Diffraction Limit

Started Aug 28, 2013 | Discussions
Anders W Forum Pro • Posts: 21,466
Re: Diffraction Effects in a Real Lens-Camera System

LTZ470 wrote:

Steen Bay wrote:

LTZ470 wrote:

I learn by "concrete proof in the pudding"...there is none for the FZ200 being diffraction limited at f/2.8...

But if it was (for example in the center of the image), then that would actually be a good thing! If a lens is "diffraction limited" (has its peak resolution) wide open, then that just means that it's a very good lens without any significant aberrations, where the resolution mostly will be limited by the unavoidable diffraction.

IF or CONCRETE...I'll stick with concrete...and the fact that there is no concrete proof...

So, if Panasonic came out with a successor to the FZ200 and the succesor were the same camera in every way except that it had a new lens that was "diffraction limited" already at f/2.8, which version would you prefer: the old one or the new one?

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Steen Bay Veteran Member • Posts: 6,974
Re: Diffraction Effects in a Real Lens-Camera System

Anders W wrote:

LTZ470 wrote:

Steen Bay wrote:

LTZ470 wrote:

I learn by "concrete proof in the pudding"...there is none for the FZ200 being diffraction limited at f/2.8...

But if it was (for example in the center of the image), then that would actually be a good thing! If a lens is "diffraction limited" (has its peak resolution) wide open, then that just means that it's a very good lens without any significant aberrations, where the resolution mostly will be limited by the unavoidable diffraction.

IF or CONCRETE...I'll stick with concrete...and the fact that there is no concrete proof...

So, if Panasonic came out with a successor to the FZ200 and the succesor were the same camera in every way except that it had a new lens that was "diffraction limited" already at f/2.8, which version would you prefer: the old one or the new one?

Though, maybe Panasonic shouldn't use the term "diffraction limited" in the advertising.

Detail Man
Detail Man Forum Pro • Posts: 16,682
Re: Diffraction Effects in a Real Lens-Camera System

Anders W wrote:

LTZ470 wrote:

Steen Bay wrote:

LTZ470 wrote:

I learn by "concrete proof in the pudding"...there is none for the FZ200 being diffraction limited at f/2.8...

But if it was (for example in the center of the image), then that would actually be a good thing! If a lens is "diffraction limited" (has its peak resolution) wide open, then that just means that it's a very good lens without any significant aberrations, where the resolution mostly will be limited by the unavoidable diffraction.

IF or CONCRETE...I'll stick with concrete...and the fact that there is no concrete proof...

So, if Panasonic came out with a successor to the FZ200 and the succesor were the same camera in every way except that it had a new lens that was "diffraction limited" already at f/2.8, which version would you prefer: the old one or the new one?

I would take a good old crappy resolution at the lowest F-Number. That way I not only know that the optical aberrations are having a "field day" when "wide open", I also gain the distinct pleasure of actively "making it better" ...

... (albeit frequently at relatively profound cost in terms of light attenuation, given the deep DOFs that I align compact cameras for all the time, usually at F=5.6 but sometimes pushing up to the F=8 maximum of my LX3, which is also the maximum F-Number of the FZ200, I think) ...

...by knowing that magic "sweet number" that will (though robbing my incoming light), at least deliver me from how much worse the system looked "wide open". Gives one a sense of human process control. The "broker" things start out, the better I feel for "tweaking and fixing it" ...

Manufacturers might be wise to include a (placebo, unconnected) dial that "adjusts the IQ". Many debates would ensue surrounding the "proper and professional" setting-values - and the entire affair would be a measurement of our mind's eyes' pre-ceptual "confirmation biases" ...

Anders W Forum Pro • Posts: 21,466
Re: Diffraction Effects in a Real Lens-Camera System

Steen Bay wrote:

Anders W wrote:

LTZ470 wrote:

Steen Bay wrote:

LTZ470 wrote:

I learn by "concrete proof in the pudding"...there is none for the FZ200 being diffraction limited at f/2.8...

But if it was (for example in the center of the image), then that would actually be a good thing! If a lens is "diffraction limited" (has its peak resolution) wide open, then that just means that it's a very good lens without any significant aberrations, where the resolution mostly will be limited by the unavoidable diffraction.

