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Diffraction and Optimal Aperture (Mosaic, Leica 100/2.8 APO)

Diffraction is discussed in detail in Making Sharp Images.

Stopping down too far begins to degrade contrast at first, then starts destroying resolution.

Diffraction doesn’t care which camera is used or its resolution, but a high-resolution sensor suffers more in terms of per-pixel quality, because diffraction blurs the resolved spot size more relative to the size of the sensor photosites, “spilling over” a single photosite, reducing the contrast and then the resolved detail.

With the Nikon D800, diffraction can be noticed beginning at ƒ/5.6, It steadily increases in negative effect at smaller apertures (ƒ/8, ƒ/11, ƒ/16, ƒ/22).

See a similar series for the Nikon D4.

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Since 2006, Diglloyd Advanced Photography is the authoritative review and reference for DSLRs and their lenses: Canon and Nikon primarily, but also Pentax and some medium format. Reviews of key DSLRs are included, but the primary focus is on lens performance. Also included is a wealth of technique and workflow approaches.

DAP includes thousands of pages of exclusive coverage and high resolution Retina-grade examples detailing Canon and Nikon DSLR bodies and their lenses, with in-depth analysis of sharpness and contrast, color, bokeh, vignetting, distortion, MTF, and flare, behavioral and practical usage.

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