Nikon D800/E Diffraction Limits

Started Apr 28, 2012 | Discussions
jvora
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Nikon D800/E Diffraction Limits
Apr 28, 2012

Hello :

Has anyone had the opportunity to test the D800/E for diffraction limits - At which f-stop does it begin to show in the images ?

Thanks,

Jai

ps : Question cross posted

Nikon D800
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Kaj E
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Re: Nikon D800/E Diffraction Limits
In reply to jvora, Apr 28, 2012

jvora wrote:

Hello :

Has anyone had the opportunity to test the D800/E for diffraction limits - At which f-stop does it begin to show in the images ?

Diffraction happens in the lens and has nothing to do with the sensor.

Most lenses start to loose resolution and contrast past f/8 on any camera. The optimal perfomance of a lens is at the same on any camera of the same format regardless of the sensor and pixel count. Most good lenses have their best center resolution at f/4 or f/5.6.
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snellius
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Re: Nikon D800/E Diffraction Limits
In reply to jvora, Apr 28, 2012

I did a test to see how useful it is against moiré (D800E). It start between F8 and F11.

This is the result of F16.

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Stefan R Schubert
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Re: Nikon D800/E Diffraction Limits
In reply to jvora, Apr 28, 2012

jvora wrote:

Hello :

Has anyone had the opportunity to test the D800/E for diffraction limits - At which f-stop does it begin to show in the images ?

Thanks,

Jai

ps : Question cross posted

I have my D800E for a week now. Believe diffraction starts with ~ 8.0 with most of my Nikkor lenses.

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inasir1971
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Re: Nikon D800/E Diffraction Limits (it's between f7.1 and f8)
In reply to jvora, Apr 28, 2012

Previously I thought that diffraction started somewhere between f8 and f9 but am finding that it is definitely present at f8.

So to answer your question, the DLA lies somewhere between f7.1 and f8.

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Robin Casady
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Re: Nikon D800/E Diffraction Limits
In reply to jvora, Apr 28, 2012

jvora wrote:

Hello :

Has anyone had the opportunity to test the D800/E for diffraction limits - At which f-stop does it begin to show in the images ?

There is a series of images shot by in Japan with a D800E, Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G at different f/stops. Download the full size ("Original") images and compare f/5.6 through f/16.

Next and Previous will get you to the different shots. "Show all sizes" will get you to the original size. Or, right-click may work.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/kuwahara/6932798990/in/set-72157629798405087/lightbox/

It looks to me that a very slight amount of diffraction is showing at f/11. At f/16 it is significant.
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jvora
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Re: Nikon D800/E Diffraction Limits
In reply to Robin Casady, Apr 28, 2012

Thank you all for your replies and sharing the results of your tests and links to images comparing when diffraction begins.

I always thought diffraction was linked to the size of the pixel well and not only dependent on the aperture selected to capture the image. So then, shooting with a D3s ( 12 MP ) vs D800 will not result in any difference as to when the effects of diffraction become noticeable ?

Kindly confirm.

Jai

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Kaj E
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Re: Nikon D800/E Diffraction Limits
In reply to jvora, Apr 29, 2012

jvora wrote:

Thank you all for your replies and sharing the results of your tests and links to images comparing when diffraction begins.

I always thought diffraction was linked to the size of the pixel well and not only dependent on the aperture selected to capture the image. So then, shooting with a D3s ( 12 MP ) vs D800 will not result in any difference as to when the effects of diffraction become noticeable ?

Kindly confirm.

Correct.

The aperture at which a lens is at its sharpest does not change with the pixel density of the sensor.

The resolution of a lens plus sensor system is a function of the resolution of the lens and the resolution of the sensor (multiplication of MTFs by means of Fourier transforms). Any lens at any aperture therefore shows more resolution (for instance lp/ph) on a higher density pixel sensor than on a lower pixel density sensor of the same format.
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inasir1971
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Re: Nikon D800/E Diffraction Limits
In reply to Kaj E, Apr 29, 2012

Kaj E wrote:

jvora wrote:

Thank you all for your replies and sharing the results of your tests and links to images comparing when diffraction begins.

I always thought diffraction was linked to the size of the pixel well and not only dependent on the aperture selected to capture the image. So then, shooting with a D3s ( 12 MP ) vs D800 will not result in any difference as to when the effects of diffraction become noticeable ?

Kindly confirm.

Correct.

The aperture at which a lens is at its sharpest does not change with the pixel density of the sensor.

