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| Re: to crop or not to crop? |
but there always seems to be more distortion, and all sorts of problems on the corners, like vignetting, light falloff, ca, and what frightens me the most = loss of sharpness
so for me the question is
To crop or not to crop?
Here is my take - The folks at photozone concentrate more on the lens performance throughout the entire viewing field. To them, the ideal lens would have the same resolution (or sharpness, if you want to call it that way) in the outer corners as well as in the center. Such ideal lens doesn't exist. Period. Even the best lens manufacturer in the world cannot mass produce something like that in economic way. In a lot cases, especially in portraits, the lens' subpar performance in the corners or edges actually works to our advantage. You want the center to be reasonably sharp but you want the edges to be blurred, not only out of focus but with optical flaws that create a nice bokeh, letting you concentrate on your target. That's why a lot of folks prefer using largish aperture to capture portraits.
Admittedly, that doesn't apply to landscape photography in most cases. Generally, you want a sharp lens that performs uniformly well, as close as possible, at least, from the corner to the center for landscape photography. In that case, you want to stop down the lens 3-4 stops to bring the corner performance closer to that of the center.
To crop or not to crop? Well, if you are after nice smooth bokeh, in general, you may want to use a FF camera. Not a direct correlation there but you tend to move in closer to your target to fill the frame more that way. A crop camera will be fine for landscape but the crop factor kind of takes away the wide angle effect from your lens and you have to compensate for that. I use crop cameras to get the reach in wildlife photography and use a FF camera for anything else.