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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.

Olympus E-3 (4.7 MB; 10 MP) Canon EOS 40D (2.6 MB, 10 MP)
Nikon D300 (3.3 KB; 12 MP) Sony DSLR-A700 (2.6 MB, 12 MP)
Panasonic DMC-L10 (3.6 MB; 10 MP) Olympus E-510 (5.4 MB; 10 MP)

Olympus E-3 Canon EOS 40D
Nikon D300 Sony DSLR-A700
Panasonic L10 Olympus E-510

Olympus E-3 Canon EOS 40D
Nikon D300 Sony DSLR-A700
Panasonic L10 Olympus E-510

Olympus E-3 Canon EOS 40D
Nikon D300 Sony DSLR-A700
Panasonic L10 Olympus E-510

Measurable results

Camera Measurement
Absolute
resolution
Extinction
resolution
Olympus E-3 Horizontal LPH * 2100  2400 
Vertical LPH * 1800  2200 
Sony DSLR-A700 Horizontal LPH * 2200  2900 
Vertical LPH 2100  2800 
Canon EOS 40D Horizontal LPH 2100  2300 
Vertical LPH 1800  2300 
Nikon D300 Horizontal LPH 2200  2600 
Vertical LPH 2100  2600 
Panasonic L10 Horizontal LPH * 2200  * 2450 
Vertical LPH * 2100  * 2450 
Olympus E-510 Horizontal LPH * 2050  * 2300 
Vertical LPH * 1800  * 2300 

* 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)

As we've said before the difference between 10 and 12 megapixels at this level is minimal, and when comparing JPEGs there's really not a lot to choose between the E-3 and its main competitors, though it's obvious from simply looking at the crops that the E-3 (and the E-510 for that matter) has a stronger Anti Alias filter than most, and even in JPEG mode the Panasonic L10 manages to pull more detail out of the chart (and the L10's JPEG output is nothing like as good as its RAW output).

The E-3 is showing a hint of moiré well before the absolute resolution limit is reached, which may be an indication of the reasoning behind using the stronger anti-alias filter.

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