Resolution Chart Comparison

Comparison cameras:

  • Canon PowerShot S3 IS (6 MP, 12x zoom)
  • Panasonic DMC-FZ7 (6 MP, 12 x zoom)
  • Sony DSC-H2 (6 MP, 10x zoom)
  • Canon PowerShot S2 IS (5 MP, 12x zoom)

Shots here are of our standard resolution chart (version one or 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 +0.7 EV to +1.3 EV.

Canon S3 IS (2,116 KB; 6 MP) Canon S2 IS (1,896 KB; 5 MP)
Panasonic DMC-FZ7 (2,365 KB; 6 MP) Sony DSC-H2 (2,306 KB; 6 MP)

Resolution Chart Crops

Canon S3 IS Sony DSC-H2
Panasonic DMC-FZ7 Canon S2 IS
Canon S3 IS Sony DSC-H2
Panasonic DMC-FZ7 Canon S2 IS

Measurable findings

Camera Measurement
Canon PowerShot S3 IS Horizontal LPH 1400 *1700
Vertical LPH 1450 *1850
5° Diagonal LPH +1000 ‡ n/a
Canon PowerShot S2 IS Horizontal LPH 1350 ‡ * 1550 ‡
Vertical LPH * 1400 ‡ * 1650 ‡
5° Diagonal LPH +1000 ‡ n/a
Sony DSC-H2 Horizontal LPH * 1450 * 1850
Vertical LPH * 1550 * 1850
5° Diagonal LPH +1000 n/a
Panasonic DMC-FZ7 Horizontal LPH 1400 *1800
Vertical LPH 1500 *1850
5° Diagonal LPH +1000 n/a

* Moiré is visible
+ Chart maximum
Jagged diagonals
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)

Although it can hardly be described as a 'great leap', the S3 IS does offer a small resolution improvement over its predecessor (the S2 IS). There is little between any of the better cameras in this class (the three six megapixel models here are the top performers), though the S3 can't quite match the new Sony H2. Not bad at all.