Resolution Chart Comparison

Comparison cameras:

  • Sony DSC-H9 (8.0 MP, 15x zoom)
  • Olympus SP-550UZ (7MP, 18x zoom)
  • Panasonic DMC-FZ8 (7 MP, 12 x zoom)
  • Sony DSC-H5 (7.2 MP, 12x zoom)
  • Canon PowerShot S3 IS (6 MP, 12x 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.

Sony DSC-H9 (1,447 KB; 8 MP) Canon S3 IS (2,116 KB; 6 MP)
Panasonic DMC-FZ8 (3,379 KB; 7 MP) Sony DSC-H5 (2,675 KB; 7.2 MP)
Olympus SP-550UZ (3,287 KB; 7 MP)  

Resolution Chart Crops

Sony DSC-H5 Canon S3 IS
Panasonic DMC-FZ8 Sony DSC-H5
Olympus SP-550UZ  
Sony DSC-H9 Canon S3 IS
Panasonic DMC-FZ8 Sony DSC-H5
Olympus SP-550UZ  

Measurable findings

Camera Measurement
Sony DSC-H9 Horizontal LPH 1550 1950*
Vertical LPH 1600 2000*
5° Diagonal LPH +1000 n/a
Olympus SP-550UZ Horizontal LPH 1350 1750*
Vertical LPH 1400 1850*
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-FZ8 Horizontal LPH 1600 2100
Vertical LPH 1550 2050
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)

Unsurprisingly the extra megapixel doesn't add much to the resolving power of the H5 - though the good news is that the extra lens reach doesn't seem to come at any resolution cost. The test chart shows that the H9 is one of the better cameras in this class in sheer resolution terms, though the charts reveal just how much chromatic aberration you're getting with this lens.