On Pixel Peeping

From a really nice analysis of whether today’s sensors “outresolve” lenses:

“For all the above reasons, the resolving power of a digital system must be evaluated at its limit. There are practical considerations for which relative concepts like the circle of confusion or the subjective perception of quality are relevant, but this greatly depends on each particular case. For any meaningful comparison or evaluation, it is the performance at the limit that counts. Technical progress usually translates to marginal improvements, and these small steps are the base of competition and decisions on equipment investment.”

You’ll have to read (or skim, it’s a tad heavy) the article to place the quote within the context.  But I believe the authors’ assertion (and I’m paraphrasing heavily) is that in order to do accurate evaluation of modern digital systems on image quality it is essential to pixel peep at a comprehensive level.  This is interesting, because a lot of photographers (notably Mr. Reichmann, on whose web site the article is featured) protest about excessive pixel peeping on the net (which I agree with, BTW).

I try to keep the pixel peeping urges down to some reasonable level, or at least mitigated by other equally important factors, such as usability.  Interesting to see a vote in the other direction, however.

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