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Bokeh and Blur

How a lens blurs when out of focus is a Big Deal..

Sharpness and Blur by Optics

Blur from optical behavior or subject-related issue..

Blur from Camera or Support

Sharpness loss by camera or support or technique..

Appendices

Glossary and further reading..

Digital Sensor Technology

Digital capture technology is discrete, and not the same as film..

Post Processing for Sharpness

Making image captures look sharp..

How To Get Peak Sharpness With Perfect Focus

Focusing is more complicated than it first appears..

Depth of Field

Controlling the zone of sharp detail..

Focus Stacking Overview

Bypass the limits on depth of field and diffraction..

Diffraction

Getting peak performance from your lens.

Understanding Modulation Transfer Function (MTF)

Understanding resolution and contrast graphs..

Longitudinal Chromatic Aberration

Understanding Longitudinal (Axial) chromatic aberration (LOCA)..

How to Test A Lens

How to verify a good sample and assess all aspects of lens performance..

Photoshop How-To

Working with Photoshop for raw conversion and more..

Sigma SD1 Merrill

Sigma/Foveon true-color sensor in a DSLR body..

Nikon D850

The best becomes better..

Nikon D800E

36 megapixels in a compact full-frame DSLR..

Nikon D800E vs D800

D800E supplement and comparisons with Nikon D800..

Nikon D800 Monochrome Conversion by MaxMax.com

D800 with the RGB Bayer matrix removed for a true monochrome sensor..

Nikon D4

Nikon’s pro-body high speed low light wonder..

Nikon D3200

24-megapixel APS-C consumer DSLR..

Canon EOS 5DS / 5DS R

50 megapixel successor to the 22 megapixel Canon 5D Mark III..

Nikon AF-S 70-200mm f/4 ED VR and 70-200mm f/2.8 ED VR II

Which speed zoom for the Nikon D800/D800E?.

Nikon D3x 24.4-megapixel DSLR review

Includes: D3x resolution comparisons (res chart) with Nikon D3, Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III, resolution comparison on outdoor shot with Nikon D3, large examples, large wildlife examples, Nikon 200mm f/2 VR on D3x, long exposure noise ISO series, D3x sensitivity on diffraction, D3x dynamic range at ISO 100 vs ISO 50, D3x vs D3 color and noise..

Canon 1D Mark IV

Canon 1D Mark IV 16-megapixel DSLR..

Nikon vs Canon: noise and sharpness

Nikon vs Canon: Noise and Sharpness.

Canon 14mm f/2.8L II

In-depth review of the Canon EF 14mm f/2.8L II including flare, distortion, field curvature, resolution charts, numerous field examples and comparison to the Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8G. The Canon EF 14/2.8L II is a superb lens, but with some peculiarities which may enhance or degrade its appeal for different uses. The review is as much a “user guide” as a review; even if you use this lens it’s well worth your time to read this review..

Voigtlander 40mm f/2.8 SL II Color-Skopar

Ultra compact normal lens..

Voigtlander 90mm f/3.5 APO-Lanthar SL II

Medium telephoto with world-class chromatic correction..

Voigtlander 180mm f/4 APO-Lanthar

Telephoto with world-class chromatic correction..

Canon TS-E 17/4L

Ultra wide angle tilt shift with tremendous versatility.

Canon TS-E 45mm f/2.8

Normal lens with tilt/shift.

Shift Lenses for Nikon and Canon

[Older material, but still relevant]. Shift lens performance of Nikon/Canon/Schneider/Olympus on various cameras..

Pentax K-1

36-megapixel full-frame DSLR with SuperRes Pixel Shift Mode..

Pentax HD FA 15-30mm f/2.8 ED SDM WR

Full frame ultra wide angle zoom..

Pentax smc P-D FA 50mm f/2.8 Macro

Macro lens focusing to life size 1:1 in a normal lens..

Pentax smc Pentax-D FA 100mm f/2.8 WR Macro

Macro lens focusing to life size 1:1..

Pentax HD DA Limited 15mm f/4 ED

APS-C wide angle lens equivalent to 22mm on full-frame..

