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With or without AA filter

Jonas Fjellstedt , Feb 05, 2012; 06:42 a.m.

Ponder that one of the big dslr manufacturers would release a 30+ Mpix small format (full frame) camera in two versions: one with and one without a high pass filter (anti-aliasing filter) in front of the sensor. Some people choose to remove the AA-filter. Leica sells small format cameras with no AA filter. Most medium format cameras come without AA-filter and so does the Sony NEX-7. The obvious advantage is the improved detail at the risk of moire-patterns (that might be possible to correct in post).

Does anyone have practical experiece with removing AA-filter or cameras coming without it?

Which version would you guys choose?



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Oliver Racz , Feb 05, 2012; 07:22 a.m.

Am I really reading this?

Jonas Fjellstedt , Feb 05, 2012; 07:48 a.m.

Oliver, is that a philosophical question related to extentialism or are you trying to tell me that it is not of interest? I have not felt the need to study Sartre since I left school a long time ago, but I am really curious about other peoples take on to AA-filter or not.

Walt Flanagan , Feb 05, 2012; 08:05 a.m.

maxmax will remove the AA filter

this page has better examples

Mike Halliwell , Feb 05, 2012; 08:07 a.m.

I took the IR Blocker from my D50 to allow IR photography. Replaced it with Quartz glass. Not sure where the AA bit fits in the sensor sandwich. Maybe I should try to shoot some fabric and see how it Moire's?

John Crowe , Feb 05, 2012; 09:31 a.m.

I used a Kodak SLRn for several years, and have since had a Canon 1Ds, Nikon D2x, and now Canon 5D II. The SLRn did not have an AA filter, so while it was a 14 MP camera the resolution was more like a 16-18 MP camera, like the 1DsII.

The problem is the moire effect. Kodak was driven out of the DSLR market by the huge internet rebellion over the moire effect. I do not know how the medium format digital backs have been left alone by the critics. I had enough moire problems to render 5-10% of my images unuseable. I highly doubt that post-processing could fix the problems that I had and even if it can it must reduce resolution more significantly than an AA filter.

I still love the images that I took with the Kodak SLRn but the 5D II with it's AA filter has been a vast improvement, and with no moire effects. I'll take the AA filter please.

Kent Staubus , Feb 05, 2012; 09:48 a.m.

From what I've read from MF digital users, moire is NOT correctable. If it hits, you area screwed. For a "general" outdoor photographer like me, the filter is probably a very good thing.

Kent in SD

Michael Bradtke , Feb 05, 2012; 11:21 a.m.

I have a Kodak Pro14NX and have used a Hasselblad H3d. In both cases the camera does not have an AA filter, I use the Kodak in the studio and for doing landscapes and have not had an issue with moire in prints. You can see it on screen sometimes but I have yet to see it in a print.
The H3d has yet to have moire rear its ugly head.
As to the OP I would doubt very much that a camera company would muck up there assembly line by having two versions of one camera.
Also it is my understanding that as the MP go up the chance of moire becomes greater given the same size sensor.

Edward Ingold , Feb 05, 2012; 11:23 a.m.

Most MF digital backs either omit or make AA filters optional. I have a CFV-16, which has the same nominal resolution as a D3 but is nearly twice as sharp. This comes with some baggage. Scenes with fine, repetitive patterns, like fences, bricks or fabric, tend to exhibit Moire patterns which cannot be removed after the fact. This is never a problem with my DSLRs, nor is it a problem with photos that don't show the "hand of man."

There are photos in my gallery (the grain elevators) taken with MF digital and a D2x which illustrate the problem.

There are firms which will remove AA and IR filters from the sensor. I'm considering this conversion for older cameras I no longer use regularly or as backups. For about $500 you can have the IR filter replaced with one which blocks visible light. This allows you to use the viewfinder and TTL metering while shooting IR into the near-micron spectrum. Removing the AA filter, while keeping IR blocking, would be suitable for a dedicated nature or landscape camera. Excessive IR sensitivity in visible light shooting makes it hard to get neutral blacks, or shadows in incandescent light.

Oliver Racz , Feb 05, 2012; 11:36 a.m.

Sorry Jonas, I did not mean to be very rude, it is just that the way you asked the question made the topic of this thread sound very similar to the one just below yours ("one of the big dslr manufacturers", 30+ mp full frame camera, optional anti aliasing filter etc.). If yours is a question about AA filters in general, that is different and I apologize.

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