Choosing the sharpest aperture...

Started Jul 19, 2012 | Discussions thread
Michael Thomas Mitchell
Veteran MemberPosts: 9,738
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Re: Choosing the sharpest aperture...
In reply to TotalNeophyte, Jul 20, 2012

At the risk of repeating what others have said already, I'll just point out that there used to be a saying in the professional world "f8 and be there", indicating that the way to "get the shot" is to have your camera set at f8 and then be the right person at the right place at the right time.

Modern lenses are very good. And where zooms were once considered amateur toys, computer aided design has allowed for the creation of zoom lenses that, at least in some instances, rival their prime counterparts. While comparing them can often result in endless debate, it is at least not too extreme to say that GOOD lenses can deliver good performance even wide open. For instance, my 70-200 f4 L IS offers EXTREMELY sharp performance even at f4, so much so, in fact, that I NEVER think of f-stops in terms of sharpness with that lens.

If you are, however, determined to pixel peep for the sharpest image possible, you won't go wrong with f8 on practically any lens. It is, even after many decades, still the default standard.

TotalNeophyte wrote:

I tried to follow Rockwell's guide ( http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/focus.htm ), but my lens is labeled differently.

I was wondering if there are formulas or rules of thumb to determine the sharpest possible aperture (e.g. if the camera is 8 feet away, f4.5 will yield the sharpest image). I've been playing around with it, but the manipulations to the other two legs of the exposure tripod (ISO and shutter speed) are really making it tough to discern.

Thanks!

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