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Glossary

Airy Disc

The Airy disc is the smallest size dot that can be imaged. At f/2, this dot is tiny. At f/22, it becomes far larger; the increasing size (and lower contrast) is caused by diffraction, both of which impair image contrast and resolution.

The photosite size is directly relevant in the context of an Airy disc, because it determines the smallest diameter aperture that can be used for full full sensor resolution.

Circle of confusion

The circle of confusion (COC) is a blurred out of focus point of light, not to be confused with the Airy Disc, which is the minimum size of the point limited by diffraction. The size of the circle of confusion depends on the aperture and how much the lens is defocused for that point of light.

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  • Depth of field and how to bypass depth of field limitations via focus stacking.
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  • Optical aberrations: what they are, what they look like, and what to do about them.
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Intrigued? See Focusing Zeiss DSLR Lenses For Peak Performance, PART ONE: The Challenges, or (one topic of many) field curvature.

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