The resolution of a lens plus sensor system is a function of the resolution of the lens and the resolution of the sensor (multiplication of MTFs by means of Fourier transforms). Any lens at any aperture therefore shows more resolution (for instance lp/ph) on a higher density pixel sensor than on a lower pixel density sensor of the same format.
--
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Kaj
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What???????????? NO.

Diffraction always occurs. Whether it affects your image at the pixel level is wholly dependent upon your aperture and the size of your pixel. This number is somewhere between f7 and f8 on the D800.

Let's keep this simple. On the D800 and D800E, from f8 (including f8) you will see less definition at the pixel level and this degradation will increase with f number --> i.e. you will have more detail when viewed at 100% if you shoot below f8.

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bobn2
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Re: Nikon D800/E Diffraction Limits
In reply to inasir1971, Apr 29, 2012

inasir1971 wrote:

Kaj E wrote:

jvora wrote:

Thank you all for your replies and sharing the results of your tests and links to images comparing when diffraction begins.

I always thought diffraction was linked to the size of the pixel well and not only dependent on the aperture selected to capture the image. So then, shooting with a D3s ( 12 MP ) vs D800 will not result in any difference as to when the effects of diffraction become noticeable ?

Kindly confirm.

Correct.

The aperture at which a lens is at its sharpest does not change with the pixel density of the sensor.

The resolution of a lens plus sensor system is a function of the resolution of the lens and the resolution of the sensor (multiplication of MTFs by means of Fourier transforms). Any lens at any aperture therefore shows more resolution (for instance lp/ph) on a higher density pixel sensor than on a lower pixel density sensor of the same format.
--
Kind regards
Kaj
http://www.pbase.com/kaj_e
WSSA member #13

It's about time we started to take photography seriously and treat it as a hobby.- Elliott Erwitt

What???????????? NO.

Let's keep this simple. On the D800 and D800E, from f8 (including f8) you will see less definition at the pixel level and this degradation will increase with f number --> i.e. you will have more detail when viewed at 100% if you shoot below f8.

He was exactly right and you are exactly wrong. The f-number at which diffraction starts to become visible has nothing at all to do with the pixel size. Diffraction is ever present and the blur it causes increases as the lens is stopped down. So, perfect lenses would be sharpest wide open, and their resolution would decrease as the aperture is reduced. However, lenses are not perfect, and wide open their definition is limited by aberrations, which reduce as the lens stops down. At some point,usually around f/4-f/8 there is a point where they are sufficiently reduced that diffraction becomes the main source of blurring, and then the resolution begins to fall as the f-number increases. All reducing pixel size does is increase the resolution available, it doesn't change at all the point where diffraction takes over from aberrations. See this for example:

Same lens on D3X and D3 - source of data DxO.

Diffraction always occurs. Whether it affects your image at the pixel level is wholly dependent upon your aperture and the size of your pixel. This number is somewhere between f7 and f8 on the D800.

This is absolutely untrue, mainly due to the pact that there is no such thing as an image 'at pixel level'. There is no sudden drop in resolution at some f-number, with any camera, all there is si the steady resolution fall that you would expect diffraction to cause.
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Bob

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Leonard Shepherd
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Re: Nikon D800/E Diffraction Limits
In reply to jvora, Apr 29, 2012

This is not an easy question to answer - part because diffraction is affected by focus distance, aperture and the colour of the light.

Even when a lens is diffraction limited a D800 can still resolve more detail than a D700

If a lens is diffraction limited 250 lpm at a particular focus distance, aperture and colour of light; and is used with a sensor with a resolving power of 250 lpm at the selected ISO, the file resolution is 125 lpm.

If the sensor resolution is increased the file resolution goes above 125 lpm - though never higher than 250 lpm.

Unless you enlarge beyond the resolution limit in the file (assuming some image sharpening is not possible) the image still looks sharp if the lens is limited by aberrations other than diffraction at or near full aperture, or by the diffraction aberration at smaller apertures.
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inasir1971
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Re: Nikon D800/E Diffraction Limits
In reply to bobn2, Apr 29, 2012

OP, please read page 13 of Nikon Technical Manual for D800 linked below:

http://www.nikonusa.com/en_US/o/Y6wrkA9OU_z04IreazIXl_22UII/PDF/D800_TechnicalGuide_En.pdf :

"Stopping aperture down increases depth of field, making the foreground and background sharper. Stop aperture down too far, however, and diffraction will actually cause the image to lose definition. The effects of diffraction are partly influenced by the size of the pixels in the camera image sensor, but with the D800/D800E’s high resolution the effects generally become noticeable around f/11."

