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Nikon D810: Chroma Noise Reduction Study from ISO 1600 to 12800

Get Nikon D810 at B&H Photo.

  Nikon D810
Nikon D810

Thanks to reader Sebastian B for suggesting this topic.

This study of chroma (color) noise is instructive and of excellent practical use for anyone shooting at high ISO (any camera).

In my review of the Nikon D810:

Chroma Noise Reduction ISO 3200 to 12800 (Otus Fruit)

Included are large RGB crops along with the red/green/blue color channels, gray gamma 2.2 as well as further revealing analysis of what chroma noise reduction does, using the L/a/b channels of Lab color mode.

The Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) setting used is also shown.

  Chroma noise reduction at ISO 12800, Nikon D810
Chroma noise reduction at ISO 12800, Nikon D810

What Does Nikon Picture Control Do?

Get Nikon D810 at B&H Photo.

In my review of the Nikon D810 I discuss the Nikon D810 Picture Control feature and what it affects (and does not affect). Is the new Flat profile useful?

Judging by reader email, Picture Control is an utter failure in terms of user understanding of its very important effects and non-effects. Yet understanding its effects is critical, even for raw shooters, but perhaps not for the reasons one might assume.

Nikon D810 Picture Profiles: What is Affected, JPEG Examples

Shown with HD and Ultra HD images and and histograms.

  Nikon Picture Control = Flat
Nikon Picture Control = Flat

Reader Comments: Lenses for Sports Photography

Get Nikon D810 at B&H Photo.

Reader Andrew P writes:

It just occurred to me that you don't use examples pertinent to sports photography that much (or at all) in your blog. I like to shoot close-range sports when I get the chance but don't know of any sites that provide the kind of image quality reviews you give, but with sports photography concerns considered as a built-in part of any testing.

For instance, this weekend I did my first-ever paid shoot (hooray) of an international basketball competition in Amsterdam. I bought the Zeiss ZA 135mm 1.8 to complement my Nikkor 85mm 1.4G for the shoot, and took the Otus along for a couple of portraits of players if the opportunity presented itself. As it turned out, I shot most of the 2 day event with the Otus, barely used the 85, holstered the 135mm after a couple of hours, and then on the second day brought a 35mm Summilux and a 15mm Distagon to do about half the work on that day.

The reason this is meaningful to me is that I wound up using MF lenses for almost all of the best shots. The reason is that the AF lenses were a pain in the neck to use. The 85mm 1.4G, though perfectly fine when zipping to focus on a person standing still for a portrait, focusing on moving basketball players was just about impossible. The ZA 135mm was better at focusing quickly than the 85mm, but it was harder to deal with because of its length. When players zipped in and around each other, the lens kept losing focus and then wouldn't take a picture. On the other hand, the Otus, Summilux, and 15mm Distagan (ZF) always fired when I wanted them to and were more often in focus than the AF lenses.

When I read about sports photography on the Internet, I see a lot of people recommending high speed large aperture AF lenses like the 85mm and 135mm that I actually used as being very good for sports. The other two I see mentioned a lot are the Nikkor 200mm f2 and 300mm f2.8. Am I missing something about AF sports photography? Or are these lenses as bad at focusing as they seemed? If this is what AF is like, I'd just as soon stick with MF. Could it be because the sport I was shooting (basketball) allowed me to be very close to the action (literally on the foul lines)? It would be interesting to see a review of MF and AF lenses that compared their near focusing capabilities against moving subjects.

DIGLLOYD: Evaluating a lens for sports photography is radically different than anything else: it’s about handling and autofocus and anti-shake support (or not) and one couldn’t say a lot about optical performance under such conditions. Or the skill of the evaluator.

Even the sports-fame Nikon D3s and D4 failed miserably for me on runners coming at the camera when I last shot cross country; they could not track focus head-on. But at the right distance and angle, autofocus rocks.

At close range I completely agree on the manual focus thing: pre-focus with anticipation is the game; try photographing a rower on an erg at close range! Manual focus is the only way to go, autofocus is completely useless under those conditons, and I would agree with the basketball situation. OTOH, out on a body of water at a regatta, autofocus with a Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 VR II is my approach of choice.

Autofocus introduces a whole set of new problems at closer range for me, so I agree on the manual focus lens thing. But I think that it comes down to style and technique and distance and so on—no fixed answer.

Quick Look: Adobe Camera Raw vs Nikon Capture NX-D

Get Nikon D810 at B&H Photo.

I took a quick look at Nikon Capture NX-D in my review of the Nikon D810.

The image below was shot with Nikon D810 and Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM A. It was processed with Adobe Camera Raw and Nikon Capture NX-D (both).

Processing NEF: a Quick Look at Adobe Camera Raw vs Nikon NX-D

Shown with HD and Ultra HD images and large crops, the settings for each program, commentary included.

  Nikon D810 + Nikon 45mm f/2.8P
Nikon D810 + Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM A

Reader Comments: D810 Review, Lenses, etc

Get Nikon D810 at B&H Photo.

  Nikon D810
Nikon D810

Reader Bjørn J writes:

Thank you for your ongoing review of the D810.

The stunning documentation of the exposure latitude, and the much improved LiveView, convinced me to place a D810 on order today.

I trust your reviews because of your extremely thorough real-world approach to practical use of camera equipment. Your example photos are worth far more than any lab-testing.

DIGLLOYD: Though I can’t think of everything, my core operating premise is “what would I want to know about this gear for my own work in all sorts of conditions before I plunk down my money”.

Reader Herb S writes:

I am happy to have renewed my subscriptions. The quality of your reviews has always been to a high standard and it is still improving regarding your effectiveness to show us all the relevant issues with the gear involved.

Might I suggest a good compact standard lens for the D810? It is the Voigtlander 40 mm SL-II. Of course it is not a Zeiss Otus. But good and compact it is.
Now we have to know how effective the D810 ground glass is for manual focus lenses not of the Otus calibre.

DIGLLOYD: [If I can’t do it a little better each year, I’d get bored.] Like the Nikon 45mm f/2.8P, the Voigtlander Ultron 40mm f/2 SL II is a diminutive option for a “light carry”. It is a good optic but like all other small lenses has various compromises to be that small. See the review coverage of the Voigtlander lenses in DAP.

Peter W writes:

I've never been more gobsmacked in my life as by your 5.5 stop push from nothing - nothing! - to a totally acceptable image. Absolutely incredible!

D810 ETTR and pulling up the shadows offers tremendous appeal and usefulness.

It's incomprehensible why Canon continues to bring out inferior sensors (noisy, banded blacks) when the Nikon benchmark is in plain sight.

I would be very interested in your comparison of the Sony A7/s/r sensors with their D810 counterparts.

DIGLLOYD: Canon has insisted on building their own sensors, and this has hurt them so far. But maybe Canon has something really great coming at Photokina. As for pattern and streaking noise in particular, this is a Canon thing for sure: Nikon D800E vs Canon EOS 5D Mark III as well as the Canon 5D Mark III noise pages and Canon EOS 1D Mark IV noise pages in DAP.

As for Sony, I’m done with the Sony A7R, having borrowed one 4 times now (I won’t waste my money on a $2000 camera which can’t make a sharp image at some shutter speeds and will rapidly decline in value—it has ruined far too much work from its shutter vibration, making it a frustrating PITA in spite of its helpful EVF. Moreover, the Sony 11+7 bit compression just doesn’t cut it and the too-thick sensor cover glass just kills it for Leica M wide angle short of at ƒ/8 or even ƒ/11 (and it affects even 50mm). The Nikon D810 is a solid and robust workhorse with good controls that takes a wide range of lenses with no adapters—and no goofy tripod mount workaround needed for heavy lenses and it won’t be worth 1/2 or 1/3 of what I paid for it in 6 months.

John W writes:

Hello, again. I've now had my D810 for 48 hours, and I don't have anything to report that is inconsistent with or materially adds to what you have published so far, so I'll keep this short. But, I did want to say three things at this point:

1. Thank you, thank you, thank you for your ongoing, detailed D810 analysis and review. In addition to providing reassurance that my early purchase of the camera was not a mistake, it has also already given me several tips and ideas that will help improve my own photography. And, I know that there is much more to come. Great stuff.

2. Different things are important to different people. For me, the quieter shutter and improved LCD and Live View alone are definitely enough to justify the upgrade costs. I do a lot of work inside cathedrals and churches. In those environments, the shutter noise of the D800 was frequently an issue and sometimes inhibited me from taking a shot at all. So, the quieter D810 shutter is much more than a minor improvement for me.

3. I replicated your 5.5 stop push test and got essentially the same results you did. Wow!

DIGLLOYD: my main issue with the D810: it’s very good but falls short of greatness due to some really dumb mistakes in various places (nothing fundamental, but like having a good dinner with bad wine and no dessert).

John H writes:

Just sending a thanks about your detailed and continuing coverage of the 645Z- being a 645D owner with a number of compatible lenses (67, 645, and other brands with adapters) I greatly appreciate the information and critical testing you’ve been doing- it’s part of what makes your subscriptions so valuable compared with the limited depth of conventional photography sites.

While upgrading to the 645z soon is likely a given, your reviews and comments will go a long way towards boosting me up the learning curve of getting the most out of this new model, and help me make constructive decisions about what additional lenses to consider (such as the 90mm macro) to expand the shooting and usability envelope.

DIGLLOYD: more coming, though I might have to ask B&H Photo for an extension of the loaner camera time.

Sebastian B writes:

First, many thanks for your fine work on the 645Z, Sigma Quattro, and D810 (and countless others as well). Your reviews are so concise that I have virtually stopped reading anything else.

I observed with the D810 and also the 645Z and A7s noise series that you seem to leave chroma noise (at least partially) uncorrected. I don’t object to this per se, but it’s not very helpful for me from a practical point of view since chroma noise with modern sensors is corrected so easily. For example, when playing with a 645Z RAW ISO series provided by Ming Thein, I discovered that, in Lightroom, a color noise setting of just 8 (out of 100) sufficed to eliminate the chroma noise component at all ISOs (up to 204.800), without any detrimental effect on acuity — which is the same thing I see with my Pentax K-5 and just about any recent camera I have had a chance to test. (Actually, Lightroom is even shipped with a default of 25, so that is what many users are using anyway.)

I assume the correction is just as trivial to accomplish in ACR, so I was wondering if you might consider adding a “chroma corrected” series to the respective pages (or future pages, for that matter). I feel this would be of considerable practical value for many readers.

As an aside, are you planning to review the Sony FE 70-200/4?

DIGLLOYD: Chroma noise reduction added for the Nikon D810.

Sony FE 70-200mm f/4: I am not planning to review at this time. Given the shutter vibration of the Sony A7R, it is a nightmare job to test, where any results are suspect, especially with the lens mounted in seesaw fashion on the tripod. I will wait until Sony delivers a 36MP camera (or higher) free of the work-destroying vibration. That said, the Sony A7R and A7s have vibration free options (electronic first curtain) and the lens is better suited to those cameras.

Nikon Capture NX-D: “D” for Dimwits?

Get Nikon D810 at B&H Photo.

I took a quick look at Nikon Capture NX-D. After noting the failure to code-sign it for OS X, the non-integration into the App Store, the lovely file name I could not find later (“S-NXD___-010000MF-ALLIN-ALL___.dmg”), the installer errors (in the install log), the installation of crapware without notice or choice (Nikon background notification yuck), spelling errors, grammatical errors, modal operation, non-standard command key shortcuts, the failure to associate NX-D with NEF files—I’m persuaded that this warmed over turd emits more or less the same aroma as its its predecessors. And that Nikon and Sigma must have some secretly guarded source of software engineers simply unavailable to companies like Apple. Still, it’s a big step up from Sigma Photo Pro 6, which won’t work at all on my Mac Pro.

As for what NX-D excretes (please forgive the expression), I didn’t get beyond the hassles and I’m not sure I want to try. Maybe tomorrow or next week.

Reader Question: Smaller, Lighter “slow” Aperture Lenses for Nikon D810?

Get Nikon D810 at B&H Photo.

  Nikon D810
Nikon D810

Reader Cecelia C writes:

I love the good news about the D810. If you don't care about 1.4 apertures, but you do care about across-the-field sharpness and micro-contrast what lenses would you recommend?

I am hoping for some smaller and lighter options. I was thinking of the f1.8G Nikon lenses...but even 2.8 lenses would be ok with me, especially after seeing your comments on the higher ISO performance.

DIGLLOYD: Major camera vendors have not been keen on bringing relatively slow designs to market (except for crummy plastic zooms). Canon is an exception, making a stab at it with the 24/2.8 IS and 28/2.8 IS but failing to realize the blunder of not making them really good in an apparent attempt to keep the price down. Averaging out low price and very high quality to average price and average quality is not a winning idea.

Even Zeiss has not seen fit to bring out ultra high quality f/2.8 lenses (I would like to see “near perfect” 24/4, 28/2.8, 35/2.8, 50/2.8 and 90/2.8 designs). The Otus line rocks, but oh the size and cost for those two stops.

Prime lenses (fixed focal lengths) at ƒ/2.8 are just not “sexy” and the video crowd wants T/1.5 or at least T/2.1. Besides, entire web discussion forum would crash overloaded with irate fanboys complaining about a $1500 f/2.8 lens, even it it were near perfect wide open, or so the camera companies seem to think (I think there is a good untapped market there).

For want small and light (and cheap), the Nikon 50mm f/1.8G is a good choice. For manual focus, the Zeiss 50mm f/1.4 Planar or the Nikon 50mm f/1.2 or the smallest and really diminutive choice: the Nikon 45mm f/2.8P.

Which led me to a thought and experiment: just how well does a simple and classic 4-element Tessar design perform on the Nikon D810?

Aperture Series: Nikon 45mm f/2.8P on the Nikon D810

  Nikon D810 + Nikon 45mm f/2.8P
Nikon D810 + Nikon 45mm f/2.8P

Nikon D810: How Much Underexposure Can It Take?

Get Nikon D810 at B&H Photo.

  Nikon D810
Nikon D810

This evaluation of sensor quality speaks to the versatility and value of a camera/sensor that can accept gross underexposure and still produce a good image, and/or the ability to give a severe boost to dark areas while retaining color quality and detail.

These real world attributes will appeal to anyone who has worked under difficult field conditions such as high dynamic range scenes.

Canon had better have something really good to announce at Photokina, because while the D800E already embarrassed the 5D Mark III, the D810 wins my praise as best ever.

In my review of the Nikon D810:

Pushing Nikon D810 at ISO 64 up to 5.5 Stops

Several intermediate exposure values and pushes are included.

Shot with the Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 APO-Distagon.

  Nikon D810 range of exposures
Nikon D810 range of exposures

Peter W writes:

I've never been more gobsmacked in my life as by your 5.5 stop push from nothing - nothing! - to a totally acceptable image. Absolutely incredible!

D810 ETTR and pulling up the shadows offers tremendous appeal and usefulness.

It's incomprehensible why Canon continues to bring out inferior sensors (noisy, banded blacks) when the Nikon benchmark is in plain sight.

I would be very interested in your comparison of the Sony A7/s/r sensors with their D810 counterparts.

DIGLLOYD: Canon has insisted on building their own sensors, and this has hurt them so far. But maybe Canon has something really great coming at Photokina. As for pattern and streaking noise in particular, this is a Canon thing for sure: Nikon D800E vs Canon EOS 5D Mark III as well as the Canon 5D Mark III noise pages and Canon EOS 1D Mark IV noise pages in DAP.

As for Sony, I’d done with the Sony A7R, having borrowed one 4 times now (I won’t waste my money on a $2000 camera which can’t make a sharp image at some shutter speeds and will rapidly decline in value—it has ruined far too much work from its shutter vibration, making it a frustrating PITA in spite of its helpful EVF. Moreover, the Sony 11+7 bit compression just doesn’t cut it and the too-thick sensor cover glass just kill it for Leica M lenses. The Nikon D810 is a solid and robust workhorse with good controls that takes a wide range of lenses with no adapters—and no goofy tripod mount workaround needed for heavy lenses and it won’t be worth 1/2 or 1/3 of what I paid for it in 6 months.

