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Subject: "Macro and diffraction?" Previous topic | Next topic
glxman Silver Member Nikonian since 04th Oct 2008Thu 24-Jan-13 12:09 PM
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"Macro and diffraction?"
Thu 24-Jan-13 12:10 PM by glxman

South Australia, AU
          

Hi Guys,
As you would all be aware, we are usually shooting close and are stopping down chasing the ever needed DOF

Are dedicated macro lenses better at handling diffraction?
Starting to appear that way with my 105 VR but my eyes are also not young any more

Or should we just accept that stacking is the only way?

I have captured some images at f22 with the 105 that still look "OK" to me but I'm guessing a trained eye would delete the image

With my "normal" lenses I'm usually at the limit at f11 and prefer f5.6 or f8 with my 2.8 lenses, my only slow lens is the 300 f4 which gets used wide open most of the time
Regards,
Gary

  

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Replies to this topic
Subject Author Message Date ID
Reply message RE: Macro and diffraction?
blw Moderator
24th Jan 2013
1
Reply message RE: Macro and diffraction?
glxman Silver Member
24th Jan 2013
2
     Reply message RE: Macro and diffraction?
blw Moderator
24th Jan 2013
3
          Reply message RE: Macro and diffraction?
glxman Silver Member
24th Jan 2013
4
               Reply message RE: Macro and diffraction?
blw Moderator
25th Jan 2013
7
                    Reply message RE: Macro and diffraction?
glxman Silver Member
25th Jan 2013
9
Reply message RE: Macro and diffraction?
TEITZY Silver Member
25th Jan 2013
5
Reply message RE: Macro and diffraction?
glxman Silver Member
25th Jan 2013
6
     Reply message RE: Macro and diffraction?
mkbee1 Silver Member
25th Jan 2013
8
     Reply message RE: Macro and diffraction?
TEITZY Silver Member
27th Jan 2013
13
          Reply message RE: Macro and diffraction?
glxman Silver Member
27th Jan 2013
15
Reply message RE: Macro and diffraction?
Vox Sciurorum
26th Jan 2013
10
Reply message RE: Macro and diffraction?
glxman Silver Member
26th Jan 2013
11
     Reply message RE: Macro and diffraction?
AartPapaya Silver Member
27th Jan 2013
12
          Reply message RE: Macro and diffraction?
glxman Silver Member
27th Jan 2013
14

blw Moderator Awarded for his high level of expertise in various areas Nikonian since 18th Jun 2004Thu 24-Jan-13 12:40 PM
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#1. "RE: Macro and diffraction?"
In response to Reply # 0


Richmond, US
          

> Are dedicated macro lenses better at handling diffraction?

No, diffraction is a property of physics. Macro lenses cannot violate the laws of physics any better than non-macro lenses!

> Or should we just accept that stacking is the only way?

I don't.

> I have captured some images at f22 with the 105 that still look "OK" to me but I'm guessing a trained eye would delete the image

You be the judge. The reason for avoiding diffraction is that one loses sharpness. How does the following look to you?



It was shot at f/22. I know someone will complain that it's just a small image, so here's the 100% crop:



Objectively speaking, we know this must be diffraction softened. But is it problematic? If I didn't tell you that it was shot at f/22, who would know? How about this one?



This one was shot at f/45, five full stops into the diffraction zone.

The reason that macro lenses seem to be "immune" is that we're so short of DoF at macro distances that the tradeoff often works. If I had shot the eye of the butterfly at f/4, the DOF would have been nil, and even if the eye had been completely in focus, the rest of the head would have been out of focus - not a good thing. So even though I lost sharpness at the point of focus - probably a lot, actually - the photographic result is better even so. This is why I think that sharpness is highly over-rated in photographic circles.

