First of all, he was a number on the film. If Bryan Peterson was not aware at that time, it would only show what he did not know, do not that it was not really a problem.
There were differences though. First of all, we did not have EXIF data, and most people did not have enough notes to really know why X was more accurate than Y. Even for those who kept notes, were doing real tests, like taking 100 photos of the same subject by varying the camera settings to see what worked well and what did not work was enough for that very few people all really tried.
Second, for most people, the standards were much lower. Watching images on a computer screen, in particular, makes a lot It's easier to zoom in narrow, to the point of seeing really minor flaws that you'd never see in a reasonably sized print or projecting a slide even really great.
Third, there is something of a psychological effect involved. When shooting at f / 22, all is a little fuzzy, so you have a tendency (for example) not to look at it as closely. Most people will never notice it much because they tend to stop looking closer when they realize (subconsciously) that there is more detail to see. On the other hand, if you photograph, f / 5.6 for example, the parts of the image that have exactly the same size of CoF as the f / 22. look fuzzy because you can (at least usually) see much sharper areas.
Fourth, a lot depends on the quality of the lens used. If you look / play with goals from 50 or 60 years ago (for example), you can trust that, by today's standards, they are rather horrible when they are wide open. An f / 2 lens can easily need to be stopped until f / 8 or before fairly good by modern standards. The aberrations when it was wide open were serious enough that the quality improved again to f / 11 or even f / 16 in many cases. A big goal and a very bad goal are about equal to f / 22 – but at f / 8, the big goal will be a lot better.
To get closer to your direct question: yes, the size of the sensor has a considerable effect. With a larger sensor, you need to get closer to the subject to get the same framing with the same focal length as the lens. This means that a larger sensor will normally reduce the apparent impact strength so that you will gain more by stopping. Secondly, if you use a larger sensor, you enlarge less to get the same print size. This prevents the loss of sharpness of a small aperture from being almost as apparent.
To give an extreme example, many of the most famous "classic" photographers like Adams and Weston belonged to what they called the f / 64 club. Turning an 8×10 camera (or even bigger), they necessary a tiny aperture to get any DoF, and (quite obviously after the name) considered that the f / 64 aperture was ideal. The loss of sharpness mattered little, for the simple reason that they rarely grew larger. From an 8×10 negative, even a 24×30 print is only a 3: 1 enlargement – slightly less the enlargement only to produce a 3×5 print from a full-frame digital camera.
Edit: First of all, f / 22 is only rarely necessary from the point of view of DoF. Consider hyperfocal distances for a 50mm lens at different apertures:
f / 8: 41 feet
f / 11: 29 feet
f / 16: 21 feet
f / 22: 15 feet
The closest point that is the focus of the focus is half of that number in each case. Therefore, going from f / 16 to f / 22 saves you about 3 feet of foreground that is net. There are probably times when winning only 3 feet is worth no matter what. Let's be honest though: it's not very common – and probably in 95% of the cases where you can use f / 22 to do the job, you can use the focus stack (for example) to accomplish the same thing. and get a much higher sharpness.
For a typical landscape, it is rarely necessary. For example, consider an FF camera with a 50mm lens held at eye level (for example, 60 "above ground), with the nearby ground level and level. For simplicity, suppose that they keep the camera roughly level. .
In this case, the nearest first plan at the beginning very The edge of the photo is about 250 inches (just under 21 feet). This means that f / 8 is small enough for the all image to fall into the DoF. Someone looks really closely to very The edge of the photo might notice that it's just a little sweeter than the center – but what they see is always a little sharper at the edge and a lot sharper in the center than if you took the picture at f / 22.
I feel compelled to add, however, that DoF is not the only reason to use a small aperture. I sometimes use a small aperture specifically to give a rather soft and low contrast image. Setting f / 22 (or f / 32, if necessary) can be a very economical alternative to a soft-focus lens, and when you want to get a soft and dreamy look as one would expect. from a pinhole camera, f / 32 can be an easy task. replace.
Conclusion: It is quite possible to produce very beautiful images by taking pictures at f / 22 or f / 32 – but when / if you use it, you have to do it based on at least one idea what to expect and knowing that want the kind of photo you will have. Make do not do it because Bryan Peterson (or whoever else) has assured you that it was the right thing to do, and that you should not do it hoping that an image at f / 22 appears as sharp as f / 11.
Let me conclude with a short series of photos. These were all taken from a tripod with the predefined mirror, all at a few seconds apart so that the light changed very little, and so on. First, an overview:
Then 100% of the crops at f / 11, f / 16, f / 22 and / f32:
Now, it is true that we are here at least to a certain extent, but it is also true that the loss of quality at f / 22 and (especially) f / 32 is quite obvious. Frankly, although most tests show a loss at f / 16 when shooting high-contrast flat targets, here on an actual photo, f / 16 does not look as if it's different from f / 11.
OTOH, at f / 22, the loss of quality is rather noticeable, and at f / 32, the result is frankly awful.
Oh, and these are all taken at 200mm. If you believe that a long lens will spare you the effects of diffraction, get ready for some disappointment …