Sony DSLR-A560 Review

 
Camera Reviews / Sony Cameras / Sony Alpha i Full Review

Sony A560 Imatest Results

We routinely use Norman Koren's excellent "Imatest" analysis program for quantitative, thoroughly objective analysis of digicam test images. I highly recommend it to our technically-oriented readers, as it's far and away the best, most comprehensive analysis program I've found to date.

My comments below are just brief observations of what we see in the Imatest results. A full discussion of all the data Imatest produces is really beyond the scope of this review: Visit the Imatest web site for a full discussion of what the program measures, how it performs its computations, and how to interpret its output.

Here's some of the results produced by Imatest for the Sony A560:


sRGB Accuracy Comparison

Like most recent Sony SLRs, the A560 showed generally good color accuracy, with only minor oversaturation of bright reds and deep blues, and to a lesser extent, some oranges, greens, purples and browns. Hue accuracy was also generally good, with the typical (typical meaning significant) cyan shift we see in most cameras we test, and also a little shift in other colors such as aqua, red, orange and yellow. Average saturation for the Sony A560 was 111.8% (oversaturated by 11.8%). Average "delta-C" color error was 4.71 after correction for saturation, while not as good as some of the others in this group, results are better than average. (Delta-C is the same as the more commonly referred to delta-E, but delta-C takes into account only color differences, ignoring luminance variation.) All in all, another very good color response for this class of camera. Mouse over the links below the illustration above to compare results with the others in this group.

 

Adobe RGB Accuracy Comparison

Most SLRs/SLDs oversaturate colors when shooting in Adobe RGB mode, and the Sony A560 follows suit. Average saturation was 117% which is about 5% higher than the sRGB result (though not as high as some of the others in this group), and average saturation-corrected hue error was 4.94 "delta-C" units, just slightly less accurate than sRGB. A typical result. Again, mouse over the links below the illustration above to compare results with the same group.

 

Sony A560 Color Analysis

This image shows how the Sony A560 actually rendered the colors of the MacBeth chart, compared to a numerically ideal treatment. In each color swatch, the outer perimeter shows the color as actually captured by the camera, the inner square shows the numerically correct color after correcting for the luminance of the photographed chart (as determined by a second-order curve fit to the values of the gray swatches), and the small rectangle inside the inner square shows the numerically correct color, without the luminance correction. This image shows the Sony A560's generally very good hue and saturation accuracy. Most colors are rendered reasonably close to the correct brightness, the most obvious exceptions being the red and cyan swatches, which are noticeably brighter than the luminance-corrected versions. Overall, though, the Sony A560's color is quite good.

The bottom row of the chart shows exaggerated white balance errors, revealing that the camera produced a slightly cool color balance when using Custom white balance, with a WhiBal card as the reference.

 

Sony A560 Noise Analysis


As always, there's more in this particular graph than we really have room to go into here. (Also note that this set of plots has also changed a few revisions back in Imatest. Some of the plots that were once shown here are now shown in other Imatest output. Since we largely focus on the Noise Spectrum plot, we only show the graphic above, which includes that plot.)

In comparing these graphs with those from competing cameras, we've found that the Noise Spectrum graph at lower right is often the most important. Cameras that manage to shift their noise spectrum to higher frequencies have much finer-grained noise structures, making their noise less visually objectionable. In the graph above, this would show up as a noise spectrum curve that remained higher on the right side, representing higher noise frequencies.

Above, we see the results at ISO 100. The luminance curve is reasonably flat, but the red, blue and green channels exhibit much higher noise values at lower frequencies. The dominance of low frequencies in the color channels points to some low-level blotchiness that cab be seen in darker midtone and shadows of the Sony A560's ISO 100 images, but only with extreme pixel-peeping. Overall noise levels are relatively low, though, as indicated by the upper right and lower left plots, and slightly lower than the Sony A33, which uses the same sensor but loses some light transmission to its pellicle mirror.

