The obsession with shallow DOF

Started 5 months ago | Discussions thread
stevo23 Forum Pro • Posts: 20,821
Re: Macro

Michael Fryd wrote:

Sergey_Green wrote:

Michael Fryd wrote:

Sergey_Green wrote:

...

In that case I would guess the best setup is the one that can deliver the most resolution and the detail. and not the one that has the smaller sensor in it. I don't think they are asking their clients "how big are you going to print it" either. I could be wrong, or simply put I have no idea, just don't think I would be choosing the format that only let's me stop the lens down less.

...

When shooting small products (such as jewelry) you don't want too wide an aperture as the Depth of Field will be too shallow. You don't want too small an aperture because diffraction issues will rob you of sharpness. The trick is finding the right balance.

Sure, but at the same DoF diffraction equalizes. The resolution does not.

Sharpness tends to be limited by the weakest link in the chain. On a 3 megapixel DSLR (don't laugh, I used to have a Canon D30) the sensor resolution is likely the limiting factor.

With modern high resolution sensors, diffraction can be the limiting factor at very small apertures. Once diffraction becomes the limiting factor, there is little benefit to increases in resolution.

Problem is that diffraction starts to become apparent fairly early with 24Mp cameras and even earlier with 42Mp cameras. So if I want maximum sharpness, I pay attention to the diffraction limit of a given camera and the maximum sharpness of a given lens.

For D850, I think diffraction limit might be around f/4(?) and for D750, it's probably around f/5.6(?) that you can start to notice it. But it's not always going to be apparent to the viewer and not always going to be detrimental to a finished image.

So for macro and a lot of landscape, I think the tradeoffs can be worth it. I had to admit that if I looked at landscapes and macro shots from reasonable viewing distances and even closer than reasonable, I often liked the final results of the added DOF at f/11 and f/16 which is significantly past diffraction limit for the sensors I've owned.

If I zoomed in to the pixel level of a progressively stopped down scene, it was obvious that diffraction was increasing. But not always to a point of being detrimental to the overall image as typically viewed.

So this is all scene, output and viewer dependent.

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