Gene F writes:

Canon has way too many professional users not to catch up quickly to Nikon. Their operating system and design ethic and really everything but the sensor are better too, imo, which is why pros love them. But maybe I'm just comfortable with them; they seem to me more well-conceived and navigable.

Leica, on the other hand, might be quitting photography in favor of jewelry-making.

DIGLLOYD: Well, they’ve had 2+ years to catch up. And I bet Canon will, and maybe as soon as early 2015 (following an announcement at Photokina). And maybe not. I also like a number of things about Canon DSLRs and I think the autofocus is superior with fast lenses.

Nikon D810: Adobe Camera Raw Support

Get Nikon D810 at B&H Photo. If you’re not quite up for the Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 APO-Distagon, the Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM A for Nikon is fantastic.

See also recommended SDXC and Compact Flash cards for Nikon D810.

  Nikon D810
Nikon D810

Michael E writes:

How are your reading the .NEFs? Lightroom does not recognize them.

DIGLLOYD: most all of my examples show the ACR version and conversion settings on the review page. Download Adobe Photoshop Camera Raw 8.6 RC for CC & CC 2014.

ACR 8.6 RC features

Improve performance when batch processing images (via the Save button in Camera Raw) and when converting images to DNG (via DNG Converter). This performance improvement is only available on 64-bit systems.

New Camera Support

  • Nikon D810
  • Panasonic LUMIX AG-GH4
  • Panasonic LUMIX DMC-FZ1000
  • Added Camera Matching color profiles for the following camera models:
  • Sony DSC-RX100 III
  • Sony A7S (ILCE-7S)
  • Sony Alpha SLT-A77 II (ILCA-77M2)

New Lens Profile Support

GEAR SALE: Canon 50/1.2L, Canon 35/1.4L, Pentax K3, Olympus SHG Zooms,

This site moves through a lot of gear. Most items are tested as loaners, but some gear has to be bought, and that means spinning off gear no longer needed.

Buyer pays 3-day UPS or FedEx shipping and/or supplies own shipping label (no USPS) and/or picks up locally. California buyers responsible for any applicable sales tax. USA only, no overseas shipments.

Contact me (please use an appropriate email subject)

Canon lenses

Canon 50mm f/1.2L, perfect glass, hood caps in excellent condition $1150.

Canon 35mm f/1.4L, perfect glass, hood caps in excellent condition $1050.

Pentax K3 premium silver edition

Very lightly used (under 1000 actuations) Pentax K-3 premium silver edition (details) in box like new as shipped. $800.

Olympus Super High Grade (SHG) zooms

These are reference-grade lenses for Four Thirds (Micro Four Thirds with Olympus MMF-3 adapter). Terrific choices for video users in particular (ultimate build and image quality, but these are large and heavy lenses best used for video rigs).

The SHG designation is not marketing hype; these are absolutely outstanding lenses that are reference lenses for all other Four Thirds and Micro Four Thirds lenses. See reviews in Guide to Mirrorless.

Sale of the three as a set preferred but will consider selling singly also. Also have three unmarked/unopened extended Olympus 4-year extended warranty cards (not registered) for lenses; will include (though unsure of warranty status for 2nd buyer). One Olympus MMF-3 adapter also. LIKE NEW IN BOX.

  • Olympus SHG 7-14mm f/4 Zuiko ED: $1400
  • Olympus SHG 14-35mm f/2 Zuiko ED: $1900
  • Olympus SHG 35-100mm f/2 Zuiko ED: $2000
  • All three take $400 more off and MMF-3 adapter gets included.

Pentax 645Z: Various Notes

Perfect for the Pentax 645Z.

  Pentax 645Z
Pentax 645Z

In my review of the Pentax 645Z:

In general, the Pentax designers did an outstanding job; your author picked up the camera and was using it within 5 minutes without even cracking the manual. Things like mirror lockup are better done than any other camera, period. But to see the CARD NOT FORMATTED bug still present a year after I first saw it with the Pentax K3 is disappointing; it’s a general bug afflicting both.

Memory Cards: Big discounts on high capacity SDXC and Compact Flash

Perfect for the Nikon D810.

  Recommended Storage cards
Recommended Storage cards

Memory cards have deep discounts right now.

Memory cards I prefer to use myself.

The one card that has performed flawlessly for me since day one is the Toshiba Exceria Pro 64GB. It is the only card I have used that has never had a glitch. I also use SanDisk and Lexar, but the Toshiba has never disappointed me unlike those two brands.

I like the 64GB (or larger) sized because out in the field it means I can generally leave files on the card as backups even after downloading*.

 

* Unless it’s Pentax which has a nasty “card is not formatted bug” even on the 645Z (the K3 first made this stupid bug plain)—if anything disturbs the format, such as merely renaming a folder, you’re hosed and have to reformat or hike back to the car for another card.

Nikon D810: Study of Image Quality from ISO 31/64/100, ..., 12800

Get Nikon D810 at B&H Photo.

  Nikon D810
Nikon D810

This extensive real-world evaluation of noise includes:

  • HD and UltraHD entire-frame images ISO 31/64/100 to ISO 12800 in RGB.
  • HD and UltraHD entire-frame images ISO 31/64/100 to ISO 12800 in RGB, gray gamma 2.2, and red/green/blue color channels.
  • Three large actual pixels crops ISO 31/64/100 to ISO 12800 in RGB, gray gamma 2.2, and red/green/blue color channels.
  • ACR processing settings and histogram for the image as conveted to ProPhotoRGB.

Shot with the Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 APO-Distagon.

In my review of the Nikon D810:

Nikon D810 ISO 31/64/100 to 12800 (Fruit Medley)

The appearance of noise depends on the character along with its magnitude, and especially the degree of enlargement. For that reason, a downsampled evaluation to match Sony A7s actual pixels is also provided, from ISO 31/64/100 to ISO 12800 in RGB, gray gamma 2.2, and red/green/blue color channels.

  Nikon D810 at ISO 800
Nikon D810 at ISO 800

Ashish V writes:

Just wanted to say that the colour reproduction in this image looks just stunning!
My guess is that it's better than 800e.

Did you need to do much work on this image to get the colours so good?

DIGLLOYD: That’s the beauty of it: total “work” was to shoot one frame with a WhiBal card (a separate frame). Using that frame, click to neutral in ACR, then use that setting for the others in the series. Piece of cake, scarcely any work at all. I like the WhiBal White Balance G7 Pocket Kit because it is inexpensive, durable and compact.

Nikon D810 Image Quality

Get Nikon D810 at B&H Photo.

  Nikon D810
Nikon D810

Image quality of the Nikon D810 is sensational. My D800E workhorse now has a worthy replacement in the D810, and the operational improvements are already proving their worth to me.

As for the Sony A7R, its clunky shutter generating loads of shutter vibration has been a constant work destroyer that undermines its raison d^etre, a “stop ship” that wasn’t.

The Nikon D810 avoids all that with its electronic first curtain shutter option (Canon has had EFC for years). What a relief! With Zeiss lenses, particularly the APO-Distagon and the APO-Sonnar and the coming Otus 85/1.4, the system picture makes a ton of sense—much smaller rig than a Pentax 645Z along with far superior lens selection (to both Pentax and Sony). And no “you’re fired blurry pictures you idiot” Sony thing. The D810 is what I call a realistic workhorse platform. Classic Nikon sensibility.

Low ISO and stuff

To my eye the D810 images are free of the odd look that I noticed immediately with the A7R. Full 14-bit lossless compressed at ISO 64 looks to be my new game. The Sony 11+7 bit lossy compression never made sense to me as having any worth in a $2K plus camera (well, $1K or so now, no even medium term resale value in those small Sony bodies).

I’ll be showing low ISO quality at 31/64/100/200/400 soon.

Pentax 645z: Long Exposures

Get Pentax 645z and Pentax 645 lens at B&H Photo.

  Pentax 645Z
Pentax 645Z

I wanted to evaluate the Pentax 645Z image quality with long exposures for two reasons. First, medium format has often suffered with long exposures (most though not all cameras), and second, the 645Z establishes a reference for the Nikon D810.

I evaluate a 32 minute exposure with +0.4 stop push in my review of the Pentax 645Z:

645Z Long Exposures

Includes HD and UltraHD images in RGB and with the red/green/blue and gray gamma 2.2 channels and two large crops with same.

This test scene won’t last long as I have dibs on those blueberries.

  Dynamic range assessment, Pentax 645Z + 90mm f/2.8
Pentax 645Z + 90mm f/2.8, 32 minute exposure

Nikon D810: Live View Quality vs Nikon D800E/D800

Get Nikon D810 at B&H Photo.

  Nikon D810
Nikon D810

I photographed the Nikon D810 and Nikon D800E rear LCDs on the same test target to evaluate Live View quality

Wow. In my review of the Nikon D810:

Nikon D810 vs D800E Live View quality

Nikon D810: Real-World Dynamic Range

Get Nikon D810 at B&H Photo.

  Nikon D810
Nikon D810

Real-world dynamic range is a major plus when the camera has it.

As a mid-2014 full-frame DSLR sporting the latest Sony sensor, the Nikon D810 brings high expectations for dynamic range, particularly at its new true ISO 64 value (previous minimum was ISO 100, the “Lo” settings not being true ISO).

Kicking off my review of the Nikon D810:

Nikon D810 Real-World Dynamic Range

Includes HD and UltraHD images in RGB and also R/G/B/Gray color channels in same, plus large crops. All toggle between as-shot. Processing settings and histograms and RawDigger info also shown.

  Dynamic range assessment, Pentax 645Z + 90mm f/2.8
Dynamic range assessment, Pentax 645Z + 90mm f/2.8

Pentax 645z: Real-World Dynamic Range

Get Pentax 645z and Pentax 645 lens at B&H Photo.

  Pentax 645Z
Pentax 645Z

Real-world dynamic range is a major plus when the camera has it. As a medium format camera, the 645Z brings very high expectations for dynamic range.

Who needs HDR with a sensor like this?

In my review of the Pentax 645Z:

645Z Real-World Dynamic Range aka Faux HDR

Includes HD and UltraHD images, and large crops that toggle between as-shot and adjusted as well as the processing settings and histograms for each.

  Dynamic range assessment, Pentax 645Z + 90mm f/2.8
Dynamic range assessment, Pentax 645Z + 90mm f/2.8

Nikon D810, Sigma 50/1.4, Pentax 645Z, Sigma dp2 Quattro

Get the Nikon D810 at B&H Photo. Also, LensRentals.com rents the Nikon D810.

The Nikon D810 is here.

To answer a few reader inquiries:

  • I will be covering the salient differences with the Nikon D810 vs D800E: operational aspects, image quality, etc.
  • I do intend more Pentax 645Z coverage, but I’ve deferred that for the arrival of the Nikon D810 (for comparisons), and I want to now make field shots in the mountains.
  • I intend to cover the Sigma 50/1.4 DG HSM A Nikon-mount version. I’ve had it for about ten days now, but I deferred coverage until the D810 arrives.
  • I intend more work with the Sigma dp2 Quattro, but it’s time for field shots now, just as with the Pentax 645Z.

Shootout: Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM 'Art' vs Canon 50/1.2L and 50/1.4 (5D Mark III, Decorated Bike)

Get Sigma 50/1.4 DG HSM at B&H Photo: Nikon, Canon, Sony A-mount, Sigma SA-mount

It isn’t much of a fight—more like a beating. This medium range comparison includes all apertures from ƒ1.2/ƒ1.4 through ƒ/16 with HD and UltraHD images and large crops.

In my review of the Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM A:

Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM A vs Canon 50/1.2L and 50/1.4 (Decorated Bike)

Additional coverage of the Sigma 50/1.4 DG HSM is likely; on Nikon D810.

     Decorated Moots FrosTi Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM @ ƒ/1.4
Decorated Moots FrosTi
Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM @ ƒ/1.4

Nikon D810: Enroute

Pre-order the Nikon D810 at B&H Photo. Also, LensRentals.com rents the Nikon D810.

The D810 is enroute; I expect to have it Friday July 18th. Testing to follow. See previous discussion.

Nikon D810: can it compete with Pentax 645Z?

Pre-order the Nikon D810 at B&H Photo. Also, LensRentals.com rents the Nikon D810.

My expectation is that the Nikon D810 sensor will be of the same generation and quality as the Pentax 645Z sensor, both being made by Sony is my understanding. With only a slightly smaller photosite size (4.88 microns vs 5.3 microns, ~20% in area), I’d expect the D810 to offer per-pixel quality not too far off from the 645Z. Elecronics matter too, as does the quality grade of the sensor, so that is all a little rough. But what really does matter is lenses, and there, Zeiss Otus on Nikon has few if any equivalents on Pentax. Lenses are big deal for any system.

So I hope to get out in the field with both by the end of this month, and do some field work side by side. But first, I’ll nail down some stuff on my temporary home-grown test scene, which offers an effective proving ground. The main issue is how to match field of view; there is no good equivalent focal length match for a 90mm on the Pentax 645Z. Update: reader Andrej K points out that the Sigma 70mm f/2.8 EX DG Macro, which is indeed a near match.

Nikon D810 About to Ship

Pre-order the Nikon D810 at B&H Photo. Also, LensRentals.com rents the Nikon D810.

It appears that the Nikon D810 should ship on July 17. I’ll be looking at it very closely over the next few weeks.

See previous discussion:

One concern I have is what appears to be a restricted scenario use for the electronic first curtain (EFC) shutter, as per the manual. It appear to be available only in M-up mode, which would make it useless for executing the shot at just the right moment in Live View. Also, an EFC shutter available in Live View mode means no shutter-bang from exiting Live View mode, if indeed the D810 requires that procedure. But that worry is probably unfounded as per Tom S below.

The strange note on “lines or fog” is also worrisome (I dont’t understand what it means).

Nikon D810 EFC shutter
Nikon D810 EFC shutter

Tom S writes:

That freaked me out too but the official Nikon press release states:

“Additionally, the electronic front curtain can now act as an electronic front shutter when using live view or first composing through the optical viewfinder in mirror-up mode", under "Refined Controls and Construction”

Would be nice if the manual did not appear to contradict that by omission!

DIGLLOYD: this sounds very hopeful.

Nikon D810
Nikon D810

Sigma Photo Pro Color Management: Does Not Exist

Get Sigma DP Merrill digital camera and Sigma dp2 Quattro at B&H Photo.

Confused by color rendition in Sigma Photo Pro? Or the camera itself also (Sigma dp2 Quattro or Sigma DP Merrill). So am I. It has been a longstanding issue for me (years). Now I've documented some findings of what I’m seeing with Sigma Photo Pro 6 and the dp2 Quattro. I don’t document all the issues, that being a time sinkhole to approach.

The only thing clear is that something is broken in terms of color management (apparently several things):

  • SPP (5.x or 6.x) do not display color properly while processing images (no support for color management for the display), making it difficult to evaluate color. Does not support retina displays either (goes blurry pixel doubled).
  • The Sigma cameras and the SPP software cannot agree on color even when using the same processing settings.
  • The camera-generated JPEGs are wrong, with over saturated “hot” color and too-strong contrast; this appears to be caused internal processing in sRGB r/g/b/ numeric values, saving as such, then tagging the image with the AdobeRGB color profile (when the camera is set to AdobeRGB).
  • Both the camera and SPP appear to clip color internally to sRGB regardless of working space designation or output color profile (no combination of working space and color profile shows increased gamut).

These issues are obvious on a calibrated wide gamut display.

There are many other bugs and performance and behavioral misdeeds, but those are not color management issues.

Every Sigma Photo Pro user should read the following pages:

Colorspace bugs also affect the Sigma cameras, including the DP Merrill colorspace bug and dp2 Quattro colorspace bug.

