Please see the first page in this series for background material, including a discussion of how to evaluate sharpness.
Making a sharpness comparison with a different lens on each camera would introduce an unacceptable variable. For this test, the stellar Coastal Optics 60mm f/4 UV-VIS-IR APO Macro was used on both cameras.
This example also yields one of the best possible scenarios for the Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III: the lens is optimal, depth of field is optimal, and lighting contrast digs out all possible detail. If any example can show how much more detail is possible in 21 vs 12 megapixels, this one can!
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Since 2006, Diglloyd Advanced Photography is the authoritative review and reference for DSLRs and their lenses: Canon and Nikon primarily, but also Pentax and some medium format. Reviews of key DSLRs are included, but the primary focus is on lens performance. Also included is a wealth of technique and workflow approaches.
DAP includes thousands of pages of exclusive coverage and high resolution Retina-grade examples detailing Canon and Nikon DSLR bodies and their lenses, with in-depth analysis of sharpness and contrast, color, bokeh, vignetting, distortion, MTF, and flare, behavioral and practical usage.