Imagine that one is rendering a picture of a flat floor with a uniform black and white checkerboard pattern that extends to the horizon; the checkers are large enough that they should be clearly visible at points near the camera but not large enough to be distinguishable near the horizon.
Near the horizon, the floor should simply appear as uniform gray. Near the camera, the checkers should appear distinct. Between the camera and the horizon the appearance of the floor must somehow transition between those two extremes.
If the scene is rendered a spacial filter that has a very sheep cut-off, there will be a certain distance where the floor goes from being checkered to being gray. If one uses a shallower filter, the transition will be much more gradual, but things near the original "cut-off" distance will be less sharp than they would have been otherwise.
If one were to add a "wall" or crop the scene to hide the distant parts of the floor, such that there was no need to have any parts of the checkered floor blurred to gray, the best results would be obtained by using the steepest filter, yielding the sharpest image. Using a shallower filter would give up image sharpness for the purpose of preventing a nasty transition that wasn't going to be visible anyway.
Figuring out what kind of filtering to use thus requires that one know something about the spacial frequency content of the information to be displayed. If the image contains nothing of interest that would approach Nyquist, using a steep filter will produce the sharpest results. If, however, image content exceeds Nyquist, using a gradual filter will avoid ugly "transitions". No single approach will be optimal for all cases.