Is sharper always better?

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Tom Axford Veteran Member • Posts: 5,193
Is sharper always better?
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There have been various discussions about the merits or otherwise of AA filters on cameras, such as in this thread.

The following example is computer generated and not taken from real cameras in which the different colours of different pixels complicate the matter hugely.  Instead, this example assumes the camera is monochrome and that the lens is perfectly sharp (which, of course, is never true in practice). It also assumes that the pixels are small compared to the spacing between pixels. So the result is more extreme than is the case with real cameras, but it does serve to illustrate the fact that sometimes the blurrier image from a camera with an AA filter can be "better" than the sharpest possible image.

The image with no AA filter - it looks very crisp and sharp. Can you read the bottom line of text?

The same image with a strong AA filter - it looks much less crisp and sharp, but despite that the text is more pleasing to look at, if you are trying to read it. Can you read the bottom line of text?

Of course, many people prefer the crisper look of the first image and they are not photographing documents with lots of text in them. Hence the popularity of cameras without AA filters.

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