I've been thinking about what this fabeled "micro contrast" is. I feel like I know it when I see it, but I wonder why we don't have a measurement or metric. Why we can't say "this lens' micro contrast is 95" or "this has a 78% micro contrast" -- but I wouldn't even know what it measures! I know some have said it's bundled into the MTF numbers, but that doesn't really help me, as I've also heard some folks say you can have a sharp lens, but not a contrasty lens (which has been my experience generally with Oly lenses). Well, I still don't have an answer, but would love to hear any input, especially as it relates to m43 gear. Here are some helpful points I found: From Lenses with best micro contrast - FM Forums post #7 has "It's high MTF at low frequencies. Which means that a bright area doesn't "infect" a dark adjacent area with its brightness. This isn't necessarily connected to high resolution (which is high MTF at higher frequencies). " From terminology - What is Micro Contrast? - Photography Stack Exchange "Micro-contrast refers to contrast as measured between adjacent or nearly adjacent pixels. It is often perceived as sharpness. Contrast usually refers to the contrast of the entire image which is an indicator of the captured dynamic-range." This is also interesting, though not directly related Understanding Lens Contrast The issue is further confused by color, since color sometimes functions similarly to contrast. Imagine two areas in an image of similar value, but one red, and one green. Take a picture of this with black-and-white film, and you have one undifferentiated gray. Take a picture of it in color, and the green area easily stands apart from the red area and vice-versa. Although it has nothing to do with optical or sensitometric contrast, color contrast helps with definition and hence with a sense of general image clarity. What this means is that different lenses perform differently or perhaps I should say "to different tastes" in black-and-white and color. I conjecture that Leica designers used to pay most attention to relatively low-cycle contrast, meaning in the 5-20 lp/mm range, and then let resolution fall where it may. This is the smartest approach (in my opinion) for black-and-white film. Lenses which have been optimized this way look best for black-and-white. But now that so many people are shooting in color, giving a little more weighting to resolution at higher frequencies (as, say, Canon and Mamiya seem to do pretty consistently) and expecting color to "help with contrast" is a smart approach, too. and You can have a lens of very low contrast that can be made to transmit the same overall range of light to dark or white to black as one with high contrast. It will just show much less micro detail in the scene, and look relatively muddy and lifeless. Some pictorialist-era pictures actually have a full range of tones from white to black but show (by design) exceptionally low degrees of what we would call lens contrast. Low lens contrast is also created when you put a "softening" filter on a lens you can still print the picture with an overall contrast from pure white to maximum black, but the microcontrast will be severely curtailed. So, contrast or dynamic range is about the tonalities in the image, but lens contrast which is the same as micro contrast (??) has to do with the lens' ability to cleanly resolve different tonality changes between pixels. If the lens (and sensor combo??) allows, for instance, lighter pixels to "creep" over into neighboring pixels (perhaps ones that should be darker) than it could be said to have lower contrast. How is this different from playing with the contrast slider in, say, lightroom? Does the contrast slides just push out the histogram/tone curve so that darker tones head to the left and lighter tones head to the right, thereby reducing the spread in the mid-tone section? Can the contrast slider ever make up for a deficiency in lens contrast, or does it only address the DR and contrast of the image itself? In LR, is the clarity slider the one that best helps address any lack of micro contrast? (in that it is trying to balance sharpness, contrast and a few other items at the same time). Last question -- if you want to test a lens for lens contrast, or more specifically test two lenses against each other, is it best done in B&W to avoid the "apparent" contrast confusion that color can bring, or if you are shooting color, is how a lens renders color an important part of the formula for apparent micro contrast? Any technicians out there?