As we saw with previous Sony SLRs, there are spikes that occur in the Noise Spectrum plot every 0.125 or 1/8 cycles per pixel. The source of the noise spikes appears to be the sometimes slightly lighter pixels along the edges of the 8x8 pixel blocks used in the A560's JPEG encoding. Overall noise levels are so low however that the noise spikes aren't really visible under normal conditions.

 

Above is the same set of noise data at ISO 1,600. Here, the overall Noise Spectrum graph is shifted a fair bit toward the left-hand, lower-frequency side than it was at ISO 100, coarsening the "grain" of the image noise patterns. There's much less difference between the color channels in this plot, with green and blue channels tracking luminance noise very closely, and only the red-channel noise being a bit elevated at the lowest frequencies, no doubt due to noise reduction processing. This translates to ISO 1,600 images with pretty low levels of chroma noise, while luminance noise is competitive to, or slightly lower than other models in its class.

 

Here's the same set of noise data at ISO 3,200. Here again, the Noise Spectrum graph is shifted even more toward the left-hand side, coarsening the "grain" of the image noise patterns further. Overall noise levels are again competitive to its peers and slightly lower than its translucent mirrored cousin.

 

This chart compares the Sony A560's noise performance over a range of ISOs against that of a few other SLR and SLD cameras. While we continue to show noise plots of this sort because readers ask for them, we each time point out that the noise magnitude is only a small part of the story, the grain pattern being much more important, not to mention what the camera does to achieve a given noise level. (Some cameras obliterate subject detail along with noise, so the camera with the lowest noise levels on MacBeth chart swatches may not necessarily produce the most appealing images.)

Here, the Sony A560's luminance noise is slightly lower than most of the cameras in this group across much of the ISO range, except for the Nikon D3100 at ISOs above 1,600. Sony's recent advances in noise reduction techniques continue to work well to maintain very good levels of detail in A560 high ISO files while keeping noise in check. The Sony A560 noise levels are very similar to the NEX series which is no surprise since they share similar sensors. The A33 also shares a similar sensor, but its noise levels are higher across the range of ISOs, presumably because its sensor's gain has likely been boosted to compensate for the loss of light caused by the translucent mirror. Bottom line, the Sony A560's high ISO performance is quite good, though we wish Sony would have provided more flexibility in noise reduction settings (there are only two: "Weak" and "Auto", with the above results taken at the default "Auto" setting).

 

Sony A560 Dynamic Range Analysis

A key parameter in a digital camera is its Dynamic Range, the range of brightness that can be faithfully recorded. At the upper end of the tonal scale, dynamic range is dictated by the point at which the RGB data "saturates" at values of 255, 255, 255. At the lower end of the tonal scale, dynamic range is determined by the point at which there ceases to be any useful difference between adjacent tonal steps. Note the use of the qualifier "useful" in there: While it's tempting to evaluate dynamic range as the maximum number of tonal steps that can be discerned at all, that measure of dynamic range has very little relevance to real-world photography. What we care about as photographers is how much detail we can pull out of the shadows before image noise becomes too objectionable. This, of course, is a very subjective matter, and will vary with the application and even the subject matter in question. (Noise will be much more visible in subjects with large areas of flat tints and subtle shading than it would in subjects with strong, highly contrasting surface texture.)

What makes most sense then, is to specify useful dynamic range in terms of the point at which image noise reaches some agreed-upon threshold. To this end, Imatest computes a number of different dynamic range measurements, based on a variety of image noise thresholds. The noise thresholds are specified in terms of f-stops of equivalent luminance variation in the final image file, and dynamic range is computed for noise thresholds of 1.0 (low image quality), 0.5 (medium image quality), 0.25 (medium-high image quality) and 0.1 (high image quality). For most photographers and most applications, the noise thresholds of 0.5 and 0.25 f-stops are probably the most relevant to the production of acceptable-quality finished images, but many noise-sensitive shooters will insist on the 0.1 f-stop limit for their most critical work.