Pentax HD DA Limited 21mm f/3.2 AL

APS-C moderate wide angle lens equivalent to 33mm on full-frame..

Pentax HD DA Limited 35mm f/2.8 Macro

APS-C normal lens equivalent to 53mm on full-frame..

Canon 40mm f/2.8 STM

Canon’s tiny and lovely pancake lens..

Canon 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS

Canon 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS .

Canon 35mm f/1.4L II

Canon’s updated fast 35mm prime, evaluated on Canon 5DS R..

Sigma 14mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art

A whopping 4/3 stop faster than other lenses in its range..

Sigma 24mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art

Sigma’s fast high performance wide angle..

Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art

Sigma’s fast high performance normal lens..

Sigma 85mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art

Sigma’s best portrait lens..

Sigma 135mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art

Fastest 135mm lens yet, with ultra high performance..

Sigma Telephoto APO Macro Lenses: 150mm, 180mm

Sigma’s fast telephoto APO macro lenses..

Schneider PC-TS Perspective Control Tilt/Shift Lenses

Tilt/Shift by Schneider for Canon and Nikon and other brands..

180mm Lenses for the Nikon D3x

Explores options for 180mm lenses on the Nikon D3x, including the Leica 180/2.8 APO-Elmarit-R in Nikon mount, Nikon 180/2.8 ED, Nikon 70-200/2.8 VR, Nikon 70-300/4.5-5.6 VR, and Tamron 70-200/2.8. Updated: now includes the Voigtlander 180/4 APO!.

Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G

Nikon’s latest 50mm lens compared with the Zeiss ZF 50/1.4, Nikon 50/1.4D and Sigma 50/1.4..

Nikon AF-S Nikkor 58mm f/1.4G

Nikon’s High performance normal lens.

Nikon AF Micro Nikkor 200mm f/4.0D IF-ED

Nikon’s workhorse 200mm macro lens, and not just sharp at close-ups!.

Nikon AF-S Nikkor 20mm f/1.8G

Nikon’s fast ultra wide angle..

Coastal Optics 60mm f/4 UV-VIS-IR APO Macro

A superlative multi-spectral lens with perfect color correction..

Canon 11-24mm f/4L USM

Extreme wide angle zoom..

Canon 16-35mm f/2.8L III

Is the 3rd time the charm?.

Canon 16-35mm f/4L IS

Canon’s compact image stabilized wide angle zoom..

Nikon AF-S 105mm f/1.4E ED

Nikon’s best-ever f/1.4 lens?.

Nikon Ultra Wide Zooms

Comparing Nikon 16-35mm f/4 VR, 17-35mm f/2.8, 14-24mm f/2.8, 18-35mm, 24-70mm f/2.8 along with Nikon 20mm f/3.5, 24mm f/2, 28mm f/2, 35mm f/1.4 AIS, and more..

Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II

A review of Canon’s new 70-200mm zoom, along with comparisons to other models and the 200mm f/2L IS. Extensive comparisons at multiple focal lengths..

Hartblei 40/80/120mm SuperRotators

Medium format Zeiss glass in Hartblei precision tilt/shift lens barrels!.

Rokinon 24mm f/3.5 Tilt-Shift Lens

Perspective control for architecture or landscape as an alternative to Nikon and Canon brand name offerings..

Canon RF 50mm f/1.2L USM

High speed normal lens optimized for Canon mirrorless..

Sony Alpha A7R

Full frame compact mirrorless with interchangeable lenses..

Sony FE 35mm f/1.4 Distagon ZA

Fast and gorgeous moderate wide angle Zeiss design..

Sony FE 35mm f/2.8 ZA Sonnar

Compact moderate wide angle for Sony mirrorless..

Sony FE 85mm f/1.4 GM

Top-grade medium telephoto..

Voigtlander FE Heliar-Hyper 10mm f/5.6 Aspherical III

Anything wider would be a fisheye..

Sony FE 16-35mm f/2.8 GM

Pro-grade f/2.8 wide angle zoom..