Sigma Photo Pro does not support color management for displays
Sigma Photo Pro does not support color management for displays

Andrew H writes:

So glad you published this as I was getting a frustrated with what I was seeing in SPP and then on opening in LR things looked ok. The Highlight clipping is a pain as well one thinks that the image is blown out in the highlights and again on opening in LR there is quite a lot of recovery possible.

DIGLLOYD: indeed, my workflow is (1) save as TIF from SPP, (2) open in Photoshop, judge color/brightness/etc, (3) make changes in SPP, (4) repeat ad-nauseum until I gt it just-so, all while waiting 20-50 seconds each iteration. 5-10 iterations X 10 files = black-hole time sink.

Sony A7s: Moiré + Relative Image Size vs A7 and A7R

Get Sony A7 cameras at B&H Photo.

  Sony Alpha A7s
Sony Alpha A7s

In my review of the Sony A7s are added two new pages:

Sony A7s vs Sony A7R: ISO and Noise

Get Sony A7 cameras at B&H Photo.

  Sony Alpha A7s
Sony Alpha A7s

This elaborate real-world evaluation of noise includes:

  • HD and UltraHD entire-frame images ISO 100 to ISO 410K in RGB comparing the Sony A7s to A7R, matched accordingly.
  • HD and UltraHD entire-frame images ISO 100 to ISO 410K in grayscale gamma 2.2 comparing the Sony A7s to A7R.
  • Two large actual pixels crops from the Sony A7s, ISO 100 to 410K showing RGB, gray gamma 2.2, and individual red/green/blue color channels from ProPhotoRGB.

In my review of the Sony A7s:

ISO 100 to 410K (Decorated Bike, Natural Light)

The appearance of noise depends on the character along with its magnitude, and especially the degree of enlargement. Discussion on this topic is included.

  Sony A7s and Sony A7R ISO noise evaluation from ISO 100 to ISO 410K in RGB and grayscale
Sony A7s and Sony A7R ISO noise evaluation from ISO 100 to ISO 410K in RGB and grayscale
  Sony A7s noise evaluation from ISO 100 to ISO 410K for RGB, red/green/blue channels, gray gamma 2.2
Sony A7s noise evaluation from ISO 100 to ISO 410K for RGB, red/green/blue channels, gray gamma 2.2

Pentax 645z: Shutter Vibration / Shutter Shock Analysis at 90mm

Get Pentax 645z and Pentax 645 lens at B&H Photo.

  Pentax 645Z
Pentax 645Z

Medium format cameras have large shutters and a natural question to ask is whether the shutter can cause loss of image sharpness. The Pentax 645Z does not have an electronic first curtain shutter option (EFC shutter).

In my review of the Pentax 645Z:

Shutter Vibration: Landscape and Portrait Orientation, 90mm

Includes actual pixels crops from 2 seconds to 1/250 second in both landscape and portrait orientation, with analysis.

Two Really Right Stuff B645D plates were attached to the camera (one on bottom, the other on the side) for mounting into the Arca Swiss Cube head on the very substantial Really Right Stuff TVC-44.

  Actual pixels Pentax 645Z + 90mm f/2.8 @ 1/250 sec @ f/4
Actual pixels
Pentax 645Z + 90mm f/2.8 @ 1/250 sec @ f/4

Sony A7s vs A7R

Time for a reshoot. My entire batch of work comparing the Sony A7R to the Sony A7s was wrecked by shutter vibration of the Sony A7R (see in depth review coverage of Sony A7R shutter vibration / shutter shock in my review). At 50mm. I feel really dumb having bothered to shoot the A7R in the danger range, knowing full well what I’ve documented for my readers. A foolish effort, but it drives the point home: the Sony A7R cannot be relied upon for sharp images over a wide range of shutter speeds. By the way, don’t even think about using the A7R for things like focus stacking unless you’re doing very fast or very long exposures. The Sony A7S and A7 offer a vibration-free electronic first curtain shutter (EFC shutter); cameras like the Sony RX1R offer a vibration-free leaf shutter.

The real 36MP workhorse* looks to be the new Nikon D810, with its vibration-free electronic first curtain shutter option (EFC shutter). (Canon has had an EFC option for years with its Mode I or Mode II Live View modes). An EFC shutter is a big deal for long telephoto lenses or high magnification macro work. So while the D800E has served me well as a solid and problem-free workhorse for years (best ever camera in this regard), and I expect the D810 will only make it better.

* The Sony A7R being the workhose.

Definitive Shootout: Sigma dp2 Quattro vs Sigma DP2 Merrill (Decorated Bike)

Get Sigma DP Merrill digital camera and Sigma dp2 Quattro at B&H Photo.

This eclectic scene offers fantastic insights into the image quality differences between the Sigma dp2 Quattro and the Sigma DP2 Merrill. In my review of the Sigma dp2 Quattro:

dp2 Quattro vs DP2 Merrill (Decorated Bike)

This is a absolute must-read for any Sigma DP Merrill or Sigma dp2 Quattro user.

Decorated Moots Frosti
Decorated Moots Frosti

Gerner C writes:

I wish to thank you for an incredible walk through your dp2 Quattro test. I made my mind up even before you came to the conclusion, but I am even more happy about that choice after I saw your decorated bike scene. Halleluja..

Again your site and work has helped me a lot since I subscribed.

DIGLLOYD: I work hard to show everything that *I* would want to know before investing in any camera or lens. That desire (for my own needs) was the genesis for this site.

Axel P writes:

So true - your investigation about the DP2 M as well as the DP2 Quattro is more then worth the price of the subscription! Sometimes „In dubio pro neo“ is not valid…

Waiting until i can afford a MF system - the new Leica S 2014 is Unobtainium for me for the time being - iIordered now a DP3 Merill. Thanks for the clarifications and please many more of your deep dives!

DIGLLOYD: :)

Philip S writes:

Thank you very much for this. More than worth the price of admission. I’ve had the DP2 and DP3 Merrills for some time. I was holding off on the DP1M in order to see how the Quattro sensor would perform.

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B&H Photo Now Offers Free Expedited Shipping (1/2/3 days depending on location)

See the diglloyd gear pages with handy button links to recommended items.

When shopping at B&H Photo, thank you for using any link from this site to get there—gear page buttons, B&H ad, etc (add to cart *after* using the link).

Here on the west coast that means 3 days for me. But 3 days is way better than ground shipping, which can take 5 or 6 days.

  Free expedited shipping at B&H Photo
Free expedited shipping at B&H Photo

Pentax 645z: Detail Rendition and Image Quality on Variety

Get Pentax 645z and Pentax 645 lens at B&H Photo.

  Pentax 645Z
Pentax 645Z

Image quality of the 645Z + Pentax 90mm f/2.8 is sensational, which translates to very high per-pixel quality, minimial artifacts, consistent color, ultra low noise and high resolution.

I set up this eclectic scene, including a variety of challenging items for any camera to record faithfully. In my review of the Pentax 645Z:

Decorated Bike on the 645Z with 90mm f/2.8

This series should yield a really good sense of just how good the 645Z really is.

Includes the usual HD and UltraHD entire-frame images along with many crops and commentary.

  Pentax 645Z + 90mm f/2.8 @ ƒ/8
Pentax 645Z + 90mm f/2.8 @ ƒ/8

Pentax 645z Image Quality

Get Pentax 645z and Pentax 645 lens at B&H Photo.

  Pentax 645Z
Pentax 645Z

Image quality of the 645Z + Pentax 90mm f/2.8 is sensational.

I shot a controlled scene today with the 645Z and also the Nikon D800E and Sigma dp2 Quattro and Sony A7R and Leica M Typ 240, and I was very impressed with just how good the 645Z looked compared to all of them.

Unless the new Nikon D810 has some tricks up its sleeve in per-pixel quality (it might), it looks like the 645Z is a great choice for someone looking for high grade images that clearly go beyond what is possible from a 36 X 24mm full-frame camera. Image quality has multiple dimensions, and I speak not of resolution so much (though the 645Z delivers there), but of total image quality.

Pentax 645z: Handheld Portraits with the Pentax 90mm f/2.8

Get Pentax 645z and Pentax 645 lens at B&H Photo.

  Pentax 645Z
Pentax 645Z

Image quality of the 645Z + Pentax 90mm f/2.8 is sensational.

In my review of the Pentax 645Z I show a variety of portraits using the 90mm f/2.8.

Portraits on the 645Z with 90mm f/2.8

Includes the usual HD and UltraHD entire-frame images along with crops and commentary.

  Pentax 645Z + 90mm f/2.8 @ ƒ/5.6
Pentax 645Z + 90mm f/2.8 @ ƒ/5.6

Pentax 645z: Noise from ISO 100 to ISO 204800 with RGB, Channels, Grayscale

Get Pentax 645z and Pentax 645 lens at B&H Photo.

  Pentax 645Z
Pentax 645Z

This elaborate evaluation of noise includes:

  • HD and UltraHD entire-frame images ISO 100 to ISO 204800 in RGB.
  • HD and UltraHD entire-frame images ISO 100 to ISO 204800 in grayscale using gray gamma 2.2.
  • One high-key and one low-key actual-pixels large crop ISO 100 to ISO 204800 showing RGB, gray gamma 2.2, and invididual R/G/B color channels.

The Pentax 645Z handles noise supremely well, and this series should be exceptionally useful to 645Z shooters in seeing just where the limits are for their own shooting style. It is also useful for black and white shooters in seeing how black and white rendition might fare at very high ISO values. The 645Z sensor is a breakthrough for medium format in noise terms.

In my review of the Pentax 645Z: ISO 100 to 204800 (Red Tomato, Natural Light)

  Pentax 645Z noise evaluation from ISO 100 to ISO 204800 in RGB and grayscale
Pentax 645Z noise evaluation from ISO 100 to ISO 204800 in RGB and grayscale
  Pentax 645Z noise evaluation from ISO 100 to ISO 204800 in RGB and individual color channels and gray gamma 2.2
Pentax 645Z noise evaluation from ISO 100 to ISO 204800 in RGB and individual color channels and gray gamma 2.2

Sigma dp2 Quattro Aperture Series 'Transit Bus'

Get Sigma dp2 Quattro at B&H Photo.

This series shows off just how good the DP2 Quattro can be in fine textural details. Dynamic range and noise behavior is also explored. In my ongoing review of the Sigma dp2 Quattro:

Sigma dp2 Quattro Aperture Series 'Transit Bus'

Sigma dp2 Quattro @ ƒ/5.6
Sigma dp2 Quattro @ ƒ/5.6

Sigma DP2 Merrill Aperture Series 'Mosaic'

Get Sigma DP2 Merrill and Sigma dp2 Quattro at B&H Photo.

This piece follows and complements the similar one with the dp2 Quattro.

This extremely demanding planar target tolerates no errors from a camera system or lens, mercilessly revealing every flaw, but the Sigma DP2 Merrill handles it with ease. In the review of the Sigma DP2 Merrill:

Sigma DP2 Merrill Aperture Series 'Mosaic'

Commentry included on DP2 Merrill vs dp2 Quattro relative performance. Regrettably, the framing did not allow a direct A/B comparison, but the relative results are clear.

Sigma DP2 Merrill @ ƒ/4
Sigma DP2 Merrill @ ƒ/4

Sharpness Fans, Your Ship Has Come In: Sigma dp2 Quattro Aperture Series 'Mosaic'

Get Sigma dp2 Quattro at B&H Photo.

This extremely demanding planar target tolerates no errors from a camera system or lens, mercilessly revealing every flaw, but the dp2 Quattro handles it with stunning sharpness and real depth of field hard to achieve in a DSLR.

In my ongoing review of the Sigma dp2 Quattro:

Sigma dp2 Quattro Aperture Series 'Mosaic'

Sigma dp2 Quattro @ ƒ/4
Sigma dp2 Quattro @ ƒ/4

Pentax 645z + 25mm f/4 Aperture Series: Blue Beater Bike

Get Pentax 645z and Pentax 645 lens at B&H Photo.

  Pentax 645Z
Pentax 645Z

In my review of the Pentax 645Z:

Aperture Series: Blue Beater Bike (645Z + 25mm f/4)

This example is shot at a distance that might be typical for many a landscape scene. It also involves high contrasts and a deep 3D scene for evaluating lens performance near to far and across the frame.

Includes HD and UltraHD images from ƒ/4 to ƒ/22 along with large crops.

  Pentax 645Z + Pentax 25mm f/4
Pentax 645Z + Pentax 25mm f/4

Sigma dp2 Quattro: Lens Hood and Lens Flare

Get Sigma dp2 Quattro at B&H Photo.

In my ongoing review of the Sigma dp2 Quattro I discuss the differences between the lens hood and its effectiveness on the dp2 Quattro vs the Sigma DP2 Merrill. And how to prevent it.

Sigma dp2 Quattro Lens Flare and Green Smearing

Sigma dp2 Quattro
Sigma dp2 Quattro

Pentax 645z + 25mm f/4 Aperture Series: Mosaic

Get Pentax 645z and Pentax 645 lens at B&H Photo.

  Pentax 645Z
Pentax 645Z

In my review of the Pentax 645Z:

Aperture Series: Mosaic (645Z + 25mm f/4)

This example shows off what the Pentax 645Z sensor can record with a high performing lens.

Includes HD and UltraHD images from ƒ/4 to ƒ/22 along with large crops.

  Pentax 645Z + Pentax 25mm f/4
Pentax 645Z + Pentax 25mm f/4

John P writes:

My thanks for how quickly you jumped on the 645z! Sounds like your expectations were fulfilled, for better or worse. Now we need the Sigma 645 Art series...

I am always impressed with your energy and thoroughness. You earn your subscription fee many times over!

DIGLLOYD: lots of positives with the 645Z, but lenses are the weak point of the system.

Pentax 645z + 90mm f/2.8 Aperture Series: Mosaic

Get Pentax 645z and Pentax 645 lens at B&H Photo.

  Pentax 645Z
Pentax 645Z

In my review of the Pentax 645Z:

Aperture Series: Mosaic (645Z + 90mm f/2.8 Macro)

This example shows off what the Pentax 645Z sensor can record with a high performing lens.

Includes HD and UltraHD images from ƒ/2.8 to ƒ/22 along with large crops.

See also the prior review of the Pentax 645D and lenses.

A crop from the test scene is shown below.

  The Big Black Box from Pentax (645z) with one of the smallest lenses
Pentax 645Z + Pentax 90mm f/2.8 Macro (crop)

Is 50 Megapixels Sharper than 36 Megapixels?

Get Pentax 645z at B&H Photo.

  Pentax 645Z
Pentax 645Z

In my review of the Pentax 645Z.

Is 50 Megapixels Sharper than 36 Megapixels? (Matched)

Hint: 'glass' matters.

Gotta run, time for fireworks.

UPDATE: an additional page has been added which includes crops at actual pixels for the two cameras.

50 vs 36 Megapixels (25mm / 21mm, Actual Pixels)

Reviewed: 50-Megapixel Pentax 645z

Get Pentax 645z at B&H Photo.

  Pentax 645Z
Pentax 645Z

Just published is a variety of material on the Pentax 645Z. As usual, it is much more than a review and includes tips and considerations. In my review of the Pentax 645Z:

More to come, including the 25mm f/4.

See also the prior review of the Pentax 645D and lenses.

  The Big Black Box from Pentax (645z) with one of the smallest lenses
Pentax 645Z + Pentax 90mm f/2.8 Macro

Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM A: Best Autofocus Lens, In Stock for Canon

Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM A
Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM A

Get Sigma 50/1.4 DG HSM at B&H Photo: Nikon, Canon, Sony A-mount, Sigma SA-mount

Get Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 APO-Distagon.

The Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM A is the best optical performer with autofocus for Canon or Nikon, exceeded only by the manual focus Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 APO-Distagon.

See the review of the Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM A in DAP.

Now in stock at B&H Photo as this was written (for Canon).

 

Pentax 645z: 50 Megapixels Arrives

Get Pentax 645z at B&H Photo.

The Pentax 645z arrives tomorrow (July 3) for testing. I’m overloaded, what with the Sigma 50/1.4 DG HSM A for Nikon arrived, the Sigma dp2 Quattro, the Canon 16-35mm f/4L IS and the Sony RX100 III.

