EXCERPT page containing first few paragraphs. 2021-12-08 10:45:52
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Images taken with the 36-megapixel Nikon D800E, but the findings here would apply even to a 12-megapixel DSLR such as the Nikon D3s.
This aperture series example is a classic infinity focus landscape image, which by serendipity turns out to be a highly instructive example of just how daunting a problem that field curvature can be, even for the technically meticulous photographer.
- A tiny turn of the focusing ring (perhaps 1/10mm turn) visibly changes the sharpness at the center and edges.
- Stopping down to f/11 is required to overcome the field curvature degradation of edge sharpness in the distance. This is frustrating, because diffraction cuts the peak contrast seen at f/5.6 (in this case, f/13 or so is still not enough for the close foreground depth of field, but this is irrelevant to our purposes here).
- In general, this example shows that any lens test between two lenses which fails to account for differing field curvature could result in wildly different conclusions depending on tiny changes in focus. Which is why many field shots are important to judging a lens.
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