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Hasselblad X1D-50C: 50-Megapixel Mirrorless Medium Format

Kudos to Hasselblad for being first to bring out a mirrorless medium format camera, the about $9000 Hasselblad X1D-50C along with about $2295 Hasselblad XCD 45mm f/3.5 and about $2695 Hasselblad XCD 90mm f/3.2.

I expect to have the X1D for review in early August, on loan from B&H Photo.

Hasselblad X1D-50C overview

Pity there is no SuperRes pixel shift mode as found on the Pentax K1. SuperRes pixel shift mode quite matches X1D for image quality due to the true-color pixels of pixel shift mode. But that is speculation only at present, and pixel shift mode has strict limitations on subject movement. One wonders why Pentax with its excellent technology imn the 645Z and K1 did not debut a mirrorless medium format camera first.

Specifications for the EVF and rear LCD are run of the mill—less good on the EVF than the Leica SL, and less good on the rear LCD than the Nikon D5. But where it counts, the sensor quality should be fabulous.

  • 50MP 43.8 x 32.9mm CMOS Sensor
  • 16-Bit Color, 14-Stop Dynamic Range
  • Hasselblad Natural Color Solution
  • Full HD 1080p H.264 Video at 25 fps
  • ISO 100-25600, Shooting Up to 2.3 fps
  • Central Shutter: 60 min to 1/2000 sec
  • 2.36MP XGA Electronic Viewfinder
  • 3.0" 920k-Dot Touchscreen LCD Monitor
  • Dual SD Card Slots; XPan & Square Modes
  • Built-In Wi-Fi & GPS, USB 3.0 Type C
Hasselblad X1D-50C

Description

Determined to shake up the photographic industry, Hasselblad has unleashed a world's first in the form of the X1D-50c Medium Format Mirrorless Digital Camera. This camera takes the well-regarded 50MP 43.8 x 32.9mm CMOS sensor found in numerous medium format systems and incorporates it into a revolutionary mirrorless camera body. Designed and handmade in Sweden, this camera is a precision tool with exceptional ergonomics and a compact size that even rivals smaller format systems. Taking this system above and beyond the rest is a large sensor that works hand-in-hand with the Hasselblad Natural Color Solution to create phenomenal raw images with smooth tonal gradations thanks to 16-bit color depth and 14 stops of dynamic range.

Image quality is superb, and Hasselblad's electronic system is capable of capturing clean images within a sensitivity range of ISO 100-25600, while also being able to capture photos at a rate of up to 2.3 fps. Moving a bit beyond pure image quality, the X1D embraces the Hasselblad Central Lens Shutter, enabling shutter speeds as long as 60 minutes or as short as 1/2000 second, with flash sync possible at every speed. Additionally, to make the camera more versatile, Full HD 1080p video at 25 fps using H.264 compression is possible.

Moving into operational details, the X1D embraces mirrorless design by incorporating a 2.36MP XGA electronic viewfinder that permits natural, eye-level monitoring with the added advantage of overlays and programmable information in direct sight. One such feature would be the ability to shoot in various aspects with a view that compensates for such changes, including square or the classic XPan panoramic format. Alongside this EVF is a 3.0" 920k-dot touchscreen LCD on the rear that permits intuitive operation of all of the camera's features and settings.

For more physical and tactile use, the X1D offers front and rear dials as well as a mode dial which can be locked into a recessed position to prevent accidental changes when it is in your bag. There are also dual SD card slots for backup, organization, or just having extra storage. Bringing the system into the modern age is built-in Wi-Fi and GPS, allowing for remote connection and file transfer as well as instant geotagging of your files. Additionally, it has Mini HDMI, audio input and output, and a super-fast USB 3.0 Type C connection.

Hasselblad X System

Introducing mirrorless medium format, Hasselblad's X system takes the outstanding quality of a larger sensor and manages to create a compact, yet uncompromising camera that will deliver almost unparalleled image quality. It is designed and made in Sweden and draws inspiration from the company's legendary V system. Also, making use of the mirrorless design and a central lens shutter, system noise is kept to a minimum for shooting without disturbing your subject.

50MP CMOS Sensor

Revolving around a large 50MP CMOS sensor, measuring 43.8 x 32.9mm, the X1D-50c is capable of capturing an extremely wide dynamic range of up to 14 stops along with vivid 16-bit color depth. When combined with the Hasselblad Natural Color Solution, tonal transitions and skin tones show immense depth, detail, and clarity for lifelike image quality, even in dark shadow and bright highlight regions. To suit working in a variety of lighting conditions, a sensitivity range of ISO 100-25600 is available, and still files are saved in the Hasselblad 3FR raw file format.

Hasselblad Natural Color Solution — Working with the spectacular image quality of the 50MP CMOS sensor, the Hasselblad Natural Color Solution is designed to deliver images with the most natural color without needing to delve into a variety of presets. This system is also capable of creating imagery with exceptionally smooth tonal transitions that are reminiscent of analog film capture, which is thanks in part to the X1D's 16-bit color depth.