See Pentax 645z: Hitting the Bullseye on Which Target? and Pentax 645Z 51-Megapixel Medium Format DSLR, 13 Pentax Lenses Now Avail in USA and Pentax 645Z: Does Not Have EFC Shutter (Electronic First Curtain).

Also my review of the Pentax 645D and lenses.

It’s a shame that the Nikon D810 is a month or so off, because I’d like to compare it (using the Zeiss Otus 55/1.4 APO-Distagon!) with the 645Z. The 645Z sensor is notably larger, but 50 megapixels is only marginally more than 36 in linear resolving power terms.

  The Big Black Box from Pentax (645z) with one of the smallest lenses
The Big Black Box from Pentax (645z) with one of the smallest lenses

Sunstars and Flare with the Canon 16-35mm f/4L IS USM

Get Canon 16-35mm f/4L IS at B&H Photo.

My review of the Canon 16-35mm f/4L IS now includes a study of sunstars and flares with the Canon 16-35mm f/4L IS USM .

Sunstar with Canon 16-35mm f/4L IS USM
Sunstar with Canon 16-35mm f/4L IS USM

$299 for a DSLR with Lens, also Sony A7s in stock

Canon EOS Rebel T3 with lens for $299
Canon EOS Rebel T3 with lens for $299

Canon EOS Rebel T3 DSLR Camera and 18-55mm IS II Lens Kit.

Good for a teenager or someone looking to get started?

Hard to beat at $299 and free shipping too.

 

 

 

 

Sony A7S is in stock also. Should be a superb low-light camera as well as full-frame 4K video (with external recorder).

Sony A7s
Sony A7s

Reviewed: Canon 16-35mm f/4L IS USM

Get Canon 16-35mm f/4L IS at B&H Photo.

Canon’s new 16-35mm f/4L IS looks to be a standout performer.

My review of the Canon 16-35mm f/4L IS has started:

Canon 16-35mm f/4L IS USM
Canon 16-35mm f/4L IS USM

NEC EA244UHD 4K UltraHD Display

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I’m really loving the NEC EA244UHD 4K UltraHD display. I use it daily attached to my MacBook Pro Retina as a preview workstation for all site content.

It’s like the Retina display in a MacBook Pro—only better because it’s 3840 X 2160 (way bigger than 2880 X 1600). Text is unbelievably smooth and beautiful and images are eye-popping in their 8 megapixels of detail.

See my in-depth review of the NEC EA244UHD 4K UltraHD Display including how I calibrated it and the wide color gamut.

NEC has larger models coming shortly, but the EA244UHD is available now at a reasonable price. Larger 32-inch displays are much more expensive; this is a good way to enjoy 4K quality.

NOTE: at present, only two Mac models support 4K displays: the 2013 Mac Pro and the late 2013 MacBook Pro Retina 'Crystal Well'.

NEC EA244UHD UltraHD 4K display
NEC EA244UHD UltraHD 4K display

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The Effect of Focus Shift on Image Sharpness

Nikon 45mm f/2.8P
Nikon 45mm f/2.8P

Focus shift causing a loss of image sharpness with many lenses by shifting the zone of focus, typically rearward, but it can also be a differential shift (central areas vs peripheral).

The Nikon 45mm f/2.8P happens to have a pronounced focus shift (relatively rare in ƒ/2.8 lenses)—its 4-element design is very simple and cannot correct very many aberrations, certainly not the one responsible for focus shift, spherical aberration. So it makes an excellent case study.

For this study, dual aperture series are used to show focus optimal wide open at ƒ/2.8 and how it degrades with stopping down, as compared to focus optimal for ƒ/5.6, and how ƒ/2.8 is then inferior.

Regardless of brand, understanding focus shift and the compensation approach can be critical to getting peak sharpness, particularly with digital SLRs of increasing megapixels.

Focus shift is already a problem with ~22 or 36 megapixel cameras, but when we see a ~56 megapixel camera, dealing with focus shift will become a truly critical part of shot discipline.

This series has been cross posted in both MSI and DAP.

Reader Question: Which Canon Normal Lens For Travel?

Get Canon lenses at B&H Photo.

Canon 40mm f/2.8 STM
Canon 40mm f/2.8 STM

Reader Grzegorz G writes:

Focal Length 50 mm FF is that I rarely used and the size and weight of the Sigma 50/1.4 DG HSM A for me is not acceptable, unlike in the case of the lens such as 24/1,4, 15/2,8 or 17/4 shift that certainly would be my
inseparable companions in future (especially because of the capture of the night sky and architecture)

For the convenience and low-light situations which to choose 50mm 1.4 or 1.8 from Canon or maybe 40mm f/2.8 STM which you rated really high and may play role “in emergency”.

DIGLLOYD: I really like the way the 40/2.8 STM draws wide open. See the review of the Canon 40mm f/2.8 STM in DAP.

While it’s no threat to the optical quality of the Sigma 50/1.4A, it is ultra compact and at about $146, it’s a no-brainer for travel ($50 instant rebate and 2% rewards and free shipping bring real price down to $146).

Sigma dp2 Quattro vs DP2 Merrill: Size and Weight with Mounting Plate, Grip

Get Sigma DP Merrill digital camera and Sigma dp2 Quattro at B&H Photo.

I discuss the weight and dimensions differences of the Sigma dp2 Quattro versus the Sigma DP2 Merrill when used with a grip on the DP Merrill. Such things can be serious considerations for travel purposes.

Really Right Stuff: BDP2 Set: Base + L-Plate + Grip for Sigma DP Merrill
Really Right Stuff: BDP2 Set: Base + L-Plate + Grip for Sigma DP Merrill

Shootout: Sigma dp2 Quattro vs Canon 5D Mark III (Dolls)

Get Sigma DP Merrill digital camera and Sigma dp2 Quattro at B&H Photo.

In keeping with my approach of doing initial testing to establish expectations and context within the existing camera systems, I offer another very practical decision-making comparison.

Can the Sigma dp2 Quattro match or exceed the image quality of the 22-megapixel Canon 5D Mark III using the best autofocus normal lens on the market (Sigma 50/1.4 DG HSM A)? * In Guide to Mirrorless:

dp2 Quattro vs Canon 5D Mark III (Dolls)

* Comparison also includes the Nikon 45mm f/2.8P, a 4-element Tessar design, thus showing best and worst case lens performance on the 5D Mark III.

Leica M Typ 240 Firmware Update

Leica has released firmware update 2.0.1.5 for the Leica M Typ 240. I updated my M240 without incident.

The thing I noticed immediately was the Horizon option for Live View—no more need for 14 button presses into the menus.

Reader Gen F writes:

If you update it restarts your shot count. If you take one shot andchange the file name in the Finder to the next number in your pre-updated sequence the camera starts counting at that number. I'm sure you knew this already but I was glad someone else told me so I figure it wouldn't hurt to repeat to you.

DIGLLOYD: that works, and it could be used any time. It also resets the filename prefix.

But of much greater concern is that the update resets the file format to JPEG. A bit nasty if you don’t notice. Check ALL settings after the firmware update.

Improvements – Leica M (Typ 240) Firmware Version 2.0.1.5.

  • Improved description of the lens type in Exif-Data
  • Live view is now possible with every lens (including older screw lenses via an adapter) using “manual lens detection”
  • A “Video off” option is now available in the Set menu (see submenu item “Video recording”)
  • The M-Button on the Top-cover is deactivated when this option is chosen.
  • The Horizon (level) is now visible in Live View, overlaying the live image. This additional info screen is enabled using the menu item “Horizon”
  • Exposure simulation -> Permanent: Live View accurately shows image brightness according to the shutter speed and aperture set in manual exposure (as long as the chosen exposure time is shorter than 1/30s).
  • Exposure simulation -> Release button half-pressed: Image brightness in live view is adjusted for best visibility, regardless of the actual exposure. Half pressing the shutter button shows the actual exposure.
  • Extended Auto ISO options: All Auto ISO options are now visible using the ISO button and extra options for “Maximum Exposure Time” - 1x, 2 x, or 4x focal length - can be selected
  • To help avoid camera shake when using auto ISO and long lenses.
    o “Auto ISO in M mode” is now offered as an option. This varies ISO sensitivity for correct exposure when shutter speed and aperture are set manually.
  • Alternatively the camera chooses the previous manually-chosen ISO speed
  • Crop marks—in Live View, new crop marks for 3:4 / 6:7 / 1:1 / and 16:9 aspect ratios can be displayed. By pressing the up/down keys, the crop marks are superimposed on the live view screen (without additional information)
  • During video recording, 1/25s is now used instead of 1/24s. This reduces flicker effects with 50Hz mains voltage
  • Exposure bracketing settings are now saved when the camera is switched off
  • Direct exposure correction: An “EV correction” option in the menu enables direct adjustment. So EV compensation can be altered by turning the thumb wheel, without having to press additional buttons.
  • New Light Metering Mode “Classic / LV disabled”: In this mode, only Classic light-metering is possible; the LV button is disabled to avoid the activation of live view by accident.
  • New menu item “Focus Peaking”: For improved visibility, the color of focus peaking can now be set to red, green or blue.
  • Better display of GPS location data. Position is now shown for JPG files in Adobe Lightroom®. Where the GPS signal is weak, the last position is now deleted after 5min instead of 24h as in previous firmware versions.
  • Bugfix in Live View at high temperatures: Occasional malfunction of Live View at high temperatures has been fixed.
  • Bug fix in light metering (Live view).
  • Bug fix regarding sensor cleaning function

Sigma dp2 Quattro: Portraits

Get Sigma DP Merrill digital camera and Sigma dp2 Quattro at B&H Photo.

Portraits shot at dusk. Some include raw conversion settings.

dp2 Quattro Portraits

Eyes  Sigma dp2 Quattro, ƒ/2.8 @ 1/30 sec handheld, ISO 100
Eyes
Sigma dp2 Quattro, ƒ/2.8 @ 1/30 sec handheld, ISO 100
Long Hair  Sigma dp2 Quattro, ƒ/2.8 @ 1/100 sec handheld, ISO 100
Long Hair
Sigma dp2 Quattro, ƒ/2.8 @ 1/100 sec handheld, ISO 100

Definitive Shootout: Sigma dp2 Quattro vs Sigma DP2 Merrill (Dolls)

Get Sigma DP Merrill digital camera and Sigma dp2 Quattro at B&H Photo.

My review of the Sigma dp2 Quattro now includes a head-to-head shootout between the dp2 Quattro and DP2 Merrill. It took 3+ hours just to shoot (reshoot, reshoot, ...) because I wanted everything just right. I succeeded.

This might be the finest camera comparison I have ever done. The breadth and depth of what is revealed upended several of my expectations in unequivocal ways. I am proud to offer this piece.

Anyone considering the dp2 Quattro or DP Merrill cameras will find this comparison alone worth the entire subscription cost of Guide to Mirrorless.

dp2 Quattro vs DP2 Merrill (Dolls)

Dolls
Dolls

Sigma dp2 Quattro: Comparison Coming

My review of the Sigma dp2 Quattro has begun.

I’m preparing an excellent comparison, but delays due to software issues have exacted a considerable toll on my efforts. But I finally have settled into something that works and produces acceptable color (color space bugs were very confusing, I’ll be documenting how to use SPP without being baffled).

The comparison is coming, perhaps tonight. Update: here it is.

Image from raw X3F file with white balance and tint neutralized near center of ruler. Click for larger image.

Dolls Sigma dp2 Quattro @ ƒ/4 from raw
Dolls
Sigma dp2 Quattro @ ƒ/4 from raw

Site Changes Now Stable

This site underwent some internal changes that would cause erratic response late Saturday and to mid-afternoon on Sunday.

The changes are now in place and things should be operating normally. Please contact me if there are odd things.

Sigma Photo Pro: Alters X3F Files so that SPP v5 Cannot Use Them

I just discovered that using Sigma Photo Pro 6 and saving settings to the X3F file modifies the X3F file so that SPP 5 can no longer work with it.

Ditto for RawDigger: it appears that the change is a re-save in a new file format. Writing over an original is bad enough (carries a real risk of data loss), but to rewrite the file format and make the file incompatible is a serious matter.

Worse, SPP 6 won’t deliver the color I want with Sigma DP2 Merrill files (something is badly wrong both for viewing files and for saving them in terms of color spaces). But I’ve figured out a workaround flow.

I want to be clear that I think the camera (dp2 Quattro) has huge potential for image quality. To my eye, it outperforms the Canon 5D Mark III for image quality. It’s the Sigma Photo Pro software that’s the issue.

SPP 6 also gets the prize for the world’s slowest and most buggy raw converter, by an order of magnitude. I still cannot use it on my Mac Pro, because opening an image for editing opens a window somewhere off both screens, out of sight and inacessible. And believe it or not, SPP 6 is *still* a 32-bit program on OS X, years after virtually every program on the market is 64-bit. If it continues to work in OS X Yosemite it will be a surprise. Might be a good idea to shoot RAW+JPEG. It’s also a very serious long term concern for anyone archiving X3F files for future use.

UPDATE: for whatever bizarre reason, placing the folder containing the images onto the desktop offers a substantial speedup for some operations. This was a suggestion from Sigma.

UPDATE 2: I expect a version of SPP with some bug fixes soon.

SPP 6 also has the curious behavior of displaying a great-looking JPEG at retina resolution on a 4K display—until it processes the raw mañana, at which point it does not support high-res displays, and the image now looks awful at its pixel-doubled blur.

Update: I’ve discovered a process that is totally wrong and nonsensical, but ultimately delivers a TIF that looks just like a camera-generated JPEG in terms of color. SPP is completely and utterly broken in terms of color management, so one has to look for ad-hoc workarounds. Not that SPP 5 worked for color management either.

Sigma dp2 Quattro: Huge Step Up From Sigma DP Merrill, and More

My review of the Sigma dp2 Quattro has begun.

Update: working on comparison between the DP2 Merrill and the dp2 Quattro. It’s a terrible slog working with Sigma Photo Pro 6. I’m liking the dp2 Quattro image quality a lot.

My context has been extensive field work with the DP Merrill predecessors. My review will bring that context to bear on ergonomics and operational characteristics, best practices and of course, image quality.

I also plan to evaluate the dp2 Quattro against some DSLRs, because from what I see already, DSLRs short of 36 megapixel ones will be challenged to deliver this kind of detail.

Some very quick impressions, much more detail in my review:

  • Camera operation is considerably faster than DP Merrill cameras.
  • Rear LCD is far sharper and clearer than the DP Merrill cameras.
  • The 5424 X 3616 JPEGs from Raw + JPEG are incredibly good, perhaps the best in-camera JPEGs I’ve ever seen. I was shocked at how good they look, and I am most definitely not a fan of JPEG from most cameras. So good I’d be tempted to shoot JPEG (supersize JPEG yet to be evaluated).
  • The sensor has a different look from the DP2 Merrill sensor (not just color), something to be evaluated.

I am starting my coverage with controlled shots and comparisons in order to fully understand the range of the camera, then I will move on to field work

The dolls scene was chosen because it has seriously challenged the Sigma DP Merrill cameras (blues and greens).

This image from JPEG is slightly blue due to auto white balance being slightly off. Click for a larger image.

Dolls Sigma dp2 Quattro @ ƒ/4 from camera JPEG
Dolls
Sigma dp2 Quattro @ ƒ/4 from camera JPEG

Sigma Photo Pro 6

I’m sorry to say that Sigma Photo Pro 6.0.1 (OS X version) is unusable on my Mac Pro. If it isn’t hanging, it’s crashing or putting windows off both screens. Sigma documents certain issues which are problematic, but there are about 20 more problems (I gave up counting).

I was unable to process even a single X3F file on my 2013 Mac Pro; any attempt to open an X3F file hangs for a time then typically posts an error 14 “reboot Sigma Photo Pro” dialog. The window also shows up almost entirely off the the screen except for a small bottom portion, at least on my dual display system.

