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Mitigating Micro Contrast Losses from Diffraction Blur

Diffraction can rob an image of sharpness so that detail is obscured and a veiling haze intrudes over the entire image. The higher the resolution of the camera, the more of an issue this becomes in terms of extracting peak sharpness per pixel.

For example, the Nikon D7100 (March 2013 debut) uses a 24-megapixel DX-crop sensor which does not have an anti-aliasing filter, allowing maximum sharpness to be recorded. However, the Nikon D7100 pixel density if scaled to a full frame sensor would be 56.0 megapixels.

Shown below, a series through f/45 on the 18-megapixel Canon 1Ds Mark III shows the loss of quality with stopping down. Losses occur at earlier apertures with higher resolution cameras. First contrast is degraded, but then resolution is wiped out as well.

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  • Eases into photographic challenges with an introductory section.
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  • 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.

Aperture series 5.6, 8, 11, 16, 22, 32 available in full article
Marked decline in contrast at f/22, and loss of contrast and resolution at f/45.
Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III + Nikon 85mm f/2.8D PC-Micro-Nikkor.

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