How to Choose the Sharpest Aperture | Spencer Cox

Photographers have a dilemma. If you want your photographs to have the largest possible depth of field – from the foreground to infinity – a small aperture is absolutely necessary. At the same time, though, a small aperture causes your photograph to lose sharpness from diffraction. So, where’s the sweet spot? In this article, I will cover how to choose the sharpest possible aperture for such a photograph, including mathematically accurate charts (free for printing) that are easy to use in the field. Before that, though, please note that this article only applies if you want everything from the foreground to the horizon (infinity) to be sharp in your photographs. If you are simply interested in the sharpest aperture on your particular lens, this is the wrong article; check out our lens reviews instead, each of which includes sharpness tests. In an ideal world, you would always be able to use the sharpest aperture on your lens. In practice, though, you will find yourself stopping down to smaller, diffraction-prone aperture values if you need more depth of field…….