The image below shows the test results from Imatest for an in-camera JPEG file from the Sony A560 with a nominally-exposed density step target (Stouffer 4110), and its settings such as DRO and HDR turned off.

We got best dynamic range results from the Sony A560 at ISO 200. Here, we can see that the tone curve maintains excellent gradation in the highlights though the shadow end doesn't trail-off quite as nicely.  Total dynamic range was 10.8 f-stops, while at the highest quality level, DR was 7.65 f-stops. These results are very much on par with those from the best SLRs with APS-C sensors, with an Imatest JPEG score at the highest quality level in the top 15 cameras we have tested.

Processing the Sony A560's RAW (.ARW) files through Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) version 6.3 increased dynamic range by about one f-stop at the highest quality level (8.59 f-stops), compared to the in-camera JPEG (7.65 f-stops) while total dynamic range reported increased from 10.8 to 11.8 f-stops. These results were obtained by using ACR's automatic settings; slightly better results may be possible by manually tweaking from there, but we weren't able to improve on them. It's worth noting here that ACR's default noise reduction settings reduced overall noise (see the plot in the lower left-hand corner) relative to the levels in the in-camera JPEG, which would tend to boost the dynamic range numbers for the High Quality threshold. Also, the extreme highlight recovery being performed by ACR here would likely produce color errors in strong highlights of natural subjects.


Dynamic Range, the bottom line:

The net result was that the Sony A560's JPEGs showed very good dynamic range, performing at least as well as the A33 and NEX-5 (within the margin of error). The story is similar with ACR processed RAW files, with the Sony A560 also performing well relative to its peers.

To get some perspective, here's a summary of the Sony A560's dynamic range performance, and how it compares to other digital SLRs that we also have Imatest dynamic range data for. (Results are arranged in order of decreasing dynamic range at the "High" quality level.):

Dynamic Range (in f-stops) vs Image Quality
(At camera's base ISO)

