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. 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. For each camera the relevant 50 mm prime lens was used (Olympus 50 mm F2.0, Canon 50 mm F1.4, Nikkor 50 mm F1.4). The chart is shot at a full range of apertures and the sharpest image selected.

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

Olympus E-1 Canon EOS-10D
Nikon D2H Fujifilm S2 Pro (6 mp size)

Olympus E-1 Canon EOS-10D
Nikon D2H Fujifilm S2 Pro (6 mp size)

Olympus E-1 Canon EOS-10D
Nikon D2H Fujifilm S2 Pro (6 mp size)

Olympus E-1 Canon EOS-10D
Nikon D2H Fujifilm S2 Pro (6 mp size)

Olympus E-1 Canon EOS-10D
Nikon D2H Fujifilm S2 Pro (6 mp size)

Measurable findings (three measurements taken for each camera):

Camera Measurement Absolute Res. Extinction Res.
Olympus E-1 Horiz LPH * 1400  * 1700 
Vert LPH * 1250  * 1650 
5° Diagonal LPH * 1000  n/a 
Canon EOS-10D Horiz LPH 1600  1900 
Vert LPH 1450  1850 
5° Diagonal LPH 1000  n/a 
Nikon D2H Horiz LPH 1400  * 1600 
Vert LPH 1200  * 1550 
5° Diagonal LPH 1000  n/a 
Fujifilm S2 Pro
(6.1 mp)
Horiz LPH 1650  1900 
Vert LPH 1400  1850 
5° Diagonal LPH 1000  n/a 

* Visible moiré pattern

Definition of terms:

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 Resolution Still defined detail (below Nyquist frequency*)
Extinction Resolution Detail beyond camera's definition (becomes a solid gray alias)
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

The measurements on the ISO 12233 resolution chart are given in lines per picture height, because of the difference in aspect ratio between the E-1 and the others the E-1 actually has approximately the same number of vertical lines captured as the rest. The E-1 has 1920 vertical lines, the EOS-10D 2048 (6% more), the D2H 1632 (15% less) and the S2 Pro (6mp) 2016 (5% more). Hopefully the diagram shown at the bottom of this page will help to demonstrate this point.

The assessment made in our review of the 'initial production' camera stands: The E-1's performance should be somewhere near to the EOS 10D or S2 Pro, unfortunately it doesn't appear to actually get there, exhibiting less resolution and an earlier extinction point (where detail is just blurred). This could perhaps be down to the use of a very strong LPF (Low Pass Filter), but that wouldn't explain the moiré visible from approximately 800 LPH onwards.

Aspect Ratio vs. Vertical Resolution

E-1 resolution vs. prosumer 2/3" CCD digital camera

While nobody would consider the Sony DSC-F717 instead of an E-1 it is certainly an interesting comparison to make, especially considering how much smaller the 2/3" type five megapixel sensor is than the E-1's 4/3" type. It's worth noting the Sony's strong halo sharpening artifacts but also an almost complete lack of moiré or interpolation artifacts.

Olympus E-1 Sony DSC-F717