IF or CONCRETE...I'll stick with concrete...and the fact that there is no concrete proof...

So, if Panasonic came out with a successor to the FZ200 and the succesor were the same camera in every way except that it had a new lens that was "diffraction limited" already at f/2.8, which version would you prefer: the old one or the new one?

Though, maybe Panasonic shouldn't use the term "diffraction limited" in the advertising.

Why not? "Limited" seems to be a rather viable term in marketing speak. Certain Pentax and Oly lenses come to mind for example. And "diffraction" sounds rather advanced, doesn't it. Besides, Canon is already using the term in its lens marketing. Diffractive optics. Great stuff.

http://www.usa.canon.com/cusa/consumer/standard_display/Lens_Advantage_Perf

Panazonic FZ200 Diffraction Limited. We've already got the name for them.

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Steen Bay Veteran Member • Posts: 6,974
Re: Diffraction Effects in a Real Lens-Camera System

Anders W wrote:

Steen Bay wrote:

Anders W wrote:

LTZ470 wrote:

Steen Bay wrote:

LTZ470 wrote:

I learn by "concrete proof in the pudding"...there is none for the FZ200 being diffraction limited at f/2.8...

But if it was (for example in the center of the image), then that would actually be a good thing! If a lens is "diffraction limited" (has its peak resolution) wide open, then that just means that it's a very good lens without any significant aberrations, where the resolution mostly will be limited by the unavoidable diffraction.

IF or CONCRETE...I'll stick with concrete...and the fact that there is no concrete proof...

So, if Panasonic came out with a successor to the FZ200 and the succesor were the same camera in every way except that it had a new lens that was "diffraction limited" already at f/2.8, which version would you prefer: the old one or the new one?

Though, maybe Panasonic shouldn't use the term "diffraction limited" in the advertising.

Why not? "Limited" seems to be a rather viable term in marketing speak. Certain Pentax and Oly lenses come to mind for example. And "diffraction" sounds rather advanced, doesn't it. Besides, Canon is already using the term in its lens marketing. Diffractive optics. Great stuff.

http://www.usa.canon.com/cusa/consumer/standard_display/Lens_Advantage_Perf

Panazonic FZ200 Diffraction Limited. We've already got the name for them.

Just preordered the new FZ200 DL (thanks for a good laugh ).

Detail Man
Detail Man Forum Pro • Posts: 16,682
Re: Diffraction Effects in a Real Lens-Camera System

Anders W wrote:

Steen Bay wrote:

Anders W wrote:

LTZ470 wrote:

Steen Bay wrote:

LTZ470 wrote:

I learn by "concrete proof in the pudding"...there is none for the FZ200 being diffraction limited at f/2.8...

But if it was (for example in the center of the image), then that would actually be a good thing! If a lens is "diffraction limited" (has its peak resolution) wide open, then that just means that it's a very good lens without any significant aberrations, where the resolution mostly will be limited by the unavoidable diffraction.

IF or CONCRETE...I'll stick with concrete...and the fact that there is no concrete proof...

So, if Panasonic came out with a successor to the FZ200 and the succesor were the same camera in every way except that it had a new lens that was "diffraction limited" already at f/2.8, which version would you prefer: the old one or the new one?

Though, maybe Panasonic shouldn't use the term "diffraction limited" in the advertising.

Why not? "Limited" seems to be a rather viable term in marketing speak. Certain Pentax and Oly lenses come to mind for example. And "diffraction" sounds rather advanced, doesn't it. Besides, Canon is already using the term in its lens marketing. Diffractive optics. Great stuff.

http://www.usa.canon.com/cusa/consumer/standard_display/Lens_Advantage_Perf

Panazonic FZ200 Diffraction Limited. We've already got the name for them.

Whereas the phrase "Diffusion Limited" might be more applicable to debates, the phrase, "Phased Array Linear Dispersion Orthagonal Retro Rockets", always has had a rather sexy ring to me.

LTZ470
OP LTZ470 Forum Pro • Posts: 11,926
Re: Diffraction Effects in a Real Lens-Camera System

Detail Man wrote:

Anders W wrote:

Steen Bay wrote:

Anders W wrote:

LTZ470 wrote:

Steen Bay wrote:

LTZ470 wrote:

I learn by "concrete proof in the pudding"...there is none for the FZ200 being diffraction limited at f/2.8...