(Blue = RAW via ACR, Yellow=Camera JPEG, Green=Current Camera)
Model 1.0
(Low)
0.5
(Medium)
0.25
(Med-High)
0.1
(High)
Pentax K-5
(Adobe Camera Raw 6.3)
11.5 11.5 11.2 10.2
Nikon D7000
(Adobe Camera Raw 6.3)
12.0 11.9 11.6 10.1
10.0 Stops
Nikon D3X
(Adobe Camera Raw 5.3b)
-- -- 11.1 9.64
Nikon D3S
(Adobe Camera Raw 5.6)
-- -- 10.7 9.55
Nikon D700
(Adobe Camera Raw 4.5)
12.1 11.6 10.6 9.51
Nikon D5000
(Adobe Camera Raw 5.4b)
-- 11.6 10.8 9.50
9.5 Stops
Sony A33
(Adobe Camera Raw 6.2)
-- -- 10.7 9.37
Sony A900
(Adobe Camera Raw 4.6b)
-- 12.1 10.7 9.36
Pentax K-x
(Adobe Camera Raw 5.6b)
11.5 11.2 10.7 9.33
Nikon D90
(Adobe Camera Raw 4.6b)
12.1 11.8 10.7 9.27
Sony A55
(Adobe Camera Raw 6.2)
11.1 10.9 10.5 9.16
Fujifilm S3 Pro
(Adobe Camera Raw 2)
12.1 11.7 10.7 9.00
9.0 Stops
Sony NEX-5
(Adobe Camera Raw 6.2b)
11.9 11.5 10.4 8.95
Sony A230
(Adobe Camera Raw 5.5)
11.7 11.1 10.1 8.95
Nikon D40x
(Adobe Camera Raw 4.1)
12.0 10.9 10.3 8.90
Canon 1D Mark IV
(Adobe Camera Raw 5.7)
-- 11.0 10.1 8.90
Nikon D300S
(Adobe Camera Raw 5.5)
-- 11.3 10.4 8.89
Canon 5D Mark II
(Adobe Camera Raw 5.2)
-- 10.8 10.0 8.89
Sony NEX-3
(Adobe Camera Raw 6.2b)
11.8 11.4 10.1 8.87
Sony A330
(Adobe Camera Raw 5.4)
-- -- 10.1 8.86
Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III
(Adobe Camera Raw 4.5)
11.5 10.7 9.96 8.84
Nikon D3
(Adobe Camera Raw 4.5)
11.7 11.0 10.0 8.75
Canon EOS-1D Mark III
(Adobe Camera Raw 4.5)
11.7 10.7 9.99 8.73
Sony A380
(Adobe Camera Raw 5.5)
11.8 10.9 10.1 8.62
Nikon D3000
(Adobe Camera Raw 5.5)
-- 10.8 10.1 8.61
Sony A560
(Adobe Camera Raw 6.3)
11.8 11.0 10.1 8.59
Pentax K20D
(Adobe Camera Raw 4.5)
11.4 10.6 9.82 8.56
8.5 Stops
Nikon D300
(Adobe Camera Raw 4.3.1)
11.4 10.9 9.87 8.45
Sony A200
(Adobe Camera Raw 4.3.1)
11.6 10.4 9.82 8.43
Nikon D60
(Adobe Camera Raw 4.4.1)
11.6 10.5 9.74 8.31
Nikon D40
(Adobe Camera Raw 4.1)
11.9 10.9 9.89 8.30
Nikon D3100
(Adobe Camera Raw 6.3b)
10.9 10.2 9.28 8.24
Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III
(Camera JPEG)
10.9 10.2 9.71 8.23
Pentax K100D
(Adobe Camera Raw 3.6)
11.3 10.3 9.51 8.23
Pentax K200D
(Adobe Camera Raw 4.4.1)
-- 10.5 9.54 8.19
Pentax K10D
(Adobe Camera Raw 3.7)
10.6 10.0 9.29 8.19
Canon 7D
(Adobe Camera Raw 5.6)
11.2 10.3 9.52 8.18
Sony A100
(Adobe Camera Raw 3.4)
11.3 10.5 9.69 8.16
Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II
(Adobe Camera Raw 3)
11.2 10.3 9.40 8.14
Canon 1D Mark IV
(Camera JPEG, ISO 50)
-- -- 8.45 8.10
Canon EOS 50D
(Adobe Camera Raw 4.6)
11.2 10.5 9.49 8.06
Nikon D40x
(Camera JPEG)
10.8 10.0 9.42 8.04
Olympus E-P1
(ISO 200,
Adobe Camera Raw 5.5)
11.5 10.4 9.26 8.04
Canon Rebel XSi
(Camera JPEG)
(ALO on by default)
11.3 10.1 9.34 8.01