Hasselblad Central Lens Shutter — Able to accelerate to open and close exceptionally quickly and reliably while also using minimal power, the central lens shutter mechanism offers numerous advantages for photographers. Namely, flash sync is possible at all shutter speeds up to 1/2000 second. The shutter is also in a ready state at all times for near instant response and it causes virtually no vibration at longer exposures. Additionally, it is durable and rated to beyond 1,000,000 exposures.

Full HD Video Recording — In addition to high-resolution stills shooting, the X1D can also record Full HD 1080p video at 25 fps. Video can be saved in the H.264 compressed format for greater editing flexibility with a variety of software options. For further video recording capabilities, the X1D offers 3.5mm audio input and output jacks as well as a Mini HDMI port for monitoring.

System Design and Connectivity — Built-in 3.0" 920k-dot touchscreen LCD affords intuitive control over settings navigation and adjustment, and also permits bright, clear live view monitoring.

• Integrated 2.36MP XGA electronic viewfinder permits natural eye-level viewing as well as the ability to display overlays and additional information clearly and effectively during shooting. It also displays the capture area when set to shoot 39MP square format or XPan panoramic images.
• USB 3.0 Type-C connector offers transfer speeds of up to 5 Gbps for quick and responsive tethered live view and stills capture.
• In addition to tethered shooting, dual SD memory card slots are incorporated into the side for flexible storage capabilities. Multiple options are available for maximum flexibility, including the ability to save all images to one card and automatically switch to the other when it is full as well as save RAW images to card 1 and JPEG to card 2.
• Benefitting video applications, a Mini HDMI port permits use of an optional external monitor for clear monitoring. Additionally, 3.5mm audio in and out ports are provided for more flexible control over audio recording during video.
• Built-in Wi-Fi enables working with an iOS mobile device and the Phocus Mobile app for remote camera control, wireless image previews, and file browsing.
• GPS allows shooters to automatically have geolocation embedded in the image files for tracking where you took some of your best shots.
• Optimized for use with XCD series of lenses which offer an integrated central shutter system capable of sync speeds up to 1/2000 sec.
• Optional adapter provides compatibility with the updated range of HC and HCD lenses, which feature an improved leaf shutter unit for increased shutter and flash sync speeds of up to 1/2000 sec.
• Weather and dust sealing ensures this system can stand up to all environmental conditions professionals find themselves in.

Phocus 3.1 is a free image processing software that complements the X1D's capabilities, and enables raw file processing for both stills and video, as well as a range of editing capabilities, including automatic moiré detection and the ability to work with adjustment layers for applying exposure, white balance, and color corrections.

MacPerformanceGuide.com

The Camera 'Thrill': What Does it Feel Like When the Loaner Has to Go Back?

See my Pentax K1 wish list and Leica SL wish list and Leica M wish list B&H Photo.

I wrote this in an email conversation, almost exactly as it reads below. In part it was to capture my own understanding, in part to explain. The recipient thought it might be interesting perspective for others. So here it is...

Note: I have ample material with the SL and the K1 that will be published in July.

The thrill has left and gone away?

When I borrow, things have to go back. I wish I could afford things like I used to, but I cannot. I can stretch the loaner period slightly, but B&H gets finicky if I do it more than once or twice a year.

So today the Leica SL and Leica 24-90mm f/2.8-4 and M-Adapter-T got onto the UPS truck.

A question I always ask myself when gear goes back is “how does it feel to box it up and see it go?”. A truly subjective query, but telling. So today, I thought about that.

On the Leica SL:
- I felt a sense of relief. It did not bring me any thrills; no "hold" on my psyche saying "damn I wish I could keep it". Quite the contrary.
- My favorite combo with it was with the ZM 35/1.4 — I did like that. But the 35/1.4 works great on the M240, and I have an M240.
- I want an M240 camera with SL or better EVF and a higher res sensor. No useful function is served by the SL for me at this time. Maybe a future body with higher res sensor.
- I can't get past the resolution. I notice it with every SL image; it just doesn't have what Sony or Nikon do even if its pixel quality is very high.

On the Pentax K1:
- I've delayed sending it back. It brings me a thrill. The K1 SuperRes pixel shift mode results vastly outperform any other full frame camera, and handily beat the Leica S IMO (lenses excepted of course).
- I want to keep it. It is very limited in scope (can't have any motion), but when the results are good, nothing can come close.
- the K1 has plenty of operational flaws—particularly with Live View. But oh, it has that image quality thrill. My 4X5 was a hassle too, but chromes were a thrill.
- the lens selection sucks. This really dissuades me for now, and I can wait a bit to see if other vendors might offer pixels shift.

On the Leica Q (a while ago): I would have liked to keep it. But not for $4K.