I had better luck on my late 2013 MacBook Pro (4K display attached: SPP does not properly support screen scaling modes as Photoshop and other programs do, so images are blurred on screen, making editing difficult). I was able to save a TIF from SPP however.

Sony A7s In Stock

Get the Sony A7s at B&H Photo.

I plan to review the A7s in the next few weeks. See the in-depth review of the Sony A7/A7R in Guide to Mirrorless.

Apple to End 'Aperture' Support

Discussion over at MacPerformanceGuide.com: Apple to End 'Aperture' Support

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Sigma dp2 Quattro: Review Starts Tomorrow

The Sigma dp2 Quattro should arrive in my hands Saturday morning (tomorrow).]

My initial coverage will take as its priority the Sigma DP2 Merrill vs the dp2 Quattro for resolution, color and dynamic range under controlled conditions. Field work to follow.

See preliminary coverage of Sigma dp2 Quattro in Guide to Mirrorless as well as the extensive coverage of the existing Sigma DP Merrill lineup.

Past blog coverage Sigma DP Merrill line.

This is an exciting camera to me; its sensor holds promise for eclipsing the detail possible with even 22 megapixel DSLRs. Might it emphatically surpass DSLRs like the Canon 5D Mark III? It might even approach the Nikon D800E in real detail. I expect improved image quality and longer battery life over the DP Merrill series.

Sigma dp2 Quattro
Sigma dp2 Quattro

“D810 Live View is Good”

Pre-order the Nikon D810 at B&H Photo.

Marcel J writes to say:

Just tried the D810 in the Nikon center in Ginza, Tokyo. The Live view looks much better. See attached photos of the D800e and D810 screen I took with my phone (sorry, I was in a hurry and didn't think about taking a picture with my D800e).

In any case, none of the triple pixel nonsense, and much less noise in the Live View display. The screen seemed whiter and brighter as well.

I didn't check any other features, but the cleaner Live View is enough for an upgrade for me.

DIGLLOYD: that’s terrific news—the rear LCD is as high a resolution as any camera now, and without the every-3rd-line mangling, the rear LCD should be a pleasure to work with (use a focusing loupe for a glare-free magnified view).

See also:

Nikon D810
Nikon D810

Thoughts on Nikon D810

Pre-order the Nikon D810 at B&H Photo.

Some of my thoughts were captured yesterday in the Nikon D810 announcement with commentary.

The lack of an EVF option is a gross tactical and strategic error, because it is the EVF that can bridge the gap to mirrorless! Seen in that light, it’s borderline suicidal in today’s camera market, what with Sony encroaching fast. The EVF makes a DSLR into a larger mirrorless-like camera, which is half the battle. Mirrorless is about size (sure), but it’s also about the EVF and its many benefits.

See Why an Electronic Viewfinder (EVF) is Not Optional, and Not Sufficient Either and Old Geezers Need an EVF: the Rear LCD and Presbyopia are a Bad Combination For Aging Eyes. The EVF solves so many issues that an optical viewfinder does not that its omission is a big let down.

Nikon D810
Nikon D810

I am hoping that the D810 is the end of the line in the sense that all future DSLRs from Nikon (and Canon) will have an EVF option. At some point (end of 2014), it’s beyond stupid to not offer this valuable feature.

Regarding image quality, a true 14-bit file with excellent electronics means that the game is all about lenses for the D810, notwithstanding Nikon’s hyperbole about amazing NIKKOR lenses (hint to Nikon: buy Sigma).

Nikon NIKKOR lenses are certainly very good (some are excellent), but all ƒ/1.4 Nikon lenses have relatively low micro contrast, which impairs autofocus accuracy (or focus by eye), regardless of how good the AF system is. Which is why I am looking forward to seeing how the Zeiss 55mm f/1.4 APO-Distagon benefits from a better sensor and (presumably) better sensor cover glass design. And also the autofocus Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM A, due soon.

The D800E has always been a workhorse camera for me, so a D810 that raises its game in several key respects is welcome. Proven design proven results. But it’s far from enough to stave off the onslaught of mirrorless cameras; Nikon (or Canon) cannot afford to see market share eaten away steadily.

Nikon Announces D810

Pre-order the Nikon D810 at B&H Photo.

Official announcement. See also the comparison sheet and diglloyd commentary that follows.

Tonight, Nikon announces the newest FX-format camera, the D810, bringing the best in DSLR image quality, video features and performance to professional photographers and cinematographers.

Featuring a new 36.3-megapixel full frame sensor without an OLPF and boosted by Nikon’s EXPEED 4 image processor, the Nikon D810 is the ultimate multimedia marvel with enhancements to image quality, speed and workflow.

  • A multimedia HD-SLR for photographers and cinematographers
  • New FX-format 36.3-megapixel CMOS sensor with no optical low pass filter (OLPF). Extremely high-resolution, broad dynamic range and stellar sharpness
  • Bolstered by EXPEED 4 Image Processor that offers enhanced image quality and a 30% overall boost in performance
  • Overall performance enhancements (white balance, reduced false color/moiré)
  • Wider ISO range (64-12,800) for improved low-light performance (expandable to ISO 32 and 51,200)
  • Advanced Scene Recognition System, Picture Control Profiles, Highlight weighted metering options all contribute to enhancing image quality and resolution for all types of photographers
  • Powerful video features for cinematographers: Full HD 1920 x 1080 video at 60/30/24p and versatile FX and DX crop modes. Uncompressed digital video HDMI output to an external device while recording to SD or CF.
  • Zebra stripes for over exposed areas, full manual controls and full time AF
  • Enhanced 51 point Multi-Cam 3500 FX Autofocus system
  • New RAW Size Small format (12 bit) provides increased flexibility in workflow
  • Engineered for versatility and performance with bright viewfinder and 3.2-inch LCD screen.
  • “i” button added for quick access to commonly used settings
  • Available in late July for a suggested retail price (SRP) of $3,299.95 (Body Only) and in multiple kit configurations

A very nice upgrade, but I really wish an EVF option had been offered (hot shoe mount). Still, practical features hold promise: a sensor delivering 14-bit images that is as good or perhaps better than the Sony A7R sensor (see limitations) will be welcome, as will the vibration-free EFC shutter and (hopefully) improved Live View.

Apparently the D810 uses the same sensor as found in the Sony A7R. But it would be an error to think that “same sensor” means the same quality grade and defect rate (might be better or might not) and/or to assume that the supporting electronics and algorithms don’t play a substantial role.

Continues below...

Nikon D810
Nikon D810

Excerpts from the press release

With diglloyd commentary.

The Nikon D810 is the pinnacle of D-SLR image quality, continuing to rival medium format cameras thanks to a variety of Nikon technologies engineered for professional image capture.

At the core of the D810 is a brand-new, 36.3-megapixel FX-format (7360 x 4912 resolution) CMOS sensor that lets photographers wield the benefits of extremely high resolution, with rich tonality and a broad dynamic range.

This super-high resolution gives professionals the power to capture with stellar sharpness, make massive prints or crop liberally with confidence. The OLPF has been removed to maximize the potential of every pixel, resulting in outstanding resolution and sharpness, yielding images that render subtle details with striking fidelity.

Sounds exciting (the sensor), but since “amazing imaging capabilities of NIKKOR optics” is also stated, we will have to wait and see if the sensor measure up to the hyperbole. It seems likely that it ought to meet or exceed the Sony A7R sensor quality, but with a real 14 bits, and that would indeed mean the best sensor on the market.

Image quality further benefits from the application of Nikon’s exclusive EXPEED 4 image processing engine, which also provides enhancements to overall performance while suppressing instances of false color and moiré. Photographing in the field or in the studio, users will see the difference with the ability to create stunning images with unprecedented clarity in gradation rendering, expanded dynamic range and high accuracy white balance.

Additionally, EXPEED 4 enhances noise reduction performance, and helps to achieve a wider ISO range, from 64 to 12,800, to improve low-noise image capture in a variety of lighting conditions. The ISO range is also expandable from 32 (Lo-1) to 51,200 (Hi-2) letting the photographer shoot with maximum fidelity under studio lighting or confidently capture a faintly-lit wedding reception or other subjects in even the most challenging light.

For me at least, a super high quality ISO 64 is most appealing.

With the ability to brandish the results of such staggering resolution, accuracy and precision become paramount as the need for razor-sharp focus is critical.

The D810 renders every subtle detail and nuance in epic clarity, with the enhanced Multi-Cam 3500-FX AF sensor module that utilizes new AF algorithms for fascinating precision, even in challenging light. The focus system also has 15 cross-type AF sensors for enhanced accuracy, and works with the Advanced Scene Recognition System to provide accurate face detection even through the optical viewfinder.

The camera also utilizes 11 cross-type sensors that are fully functional when using compatible NIKKOR lenses and teleconverters (aperture value up to f/8), which is especially useful for wildlife photography. In addition to normal, wide area, face tracking and subject tracking modes, the D810 also features the new Group AF mode for enhanced accuracy, even while tracking subjects.

The hyperbole is wearing thin here (“brandish the results of such staggering”). And I’ll be checking on that “fascinating precision” thing, since precision (in the scientific meaning of the word) has been a serious problem with all Nikon DSLRs to date. All NIKKOR ƒ/1.4 lenses suffer from disappointing to modest contrast wide open), so they come to mind as tough challenges for a focusing system (or the human eye). Lenses like the Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM seem much more promising.

Despite the D810’s immense imaging power, it will astound with its rapid response and speedy performance, thanks to the implementation of the EXPEED 4 image processing engine.

The addition of EXPEED 4 allows for an overall 30% boost in performance, as well as a faster burst speed and enhancement to overall energy efficiency. Now the D810 is capable of shooting at 5 frames-per-second (fps) at full resolution and 5:4, 6 fps in DX or 1.2x modes, (15.4-megapixel, 25.1-megapixel, respectively), and 7 fps in DX mode (15.4-megapixel), with battery pack. For full workflow versatility, the D810 also gives users the option to shoot in full resolution 14-bit RAW/NEF file format or the new RAW Size Small format. This 12-bit file format is half the resolution and approximately 1/4 the file size of full RAW files, for increased flexibility when speedy downloads are desired or memory space is at a premium.

Extends versatility. It is smart to to build on DSLR strengths.

From all day in the studio to an extended assignment in the field, the D810 has been engineered for superior comfort and operability. When looking through the wide and bright viewfinder with 100% coverage, users will see shooting data displayed on an organic EL display element for maximum visibility. The viewfinder now also features a prism coating for enhanced clarity. In addition, the grip has been refined for comfort and ergonomics, and the “i” button has been added for quick access to common mode-dependent settings.

Little things can add up to comfort and enjoyment. But an EVF option is missing.

Both photographers and videographers will clearly see the benefits of the new high-resolution (1229K-dot) 3.2-inch LCD screen, which makes it simple to check focus, review images or compose a scene.

The color space of the LCD screen can now also be fully customized, a feature that is useful for matching monitor or print calibration settings.

Using the high-resolution LCD screen, users can also activate the new Split Screen Display Zoom function. This new mode magnifies two separated points on the same horizontal line, making it easier to confirm the two points are both level and in focus; a true advantage for architecture, industrial and landscape photographers.

Excellent, but is it still a mangled Live View or not, Nikon?

Inside the durable magnesium alloy structure of the D810 improvements have also been made, including the use of a redesigned mirror sequencer / balancer unit, which minimizes vibration during shooting to increase sharpness during multiple frame bursts.

Additionally, the electronic front curtain can now act as an electronic front shutter when using live view or first composing through the optical viewfinder in mirror-up mode. This new feature is useful to attain exacting sharpness when shooting slow-shutter landscapes or astrophotography.

The shutter unit has also been tested to 200,000 cycles for years of maximum reliability. For further durability, the body of the D810 has been thoroughly sealed and gasketed to resist the elements, reinforcing this camera’s role in extreme production environments.

Deference to the serious practical challengs of extracting 36 megapixels of real resolution undamaged by small vibration deserves kudos. Sony A7R anyone? I’m looking forward to a serious workhorse camera with no undermining of my own efforts.

Capture NX-D is Nikon’s new software for processing and adjusting RAW images captured with Nikon digital cameras. Capture NX-D is a free software application that will replace the current Capture NX 2 program, and adds interface and performance enhancements.

In addition to RAW images, the program can also be used to adjust JPEG and TIFF files. This new software will support many functions needed by professional photographers, including batch image processing, filtering and an enhanced user interface with a variety of displays and floating palettes that are ideal for multiple monitors. Additionally, photographers will also have the ability to adjust parameters including exposure and white balance in RAW files, and can adjust tone curves, brightness and contrast, as well as functions for correcting lateral color aberration and vignetting in JPEG and TIFF files. The software also features a new “sidecar” format, which retains and saves the adjusted image as a separate file.

I’ll settle for a useable user interface. The ability to adjust JPEG and TIF files speaks to a lack of focus, but maybe that’s OK. Nikon color has always been excellent, and the sharpening has always been awful in Nikon raw converters. TBD.

The Nikon D810 will be available in late July for the suggested retail price (SRP) of $3299.95.* The MB-D12 battery pack is currently available for $616.00 SRP. The new Capture NX-D software package will be available mid-July for download at no additional cost. For more information about these products, NIKKOR lenses or to download the new Capture NX-D software, please visit www.nikonusa.com.

Holding the line on price (relative to the original D800E pricing) is a good thing.

Additionally, Nikon will be offering two kits designed for videographers and filmmakers; the D810 Filmmaker’s Kit consists of the D810 body, AF-S NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G, AF-S NIKKOR 50mmm f/1.8G, AF-S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.8G lenses, 2 additional EN-EL15 batteries, ME-1 Stereo Microphone, Atomos Ninja-2 External Recorder, and Tiffen® 67mm and 58mm Variable Neutral Density Filters (8-Stops). For stop motion applications, the D810 Animator’s Kit features the D810 body, AF-S Micro-NIKKOR 105mm f/2.8G ED VR lens, EH-5b Power Adapter, EP5B Power Supply Connector and Dragonframe™ Stop Motion Software plus Dragonframe USB Keypad Controller. For more information and pricing for these kit configurations, please visit www.nikonusa.com.

Well, 1080p (no 4K video) and autofocus lenses are hard to take seriously for video work, but the 50/60 fsp feature is of value. 4K video is stunning and makes far superior 1080p output, so get a Panasonic GH4 and be happy.

Leica 50mm f/2 APO-Summicron-M ASPH to Rise in Price by $900?

Pricing on Leica M lenses.

Leica 50mm f/2 APO-Summicron-M ASPH
Leica 50mm f/2 APO-Summicron-M ASPH

The Leica 50mm f/2 APO-Summicron-M ASPH is apparently set to rise in price by a whopping $900 on July 1st.

Leica pricing is a rarefied world which seems to be increasingly driven by collectors (works of art of a sort), but as Leica’s best M lens, Leica M fans who wish to make images with a 50mm might one to order one at the old price before it goes up.

On the other hand, the Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 APO-Distagon is half the price, at least as good, a stop faster (no mean feat), and definitely better in some respects.

But given its diminutive size and ƒ/2 speed, the 50/2 APO is quite an optical achievement.

Were I to own just two Leica-brand M lenses, the 50/2 APO would be first choice, then the Leica 24mm f/3.8 Elmar-M ASPH. A nice pairing given the focal length difference, and extremely compact. Still, Leica’s M Typ 240 seems badly in need of forward progress (sensor resolution and EVF and speed of operation and reliability).

On the Way for testing: 16-35mm f/4L IS

Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM is at B&H Photo.

Canon 16-35mm f/4L IS (June 2014)
Canon 16-35mm f/4L IS (June 2014)

On the way for testing.

Since the 35mm end is often weak, testing it against the Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM seems like a useful perspective.

 

 

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Nikon D810 Leaked Specs: Improved Sensor, EFC Shutter

Leaked specs from the internet (assuming true COULD BE WRONG).

