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Sharpness and Blur Counterpoint

Consider the image below, shot at f/1.2 using the Olympus 50mm f/1.2.

What little sharpness this image has is confined to a vary narrow zone. Yet, I consider it more effective than if I had shot the same image stopped down for more depth of field; I wanted the optimistic sapling to stand out in relief to its gigantic elders. It’s not completely subtle, but it’s not completely obvious, either.

It doesn’t matter that there is some haze from spherical aberration (the glow imparts additional “feel” that I wanted), or some oddly shaped bright spots at top—sharpness is about perception, and juxtaposing sharpness against blur can be highly expressive. Enough sharpness, but not too much can be more effective than making everything sharp using deep depth of field.

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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.

Optimist
Olympus 50mm f/1.2 @ f/1.2 on Canon 1Ds Mark III

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