Resolution Chart Comparison

Comparison cameras:

  • Fujifilm FinePix S8000fd (8 MP, 18 x zoom)
  • Panasonic DMC-FZ18 (8 MP, 18 x zoom)
  • Olympus SP-560UZ (8 MP, 18 x zoom)
  • FujiFilm FinePix S6000fd (6.1 MP, 10x 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 zoom was set just in from wide angle, where it is likely to perform at its best. 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 +1.0 EV to +1.7 EV.

Fujifilm FinePix S8000fd (2,643 KB; 8 MP) Panasonic DMC-FZ18 (2,856 KB; 8 MP)
Olympus SP-560UZ (1,995 KB; 8 MP) Fuji S6000fd (3,190 KB; 6 MP)

Resolution Chart Crops

Fujifilm S8000fd Panasonic DMC-FZ18
Olympus SP-560UZ Fuji S6000fd
Fujifilm S8000fd Panasonic DMC-FZ18
Olympus SP-560UZ Fuji S6000fd

Measurable findings

Camera Measurement
Fujifilm FinePix S8000fd Horizontal LPH * 1450 * 1600
Vertical LPH * 1400 * 1650
5° Diagonal LPH +1000 ‡ n/a
Panasonic DMC-FZ18 Horizontal LPH 1600 2100
Vertical LPH 1650 *2150
5° Diagonal LPH +1000 n/a
Olympus SP-560UZ Horiz LPH * 1500 * 1900
Vert LPH * 1600 * 2000
5° Diagonal LPH + 1000 n/a
Fujifilm FinePix S6000fd Horizontal LPH * 1600 * 2050
Vertical LPH * 1550 * 2100
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 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 there's not a lot between any of the current 18x zoom cameras it's clear that the S8000fd isn't the best of the bunch in resolution terms - that honor goes to the Panasonic FZ18. All are put to shame by the Fuji S6000ds, which has 2 million fewer pixels. Whilst none of these 18x zoom cameras produces particularly inspiring resolution chart results, all are capable of capturing a good enough level of detail for the typical user (as long as you don't look into the corners of the frame). It's also worth mentioning the rather excessive and unpleasant moiré exhibited by both the S8000fd and the Olympus SP560UZ, which starts at a remarkably low frequency.

The resolution these cameras are capable of capturing is lower than most 8MP short-zoom compacts we've tested but not unbearably so. However, these tests are conducted at the range of the lens we'd expect to produce the best performance, so the results at the long end of the zoom are unlikely to be as convincing.

Zoom test

To check what effect putting such a wide-ranging zoom has on image quality, we shot our test chart again at the long end of the zoom. This shot was taken at 84.2mm, which is equivalent to 486mm on a film camera.

FinePix S8000fd (62mm equiv) FinePix S8000fd (486mm equiv)

As can be seen, at the long end of the zoom, the lens is beginning to impact on the image quality to the extent that there is a reduction in the detail being resolved. Contrast is also reduced - this is all perfectly normal for a zoom lens with such an ambitious range.