Small apertures, diffraction limits, and DOF

Started May 1, 2008 | Discussions thread
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marcusohlstrom
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Small apertures, diffraction limits, and DOF
May 1, 2008

Some time ago when I was complaining about dust showing up at smaller apertures, I was taught about diffraction and recommended not to use apertures smaller than f/8 or f/11. This I do however find quite annoying, since apertures that large often fails to provide the DOF I am aiming at.

Books on creative photography, even those marketed to DSLR owners exclusively, do however provide numerous of images shot at apertures as small as f/22 or even f/32.

Obviously, I'm confused here. Why would professional photographers use apertures way below the diffraction limit, when the unanimous opinion of this forum seem to be that one shouldn't?

And finally, do you pay respect to these "limits"? What's the smallest aperture you find yourself using, and how do you handle the limited DOF if you do pay respect to the diffraction limit?

BTW, here's a good link about diffraction, for those yet not familiar with the concept: http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tutorials/diffraction-photography.htm
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