Welcome to diglloyd.com
In-depth review coverage is by subscription.
Also by Lloyd: MacPerformanceGuide.com and WindInMyFace.com
First-time visitor
Speed To Create, Capacity To Dream
Huge Selection of Drones
Get the superb Zeiss Batis and Loxia for Sony Mirrorless
Batis 25/2 and 85/1.8 shipping mid-July. Pre-order now!
Reviewed in: Guide to Mirrorless

Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 APO-Distagon Aperture Series at 50 Megapixels: Summit Building on White Mountain Peak, North View (Canon 5DS R)

Zeiss Otus 55m f/1.4 APO-Distagon
(Nikon mount)

Get Zeiss Otus at B&H Photo.

In my review of the Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 APO-Distagon in Guide to Zeiss I show that the Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 APO-Distagon shrugs off 50 megapixels and has some room for the future.

Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 APO-Distagon Aperture Series: Summit Building on White Mountain Peak, North View (Canon 5DS R)

Example images are all up to 24 megapixels in size (with intermediate sizes also).

Snow lice can be seen to be crawling on the snow and building. Watch ’em move across the f/1.4 to f/11 aperture range! The crops include 1/3 stop increments starting at f/5.6 for a detailed look at effects with stopping down.

If you’re going to shoot 50 megapixels (or 36 or 43), shoot Zeiss Otus. Hardly anything else comes close and nothing is better. Well, some aspects are better than riding a mountain bike to 14,252' elevation with a tripod and Canon 5DS R and Zeiss Otus.

For Sony shooters looking to shoot Zeiss Otus on the Sony A7R II with its vibration-free EFC shutter, I recommend the Novoflex lens adapter with the Novoflex ASTAT tripod collar. If buying Otus, the Nikon-mount Zeiss Otus is preferred for its manual aperture ring (no electronics needed in the adapter).

Summit Building on White Mountain Peak, North View
Our trusted photo rental store

Zeiss Batis Lenses to Ship “Mid July”

PRE ORDER Zeiss Batis at B&H Photo.

I inquired about the Zeiss Batis lenses with Zeiss USA:

The Batis lenses will begin shipping in the USA in mid-July. An exact date is not scheduled and depends on when stock is received from the factory.

The Zeiss Batis 25mm f/2 Distagon and 85mm f/1.8 Sonnar are must-haves for the serious Sony shooter. I intend to buy my own set along with the new Sony A7R II.

Zeiss Batis lenses
MacBook Air with 8GB Memory from ~$600
Used 11 and 13-inch MacBook Air at OWC
ends in 4 days

Zeiss Batis 85mm f/1.8 Sonnar Examples: Mary Lake + Mt Conness Area

Get Zeiss Batis at B&H Photo.

In my review of Zeiss Batis in Guide to Mirrorless I show additional examples with the Zeiss Batis 85mm f/1.4 Sonnar

Zeiss Batis 85mm f/1.8 Examples: Mary Lake, Mt Conness, Sierra (Sony A7R)

Zeiss Batis 85mm f/1.8 Sonnar

Example images are all up to 24 megapixels in size (with intermediate sizes also).

The Zeiss Batis 25mm f/2 Distagon and 85mm f/1.8 Sonnar are must-haves for the serious Sony shooter. I intend to buy my own set along with the new Sony A7R II.

The Zeiss Batis lenses are due to ship within a few weeks. My advice is to pre-order Zeiss Batis ASAP as they will likely suffer from the same Unobtanium issue as the Zeiss Loxia line (supply constraints, Zeiss can’t build ’em fast enough).

The Zeiss Batii together with the Sony/Zeiss 35mm f/1.4 Distagon make a darn nice trio that covers about 80% of what one might need: 25/35/85 is an excellent range. Fill in with the Zeiss Loxia 50mm f/2 Planar or the Sony/Zeiss 55mm f/1.8 Sonnar.

Speculating (and no inside knowledge here), I am hoping to see an ultra wide in the 18mm or 21mm range before too long. I’d also really like to see an 11mm f/4 prime and a 16mm fisheye, but these are not hot sellers in general, so my hopes are not high there.

Mule’s Ears, first flower
Flighty Visitor

Canon 5DS / 5DS R: sRAW vs Full-Res RAW Downsampled.

Get Canon 5DS DSLR at B&H Photo.

See also Canon 5DS R: mRAW is at Variance with Full-Resolution RAW in Several Ways.

Presented in my review of the Canon 5DS R, I show that sRAW is not at all like mRAW in per-pixel acuity:

Canon 5DS R: RAW vs sRAW

The analysis includes the full-res raw image downsampled to match sRAW resolution.

Also added is a discussion of RAW, mRAW and sRAW file sizes:

RAW vs mRAW and sRAW: Camera Cropping and Downsampling and File Size

The user of the smaller formats for saving space is a marginal idea.


Canon 5DS / 5DS R: mRAW is at Variance with Full-Resolution RAW in Several Ways

Get Canon 5DS DSLR at B&H Photo.

Presented in my review of the Canon 5DS R, I show that mRAW is more complex than simply a crop and a downsampling of full-resolution raw.

Canon 5DS R: RAW vs mRAW

The analysis includes the full-res image downsampled to match mRAW resolution, and compares it to the mRAW in two ways as well as three large 3-way crops (RAW, mRAW, mRAW with extra sharpening).

There are other differences that one should be aware of. At this time, my recommendation is to avoid mRAW entirely. sRAW looks more promising but off to the fireworks.

How mRAW is done by the Canon 5DS / 5DS R

To make an mRAW or sRAW image, in essence the Canon 5DS / 5DS R crops the 8688 X 5792 image size to 8640 X 5760, which is exactly 4/3X the dimensions of mRAW and 2X the dimensions of sRAW. The scaling from full resolution is thus 3/4 and 1/2 to get to the two smaller raw sizes (after the minor crop), and thus the mRAW and sRAW formats are slightly cropped from full frame.

 RAW: 8688 X 5792 ==> 8640 X 5760
MRAW: 6480 X 4320
sRAW: 4320 X 2880

ThunderBay 4 - The Speed To Create. The Capacity To Dream.

Leica Q: 14-bit files

Get Leica Q at B&H Photo.

Leica Q

In Guide to Leica, quite a lot of review coverage of the Leica Q is now published, a must-read for anyone considering the Leica Q.

Dynamic range looks promising—the Q looks to have an improved version of the Leica M Typ 240 sensor. Could an improved M240 with more features be on the way or some other interchangeable-lens M with built-in EVF and a new autofocus lens line? I would not rule it out, though Leica is slow to move on the M platform.

See graph from RawDigger below (highly recommended tool for any photographer for ETTR evaluation and more)—with a black level of 512 and values out to nearly 16K, the full bit range is utilized. How much usable dynamic range is there is not given by bits of course, but this is no 12 bit file.

The Leica Q files are uncompressed at 43.1 megabytes each, so these are 14-bit files (14 bits / 8 bits * 24 megapixels = ~42 megabytes + a bit of other stuff). Regrettably Leica offers no lossless compressed format in the Q (as is done on the M), which would on average cut the file size down to 25MB or so with absolutely no change to the data (lossless).

Leica Q ISO Series: ISO 100 - ISO 50000 (Dolls)

Get Leica Q at B&H Photo.

Leica Q

In Guide to Leica, quite a lot of review coverage of the Leica Q is now published, a must-read for anyone considering the Leica Q.

This addition shows the noise behavior from ISO 100 to ISO 50000 in both color and black and white up to the full resolution of the camera (includes a crop for convenience also).

Leica Q: ISO Series from ISO 100 to ISO 50000 (Dolls)

These results establish baseline expectations for what the Leica Q can do under the best possible ETTR exposure.



Leica Q: Initial Review Coverage

Get Leica Q at B&H Photo.

Leica Q

In Guide to Leica, quite a lot of review coverage of the Leica Q is now up, a must-read for anyone considering the Leica Q.

Review of Leica Q

Initial assessment reveals a Leica Q 28mm f/1.7 lens with massive optical distortion that results in compromised sharpness in substantial areas of the frame.

Also shown is a Leica Q f/1.7 - f/16 aperture series (Dolls).

Along with general comments and notes on usability and focusing issues and Perspective and Applicability of the Leica Q and more.

Massive optical disortion with Leica Q, uncorrected


Canon 5DS R: ISO Series in Color and Black&White from ISO 50 to ISO 12,800

Get Canon 5DS DSLR at B&H Photo.

Presented in my review of the Canon 5DS R, I show the entire ISO 50 to ISO 12800 series in both color and monochrome.