Sony FE 16-35mm f/4 ZA OSS Vario-Tessar

Comapact ultra-wide zoom for Sony full frame mirrorless..

Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM

Premiere mid-range zoom for Sony full frame mirrorless.

Sony FE 24-105mm f/4 G OSS

Wide angle to telephoto zoom with optical stabilization..

Sony FE 24-70mm f/4 OSS Vario-Tessar

Comapact mid-range zoom for Sony full frame mirrorless.

ALLVIEW—Any Lens Live View Camera

Eliminating the camera body barrier— any kind of lens with Live View EVF and LCD.

Leica M Lenses on Olympus OM-D E-M5

Does pricey M glass deliver on mirrorless?.

Ricoh GR

Razor sharp 28mm lens on APS-C sensor and outstanding usability and features..

Sony Cybershot RX1R II

Diminutive full-frame camera with 35mm f/2 fixed lens..

Sony Cybershot DSC-RX1 / RX1R

Full frame camera in an ultra-compact body with or without anti-aliasing filter..

Sony DSC-RX100

Stunningly high image quality in a 20MP point and shoot tiny camera..

Sony DSC-RX10 III

Stunningly high image quality in a 20MP point and wide range zoom..

Olympus Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8 PRO Zoom

A high performance mid-range zoom..

Olympus M.Zuiko 17mm f/1.8

A fast moderate wide angle..

Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 300mm f/4 IS PRO

Super telephoto with superb bokeh and color correction..

Panasonic Lumix G 8mm f/3.5 Fisheye

A fisheye with great contrast and high resolving power..

Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 25mm f/1.4 ASPH Micro 4/3

A fast and lovely 'normal' lens (50mm equiv) for Micro 4/3..

Olympus OM-D E-M5

Superb ergonomic design in a compact camera..

Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II

Updated model with hi-res sensor shift mode..

Olympus E-P1 micro-4/3 camera

Great image quality, but....

Fujifilm XF 10-24mm f/4 R OIS

Wide angle zoom equivalent to 15-36mm.

Fujifilm Fujinon XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4 R

Fujifilm’s kit zoom for the X-E1.

Fujifilm Fujinon XF 56mm f/1.2

A bright short telephoto lens..

Fujifilm Fujinon XF 60mm f/2.4 R

Short telephoto macro lens..

Sony NEX-7 and NEX-5N

24 or 16 megapixels in a compact body with APS-C sensor..

Sony Alpha A6000

Value camera: 24 megapixel APS-C sensor with EVF and vibration-free shutter..

Zeiss 24mm f/1.8 for Sony NEX

Moderate wide angle for Sony NEX..

Zeiss Loxia 21mm f/2.8 Distagon

Outstanding ultra wide angle performer..

Zeiss Batis 18mm f/2.8 Distagon

Autofocus extreme wide angle for Sony full-frame mirrorless..

Zeiss Batis 25mm f/2 Distagon

Autofocus wide angle for Sony full-frame mirrorless..

Zeiss Batis 85mm f/1.8 Sonnar

Autofocus portrait lens for Sony full-frame mirrorless..

Zeiss Batis 135mm f/2.8 APO-Sonnar

Apochromatic pin-sharp medium telephoto for Sony full-frame mirrorless..

Zeiss Touit 12mm f/2.8 Distagon

Ultra wide angle lens for Sony NEX or Fujifilm X..

Zeiss Touit 50mm f/2.8M

Moderate telephoto macro lens for Sony NEX or Fujifilm X. Useful on full frame too!.

Sigma dp0 Quattro

21mm f/5.6 equivalent FOV lens..

Sigma dp2 Quattro

45mm f/2.8 equivalent FOV lens..

Sigma DP1 Merrill

28mm f/2.8 equivalent lens on APS-C sensor..

Sigma DP2 Merrill

45mm f/2.8 equivalent lens on APS-C sensor..

Sigma DP3 Merrill

75mm f/2.8 equivalent lens on APS-C sensor..

Fujifilm GFX Image Processing

Tips on getting the best results..

Fujifilm GFX Image Quality

Image quality assessments..