8.0 Stops
Nikon D7000
(Camera JPEG)
9.97 9.81 9.73 7.97
Nikon D3S
(Camera JPEG)
-- -- -- 7.96
Fujifilm S3 Pro
(Camera JPEG)
-- 9.90 9.40 7.94
Canon T2i
(Adobe Camera Raw 5.7)
-- 10.0 9.21 7.94
Samsung NX10
(Adobe Camera Raw 5.7 beta)
-- -- 9.18 7.91
Sony A350
(Adobe Camera Raw 4.4)
11.6 10.5 9.61 7.89
Canon EOS-1D Mark III
(Camera JPEG)
-- 10.2 9.70 7.88
Olympus E-P2
(Adobe Camera Raw 5.6)
-- 10.2 9.44 7.88
Canon Rebel XS
(Adobe Camera Raw 4.5)
-- 10.3 9.27 7.88
Nikon D3
(Camera JPEG)
-- -- -- 7.87
Canon Digital Rebel XTi
(Adobe Camera Raw 3.6)
10.8 9.88 9.18 7.84
Canon EOS 5D
(Adobe Camera Raw 3)
11.0 10.4 9.21 7.83
Nikon D90
(Camera JPEG)
-- -- -- 7.77
Panasonic DMC-GH1
(Adobe Camera Raw 5.4b)
9.88 -- 9.30 7.76
Canon 60D
(Adobe Camera Raw 6.3)
10.7 9.88 9.12 7.75
Sony A55
(Camera JPEG)
9.59 9.36 8.70 7.74
Canon Rebel T1i
(Adobe Camera Raw 5.4b)
11.2 10.2 9.16 7.73
Pentax K-7
(Adobe Camera Raw 5.4)
10.6 9.93 9.07 7.73
Canon EOS 40D
(Adobe Camera Raw 4.2)
11.2 10.1 9.26 7.72
Panasonic DMC-GH1
(Camera JPEG)
8.77 -- -- 7.70
Canon Rebel XSi
(Adobe Camera Raw 4.4.1)
10.6 9.95 9.10 7.68
Canon EOS 50D
(Camera JPEG)
(ALO STD by default)
-- -- 8.90 7.68
Sony A33
(Camera JPEG)
-- 9.95 9.17 7.67
Nikon D700
(Camera JPEG)
-- -- 9.05 7.67
Canon 5D Mark II
(Camera JPEG)
(ALO STD by default)
10.6 9.68 8.98 7.66
Nikon D5000
(Camera JPEG)
-- -- 8.96 7.65
Sony A560
(Camera JPEG)
10.5 10.2 8.86 7.65
Canon EOS-5D
(Camera JPEG)
10.2 9.68 8.82 7.65
Olympus E-3
(Adobe Camera Raw 4.3)
10.3 10.1 9.29 7.64
Nikon D3100
(Camera JPEG)
10.2 9.92 9.27 7.62
Nikon D60
(Camera JPEG)
10.5 9.62 8.89 7.62
Nikon D200
(Adobe Camera Raw 3)
10.6 9.65 8.96 7.61
Sony NEX-5
(Camera JPEG)
10.4 9.64 8.82 7.57
Canon 7D
(Camera JPEG)
(ALO STD by default)
-- 9.70 8.54 7.54
Canon T2i
(Camera JPEG)
-- 9.44 8.45 7.53
Nikon D80
(Adobe Camera Raw 3.6)
11.1 10.4 9.42 7.51
7.5 Stops
Nikon D300S
(Camera JPEG)
-- -- -- 7.49
Olympus E-500
(Adobe Camera Raw 3)
10.7 9.97 8.90 7.46
Canon 60D
(Camera JPEG)
(ALO=STD by default)
10.2 9.74 8.74 7.46
Olympus E-510
(Adobe Camera Raw 4.1)
10.0 9.43 8.64 7.46
Pentax K10D
(Camera JPEG)
-- 9.49 8.88 7.44
Sony NEX-3
(Camera JPEG)
10.0 9.62 8.86 7.44
Nikon D300
(Camera JPEG)
-- -- 8.70 7.44
Olympus E-420
(Adobe Camera Raw 4.1.1)
10.0 9.61 8.65 7.44
Canon Rebel T1i
(Camera JPEG)
(ALO=STD by default)
11.3 10.1 9.34 7.43
Nikon D2Xs
(Adobe Camera Raw 3.6)
10.6 9.90 8.93 7.42
Canon EOS 40D
(Camera JPEG)
10.6 9.52 8.78 7.42
Olympus E-PL1
(Adobe Camera Raw 5.7)
10.4 9.89 8.76 7.39
Nikon D3X
(Camera JPEG)
-- -- -- 7.37
Nikon D50
(Camera JPEG)
10.7 9.93 8.70 7.36
Panasonic DMC-G2
(Adobe Camera Raw 5.7)
10.3 9.87 8.77 7.35
Sony A380
(Camera JPEG)
(DRO Standard by default)
