I keep hearing the internet talk of this micro contrast from the famous Zeiss lenses. What is it? Is it the same as sharpness? And if so, why is it called differently for Zeiss? Does anyone have any sample images zoomed in that can demonstrate this in detail?

Other times, the "micro contrast" quality is even called an 3D effect. Sharpness can be simulated with software, is it the same for "micro contrast"?

  • That answer doesn't really answer it though. It tries to compare micro contrast to the contrast of the entire photo. Whereas I wanted to know how micro contrast differs from sharpness, which is just a high contrast between edges.
    – erotsppa
    May 13, 2013 at 21:39
  • That's why I referred to it as related, not duplicate.
    – Guffa
    May 13, 2013 at 22:02

1 Answer 1


My understanding is that micro-contrast is the ability of the lens to differentiate between areas that are very slightly different in color or luminosity. Sharpness is how well resolved the boundaries between color areas are. The two are closely related, however micro-contrast is a particular optical property while sharpness is the result of a combination of factors including the focus, the mico-contrast and a number of other possible aberations that can be caused by the lens.

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