Resolution and 50% MTF with Canon CMOS and Film Cameras
Comparison among the Canon EOS-1Ds, EOS-1D Mark II, EOS-1D Mark II, 20D, D60 and EOS-1V /Astia 100F film

With evolution of digital CMOS cameras as well as transparency film, comparisons were made among 35mm format cameras and digital slr cameras with respect to their ability to produce sharp images when enlarged. Resolution of imaging systems was measured using a USAF 1951 test pattern on an Edmund Scientific resolving power chart. 50% MTF (modulation transfer function) which most authorities consider to be a better indicator of camera system sharpness was measured using the Koren 2003 chart. Comparison photographs were also taken.

Camera / Imaging System Camera
Pixel Size
Pixel Area
(sq. µm)

EF 85mm f/1.8 @ f/8
50% MTF

EF 85mm f/1.8 @ f/8
Canon 20D 8.2 6.5 42 62 71.5
Canon D60 6.3 7.4 55 55 75
EOS-1D Mark II 8.2 8.4 71 55 75
EOS-1Ds 11.2 8.8 77 55 70
EOS-1Ds Mark II Run separately at another time. 16.7 7.2 UNK 62 73.5
EOS-1v / Astia 100F
Measure from image
scanned with Nikon
CS 4000 ED from film
NA NA NA 79 64
EOS-1v / Astia 100F
Measure direct from film
Abbreviations: lp/mm = line pair per mm; NA = not applicable; ND = not done; UNK = Unknown

Link to Comparison Images

See Another comparison updated in the EOS-1Ds Mark II Review

Resolution and 50% MTF variations with aperture for the EF 85mm f/1.8
EOS-1Ds data is from in camera jpg images. RAW image processing yields higher data as shown in the table above.


Equipment Review Index

Posted 26 September 2004; Updated 30 April, 2005

© 2004, William L. Castleman