-- 9.54 8.84 7.32
Panasonic DMC-G1
(Adobe Camera Raw 5.2)
10.7 9.78 8.70 7.32
Nikon D3000
(Camera JPEG)
10.2 9.64 8.69 7.31
Sony A900
(Camera JPEG)
(DRO off by default )
10.2 9.75 8.49 7.31
Sony A330
(Camera JPEG)
(DRO Standard by default)
10.1 9.37 8.59 7.30
Sony A200
(Camera JPEG)
(DRO on by default)
10.4 9.43 8.91 7.29
Canon EOS 20D
(Camera JPEG)
10.3 9.66 8.85 7.29
Canon EOS 30D
(Camera JPEG)
10.3 9.50 8.57 7.29
Nikon D40
(Camera JPEG)
10.4 9.80 8.89 7.28
Sony A230
(Camera JPEG)
(DRO Standard by default)
10.1 9.51 8.51 7.26
Sony A900
(Camera JPEG)
(DRO on)
10.1 9.76 8.47 7.26
Pentax K-5
(Camera JPEG)
10.2 9.43 8.64 7.22
Canon Rebel XS
(Camera JPEG)
10.3 9.40 8.61 7.22
Olympus E-520
(Adobe Camera Raw 4.5)
11.0 9.46 8.70 7.20
Sony A350
(Camera JPEG)
(DRO on by default)
10.3 9.55 8.85 7.19
Pentax K-x
Camera JPEG
9.99 8.94 8.31 7.18
Panasonic DMC-GF1
(Adobe Camera Raw 5.5)
10.2 9.62 8.62 7.16
Nikon D80
(Camera JPEG)
10.1 9.43 8.48 7.12
Canon Digital Rebel XT
(Camera JPEG)
10.3 9.51 8.61 7.11
Nikon D200
(Camera JPEG)
-- 9.07 8.36 7.11
Olympus E-300
(Camera JPEG)
10.8 9.26 8.48 7.07
Olympus E-410
(Adobe Camera Raw 4.1)
10.2 9.40 8.24 7.05
Olympus E-500
(Camera JPEG)
10.0 9.14 8.16 7.05
Canon Digital Rebel XTi
(Camera JPEG)
9.83 9.10 8.27 7.04
Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II
(Camera JPEG)
10.3 9.38 8.60 7.04
Panasonic DMC-G1
(Camera JPEG)
-- 9.33 8.52 7.03
Pentax K200D
(Camera JPEG)
-- 9.50 8.30 7.01
7.0 Stops
Panasonic DMC-GF1
(Camera JPEG)
-- 9.33 8.44 6.99
Canon Digital Rebel
(Camera JPEG)
10.1 9.11 8.47 6.97
Nikon D2Xs
(Camera JPEG)
9.82 8.98 8.23 6.97
Panasonic DMC-L10
(Adobe Camera Raw 4.2)
10.4 9.34 8.48 6.91
Sigma DP1
(Camera JPEG)
-- 8.95 8.13 6.91
Pentax *istDs
(Camera JPEG)
10.2 10.0 8.87 6.90
Sony A100
(Camera JPEG)
10.2 9.24 8.39 6.89
Samsung NX10
(Camera JPEG,
Smart Range, ISO 200)
10.1 8.99 8.22 6.78
Pentax K100D
(Camera JPEG)
10.3 9.30 8.39 6.73
Panasonic DMC-G2
(Camera JPEG)
9.72 9.18 8.15 6.68
Pentax K20D
(Camera JPEG)
10.2 9.21 8.09 6.66
Pentax K-7
(Camera JPEG)
9.59 8.87 8.03 6.54
6.5 Stops
Nikon D2x
(Camera JPEG)
-- 8.93 7.75 6.43
Olympus E-3
(Camera JPEG)
9.32 9.06 8.50 6.42
Panasonic DMC-L10
(Camera JPEG)
-- 8.94 8.00 6.38
Olympus E-420
(Camera JPEG)
9.18 8.82 7.93 6.37
6.0 Stops
Olympus E-410
(Camera JPEG)
-- -- 7.60 5.99
Olympus E-PL1
(Camera JPEG,
Gradation = Normal)
-- 8.63 7.45 5.89
Samsung NX10
(Camera JPEG)
9.32 8.48 7.46 5.88
Nikon D70s
(Camera JPEG)
9.84 8.69 7.46 5.85
Nikon D70
(Camera JPEG)
9.81 8.76 7.58 5.84
Olympus E-520
(Camera JPEG)
9.32 8.68 7.74 5.74
Olympus E-P2
(Camera JPEG,
Gradation = Normal)
10.1 8.83 7.78 5.58
Olympus E-P1
(Camera JPEG,
Gradation = Normal)
-- 8.85 7.74 5.47

