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Filter Stack Thickness vs Digital Sensors

For digital sensors, the sensor itself raises many issues for optical performance, particularly for lenses not originally designed for digital use; see Ray Angle and Digital Sensor.

Complicating matters, the filter stack thickness has an enormous impact on optical performance; for a lens to perform to potential, its optical design must incorporate the filter stack thickness into its optical design. Any deviation in that thickness causes a reduction in optical performance.

For example, rangefinder lenses designed for film suffer greatly on digital sensors, because the optical design of such lenses assumed zero thickness (film!). It is why the Leica M digital cameras use a very thin glass plate over the sensor (about 0.8mm). Even so, there is still a negative influence, as can be seen when evaluating Leica M lenses on digital.

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  • 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.

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