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Optimal Aperture, Depth of Field

What is the optimal lens aperture, and what are the implications for the limitations of lenses on a 36-megapixel and higher resolution DSLRs?

Markus M writes:

I have read just that moment your test with the D4 as regards the optimal aperture and diffraction. Again a highly useful and true life test, thank you very much for that!

To be sure, the D4 is not for me (cost, bulk), but according to your tests I would not have hesitations using apertures from f/8 to f/ 11 in landscape photography to get reasonably sharp pictures (foreground and background, I know there will be some limitations but it seems possible). With my D700, I do also use f/16 if necessary, though I normally stick to f/ 8 - f/ 11.

But now there is "my problem": I have also read your optimal aperture and diffraction test for the new D800. Also a great, eye-opening test!

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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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