The exposure was a perfect ETTR exposure, so much so that small areas are starting to blow out in the green channel. The red and blue channels are also very well exposed. No better exposure is/was possible hence this is the most favorable case in terms of minimizing noise; the full dynamic range of the sensor has been utilized.

This series is thus a definitive real world study of the kind of best results one can expect under conditions where there is a wide dynamic range and areas of colors that are more of a challenge (e.g., reddish and yellowish tones) and exposure is absolutely optimal.

Canon 5DS R: ISO Series from 50 to 12,800 in Color and Black and White (Cabin Interior)

Includes entire-frame images up to 24 megapixels (equivalent resolution to a Leica M Monochrom Typ 246) as well as four large crops, again across the ISO range and in color and black and white.

The results are compelling.

Cabin Interior


Zeiss Loxia for Sony

Leica Q Initial Comments

Get Leica Q at B&H Photo.

Leica Q

The Leica Q arrived today; its battery is charging.

I have not shot it, but just to show that there are wide range of viewpoints on what constitutes usability, I’ll cite issues I noted within the first five minutes (literally!) that are usage hassles for me (and maybe not for others).

Cameras get personal: style of shooting, the when and where and other particulars. A camera can be a workhorse (Nikon D810), or much more limited. When one has a strictly defined shooting envelope and usage pattern and type of venue, a camera with strict limits may not only be fine, but preferred.

Anyway, the “first five minutes” issues I noted:

  • Update: [I wrote: No way to cap the lens with the shade attached (nothing supplied). This is a constant hassle for me: stowing/unstowing while hiking, around neck/shoulder on a bike (dirt/dust in both cases). So I screwed on a Zeiss 49mm UV filter and mounted the hood and things will stay that way most of the time.] As 5 readers pointed out to me, I’m mistaken about the lens cap; the lens cash pushes on over the lens hood. The manual (page 149) makes no mention of this capability. With the Q I have on loan, the fit is so tight that I did not want to force it, particularly because it is threaded and I had thought these threads would damage the hood if I pushed hard. They do not; the fit stops short of the lens threads. It’s rather ingenious and I like it now that I know how it works.
  • Not chargeable with a car charger (12V); the Leica M240 supplies a 12V adapter for highly efficient DC charging; the Q omits this item and the charger has no DC-in plug—bummer. Inefficient DC-AC-DC charging only for the Q. Even USB charging is more efficient, since it’s DC-DC but the Q does not support that either (battery can only be charged out of the camera in the charger).
  • User manual: “Battery can only be charged from 10°C to 30°C otherwise the charger does not turn on". Well at 10°C / 50° F I may be riding my bike with only a long-sleeve jersey at that temperature—it’s not very cold at all. So when it’s near freezing or below freezing in the mountains, how exactly do I get the battery charged without idling the engine to keep the vehicle warm with the windows closed? When I want to crawl into the sleeping bag in my car, and sleep with the windows cracked at 40°F and maybe colder (I like it cold and do this a lot). So the thing won’t charge? I guess that means wrapping something around the charger (after warming it) and hoping that the charging process keeps it above 50°F. Probably will be fine then, and Ming Thein (see his Ming’s review of the Q) reports that his charger worked at 45°C. So it seems his charger is broken. :;
  • The supplied leather strap is too long for my torso, with no “give” and impossible to adjust length. None of my wide variety of straps can fit through the tiny lug holes. I often like to carry a camera while riding a mountain bike (strap over neck and under arm), if too long the camera won’t stay in position out of the way, and can bang on things by swinging around, or just be a nuisance in not staying put (think pedaling). Even for hiking, it’s just too long; the camera is less stable (swings more and can bang into rocks). This is not elegance; it’s bad design.
  • No built-in flash. This immediately makes it hugely inferior to the wonderful Ricoh GR for doing things like backlit portraits. Carry a bulky hot-shoe flash around that is awkward and unbalanced when mounted? No thanks. Did that with too many cameras—I’m 'done' with that kind of nonsense.
  • No grip. While there is a recessed area at the rear for the thumb, no grip = sucks rocks.

You see, all these things have some practical and/or personal aspect. So I’m going to have to think about as many shooting styles as I can (my own and others), and just present them. Because for some people they may be real considerations and “don’t care” items for others.


Panasonic DMC-DM1P: a Camera that is a Phone, now in stock

Get Panasonic Lumix DMC-CM1P 16GB Camera and Smartphone (Unlocked) at B&H Photo.

The Panasonic DMC-DM1P camera-phone (vs a phone-camera as is the iPhone) is now in stock. See Apple iPhone is a Phone with Camera, Panasonic DMC-DM1P is a Camera with Phone. Note that it is an UNLOCKED phone that has a reasonably large sensor and 4K video and a retina display

  • GSM / 4G LTE Capable
  • North American Variant
  • 1" 20.1 MP High Sensitivity MOS Sensor
  • Wide 28mm f/2.8 Leica DC Elmarit Lens

I’m pleased to see crossover concepts take their stab at it, but I’d like to see it taken further: get that retina display onto the back of a Nikon D810 and Canon 5DS R (built in). Then at least the big form factor gets a lot more visually appealing in one way.

Given that many of the add-ons for iPhone such as the Olympus Air at around $600, the price of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-CM1P 16GB is in line with what such things can be expected to cost; the real cost of an iPhone 6 Plus is around $900 (without carrier subsidies). Still, it seems a tough row to hoe against the iPhone.

Panasonic DMC-DM1P
Sleek and Fast SSD
240GB / 480GB / 960GB, perfect for travel or silent backup

Nikon Announces 2 New Super Telephotos

Get AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/4E FL ED VR and Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 600mm f/4E FL ED VR Lens at B&H Photo.

Nikon has finally gotten onto the super high performance telephoto path, utilizing fluorite lens elements (very expensive compared to glass). Personally, I’d like to see an all-out effort to make an absolutely superb 200mm f/2.8 and 300mm f/4 with fluorite and light weight, rather than the sorry history of mediocre designs at 300/4. Or at least a 300/2.8 fluorite version.

The 20% weight savings designed into the new lenses are very significant for handling and use of a super telephoto.

The tripod foot design is an unstable pivot-point shock-wave-propogating design compared to a superb one as that found on the vintage Nikon 50-300mm f/4.5 ED. This type of tripod foot has been the norm for years now—and it remains a serious threat to sharpness on high resolution digital, as literally a puff of breath on the lens at full Live View magnification will show in real time. Ditto for the Canon tripod foot found on Canon super teles. Then too the absence of a dovetail on the tripod foot itself forces the addition of a plate for clamping into a tripod head, adding height and weight—dumb—the lens has to be mounted to be used.


The AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/4E FL ED VR and AF-S NIKKOR 600mm f/4E FL ED VR Lenses Dominate the Sidelines With Superior Optical and AF Tracking Performance, While New Design Reduces Weight

MELVILLE, NY (July 2, 2015) -- Today, Nikon Inc. announced two new super telephoto lenses, the AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/4E FL ED VR and AF-S NIKKOR 600mm f/4E FL ED VR. These two NIKKOR lenses use the latest Nikon lens technologies to enhance autofocus (AF) tracking and optical performance, while benefitting photographers with a significant reduction in weight. Ideal for sports, action, wildlife and press events, these lenses offer photographers the ability to capture striking images from afar with brilliant clarity and sharpness.

“The new NIKKOR 500mm and 600mm f/4 lenses were developed to give photographers the advantage on the sidelines or in the field, with a lens that can keep up with the action and get the decisive shot,” said Masahiro Horie, Director of Marketing and Planning, Nikon Inc. “By the fourth quarter or final period, users will sincerely appreciate the weight reduction of these lenses which allow for extended shooting, even into overtime.”

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/4E FL ED VR

Increased Performance, Reduced Weight

These new super telephoto NIKKOR lenses have been optimized for today's high-resolution image sensors and fast-shooting Nikon DSLR cameras. The new lens designs significantly improve AF tracking performance, helping photographers to capture images of dynamic wildlife or athletes in precise clarity, even when subjects are moving erratically, at random speeds or at the camera. Both lenses also utilize Nikon’s Electromagnetic Diaphragm, helping to maintain consistent exposure during high-speed burst shooting of fast action.

The addition of fluorite lens elements to the optical formula helps to reduce chromatic aberration, as well as decrease the overall weight of the lenses, saving nearly two pounds (lbs.) for the 500mm f/4E FL ED VR, and nearly three lbs. for the 600mm f/4E FL ED VR. For extended shooting days in the field, the AF-S NIKKOR 500mm and 600mm lenses also employ magnesium alloy construction for enhanced durability and further weight reduction.

