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ACR, Amount = 60 sharpening

Mitigating A7R Micro Contrast Diffraction Losses with Sharpening

See also Sharpening A7R Raw Files in Adobe Camera Raw and Topaz InFocus.

This discussion uses an image from the 36-megapixel Sony A7R, but the same principle applies to any camera. The finer the pixel pitch (the smaller the pixels) the more diffraction degrades per-pixel image quality*. This stems from the size of the “circle of confusion”, which grows in size as the lens is stopped down, and places a hard limit on resolution.

Speaking in full frame terms and when utilizing high-grade lenses, diffraction effects for a 36 megapixel sensor result in a faint dulling of micro contrast at f/8, a very noticeable but manageable dulling at f/11, and so much dulling at f/16 that f/16 is visibly inferior to the lens wide open (for a high grade lens). Moving to a ~54 megapixel sensor, take off one stop: f/11 is degraded to a similar degree as f/16 as on the 36-megapixel sensor. Again, this is on a per pixel basis.

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Diglloyd Guide to Mirrorless offers comprehensive integrated coverage of most APS-C and full frame mirrorless cameras and lenses.

Special emphasis is placed on Sony full-frame, including Sony lenses and the high performance Zeiss Batis and Zeiss Loxia lenses plus Rokinon/Samyang and others. Fujifilm X, Olympus and Panasonic M4/3, Sigma dp Merrill and dp/sd Quattro are also covered in depth. Years in the making, it offers a wealth of material for choosing and using a mirrorless camera.

  • Make better images by learning how to get the best results right away. For example, the best way to set up your Sony camera.
  • Save money by choosing the right lens for your needs the first time, particularly with the numerous lenses available for Sony.
  • Make better images, a sort of “cheat sheet” saving yourself months or years of ad-hoc learning—best practices and how-to and processing parameters are discussed and shown.
  • Jaw-dropping image quality found nowhere else utilizing Retina-grade images up to 28 megapixels filling up to 5K display, plus large crops.
  • Real world examples with insights found nowhere else. Make sharper images just by understanding lens behavior you won’t read about elsewhere.
  • Aperture series from wide open through stopped down, showing the full range of lens performance and bokeh.
  • Optical quality analysis of field curvature, focus shift, sharpness, flare, distortion, and performance in the field.

Want a preview? Click on any page below to see an excerpt as well as extensive blog coverage, for example on Sony.

Variants f5_6, f16_1, f16_2, f16_3, f16_4, f16_Topaz available in full article

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