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EXCERPT page containing first few paragraphs. 2023-10-03 11:39:06

Unmodified Nikon D700 (left), D700 with AA filter removed (right)
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Blur from Anti Aliasing Filters

Most digital cameras have an anti-aliasing filter installed over the sensor, also known as an optical low-pass, or blur filter. This filter is generally integral to the sensor cover glass over the sensor itself.


The purpose of the anti-aliasing filter is to reduce detail aliasing, moiré, and color aliasing, an effect that occurs when detail approaches the sensor resolution, the goal being to avoid moiré and similar effects. The filter is not needed for true-color cameras such as the Sigma DP Merrill line or monochrome cameras such as the Leica M Monochrom.

As of 2014, more and more cameras are going without such sharpness-robbing filters: Nikon D800E, Nikon D3200, Ricoh GR, Sony A7R. The Pentax K3 even has a sensor that vibrates selectively, so that the AA filter can be present or absent by setting. The reason for abandoning the anti-aliasing filter more and more is the increasing resolution of digital sensors; at some point the lens becomes a limiting factor, effectively its own blur acting as an AA filter (as does diffraction).

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

Color aliasing — moiré (Leica S2)

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