But if it was (for example in the center of the image), then that would actually be a good thing! If a lens is "diffraction limited" (has its peak resolution) wide open, then that just means that it's a very good lens without any significant aberrations, where the resolution mostly will be limited by the unavoidable diffraction.

IF or CONCRETE...I'll stick with concrete...and the fact that there is no concrete proof...

So, if Panasonic came out with a successor to the FZ200 and the succesor were the same camera in every way except that it had a new lens that was "diffraction limited" already at f/2.8, which version would you prefer: the old one or the new one?

Though, maybe Panasonic shouldn't use the term "diffraction limited" in the advertising.

Why not? "Limited" seems to be a rather viable term in marketing speak. Certain Pentax and Oly lenses come to mind for example. And "diffraction" sounds rather advanced, doesn't it. Besides, Canon is already using the term in its lens marketing. Diffractive optics. Great stuff.

"inebriated by the exuberance of their own verbosity"

http://www.usa.canon.com/cusa/consumer/standard_display/Lens_Advantage_Perf

Panazonic FZ200 Diffraction Limited. We've already got the name for them.

Not at F/2.8...and probably not until f/3.6...

Whereas the phrase "Diffusion Limited" might be more applicable to debates, the phrase, "Phased Array Linear Dispersion Orthagonal Retro Rockets", always has had a rather sexy ring to me.

Must I keep repeating:

"inebriated by the exuberance of their own verbosity"

Lol...

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markintosh13
markintosh13 Veteran Member • Posts: 3,546
Re: Diffraction Effects in a Real Lens-Camera System

I'm quite sure you're actively trolling.

Steen Bay Veteran Member • Posts: 6,974
Re: The plain truth can indeed be phrased in very misleading ways...

Anders W wrote:

LTZ470 wrote:

Anders W wrote:

LTZ470 wrote:

So while the "fundamental" statement is correct the reality is that smaller sensors suffer from diffraction at larger apertures than large sensors because we change the magnification of the image captured by the surface of the sensor.

A man after my own heart...common sense at it's best!

So you are starting to see at least parts of the light after all?

I've always had the light...

Don't know whether you had it but you sure didn't see it.

it's the BS one has to filter out...

Agreed.

GB wrote:

In short, it is entirely possible for the FZ200 to be sharper at f/4 than it is at f/2.8, even though at f/2.8 it is already well within the realm of strong diffraction softening, and the lesser lens aberrations at f/4 may outweigh the increased diffraction softening.

Regardless, the effects of diffraction softening at f/2.8 on an FZ200 are identical to the effects of diffraction softening at f/8 on mFT and f/16 on FF, it's just that diffraction softening is one of many forms of blur.

As long as you consider this part of the light, we are in full agreement here too.

Well, it could be discussed whether the 12mp FZ200 at f/2.8 is "well within the realm of strong diffraction softening". Your test images in the other thread showed that f/8 on the 16mp E-M5 (DoF/diffraction equivalent to f/2.8 on FZ200) was perfectly fine (you didn't show images shot at larger apertures, but said that you didn't see any noticeable difference in sharpness at f/8).

Detail Man
Detail Man Forum Pro • Posts: 16,682
Re: Diffraction Effects in a Real Lens-Camera System

LTZ470 wrote:

Detail Man wrote:

Whereas the phrase "Diffusion Limited" might be more applicable to debates, the phrase, "Phased Array Linear Dispersion Orthagonal Retro Rockets", always has had a rather sexy ring to me.

Must I keep repeating:

"inebriated by the exuberance of their own verbosity"

Lol...

Here's another of your exuberant "golden oldies", magister:

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/thread/3458992

papillon_65
papillon_65 Forum Pro • Posts: 27,030
Re: I've stopped worrying about it.

LTZ470 wrote:

tinternaut wrote:

Really, I don't care. In the highly unlikely event I need to shoot at f22, I'll simply accept the hit I take in terms of diffraction. As it stands, I really need to go beyond f12 (anything beyond that is probably because I'm too lazy to buy an ND filter), and the effects are minimal enough for me.

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BINGO!