Note that this test is repeatable to within 1/3 EV according to the Imatest website, so differences of less than 0.33 can be ignored.

 

Sony A560 Resolution Chart Test Results

The chart above shows consolidated results from spatial frequency response measurements in both the horizontal and vertical axes. The "MTF 50" numbers tend to correlate best with visual perceptions of sharpness, so those are what we focus on here. The uncorrected resolution figures are 2,246 line widths per picture height in the horizontal direction (corresponding to the vertically-oriented edge), and 1,805 lines along the vertical axis (corresponding to the horizontally-oriented edge), for a combined average of 2,025 LW/PH. Correcting to a "standardized" sharpening with a one-pixel radius decreased the horizontal number slightly but increased the vertical number by a similar amount, resulting in an average of 2,040 LW/PH. The similar standardized versus uncorrected results indicate the default in-camera sharpening is pretty close to ideal.

To see what's going on, refer to the plots below, which show the actual edge profiles for both horizontal and vertical edges, in both their original and corrected forms. Here, you can see that the level of in-camera sharpening applied in both the horizontal and vertical directions are close to optimal. Imatest reports only 1.92% oversharpening in the horizontal direction, and 3.89% undersharpening in the vertical direction. These are excellent results from in-camera JPEGs, but as usual, if you turn the camera's sharpening down a little, you'll get better results when sharpening in-camera JPEGs post-exposure in Adobe Photoshop or other image editing software. (That said, you should be able to extract more fine detail if you begin with a RAW file, rather than a JPEG.)

 

 

Note: We don't feature SFR-based LW/PH resolution numbers more prominently in our reviews (eg, outside the Imatest pages) because we've found that they're *very* sensitive to minor differences in in-camera image processing. Relatively small changes in the amount of in-camera sharpening can have a large effect on the resulting resolution numbers. Imatest attempts to compensate for this by adjusting to a "standard" sharpening, but this approach can't completely undo what happens inside the cameras, and so often gives inconsistent results. Sometimes the "standardized" sharpening happens to just match the shape of the edge profile with the in-camera sharpening applied, and you'll get wildly high results. At other times, it will tend to correct in the opposite direction. Unfortunately, ignoring the in-camera sharpening entirely can result in even greater discrepancies, particularly between models from different manufacturers. Turning off sharpening in the camera may or may not fully eliminate the sharpening, so simply turning off sharpening in the camera JPEGs isn't a reliable solution. It also wouldn't be the way most people shoot the cameras. We could process RAW files with no sharpening (as shown below), but then that'd only suit the people working primarily or exclusively from RAW, and would open another can of worms as to what RAW converter was used, etc, etc.

The bottom line is that numbers for resolution only take you so far. Detail handling and edge acuity are very complex issues; ones that don't easily boil down to a single number. The best approach is to simply look look at the broad array of standardized test shots we take with each camera, to the point of downloading and printing them with whatever processing you'd use if you owned the camera and shot with it. See how the differences stack up for you visually, and make your decision on that, rather than on abstract resolution numbers.

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Note: For details, test results, and analysis of the many tests done with this camera, please click on the tabs at the beginning of the review or below.

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