On the Sony A7R II: less thrill than practical usefulness. My go to camera for outdoors. The SL isn’t even competition in that regard: too big, too heavy, low resolution, no AF lenses at all for what I want. The A7R II solves working problems for me; the SL does not.

None of the above is meant as applying to someone else, only what I do and how I shoot. But even if I were in a studio, that Sony 24-70 and 85/1.4GM are darn fine lenses, and who knows what this year will bring?

Lastly, Leica museumizes its cameras. My M240 has seen essentially zero value add since its release. The EVF in particular is crap. I've asked/cajoled/begged to no avail. Still no My Menu. Same museum piece (meaning its fixed/frozen and just doesn’t change). Sony had a flaw in lossy compression and fixed that. The Batis 18/2.8 rocks, the Sony GM lenses rock, the prospect of a better body in 2016 is very high—moves forward.

Such things are my perspective.

And then there is cost. An $8K 24MP body is not a fault I hold against the SL; it is the best built camera out there. But it is... $8K (more with tax and accessories). A $3K Sony and maybe a better $4K Sony this fall is still less money, and I get great ROI there. So on the business side it's no contest also.

What Leica has done is a terrific move forward. Kudos to them. Now maybe there will be an M360 and that will be the camera for me. But at $8K, it’s gonna be tough all over again.

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

Leitax Conversion Kits for Nikon Lenses to Pentax K Mount Now Shipping

See my Pentax K1 wish list at B&H Photo.

Leitax Nikon / Zeiss ZF.2 to Pentax K conversion kit

The Pentax K1 in SuperRes pixel shift mode offer the best image quality on the market today (for the 35mm format) and beats many if not most medium format offerings. It’s that simple.

But the Pentax lens line is at best mediocre, the biggest thing holding the K1 back from high performance, something I observed firsthand in the field using the Zeiss ZK 28mm f/2 Distagon, whose performance I found quite satisying.

Now, Leitax is shipping Nikon and Zeiss ZF to Pentax K conversion kits. Nikon F-mount lenses with an aperture ring can be converted to Pentax K mount and this conversion is reversible. In particular, my favored Zeiss ZF.2 lenses (Nikon F mount) can be converted to Pentax K mount. Leitax will also convert your lens for you for 75 Euro (plus the cost of the kit and shipping).

See the Leitax step-by-step conversion process page.

David Lladó of Leitax writes:

Writing to warn you that the Leitax mount cannot be installed on all the Nikkor lenses with aperture ring. Only on those without CPU and that allow to remove the original mount clean, without any attached mechanism. I will show it in the instructions for Nikkor lenses soon.

The Zeiss ZF.2 lenses have CPU, but have the chip attached to the mount, and it goes off together with the mount, so no problem with ZF.2 lenses. But the CPU Nikkor lenses have a flat cable going inside the lens that connects the contact strip at the mount with the chip, autofocus motors and data sensors inside the lens.

DIGLLOYD: all Zeiss ZF.2 lenses contain a CPU chip. The original ZF lenses do not.

See also:

Leica SL vs M240: Lens Corrections and Color Rendering with M Lenses

See my Leica SL wish list and Leica M wish list at B&H Photo.

This page looks at issues with the Leica SL and Leica M240 using Leica M lenses ( Leica M-Adapter-T required for M lenses on the SL):

  • With equivalent conversions (white balance and tint), color rendition of the Leica SL vs Leica M240 is shown. The results here were seen to be general results applying to all M lenses and are not specific to the lens used here (18mm f/3.8 SEM).
  • The Leica SL DNG files from M lenses have lens corrections enforced by Adobe Camera Raw (no option to disable). This changes the field of view and degrades sharpness.
  • Adobe Camera Raw has a “double correction” bug in which it is possible to enable lens corrections twice, resulting in a an erroneous output file. This bug has been reported to Adobe.
  • Images with and without distortion correction.

These behaviors are worth understanding if the intent is to shoot M lenses, and one is choosing a camera body as a platform. That high-res EVF of the SL is very nice for focusing, but the benefits may stop there.

Leica SL vs M240: Lens Corrections and Color Rendering with M Lenses

__METADATA__

David W writes:

That was an interesting post regarding the white balance issues on the Leica SL. You may remember publishing an email I sent to you regarding the use of the A7RM2 in very cold conditions. At that time I mentioned difficulties with setting the white balance and I think that it was not seen as a problem. Well in the end after a lot of fiddling with exposure, temperature and tint I got to where I wanted to go but I still maintain that the “out-of-the-box” render had a blue cast that was difficult to correct. Following that exercise I have had a similar problem (as have many others) with a recent upgrade from CCD to CMOS on my Hasselblad. [DIGLLOYD: sometimes a channel blows out even though the histogram won’t show it; use RawDigger to check the actual raw data. I can’t rule out behavior in cold, but my cold weather experience has been fine].

