Are differences in lenses only seen at 100%?

Started Feb 8, 2013 | Discussions thread
RBFresno Forum Pro • Posts: 12,565
Sharpness is not synonymous with Resolution

tamasine wrote:

I've read many reviews of various lenses and certain ones are said to be sharper than others, especially in the corners.

Is the lack of sharpness in some lenses only seen when you print at a certain size, or can you notice it if you (for example) display it on a monitor at, say, 1920 x 1200 resolution or less?

The reason I'm asking is that I'm looking at a few lenses for FF. The best value one to go for is the Nikon 24-85 VR but website reviews suggest that this is just an 'ok' or 'good' lens on FF.

If this verdict is made after blowing the image up to 100%, would I be right in saying that if printed at a smaller size (A4 or A3), or even downsized for the web (1600 pixels), you might not be able to tell the difference in sharpness compared with a lens that most people say is sharp, i.e. the 24-70 f2.8?

I'm just wondering that in the real world, without lab tests, if most people would actually notice the difference between many lenses?


"Sharpness" is one of those terms that is casually thrown around (particularly in this forum), but might mean difference things to different people.

As you are using it, I'm guessing that you are actually referring to resolution.

If fact resolution is only part of what constitutes "sharpness":

Sharpness Tutorial- Cambridge in Color

Sharpness; Luminous landscape

So, to partly address your question, it is possible to have images taken with lenses of equal resolution, but having different sharpness. and these difference can be seen at less than 100%.

Nikon D4 ,Nikkor 200mm f/2G IF-ED AF-S VR
1/1000s f/2.8 at 200.0mm iso1100


 RBFresno's gear list:RBFresno's gear list
Nikon D2H Nikon D4 Nikon AF DX Fisheye-Nikkor 10.5mm f/2.8G ED Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 17-55mm f/2.8G ED-IF Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G IF-ED VR +14 more
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