Resolution Chart Comparison

Comparison cameras:

  • Canon Powershot S90 (10MP, 3.8x zoom)
  • Ricoh GXR + S10 24-70mm module (10MP, 2.9x zoom)
  • Canon PowerShot G11 (10MP, 5x zoom)
  • Panasonic DMC-LX3 (10MP, 2.5x zoom)
  • Panasonic DMC-GF1 (12.1MP, interchangeable lens)
  • Canon PowerShot G10 (14.7MP, 5x 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). 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 S90 (1.7 MB, 10 MP) Ricoh GXR/S10 24-70mm (3.3 MB, 10 MP)
Canon PowerShot G11 (1.6 MB; 10 MP) Panasonic DMC-LX3 (3.4 MB; 10 MP)
Panasonic DMC-GF1 (4.3 KB; 12 MP) Canon PowerShot G10 (4.5 MB; 14.7 MP)

Resolution chart crops

Canon PowerShot S90 Ricoh GXR/S10 24-70mm
Canon PowerShot G11 Panasonic DMC-LX3
Panasonic DMC-GF1 Canon PowerShot G10
Canon PowerShot S90 Ricoh GXR/S10 24-70mm
Canon PowerShot G11 Panasonic DMC-LX3
Panasonic DMC-GF1 Canon PowerShot G10

Measurable findings

Camera Measurement
Canon PowerShot S90 Horizontal LPH 1950 2150
Vertical LPH 1950 2250
Ricoh GXR/S10 Horizontal LPH 2150  * 3000 
Vertical LPH 2150  * 2600 
Canon PowerShot G11 Horiz LPH 2000 2250
Vert LPH 2050 2400
Panasonic LX3 Horiz LPH 2150 2400
Vert LPH 2150 2500
Panasonic DMC-GF1 Horiz LPH 2250 2600
Vert LPH 2200 2550
Canon PowerShot G10 Horiz LPH 2450 * 2750
Vert LPH 2500 * 2750

* 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)
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)

It doesn't quite match the other cameras here in terms of pure resolution, but it's very close to the G11 and in truth the real world differences between all three 10MP cameras here are pretty minimal. As we saw earlier, the S90 gets a small resolution boost if you switch to raw (these examples are all JPEGs), but it's not huge (and nothing like that seen with the Ricoh, Panasonic GF1 or Canon G10).