I have come to the view that when a camera manufacturer is bringing a new model to market it arrives with an under-developed or thought-through firmware setup. More importantly the algorithm that presents the raw image to the raw converter seems to be a source of some of the problems. My understanding is that the sensor simply outputs data as a luminance measure per cell and that the embedded software interprets that according to the Bayer matrix and then the raw software converts to a visible image. However that takes no account of the way these sensor cells respond to light of different wavelengths until someone can take some measurements and establish a profile. Who decides what is good and what is bad? Is it colour fidelity or is it a match for the earlier version of sensor (CCD or otherwise). We then have the further interpretations of the raw converter but by that time we as photographers do have some control.

The chief complaint I hear from many people and one that I have experienced is simply that the output is different when compared with what they used to get and as a result new practices have to be learned to achieve the result envisaged - as you appear to have discovered with the SL.

What I do not understand is why the camera manufacturer cannot simply replicate the output qualities and colour values for the sensors predecessor as an optional profile? I may be completely naive here or have a fundamental misunderstanding of the technology but if so it is a position shared with many others who buy and then upgrade a camera because they like the way the images look in terms of colour, sharpness and so on.

BTW you have an opinion of merit on most issues and you are not bland or boring. It makes entertaining and informative reading.

DIGLLOYD: the choice of sensor definitely changes the look of the image. For starters, the CFA (color filter array) on the sensor may be different for each sensor, filtering light a bit differently for red, green, blue (and with overlap), and the sensor itself may respond a bit differently to the light it receives. There may be other spectral cutoffs as well suvh sd more or less IR blocking, more or less magenta/cyan overall tint; all of these things mean that the recorded data will vary by sensor. Add in changes to dynamic range and noise behavior and the output is just never going to match. A really superior profile could address some of this, but vendors never seem to bother.

In a similar vein, the difference in color between my workhorse NEC PA302W display and the NEC PA322UHD as for neutral gray is visibly different—even though calibration claims perfect neutrality for both (it has to do with the nature of the backlighting and non-continuous spectrum of that backlighting)—the PA302W rules the roost. Displays do not use continuous spectrum, and sensors use color filter arrays. No perfect match is going to happen. That is the source of the issue. Add in the raw converter, and all bets are off, except that companies like PhaseOne and others in the medium format area tend to try to minimize the differences between cameras.

Add in light with a strong color cast, and any filtration issues can be accentuated outside relatively narrow zone of “daylight”, which I would roughly label as 4600°K to 7000°K. Outside those bounds are warm sunsets and high mountain bluish light and any filtration subtleties start popping up like mushrooms in terms of sensor behavior. Not to forget the lens behavior either, which can attenuate some spectra and/or flare more. As a strong example for sensor non linearity, the Sigma DP Merrill has weirdly color reaction in bluish light, which is a challenge in processing raw.

As for the look of the SL sensor: based first and foremost on field shots but confirmed with the above color checker series, I rate its color and contrast as inferior to the M240 using equivalent processing settings (equivalent white balance and tint for neutrality as per above, but not adding contrast or saturation). The SL looks dull and flat by comparison to the M240, that is, with M lenses. Quite possibly the SL may be more accurate, and it definitely has better dynamic range and noise but I would say this: accurate is not the same as pleasing/appealing. The SL is less pleasing to my eyes than the M240 and the M240 in turn was less pleasing than the CCD-sensor M9.

Evaluating White Balance and Tint for Leica SL and Leica M240 with DataColor SpyderCHECKR with 3 Lenses

See my Leica SL wish list and Leica M wish list at B&H Photo.

This analysis should be of keen interest to any Leica SL shooter, or anyone considering the SL as a replacement for the M240. Or, simply to understand how the choice of camera profile drives very different settings for white balance and tint.

Leica SL vs M240: White Balance and Tint with Adobe Camera Raw, Sunlight

White balance and tint were giving me fits with field shots with the SL; the Leica SL delivered many greenish and bluish images in the mountains at its “Daylight” setting.. To process those images for good color rendering, it was necessary to establish a reference color temperature and tint for the Leica SL in sunlight. For comparisons, it was also necessary to do the same for the Leica M240, and to use several different lenses as cross checks.

Accordingly, the Datacolor SpyderCHECKR was used here in overhead mid-day solstice sunlight to to determine the appropriate white balance and tint settings for raw conversion in sunlight.

Three lenses on two cameras were used to establish whether the white balance and tint behavior is consistent. The Leica SL and Leica M240 were used as follows:

David W writes:

That was an interesting post regarding the white balance issues on the Leica SL. You may remember publishing an email I sent to you regarding the use of the A7RM2 in very cold conditions. At that time I mentioned difficulties with setting the white balance and I think that it was not seen as a problem. Well in the end after a lot of fiddling with exposure, temperature and tint I got to where I wanted to go but I still maintain that the “out-of-the-box” render had a blue cast that was difficult to correct. Following that exercise I have had a similar problem (as have many others) with a recent upgrade from CCD to CMOS on my Hasselblad. [DIGLLOYD: sometimes a channel blows out even though the histogram won’t show it; use RawDigger to check the actual raw data. I can’t rule out behavior in cold, but my cold weather experience has been fine].

