Diffraction and the 4/3 sensor

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MOD Tom Caldwell Forum Pro • Posts: 31,644
Diffraction and the 4/3 sensor
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I have been using cameras for quite a long time but only in the last 10 years or so really seriously.  But I still have a lot to learn - for me it is much of the attraction of photography itself.  Such a basic subject: but a modern camera and lens, set it to "Auto" and with card and battery installed and some necessary but very basic initial  housekeeping you are ready to go.

Switch it on and in a moment it is focused - then a click and you have an image.  Depending upon some luck or unperceived innate skills of composition the image can be excellent.

And yet for those who want to understand there is much to learn.  Enough for a headache or three.

In the case of diffraction I undertand the basics - that diffraction issues can reduce the quality of images taken with apertures smaller than f8.

My question is the obvious: why do manufacturers of lenses for the 4/3 sensor bother to make lenses that have smaller apertures than f8 if diffraction is such a serious issue?

I can only presume that this is because that even with the dreaded diffraction effects it is still often better to accept this as the lesser of evils when the smaller aperture contributes its own particular benefits.  That is - the user chooses and diffraction is not always the end of all photography.

Or is it simply that diffraction is hideous and must be avoided at all costs but the lens manufacturers would be laughed out of the industry if they actually only made lenses that had minimum apertures of f8?

Personally I suggest that diffraction is just another of the number of variables that must be taken into account when composing a photograph and in the days of ever simpler photography even on auto perhaps the camera will choose to use an aperture less than f8 and we will still be very pleased by what can be done by a simple soft press and click and the camera will do the rest.

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Tom Caldwell

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