Correct, completely irrelevant as the amount of photos shot above f/4 on a FZ200 are probably less than 1% of all the FZ200's that have been manufactured...

Don't know of anyone who prints larger than 8X10 from a Superzoom...do you?

Don't know of anyone who looks at a Superzoom photo at 100% for viewing purposes...except when PP'ing a photo in LR that would be the only time for me...

Same goes for Oly 75mm f/1.8 and folks shooting it above f/5.6...maybe 1% of all the photos? even less?

And the amount of folks that bought an Oly 75mm f/1.8 to shoot at f/8?...lol...thats the real joke...less than .0000000000000000000000000000000000000000000001%

"Hey man I'm ordering me a Oly 75mm"..."Cool, your going to really love it, mine is sharp at f/1.8"..."Yeah, thats awesome but I buying mine for landscapes to shoot at f/8"...LMBO...

So if you are printing above 8X10 with a Superzoom then diffraction softening/details will be a concern...otherwise we can all go back to sleep...

I actually thought we were talking about super critical issues concerning the end of the world as we know it...lol...

Irrelevance at it's best..

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I will not only buy one but two no questions asked...

Bar room expertise LTZ, can't beat it mate

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Paul De Bra
Paul De Bra Forum Pro • Posts: 12,345
It all depends on the definition of "noticeable".
1

With a sharp lens mounted on the E-M5 you can certainly see the effect of diffraction at f/8 versus e.g. f/5.6 when looking carefully at 100% pixel level on a sharp monitor. Does that qualify as noticeable?

I typically view my images on a 1920x1200 pixel 24" monitor. At that resolution and monitor size such measurable difference in sharpness is not noticeable. When I take shots with the 12-50 or 20mm there is no noticeable difference in sharpness on my monitor. When viewed at 100% there is a visible difference, and also a visible decrease in sharpness on the 20mm when going from f/5.6 to f/8. But for practical use there is no noticeable difference.

Most of the discussion about diffraction is about differences and softening that isn't really visible when admiring a photo, only when pixel-peeping.

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olliess Senior Member • Posts: 1,349
Re: Yep.

Dr_Jon wrote:

It's a nightmare reading through all of this and I'm not sure I'm cool on people knocking Airy disks so much (well, if that's what they are doing, with my Astronomical hat on I tend to see them a lot).

There is no such thing as a "diffraction limit" except when the resolution falls to zero.

- well, yes that's true, except it is actually useful to have an idea where diffraction is going to really start killing the sharpness so worth remembering this so-called non-existent limit, while understanding it isn't one you can't bypass (at a cost).

Unfortunately, what we seem to have is people arguing vehemently that because:

1) there is no universal, objective standard for where diffraction "really start[s] killing the sharpness,"

it follows that:

2) that any such attempt is meaningless.

YMMV of course.

More pixels, all else equal, will *always* resolve more detail.

- True, although a chunk of the time it will be to so small a degree you don't care, the rest of the system needs to be in the ball-park. The number of times a friend's D800 out-resolves my 5DmkII are less than you'd think as the pixel effect gets lost in other factors. (He has consumery long lenses, for example)

But the concept of "diminishing returns" confuses people into believing that a higher-resolution sensor will somehow resolve less than a lower-resolution sensor when diffraction effects kick in!

Anyway, I should ask a question - are you unhappy about applying Airy disk maths to either a CoC for viewing a picture of size X at distance Y or using a CoC for the presumed resolution limit of a camera in the 2-3 pixel pitch range (depending on AA filters, de-Bayering algorithms, etc.)?

They are very much unhappy about that; pick through the previous threads if you really want...

Oh, I should say the point being working out when you are likely to really start caring about diffraction effects, but I'll avoid the "L" word. Okay, re-reading that maybe I should have said "Limit" word...

Maybe we can just call it the Subjectively Affected by Diffraction (SAD) limit to stay out of trouble.

Steen Bay Veteran Member • Posts: 6,974
Re: It all depends on the definition of "noticeable".

Paul De Bra wrote:

With a sharp lens mounted on the E-M5 you can certainly see the effect of diffraction at f/8 versus e.g. f/5.6 when looking carefully at 100% pixel level on a sharp monitor. Does that qualify as noticeable?

