Lens Diffraction In Photography

Thanks for stopping by! This tip is all about lens diffraction in photography โ€“ as you probably guessed from the title ๐Ÿ™‚

The video discusses not only what diffraction is, but also how it can affect your photography. In addition, Iโ€™ve put a TON of examples in plus I answer five of the most common questions that come up when the subject turns to diffraction. The video is below โ€“ watch that first โ€“ and then under the video are some sample photos.

Did you see the video yet? If so, feel free to examine the sample images below ๐Ÿ™‚


NOTE โ€“ Iโ€™ve had some questions about the sharpening method used in some of the images below โ€“ itโ€™s all just the Unsharp Mask, nothing special.

Although the video gets the point across, I think the images below do an even better job. For best results, click the image to get a full-size view (itโ€™s the original 1920 pixel wide image I used in the video, so make sure if your browser resizes it you click the little magnifying glass to enlarge to full size).

Note โ€“ if you did not see the video, this probably isnโ€™t going to make any senseโ€ฆ

Map comparison from the 1.0 minute mark:


Overlook comparing effect of diffraction at different F/Stops at the 3.30 minute mark:



Depth of field vs sharpness comparison from the 4.34 minute mark:



โ€œSweet spotโ€ comparison from the 5.37 minute mark:


Low res with no diffraction vs high res with diffraction comparison at 9.02:


Same area, D800e and D4

D4 upsized to D800e size

D800e downsized to D4 file size

D4 upsized to D800e size, this time, F/16 for both

Same as above, only with equal sharpening added for both images

Sharpening out diffraction comparisons at 11.17:

D800e, F8 and F11, unsharpenedD800e, F8 and F11, unsharpened

D800e, F8 and F11, ONLY F11 sharpenedD800e, F8 and F11, ONLY F11 sharpened

D800e, F8 and F11, BOTH sharpenedD800e, F8 and F11, BOTH sharpened

D800e, F8 and F16, no sharpeningD800e, F8 and F16, no sharpening

D800e, F8 and F16, ONLY F16 sharpenedD800e, F8 and F16, ONLY F16 sharpened

D800e, F8 and F16, ONLY F16 sharpenedD800e, F8 and F16, BOTH sharpened

D800e, F8 and F22, no sharpeningD800e, F8 and F22, no sharpening

D800e, F8 and F22, ONLY F22 sharpenedD800e, F8 and F22, ONLY F22 sharpened

D800e, F8 and F22, BOTH sharpenedD800e, F8 and F22, BOTH sharpened


If you enjoyed this article, I think you’ll REALLY like my e-books, Secrets To Stunning Wildlife Photography and Secrets To The Nikon Autofocus System. They’re filled with hundreds of pages of information just like this. Check it out – click here (hey, it’s free to look ๐Ÿ™‚ )


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This entry was posted in Techniques, Using Your Gear and tagged , , .


  1. Tom Lee May 12, 2017 at 2:11 pm #

    Jumped to this video from your excellent “Secrets to Nikon autofocus system” I really appreciate the clarity and plain common sense language that you use to help up. This video on diffraction was not only informative but entertaining to watch. I also have your “Secrets to Stunning Wildlife”. I am not too free with my cash and you are the only person on the internet I have found where I am willing to pay for additional stuff (like your e-books). You should be congratulated on that.
    From East Sussex England.

  2. Edyta Girgiel January 18, 2017 at 8:51 pm #

    Wow! I have finally understood why my lenses on the new D810 were so blurry at small apertures during my tests!!!! Thank you so much!!! Your explanation is very clear and easy to follow, and your examples speak a tonne as well. Thank you so much for this article. I had been searching for the answer at the Nikon support in Poland and they couldn’t help me ๐Ÿ™‚ and then, by accident, I came across your post on NikonRumours site. That’s exactly what I needed. Thank you! You’re the greatest! ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Winston Shaw December 28, 2016 at 11:04 pm #

    I never cease to be amazed by the clarity and completeness of your explanations! I am the sort of guy who NEVER finds what he is looking for in a FAQ section and yet whenever I watch one of your videos I come away with every one of my potential questions answered! In the forty years I’ve been involved with photography I am never encountered more useful photo information than I find on your website and in your Post Excellent “Secrets To Stunning Wildlife Photography” eBook. To say that my ability to capture worthwhile wildlife images has improved as a result of a careful study of the techniques you advance both online and in your eBook would be to understate the situation. For just as your knowledge allows you to create stunning wildlife images so too has it helped me move in that direction. I run custom nature and wildlife tours on my boat here in Bar Harbor, Maine and I recommend your eBook to every wildlife photographer who steps on my boat. Thanks seems like to little a word, but it’s all I’ve got.

    • Steve Perry December 28, 2016 at 11:16 pm #

      Wow, thanks so much for the kind words and the referrals!! Greatly appreciated!

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