  • All-new sensor with no anti-aliasing filter and Expeed 4 image processing engine. A lot can be done with sensor design and not just noise: sharpness could improve too. The sensor in the D800/D800E is at least two if not three years old; a newfangled Sony sensor could be hot.
  • Higher resolution 1229K dot rear LCD. Presumably the ugly mangled Live View is fixed, but that is to be seen. Where is the Apple-style Retina display though?
  • ISO from 32 to 51200 (ISO 32 particularly interesting... I’ve long lusted after ultra high quality low ISO, but it seems to be the the usual Nikon “Lo” mode non-ISO one nominal stop below a true base ISO of 64).
  • Electronic first curtain shutter for ZERO VIBRATION exposure mode in Live View (Canon already has this in the 5D Mark III). Maybe Sony can take a lesson here. A zero vibration shutter is a big deal for super teles and high magnification macro work.
  • Still no 4K video., but 50/60p video.
  • Quieter stronger shutter with kevlar good for 200K cycles.
  • (glaring omission) Apparently no EVF or even EVF option. Quaint.
  • Same focusing system as Nikon D4S: multi-cam 51- point. Configurable in 9/21/51-point coverage settings. AF points clustered towards the centre of the frame; so DX offers nearly 100% coverage.
  • Faster frame rates.

A nice upgrade, but disappointing for the lack of an EVF, my #1 wish.

Still, practical featurs hold promise: a sensor delivering 14-bit images that is as good or perhaps better than the Sony A7R sensor (see limitations) will be welcome, as will the vibration-free EFC shutter and (hopefully) improved Live View.

How good will the Nikon D810 rear LCD be, and will the mangled Live View of D800/D800E be fixed?  Nikon D800/D800E camera rear
How good will the Nikon D810 rear LCD be, and will the mangled Live View of D800/D800E be fixed?
Nikon D800/D800E camera rear

Big Storage for Video or Photography: OWC Ships Thunderbolt 2 Thunderbay

See discussion of the Thunderbolt v2 OWC Thunderbay IV over at MacPerformanceGuide.com.

There is also a RAID-5 version ideal for storing large amounts of video footage. One can also partition the RAID-5 version for photography purposes.


This is my unit of choice for my own storage; I have three Thunderbay units.

OWC Thunderbay 4-drive solution, Thunderbolt v2
OWC Thunderbay 4-drive solution, Thunderbolt v2

Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM A: Dual-Focus Aperture Series: Tuolumne River Cascade (Canon 5D Mark III)

Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM A
Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM A

Get Sigma 50/1.4 DG HSM at B&H Photo: Nikon, Canon, Sony A-mount, Sigma SA-mount

This scene includes a dual-focus aperture series from ƒ/1.4 through ƒ/16 with include HD and UltraHD images for all, an UltraHD crop and other generously sized crops.

It is also instructive in how the choice of focus affects sharpness, aberrations (point spread function), color aberrations, visual impact—near and far.

Nikon or Canon or any brand, this dual-focus study is worth viewing.

Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM A: Aperture Series: Tuolumne River Cascade (Canon 5D Mark III)

Nikon and Canon surely have some homework to do on their normal lenses, which can at best be said to be mediocre in the context of the Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM A.

     Tuolumne River Cascade Canon 5D Mark III + Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM @ ƒ/1.4
Tuolumne River Cascade
Canon 5D Mark III + Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM @ ƒ/1.4

Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM A: Aperture Series 'Wyman Canyon Cabin' (5D Mark III)

Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM A
Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM A

Get Sigma 50/1.4 DG HSM at B&H Photo: Nikon, Canon, Sony A-mount, Sigma SA-mount

The Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM A is a pleasure to work with in the field.

This aperture series from ƒ/1.4 through ƒ/16 offers a wide range of subject matter with very fine detail and near/far arrangement.

Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM A: Aperture Series Wyman Canyon Cabin' (5D Mark III)

Includes the usual HD and UltraHD images and large crops.

This series also includes ƒ/9 and ƒ/13 crops, as these show diffraction effects; high grade lenses “suffer” from this more, while mediocre ones just aren’t good enough to make it worth noting.

     Wyman Canyon Cabin  Canon 5D Mark III + Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM @ ƒ/2.8
Wyman Canyon Cabin
Canon 5D Mark III + Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM @ ƒ/2.8

Tilt / Shift Lens Coverage Overhauled, Updated

Subscribers to DAP might note that coverage of tilt/shift lenses has been reorganized and updated.

Nikon 85mm f/2.8 PC-E Micro Nikkor
Nikon 85mm f/2.8 PC-E Micro Nikkor

Sigma dp2 Quattro Arrives Soon for Testing

The Sigma dp2 Quattro should arrive in my hands by early next week. See preliminary coverage of Sigma dp2 Quattro in Guide to Mirrorless as well as the extensive coverage of the existing Sigma DP Merrill lineup.

This is an exciting camera to me; its sensor holds promise for eclipsing the detail possible with even 22 megapixel DSLRs. Might it emphatically surpass DSLRs like the Canon 5D Mark III?

It might even approach the Nikon D800E in real detail. I expect improved image quality and longer battery life over the DP Merrill series.

Search for past blog coverage of the Sigma DP Merrill line.

Sigma dp2 Quattro
Sigma dp2 Quattro

Email Notifications for Site Content

An email notification service is in place for subscribers. It is opt-in, meaning that unless you ask to be put onto the list, you will not get email notifications of site updates.

Details...

Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM A: Aperture Series 'Backlit Bristlecones' (5D Mark III)

Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM A
Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM A

Get Sigma 50/1.4 DG HSM at B&H Photo: Nikon, Canon, Sony A-mount, Sigma SA-mount

Out in the field, how does the Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM A perform?

This aperture series from ƒ/1.4 through ƒ/16 investigates a variety of behaviors with the Sigma 50/1.4A.

Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM A: Aperture Series 'Backlit Bristlecones' (5D Mark III)

Includes the usual HD and UltraHD images and large crops.

     Backlit Bristlecone Relics Canon 5D Mark III + Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM @ ƒ/2
Backlit Bristlecone Relics
Canon 5D Mark III + Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM @ ƒ/2

Nikon 85mm f/2.8D PC-E Micro Nikkor Aperture Series: Wyman Canyon Cabin (Nikon D800E)

Nikon 85mm f/2.8D PC-E Micro Nikkor
Nikon 85mm f/2.8D PC-E Micro Nikkor

Get Nikon PC-E Tilt-Shift lens at B&H Photo.

Now added to the Tilt / Shift section in DAP is an aperture series with the Nikon 85mm f/2.8D PC-E Micro Nikkor.

Wyman Cabin Cabin (PC-E 85/2.8D Micro-Nikkor, D800E)

Includes the usual HD and UltraHD images and large crops.

 

Wyman Canyon Cabin Nikon D800E + Nikon 85mm f/2.8D PC-E Micro Nikkor
Wyman Canyon Cabin
Nikon D800E + Nikon 85mm f/2.8D PC-E Micro Nikkor

Leica 50mm f/2 APO-Summicron-M ASPH: Evaluating Flare with Late 2013 Production Sample

Leica 50mm ƒ/2 APOpSummicron-M ASPH    
Leica 50mm ƒ/2 APO-Summicron-M ASPH

Get Leica M lenses at B&H Photo.

In 2013 from April through August, I reported extensively on flare with the Leica 50mm f/2 APO Summicron-M last year, using two samples from the initial production runs, both of which had troublesome flare issues unworthy of a super premium lens.

In late summer 2013, Leica acknowledged the issues and took steps to address the flare issue.

Returning my lens in early September 2013, I received a replacement in late November 2013.

Now I evaluate the improved and updated lens:

50/2 APO ASPH Flare (Nov 2013 Sample)

There is more evaluation to do, but the revised lens certainly seems improved over the original.

Flare control shaded and unshaded with Leica 50mm f/2 APO-Summicron-M ASPH (Nov 2013 version)
Flare control shaded and unshaded with Leica 50mm f/2 APO-Summicron-M ASPH (Nov 2013 version)

Shootout: Leica 50/2 APO vs 50/1.4 Summilux vs 50/0.95 Noctilux

Get Leica M, Zeiss ZM, Voigtlander M lenses at B&H Photo.

This 3-way shootout shows the behavior of the three top Leica M 50mm lenses. It is a particularly fine comparison, perhaps the best one I’ve yet achieved in showing the relative performance.

Wyman Canyon Cabin (Leica M240)

Includes the usual HD and UltraHD images and large crops from wide open through ƒ/16.

Wyman Canyon Cabin Leica M Typ 240 + Leica 50mm f/2 APO-Summicron-M ASPH
Wyman Canyon Cabin
Leica M Typ 240 + Leica 50mm f/2 APO-Summicron-M ASPH
Leica 50mm ƒ/1.4 Summilux-M ASPH Leica 50mm ƒ/1.4 Summilux-M ASPH Leica 50mm ƒ/2 APOpSummicron-M ASPH    
ƒ/0.95 Noctilux-M ASPH
ƒ/1.4 Summilux-M ASPH
ƒ/2 APO-Summicron-M ASPH
(not to scale)

Canon TS-E 17mm f/4L Aperture Series: Wyman Canyon Lower Cabin (5D Mark III)

Canon TS-E 17mm f/4L
Canon TS-E 17mm f/4L

Get Canon TS-E Tilt-Shift lens at B&H Photo.

The Canon TS-E 17mm f/4L is huge fun to shoot outside or inside. Ditto for the Canon 8-15mm f/4 zoom.

This interior with the Canon TS-E 17mm f/4L is instructional in multiple ways, including distortion, a discussion of peak aperture and aperture tradeoffs, depth of field, and expectations for lens performance in context of its angle of view and purpose. It is as much instructional for 17/4L users as it is a lens assessment.

Wyman Cabin Interior (TS-E 17mm f/4L, Canon 5D Mark III)

Includes the usual HD and UltraHD images and large crops.

Wyman Canyon Cabin Interior Canon 5D Mark III + Canon TS-E 17mm f/4L
Wyman Canyon Cabin Interior
Canon 5D Mark III + Canon TS-E 17mm f/4L

Canon TS-E 45mm f/2.8 Aperture Series: Wyman Canyon Lower Cabin (5D Mark III)

Canon TS-E 45mm f/2.8
Canon TS-E 45mm f/2.8

Get Canon TS-E Tilt-Shift lens at B&H Photo.

Added to the similar shot with the Canon TS-E 90mm f/2.8 is a new aperture series with the Canon TS-E 45mm f/2.8. The similar scene lends some shared context for the two lenses.

Wyman Cabin Lower Cabin (TS-E 45mm f/2.8, Canon 5D Mark III)

This series shows two serious concerns with the TS-E 45/2.8, one of which is correctable and the other more problematic, indeed unacceptable.

Includes the usual HD and UltraHD images and large crops.

Wyman Canyon Cabin Canon 5D Mark III + Canon TS-E 45mm f/2.8
Wyman Canyon Cabin
Canon 5D Mark III + Canon TS-E 45mm f/2.8

Canon TS-E 90mm f/2.8 Aperture Series: Wyman Canyon Lower Cabin (5D Mark III)

Canon TS-E 90mm f/2.8
Canon TS-E 90mm f/2.8

Get Canon TS-E Tilt-Shift lens at B&H Photo.

Revised and reorganized, the Tilt Shift section in DAP sees a new aperture series with the Canon TS-E 90mm f/2.8.

Wyman Cabin Lower Cabin (TS-E 90mm f/2.8, Canon 5D Mark III)

Includes the usual HD and UltraHD images and large crops.

Also updated are some Canon TS-E 17mm f/4L images as well as general commentary on which Canon TS-E lens to choose.

During my trip, I shot all four Canon tilt/shift lenses, and each will see some attention. The Canon TS-E lenses not only work natively on Canon bodies, they work well on mirrorless cameras like the Sony A6000, using the Metabones SpeedBooster.

Wyman Canyon Cabin Canon 5D Mark III + Canon TS-E 90mm f/2.8
Wyman Canyon Cabin
Canon 5D Mark III + Canon TS-E 90mm f/2.8

Back from Mountains Trip

Just back from my mountains trip, I shot material with all four Canon tilt/shift lenses, the Nikon 85/2.8 PC-E tilt/shift, the Zeiss Otus 55/1.4 APO-Distagon (Canon), the Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM A, and various Leica M and Zeiss ZM lenses. And more.

Lots to cover, and can’t all happen immediately, but I did get some good material.

Passing Cloud Moderates Harsh Mid-day Sun on Twisted Bristlecone Canon 5D Mark III + Zeiss ZE 55mm f/1.4 APO-Distagon
Passing Cloud Moderates Harsh Mid-day Sun on Twisted Bristlecone
Canon 5D Mark III + Zeiss ZE 55mm f/1.4 APO-Distagon

Metabones SpeedBooster: 9.8mm f/2 Ultra Wide on Sony A6000

Looking for a 9.8mm f/2? Or maybe a 11.9mm f/2.8 or 16.8mm f/2.5?

The Metabones SpeedBooster reduces focal length from full frame to APS-C, and increases f-stop by one stop (a natural result by definition of f-stop). So a 14mm lens (full frame) becomes 9.8mm on APS-C with the same field of view on both. Format equivalence.

The Canon 14/2.8L II, 17/4L TS-E, 24/3.5L II are the lenses that produce the stated focal lengths above, using the SpeedBooster.

I’ll be reporting on various Canon lenses as used with the Metabones SpeedBooster on the Sony A6000 later this month. See existing Metabones SpeedBooster coverage.

Ancient Bristlecone Pines Sony A6000 + Metabones SpeedBooster + Canon 14mm f/2.8L II
Ancient Bristlecone Pines
Sony A6000 + Metabones SpeedBooster + Canon 14mm f/2.8L II
Ancient Bristlecone Downed Tree Sony A6000 + Metabones SpeedBooster + Canon 17mm f/4L
Ancient Bristlecone Downed Tree
Sony A6000 + Metabones SpeedBooster + Canon 17mm f/4L
Ancient Bristlecone Pine Sony A6000 + Metabones SpeedBooster + Canon 17mm f/4L
Ancient Bristlecone Pine
Sony A6000 + Metabones SpeedBooster + Canon 17mm f/4L

Up in the Mountains

Up in the mountains shooting various gear.

Sigma 35mm ƒ/1.0 for Sony A6000 (via Metabones SpeedBooster)

The Metabones SpeedBooster reduces focal length by √2 and increases lens speed by the same. So a 50mm f/1.4 becomes a 35mm ƒ/1.0. Keeping in mind that those numbers are the same thing in format-equivalent terms.

Naturally the unusual strong performance of the Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM made me wonder what an ƒ/1.0 could look like on the Sony A6000, an idea that seemed worth at least some play. Perhaps even on a curved wine bottle. The result* is really quite incredible. No haze or nasties are seen; the image focusing at 11.7X looks crisp and contrasty (dark edges are the lighting).

This crop sections measures 80mm in width while curving around the bottle, thus presenting quite a challenge to a lens to do more than just blur most of it. As shown, it is actual pixels from the Sony A6000 at ƒ/1.0. Detail and micro contrast are far beyond what I would expect at the format-equivalent ƒ/1.4 aperture from the Leica Noctilux or Summilux. For about 1/8 to 1/15 the cost. The world changes.

* Shot handheld at 1/125. All that extra mass of the Sigma 50/1.4 is a big plus when shooting handheld. One wonders why not just design a lens of the same size for APS-C with essentially the SpeedBooster built-in, rather than trying to make the lens smaller? This goofy idea that image quality should be sacrificed to keep lens size down needs to be extirpated by some vendor.

  Actual Pixels Sony A6000 + Metabones SpeedBooster + Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM A
Actual Pixels
Sony A6000 + Metabones SpeedBooster + Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM A

Heading to Yosemite and White Mountains: Open Slots for Photo Tours, and Gear List

I’m heading out tomorrow for my first mountains shoot of the year.