I typically view my images on a 1920x1200 pixel 24" monitor. At that resolution and monitor size such measurable difference in sharpness is not noticeable. When I take shots with the 12-50 or 20mm there is no noticeable difference in sharpness on my monitor. When viewed at 100% there is a visible difference, and also a visible decrease in sharpness on the 20mm when going from f/5.6 to f/8. But for practical use there is no noticeable difference.

Most of the discussion about diffraction is about differences and softening that isn't really visible when admiring a photo, only when pixel-peeping.

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Public pictures at http://debra.zenfolio.com/.

OK, but even if it's "noticeable" (my word, Anders put it a bit differently, see link below) if pixel-peeping, then that isn't as bad as "strong diffraction softening".

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/post/52052886

LTZ470
OP LTZ470 Forum Pro • Posts: 11,926
Re: Diffraction Effects in a Real Lens-Camera System

markintosh13 wrote:

I'm quite sure you're actively trolling.

Nope, learned a lot here myself...

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LTZ470
OP LTZ470 Forum Pro • Posts: 11,926
Re: It all depends on the definition of "noticeable".

Paul De Bra wrote:

With a sharp lens mounted on the E-M5 you can certainly see the effect of diffraction at f/8 versus e.g. f/5.6 when looking carefully at 100% pixel level on a sharp monitor. Does that qualify as noticeable?

I typically view my images on a 1920x1200 pixel 24" monitor. At that resolution and monitor size such measurable difference in sharpness is not noticeable. When I take shots with the 12-50 or 20mm there is no noticeable difference in sharpness on my monitor. When viewed at 100% there is a visible difference, and also a visible decrease in sharpness on the 20mm when going from f/5.6 to f/8. But for practical use there is no noticeable difference.

Most of the discussion about diffraction is about differences and softening that isn't really visible when admiring a photo, only when pixel-peeping.

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Slowly learning to use the Olympus OM-D E-M5.
Public pictures at http://debra.zenfolio.com/.

One word: AMEN!

1920 X 1080 24" for me...works great...much better than this 15.4 Apple Retina Display to work with...

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LTZ470
OP LTZ470 Forum Pro • Posts: 11,926
Re: Diffraction Effects in a Real Lens-Camera System

Detail Man wrote:

LTZ470 wrote:

Detail Man wrote:

Whereas the phrase "Diffusion Limited" might be more applicable to debates, the phrase, "Phased Array Linear Dispersion Orthagonal Retro Rockets", always has had a rather sexy ring to me.

Must I keep repeating:

"inebriated by the exuberance of their own verbosity"

Lol...

Here's another of your exuberant "golden oldies", magister:

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/thread/3458992

Aaahhh the golden oldies...those were the days...love it Dm...there is some variance somewhere...strange episode for sure at high ISO's it becomes more relevant...

But actually it is "irrelevant" as well, as I would never use either of these cams for anything over ISO 1250...if that...

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I will not only buy one but two no questions asked...

LTZ470
OP LTZ470 Forum Pro • Posts: 11,926
Re: Diffraction Effects in a Real Lens-Camera System

Anders W wrote:

LTZ470 wrote:

Steen Bay wrote:

LTZ470 wrote:

I learn by "concrete proof in the pudding"...there is none for the FZ200 being diffraction limited at f/2.8...

But if it was (for example in the center of the image), then that would actually be a good thing! If a lens is "diffraction limited" (has its peak resolution) wide open, then that just means that it's a very good lens without any significant aberrations, where the resolution mostly will be limited by the unavoidable diffraction.

IF or CONCRETE...I'll stick with concrete...and the fact that there is no concrete proof...

So, if Panasonic came out with a successor to the FZ200 and the succesor were the same camera in every way except that it had a new lens that was "diffraction limited" already at f/2.8, which version would you prefer: the old one or the new one?