Please note that in practice several users (myself included) have noted that diffraction effects are visible even at f8 though slight.

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bobn2
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Re: Nikon D800/E Diffraction Limits
In reply to inasir1971, Apr 29, 2012

inasir1971 wrote:

OP, please read page 13 of Nikon Technical Manual for D800 linked below:

http://www.nikonusa.com/en_US/o/Y6wrkA9OU_z04IreazIXl_22UII/PDF/D800_TechnicalGuide_En.pdf :

"Stopping aperture down increases depth of field, making the foreground and background sharper. Stop aperture down too far, however, and diffraction will actually cause the image to lose definition. The effects of diffraction are partly influenced by the size of the pixels in the camera image sensor, but with the D800/D800E’s high resolution the effects generally become noticeable around f/11."

Please note that in practice several users (myself included) have noted that diffraction effects are visible even at f8 though slight.

So, Nikon's technical authors don't know what they are talking about either, it wouldn't be the first time.

'Diffraction effects' will be 'visible' from wherever the lens resolution starts to fall due to diffraction, and that f number will not be different for any camera.

Probably what you are saying is if you look at an image at high magnifications you will see imperfections sooner.
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noirdesir
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Re: Nikon D800/E Diffraction Limits
In reply to bobn2, Apr 29, 2012

bobn2 wrote:

inasir1971 wrote:

OP, please read page 13 of Nikon Technical Manual for D800 linked below:

http://www.nikonusa.com/en_US/o/Y6wrkA9OU_z04IreazIXl_22UII/PDF/D800_TechnicalGuide_En.pdf :

"Stopping aperture down increases depth of field, making the foreground and background sharper. Stop aperture down too far, however, and diffraction will actually cause the image to lose definition. The effects of diffraction are partly influenced by the size of the pixels in the camera image sensor, but with the D800/D800E’s high resolution the effects generally become noticeable around f/11."

Please note that in practice several users (myself included) have noted that diffraction effects are visible even at f8 though slight.

So, Nikon's technical authors don't know what they are talking about either, it wouldn't be the first time.

'Diffraction effects' will be 'visible' from wherever the lens resolution starts to fall due to diffraction, and that f number will not be different for any camera.

Probably what you are saying is if you look at an image at high magnifications you will see imperfections sooner.

People will often only look at relative changes not absolute numbers. Thus, if f/11 on a D800 shows a larger resolution drop from f/8 in relative terms than on a D700, the D800 is considered more affected, even if the absolute resolution at f/11 is noticeably higher on the D800 than on the D700. This relative scale is also called grading-on-a-scale.

Where is becomes really funny is when people in one sentence lambast the D800 as having too much resolution and then in the next sentence criticise for losing more resolution in relative terms when going from f/8 to f/11 than the D700. So, which one is it: is the resolution of D800 at f/11 too high or to low?

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bobn2
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Re: Nikon D800/E Diffraction Limits
In reply to noirdesir, Apr 29, 2012

noirdesir wrote:

bobn2 wrote:

inasir1971 wrote:

OP, please read page 13 of Nikon Technical Manual for D800 linked below:

http://www.nikonusa.com/en_US/o/Y6wrkA9OU_z04IreazIXl_22UII/PDF/D800_TechnicalGuide_En.pdf :

"Stopping aperture down increases depth of field, making the foreground and background sharper. Stop aperture down too far, however, and diffraction will actually cause the image to lose definition. The effects of diffraction are partly influenced by the size of the pixels in the camera image sensor, but with the D800/D800E’s high resolution the effects generally become noticeable around f/11."

Please note that in practice several users (myself included) have noted that diffraction effects are visible even at f8 though slight.

So, Nikon's technical authors don't know what they are talking about either, it wouldn't be the first time.

'Diffraction effects' will be 'visible' from wherever the lens resolution starts to fall due to diffraction, and that f number will not be different for any camera.

Probably what you are saying is if you look at an image at high magnifications you will see imperfections sooner.

People will often only look at relative changes not absolute numbers. Thus, if f/11 on a D800 shows a larger resolution drop from f/8 in relative terms than on a D700, the D800 is considered more affected, even if the absolute resolution at f/11 is noticeably higher on the D800 than on the D700. This relative scale is also called grading-on-a-scale.