There is an open photo tour slot on June 18/19 and possibly 20/21/22 and later as well—ask. Come shoot Zeiss Otus and Zeiss APO lenses in the field, learn tilt/shift, rangefinder lenses, Sony mirrorless, Bighorn Sheep, even computer setup—whatever you like—my tours are to Serve my clients however they prefer. Contact me.

I’ll have along these Zeiss lenses for client use:

  • In both Nikon and Canon mount: Zeiss Otus 55/1.4 APO and Zeiss 135m f/2 APO-Sonnar. Zeiss 25/2.8 in Nikon mount.

I’ll be testing this gear in particular:

  After the Storm Canon EOS-1D Mark III + Zeiss ZF 25mm f/2.8 Distagon
After the Storm
Canon EOS-1D Mark III + Zeiss ZF 25mm f/2.8 Distagon

Shootout: Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM 'Art' vs Canon 50/1.2L and 50/1.4 (5D Mark III, Dolls)

Get Sigma 50/1.4 DG HSM at B&H Photo: Nikon, Canon, Sony A-mount, Sigma SA-mount

I wanted to get a quick sense of the new Sigma 50/1.4 DG HSM Art, as my mountains trip is coming very soon. Thus a controlled scene shortly after the UPS truck delivered it.

The new Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM A is a breakthrough in image quality. But many lenses often show their limits at closer range, so how does it hold up against the Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L and Canon EF 50mm f/1.4? In DAP:

Sigma 50/1.4 vs Canon 50/1.2L and 50/1.4 (5D Mark III, Dolls)

Includes HD and UltraHD/4K entire-frame images, as well as an UltraHD/4K central crop series (particularly nice for those with a 4K display). Also various other large crops, all across the full aperture series from wide open to ƒ/16.

This comparison is illuminating, capturing many useful points in one fell swoop. It should be interesting not only as a comparison, but also of practical use in understanding just what to expect from the Sigma 50/1.4 DG HSM A.

There can be no doubt that the Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM A is the finest 'normal' autofocus lens on the market today. Existing Canon or Nikon normal lenses in the 40mm to 60mm range simply cannot compete with the Sigma 50/1.4 DG HSM A. The Zeiss Otus 55/1.4 APO-Distagon merits distinction beyond the Sigma in several ways, but the Otus is manual focus, so case closed for shooters who need autofocus.

Click for a larger image.

     Dolls Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM @ ƒ/1.4
Dolls
Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM @ ƒ/1.4

Zeiss ZF.2 / ZE Distortion: 15/2.8, 18/3.5, 21/2.8 Distagons

Examples and discussion of distortion with the Zeiss 21mm f/2.8 Distagon have been updated. See 21/2.8 Distortion and Distortion vs Nikon 14-24/2.8G.

Similarly, see the 18/3.5 Distortion and Distortion vs Nikon 14-24/2.8G.

And 15/32.8 Distortion and 25/2.8 Distagon.

The above distortion pages above now have corrected + uncorrected toggles in HD and Ultra HD.

Nikon and Canon Lens Rebates

Nikon lens rebates are in effect. My pick of the latest as the best value/performance would be the Nikon AF-S 85mm f/1.8G($100 off).

Canon has various lens rebates also, such as on the Canon TS-E Tilt-Shift, and others.

Guide to Zeiss: Interests?

See the reverse-chronological index page for recent changes.

Tell me what you’d like to see in Guide to Zeiss (subscribers please login first).

Please see the reverse-chronological index. It seems that some subscribers are unaware of recent coverage, particularly for Sony A7/A7R.

Sigma DP3 Merrill  
Guide to Zeiss

Voigtlander 21mm f/1.8 Ultron for Leica M?

Get Voigtlander 21mm f/1.8 Ultron at B&H Photo.

Any subscriber interest out there in the Voigtlander 21mm f/1.8 for Leica M? (or for mirrorless, with adapter). Let me know.

See the existing review of the Voigtlander 50mm f/1.1 Ultron and review of the Voigtlander Nokton 35mm f/1.2 II ASPH.

Update: interest is significant here, the lens is on the way.

Voigtlander 21mm f/1.8 Ultron M-Mount Lens
Voigtlander 21mm f/1.8 Ultron M-Mount Lens

Canon Tilt/Shift Lenses: Review?

Get Canon TS-E Tilt-Shift at B&H Photo.

Let me know. Tilt/shift workshops also later in June and this summer.

Any subscriber interest out there in the Canon tilt/shift lenses?

It has been some years since I last did my review of the Canon TS-E 17mm f/4L and review of the Canon TS-E 24mm f/3.5L II. I might cover them in some more detail on my upcoming mountains trip and/or add to the coverage with the 90mm and perhaps the 45mm.

But these tend to be specialty-use optics, and since reader interest seemed light on the tilt and depth of field piece I did, I’m wavering on whether to cover them.

Update: interest is significant here, the 17mm, 45mm and 90mm are on the way courtesy of B&H Photo, the 24mm was out of stock.

Canon TS-E 17mm f/4L Tilt-Shift Lens     Canon 24mm f/3.5L II Tilt-Shift Lens
Canon TS-E 17mm f/4L and 24mm f/3.5L II Tilt-Shift Lens
Canon TS-E 45mm f/2.8   Canon TS-E 90mm f/2.8  
Canon TS-E 45mm f/2.8 and Canon TS-E 90mm f/2.8

Sony A6000: Outsize Value with Instant Savings — and is the A6000 an Enabling Platform for Zeiss ZM Lenses?

Get Sony A6000 at B&H Photo.

The Sony A6000 (see diglloyd review of the Sony A6000) is hardly a month old, but there is already $50 instant savings bringing the camera down to about $598, and more if lenses are added to the order.

That pricing is a reflection on the camera market not the A6000, because its 24-megapixel sensor is sensational, and the camera with its built-in EVF is a steal, costing hardly more than the astounding $499 that Leica charges for an EVF alone for the M240, yet combined with the Zeiss 35mm f/2 Biogon, it rivals a $15K Leica system in my testing. Even better in some ways. And that is not hyperbole in the slightest. Just the facts. You can print out a red dot and tape it over “SONY” if feelings of inadequacy set in. I might have to do that myself.

So pick up a Sony A6000 with Zeiss 35mm f/2 Biogon and Novoflex Adapter for Leica M Lens to Sony NEX Camera, and you’ve got a pretty amazing little system. I’m actively pondering the investigation of how the Zeiss ZM 18/4, 21/2.8, 25/2.8, 28/2.8 lenses fare on the A6000, which would also make an interesting comparison to the new Leica T, which has a 16-megapixel APS-C sensor.

My guess is that the Sony A6000 at 1/5 the price will easily surpass the Leica T on image quality at longer focal lengths, and downsampling 24 megapixels to 16 can mitigate ray angle issues. Still, ray angle issues might or might not be acceptable on APS-C for 28mm or wider lenses, so better to pick up the outstanding Zeiss Touit lenses for an amazing Deal. The Touit 12mm f/2.8 is an outstanding wide angle designed for digital sensor, and the Touit 32mm f/1.8 has far better bokeh than the full-frame Sony 35mm f/2.8 Sonnar.

Sony A6000
Sony A6000
(skip the zoom lens )

Various Updates in Guide to Zeiss

Various pages tweaked in Guide to Zeiss: charts, discussion, mouse-overs for bokeh, etc.

See the reverse-chronological index page.

 

Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM: Discussing Optical and Autofocus Expectations, LOCA

Get Sigma 50/1.4 DG HSM at B&H Photo: Nikon, Canon, Sony A-mount, Sigma SA-mount

I discuss implications and expectations of the optical design for contrast and focusing with the Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM A in my review:

     
     Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM A optical construction
Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM A optical construction

Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM 'Art' On the Way for Testing

     
     Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM
Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM

Sigma 50/1.4 DG HSM A for Nikon
Sigma 50/1.4 DG HSM A for Canon
Sigma 50/1.4 DG HSM A for Sony A-mount
Sigma 50/1.4 DG HSM A for Sigma SA-mount

The new Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM A is on the way for testing. I’ll be testing it on my upcoming mountain trip, with reporting to follow later in June in DAP.

Initially I have the Canon mount version to be tested on the Canon 5D Mark III, with the Nikon version to follow. I suspect that the Canon 50/1.4 and 50/1.2L will be hard pressed to keep up with the Sigma 50/1.4A.

Sigma has taken an aggressive strategy of making some very high quality lenses lately, the color correction being particularly impressive (especially longitudinal chromatic aberration aka violet/purple fringing).

The 35/1.4 DG HSM A set the pace (excellent lens) and now the 50/1.4 DG HSM Aarrives. The Sigma Super Tele Varifocal 120-300mm f/2.8 DG OS HSM S also offers a very high level of color correction. Could a 24mm and 85mm be far behind?

Specifications

Specifications for Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art series
Focal length: 50mm (nominal)
Aperture scale: f/1.4 - f/16, rounded diaphragm blades
Focusing range: 40cm / 15.7in
Angular field: 46.8°
Image ratio at close range:            1:5.6
Number of elements/groups: 13 elements in 8 groups
Filter thread: 77mm
Weight (nominal): 815g /28.7 oz
Dimensions: 85.4mm x 99.9mm / 3.4in. x 3.9in
List price: about $949

Bruce Z writes:

Bruce shoots ballet and similar.

... anyway, my main point is that your reviews and in depth discussions (e.g. The Merrill series of cameras, etc. ... You do not just review and test, and then leave them to yesterday’s news, you are on-going with your updates and comparisons. Making for REALLY informative timelines of details.) I was able to come-up with the notion of asking for the Sigma 120-300 F2.8 because of the exposure you have given this line of Sigma lenses ...among other things as well.)

Just keep doing what you are doing, because nobody else is hitting it like you are!. Thanks, and Thank you to Sigma, a really fine company. Could you imagine a Foveon sensor capable of high ISO performance! That would be the end of the story for every Bayer sensor camera in this odd-ball market of digital imaging!

DIGLLOYD: there may yet be some surprises in the camera market, or so I hope. And I love doing what I do, so long as readers continue to support me in that effort.

All the Sigma DP Merrills are now $699

Get Sigma DP Merill or Ricoh GR at B&H Photo.

All the Sigma DP Merrills are now $699 with 4% reward and free expedited shipping, making the effective price $671. The Ricoh GR (another favorite) is also $699.

See Reader Comment: Travel Cameras (Sigma DP Merrill, etc) and Reader Comment: 14.75MP True-Color Sigma DP Merrill vs 36MP Sony A7R.

Sigma DP3 Merrill  
Sigma DP3 Merrill

Shootout: Sigma 35/1.4 DG HSM A vs Nikon 35/1.4G (D800E, Summit Building)

Get Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM lens at B&H Photo.

Head to head comparison with Nikon’s flagship 35mm f/1.4G:

Shootout: Sigma 35/1.4 DG HSM A vs Nikon 35/1.4G (Summit Building)

Also added is a distortion page for the Sigma 35/1.4 DG HSM A.

With the usual HD and UltraHD images and large crops.

Summit Building Nikon D800E + Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM @ ƒ1.4  
Summit Building
Nikon D800E + Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM @ ƒ1.4
Sigma 35/1.4 DG HSM for Canon      Nikon AF-S 35mm f/1.4G
Sigma 35/1.4 DG HSM A1, Nikon AF-S 35mm f/1.4G

4-Way Shootout + Matched Comparison: Nikon 58/1.4G, 50/1.4G, 50/1.8G, 50/1.2 AIS (D800E, Beaver Dam Dawn)

Get Nikon 50mm and Nikon 58mm at B&H Photo.

Which is the “best” Nikon normal lens? A 4-way comparison in DAP:

Shootout: 58/1.4G vs 50/1.4G, 50/1.8G, 50/1.2 AIS (D800E, Beaver Dam)

Also done matching the 58/1.4G to the 50/1.4G for the same geometric perspective to compare bokeh and so on:

Matched Comparison: 58/1.4G vs 50/1.4G (D800E, Beaver Dam)

With the usual HD and UltraHD images and large crops. See also the previous DeChambeau Sidelit Barn comparison.

Lundy Canyon Beaver Dam Nikon D800E + Nikon 50mm f/1.8G @ ƒ/5.6  
Lundy Canyon Beaver Dam
Nikon D800E + Nikon 50mm f/1.8G @ ƒ/5.6
Nikon AF-S Nikkor 58mm f/1.4G and Nikon NOCT-Nikkor 58mm f/1.2 AIS   diglloyd image   diglloyd image
58/1.4G, 50/1.2 AIS, 50/1.4G, 50/1.8G

SanDisk Extreme Pro SDXC UHS-II Card: Does Not Perform (45 ≠ 280)

SanDisk Extreme Pro SDXC 64GB UHS-II
SanDisk Extreme Pro SDXC
64GB UHS-II

SanDisk claims up to 280MB/sec read speed for the SanDisk 64GB Extreme PRO SDXC UHS-II card. That speed sounded appealing as a primary card for testing new cameras, fast downloads, etc.

But surprisingly, the card runs at half the speed of my SanDisk ExtremePro 95 MB/sec cards, e.g this 64GB SanDisk card (highly recommended).

Those older and much cheaper cards download at ~90 MB/sec in a fast USB3 card reader whereas the “faster” card maxes-out at 45MB/sec!

I tried two fast USB3 card readers as well as the built-in slot on the late 2013 MacBook Pro Retina. I also tested the entire card capacity for reads and writes and reliability. While reliable, the card would not go faster than ~45MB/sec for reads or writes. Whereas the “slower” 95 MB/sec cards always hit 90+ MB/sec.

Perhaps the card performs in some special way in some specific UHS II device but as I would use it, my download speeds are half as fast as the older cheaper cards I already have. A reader reports similarly disappointing results with the SanDisk UHS-II card, even with the SanDisk Extreme Pro SDHC/SDXC UHS-II Card Reader/Writer (which has its own issues).

Card standards have changed over time, and “faster” has meant “slower or incompatible” in the past. In this case, it just means slower in all my usage scenarios. Claims and specifications are one thing, actual results are another, so unless a camera and card reader actually benefit, there is no point to paying more than twice the price for half the performance.

Some readers report faster operation in the Fujifim X-T1, but none have as yet confirmed any comparison with the 95MB/sec SanDisk card. Many cameras are limited by things other than card speed. As the 95MB/sec cards provide all the camera performance I need, my main interest is download speed.

Specifications

As per SanDisk.

  • 64GB Storage Capacity
  • UHS Class 3
  • Optimized for UHS-II Devices
  • Max. Read Speed: 280 MB/s
  • Max. Write Speed: 250 MB/s
  • Water / Shock / X-ray Proof
  • Built-in Write-Protect Switch
  • Supports Advanced Shooting Modes
  • Downloadable RescuePRO Recovery Software

Axel P writes:

I had the same experience four weeks ago—no benefit in reducing the transfer speed, round about 45mb/s max! Half of the older Extreme Pro. P.S. I hope that this post will prevent disappointment for other readers !

DIGLLOYD: this kind of post is one of those things I very much like to do when I’m not writing for my subscribers, who make it possible. It’s a juggling act (time).

Tilt Shift Field Workshop June 12

Details.

  Nikon D800E + Nikon 45mm f/2.8 PC-E Micro Nikkor set at ~3° of tilt
Nikon D800E + Nikon 45mm f/2.8 PC-E Micro Nikkor set at ~3° of tilt

Data Loss or Fault Tolerance?

What happens when a drive fails? Data loss or fault tolerance?

Whether you’re a videographer or photographer, choose the solution that keeps you working with no data loss and always keep backups too.

Awesome: SoftRAID with RAID-5 rebuild

Personalized advice.

SoftRAID 5 making a 35TB RAID-5 using dual OWC Thunderbay units (8 drives)
SoftRAID 5 making a 35TB RAID-5 using dual OWC Thunderbay units (8 drives)

Zeiss 35/1.4 Distagon versus Sigma 35/1.4 DG HSM A1: Boulder Logjam (D800E)

In Guide to Zeiss

An outdoor landscape scene evaluates the Zeiss 35/1.4 Distagon against the Sigma 35/1.4 DG HSM A1.

