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Resolution-res-chart

Introduction

This page compares the resolving power of the D2X and D200 using the Sleicher resolution chart shown above. The Nikon 60mm/f2.8D Micro-Nikkor was used as the test lens and my sample is known (from personal experience) to be a top performer at this distance.

Great care was taken to ensure that the absolute best results were obtained with both cameras.  Multiple aperture series were taken, focus was bracketed, frames were checked on the computer, etc.  The results shown can be trusted as indicative of the performance each camera offers.

Center/mid/corner crops at f8

The D200 crops were upsampled match the D2X resolution so as to make comparison straightforward.  The results are about what can be expected, given the 10.47% (linear) resolution advantage of the D2X over the D200.  The improved resolution is most obvious on the diagonally-oriented crop; observe the “50” bars which are resolved by the D2X (or nearly so), and are not resolved by the D200.

Nikon 60mm/f2.8D Micro-Nikkor @ f8
unsharpened
  D2X D200
Center
1/3 from center
Corner

Nikon 60mm/f2.8D Micro-Nikkor @ f8
Unsharp Mask {150, 0.3, 0}
  D2X D200
Center
1/3 from center
Corner

It should be noted that the D200 image has lower contrast.  This is in spite of identical exposure, identical raw processing and identical white point.

The effect was double-checked at other apertures and is consistent throughout.  Also, the results were nearly identical when a frame was taken with a different lens: the Nikon 28-70/f2.8D AFS EDIF.  The table below shows unsharpened and sharpened versions from both lenses.

Nikon D200
  60mm/f2.8D Micro Nikkor 28-70mm/f2.8D AFS EDIF
Unsharpened
Unsharp Mask {150, 0.3, 0}
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Conclusions

The Nikon D2X is the resolution champ, with the D200 close behind.  This resolution difference will only be realized within a narrow depth of field and so may be of modest importance for many subjects where depth of field constrains the available resolution.

The D200 exhibits lower contrast than the D2X in this test.  Other tests in the field confirm this result—read on.

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