I have come to the view that when a camera manufacturer is bringing a new model to market it arrives with an under-developed or thought-through firmware setup. More importantly the algorithm that presents the raw image to the raw converter seems to be a source of some of the problems. My understanding is that the sensor simply outputs data as a luminance measure per cell and that the embedded software interprets that according to the Bayer matrix and then the raw software converts to a visible image. However that takes no account of the way these sensor cells respond to light of different wavelengths until someone can take some measurements and establish a profile. Who decides what is good and what is bad? Is it colour fidelity or is it a match for the earlier version of sensor (CCD or otherwise). We then have the further interpretations of the raw converter but by that time we as photographers do have some control.

The chief complaint I hear from many people and one that I have experienced is simply that the output is different when compared with what they used to get and as a result new practices have to be learned to achieve the result envisaged - as you appear to have discovered with the SL.

What I do not understand is why the camera manufacturer cannot simply replicate the output qualities and colour values for the sensors predecessor as an optional profile? I may be completely naive here or have a fundamental misunderstanding of the technology but if so it is a position shared with many others who buy and then upgrade a camera because they like the way the images look in terms of colour, sharpness and so on.

BTW you have an opinion of merit on most issues and you are not bland or boring. It makes entertaining and informative reading.

DIGLLOYD: the choice of sensor definitely changes the look of the image. For starters, the CFA (color filter array) on the sensor may be different for each sensor, filtering light a bit differently for red, green, blue (and with overlap), and the sensor itself may respond a bit differently to the light it receives. There may be other spectral cutoffs as well suvh sd more or less IR blocking, more or less magenta/cyan overall tint; all of these things mean that the recorded data will vary by sensor. Add in changes to dynamic range and noise behavior and the output is just never going to match. A really superior profile could address some of this, but vendors never seem to bother.

In a similar vein, the difference in color between my workhorse NEC PA302W display and the NEC PA322UHD as for neutral gray is visibly different—even though calibration claims perfect neutrality for both (it has to do with the nature of the backlighting and non-continuous spectrum of that backlighting)—the PA302W rules the roost. Displays do not use continuous spectrum, and sensors use color filter arrays. No perfect match is going to happen. That is the source of the issue. Add in the raw converter, and all bets are off, except that companies like PhaseOne and others in the medium format area tend to try to minimize the differences between cameras.

Add in light with a strong color cast, and any filtration issues can be accentuated outside relatively narrow zone of “daylight”, which I would roughly label as 4600°K to 7000°K. Outside those bounds are warm sunsets and high mountain bluish light and any filtration subtleties start popping up like mushrooms in terms of sensor behavior. Not to forget the lens behavior either, which can attenuate some spectra and/or flare more. As a strong example for sensor non linearity, the Sigma DP Merrill has weirdly color reaction in bluish light, which is a challenge in processing raw.

As for the look of the SL sensor: based first and foremost on field shots but confirmed with the above color checker series, I rate its color and contrast as inferior to the M240 using equivalent processing settings (equivalent white balance and tint for neutrality as per above, but not adding contrast or saturation). The SL looks dull and flat by comparison to the M240, that is, with M lenses. Quite possibly the SL may be more accurate, and it definitely has better dynamic range and noise but I would say this: accurate is not the same as pleasing/appealing. The SL is less pleasing to my eyes than the M240 and the M240 in turn was less pleasing than the CCD-sensor M9.

MacPerformanceGuide.com

TIP: How to Force the use of DNG sidecar files with Adobe Camera Raw

See my Leica SL wish list and Leica M wish list at B&H Photo.

Modification of orginal RAW files is in my view a risky game: files can be potentially be damaged, modified files are very large and have to be backed-up in their entirety, original shooting settings in the DNG are masked or overwritten. Basically, I prefer to think of my RAW files as original negatives/slides; I do not want them modified—ever. This has implications for forensics and law enforcement as well. Originals should be unaltered originals.

Unfortunately, at least in Photoshop, Adobe Camera Raw does not respect its own sidecar preferences: opening a DNG file modifies the file, writing/overwriting internal data as well as changing the file modification date. Each to his own, but I find this very annoying for backup, sorting by date, etc.

Adobe Camera Raw Preferences for DNG sidecar files

Solution: lock DNG files

The lockDNG and unlockDNG scripts are trivial. They lock or unlock all DNG files in the current directory, using the command line in Terminal. I save them as executable scripts in my PATH.