Zeiss 35mm f/1.4 APO-Distagon vs Sigma 35/1.4 (Nikon D800E, Boulder Logjam)

A full aperture series from ƒ/1.4 through ƒ/16 with includes HD and UltraHD sizes along with large crops also.

Sigma 35/1.4 DG HSM for Canon Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM A1     
Zeiss 35mm f /1.4 Distagon and Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM A1
Zeiss 35mm f/1.4 Distagon @ ƒ/1.4
Zeiss 35mm f/1.4 Distagon @ ƒ/4

HUGE $800 off Zeiss Touit Lens Bundle (Sony NEX/E mount or Fujifilm X mount)

See the in-depth reviews of the Zeiss Touit lenses, which also work on full-frame Sony A7/A7R camera bodies over much more than the rated APS-C size, as shown in detail in my reviews.

B&H Photo has $200 rebates (each) on the Zeiss Touit lenses for Sony or Fujiflm.

But here’s the kicker: buy the two lens kit bundle for Sony E or Fujifilm X and get a whopping $800 off. Essentially getting one lens free.

Zeiss Touit 50mm f/2.8M and siblings
Zeiss Touit 50mm f/2.8M and siblings
Zeiss Touit 50mm f/2.8M and siblings
Zeiss Touit 50mm f/2.8M and siblings

Zeiss 28mm f/2 Distagon Aperture Series Lundy Canyon Beaver Dam (D800E)

Get Zeiss 28mm f/2 Distagon at B&H Photo.

With the usual HD and UltraHD images and large crops.

Zeiss 28mm f/2 Distagon Aperture Series Lundy Canyon Beaver Dam (D800E)

Lundy Canyon Beaver Dam Nikon D800E + 28mm f/2 Distagon @ ƒ/2  
Lundy Canyon Beaver Dam
Nikon D800E + 28mm f/2 Distagon @ ƒ/2

Zeiss 15mm f/2.8 Distagon Aperture Series 'Radio Towers' (D800E)

Get Zeiss 15mm f/2.8 Distagon at B&H Photo.

With the usual HD and UltraHD images and large crops.

Aperture Series: Radio Towers (D800E)

Radio Towers Nikon D800E + 15mm f/2.8 Distagon @ ƒ/8  
Radio Towers
Nikon D800E + 15mm f/2.8 Distagon @ ƒ/8

Zeiss 85mm f/1.4 Planar: Dual-Focus Aperture Series 'Radio Towers' (D800E)

Get Zeiss 85mm f/1.4 Planar at B&H Photo.

This unusually instructive aperture series uses dual focusing positions (two series) which allow insight into how color correction affects out of focus rendering in particular.

The two focusing distances are shown in order to emphasize how focus affects color blurs, including the magenta/green color blurs of secondary longitudinal chromatic aberration and the violet halo of longitudinal chromatic aberration. Lens aberrations off center are also evaluated.

Zeiss 85mm f/1.4 Planar Dual-Focus Aperture Series 'Radio Towers' (D800E)

A derivation of this page has been cross-posted in Making Sharp Images as a case study on secondary longitudinal chromatic aberration:

Case Study: Secondary Color Variance with Focus

Radio Towers Nikon D800E + Zeiss 85mm f/1.4 Planar @ f/1.4  
Radio Towers
Nikon D800E + Zeiss 85mm f/1.4 Planar @ f/1.4

Nikon 58mm f/1.4G Aperture Series (DeChambeau Cottonwood Rounds, D800E)

Get Nikon 58mm f/1.4G at B&H Photo.

Exploring the rendering style of the Nikon AF-S 58mm f/1.4G.

Aperture Series Nikon 58mm f/1.4G: DeChambeau Cottonwood Rounds, D800E

Nikon D800E + Nikon 58mm f/1.4G @ f/2  
Nikon D800E + Nikon 58mm f/1.4G @ f/5.6

Nikon 58mm f/1.4G Aperture Series (DeChambeau 'Garage at Dusk', D800E)

Get Nikon 58mm f/1.4G at B&H Photo.

Exploring the rendering style of the Nikon AF-S 58mm f/1.4G.

Aperture Series Nikon 58mm f/1.4G: DeChambeau 'Garage at Dusk', D800E

Nikon D800E + Nikon 58mm f/1.4G @ f/2  
Nikon D800E + Nikon 58mm f/1.4G @ f/2

Nikon 58mm f/1.4G Aperture Series (Boulder Logjam, D800E)

Exploring the rendering style of the Nikon AF-S 58mm f/1.4G.

Aperture Series Nikon 58mm f/1.4G: Boulder Logjam (D800E)

Nikon D800E + Nikon 58mm f/1.4G @ f/5.6  
Nikon D800E + Nikon 58mm f/1.4G @ f/5.6

Nikon 58mm f/1.4G Aperture Series (DeChambeau Outbuilding at Dusk, D800E)

Exploring the rendering style of the Nikon AF-S 58mm f/1.4G.

Aperture Series (DeChambeau Outbuilding at Dusk, D800E)

Nikon AF-S Nikkor 58mm f/1.4G and Nikon NOCT-Nikkor 58mm f/1.2 AIS  
Nikon D800E + Nikon 58mm f/1.4G @ f/1.4

Nikon 58mm f/1.4G: Distortion Uncorrected and Corrected

Exploring the distortion of the Nikon AF-S 58mm f/1.4G.

Distortion Corrected and Uncorrected with Nikon 58mm f/1.4G

Nikon D800E + Nikon 58mm f/1.4G @ f/1.4  
Nikon D800E + Nikon 58mm f/1.4G @ f/1.4

4-Way Shootout: Nikon 58mm f/1.4G vs 50/1.4G, 50/1.8G, 50/1.2 AIS (D800E, DeChambeau Sidelit Barn)

Get Nikon lenses at B&H Photo.

Shooting on the Nikon D800/D800E or similar, there are many 'normal' lens choices. Here is a look at four of them including the latest, the 58/1.4G.

50mm 4-way Comparison (D800E, DeChambeau Sidelit Barn)

Nikon AF-S Nikkor 58mm f/1.4G and Nikon NOCT-Nikkor 58mm f/1.2 AIS  
Nikon D800E + Nikon 58mm f/1.4G @ f/1.4
Nikon AF-S Nikkor 58mm f/1.4G and Nikon NOCT-Nikkor 58mm f/1.2 AIS   diglloyd image   diglloyd image
58/1.4G, 50/1.2 AIS, 50/1.4G, 50/1.8G

Storing and Storing Video Footage: Fault Tolerance the Right Way to Go

Over at MacPerformanceGuide.com, see the discussion of using RAID for fault tolerant video storage.

Leica 50mm ƒ/2 APOpSummicron-M ASPH
SoftRAID 5 making a 35TB RAID-5 using dual OWC Thunderbay units (8 drives)

Which 50mm Lens for Leica M?

Get Leica M at B&H Photo.

Shooting on the Leica M Typ 240 (or perhaps a mirrorless camera), how does one pick a 50mm lens for Leica M given the huge cost differentials involved—and are the performance differences as great as one might think?

50mm 4-way Comparison (M240, Pellegrino Bottles)

Leica 50mm ƒ/2 APOpSummicron-M ASPH     Leica 50mm ƒ/1.4 Summilux-M ASPH Leica 50mm f/0.95 Noctilux-M ASPH   Zeiss ZM 50mm f/2 Planar T*
Leica 50mm ƒ/2 APO-Summicron-M ASPH
Leica 50mm ƒ/1.4 Summilux-M ASPH
Leica 50mm f/0.95 Noctilux-M ASPH
Zeiss ZM 50mm f/2 Planar T*
(not to scale)

Lexar 64GB SDXC for $43

I have four of these, and they have worked great for over a year. A quality fast 64GB SDXC card for $43 is a good deal.

Sure I’d rather have the 280MB/sec SanDisk 64GB Extreme PRO SDXC UHS-II card, but not at 5X the price.

LexarProfessional 600X 64GB SDXC card
LexarProfessional 600X 64GB SDXC card

B&H is also taking preorders for the Zeiss Touit 50mm f/2.8M.

Zeiss Touit 50mm f/2.8M
Zeiss Touit 50mm f/2.8M

 

Sony A6000: Sensor Quality at ISO 100

Get Sony Alpha A6000 mirrorless at B&H Photo.

How good is the sensor in the Sony A6000?

In this study, an ideally-exposed image at ISO 100 is examined for any noise. RGB crops are shown along with individual R/G/B color channels and RawDigger info and histogram.

Sony A6000 sensor quality at ISO 100

Also added is an aperture series looking for sensor quality from ƒ/4 through ƒ/16, focusing on the effects of diffraction.

Of great interest to me is that the sensor photosite density scaled up to full frame would be 56 megapixels. Things might get interesting with such a sensor and with appropriate electronics.

RawDigger info for test image for Sony A6000
RawDigger info for test image for Sony A6000

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Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM 'Art': Expected Soon

     
     Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM
Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM

Sigma 50/1.4 DG HSM A at B&H for: Nikon F, Canon EF, Sigma SA, Sony A-mount.

See previous notes as well as the initial discussion in review of the Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM 'Art'.

I’ll be testing the new Sigma 50/1.4 DG HSM A just as soon as it arrives from B&H.

I’ve requested Nikon and Canon mount versions so that I can evaluate it on both the Nikon D800E and the Canon 5D Mark III. Looks like the Canon EF mount version is about to ship my way.

Dell UP2414Q 4K UltraHD Display: a Few Glitches

Get Dell UP2414Q at B&H Photo.

Added to my review of the Dell UP2414Q is a discussion of a few glitches with the Dell UP2414Q that I encounterd. Note that these might not involve the display at all (could be general 4K issues), but they must be listed as encountered.

How to Configure the 2013 Mac Pro

Recommended Mac Pro models along with memory and storage recommendations.

Over at MacPerformanceGuide.com.

Tilt Shift Field Workshops

Come join me for a photo tour focusing on the use of a tilt shift lenses. See recent coverage with the Nikon 45/2.8 PC-E.

Contact me about tilt/shift workshops.

Schedule:

  • Meet evening of your chocie of date in late June in eastern Yosemite area; intro and quick shoot.
  • Shoot all day, formally ends 7:00 PM but can continue till dusk.
  • Other dates available throughout the summer.
  • Half-day engagements possible.

Solo option (1 on 1 instruction), 25% discount for 2 participants, 33% discount for 3 or 4 participants (bring a friend). Limited to maximum of four participants. Participants will need a camera system with a tilt lens(es), which means a Nikon or Canon DSLR or Sony A7/A7R system with adapter for Nikon/Canon/other tilt lens. Or something else. Renting is one way to try out a lens.

We will of course look for better light than this daylight image, but how can it be sharp at ƒ/2.8 from under my feet to Lembert Dome in the distance?! Come and learn about the classic way to “cheat” depth of field.

Nikon tilt/shift: Nikon 24mm f/3.5 PC-E, Nikon 45mm f/2.8 PC-E Micro Nikkor, Nikon 85mm f/2.8 PC-E Micro Nikkor.

Canon tilt/shift: Canon TS-E 17mm f/4L Tilt-Shift, Canon TS-E 24mm f/3.5L II Tilt-Shift, Canon TS-E 90mm f/2.8 Tilt-Shift

Schneider tilt shift: Schneider PC TS Makro-Symmar 90mm f/4.5 Lens

Hartblei tilt shift

Contact me to schedule.

Landscape scene employing about 2° of tilt for high sharpness near to far Nikon D800E + Nikon 45mm f/2.8 PC-E Micro Nikkor
Landscape scene employing about 2° of tilt for high sharpness near to far
Nikon D800E + Nikon 45mm f/2.8 PC-E Micro Nikkor
  Nikon D800E + Nikon 45mm f/2.8 PC-E Micro Nikkor set at ~3° of tilt
Nikon D800E + Nikon 45mm f/2.8 PC-E Micro Nikkor set at ~3° of tilt

Dell UP2414Q 4K UltraHD Display: Dimensions vs Image Aspect Ratio

Get Dell UP2414Q at B&H Photo.

Added to my review of the Dell UP2414Q is a discussion of the display aspect ratio vs common image formats as well as a conclusions page.

Dell UP2414Q displaying an UltraHD diglloyd aperture series
Dell UP2414Q displaying an UltraHD diglloyd aperture series

Format Equivalent Depth of Field: APS-C vs Full Frame

Making Sharp Images previously discussed several key areas involving depth of field:

Previously demonstrated were the format-equivalent apertures and depth of field for Micro Four Thirds vs Full Frame.

I am now gruntled to present this companion study which shows format equivalent depth of field and f-stop behavior using two 24-megapixel cameras (APS-C and full frame):

Case Study: Format-Equivalent F-Stop: APS-C vs 35mm Full Frame (Pellegrino)

Gear for this study: Sony A6000 with Zeiss ZM 35mm f/2 Biogon comparing to the Leica M Typ 240 with Leica 50mm f/2 APO-Summicron-M ASPH. A more in-depth study of the two lenses is found in Guide to Leica.

  Depth of field at ƒ/5.6 (APS-C) Sony A6000 + Zeiss ZM 35mm f/2 Biogon
Depth of field at ƒ/5.6 (APS-C)
Sony A6000 + Zeiss ZM 35mm f/2 Biogon

Dell UP2414Q 4K UltraHD Display on 2013 Mac Pro (Triple Display Setup)

Get Dell UP2414Q at B&H Photo.

The about $949 Dell UP2414Q is in use on the diglloyd 2013 Mac Pro now, an evaluation unit courtesy of B&H Photo (thank you for using that link to buy). Read more in my review of the Dell 2414Q.

As shown below, dual 30-inch 2560 X 1600 displays are accompanied by the 3840 X 2160 Dell UP2414Q at right. The NEC PA302W has the menu bar at center. This configuration worked with no issue whatsoever on the 2013 Mac Pro.

The stunning clarity of a 4K display is hardly to be believed, whether in Photoshop or with the UltraHD 4K images in diglloyd publications. That’s 8.3 megapixels displayed for the eye to enjoy, fully half of the total resolution of many digital cameras! It’s like looking at an 8 X 10 'chrome'.

Dell UP2414Q connected to late 2013 MacBook Pro Retina
Dell UP2414Q connected to late 2013 MacBook Pro Retina
Huge image, huge display
Huge image, huge display

4K UltraHD Display: Dell UP2414Q

Get Dell UP2414Q at B&H Photo.

The about $949 Dell UP2414Q has arrived, on loan courtesy of B&H Photo.

The Dell UP2414Q UltraHD 4K display is a sumptuous visual treat for UltraHD 4K video and still images. My expectations were high, but it’s really exciting to see this kind of display resolution.

I was stunned to see jaw dropping detail, along with pleasing color and uniform gray scale. Viewing 4K video and UltraHD still images on a 4K display is a huge leap forward in sheer visual appeal—chrome-like (as in color reversal film). No doubt there will be technically better displays that come along, but I would not discourage anyone from buying the Dell UP2414Q provided that a late-model computer is needed to support that 4K size, such as the 2013 Mac Pro or late 2013 MacBook Pro Retina.

For over a year now, the diglloyd publications have provided UltraHD examples and UltraHD aperture series.

These images viewed in 4K UltraHD on the Dell UP2414Q are enthralling for their never-before-seen detail available at a glance without scrolling. It is a whole new visual experience bettering even the 2880 X 1600 experience of the MacBook Pro with Retina display.

The 4K poppies video from the Panasonic GH4 is the most detailed, 3D lifelike and luxuriously beautiful video I have ever experienced. At native 3840 X 2160 resolution on the Dell UP2414Q, the visual impact makes the best 1080p look crude and blurred by comparison (yesterday’s 1080p HD fills only 1/4 of the screen pixels on a 4K display; to fill the screen it has to be scaled up 2X linearly / 4X in area).

Read more in my review of the Dell 2414Q.

Dell UP2414Q connected to late 2013 MacBook Pro Retina
Dell UP2414Q connected to late 2013 MacBook Pro Retina

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