Angular Resolution of Superzooms

Started Jun 21, 2012 | Discussions thread
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Stephen Barrett Contributing Member • Posts: 683
Angular Resolution of Superzooms

The following table compares the calculated angular resolutions of some superzooms and a Compact SLR:

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Angular Resolution (micro-radians)

---------------------------------------------- Lens --------- Sensor ----------- Total
Nikon P510 16 MP 24-1000mm---------20.5----------14.9-------------25.3
Sony HX 200V 18 MP 27-810 mm------24.0----------17.3-------------29.6
Canon SX30IS 14 MP 28-840 mm------24.1----------19.0-------------30.7
Canon SX40HS 12 MP 28-840 mm-----24.1----------20.5-------------31.6
Fuji X-S1 12 MP 24-624 mm------- -----22.1----------27.7-------------35.4
Fuji HS30 16 MP 24-720 mm------------27.8----------22.0-------------35.5
Panasonic FZ150 12 MP 25-600 mm---30.1----------28.6-------------41.5

Compact SLR with 18 MP APSC
250 mm f/5.6------------------------------14.0-----------34.4------------37.2
300 mm f/5.6------------------------------11.7-----------28.7------------31.0
400 mm f/5.6-------------------------------8.8------------21.5------------23.2

A smaller number means better angular resolution.

The numbers were calculated in a spreadsheet, using the formulas in my recent dpreview article, "Detail of SX30/40 vs Compact SLR":

The numbers have limited accuracy, being based only on the aperture of a perfect lens and pixel size.

The interesting thing about Compact SLRs and their wonderful lenses is how drastically the APSC sensor limits the detail that can be retained in the recorded image. The numbers say nothing about image quality.

I would be interested in forum-members' opinions of how the numbers in the table correlate with their impressions of the detail in telephotos. In other words, do the numbers make any sense? Thanks.

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