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.

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 note that for this comparison we converted the E-620's RAW files in Capture One. This is because we were given reason to believe Adobe Camera Raw's handling of files from the latest generation of Olympus DSLRs was not fully optimized.

Sony DSLR-A380 (3.2 MB, 14 MP) Canon EOS 500D (3.3 MB, 15.1 MP)
Nikon D5000 (2.6 MB; 12.3 MP) Olympus E-620 (4.1 MB, 12.3 MP)

Sony DSLR-A380 Canon EOS 500D
Nikon D5000 Olympus E-620

Sony DSLR-A380 Canon EOS 500D
Nikon D5000 Olympus E-620

Sony DSLR-A380 Canon EOS 500D
Nikon D5000 Olympus E-620

Measurable results

Camera Measurement
Sony DSLR-A380 Horizontal LPH 2300  * 2600 
Vertical LPH 2200  * 2500 
Canon EOS 500D Horizontal LPH 2400  * 3300 
Vertical LPH 2350  * 3200 
Nikon D5000 Horizontal LPH 2400  * 3200 
Vertical LPH 2350  * 3200 
Olympus E-620 Horizontal LPH 2250  * 3800 
Vertical LPH 2250  * 3600 

* 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)

Like on the A350 the A380's JPEG engine is actually doing such a good job in squeezing detail out of our resolution chart image that it's even outdoing Adobe's Camera RAW 5.4. While all rivals in this comparison increase the measured resolution slightly in RAW over JPEG, on the Sony the opposite is the case. The Canon and Nikon are visibly outperforming the A380 in the RAW resolution test, in terms of absolute resolution it's roughly on par with the Olympus though. That said the latter still shows 'some detail' up to impressively high frequencies.