and I used it mainly for travel and nature photography (actually my wife "hijacked" my V1+FT mount+70-300mm combo so I got another mainly using the FT+80-400mm). We were quite happy with its performance as we had to travel light and quickly shoot whatever that we liked until the beginning of this year — the LCD monitor completely went off both cameras. Repairing it would be expensive and I will continue to use it with the EVF until it too goes off. The plastic ring that holds the filter/cap has also cracked and needed some superglue. This is the main complain of most of my Nikon friends — unreliability of parts and expensive repair. Maybe it only happens in this country.

0 upvotes
BobFoster

This is the most thorough in depth review of the Nikon 1 system . Wish I had seen it before I bought the V1...but it doesn't matter...I use my V1 for 2 purposes...for street photography I use the V1 with the 10mm 2.8 and I set the shutter to silent mode turn off the autofocus assist lamp...and I can be 2 feet from a subject and they are totally unaware that I am photographing them...it is a very unobtrusive setup ...and I also like to shoot rugby...the v1 with the 30-110 on it is amazing in freezing the action...I bought this when the price really dropped...I feel very fortunate that I was able to get one...I have another mirrorless camera...the E-PM2...which I use to shoot indoor ice hockey...it is another phenominal camera...I did have a nex 6 but sent it back...I just did not like the softness of the images...better lenses are coming which is what the nex system needs...but I am happy with the V1...and my Olympus Pen -mini2

1 upvote
Solar Ben

I love the nose hair in the 50mm f1.8 sample pic.

2 upvotes
Duncan Dimanche

Correction : it does not allow full shutter control in video... it is stopped at 100/1 so shooting in low light is a pain

Comment edited 42 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Total comments: 4