#!/bin/sh
# lockDNG ©2016 DIGLLOYD INC
# LOCK all DNG files in current directory, recursively
find . -name "*.DNG" -exec chflags -v uchg {} \;

#!/bin/sh
# unlockDNG ©2016 DIGLLOYD INC
# UNLOCK all DNG files in current directory, recursively
find . -name "*.DNG" -exec chflags -v nouchg {} \;

Using the lockDNG and unlockDNG commands is simple:

# type 'cd ' then drag desired folder into Terminal window. Example:
diglloydMP:DIGLLOYD lloyd$ cd /Volumes/Archive/2016-0606-TripPhotos 
diglloydMP:2016-0606-TripPhotos lloyd$ lockDNG
./LeicaSL/2016-0606-LeicaM240-WhiteMountains/L1000602.DNG
./LeicaSL/2016-0606-LeicaM240-WhiteMountains/L1000603.DNG
./LeicaSL/2016-0606-LeicaM240-WhiteMountains/L1000604.DNG
...

# Unlock DNG files diglloydMP:2016-0606-TripPhotos lloyd$ unlockDNG
./LeicaSL/2016-0606-LeicaM240-WhiteMountains/L1000597.DNG
./LeicaSL/2016-0606-LeicaM240-WhiteMountains/L1000599.DNG
./LeicaSL/2016-0606-LeicaM240-WhiteMountains/L1000600.DNG
...

When a DNG file is locked, this forces ACR to use sidecar files. It has some hassle factor: reorganizing/moving DNG files requires unlocking them. The OS X Finder shows lock icons once locked.

Locked DNG files: forces Adobe Camera Raw to use sidecar files
Pentax K1 IN STOCK!
Huge value, with fabulous SuperRes pixel shift mode.
In stock status may change.

TIP for Leica SL: How to Fix Poor DNG Zoomed-in Quality

See my Leica SL wish list and Leica M wish list at B&H Photo.

Normally I shoot raw only (no JPEG). While out shooting the Leica SL in the field on my recent trip, I noticed that when I zoomed in fully to check sharpness, the zoomed in image quality with DNG was awful, with mangled detail and mottled color smearing. The degradation varies by image, with some images looking ~OK and some looking truly awful.

I knew from past experience with other cameras that setting the camera to RAW+JPEG would yield a far superior zoomed-in image.

Setting the Leica SL to DNG+JPEG highest quality results in a zoomed-in experience with far superior image quality.

As a bonus, DNG+JPEG also yields a superior histogram; the DNG-only histogram can be notched and coarse, but with DNG+JPEG the histogram has smooth countours (again, not always but definitely bad with some images).

Later, I just throw away the JPEG files. That this crudely wasteful kludge is required is absurd, but it’s very helpful when reviewing focus/sharpness in the field.

Which Mac? Storage, Backup, RAID? Color Management?
✓ diglloyd consulting starts you out on solid footing.

Reader Comment on Inquiries

See my Leica SL wish list and Leica M wish list at B&H Photo.

Unsolicited comment from subscriber Dale P:

I sent in some very specific questions about how to use the Leica SL camera Lloyd recommends, together with the Zeiss 35mm F1.4 M mount lens he recommends.

I couldn’t find the answers anywhere on the web, forums, etc. Seems like when you start with one brand camera and try to use it with a different brand lens, it can be tough to get clear answers from someone who actually has used them personally and knows from experience the answers.

Lloyd answered them within an hour. Helped solve a thorny problem.

DIGLLOYD: my time is always under pressure, but I make a point of answering subscriber questions, particularly those that are in scope of what is subscribed to (e.g., Leica questions for subscribers to Guide to Leica). For those needing a variety of answers and/or views on different systems, please engage me in consulting—lots of back and forth is too time consuming.

I have looked through my Zeiss ZM 35/1.4 images on the SL, and I think they are stunning without any correction or lens profile. The results outclass anything else I shot, as I hope to show with examples, the two I showed yesterday being picked at a glance prior to even looking at many more. Moreover the Zeiss ZM 35/1.4 Distagon has to my hands the best balance and feel on the SL of all M lenses. It matches the SL very well in size and heft, and with superior aperture ring and focusing grip and feel. An incredible value at about $2040 after rebate.

At present, I am officially neutral on the SL as a platform for M lenses—my recent shoot has many images, and there are some troublesome behaviors slowing me down greatly (raw conversion, focus matching, forced lens corrections, etc). It is going to take some time to do this all properly—even organizing images is taking a lot of time. It looks like I may have to “circle around” to the M240 to SL question after first looking at certain performance areas. Thanks to reader John G for helping me understand a troublesome white balance issue which appears to be a bug in ACR. And... my travel schedule is putting intense pressure on me. It may be mid July until I can get all the Leica SL work done properly. I don’t want to rush it.

Thanks to readers for using any of my B&H links or wish lists when buying gear.

Our trusted photo rental store

Adaptist 'Multi Mount' might allow Unmodified Nikon Lenses on Pentax K1

See my Pentax K1 wish list at B&H Photo.

