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So which camera is the resolution king?

Do you need more pixels for maximum resolution?

12 megapixels of Olympus E-5 versus 16 megapixels of Panasonic GH2

Although Olympus has exclusively used LiveMOS sensors made by Panasonic since the E-330 in 2006, Panasonic's implementation of the same sensors in its Lumix L10 Four Thirds DSLR and G-series Micro Four Thirds hybrid cameras has incorporated one significant difference; a less powerful low pass filter. This is a filter that deliberately blurs the image projected by the lens onto the sensor.Why would you want to introduce blur? Well, without this filter there would be noticeable jagginess or 'aliasing' of sharp edges and pronounced moiré in some areas made up of fine regular details. Moiré results in interference patterns and even some localised colour distortions.

Olympus' philosophy had been to produced smooth details, sacrificing resolution, by using a strong low pass filter. But that all changed recently, since Olympus started to produce its Pen range of Micro Four Thirds cameras. Olympus clearly endowed the Pens with a less strong low pass filter, emulating the policy already established by Panasonic. When Olympus revealed the E-5, we discovered its low pass filter was weaker still. With its very weak low pass filter the E-5 produces noticeably more detailed images. There is no evidence that this has been at the cost of noticeable moiré or aliasing in general photographic imagery.

At the same time Olympus started to ship the 12 megapixel E-5, Panasonic was preparing to release its Lumix DMC-GH2. With a unique 16 megapixel LiveMOS sensor, surely the GH2 would be the resolution king among Four Thirds and Micro Four Thirds cameras? Actually, no; the E-5's weak low pass filter actually enables the camera to resolve more detail than the GH2 despite depending on just 75% of the pixels that the GH2 is endowed with:

In our tests the results (above) clearly show that the E-5 and GH2 can significantly out-resolve Olympus' E-3 and E-30 DSLRs. The E-5 also out-resolves the GH2 at low and high ISO settings, although the GH2 rallies in mid-range ISO sensitivities.

Admittedly, the E-5 test charts showed aliasing and moiré was present, as it was, incidentally, with the GH2. But the test chart is not a typical photographic subject and maybe Olympus gamble of severely reducing the power of tech E-5's low pass filter has paid off.

 

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So which camera is the resolution king?

Four Thirds User editorial team So which camera is the resolution king?
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2 has 16 megapixels to play with, 25% more than all its Micro Four Thirds ... (more)

davidmorison Re: So which camera is the resolution king?
Very interesting! On my E5 I have always set the default maximum for Auto ISO at 800, but looking at... (more)

Ian Re: So which camera is the resolution king?
ISO 1600 is very usable on the E-5, but you will probably have to post process to manage noise. If y... (more)

joeletx Re: So which camera is the resolution king?
I am so close to pushing the button on purchasing an E-5 body; needless to say, this report won't ch... (more)

Ian Re: So which camera is the resolution king?
I think there is too much expectation when it comes to dynamic range. If you have 1 or 2 EVs of e... (more)

joeletx Re: So which camera is the resolution king?
Agree! but at least in some cases, 2EVs will allow some highlight recovering in PP rather than a whi... (more)

RealRaist3d Re: So which camera is the resolution king?
Guys, without specifying which lens and if you are comparing RAW, it doesn't seem to me a very valid... (more)

Alan Clogwyn Re: So which camera is the resolution king?
I'd also like to know what lenses were used as I'm curious, although I'm not particluarly suprised b... (more)

RealRaist3d Re: So which camera is the resolution king?
Pardon me for asking but how do we know panasonic sacrificed quality for the gh2 sensor and in re... (more)

Alan Clogwyn Re: So which camera is the resolution king?
dxomark comparison, plus when I compared Ian's GH2 rawfiles to my own GH1 ones tehre was a lack of p... (more)

RealRaist3d Re: So which camera is the resolution king?
Certainly in JPEG Olympus is one of the current kings (along with Fuji). But Panasonic has always... (more)

alsoly Re: So which camera is the resolution king?
I would be surprised if Ian Burley hasn't used a similar lens set-up for both cameras to the test. ... (more)

Ian Re: So which camera is the resolution king?
It took a while for this thread to get going, but I see that the flames are licking nicely now :) ... (more)

Ian Re: So which camera is the resolution king?
My article was simply about resolution. Apart from some comment that the E-5 results do show incr... (more)

Ian Re: So which camera is the resolution king?
The GH2 has a smaller pixel pitch than the E-5, but the GH2's sensor has its A/D converter on the... (more)

Alan Clogwyn Re: So which camera is the resolution king?
I had a feeling it would be that soggy old 14-140 on the GH :D Can't be that bad though can it? ... (more)

John Perriment Re: So which camera is the resolution king?
I think the main thing is that the graph shows a steady improvement in each generation of 4/3 camera... (more)

RealRaist3d Come on Ian :-)
You are comparing an ultra zoom micro four thirds (is that right?) with the legendary F2 50mm p... (more)

Ian Re: So which camera is the resolution king?
The 14-140 isn't soggy! :) My recent back to back tests with the m.Zuiko 14-150 (a lens which ... (more)

