Resolution Chart Comparison

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. Studio light (continuous), cameras set to auto, all settings factory default. Aperture selected for optimum sharpness. Exposure compensation +0.7 EV to +1.3 EV.

Beyond our chart, but not beyond our means

The standard PIMA/ISO resolution chart is capable of measuring the resolution of standard Bayer sensor digital cameras up to approximately ten megapixels, beyond that we must be a little more creative. To compare the resolution of the D2X and EOS-1Ds Mark II we shoot the resolution chart from twice the normal distance and end up with a chart exactly half it's normal size. This allows us to measure resolution up to 4000 LPH. When reading the crops below values on the chart now represent 1/200 lines per picture height. So a value of 15 equates to 3000 lines per picture height. It's worth noting that the EOS-1Ds Mark II resolution chart was shot with a sharpening setting of 0 (default).

Nikon D2X
(2144 x 1424 cropped, 662 KB)
Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II
(2496 x 1664 cropped, 951 KB)

Crops from half-size chart

Important: the crops below are taken from a standard resolution chart shot from twice the standard distance, hence measured resolution is double that indicated (10= 2000 LPH).

Nikon D2X Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II Kodak DSC Pro SLR/c

Nikon D2X
Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II
Kodak DSC Pro SLR/c

Measurable findings (three measurements taken for each camera):

Camera Measurement
Nikon D2X Horiz LPH 2400  2800 
Vert LPH 2000  2600 
Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II Horiz LPH 2800  3000 
Vert LPH 2400  3100 
Kodak DCS Pro SLR/c Horiz LPH 2400  * 2700 
Vert LPH 2200  * 2700 
Canon EOS 20D Horiz LPH 1850  2000 
Vert LPH 1650  2000 

* 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)
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)

* Nyquist frequency defined as the highest spatial frequency where the sensor can
still faithfully record image detail. Beyond the Nyquist frequency aliasing occurs

A very impressive performance, especially when you consider that these comparison are carried out using JPEG files, we've already seen that even more resolution can be gained from D2X RAW files. It's fair to say that this amount of resolution would be more than sufficient for very large prints. The EOS-1Ds Mark II has 16% more horizontal pixels which equated to almost exactly 16% more resolution, but that's just not as much as the 30% resolution hike we get going from the eight megapixel EOS 20D to the D2X.