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
  • Save as a TIFF (for cropping) and as a JPEG quality 11 for download
JPEG (4000 x 3000) 3.9MB RAW (4000 x 3000) 3.2MB

Vertical resolution

JPEG
 
RAW

Horizontal resolution

JPEG RAW

We shot our resolution test at an equivalent focal length of 105mm at F5. The FZ200 gives good resolution considering the complexity of its zoom lens, and although the JPEGs on this page show signs of oversharpening, for normal shooting of organic textures, it's not as big an issue as you might think from simply looking at these crops of a monochromatic test chart. In JPEG mode, the FZ200 can resolve the lines of our test chart until roughly the 2100 LPH point. There are still some lines to be seen beyond this point, but it's not true detail and if you look closely you'll see that the lines bgin to muddle into one another before merging to a gray blur at around the 2600 LPH mark.

The FZ200 gives better resolution in its Raw capture mode, but the difference isn't enormous. Whereas JPEG resolution starts to drop at around the 2100 LPH mark, the lines of our test chart are still accurately described in the Raw file until the 2200 LPH point, but more importantly, even after an application of Unsharp Mask designed to eke the maximum detail resolution out of the file, the converted Raw image does not show the same haloing as we can see in the JPEG. There's slightly more detail, more naturally rendered.