Charles Sleicher Resolution Chart
This is my the target I’ve used over the years testing for lens sharpness, tripod stability, or any time for assessing optical results with a target that offers high contrast, ease-of-focusing, and flatness. See Understanding MTF.
In recent years, I’ve used a resolution chart less and less, because what you’re testing is whether the lens has a flat field (no field curvature), as well as close-focusing performance. As some lenses are optimized for infinity, this can make otherwise outstanding lenses look quite bad.
Mr. Sleicher provides a description of how to use the test chart here, posted with permission.
Below is an actual photo taken of a frequently-used copy of the chart. Click on the photo below to see a high-resolution version (large!):
Frequently Asked Questions
What does it cost? The unmounted chart is available directly for $34.00 + $3.04 postage by sending a check to firstname.lastname@example.org at 116 Fairview Ave. N #310, Seattle, WA 98105, 206-254-1576. You might want to email him first to verify that he still offers it.
What’s the best way to mount the chart? Mount it on 1/2" black Gatorfoam (see next question). Do not use white GatorFoam, as this might reduce the chart contrast. A good photo lab should be able to do this for you at a cost of about $70 or so.
What is GatorFoam? GatorFoam is an archival-quality mounting board which offers excellent stiffness and flatness—vastly superior to materials such as foam core board. It will not warp or bend, and is reasonably durable. Fine-art photographers sometimes mount their prints on this material. You will not find a better material for mounting the test chart than this (at least not at comparable cost). It is relatively expensive, and the mounting requires a special mounting press; it’s not a do-it-yourself material.
Will it warp or bend? No. But it will bend slightly, then break (snap) if sufficient force is applied.
Is it perfectly flat? No, but it's very, very good. Few mounting materials are this stiff and this uniformly flat.
Is it heavy? No, quite light.
How long will it last? Excepting abuse or damage, you should never need to replace it. Scratches, tape marks, dents, etc do not render the chart any less useful, though excessive exposure to sunlight can fade or discolor it.
Are there other sizes? No. The only size available is 36 X 24 inches (approximately).