Because the AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/4E FL ED VR weighs in at just 6.8 lbs./3090 grams (vs. 8.5 lbs./3880g of its predecessor), super telephoto performance has never been so light. This premium NIKKOR lens is ideal for nature and sports photographers who are always traveling on assignment and are looking for a fast, constant aperture lens to capture photos and HD video from a distance. The combination of nimble agility, low-light capability and superior optical performance makes this lens an obvious choice for tack-sharp images of birds in flight, aircraft or other fast moving subjects when a tripod is not always an option. The optical formula of this lens combines two fluorite elements and three Extra Low Dispersion (ED) glass elements to further reduce chromatic aberration while providing superior sharpness and color accuracy.

For long reach with superior optical performance, professional photographers should consider the AF-S NIKKOR 600mm f/4E FL ED VR, which provides the ultimate in fast-aperture and focal distance for challenging subjects. With a constant aperture of f/4, the new 600mm lens gives the photographer the ability to fill the frame and create dramatic separation between subject and background. With a weight of merely 8.3 lbs. /3810g (vs. 11.5 lbs./5060g of its predecessor), the lens features two fluorite lens elements and four ED elements to provide discerning photographers with unrivaled sharpness.

NIKKOR Lens Technologies

Adding to a long legacy of renowned optical excellence, both lenses feature the most advanced NIKKOR lens technologies, including the addition of Nikon’s exclusive Nano Crystal Coat to further reduce instances of ghosting and flare; an essential feature for capturing outdoor sports or action under the lights. Both lenses also incorporate Nikon Vibration Reduction (VR) technology, affording up to four stops of image stabilization*, with automatic tripod detection to counteract vibrations when mounted on a tripod. For pros shooting fast and erratic moving sports or subjects, using the SPORT VR mode will yield a more stable viewfinder image whether handholding the lens, using a monopod or even when panning.

For enhanced durability, both lenses are sealed and gasketed against the elements and have a fluorine coating on a front protective meniscus element to make it easier to remove dirt, moisture and smudges from the lens surface. For shooting from extreme distances, the new lenses are also compatible with select Nikon teleconverters** that provide photographers with the ability to autofocus up to f/8 with many Nikon professional DSLR bodies.

Price and Availability

The new AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/4E FL ED VR will be available in mid-July for a suggested retail price (SRP) of $10,299.95***. The AF-S NIKKOR 600mm f/4E FL ED VR will be available in mid-July for the SRP $12,299.95***. Both lenses also come with a newly redesigned, lightweight, custom-fit hard case for transport. For more information on these new NIKKOR lenses as well as other Nikon products, please visit www.nikonusa.com.

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 600mm f/4E FL ED VR
Our trusted photo rental store

Leica Q Arrives July 2 for review

Get Leica Q at B&H Photo.

Leica Q

The Leica Q is due for delivery tomorrow.

I’m still backlogged, but I’ll be doing some work with it right away to establish its core imaging quality.

Considerations I see as interesting:

  • Just how good on form and function as a high grade camera (does it all come together in a enjoyable and efficient camera).
  • How image quality compares to the three Leica M 28mm lenses on the M240 (but I don’t yet have the new Leica 28mm /1.4 Summilux).
  • How it feels in relation to the Sony RX1R (35mm full frame) and Ricoh GR (APS-C, 28mm equiv).

Coverage will go into Guide to Leica as does all high-end Leica gear.

Canon 5DS R Examples in Color and Monochrome

Get Canon 5DS DSLR at B&H Photo.

Yesterday in Heresy: Canon 5DS R as a Black and White Camera Better Than Leica M Monochrom Type 246?, I made the argument for the Canon 5DS R as a powerful black and white camera.

Presented in my review of the Canon 5DS R, I show four examples in color and with monochrome variations, up to 24 megapixels in size, and with crops.

Canon 5DS R: Examples: Color and Monochrome (White Mountains)

The results are compelling.

Toggle to compare the three variants.

Backlit Bristlecone


Viewing Tip: Google Chrome Blurs Images

My images are very carefully prepared to show at their best.

I just discovered today that Google Chrome for OS X has a nasty bug that blurs large images, e.g., those nice 24 megapixel ones I generally provide in my publications. Smaller sizes are also affected. I don’t know how long this has been going on, or what the size cutoff is for the damage. And I don’t know if this affects Chrome on PCs (non Macs).

Use of Google Chrome to view the larger images on this site will draw slightly blurred images.

It looks like Chrome is drawing large images to the screen incorrectly (as if it were resampling and then drawing), because right-clicking to copy the image and then pasting it into Photoshop shows the proper sharpness in Photoshop, that is, the image is being downloaded properly and cached properly, but not drawn properly.

Apple Safari strongly recommended for Mac users, Firefox for PC users.

Don C writes:

Yup, the star trails in your very nice Moonstar Bristlecone are blurrier displayed in Chrome than in Photoshop after a copy/paste.

It's not a huge amount but it's definitely there. Display is a 4K LG on my PC. Doesn't look like Safari is an option - seems Apple discontinued support for Safari on PCs just over 3 years ago with Version 5.1.7. However, I am just as happy to look at individual
images with Photoshop if I care about the display quality.

DIGLLOYD: As I don’t have a PC or even a virtual one, I didn’t realize Safari had dropped support for PCs. Firefox might be the best alternative for PC users.

Chrome’s behavior seems intermittent: today it worked OK. There may be some factor involved, like how much memory it is using (even if the system has ample free memory).

Aura SSD for 2013 Mac Pro

Zeiss 21mm f/2.8 Distagon Aperture Series: Wyman Cabin Trashed Interior (Canon 5DS R)

Zeiss 21mm f/2.8 Distagon
(Nikon mount)

Get Canon 5DS R DSLR at B&H Photo. $300 instant savings on the Zeiss ZE 21mm f/2.8 Distagon (or the Nikon version) through 31 July.

This is a lens evaluation series* at 50 megapixels, in Guide to Zeiss:

Zeiss 21mm f/2.8 Distagon Aperture Series: Wyman Cabin Trashed Interior (Canon 5DS R)

With entire-frame images up to 24 megapixels and large crops from f/2.8 through f/13.

This scene has some very interesting details and “shape” that show that the Zeiss 21/2.8 Distagon still has to be considered one of the best wide angles available today.

50 megapixels has its challenges, but I came away impressed with the results, especially in context of far more expensive systems like Leica M. The extra sensor resolution really does matter in impressive way.

Wyman Cabin Trashed Interior


MacBook Air with 8GB Memory from ~$600
Used 11 and 13-inch MacBook Air at OWC
ends in 4 days

FOR SALE: Leica, Canon, Nikon Lenses

Selling this gear— a business decision; cannot afford everything and so much new and expensive gear arrives each year, and this year key new systems have to be bought.

All lenses excellent to perfect glass (no scratches, dings, etc), lightly used, working perfectly, USA market lenses. Some have wear on lens hoods or similar, most pristine. In original packaging/box as shipped. Local buyers welcome to inspect firsthand.

Contact me. Buyer pays FedEx insured shipping of choice or picks up locally.

  • Canon 5D Mark III $1950, in original box, etc. But with the three lenses and take another $200 off.
  • Canon 35mm f/1.4L $900
  • Canon 50mm f/1.2L $1050
  • Canon 135mm f/2L $700
  • Leica 28mm f/2 Summicron-M ASPH $3000
  • Leica 35mm f/1.4 Summilux-M ASPH FLE (2010 version) $3400 SOLD
  • Leica 50mm f/0.95 Noctilux-M ASPH $8000
  • Leica 50mm f/1.4 Summilux-M ASPH $3000

In Stock: Canon EF 100-400mm f/4-5.6L II IS and Sony FE 90mm f/2.8, Fujifilm X-T10

Get Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II and Sony FE 90mm f/2.8 at B&H Photo

Both lenses in stock as this was written.

Also new and in stock: Fujifilm X-T10.

Sony FE 90mm f/2.8

This lens arrived for review a week ago, but with no Sony camera body, I sent it back—I’ve elected to defer review to the new Sony A7R II until late July when the A7R II is expected to ship (I expect to have one of the first shipment available).

I never did buy a Sony mirrorless body—too many flaws—but I will be buying the A7R II for sure, since the A7R II addresses most of the flaws of the Sony A7R and as a bonus has upped the resolution.

Sony FE 90mm f/2.8

Canon EF 100-400mm f/4-5.6L II IS

I reviewed the Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II a few months ago on the Canon 5D Mark III. It has many fine properties, and is a serious upgrade over its predecessor. It will show some weaknesses on the new Canon 5DS R, but that’s the case with all Canon EF lenses.

Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM


Zeiss Batis for Sony
diglloyd Zeiss Batis review

Heresy: Canon 5DS R as a Black and White Camera Better Than Leica M Monochrom Type 246?

Get Canon 5DS DSLR at B&H Photo

I previously showed that the Canon 5DS R can perform well as Leica’s latest monochrome nothing-new-but-the-sensor camera, so much so that I deem the Leica M Monochrom Typ 246 dead on arrival without special reasons or money to burn or some RedDot cognitive defect. There are some valid reasons of course, like len sharing with the M240, lens compactness, high ISO (maybe), etc.

For the cost of the Leica MM body alone, you can get a Canon 5DS R and a Zeiss Otus, which beats any and all Leica M lenses in every way except size/weight. So that is a valid reason to go Leica MM, certainly (size/weight). But the general PITA self-flagellation of the MM, and hugely constrained final baked-in results are a cognitive dissonance challenge for some shooters. Look at reality, then make a decision.

For a comparison, see Canon 5DS R is a Sharper and More Versatile Monochrome Camera than Leica M Monochrom Typ 246.

So now I repeat and emphasize that heresy. Want monochrome quality better than Leica? Get a 5DS R, shoot in color, convert to B&W after the shot with a staggering number of approaches that can bring out tonal differences that the MM cannot (it cannot record color differences at all, a filter or no filter bakes-in the tonal mappings between colors). Downsample to 24 megapixels just to make the point (the Leica MM resolution), go gaga at the incredibly detail and quality.

The more I look at the 5DS R and what it can deliver at 50 megapixels, the more I like it for black and white (maybe because all the current ACR profiles suck). I’ll be showing some examples of black and white conversions from 5DS R images. IMO, it rocks. Not that the Nikon D800E or D810 doesn’t also, as proven nearly three years ago. But 50 megapixels bumps it up, noise or not (downsampling to 24MP from 50MP is the only fair comparison as it equates to print enlargement, so don’t forget that if comparing to a Leica MM).

Toggle to compare, and check out the actual pixels crop from 50MP. This image is a trivial conversion (about 2 seconds of effort); many other variants are achieved with virtually no effort.

Cabin interior



Get Canon 5DS DSLR at B&H Photo

This is what happens when you experiment.


OK, I’ll confess: I thought the exposure was done, but it wasn’t and I picked up the tripod with camera and went outside. If I had the right modern art connection, I suppose I could call this abstract fine art and charge $200K per print? Oops, wrong title on blog post for that goal.

Still, I rather like it; it reminds me of the mountains.

What is it? The interior of a cabin along with the exterior!

Mountains in Fog


Great Deals on Used Macs at OWC!
Mac Pro, Mac Mini, iMac, MacBook, MacBook Pro, iPad, Displays

Zeiss 35mm f/1.4 Distagon Aperture Series: Bristlecone Vista at Dusk (Canon 5DS R)

Zeiss 35mm f/1.4 Distagon
(Nikon mount)

Get Canon 5DS DSLR at B&H Photo. $300 instant savings on the Zeiss ZE 35mm f/1.4 Distagon (or the Nikon version) through 31 July.

This is a lens evaluation series* at 50 megapixels, in Guide to Zeiss:

Zeiss ZE 35mm f/1.4 Distagon Aperture Series: Bristlecone Vista, Late Dusk (Canon 5DS R)

With entire-frame images up to 24 megapixels and large crops from f/1.4 through f/13.

It has come full turn: I started Guide to Zeiss using Canon bodies with a lens adapter for Nikon-mount lenses.

Now the wheel turns, and it’s back to Canon, but native EF mount.

* Specialty lens evaluations always go into the native publication. Details.

No gradient filter was used here, that is natural tone and lighting on the distant hills. It caught my eye, but it was getting dark to see and I was hurried— I don’t quite like the compositional balance.

Bristlecone Vista at Dusk


Our trusted photo rental store

Canon 5DS R: Summary Thoughts

Canon 5DS R

Get Canon 5DS DSLR at B&H Photo.

See the rest of the review of the Canon 5DS R also.

Not for the faint-hearted, no punches pulled:

Overview of Canon EOS 5DS / 5DS R

Initial comments :

Ergonomics and Usability

Bottom line: dedicated Canon shooters looking for an upgrade over the Canon 5D Mark III should get the Canon 5DS R. It’s that simple. Everyone else should read the first piece above.

Lexar Camera Cards Tested: 64GB, 128GB, 256GB

Lexar Professional 64GB 2000X SDXC
with supplied card reader

Over at MacPerformanceGuide, I’ve organized three recent card tests:

Lexar Professional 2000X 64GB SDXC Camera Storage Card (Tested in 3 Card Readers)

Lexar Professional 1000X 256GB SDXC Camera Storage Card

Lexar Professional 1066X 128GB Compact Flash Camera Storage Card

They’re all excellent, but whereas in the past I trended to using CompactFlash, that standard has lagged in both speed and capacity, so my current preferred card is the high speed Lexar 2000X 64GB SDXC.

But even though it’s not the fastest card, I also like the Lexar 1000X 256GB SDXC for a simple reason: I can make a backup of all critical data and stick it into my wallet and not even notice it being there. Very cool.

I hugely prefer high-capacity cards (64GB) because in the field there is no need to erase them, thus they are an additional backup over and above downloading the day’s shoot (and backing that up too). Aside from cost, I’d be buying 128GB or larger cards for that reason, but for now 64GB serves me amply for most of my trips (not filling up).

Canon 40mm f/2.8 STM on Canon 5DS R: What Can a Pedestrian Lens do at 50 Megapixels?

Get Canon 5DS R and Canon 40mm f/2.8 STM at B&H Photo. As this was written: Canon EOS Rebel SL1 DSLR Camera Body Kit with EF 40mm f/2.8 STM Lens for only $548, total savings of $250 ($50 off lens and $200 off the camera).

The 40mm f/2.8 STM is a lens I rather like; it makes an excellent body cap, weighing only 125 grams, and is corrected optically in a pleasing way. At about $149 with instant rebate it’s a go-anywhere lens that fits into just about anything. Might as well use it over a body cap.

At 50 megapixels, the Canon 5DS R challenges any lens. So how does it do on a very simple pancake lens with only six elements?

Canon 40mm f/2.8 STM Aperture Series: Industrial Feed Plant in Oakdale (5DS R)

This aperture series from f/2.8 - f/11 shows how many lenses are likely to perform on the Canon 5DS R. It’s an excellent target showing performance across the field. With entire-frame images up to 24 megapixels as well as the usual large crops.

Note that this is not a camera review piece; rather it is one of a number of lens review updates I have planned that I’ll be publishing across brands and focal lengths; as such it goes into the appropriate publication, in this case my review of the Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 STM in DAP (same publication as the review of the Canon 5DS R).

Oakdale Feed Plant

OK, So Up in the Mountains in a Canyon, Whadya do for Power for a Laptop?

The smoky conditions were discouraging for photography (and cycling e.g., lungs), and led me to find a table and chair in a remote not-yet-trashed cabin to make use of my time in order to prepare Canon 5DS R vs Canon 5D S: Moiré and Aperture and Canon 5DS R: Noise Under Real-World Conditions in the Field. No problem in general, but it took 4-5 hours to prepare both pieces (evaluate carefully, write it up, etc, not so easy on a MacBook Pro vs home setup).

But what about when the MacBook Pro Retina has enough juice for about 3 hours of real-world usage (about 1/3 of the Apple battery life claims)? Walk a short distance back to the SUV, plug the Apple MagSafe brick into the 12VDC to 120AC power inverter, try to work in hot sunlit car with glare on the screen, idle the engine so that the SUV won’t get irritable about a constant power drain from a 85W Apple AC power brick plugged into a 12V DC to AC power inverter. Lotsa power sucked when battery is down to ~5% for a good while, low efficiency charging.

Which got me to thinking... the Sanho HyperJuice 1.5 External Battery with Magic Box Kit (222Wh, Silver) looks slick for just such a scenario. But I don’t have one and B&H won’t ship it apparently. [Amazon apparently will ship the Sanho Hyperjuice]. I’m wondering about it or some alternative out there. I’ve asked the manufacturer to send me one for review, but I don’t know how they’ll respond.

Apple has a MagSafe patent, but does not see fit to provide any 12V DC charging option for it. One can web search for MagSafe and see various products that skirt the edges of legality*. One source tells me that even modifying the MagSafe charger may be of dubious legality (I’m no legal expert, so I cannot say). The Sanho unit is of that genre; you modify the MagSafe power brick. If Apple would offer a solution to charging a laptop in a car... well patents are a Good Thing but can also ensure no solutions to real challenges, e.g., can be anti-customer.