The one that can do this:

http://acwilli.smugmug.com/Nature/Close-Ups/FZ200-Close-Ups/25197797_SV4gvV#!i=2720806713&k=kCgGwDV&lb=1&s=O

and this

http://acwilli.smugmug.com/Nature/Close-Ups/FZ200-Close-Ups/25197797_SV4gvV#!i=2720807166&k=VD7B96p&lb=1&s=O

and this

http://acwilli.smugmug.com/Nature/Close-Ups/FZ200-Close-Ups/25197797_SV4gvV#!i=2720812957&k=H8WptjS&lb=1&s=O

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azazel1024 Senior Member • Posts: 1,133
Re: Diffraction Limit

I haven't read every single post in this thread, but one thing people seem to not be mentioning (except in a very tangential way) is that resolution is a function of the aperature size, but it isn't the only thing controlling it.

Pixel size/resolution of the sensor also has a lot to do with it as well.

The smaller the format, the smaller pixels so the way the airy disk is captured changes.

Saying f/32 on FF, f/22 on APS-c and f/16 on m4/3 also just doesn't work. Now that might work for any of the formats AT 8x10 held at a resonable distance to someone with roughly 20/20 vision. THAT statement is pretty much true. However, the maximum resolution capture is still dependent on the optical properties of the lens (IE aberations or lack there of) as well as the pixel pitch of the sensor.

That 40mp m4/3 sensor with a near perfect lens at f/16 will resolve roughly the same detail in an 8x10 print as a 12mp m4/3 sensor with a passable lens. If you looked real close at a big enlargement that wouldn't be true though. Both lens abberations (even at f/16) and sensor pixel pitch means that more of the maximum resolution imposed by diffraction will be resolved in the end (at high f-numbers the difference isn't necessarily easily noticable).

This counters, at least in small part, the argument from people that a 16mp m4/3 sensor is already diffraction limited at a little less than f/8, so why would we want a higher resolution sensor. Okay, sure, a 24mp m4/3 sensor might be diffraction limited at more like f/5.6, but so what? Even at f/8 a 24mp m4/3 sensor will resolve at least slightly more detail than a 16mp sensor at f/8 would, it might be a very small difference, but the difference will be there.

Also last I checked most of my m4/3 primes reach maximum resolution in the f/2.8-f/4 range. That is a whole lot of sensor resolution gain before I am butting up on lens abberations. Of course, the quality of the lenses might be such that a theoretical 32mp m4/3 sensor might not be resolving all that much extra detail because even at maximum lens resolution f-stops the lens might just not be capable of resolving that well.

You gotta put all the factors in to the equation and then shake it up. Lens resolution, sensor resolution, and diffraction.

I do personally believe that due to LENS limitations, I don't think we are likely to see much of a gain beyond about a 24mp m4/3 sensor. I just don't think the majority of even the really good m4/3 primes are going to be able to resolve a whole lot better once you push them that far out. I'd love to be proven wrong though. From a personal perspective I rarely ever need even the full 16mp from my E-M5 for the kind of prints I do (usually 5x7 and 8x10, occasionally 11x14 and I think I've done two 13x19 prints since I bought the camera 15 months ago), but I still wouldn't mind another few MP. I have a few pictures from a Grand Canyon trip 2 years ago where I was still shooting film that I wouldn't have minded being 20+MP digitals instead of the roughly 8MP or so I am able to usefully extract from the film (IE I made a good 11x14 out of one of them, but I just can't push the 35mm film more than that without it looking mushy unless you are standing rather far from the print). If there was enough resolution the print probably would have made an excellent 24x36 to go over the fireplace (which, yes, I know you can squeeze out of a 16mp m4/3 file, but 150 or so pixels per inch even over a fireplace is a little on the low end for my taste, a 24mp or so file I feel like would be better to work with for a print that big. 13x19 is roughly the limit of my comfort zone with 16mp. I don't always get my nose grease on big prints, but I do tend to mount them on walls where I walk by within a couple of feet of them, which means 240+ pixels an inch more closely meets my quality standards)

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Steen Bay Veteran Member • Posts: 6,974
Re: Diffraction Limit

azazel1024 wrote:

I do personally believe that due to LENS limitations, I don't think we are likely to see much of a gain beyond about a 24mp m4/3 sensor. I just don't think the majority of even the really good m4/3 primes are going to be able to resolve a whole lot better once you push them that far out. I'd love to be proven wrong though.

Don't know if there is an adapter that fits, but it would be theoretically possible to mount e.g. the 75/1.8 on Pentax Q that has app. the same pixel density as a mFT sensor with 94 MP. Could be interesting to see the result.

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