Of course, if you don't have to go into the diffraction zone, then don't. If one is shooting a flat vertical subject from a moderate distance, say the side of a building from across the street, you don't really have a DOF problem. The entire subject is at essentially the same focus distance. Why shoot at f/22 and lose sharpness when f/5.6 will do just fine? So don't. We lose sharpness shooting an f/1.4 lens wide open, too. Other than perhaps the famous 58/f1.2 Noct, most of the fast lenses are sharper stopped down some, or even a lot. Yet people don't seem to have a problem shooting them wide open. Macro lenses are the same way, only with diffraction.

_____
Brian... a bicoastal Nikonian and Team Member

My gallery is online. Comments and critique welcomed any time!

Attachment #1, (jpg file)
Attachment #2, (jpg file)
Attachment #3, (jpg file)

  

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glxman Silver Member Nikonian since 04th Oct 2008Thu 24-Jan-13 01:09 PM
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#2. "RE: Macro and diffraction?"
In response to Reply # 1


South Australia, AU
          

Thank you Brian for your detailed reply,
definitely notice the difference, especially pronounced in the second

Starting to see now why I have been "getting out of jail" with the 14-24 but failing with the longer glass

The 36mp boys would have to be even more aware I guess
Regards,
Gary

  

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blw Moderator Awarded for his high level of expertise in various areas Nikonian since 18th Jun 2004Thu 24-Jan-13 04:03 PM
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#3. "RE: Macro and diffraction?"
In response to Reply # 2


Richmond, US
          

f/45 is a bit extreme. I have a couple shot at f/90! Worth noting that the f/45 was shot on the 85/f2.8 PC, hardly a soft lens. (As near as I can tell, it was also shot with no tilt. Ordinarily I have audio notes for shots with tilt and shift, and there aren't any in the catalog for this file. Either I shot it straight - which is what it looks like - or I lost the notes.) But certainly it was the 85 with an extension tube.

_____
Brian... a bicoastal Nikonian and Team Member

My gallery is online. Comments and critique welcomed any time!

  

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glxman Silver Member Nikonian since 04th Oct 2008Thu 24-Jan-13 09:31 PM
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#4. "RE: Macro and diffraction?"
In response to Reply # 3


South Australia, AU
          

Thank you for the heads-up Brian,
Great example of "high end" glass at the extremes
Must do some tests now and see where the limits are,
Regards,
Gary

  

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blw Moderator Awarded for his high level of expertise in various areas Nikonian since 18th Jun 2004Fri 25-Jan-13 01:15 PM
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#7. "RE: Macro and diffraction?"
In response to Reply # 4


Richmond, US
          

Actually that flower may not be a very good example. Here's another one, at "only" f/43:


_____
Brian... a bicoastal Nikonian and Team Member

My gallery is online. Comments and critique welcomed any time!

Attachment #1, (jpg file)

  

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glxman Silver Member Nikonian since 04th Oct 2008Fri 25-Jan-13 09:27 PM
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#9. "RE: Macro and diffraction?"
In response to Reply # 7


South Australia, AU
          

Tks Brian,
Perfect example there,
At f22, I would not have noticed it I guess
Regards,
Gary

  

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TEITZY Silver Member Awarded for the continuous and generous sharing of his high level expertise and his always encouraging comments, most notably in the macro and sports forums. Nikonian since 14th Mar 2007Fri 25-Jan-13 10:43 AM
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#5. "RE: Macro and diffraction?"
In response to Reply # 0


WUNGHNU, AU
          

At 1:1 I have no issues shooting at f22 as I find the sharpness is more than acceptable (and I'm pretty picky ). However once I throw the tubes on, f22 does start to look a bit soft at least for insects (flowers may be ok though).

Cheers
Leigh

My Nikonians Gallery

  

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glxman Silver Member Nikonian since 04th Oct 2008Fri 25-Jan-13 11:00 AM
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#6. "RE: Macro and diffraction?"
In response to Reply # 5


South Australia, AU
          

Tks Leigh,
Interesting, would have thought the tubes, having no glass, would not make any difference
I guess the focal length change must be what has brought in the diffraction?
Regards,
Gary

  

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mkbee1 Silver Member Nikonian since 26th Nov 2012Fri 25-Jan-13 04:29 PM
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#8. "RE: Macro and diffraction?"
In response to Reply # 6
Sat 26-Jan-13 02:43 AM by mkbee1

West Valley, US
          

BLW has it right! Diffraction is a reaity, but how much,and does it really matter,outside of academic discussion?

