Resolution Chart Comparison (Raw)

Shots here are of our 'version two' resolution chart which provides for measurement of resolution up to 4000 LPH (Lines Per Picture Height). A value of 20 equates to 2000 lines per picture height. 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 aperture priority (optimum aperture selected), image parameters default. Exposure compensation set to deliver approximately 80% luminance of white area.

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For a (more) level playing field we also convert our resolution tests using Adobe Camera RAW. Because Adobe Camera RAW applies different levels of sharpening to different cameras (this confirmed) we had to use the following workflow for these conversions:

  • Load RAW file into Adobe Camera RAW (Auto mode disabled)
  • Set Sharpness to 0 (all other settings default)
  • Open file to Photoshop
  • Apply a Unsharp mask: 80%, Radius 1.0, Threshold 0
  • Save as a TIFF (for cropping) and as a JPEG quality 11 for download

Please not that for this comparison we converted the E-P1 RAW files in Capture One (using the default settings). This is because we have reason to believe that Adobe Camera Raw doesn't show the full resolution captured by recent Olympus SLRs (Capture One shows visibly more detail).

Leica X1 (2.6 MB, 12MP) Nikon D300S (3.2 MB, 12MP)
Panasonic GF1 (2.9MB, 12.0 MP) Olympus E-P1 (1.6MB, 12 MP)
Canon Powershot G11 (2.23 MB, 10 MP) Panasonic LX3 (2.2 MB, 10 MP)

Leica X1 Nikon D300S
Panasonic GF1 Olympus E-P1
Canon Powershot G11 Panasonic LX3

Leica X1 Nikon D300S
Panasonic GF1 Olympus E-P1
Canon Powershot G11 Panasonic LX3

Leica X1 Nikon D300S
Panasonic GF1 Olympus E-P1
Canon Powershot G11 Panasonic LX3

Measurable results

Camera Measurement
Leica X1 Horizontal LPH 2300  3200*
Vertical LPH 2300  2900*
Nikon D300S Horizontal LPH 2300  3200 
Vertical LPH 2250  3200 
Panasonic GF1 Horizontal LPH 2450  3500 
Vertical LPH 2400  3400 
Olympus E-P1 Horizontal LPH 2300  2900 
Vertical LPH 2400  2700 
Canon Powershot G11 Horizontal LPH 1950  2250*
Vertical LPH 2000  2450*
Panasonic LX3 Horizontal LPH 1900  * 2400 
Vertical LPH 1850  * 3200 

* Moire is visible
+ Chart maximum
LPH Lines per Picture Height (to allow for different aspect ratios the measurement is the same for horizontal and vertical)
Absolute resolution 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 resolution Detail beyond camera's definition (becomes aliased)

All of the cameras in this comparison show a significant resolution boost in shooting raw, but the X1 the most of all, eliminating any significant difference between it and the D300S. It's pretty clear that if you want to get the best out of the X1, you're really going to have to work in raw.