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Blur by Diffraction

See also the full discussion on diffraction.

Diffraction is a law of physics that no lens can evade, though tilt lenses can play with it.

For any given photosite size, there is a “transition aperture” beyond which the loss of contrast becomes obvious with a top-performing lens, and then accelerates. With average lenses and/or a camera with an anti-aliasing filter, the change is more subtle at first, because the system was not performing all that well to begin with.

For a full-frame 35mm DSLR in the ~24MP range, the transition aperture is f/8, with ~f/9.5 being the last aperture that delivers contrast and brilliance; by f/11 a dullness sets in.

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Diglloyd Making Sharp Images articulates years of best practices and how-to, painstakingly learned over a decade of camera and lens evaluation.

Save yourself those years of trial and error by jump-starting your photographic technical execution when making the image. The best lens or camera is handicapped if the photographer fails to master perfect shot discipline. High-resolution digital cameras are unforgiving of errors, at least if one wants the best possible results.

  • Eases into photographic challenges with an introductory section.
  • Covers aspects of digital sensor technology that relate to getting the best image quality.
  • Technique section discusses every aspect of making a sharp image handheld or on a tripod.
  • Depth of field and how to bypass depth of field limitations via focus stacking.
  • Optical aberrations: what they are, what they look like, and what to do about them.
  • MTF, field curvature, focus shift: insight into the limitations of lab tests and why imaging performance is far more complex than it appears.
  • Optical aberrations: what they are, what they look like, and what to do about them.
  • How to test a lens for a “bad sample”.

Intrigued? See Focusing Zeiss DSLR Lenses For Peak Performance, PART ONE: The Challenges, or (one topic of many) field curvature.

Variants f/2.8, f/4, f/5.6, f/8, f/11, f/16, f/22 available in full article

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