Maybe USB-C will make all this charging nonsense vaporize (not sure).

* The end user customer has the right to modify the cable/charger, the issue is a another party actively enabling the conversion, which is risky under patent law in US. Sanho’s business is batteries, and they’re apparently willing to take the risk, but don’t look for their products in the Apple Store; Apple has many levers short of suing. What’s puzzling is that Apple has not pressured B&H to drop the Sanho product entirely, since B&H is an authorized Apple dealer, quite a lever indeed.

Sanho HyperJuice 1.5 External Battery with Magic Box Kit (222Wh, Silver)

Reader comments

Reader comments follow, in rough order received so as to not repeat/redo my comments.

Paul W writes:

I use several different strobe setups for photography---among them the Paul C. Buff Einstein strobes. Paul C. Buff has several options for portable power, including the Vagabond Mini. It comes with an AC charger, but there is an optional car charger available, plus extra batteries.

It might not be as small and sexy as the Sanho unit, but it is about half the price, and I am guessing it holds more juice (just a guess). On number of occasions I have tossed one of my Vagabond Mini units into the Jeep when I know I will need the spare power for my Macbook Pro, iPad or iPhone (or anything that requires power/charging and a low-amp draw). It also has USB ports in addition to the AC outlets.

DIGLLOYD: Vagabond Mini has 130 watt hours compared to 222 watt hours for the Sanho unit mentioned, one useless 0.5A USB port (even an iPad needs around 2 amps, external bus powered drives need 1 amp or so, so 0.5A is a toy), it's awkward and then there is the battery to 120V AC socket to MagSafe to DC efficiency losses.

If you're doing battery to 120V AC to MagSafe it's not efficient. Things will get hot and the power draw is pretty intense for a good period of time coming off a drained laptop battery. A MacBook Pro Retina has an 85W power adapter; this is a very high power draw on a lithium ion battery, not to mention the DC-AC-DC losses (battery to AC outlet on the unit to Magsafe to laptop). Power draw drops considerably when the laptop is mostly charged, so one would then have to cobble together things while working to have it feed in power to avoid discharge of the laptop battery to begin with. Oh joy. No, I want a high efficiency recharge unit so I can drain the laptop and then and only then cable in the external battery. The MacBook Pro Retina has a ~100 watt hour battery, so a 130 watt-hour external unit is not likely to even be able to charge it fully once DC-AC-DC losses are accounted for. In other words, the MagSafe technlogy needs a direct-12V-DC option, not just the AC power brick.

I can just go to an auto parts store and get a lead-acid jump starter box with cigarette lighter socket for $39 if I want a cheap DC source. I already have one, and maybe I’ll just sigh and do that. If it’s 50% efficient... well it also has an air compressor and can jump start a car and has a handle for carrying.

The issue is getting DC to DC efficiently (90% or more) and that Sanho unit does that by splicing into MagSafe to avoid the DC battery to 120V AC to DC cycle (skanky but I admire the ingenuity). Apple doesn’t care about outer-zone use cases like this, as usual with all its products.

BTW, kudos to the one and only one camera company I know of that does charging right: Leica supplies a charger with both a 120V AC and a 12V cigarrette lighter socket charger that is supremely efficient for charging batteries for the M240 and other M bodies in a vehicle (12V socket). All camera vendors and laptop vendors ought to offer such a 12V charger.

Thom Hogan of byThom.com writes:

My assistant and I have used the HyperJuice in Africa for years now, dating back to before Apple forced them to do that weird thing because of the MagSafe. We charge the HyperJuices off the vehicles as we travel during the day, then run them down while back at camp. They work great, and do pretty much what they say they do. Never had a problem with them (I’m still using my original, my assistant updated his to the latest). Indeed, they’re useful for quick charges of USB devices, too. The one thing I’ve not been able to do reliably with the HyperJuice is charge it from solar panels.

Even though we bring a generator on our workshops, I’d say we tend to do more laptop charging from the HyperJuice than the generator. First, the generator is a pain, noisy, and has issues with varying loads so we have to manage it very carefully. But second, the HyperJuice is just more convenient, as the vehicles we use all have multiple access points to charge it.

DIGLLOYD: reader Jeffrey J informs me that they are right over in Fremont, CA, across the bay from me (about an hour drive), so I may just stop there on the way out on my next trip. Also this table of battery life is useful.

Ross J writes:

Pawtec car charger for Magsafe

I found this Pawtec Macbook High-Speed Car Charger - Compatible MagSafe 2 for Apple Macbook / Air / Retina Mid-2012 - Present. I haven’t used it, but it might be an answer, and is a huge amount cheaper than the external battery.

DIGLLOYD: This looks perfect: 12V DC-in from car charger direct to Magsafe port.

How Pawtec can do this, apparently in outright patent violation and right in Westlake Village, CA (though that’s a suite and no phone numbe ris listed), I don’t understand, but I’ve submitted a question to them on that via their web form.

I’ve also submitted a form at Apple Legal regarding this Pawtek product. I don’t want to use products that violate intellectual property rights (MagSafe patent), so I figured that if Apple responds to me then I can proceed (or not) accordingly to try the Pawtek and/or HyperJuice products. If no reply, then dunno.

Other companies

BatteryBox in Mountain View CA, within spitting distance (so to speak) of Apple HQ, speaks to the patent issue explicitly in A special connector compatible with MacBooks:

Why a new connector design? The magnetic cable Apple designed for powering the MacBook is patented - only they have the right to use it. The SnapFit Connector is a solution that does not infringe on any intellectual propery, and allows for an easy method of connecting to the laptop.

The BatteryBox unit is 60Wh, which is about 27% of the HyperJuice unit, but BatteryBox is much smaller (A MacBook Pro Retina has a ~100 Wh internal battery, so 60 Wh is not a huge gain in runtime). A headache is that it cannot be charged by DC; it takes USB charging via an AC wall-wart, so back to the same old power inverter problem in the field.

BatteryBox with MagSafe compatible connector


With so many products skirting the edges, I wonder how Apple weighs in on this.

None of this mattered for 3000 years or so to this bristlecone. And still doesn’t.

OWC Thunderbolt 2 Dock
Review of Thunderbolt 2 Dock

Back From Mountains Unexpectedly Early Due to Forest Fires

Well, three forest fires canceled the Alta Alpina 8-Pass Double Century, which I was hoping to win (placed 2nd in 2012). I was feeling strong, having timed perfectly a peak in fitness and rest, feeling robust after a few prior weak weeks. After five previous double centuries this year, and months of hard training (cycling). And never had I so rapidly acclimated to altitude, not even bothered by 14,232 feet elevation after only 48 hours acclimatization. It’s a major bummer for my season (my 2nd most important event), but a canceled double century is far better than the hapless Markleeville residents told pack belongings and be ready to evacuate from the fire.

Thunderstorms are predicted this weekend—the entire Sierra could be ablaze this month. It’s likely to be a record fire year after two years of extreme drought, and this is only June. Thunderstorm season is now just beginning: lightning strikes are causing more fires than ever before (fire numbers not clear here, number of fires vs burned area and so on)*. The Washington Fire:

The Washington Fire, located 3 miles south of Markleeville, California has burned 17,622 acres and is 29 percent contained. The primary objective of suppression efforts remains the protection of the community of Markleeville. Thunderstorms are forecasted that could bring stronger winds and lightning, which could hamper firefighter’s efforts.

* In general, most wildfires are started by people (various sources state this as a generality), but given the lightning prone Sierra Nevada and dry conditions, it’s not at all self evident that that general principle applies. I have personally observed many post-storm lightning fires burning in the Sierra at night, from the White Mountains.

For photographers, I’d suggest avoiding the Sierra Nevada, Owens Valley and White Mountains areas for a while. Unless you’re looking for hazy orange sunsets. The more western portions of Yosemite National Park had little or no smoke (I drove through), but that could change overnight and day by day. The wind patterns are sending smoke east of Mono Lake and the White Mountains, then driving smoke south and east of the White Mountains, then west into the Sierra (I could see this happen from my perch high in the Whites), creating a huge polluted area but so far leaving more western areas unmolested. South-easterly winds were generating some thunderstorms as I left, with a spattering of rain that will do little to suppress lightning-strike fires unless more moisture comes.