Fujifilm GF 23mm f/4 R WR

Ultra wide angle equivalent to 19mm f/3.3. .

Fujifilm GF 32-64mm f/4 R LM WR

Mid-range zoom lens equivalent to 26-53mm f/3.3..

Fujifilm GF 45mm f/2.8 R WR

Moderate wide angle equivalent to 37mm f/2.3..

Fujifilm GF 63mm f/2.8 R WR

Standard normal lens equivalent to 52mm f/2.3..

Fujifilm GF 120mm f/4 Macro R LM OIS WR

High performance macro photography on medium format, equivalent to 99mm f/3.3..

Hasselblad XCD 21mm f/4

18mm equivalent..

Hasselblad XCD 30mm f/3.5

25mm equivalent..

Hasselblad XCD 45mm f/3.5

37mm equivalent..

Hasselblad XCD 120mm f/3.5

Telephoto macro lens, 99mm equivalent..

Pentax 645D 40-Megapixel Medium Format DSLR

A price/performance breakthrough?.

Pentax 645Z Image Quality

High end image quality, but what about lenses?.

Pentax HD 35mm f/3.5 AL [IF]

Moderate wide angle lens for Pentax 645..

Pentax 645 HD DA 28-45mm f/4.5 ED AW SR

Wide angle zoom for Pentax 645..

Pentax 645 90mm f/2.8 D FA 645 Macro ED AW SR

Medium telephoto macro lens for Pentax 645 digital and film..

Hasselblad H4D 50 Megapixel Medium Format DSLR

How does Hasselblad’s 3rd generation medium format entry measure up?.

Rolleiflex Hy6 Mod 2 Medium Format System

Lens performance at 80 megapixels..

Leica S2 37.5 Megapixel Medium Format DSLR

How does Leica’s medium format entry measure up in ergonomics, image quality, etc?.

Leica S Examples

Examples and comparison from the various lenses.

Leica 24mm f/3.5 Super-Elmar-S ASPH

Extreme wide angle with ultra high performance..

Leica 30-90mm f/3.5-5.6 Vario-Elmar-S ASPH

All-arounder zoom for Leica S.

Wrap-up and Summary

Conclusions and where to find products and additional information..

Milvus 21mm f/2.8

The classic 21/2.8 Distagon improved..

Milvus 25mm f/1.4

Highest performing 25mm from Zeiss ever..

Milvus 35mm f/2

Classic design in the latest Milvus build..

Milvus 50mm f/1.4

Outstanding build and optical quality in a normal lens..

Milvus 50mm f/2M

The classic 50/2 Makro-Planar improved..

Milvus 85mm f/1.4

Outstanding build and optical quality in a medium tele..

Milvus 100mm f/2M

The classic 100/2 Makro-Planar improved..

Milvus 135mm f/2

On Otus, in effect. Milvus garb for the 135/2 APO, with improved lens coatings on one element. See the ZF.2/ZE 135/2 review pages..

Introduction

Start here to best utilize this guide..

Optical Performance

Sharpness and rendering..

15mm f/2.8 Distagon

Ultra high performance in an extreme wild wide angle lens..

21mm f/2.8 Distagon

Brilliant imaging, even wide open, but with a few quirks. (Review in progress) .

25mm f/2 Distagon

Ultra high performance with a fast aperture..

28mm f/2 Distagon

An artist’s drawing tool..

35mm f/2 Distagon

Balance and poise..

50mm f/2 Makro-Planar

Versatility in a “normal” lens and macro too!.

Otus 28mm f/1.4 APO-Distagon

Fast high performance APO wide angle..

Otus 55mm f/1.4 APO-Distagon

Ultra high performance apochromatic normal lens, first in the Otus line..

Otus 55mm f/1.4 APO-Distagon Rendering Style

Rendering style, bokeh and beauty..

Otus 85mm f/1.4 APO-Planar

Ultra high performance apochromatic medium telephoto, overview and technical..

Otus 85mm f/1.4 APO-Planar Rendering Style

Rendering style, bokeh and 'transparency' without peer..

