This page contains images that I have made to compare different camera/lens combinations I have been using. I find this more useful than camera or lens tests alone, as it is the camera/lens combination that affects the image quality (in addition to the photographer).
My old, worn Canon S45 set at f8 and a focal length comparable to 50 mm in 35mm format. This may be a bit unfair to Canon, as this camera has shot more than 50 000 frames and taken a beating prior to making the test-shoot. It still works perfectly fine after all these years (new in 2003), but there is a chance it is not longer performing at it's peak. I still think Canon S-series compacts are among the best in the business in their category. The S45 certainly has been a reliable companion. It also boosts functions only available on high-end SLRs today, in particular time-lapse recording.
The 24 mp Nikon D3x with a 50mm f1.4 lens stepped down to f8 is clearly the best system I have tried to date, but even more clearly, the most expensive. Still, I would very much like to test a medium format camera, if anyone is interested in lending me one.
Nikon D40x with a 18-135 kit lens set to f8 and a focal length equivalent to 50mm for 35 mm film. I bought this system for a long Australia-trip as I wanted something compact and versatile, with better quality than a compact. Clearly - these budget large zoom-range lenses have inferior image quality. The lens came with defects, and this image was recorded after 3 attempts by Nikon on warranty repair. Some obvious defects were fixed, so I assume this is the best one can expect from this lens. This system has been moth-balled after I got my Olympus E-PL2 system.
Olympus E-PL2 with it's kit lens 14-42 mm set to f8 and a focal length equivalent to 50mm for 35 mm film. I bought this system because Olympus makes a nice, compact underwater housing for it. Surprized by the good image quality of this camera, and it's compact size I now use it extensively unless a large system is required or if I need the handling capabilities of an SLR. For me, it is a good replacement for cameras ranging from good compacts to mid-range SLRs. I do however, want to test the Nikon D7000 with the best "normal zoom" for comparizon. I would expect the D7000 to be better, but I am curious about how much. I do prefer the handling of an SLR to the E-PL2.
Gopro's fist action camera - Hero H1 is a new class of camera. The photo is taken without it's small UV housing. The camera is auto-everything, in this case it selected f3.6 and 1/25 sec, ISO 350. As you can see, the lens has extreme barrel-distortion, aka "fisheye". This fixed super wideangle is the most suitable for most of the uses for this type of camera. It is propably more geared towards video, and does not have a monitor to view what you are shooting or the results on the camera.
Intova SD1 is a very compact water proof action camera in direct competition with the Hero H1. Main differences are in how it is used. This camera resembles more a regular compact camera, has a small monitor, and a standard tripod mount. It uses MicroSD cards. It can not be taken out of the water-proof housing. As the Gopro, it's auto everything, has time-lapse recording and other functions suitable for action photo. Yes, it also does full HD video. The Intova is a 5 MP camera like the Hero H1, but can interpolate up to 12 MP, that's why the picture is physically larger. Similar extreme barrel distortion, and in the same setup as the Hero, it chose f3.6, 1/12 sec and ISO 219. With sharpness set to standard, it seems to apply more noise reduction to the image than the Hero does. Personally, I like the Hero approach better on this. Except for this, image quality is not dramatically different. On handling, the Intova wins hands down due to it's monitor.
All the above images are a cut-out of the upper right corner of a picture photographed in RAW and converted to JPG. Cameras that does not use RAW, are of no interest to me. (The exception being the Gopro Hero and the Intova, as there are currently (Oct. 2012) no such cameras that shoots RAW. Video is of limited interest to me, and not evaluated. I have not reduced the pixel size, each image is approx. the same cut-out portion of an image covering the same captured area. The difference in pixel count in the images (and the sizes they have on your screen) reflects the total pixel quantity in each cameras sensor.
This page is created as a reference I use in discussions on camera reproduction capabilities. Feedbacks may encourage me to upload more camera/lens images of the same set-up.