Where is becomes really funny is when people in one sentence lambast the D800 as having too much resolution and then in the next sentence criticise for losing more resolution in relative terms when going from f/8 to f/11 than the D700. So, which one is it: is the resolution of D800 at f/11 too high or to low?

Agreed. Of course it is also the case that top class lenses lose more relatively to diffraction than do poor lenses.
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Robin Casady
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Re: Nikon D800/E Diffraction Limits
In reply to noirdesir, Apr 29, 2012

noirdesir wrote:

bobn2 wrote:

inasir1971 wrote:

OP, please read page 13 of Nikon Technical Manual for D800 linked below:

http://www.nikonusa.com/en_US/o/Y6wrkA9OU_z04IreazIXl_22UII/PDF/D800_TechnicalGuide_En.pdf :

"Stopping aperture down increases depth of field, making the foreground and background sharper. Stop aperture down too far, however, and diffraction will actually cause the image to lose definition. The effects of diffraction are partly influenced by the size of the pixels in the camera image sensor, but with the D800/D800E’s high resolution the effects generally become noticeable around f/11."

Please note that in practice several users (myself included) have noted that diffraction effects are visible even at f8 though slight.

So, Nikon's technical authors don't know what they are talking about either, it wouldn't be the first time.

'Diffraction effects' will be 'visible' from wherever the lens resolution starts to fall due to diffraction, and that f number will not be different for any camera.

Probably what you are saying is if you look at an image at high magnifications you will see imperfections sooner.

People will often only look at relative changes not absolute numbers. Thus, if f/11 on a D800 shows a larger resolution drop from f/8 in relative terms than on a D700, the D800 is considered more affected, even if the absolute resolution at f/11 is noticeably higher on the D800 than on the D700. This relative scale is also called grading-on-a-scale.

Where is becomes really funny is when people in one sentence lambast the D800 as having too much resolution and then in the next sentence criticise for losing more resolution in relative terms when going from f/8 to f/11 than the D700. So, which one is it: is the resolution of D800 at f/11 too high or to low?

All the OP wanted to know is at what f/stop does it start to become apparent.
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noirdesir
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Re: Nikon D800/E Diffraction Limits
In reply to Robin Casady, Apr 29, 2012

Robin Casady wrote:

noirdesir wrote:

bobn2 wrote:

inasir1971 wrote:

OP, please read page 13 of Nikon Technical Manual for D800 linked below:

http://www.nikonusa.com/en_US/o/Y6wrkA9OU_z04IreazIXl_22UII/PDF/D800_TechnicalGuide_En.pdf :

"Stopping aperture down increases depth of field, making the foreground and background sharper. Stop aperture down too far, however, and diffraction will actually cause the image to lose definition. The effects of diffraction are partly influenced by the size of the pixels in the camera image sensor, but with the D800/D800E’s high resolution the effects generally become noticeable around f/11."

Please note that in practice several users (myself included) have noted that diffraction effects are visible even at f8 though slight.

So, Nikon's technical authors don't know what they are talking about either, it wouldn't be the first time.

'Diffraction effects' will be 'visible' from wherever the lens resolution starts to fall due to diffraction, and that f number will not be different for any camera.

Probably what you are saying is if you look at an image at high magnifications you will see imperfections sooner.

People will often only look at relative changes not absolute numbers. Thus, if f/11 on a D800 shows a larger resolution drop from f/8 in relative terms than on a D700, the D800 is considered more affected, even if the absolute resolution at f/11 is noticeably higher on the D800 than on the D700. This relative scale is also called grading-on-a-scale.

Where is becomes really funny is when people in one sentence lambast the D800 as having too much resolution and then in the next sentence criticise for losing more resolution in relative terms when going from f/8 to f/11 than the D700. So, which one is it: is the resolution of D800 at f/11 too high or to low?

All the OP wanted to know is at what f/stop does it start to become apparent.

The term 'diffraction limit ' implies a bit more, a limit is a clear boundary after which something changes radically.

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Marianne Oelund
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Diffraction vs Visibility of Diffraction
In reply to jvora, Apr 30, 2012

jvora wrote:

I always thought diffraction was linked to the size of the pixel well and not only dependent on the aperture selected to capture the image.

Diffraction itself has nothing to do with the imager or film recording the image, and you will often see that point hammered into people's heads here.