85mm f/1.4 APO-Planar Night Vision

Peering into shadows at night with the very best..

100mm f/2 Makro-Planar

King of bokeh! Corner-to-corner sharpness, world class..

135mm f/2 APO-Sonnar

Beautiful bokeh, razor sharp, superb color correction..

Conclusions

Summary and wrap-up..

Leica M Typ 240 Compared To Full Frame Cameras

Relative sharpness and performance across cameras..

Leica M Monochrom Typ 246

24-megapixel CMOS monochrome sensor..

Leica Q (Typ 116)

24-megapixel fixed lens compact full-frame..

Leica 16-18-21mm f/4 Tri-Elmar-M ASPH

Leica’s ultra wide angle zoom lens..

Leica 18mm f/3.8 Super-Elmar-M ASPH

Leica’s widest prime lens..

Leica 21mm f/3.4 Super-Elmar-M ASPH

Leica’s best-performing 21mm..

Leica 24mm f/3.8 Elmar-M ASPH

Leica’s best-performing 24mm, and with a flat field..

Leica 28mm f/2 Summicron-M ASPH (pre-2016)

Leica’s widest lens utilizing built-in frame lines..

Leica 35mm f/1.4 Summilux-M ASPH (2010 FLE)

Leica’s superlative and most natural lens for the M..

50/0.95 Noctilux Rendering Style

Understanding the Rendering Style of the Noctilux..

Leica 50mm f/2 APO-Summicron-M ASPH

The world’s best 50mm lens is outstanding, but with some limits..

Leica 75mm f/2.4 (2.5) Summarit-M

Leica’s budget 75mm medium telephoto..

Leica 90mm f/4 Macro-Elmar-M

Diminutive telephoto and macro lens..

Leica 90mm f/2 APO-Summicron-R ASPH

Compact lens for portraiture or similar..

Leica 100mm f/2.8 APO-Macro-Elmarit-R

Superb all-around macro and general-purpose lens..

Leica 180mm f/2.8 APO-Elmarit-R

World’s best mid-range telephoto lens..

Zeiss ZM 25mm f/2.8 Biogon

Compact wide angle with brilliant contrast..

Zeiss ZM 35mm f/1.4 Distagon

Fast and ultra high performance moderate wide angle rangefinder lens..

ALLVIEW— Any Lens Live View Camera

ARCHIVAL MATERIAL. Eliminating the camera body barrier— any kind of lens with Live View EVF and LCD, and especially Leica M-mount.
HISTORICAL, please see Guide to Mirrorless..


Blog posts, reverse chronological

2018

2018-08-25 Nikon Z7 Diffraction Compensation

2018-08-25 Nikon Z7: Pinpoint AF

2018-07-25 Hasselblad PR: “Real World” Comparison: Nikon D850 with Decrepit Nikon 17-35mm f/2.8 Zoom Compared Without Format Equivalence or Validation of Basics

2017

2017-11-01 Zeiss Milvus 25mm f/1.4 Stacking Examples: Glacier Canyon and Dana Lakes (Nikon D850)

2017-10-27 Nikon D850: 'Focus shift shooting' Feature Most Important Feature since Live View; Focus Stacking is the ONLY Solution to Full Resolution Images

2017-04-13 Fujifilm GF 32-64mm f/4 @32mm Focus Stack: Barroom Interior

2017-03-07 Fujifilm GFX 50s + 120mm f/4 Macro Plus Diffraction and Sharpening Evaluations

2016

2016-11-07 MTF for the Sigma 85mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art

2016-02-21 Pentax K1: Impressive Innovation Unmatched by CaNikon

2016-02-04 Sony Diffraction-Free Computed Fantasy MTF

2015

2015-07-08 Reader Question: Diffraction

2015-05-27 Leica M Monochrom Typ 246: Aperture Series to Assess Diffraction and Digital Artifacts (Dolls)

2015-04-30 Leica 30-90mm f/3.5-5.6 Vario-Elmar-S ASPH Aperture Series @ 51mm: 'Pescadero Creek Pool'

