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Resolution Chart Comparison (JPEG)

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-P1 (5.4 MB, 12.3 MP) Canon PowerShot G10 (4,602 KB; 14.7 MP)
Olympus E-620 (6.4 MB, 12.3 MP) Canon EOS 500D (4.4MB, 15.1 MP)
Nikon D5000 (3.5 MB; 12.3 MP) Panasonic DMC-G1 (2.6 MB, 10.1 MP)

Olympus E-P1 Canon PowerShot G10
Olympus E-620 Canon EOS 500D
Nikon D5000 Panasonic DMC-G1

Olympus E-P1 Canon PowerShot G10
Olympus E-620 Canon EOS 500D
Nikon D5000 Panasonic DMC-G1

Olympus E-P1 Canon PowerShot G10
Olympus E-620 Canon EOS 500D
Nikon D5000 Panasonic DMC-G1

Measurable results

Camera Measurement
Absolute
resolution
Extinction
resolution
Olympus E-P1 Horizontal LPH 2300  2750 
Vertical LPH 2250  2650 
Nikon D5000 Horizontal LPH 2200  * 2650 
Vertical LPH 2100  *2600 
Canon EOS 500D Horizontal LPH 2350  * 3400 
Vertical LPH 2300  * 2650 
Panasonic DMC-G1 Horizontal LPH 2350  2700 
Vertical LPH 2300  2550 
Canon PowerShot G10 Horiz LPH 2450 * 2750
Vert LPH 2500 * 2750
Olympus E-620 Horizontal LPH 2200  * 2550 
Vertical LPH 2150  * 2550 

* Moiré 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)

Although the differences here are minimal - even taking into account the pixel count differences - it's clear that Olympus has made some significant changes since the last generation of digital SLR. We know the anti alias filter on the sensor has been reduced in strength (hence the resolution jump over the E-620), and that the new TruePic processor has advanced moiré reduction (as evidenced by the very clean results right up to extinction). Whatever the reason, the E-P1 - even here in JPEG mode - really is making the most of its sensor's resolution, and the gap between Olympus Four Thirds cameras and their competitors has been removed.

We're not going to include our usual raw resolution comparison until we get official support for the E-P1 in one of our comparison, but as we saw in the raw section of this review (link), with the right software the E-P1 is capable of capturing class-leading levels of detail.

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