Resolution Chart Comparison (JPEG and Raw)

Images on this page are of our standard 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 we use the relevant prime lens (the same one we use for all the other tests in a particular review). 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 in the white areas.

What we want to show here is how well the camera is able to resolve the detail in our standard test chart compared to the theoretical maximum resolution of the sensor, which for the charts we shoot is easy to work out - it's simply the number of vertical pixels (the chart shows the number of single lines per picture height, the theoretical limit is 1 line per pixel). Beyond this limit (which when talking about line pairs is usually referred to as the Nyquist frequency) the sensor cannot faithfully record image detail and aliasing occurs.

This limit is rarely attained, because the majority of sensors are fitted with anti-aliasing filters. Anti-aliasing filters are designed to reduce unpleasant moiré effects, but in doing so, they also reduce resolution (the relative strength and quality of these filters varies from camera to camera). In theory though, a sensor without an AA filter, when coupled with a 'perfect' lens, will deliver resolution equal to its Nyquist limit. Therefore, even though it may be effectively unattainable with normal equipment in normal shooting situations, an understanding of a sensor's theoretical limit provides a useful benchmark for best possible performance. Nyquist is indicated in these crops with a red line.

On this page we're looking at both JPEG and Raw resolution. For a (more) level playing field we convert the latter using Adobe Camera Raw. Because Adobe Camera Raw applies different levels of sharpening to different cameras (this confirmed) we 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 the Unsharp mask filter tuned to the camera, usually 100%, Radius 0.6, Threshold 0
  • Make 100% crops and save the original file at JPEG quality 11 for download
JPEG (5184 x 3456) 4.7MB Raw (5184 x 3456) 4.8MB

Vertical resolution


Horizontal resolution


The GH3 gives good results in our resolution test, and accurately resolves the lines of our test chart up to about 2600 LPH, which is pretty much where we'd expect for a 16MP camera of this type. Beyond this point, the JPEG rendition becomes increasingly blurred, until no lines at all are visible from around 3000 LPH onwards. This is not a bad thing though - the transition is completely smooth, with no distracting color moiré.

Raw output contains an impression of more detail, and some lines can be seen right up to 3200 LPH, although at this point we're not looking at true detai. Atifacts can be seen between 3000 LPH and 3600 LPH, but there's almost no colored moiré here, either. Also note that although the raw output looks slightly softer than the JPEGs, there's no 'haloing' when viewed closely. This is caused by in-camera sharpening in JPEG mode, accentuating the border between the black lines and text and the white of the rest of our chart.