The Adaptist Multi Mount WR might work for the Pentax K1, but as yet this is uncertain:

Since the much awaited announcement of the first ever full frame Pentax DSLR K-1 by Ricoh Imaging in February 2016, we have received multiple enquires if our product, the Pentax K+ Multi Mount (PK+MM) WR version can be used on it.

As the Pentax K-1 DSLR will only start shipping in April 2016 and stock availability of this much awaited DSLR will be expected to be limited, we will not be able to provide a full confirmation on its compatibility until we are able to get a production version of the K-1 DSLR for verification physically or through other confirmatory methods.

Although our initial investigations using information from high resolution photos of Pentax K-1 from Ricoh imaging official sites, trade show and hand-on reviews from multiple sites conclude that there is no external design changes, we are not able to determine its compatibility. This is because the obscured (hidden) areas of the K-mount ring in photos may contain new design features which is different from current K-mount ring used in APS-C DSLRs.

Once the information on Pentax K-1 and PK+MM (WR version) compatibility is available, we will announce it on our official website. You may wish to sign up for our mailing list for email notifications on all news related to our products.

Adaptist Pentax K Multi Mount schematic

The idea is that by changing out the lens mount (and losing some functionality), unmodified Nikon lenses with an aperture ring (e.g., Zeiss ZF.2/Milvus/Otus and others ) can be mounted without modification on a Pentax K camera.

What is Pentax K+ Multi-Mount (PK+MM)?

PK+MM introduces a new method of adapting other camera mount lenses. As most camera mounts have flange focal distance that are too close for adapters to be possible, by changing the original mount ring of the camera to an adaptive one like PK+MM, you can now mount different mount lenses without adapters, yet achieving infinity focus in most cases. There is absolutely no degradation to image quality as there is no optical elements like other adapters.

How is this possible?

Most bayonet mounts have 3 metal tabs and the differences between different mounts lies in the mount diameter, position, thickness, shape and size of these tabs. Measurements and trials were used to determine the best design to accommodate the different mounts.

What is it made of?

Our PK+MM is crafted from brass and chrome plated, exactly the same as the original manufacturer part.

Adaptist Pentax K Multi Mount kit for Pentax K mount conversion

Leica SL a Replacement for M240 when Shooting M lenses?

Get Leica SL wish list and Leica M wish list at B&H Photo.

When I first started this site about 9 years ago, the motivation was in large part to answer questions for myself— about cameras and lenses—things I knew that others would want to know also.

Along comes a situation along precisely those lines: if the main goal is to shoot Leica M-mount lenses with that nifty high-res Leica SL EVF, does SL image quality hold as compared to the Leica M240? The SL sensor is not optimized for ray angle like the M240 sensor is, so relative performance of M lenses is an important consideration for anyone looking at the SL as an alternative to the M240.

While on my recent trip, I went through the tedious exercise of shooting three carefully-chosen and very different subjects on both the Leica SL and M240, with the goal of flushing out differences in image quality, sharpness in outer zones in particular. For each subject, I shot the following:

I also shot the 90mm f/4 Macro-Elmar-M extensively and did some comparisons with the 90mm f/2 APO-Summicron-R, but the 90mm work was done only on the SL, because at 90mm there ought not to be any sensor-related issues from ray angle.

M lenses on Leica SL: mandatory correction
for distortion and chromatic aberration

I’m analyzing those series now so at to publish a definitive answer based on hard evidence, because a decision to go with the SL for the purpose of shooting M lenses would be ill-advised if based on assumptions—it is not a given that the SL sensor can accommodate M lenses to their potential, particularly at wider apertures and wider angles of view.

There is also the ugly problem of mandatory correction for distortion and chromatic aberration when shooting coded M lenses on the SL—a nasty little “feature” that alters the core look of M lenses. When using Photoshop/ACR or Lightroom; it is enforced with no option to turn it off. Except that it is and it is not—it varies—and sometimes a profile can be applied again (twice), which is even more confusing. This of course immediately favors the M240 over the SL, because correction is always optional with M240 DNGs. I rarely correct for distortion and infrequently for chromatic aberration. I want the native lens character, not some more clinical behavior. At the least, I want a choice. In my view, this is an ill-advised choice by Leica. It could be fixed in a firmware update perhaps, but existing files are stuck. Of course other raw converters offer ways to bypass this behavior (Iridient Developer and perhaps CaptureOne Pro, but switching workflow is a non-solution for me).

...

Setting aside considerations of peripheral sharpness on the SL sensor, the Zeiss ZM 35mm f/1.4 Distagon is an ideal match in size and ergonomics with the SL, and its visual impact is just as terrific as on the M240. As a bonus it is an uncoded lens, so one has a choice of correcting for distortion or not with the SL, unlike coded M lenses noted above.

See also:

Mining Structures at Cerro Gordo Mine
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The Leica SL sensor is outstanding and with excellent dynamic range. This image as-shot with no contrast control.