So then, shooting with a D3s ( 12 MP ) vs D800 will not result in any difference as to when the effects of diffraction become noticeable ?

Now, you are asking about the visibility of diffraction, which depends on many things other than diffraction itself. There is no single answer to your question.

Generally, there will be at least a slight difference, and in the most extreme case the D800 will warrant an f/stop setting that is 1.5 stops wider than the D3/D3s. There are many factors that will conspire to prevent one from attaining that extreme case. It is rarely achieved in photography (but the lack of an OLPF in the D800E does make it easier to approach).

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Tom_Bruno
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Re: Nikon D800/E Diffraction Limits
In reply to jvora, Apr 30, 2012

jvora wrote:

Hello :

Has anyone had the opportunity to test the D800/E for diffraction limits - At which f-stop does it begin to show in the images ?

Right. I'd like to know that, too. You can talk airy discs all you want, the question you're asking is simple: Can any of you D800 owners tell us where YOU see the effects of diffraction?

Obvoiusly, we're interested in this so we can set our cameras for best results, never mind the physics underneath.

What I gather from this thread and others, is that a good lens set from f8 to f11 will get good results, perhaps noticeably better at f8, but not very much. Can actual owners of a D800/E comment on this?

Thanks.

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SNRatio
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Re: Nikon D800/E Diffraction Limits
In reply to bobn2, Apr 30, 2012

bobn2 wrote:

inasir1971 wrote:

Kaj E wrote:

jvora wrote:

Thank you all for your replies and sharing the results of your tests and links to images comparing when diffraction begins.

I always thought diffraction was linked to the size of the pixel well and not only dependent on the aperture selected to capture the image. So then, shooting with a D3s ( 12 MP ) vs D800 will not result in any difference as to when the effects of diffraction become noticeable ?

Kindly confirm.

Correct.

The aperture at which a lens is at its sharpest does not change with the pixel density of the sensor.

The resolution of a lens plus sensor system is a function of the resolution of the lens and the resolution of the sensor (multiplication of MTFs by means of Fourier transforms). Any lens at any aperture therefore shows more resolution (for instance lp/ph) on a higher density pixel sensor than on a lower pixel density sensor of the same format.
--
Kind regards
Kaj
http://www.pbase.com/kaj_e
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It's about time we started to take photography seriously and treat it as a hobby.- Elliott Erwitt

What???????????? NO.

Let's keep this simple. On the D800 and D800E, from f8 (including f8) you will see less definition at the pixel level and this degradation will increase with f number --> i.e. you will have more detail when viewed at 100% if you shoot below f8.

He was exactly right and you are exactly wrong. The f-number at which diffraction starts to become visible has nothing at all to do with the pixel size. Diffraction is ever present and the blur it causes increases as the lens is stopped down. So, perfect lenses would be sharpest wide open, and their resolution would decrease as the aperture is reduced. However, lenses are not perfect, and wide open their definition is limited by aberrations, which reduce as the lens stops down. At some point,usually around f/4-f/8 there is a point where they are sufficiently reduced that diffraction becomes the main source of blurring, and then the resolution begins to fall as the f-number increases. All reducing pixel size does is increase the resolution available, it doesn't change at all the point where diffraction takes over from aberrations. See this for example:

Same lens on D3X and D3 - source of data DxO.

Diffraction always occurs. Whether it affects your image at the pixel level is wholly dependent upon your aperture and the size of your pixel. This number is somewhere between f7 and f8 on the D800.

This is absolutely untrue, mainly due to the pact that there is no such thing as an image 'at pixel level'. There is no sudden drop in resolution at some f-number, with any camera, all there is si the steady resolution fall that you would expect diffraction to cause.

I don't think you answer the OP's question - which may have been somewhat ill-posed, but seems to be about when the D800 sensor becomes diffraction limited . Which is not a precise concept, either, but has a lot of significance for when it is meaningful to throw pixels at an imaging problem. Your graph illustrates this nicely for the D3X vs D3 sensors and the 50/1.8G: If you stop down to f/16, you lose all the resolution advantage of the D3X sensor compared to the D3 @f/8, and what was a linear resolution advantage at the same f-stop of ca 33% @f/5.6, has shrunk to ca 16% @f/16. Furthermore, as soon as you step down a bit past f/11, the D3X has lower resolution than the D3 has @f/5.6 with this lens.

Also, from f/5.6 -> f/16, linear resolution is reduced by 30% on the D3X, and 20% on the D3. How will these curves look with the D800?

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