Then today while descending the gnarly upper Silver Canyon (the road is in the worst shape in years), a rock punched a hole into one of my A/T tires, right through the thickest part of the tread and puncturing right through the belts. I limped it back to Bishop using the on-board air compressor to inflate it every five minutes (it was losing about 1 PSI per minute). The tire was patched but had sidewall damage, so I had the tire patched and a tube installed; no suitable replacement tire of proper diameter was available and it was a Friday. Then I drove 6 hours home. Tire to be replaced of course. Quite a day. I’m going to have to lug along a full spare I guess—an awkward bulk, but this is my 2nd ruined tire in Silver Canyon for two years running.

Anyway, the entire Eastern Sierra / Owens Valley / White Mountains areas polluted by smoke that made photography yesterday and today a hopeless situation, so I headed home today as per above. But not before shooting a bunch of material earlier in the week, so I’ll be publishing various soon.

Barcroft observatory dome near White Mountain Peak

Reader Comment: NEC PA 302W Wide Gamut Display with Calibration

Bruce Z writes:

I just wanted to tell you, I saved just over $200 on the NEC 30” monitor buying it from B&H instead of our local guys (which is too bad because I like to support my local guys, but hey, they left me no choice really.)

That $200 goes nicely towards your consulting fee, so you and I both win there!

And WOW, a 30” monitor … how the hell did I manage without one before!

I am working through your other recommendations, starting with OWC back-up systems, etc. The new Mac will come last.

DIGLLOYD: [Bruce is referring to savings at Canadian prices over his alternatives; B&H ships to Canada]. The NEC PA302W is currently at $1699, which is about $1000 less than it has been for some years.

UPDATE 29 June: The price has been moving around and the B&H price on the PA302W has now apparently lapsed. OWC also carries the PA302W, as does Amazon.

The PA302W remains my primary workhorse display, still has a 'killer' color gamut better than most anything, an eye-friendly pixel density, and I strongly favor the 2560 X 1600 work area over a cramped widescreen 2560 X 1440.

The color gamut of the PA302W is shown below; it is the outer triangle. Its gamut extends far beyond that of AdobeRGB in the reds, magentas and blues. Given that some Epson and other brand printers can print beyond AdobeRGB, it is my view that a display with this sort of gamut is ideal for assessing “master” images—editing for display limitations (most displays) even as printer gamut exceeds some areas of display gamut makes no sense at all: it’s hard to make valid judgments on color, let alone saturation, and detail will be lost. Doing that to a master image (one from which prints are made now and in the future) is a very bad idea.

PA302W color gamut goes way beyond AdobeRGB in the rads and blues

Canon 40mm f/2.8 STM on Canon 5DS R: What Can a Pedestrian Lens do at 50 Megapixels?

Get Canon 5DS R and Zeiss Otus and Zeiss ZE SLR lens B&H Photo.

The Canon 5DS R has no anti-aliasing filter, which has two effects: (a) an increased propensity to moiré and color aliasing, and (b) superior micro contrast (visible and commented upon in some of the comparisons).

Comparing control of moiré between the Canon 5DS R and 5DS:

Moiré and Diffraction Across Apertures: Canon 5DS R vs 5DS (Window Screen)

The results are of practical value for anyone considering which model to acquire as well as a practical approach to combatting moiré.


Canon 5DS R Hits New High, With Zeiss Otus

Get Canon 5DS R and Zeiss Otus and Zeiss ZE SLR lens B&H Photo.

A double-entendre, but I could not resist.

More resolution than ever seen before in a DSLR, taken at 14,252 feet elevation (4344m) with the Zeiss Otus 55m f/1.4 APO-Distagon. I lugged it and the Canon 5DS R and a small tripod to the summit. It makes me wish for an Otus f/2.8 line (for much smaller size and weight), because for such things, lugging a beast of an f/1.4 lens is a chore.

It was a slog up to the summit (somehow I acclimated superbly well in only 48 hours from ~sea level at home!). In the past in dry conditions and with minimal pack weight, I had nearly “cleaned” the entire route (one foot dab in loose gravel on sharp turn), but yesterday was tough, with soft slurry in places and loose stuff and some knee-deep post-holing through snow. The road should be clear for riding in about a week. Going down was a blast as usual. The Moots Mooto X YBB 29er performed superbly as usual, the Schwalbe Hans Dampf used as front tire being an outstanding choice for the extremely rough and rocky terrain.

But I’m really bummed that the 2015 Alta Alpina 8-Pass Challenge has been canceled due to road closures and hazardous smoke conditions, and my fitness just hit a fresh peak (I was hoping to win it this year, vs 2nd for 2012). The forest fire smoke is polluting the entire area; this morning it even made its way over the White Mountains, though later in the day winds seems to have pushed the smoke back to the west. Still, the Owens valley, Eastern Sierra, Yosemite are all polluted with smoke as I can see from my vantage point at about 11,000' in the White Mountains.

Summit of 14,242-foot White Mountain Peak, White Mountains of California

Canon 5DS R: Noise Under Real-World Conditions in the Field

Get Canon 5DS R and Zeiss Otus and Zeiss ZE SLR lens B&H Photo.

This image makes an excellent candidate for assessment of noise in the field: shot at late dusk in blue light, 30 second exposure, contrast that maxes-out the dynamic range of the Canon 5DS R sensor.

Shown as-shot and with adjustments, and with and without chroma noise reduction, as well as a very large crop in the ProPhotoRGB and AdobeRGB color spaces, with RGB and grayscale versions together with the red, green, blue individual color channels from both color spaces. Also, the entire image is shown up to 24 megapixels, which gives a good practical feel for how it compares to the 22-megapixel Canon 5D Mark III.

Canon 5DS R Real-World Noise: Moonstar Bristlecone

The results are instructive for users of any camera in terms of chroma noise reduction as well as the use of color space to control noise with images shot under this kind of extreme lighting.

Moonstar over Bristlecone

Canon 5DS R: Field Shooting

Get Canon 5DS R and Zeiss Otus and Zeiss ZE SLR lens B&H Photo.

See my previous posts and review of the Canon 5DS R.

It was a long day, one of the last images is shown below. The Canon 5DS / 5DSR are complex cameras with more menu options than ever. I had to really study things out to get the camera configured the way I wanted it (Canon 5D Mark III much easier)—a real head scratcher for a while, with one critical AF option not even in the AF menu section—not well done.

Canon offers a timed bulb exposure: with the camera in Bulb mode, enable the Timed Bulb setting, dial in the desired exposure (to the second and up to hours long), press the button and walk away—job done. This is very handy, a pity that Nikon didn’t do it like Canon has; Nikon T-mode forces you to time the exposure yourself and press the button yourself, incredible as it seems (unless I've incredibly somehow missed something). There is still room for improvement with Canon—why is exposure arbitrarily limited to 30 sec anyway? The Ricoh GR allows directly choosing up to 5 minutes with no foolin' around with special settings or modes.

Update: reader Mike H points out that the Nikon D810a astrophotography-oriented model has a “timed bulb” feature. Hopefully this will make it into a D810 firmware update.

Moonstar over Bristlecone
B&H for Everything Nikon
diglloyd Nikon reviews in DAP

Canon 5DS R: Heading Out to Shoot in the Field

Get Canon 5DS R and Zeiss Otus and Zeiss ZE SLR lens B&H Photo.

See my previous posts and review of the Canon 5DS R.

I”m heading out today (well, I was delayed, darn it) for field shooting for a week or so with the Canon 5DS R and 5DS and various (and with a “break” for the Alta Alpina 8-Pass Challenge, but not carrying a camera!).

I’m looking forward to my own impressions of how much the additional detail means for real field shots, having a years-long history with the Nikon D800E and Nikon D810 at 36 megapixels. I’ll be shooting a lot of Zeiss lenses of course, but I’m also taking along a number of Canon EF lenses for assessment.

Contact me if interested in a 1 or 2 day photo tour in the June 23/24/25 time frame.

Zeiss Rebates / Zeiss Discounts Ongoing

Just a reminder that Zeiss DSLR and Touit lenses have substantial discounts (up to $300 off). Plus, B&H has 4% rewards as well. My understanding is that the rebates run through July 31st.

View all Zeiss rebates at B&H Photo.

Favorites: Zeiss 15mm f/2.8 Distagon, Zeiss 25mm f/2.8 Distagon, Zeiss 35mm f/1.4 Distagon, Zeiss 50mm f/2 Makro-Planar, Zeiss 135mm f/2 APO-Sonnar

And of course Zeiss Otus. The Otii do not have rebates, but the 4% reward applies.

To mark the 125th anniversary of ZEISS camera lenses, we are proud to introduce our instant rebate promotion. Take advantage of this exciting promotion currently running on a wide range of ZEISS SLR lenses and save up to $300.

