Resolution Chart Comparison

Comparison cameras:

  • Canon PowerShot G9 (12MP, 6x zoom)
  • Canon PowerShot G7 (10MP, 6x zoom)
  • Fujifilm FinePix F50fd (12 MP, 3 x zoom)
  • Nikon COOLPIX P5100 (12 MP, 3.5 x zoom)

Shots here are of our standard resolution chart (version two). This 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. So a value of 15 equates to 1500 lines per picture height. (Note that on version two of our chart the vertical resolution 1000 - 2000 lines have been horizontally flipped but are otherwise identical). 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 auto, settings all factory default. If possible aperture was selected for optimum sharpness. Exposure compensation +0.3 EV to +1.3 EV.

Canon PowerShot G9 (4,119 KB; 12 MP) Canon PowerShot G7 (3,330 KB; 10 MP)
Fujifilm F50fd (4,483 KB; 12 MP) Nikon COOLPIX P5100 (3,279 KB; 12 MP)

Resolution chart crops

Canon PowerShot G9 Canon PowerShot G7
Fujifilm F50fd Nikon COOLPIX P5100
Canon PowerShot G9 Canon PowerShot G7
Fujifilm F50fd Nikon COOLPIX P5100

Measurable findings

Camera Measurement
Canon PowerShot G9 Horiz LPH 1950 2400*
Vert LPH 1900 2400*
5° Diagonal LPH + 1000 n/a 
Canon PowerShot G7 Horiz LPH 1775 2225*
Vert LPH 1850 2350*
5° Diagonal LPH + 1000 n/a 
Fujifilm FinePix F50fd Horiz LPH 2100 2850*
Vert LPH 2000 2850*
5° Diagonal LPH +1000 n/a
Nikon COOLPIX P5100 Horizontal LPH 1850 2375*
Vertical LPH 1800 2375*
5° Diagonal LPH +1000 n/a

* Moiré is visible
# Jagged diagonals
+ 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)

As we'd expect the G9 offers a very small resolution increase over its predecessor (thanks to the extra pixels), but it's very, very unlikely you'll see this in your pictures. The G9 - like many modern high resolution compacts - appears to use a fairly light anti-aliasing filter, so you get lots of high frequency detail but there is a touch of moiré.

The G9 doesn't produce the cleanest results we've ever seen (there's quite a lot of sharpening going on there) but we've seen many that are worse (and of course you always have the option to shoot raw). There's not a huge difference between the G9 and the Nikon P5100, but Fujifilm has shown once again how well the combination of Super CCD and a sharp lens does in this test, pulling an astonishing amount of detail from the test chart (how that translates into image quality for real world photos is more questionable).