Resolution Chart Comparison

Comparison cameras:

  • Canon PowerShot SD300 (4 MP, 3x zoom)
  • Canon PowerShot A85 (4 MP, 3x zoom)
  • Casio EX-Z40 (4 MP, 3x zoom)
  • Pentax S5i (5 MP, 2.9x 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.

Canon PowerShot SD300 (1,437 KB; 4 MP) Canon PowerShot A85 (1,509 KB; 4 MP)
Casio EX-Z40 (1,793 KB; 4 MP) Pentax S5i (2,855 KB; 5 MP)

Resolution Chart crops

Canon PowerShot SD300 Canon PowerShot A85
Casio EX-Z40 Pentax S5i
Canon PowerShot SD300 Canon PowerShot A85
Casio EX-Z40 Pentax S5i

Measurable findings

Camera Measurement
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 
Casio EX-Z40 Horiz LPH 1100  * 1350 
Vert LPH 1150  * 1350 
5° Diagonal LPH + 900   n/a 
Pentax S5i Horizontal LPH * 1300   * 1500
Vertical LPH * 1300   *1550
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)

Well, it may be an ultra-compact point and shoot model, but the SD300 is surprisingly able when it comes to the capture of fine detail. It nearly matches the 5MP Pentax Optio S5i and does very well against most (larger) 4MP compacts. It's also worth noting that the SD300's images are amongst the cleanest of the cameras compared here, with little evidence of moiré or fringing until you get to the extinction resolution. Excellent results for a camera of this class.