View from Assay Building, Cerro Gordo Mine
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Subscriber Dale P writes:

I sent in some very specific questions about how to use the Leica SL camera Lloyd recommends, together with the Zeiss 35mm F1.4 M mount lens he recommends.

I couldn’t find the answers anywhere on the web, forums, etc. Seems like when you start with one brand camera and try to use it with a different brand lens, it can be tough to get clear answers from someone who actually has used them personally and knows from experience the answers.

Lloyd answered them within an hour. Helped solve a thorny problem.

DIGLLOYD: my time is always under pressure, but I make a point of answering subscriber questions, particularly those that are in scope of what is subscribed to (e.g., Leica questions for subscribers to Guide to Leica).

I have looked through my Zeiss ZM 35/1.4 images on the SL, and I think they are stunning without any correction or lens profile. The results outclass anything else I shot, as I hope to show with examples, the two above being picked at a glance without even looking at many more. Moreover the Zeiss ZM 35/1.4 Distagon has to my hands the best balance and feel on the SL of all M lenses. It’s just the right size and with superior aperture ring and focusing grip and feel. An incredible value at about $2040 after rebate.

At present, I am officially neutral on the SL as a platform for M lenses—my recent shoot has many images, and there are some troublesome behaviors slowing me down greatly (raw conversion, focus matching, forced lens corrections, etc). It is going to take some time to do this all properly—even organizing images is taking a lot of time. It looks like I may have to “circle around” to the M240 to SL question after first looking at certain performance areas. Thanks to reader John G for helping me understand a troublesome white balance issue which appears to be a bug in ACR. And... my travel schedule is putting intense pressure on me. It may be mid July until I can get all the Leica SL work done properly. I don’t want to rush it.

Thanks to readers for using any of my B&H links or wish lists when buying gear.

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

Home Today, Leica SL, Pentax K1, and More Coming Soon

Get Leica SL wish list and Pentax K wish list at B&H Photo. See also my Sony mirrorless wishlist.

Conditions were difficult the past few days: temperatures still 25° colder than when I started my trip, dropping to 28°F in Yosemite at 8600' elevation. Wind of ~25 mph gusting to 40+ mph were to the point of being dangerous the day before yesterday—I had to use care in crossing boulder fields so as not to be blown off balance by violent gusts. So I moved slowly. By the way, “Vibram” soles suck for grip on boulder fields, especially if wet, e.g., from snow. I wore a full hiking boot for crossing snow fields and muddy areas where the aggressive hiking boot tread works well, but my sticky rubber shoes offer far superior grip on rocks. Several times I slipped with the Vibram-soled boots, but I practiced skeptical technique, which means assuming that slippage might occur and thus not committing fully to the next step.

FYI, the Pentax K1 in SuperRes mode is unusable in such winds and still a problem with much less strong wind. That’s because the wind causes enough movement of the camera to render the entire frame “in motion” between the 4 exposures of a SuperRes frame, even with high shutter speeds. All it takes is a few microns of deviation, which vibration of tripod legs easily causes, and thus every pixel of the entire frame is in motion as far as SuperRes goes. One can of course use standard single-exposure mode in such conditions.

Below, I had to anchor my tripod legs with rocks for fear of it being toppled by wind and thus smashing the camera. Also, I’ve gained a newfound appreciation for one more advantage of autofocus—the wind was gusting so violently that I could not keep an image framed when shooting handheld. I had to shoot 4 or 5 frames just to get one properly-framed as I wished, so much was I unsteadied by gusts. Having to manually focus on top of that was a serious handicap—no quick blip of AF to help out, and manual focusing was difficult with the image is jumping like crazy from wind slapping me around.

A criticism of the Loxia 21/2.8: it is so small that gloves become problematic: the aperture and focusing rings are just too close to each other. I was constantly altering focus in unintended ways while attempting to change aperture (open aperture to focus, close down to shoot). Or just any change in aperture. This ruined 4 of 5 attempts here, the final one below being the 5th and only one in which focus was right, though I did not know at the time that my gloves were moving the focus ring as I changed aperture. As a result, most of the shots I took I made at f/8 with focus at the hard infinity stop to deal with the wind-slap and focusing problems. The autofocus Zeiss Batis 18mm f/2.8 and/or 25mm f/2 with their auto aperture and autofocus would have served me far better under these conditions. But the Batis 18/2.8 arrived at my home while I was away on this trip. Next time.

Lloyd at High Alpine Lake
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The Sony A7R II has captured the entire dynamic range here, but it is devilishly hard to show the detail in the snow while still making the image look natural. Still, even to the eye, it was hard to discern detail in the very bright snowy areas. Note the tracks near center heading up the snow patch. Some daredevil tracks can be seen going across and up a couloir to the summit ridge—seems very dangerous to me (avalanches).

Ice-Out
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