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Thread: Per pixel sharpness between cameras

  1. #1
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    Apr 2008
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    Per pixel sharpness between cameras

    I posted a comparison of per pixel sharpness over at dpreview on the following thread:

    For convenience I've duplicated the post here...

    Is per pixel sharpness drastically different amongst DSLRs? I've heard many different points of view and decided to see if I could shed some light on the issue.

    The following series of photos should provide some insight into the differences between three different cameras, the Nikon D700, Canon 5D Mk II, and Canon 450D. To be able to compare at the pixel level requires an even playing field where the differences between the three have been minimized.

    In order to even the playing field as much as possible I used the same Zeiss Makro-Planar 100mm f/2 lens at f/5.6. The lens was mounted with a Nikon F mount to Canon adapter on the two Canons and of course mounted directly on the D700.

    Consistent lighting was used throughout the shots with a single flash shooting through an umbrella at a roughly 45 degree angle to the subject. The exposures were matched between all three cameras (iso 100 was used on the 450D, and iso 200 on the other two - didn't realize I hadn't shot an iso 100 series on the 5D2 until too late).

    The per pixel sizes were matched by moving the position of the cameras until the measured area of the scene was as close to identical as I could achieve which worked out to be less than 0.5% difference (within couple of pixels for the crops shown). All of the cameras were tripod mounted and fired using a remote release with mirror lockup. The cameras were focused via live view and checked with a series of focus bracketed shots for optimum focus.

    The crops shown below were developed in Raw Developer with noise reduction completely turned off and sharpening set to Hybrid with a smoothing value of 5 and a sharpness value of 5. I also have included a link to the raw files so you can try various different approaches if you are so inclined.

    Finally as an interesting side note I am including a shot taken on the D700 from the same location as the 5D Mk II (i.e. using the same field of view). This should help show the effect of the resolution differences between the two cameras.

    The raw files can be download via this link:

    Now for the crops...

    5D Mk II:



    D700 with same field of view as 5D Mk II:

  2. #2
    Senior Subscriber Member Steen's Avatar
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    Nov 2007
    Denmark, CPH
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    Re: Per pixel sharpness between cameras

    It's all in the optics, never mind the cameras
    Just kidding, thanks for taking the time to make the comparison, Greg, I honestly have a hard time seeing any difference between them. Anyway, nice lens.
    And seriously, my conclusion still is: choose the lenses you want to shoot and then go get an appropriate camera for those optics. The optics are here to stay, while digital cameras come and go, rapidly.
    (If possible make sure you get a model with a decent viewfinder. Handlingswise it is in my opinion the single most important factor on a camera, the one my mind touches every time I make a picture).

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