Resolution Chart Comparison

Comparison cameras:

  • Panasonic DMC-FZ50 (10 MP, 12 x zoom)
  • Fujifilm FinePix S9500 / S9000 (9MP, 10.7x zoom)
  • Sony DSC-H5 (7 MP, 12x zoom)
  • Canon PowerShot S3 IS (6 MP, 12x zoom)
  • Panasonic DMC-FZ30 (8MP, 12x zoom)
  • Samsung DigiMax PRO 815 (8 MP, 15x zoom)

Shots here are of our standard resolution chart (version one or 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 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 auto, settings all factory default. If possible aperture was selected for optimum sharpness. Exposure compensation +0.7 EV to +1.3 EV.

Panasonic DMC-FZ50 (4,516 KB; 10 MP) Canon S3 IS (2,116 KB; 6 MP)
Sony DSC-H5 (2,675 KB; 6 MP) Fujifilm FinePix S9000 (4,417 KB; 9 MP)
Panasonic DMC-FZ30 (2,845 KB; 8 MP) Samsung PRO 815 (3,400 KB; 8 MP)

Resolution Chart Crops

Panasonic DMC-FZ50 Canon S3 IS
Fujifilm FinePix S9000 Sony DSC-H5
Panasonic DMC-FZ30 Samsung PRO 815
Panasonic DMC-FZ50 Canon S3 IS
Fujifilm FinePix S9000 Sony DSC-H5
Panasonic DMC-FZ30 Samsung PRO 815

Measurable findings

Camera Measurement
Panasonic DMC-FZ50 Horizontal LPH 1850 2400
Vertical LPH 1800 2300
5° Diagonal LPH +1000 n/a
Sony DSC-H5 Horizontal LPH 1525 2000
Vertical LPH 1550 *2000
5° Diagonal LPH +1000 n/a
Canon PowerShot S3 IS Horizontal LPH 1400 *1700
Vertical LPH 1450 *1850
5° Diagonal LPH +1000 ‡ n/a
Panasonic DMC-FZ30 Horiz LPH *1750 +2000
Vert LPH *1800 +2000
5° Diagonal LPH + 1000 n/a
Fujifilm FinePix S9000 Horiz LPH 1900 2500
Vert LPH 1850 2400
5° Diagonal LPH +1000 n/a
Samsung DigiMax PRO 815 Horiz LPH 1550 * 2100
Vert LPH 1550 *2200
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 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)

Perhaps unsurprisingly a few hundred pixels along each side hasn't had a significant impact on the resolution; in fact if you shoot JPEGs there's very little difference at all. But then again, the FZ30 was one of the best performers in its class (with only the Fujifilm S9000 coming out higher; Super CCD cameras always do well in high contrast resolution tests), and the FZ50 is within a whisker of best in class. They're pretty clean too (though you will get moiré - and more resolution - if you shoot raw). Incidentally we found that resolution drops fairly quickly once you get beyond about F5.0, so if you want the best possible detail try to avoid stopping down too far.