Ian Re: Come on Ian :-)
I didn't mean I was being 'flamed' it was a really to say that the discussion was heating up afte... (more)

Alan Clogwyn Re: So which camera is the resolution king?
Yes but that's superzoom to superzoom, not superzoom vs Prime. Clearly though the superzoom i... (more)

Ian Re: So which camera is the resolution king?
Sorry, that's a ridiculous statement. If you have used a 14-140 that produced 'mush' it must have... (more)

Alan Clogwyn Re: So which camera is the resolution king?
I just have very high standards for lenses, been spoilt with Zuiko glass, theres a lot worse out the... (more)

RogerMac Re: So which camera is the resolution king?
I know that the resolution on the extreme left of the graph may be affected by the quality of the le... (more)

Ian Re: So which camera is the resolution king?
Optical resolution is constant throughout (for each camera) - the factor that forces the recorded... (more)

Ian Re: So which camera is the resolution king?
I would worry less about lens data and look more closely at actual results. The 14-140 is certainly... (more)

Alan Clogwyn Re: So which camera is the resolution king?
Agreed every lens has a use for someone, and despite my moaning about the m.Zuiko 14-42mm I do have ... (more)

RealRaist3d Re: So which camera is the resolution king?
Ian, I really hate to say this but... The E-5 sensor is a 3 year old design. The GH2's i... (more)

John Perriment Re: So which camera is the resolution king?
Hi Raist, it's great to see you back here - and the "real" one at that! :D You make some very pe... (more)

RealRaist3d Re: So which camera is the resolution king?
*LOL Thank you sir. [quote] You make some very pertinant comments and present a strong argu... (more)

John Perriment Re: So which camera is the resolution king?
Raist, as I would expect you present some very cogent arguements. I guess the only way to totally na... (more)

RealRaist3d Re: So which camera is the resolution king?
Thanks. [quote] Disregarding the comparison between the E-5 and the GH2, this test does show... (more)

RealRaist3d Re: So which camera is the resolution king?
But that to me reads that perhaps Panasonic didn't sacrifice quality after all? At least vs the... (more)

RealRaist3d Question for Ian- what capture format these shots were done?
Maybe I missed it but did you mention if these were shot in RAW or JPEG? And if in RAW with what con... (more)

davidmorison Re: So which camera is the resolution king?
I've been reading all this with diminishing interest as I don't regard sensor resolution as the holy... (more)

Ian Re: So which camera is the resolution king?
Any camera will exhibit banding if you push it well beyond its limits. But I have not noticed untowa... (more)

John Perriment Re: So which camera is the resolution king?
David, I'm totally with you on that, but the subject of this thread is resolution and that's why ... (more)

RealRaist3d Re: So which camera is the resolution king?
Not all cameras band with the same frequency, ease or degree. Certainly images from the GH2 ban... (more)

RealRaist3d Re: So which camera is the resolution king?
I think it's quite fine that you identify things and pros of the E-5 that for your needs are a... (more)

Ian Re: So which camera is the resolution king?
Er, at ISO 400 and f/4 the shutter speed would be 1/4 second, and at ISO 100 the shutter speed wo... (more)

hschnee Re: So which camera is the resolution king?
I've been following this thread, but haven't chimed in until now. I think we've been going off on ma... (more)

John Perriment Re: So which camera is the resolution king?
It's all very subjective because we also have different requirements, expectations and visual sensit... (more)

RealRaist3d Re: So which camera is the resolution king?
I agree pretty much with most of what you said. The discussion when to other places simply in the co... (more)

RealRaist3d Re: So which camera is the resolution king?
OK, I guess to me it's the beginning of dark. I just saw the F7.1 and found it a bit odd. That'... (more)

davidmorison Re: So which camera is the resolution king?
I Perhaps someone could enlighten me? David... (more)

RealRaist3d Re: So which camera is the resolution king?
Do you authorize me to download your shot and highlight where the banding is? I thought this woul... (more)

alsoly Re: So which camera is the resolution king?
I can not see from the resolution files nor understand the text and conclusion of the Dpreview resol... (more)

RealRaist3d Re: So which camera is the resolution king?
The resolution also does take a nose dive at that ISO for the E-5. What I still find sad is th... (more)

Ian Re: So which camera is the resolution king?
Panasonic is providing me with another GH2 around the 8th May, so I will retest with the 50mm Macro ... (more)

alsoly Re: So which camera is the resolution king?
Ian, Did you have a chance to revisit this field test with?... (more)

Ian Re: So which camera is the resolution king?
Sorry - yes I have - I completely got diverted. I will try to analyse the results today for you. ... (more)

Ruben Re: So which camera is the resolution king?
I do not understand this thread. I do not understand why the lens is out of the debate, unless the... (more)

RealRaist3d Re: So which camera is the resolution king?
Hmm are you going to post them? ;-) What were the results, and which lens. Hopefully both F2.0... (more)

nrdlnd Re: So which camera is the resolution king?
Yes I'm also waiting for the results to be updated with the same conditions. It could also be intere... (more)