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Old June 30th, 2011, 08:11 PM
Nick Masson Nick Masson is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Boulder, Colorado
Posts: 74
Default f/22, soft edges and landscapes

Hey all,
I have a question about technique when it comes to dealing with long depth-of-field and lenses that go soft in the edges when they get stopped down...

I am shooting with some older Nikkor lenses which I have chosen to work with because their small profile and weight allow me to bring them places I otherwise wouldn't or couldn't go (20mm Ai-S f/3.5, 24mm Ai-S f/2.8, 28mm Ai-S f/2.8, etc...).

Most of the time this setup is best suited for images with strong subjects and potent image value, but I do enjoy my share of tripod-mounted landscape work. These are not the best for lanscapes (given good wide lenses now, 17-35 etc...), but they are what I have.

To the point: When my subject is far off, everything is effectively at 'infinity' in as far as focusing. Sure nothing is truly at infinity, but there is no discerning between an object 1mile off and an object 2 miles off when focusing.

I have been told that it is still wise to use a small aperture in this case to maintain sharpness throughout the photograph, but is there really a difference between f/8 and f/22 when my subject is very far away?

I only ask because these small older lenses tend to get soft edges when stopped down, and are sharpest around f/8 (usually the case with most lenses), so I fear that whatever I may gain in shooting at f/22 instead of f/8 I would loose due to softening edges in the small-lens optics...

Any insight would be appreciated!
Thanks,
-Nick
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