Impressive creations of photography and cinematography have been developed through the lenses of ZEISS. The most ambitious photographers and movie makers love working with these versatile and reliable partners. The experience of several generations, supreme precision and uncompromising passion for optical systems - ZEISS lenses made history and withstand the test of time.

The instant savings are valid for purchases made from 05/18/15 – 07/31/2015.

DIGLLOYD: unfortunately, unlike Zeiss lenses, currencies do not stand the test of time, unlike real money (gold and silver).

Canon 5DS R: Field Shooting

Get Canon 5DS R and Zeiss Otus and Zeiss ZE SLR lens B&H Photo.

See my previous posts and review of the Canon 5DS R.

I”m heading out early Monday for some field shooting with the Canon 5DS R and 5DS and various.

Contact me if interested in a 1 or 2 day photo tour in the June 23/24/25 time frame.

Canon 5DS R: new King of DSLR Resolution

Get Canon 5DS R and Zeiss Otus and Zeiss ZE SLR lens B&H Photo.

See my previous posts and review of the Canon 5DS R.

Yes, the Canon 5DS R beats out the Nikon D810 visibly. As for the Canon 5D Mark III, it has seen its day and will keep many shooters happy, but mine is for sale.

I have yet to formally evaluate dynamic range and color with the Canon 5DS/R but impressions are already firm: it’s no Nikon D810 in those areas (and ACR has issues with 5DS files).

If you want the best sharpness today in a DSLR, go with the 5DS R, which has no anti-aliasing filter (Zeiss Otus and certain other quality lenses advised). The 5DS with its anti-aliasing filter lacks the same micro contrast (subtle the plain to see at all times), and I don’t recommend it for peak sharpness; see the comparisons in my review such as the 4-way comparison.

As I see it, lovely image quality gains are possible with a 100+ megapixel DSLR (with the right lenses). Even against a monochrome sensor, oversampling works. And the naive assumption about megapixels being all about sharpness is a simplistic viewpoint that ignores all the other benefits. All that is needed is advances in sensors to make 100 megapixels a reality (with the quality of today’s 36-50 MP sensors). Sony is already on that track with its 42-megapixels sensor in the A7R II, and the RX10/RX100 sensor density is 148 megapixels, so it’s only a matter of time to scale that up and improve upon it for full frame.

Our trusted photo rental store

Canon 5DS R is a Sharper and More Versatile Monochrome Camera than Leica M Monochrom Typ 246

Get Leica M Monochrom Typ 246 and Canon 5DS R at B&H Photo.

I have no apriori acolyte views for Red Dot: I tell it like I see it when I shoot it, and I show it and prove it. And so it is with oversampling, namely oversampling in high-resolution color vs ho-hum resolution with a monochrome sensor in an aging defunct platform.

There are other priorities than image quality of course. If thos apply, they apply. But I stand firmly by what I show and prove in Guide to Leica in my analysis. That is, I show the power of tonal mapping by color versus baked-in boredom (with all too many monochrome raw files as my field shooting proved) and I show the superior sharpness of the Canon 5DS R.

This comparison is targeted at saving my readers money: I urge anyone considering the Leica M Monochrom Typ 246 to read this piece, worth the price of admission alone to Guide to Leica, given the $7450 price of the Leica MM246. For that money, you can have the Canon 5DSR with 50 megapixels and color and autofocus and huge lens selection and a Zeiss Otus.

Compared: Leica M Monochrom Typ 246 vs Canon 5DS R (Old Map)

With a very large actual pixels crop for the map, plus multiple crops from an upsampled (12,000 pixels wide) image for easy comparison. The differences shown are instructive.

Later (heading out for a trip), I plan to show 5DS R landscape and similar images as color and B&W toggle examples as I’ve done in the past. This piece is for the prospective Leica M Monochrom Typ 246 purchaser, and is therefore in Guide to Leica.

Canon 5DSR monochrome conversion, one of many possible variations

Shootout: Canon 5DS R vs Canon 5DS vs Canon 5D Mark III vs Nikon D810 (Old Map)

Get Canon 5DS and Canon 5DS R at B&H Photo.

This 4-way shootout shows a number of useful things.

Sharpness: 5DS R vs 5DS vs 5D Mark III vs Nikon D810 (Old Map)

With a very large actual pixels crop for all, plus multipel crops with all cameras sampled up for easy comparison. The differences are plain to see and useful to understand.

Canon 5DS R: Resolving Power vs Canon 5DS and Canon 5D Mark III

Get Canon 5DS and Canon 5DS R at B&H Photo.

Fifty megapixels is a big deal.

From what I see the Canon 5DS R easily matches or beats the Leica M Monochrom Typ 246 while offering vastly superior monochrome conversion options, and handily outperforms the Canon 5D Mark III with superior resolution and greatly reduced aliasing.

Sharpness: 5DS R vs 5DS vs 5D Mark III (Zeiss Siemens Chart)

Shown on this page are comparisons at native resolution, 12000 pixels upsampled for all, 7360 pixels resampled for all (D810 res), 6000 and 5760 pixels resampled for all. In total, a revealing performance tells the tale of just how awesome oversampling can be. I look forward to a 144 megapixel DSLR.

Also apparent is that the Zeiss Otus 85mm f/1.4 APO-Planar has a lot of room for growth in sensor resolution. Heck, it’s good enough wide open at f/1.4 for 50 megapixels (not optimal at f/1.4 but beyond reproach). So go get your Zeiss Otus 85/1.4 APO-Planar and its Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 APO-Distagon sibling. Because you’re just scratching your ass with most other lenses on the 5DS R.

Actual pixels
ThunderBay 4 - The Speed To Create. The Capacity To Dream.

Canon 5DS R: Comments on Image Quality and Various

Get Canon 5DS and Canon 5DS R at B&H Photo.

Some general thoughts on the Canon 5DS R, backed up by my review of the Canon 5DS R so far. More field work coming of course, and I now have the Canon 5DS as well. The differences are subtle but visible: I strongly recommend the 5DS R model for most users.

FOR SALE: my Canon 5D Mark III in original box, etc with Really Right Stuff L bracket $2100 available early July.

vs Nikon D810

The Canon 5DS R is no match for the dynamic range of the Nikon D810. It can record more detail (17% more resolving power), but dynamic range and color quality are not to be set aside (these areas perhaps even more important when resolutions are similar).

Nikon is not likely to sit idly by, and can at the least be expected to get to 42 megapixels using the sensor in the Sony A7R II. If Nikon follows the 42MP path, it likely means high quality 4K video—which the 5DS R does not have. So a decision should take into account likely developments over the next 6-9 months since cameras are accessories (lenses are the primary). I would not be a “switcher” right now—give things a little time. But if you already have Canon, the 5DS R is a no-brainer.

I’ll be buying the Canon 5DS R shortly (just a matter of paying for the loaner); it’s a great camera in many ways and I look forward to using in the field over over the 5D Mark III: why should I waste my time shooting 24 megapixels when I can shoot 50MP with no more effort? For starters, focusing precisely in Live View is massively better on the 5DS R due to its 16X zoom and crisp details. But I love detail so great that later post-shot I can see details that the naked eye missed!

Sharpness and noise overall image quality

The Canon 5DS R delivers more than double the megapixels of its 22-megapixel predecessor, the Canon 5D Mark III. It does so without giving anything up—it’s an unequivocal win. Even if the final desired output is a lower file size, it’s a winner, because various good things happen via downsampling.

Monochrome potential

I’ve looked at the monochrome results with the Canon 5DS R, and I’d say unless you have money to discard or an ego problem and/or must employ M lenses (that’s a reasonable justification), the 5DS R blows away the Leica M Monochrom Typ 246 as a monochrome camera at less than half the price, with equal if not superior pixel resolution and tremendous flexibility and power of mapping tones when converting to monochrome (not to mention it can shoot color and autofocus and so on).

Must-have expansion: OWC Thunderbolt 2 Dock

Thunderbolt 2, USB 3, Gigabit Ethernet, 4K Support, Firewire 800, Sound Ports

Noise Comparison: Canon 5DS R vs Canon 5D Mark III

Get Canon 5DS and Canon 5DS R at B&H Photo.

Noise should be compared for the same reproduction ratio; per pixel noise is an erroneous way to compare noise, since higher megapixels means less enlargement. Hence this page compares the Canon 5DS R noise to that of the Canon 5D Mark III by downsampling to the 5DM3 resolution.

Canon 5DS R Noise vs Canon 5D Mark III (Fruit)

With full resolution images and crops from ISO 100 through ISO 12800.

Huge Selection of Drones

Canon 5DS R: Chroma Noise Reduction at ISO 12800 in Adobe Camera Raw

Get Canon 5DS and Canon 5DS R at B&H Photo.

