Resolution Chart Comparison

Comparison cameras:

  • Canon PowerShot SD550 (7 MP, 3x zoom)
  • Casio EX-Z750 (7 MP, 3x zoom)
  • Sony Cyber-shot DSC-P200 (7 MP, 3x zoom)
  • Nikon Coolpix 7900 (7 MP, 3x 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 SD550 (2,444 KB; 7 MP) Sony DSC-P200 (2,650 KB; 7 MP)
Nikon Coolpix 7900 (2,348 KB; 7 MP) Casio EX-Z750 (3,991 KB; 7 MP)

Resolution Chart crops

Canon PowerShot SD550 Casio EX-Z750
Nikon Coolpix 7900 Sony DSC-P200
Canon PowerShot SD550 Casio EX-Z750
Nikon Coolpix 7900 Sony DSC-P200

Measurable findings

Camera Measurement
Canon PowerShot SD550 Horiz LPH 1600 1950
Vert LPH * 1700 +* 2000
5° Diagonal LPH + 1000 n/a 
Casio EX-Z750 Horizontal LPH 1650 +* 2000
Vertical LPH 1600 *1900
5° Diagonal LPH + 1000 n/a 
Nikon Coolpix 7900 Horizontal LPH 1500 + 1750
Vertical LPH 1500 1750
5° Diagonal LPH + 1000 n/a 
Sony DSC-P200 Horizontal LPH 1500 1700
Vertical LPH 1500 1750
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)

Although they're not the cleanest files here (there is fairly strong moiré at higher frequencies), the SD550 is pulling a surprising amount of detail out of our test chart (unsurprisingly it's pretty much identical to the SD500). The SD550 is producing some of the best resolution results we've seen from any 7MP compact - never mind an ultra-compact 'point and shoot'.