> As to out-of-focus areas, my first reaction is that I have seen how
> difficult it is to capture the texture of Pine Marten fur, it is simply too
> fine to be resolved adequately (on a four thirds sensor in my case). And
> while I cannot speak for foxes, the dogs I have got to know over the years
> certainly have exceptionally fine hair behind their ears.
I find this to be one of those things that drive me batty with digital
photography. There is a micro-contrast thing going on with the fine
mesh of hairs that the digital imaging process just turns into mush.
However, not all hope is lost.
The Canons do a good job if you can overexpose the midtones by a full
stop. The problem with the Canon CMOS sensors is that all the
microcontrast is preserved in the highlights. Older Nikons were even
worse. The 4/3 Panasonic sensors were more of a mixed bag with some
being quite good (7mp and 12mp) for microcontrast, and the rest being
a bit questionable. The CCD sensor in my E-1 is quite good.
Surprisingly, the 24mp sensor in the Sony A7 II is surprisingly
The point is that it's not a resolution thing. It's a microcontrast
thing. The fineness of the hair is beyond the resolving ability of
pretty much every commonly available camera system. The resolution can
be simulated, but mostly any visible hairs or texture are not directly
that of the hairs themselves but of the interference pattern and/or
aliasing that occurs between the hairs and the pixels. The sensor is
unable to capture the REAL details of the hairs, but what it is able
to do is capture the microcontrasts that exist within the mass of fur.
This is also how the human eye views this. We really don't see the
hairs, but we see the subtleness of tone and color that give the eye a
Themed Olympus Photo Exhibition: http://www.tope.nl/