Chroma noise (color speckling) can be reduced effectively while preserving image detail.

Here, the use of Adobe Camera Raw chroma noise reduction is examined at four levels at actual pixels for the Canon 5DS R.

Chroma Noise Reduction in Adobe Camera Raw @ ISO 12800 (Fruit)

With high resolution images and crops at four levels of chroma noise reduction.

This example should be of interest and use to ANY CAMERA BRAND.


Serious Problem with Adobe Camera Raw Profile for Canon 5DS / 5DS R

Get Canon 5DS and Canon 5DS R at B&H Photo.

Well, a frustrating word of caution: the Adobe Camera Raw “Adobe Standard” profile for the Canon 5DS R is way off (highly inaccurate), as a comparison with the Canon 5D Mark III makes plain to see. The other profiles don’t look good either.

Adobe Photoshop CC 2015, Adobe Camera Raw 9.1 (441).

Caution advised in processing Canon 5DS / 5DS R files with Adobe Camera Raw.

Canon 5DS R: Awful Color Rendition using Adobe Camera Raw (Fruit)

It’s hard to believe this is the camera. Something is very wrong, and maybe ACR simply does not support the Canon 5DS R properly—darned hard to find the right page at Adobe detailing yeah or nay.

I have sent an email to my only Adobe contact; I’m hoping for some insight from Adobe.

This is frustrating as hades when trying to prepare material. I may have to put most Canon 5DS and Canon 5DS R work on hold.

Those are oranges, not pale grapefruit and there are a bunch of other problems besides. The color and tonal scale is all out of whack. Exposure was perfect according to RawDigger.


Iridient Developer Updated to v 3.0.3 (adds support for new cameras)

Iridient Developer is now at version 3.0.3. I had an issue with Leica M Monochrome Typ 246 files with 3.0.2; that issue is now resolved. Release notes.

Iridient Developer 3.0.3 was released this morning and fixes the bug with compressed Leica M Monchrom (Typ 246) DNG files. New RAW camera support includes the Lecia Q (Typ 116), Nikon D810A, Fujifilm X-T10, Pentax K-3 II (including multi-shot pixel shift and HDR RAW modes), Panasonic G7, Phase One IQ3 80MP, IQ 60MP, IQ 50MP, IQ150 and Hasselblad H5D-50c.

Various other bug fixes, further improvements to v3.5 noise reduction, especially for monochrome conversions, speed improvements for Retina/5K/HiDPI preview and more.

Iridient Developer has many fine features (recommended), download a fully functional demo version.

MacBook Air with 8GB Memory from ~$600
Used 11 and 13-inch MacBook Air at OWC
ends in 4 days

Sigma Announces World’s First Full-Frame f/2 Zoom for Canon, Nikon, Sigma Mounts: 24-35mm f/2 DG HSM Art

Get Sigma 24-35mm f/2 DG HSM Art for Nikon and Sigma 24-35mm f/2 DG HSM Art for Canon at B&H Photo.

The 1.5X zoom range suggests a carefully considered constraint on zoom range to deliver solid performance at f/2. The “Art” designation suggest a strong lens design: the 18 elements in 13 groups represent a highly corrected design; my guess is that it will handily outperform simlar CaNikon zooms (but only a guess). It should be useable via adapter on the new Sony A7R II, but my concern would be lens mount stress (weight, lever effect).

It should be interesting to see how the new zoom performs on the 50-megapixel Canon 5DS R.

It’s interesting that the Sigma 24-35mm f/2 DG HSM Art covers the same range as the 24mm and 35mm Art lenses, but is only a stop slower. Different target—photographers looking to cover that range with one lens for no lens swapping and no need for f/1.4.

Sigma has been delivering outstanding performance in its Art series at absurdly low prices for what they deliver (superior performance to Nikon and Canon lenses costing 2X as much). Whether f/2 holds up remains to be seen, but Sigma has a very strong track record now with all its Art lenses.


The 82mm filter thread is not so desirable, but is shared by other DSLR lenses.

Specifications for Sigma 24-35mm f/2 DG HSM Art
Focal length: 24-35mm
Aperture scale: f/2 - f/16
Diaphragm blades: 9, rounded
Number of elements/groups: 18 elements in 13 groups
Focusing range: 11" (27.94 cm)
Angular field: 84.1° 63.4'
Image ratio at close range: 1:4.4 (focal length not specified)
Filter thread: 82mm
Weight, nominal: 33.2 oz / 941g (Nikon F)
Dimensions: Approx. 3.4 x 4.8" / 8.64 x 12.19 cm
List price: not yet available
Includes: Front Lens Cap, Rear Lens Cap, Petal-Type Lens Hood Case
Warranty: Limited 1-Year North and South America Warranty, Limited 3-Year U.S.A. Warranty Extension

Manufacturer’s description

Sigma has expanded their ever growing Global Vision line with the world's first constant f/2 aperture on a full-frame zoom lens, the 24-35mm f/2 DG HSM Art Lens, available here with the Nikon F lens mount. The groundbreaking aperture combined with the versatile wide-angle 24-35mm focal length allows photographers to easily replace three common lenses, the 24mm, 28mm, and 35mm, with one piece of gear. The lens also offers exceptional control over depth-of-field with an aperture range from f/2 to 16, and when used on DX camera bodies it has an equivalent focal length of 36-52.5.

Along with the rest of the Art series, the 24-35mm offers high quality optics with the use of one "F" Low Dispersion and seven Special Low Dispersion glass elements in addition to two aspherical lenses. This system minimizes the appearance of spherical aberration, axial chromatic aberration and field curvature. A Super Multi-Layer Coating is present to reduce flare and ghosting for sharp, high-contrast images and it can focus as close as 11".

In terms of speed, this lens is equipped with a Hyper Sonic AF Motor which is nearly silent and has an optimized autofocus algorithm for fast, accurate tracking. The body of the 24-35mm is constructed of a Thermally Stable Composite material which performs well in all conditions. The barrel also has a focus ring with grants full-time manual override and the system is designed for completely internal focusing. Further ensuring optimal performance is compatibility with Sigma's USB Dock for firmware updates and AF microadjustment.

As part of the Art line within Sigma's Global Vision series, this lens' is designed to achieve truly notable optical performance and is ideally suited for creative and artistic applications.
The wide-angle 24-35mm focal length effectively covers three common lenses: the 24mm, 28mm, and 35mm. This allows users to shoot with just one lens and not worry about carrying additional equipment or swapping out optics in less-than-ideal weather conditions. When used with a DX-format sensor, the lens offers a 36-52.5mm equivalent focal length.
Fast f/2 maximum aperture is well-suited for working in low-light conditions and also provides greater control over the focus position when using shallow depth of field techniques.

This lens has been designed using an advanced optical structure to achieve both high resolution and sharpness, along with consistent edge-to-edge illumination. A pair of aspherical elements correct for sagittal coma flare, distortion, and axial chromatic aberration, while also enabling full use of the fast f/2 maximum aperture with maintained peripheral brightness and sharpness.

One FLD and seven SLD glass elements have been incorporated within the lens design to correct for chromatic aberrations throughout the entire focusing range and help to ensure high image sharpness, clarity, and contrast regardless of focus point or aperture setting.
A Super Multi-Layer Coating has been applied to lens elements in order to minimize lens flare and ghosting and contribute to producing contrast-rich and color-neutral imagery, even in backlit conditions.

The integrated HSM (Hyper Sonic Motor) realizes quick and quiet autofocusing, which is further complemented by an optimized AF algorithm to produce smoother focusing performance. The HSM also permits full-time manual focus control simply by rotating the focus ring at any time.

A rounded nine-blade diaphragm helps to produce an attractive out-of-focus quality.
The lens is constructed using a Thermally Stable Composite (TSC) material along with traditional metals for greater precision and use in wide temperature variations. The outside of the lens barrel is also engraved with the year of production.

The included lens hood is fitted with a rubber connection for a secure fit.

This lens is compatible with the optional Sigma USB Dock for fine-tuning different lens characteristics and updating its firmware.

Our trusted photo rental store

Dell UP2715K: 5K Display for Mac or PC

Details at MacPerformanceGuide.com.

Update: works on late 2013 MacBook Pro also. Other new pages added to review.

Full resolution image on Dell UP2715K: 5K Display on 2015 MacBook Pro Retina

diglloyd Inc. | FTC Disclosure | PRIVACY POLICY | Trademarks | Terms of Use
Contact | About Lloyd Chambers | Consulting | Photo Tours
RSS Feeds | Twitter
Copyright © 2008-2015 diglloyd Inc, all rights reserved.