2015-04-29 Leica 30-90mm f/3.5-5.6 Vario-Elmar-S ASPH Aperture Series @ 90mm: 'Grass Clumps in Boulder'

2015-04-29 Zeiss Batis 25mm f/2 Distagon: MTF Series from f/2 - f/16 + Distortion

2015-04-29 Zeiss Batis 85mm f/1.8 Sonnar: MTF Series from f/1.8 - f/16 + Distortion

2015-04-23 Leica 30-90mm f/3.5-5.6 Vario-Elmar-S ASPH Aperture Series @ 30mm: 'Mossy Boulders in Pescadero Creek'

2015-04-21 Leica S with the Leica 30-90mm f/3.5-5.6 Vario-Elmar-S ASPH

2015-02-25 Mitigating Color Aliasing via Diffraction (Leica M240, but applies to any/all)

2015-02-24 Mitigating Color Aliasing via Diffraction

2014

2014-02-28 Guide to Leica: Leica 18mm f/3.8 Super-Elmar-M ASPH, Aperture Series: Sidelit Barn at DeChambeau Ranch

2014-02-27 Guide to Leica: Leica 18mm f/3.8 Super-Elmar-M ASPH, Aperture Series: Backlit Cottonwood at DeChambeau Ranch

2014-02-17 Guide to Leica: Leica 24mm f/3.8 Elmar-M ASPH, Aperture Series: Colorful Leaves on Still Pool (M Typ 240)

2014-02-17 Guide to Leica: Leica 90mm f/2 APO-Summicron-R ASPH, Aperture Series: Sunlit Grasses with Colorful Leaves (M Typ 240)

2014-02-15 Readers Comment on the Sony A7 / A7R

2014-01-30 Olympus E-M1 + 12-40mm f/2.8 PRO @ 12mm: Aperture Series with Diffraction and Quality Discussion (Boulder Logjam)

2014-01-13 Mitigating A7R Micro Contrast Diffraction Losses with Sharpening

2013

2013-07-16 Zeiss 21mm f/2.8 Distagon: Eroding Bristlecone Giant (Nikon D800E)

2013-04-21 Mitigating Contrast Loss From Diffraction aka How to Make f/16 Look Crisp

2013-04-02 Mitigating Contrast Loss From Diffraction aka How to Make f/16 Look Crisp

2013-03-22 How Does the Zeiss 135mm f/2 APO-Sonnar Perform on a 56-Megapixel DSLR?

2013-03-19 MTF at f/22 with the Zeiss 135mm f/2 APO-Sonnar

2012

2012-07-27 At Which Aperture Does Diffraction Degrade Olympus OM-D E-M5 Image Sharpness?

2012-05-03 Nikon D800E Diffraction Behavior with Aperture Series

2012-04-26 Optimal Aperture for Nikon D800

2012-04-25 Nikon D4 Optimal Aperture (Diffraction)

2012-04-25 Nikon D800 Optimal Aperture (Diffraction)

2012-03-07 Diffraction, Sharpness and Nikon D800E

2012-02-07 Nikon D800E: Moiré

2012-01-05 Sony NEX-7: Loss of Contrast and Resolution from Diffraction

2010

2010-09-15 Nikon D7000

2010-07-08 Hasselblad user examines Leica S2 pre-review coverage

2009

2009-09-29 Zeiss ZE 21mm f/2.8 Distagon example image

2009-01-30 Nikon D3x and PC-E tilt/shift lenses

2008

2008-12-28 D3x diffraction study

2008-11-11 Tip of the day: Depth of field

2008-08-09 Shutterbug review of Nikon PC-E 45/2.8

2008-06-26 Depth of field, diffraction, and megapixels

2008-06-14 Resolution limits for digital SLRs

2008-04-30 The future of resolution, 36 megapixels?

2008-04-25 Canon EOS 1DsM3 — detail galore

2007

2007-12-15 Digital SLR resolution — the future

2007-11-13 Diffraction, a real-world example

2007-11-03 Diffraction and digital SLRs

2007-10-24 In the market for a point and shit camera?

2006

2006-05-30 Consumer digicams and diffraction

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