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Resolution-BuildingWithGrill



D200 D2x
click for large versions

Introduction

This page compares the resolving power of the D2X and D200 using the 17-55/f2.8DX AFS at 55mm @ f8.

Sharpness

Five (5) frames were taken with each camera at f8, refocusing (autofocus) each time. As usual, mirror lockup was used. However, even at f8, focusing error is of sufficient magnitude to produce blurry results off-center. The best frame was chosen from each camera for this comparison. See the Focus Error section below for details on focusing.

As with the other resolution examples, the D2X shows its superior resolution. The advantage is modest, yet significant enough for those who might make larger prints. Less evident without sharpening, the difference is more noticeable with sharpening. In particular observe the bottom of the frame; where the D200 drops detail, the D2X shows it.

Nikon 17-55/f2.8 DX AFS, 55mm @ f8
Unsharpened
D200 D2X

Nikon 17-55/f2.8 DX AFS, 55mm @ f8
Unsharp Mask {400, 0.3, 0}
D200 D2X
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Focus error

Focus error occurred with both cameras, and even f8 was not sufficient to overcome the error. Nikon needs to realize that if it’s going to offer 5-6 micron photosites, it must improve focusing accuracy to actually realize the available resolution. (See also Focus Accuracy at diglloyd.com).

Crops from five frames (all at f8) are shown below. At f8, the difference is noticeable; at f2.8 the difference could lead the photographer to characterize the lens as a “dog” when in fact it might be an exceptional performer.

Focus Error—5 frames with D2x, 17-55/f2.8DX @ f8
Unsharp Mask {400, 0.3, 0}
Compare especially the left and right crops.

Conclusions

The D2X once again shows its resolution advantage as seen in the other resolution comparisons. The difference is small, and might not matter for many applications, but it is significant when overall camera features are taken into account. However, the superior resolution is realized only when accurate focus is achieved.



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