Bryan Peterson, in his book "Understanding Exposure", page 48, shows an example of exactly how detrimental diffraction is.

It's there, but of little practical effect, and is never noticeable, even to the "trained eye" in his marvelous sharp-from-front-to-back landscapes.

I think skinny DOF/knowledge of DOF and improper focusing cause more unsharp macro photos than diffraction ever did.

It is a Fine and Pleasant Madness

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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TEITZY Silver Member Awarded for the continuous and generous sharing of his high level expertise and his always encouraging comments, most notably in the macro and sports forums. Nikonian since 14th Mar 2007Sun 27-Jan-13 10:24 AM
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#13. "RE: Macro and diffraction?"
In response to Reply # 6


WUNGHNU, AU
          

With the 68mm tubes attached I lose 2 stops of light and I assume my effective aperture is also reduced by a similar amount which explains the increased diffraction. With the tubes I normally shoot at f16 so my effective aperture would be f32. Certainly at 1:1 f32 is on the limit in terms of detail and sharpness though I haven't done any tests to see if diffraction at 2:1 & f16 is similar to 1:1 & f32.

Cheers
Leigh

My Nikonians Gallery

  

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glxman Silver Member Nikonian since 04th Oct 2008Sun 27-Jan-13 10:59 AM
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#15. "RE: Macro and diffraction?"
In response to Reply # 13


South Australia, AU
          

>With the 68mm tubes attached I lose 2 stops of light and I
>assume my effective aperture is also reduced by a similar
>amount which explains the increased diffraction. With the
>tubes I normally shoot at f16 so my effective aperture would
>be f32. Certainly at 1:1 f32 is on the limit in terms of
>detail and sharpness though I haven't done any tests to see if
>diffraction at 2:1 & f16 is similar to 1:1 & f32.
>
>Cheers
>Leigh
Very Interesting Leigh,
Must do some tests of my own,
A pattern is emerging here,

I am still thinking some lenses handle diffraction better than others, optical design must help, surely?
Regards,
Gary

  

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Vox Sciurorum Registered since 18th Oct 2007Sat 26-Jan-13 01:58 PM
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#10. "RE: Macro and diffraction?"
In response to Reply # 0


Newton, US
          

I have read that the usual diffraction formula is only valid at large distances, i.e. when magnification is much less than 1. Also be aware that f/22 at close range is really f/11 times a factor of two for exposure compensation (analagous to a "T" stop instead of an f stop).

I never saw a useful formula for macro distance diffraction so I judge my shots.

  

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glxman Silver Member Nikonian since 04th Oct 2008Sat 26-Jan-13 10:21 PM
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#11. "RE: Macro and diffraction?"
In response to Reply # 10


South Australia, AU
          

Appears I have more research to do,
Regards,
Gary

  

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AartPapaya Silver Member Nikonian since 21st Oct 2011Sun 27-Jan-13 05:56 AM
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#12. "RE: Macro and diffraction?"
In response to Reply # 11


Hectorspruit, ZA
          

This was shot with a Sigma 50mm macro lens.
It was only at f32 that I saw an appreciable difference. On this lens f32 is indicated in red most likely warning about the diffraction.





Aart

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

Attachment #1, (jpg file)
Attachment #2, (jpg file)

  

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glxman Silver Member Nikonian since 04th Oct 2008Sun 27-Jan-13 10:53 AM
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#14. "RE: Macro and diffraction?"
In response to Reply # 12


South Australia, AU
          

Hi Aart,
Thank you for taking the time and effort in posting your reply,
Much appreciated,
That is a very good example
Regards,
Gary

  

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