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Resolution Chart Comparison

Comparison cameras:

  • Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-L1 (4 MP, 3x zoom)
  • Canon PowerShot SD300 (4 MP, 3x zoom)
  • Canon PowerShot A85 (4 MP, 3x zoom)
  • Olympus Mju Mini (Stylus Verve) (4 MP, 2x zoom)

Shots here are of the PIMA/ISO 12233 standard resolution test chart (more of which are available in our comparison database). This resolution chart allows us to measure the actual performance of the lens and sensor system. It measures the ability of the camera to resolve lines at gradually higher resolutions and enables us to provide a definitive value for comparison purposes. Values on the chart are 1/100th lines per picture height. Thus a value of 15 equates to 1500 lines per picture height.

Studio light, cameras set to auto, settings all factory default. If possible aperture was selected for optimum sharpness. Exposure compensation +0.7 EV to +1.3 EV.

Sony DSC-L1 (1,733 KB; 4 MP) Canon PowerShot SD300 (1,437 KB; 4 MP)
Olympus Mju Mini (Stylus Verve)
(2,609 KB; 4 MP)
Canon PowerShot A85
(1,509 KB; 4 MP)

Resolution Chart crops

Sony DSC-L1 Canon PowerShot A85
Canon PowerShot SD300 Olympus Mju Mini (Stylus Verve)
Sony DSC-L1 Canon PowerShot A85
Canon PowerShot SD300 Olympus Mju Mini (Stylus Verve)

Measurable findings

Camera Measurement
Absolute
resolution
Extinction
resolution
Sony DSC-L1 Horizontal LPH 1250 *1450
Vertical LPH 1250 *1550
5° Diagonal LPH +1000 n/a
Canon PowerShot SD300 Horizontal LPH 1250 *1425
Vertical LPH 1300 *1550
5° Diagonal LPH + 1000 n/a
Canon PowerShot A85 Horizontal LPH * 1300 *1500
Vertical LPH * 1250 *1500
5° Diagonal LPH + 1000 n/a
Olympus Mju Mini
(Stylus Verve Digital)
Horizontal LPH * 1250 * 1500
Vertical LPH * 1300 *1500
5° Diagonal LPH * + 1000 n/a

* 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)
5° Diagonal Lines set at 5° diagonal
Absolute res. 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 res. Detail beyond camera's definition (becomes aliased)
n/a Not Available (above the capability of the test chart)
n/v Not Visible (not visible on test results)

Perhaps unsurprisingly these four compact - three of which are 'ultra' compact - cameras are capturing broadly the same amount of detail, and it's certainly enough for the typical end user wanting sharp prints at 'normal' sizes (say up to around 5x7 inches). The Sony L1's results are amongst the cleanest, with moiré only visible at very close to extinction resolution (compare this with the rainbow of moiré on the Olympus chart).

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