Canon EOS 500D (Rebel T1i) - Review / Test Report - Resolution + Dynamic Range
DSLR Reviews - DSLRs


Canon’s most favorite consumer DSLR series started in 2003 with the Canon EOS 300D and a 3,43cm² sensor with 6,3 MP. More than five years later the sensor of the Canon EOS 500D decreased slightly to 3,32cm², while the resolution exploded to 15,1 MP. The following chart shows the evolution of the sensor size and the resolution of the Canon EOS 500D.

This are just numbers, so let's check the maximal resolution of the Canon. The next chart compares Canons' JPEG and RAW output to the Panasonic L10, the Canon EOS 450D & 50D, the Nikon D90 and the Panasonic G1. The RAW results are based on RAW files, transformed to DNG and converted to JPG using the same Adobe Camera RAW version.

The results aren't really surprising - the maximum resolution of the Canon EOS 500D is only insignificantly lower compared to its bigger sister, the EOS 50D, when using RAW files. The JPEG output is a good deal worse (as usual) and no appropriate option if maximum resolution is #1 priority. In addition it should be mentioned that the much smaller 2,25cm² sensor of the Panasonic G1 provides the same effective resolution (albeit a higher pixel-to-pixel sharpness due to the less megapixels) so don't get blinded by the specs. That said the EOS 500D is capable of providing darn sharp images.

Dynamic Range

"Dynamic range or light sensitivity range of a sensor indicates the ratio of light exposure between the highest brightness a camera can capture (saturation) and the lowest brightness it can effectively capture (typically when noise becomes more important than signal, i.e., SNR < 0 dB). This range indicates the maximum contrast that can be effectively captured by the sensor. The larger the dynamic range, the better, as the sensor is able to capture higher-contrast scenes. Note that dynamic range is expressed on a logarithmic scale in EV (same as f-stop), thus an increase of 1EV corresponds to a doubling of dynamic range." (DxO Labs)

Here's an analysis by our partner, the (DxO Lab):

(DxO Labs)

While the dynamic range of 11 f-stops is good at low ISO, it decreases by 1 f-stop in mid ISO range and drops below 9 f-stops at high ISO. The overall dynamic range of the Canon EOS 500D is really good and on par with the canon EOS 50D.
Compared to the Nikon D5000 the dynamic range is about one f-stop smaller at low ISO before it matches its competitor.

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