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960GB SanDisk M500 SSD for $325

SanDisk had a bad quarter, and OWC scored a deal on SanDisk 960GB SSDs.

While I prefer the OWC Envoy Pro EX for travel and OWC Electra 6G 960GB, it’s darn hard to approach this SanDisk blowout price:

$325 for 960GB Crucial / Micron M500 2.5-inch SATA 6Gb/s 7mm SSD

You could, for example, put four of them into the OWC Thunderbay 4 Mini. Or install in the OWC Mercury Elite Pro Mini.

More 960GB SSD options.

Put Light Where it Looks Good

I do very little studio shooting, having a very small house and no studio. But sometimes I make the space (hey that’s not easy with 3 kids), and when I do, I almost always use a reflector with natural light, to mellow and/or direct the light into the subject. See for example, Impact Five-in-One Collapsible Reflector Kit.

For $39.95 today only, you can get a 5 X 7 foot black/white collapsible reflector at B&H. Reflectors come in a all sizes, from about a foot in diameter (useful in the field including with a flashlight at night) to huge). Backgrounds are also useful.

These images used a reflector for subtle fill light.

Tulips; Nikon D800E + Zeiss 135mm f/2 APO-Sonnar @ f/2
Tulips
Nikon D800E + Zeiss 135mm f/2 APO-Sonnar @ f/2
Nikon D800E + Zeiss 135mm f/2 APO-Sonnar @ ƒ/2
2012 Moots Vamoots RSL Titanium road racing bike, custom Di2 cable routing Ritchey seat post Selle Italia saddle Ritchey WCS 260 stem Shimano DuraAce Di2 SRM 7950 power meter crankset Chris King headset Lightweight Obermayer wheelset

Sony Kolarivision A7R.MOD: Performance with Leica 21mm f/3.4 Super-Elmar-M ASPH

See the prior posts: Sony A7R: Sensor Glass Thickness, Ray Angle and Image Degradation: Kolarivision Modification and also Modified Sony A7R Sensor Glass: Impact on Rangefinder Lens Performance.

Sony A7R

Leica 21/3.4 Super-Elmar-M ASPH

This wraps up all six lenses I tested on the KolariVision modified A7R (as per above). It seems highly likely that these six lenses properly represent the entire range of behavior from 18mm to 50mm.

See also Modifying the Sony A7R for Superior Rangefinder Lens Performance in Guide To Mirrorless.

In Guide to Leica:

Sensor Cover Glass: 21/3.4 SEM on Stock vs Modified Sony A7R (Mosaic)

Includes HD images up to 4320 pixels across the f/3.8 - f/11 aperture range as well as HD crops from both the the stock A7R and Kolarivision A7R.MOD can be easily compared. With commentary.

See similar in-depth analysis in Guide to Leica for:

What does 50 Megapixels mean vs 36 Megapixels?

See also Sony, Fix These Things and Win and On Sony.

The rumor mill is grinding along with the rumor of a ~50 megapixel Sony “A9” (realname tbd) and ~53 megapixel Canon DSLR. I’d bet that neither company will invent a better camera name, this challenge being beyond their grasp.

50 megapixels vs 36 is 1.18X the linear resolution. In other words, you can make a 42-inch wide print instead of 36-inch wide, all other things being equal, which they most definitely will not be. That’s your best case, barring some other kind of improvement.

Note that the difference between 24 and 36 megapixels is 1.22X, and that difference is noticeable but modest, and only when conditions are perfect (perfect focus, optimal aperture, no shutter vibration, minimal field curvature). And depth of field in terms of exploiting the extra resolution is not only further reduced, but micro contrast and resolution are degraded by diffraction sooner (contrast vs resolution lp/mm). Moreover, noise might be worse (or at least no better), and Sony’s already heavily processed files just cannot stand up to real world demands for post processing in all too many scenarios.

So as per Sony, Fix These Things and Win, a 50 megapixel anything needs:

  • Superior dynamic range (15 bits please), and a lossless file format with ultra high pixel quality(offer the 11+7 bit format for the masses who should be shooting iPhone anyway).
  • It’s a camera Sony, not a damned game player or gizmo. Get rid of the crapware and randomly excreted menu choices, put in proper buttons and controls, and raise Sony camera credibility above mediocre. Parts is parts. Not.
  • A zero-vibration exposure mode, e.g., no damaging Sony A7R style shutter vibration.
  • A hyper accurate focusing system. Which means forgetting about the Canon and Nikon systems; it has to be on-sensor with special detectors.
  • Sensor image stabilization ever more important as a practical matter.
  • Lenses of Zeiss Otus grade if one wants to do more than pontificate about resolution gains across the frame: no focus shift, minimal field curvature, strict control of aberrations, etc. Can you say “another 14 megapixels of the same mush?” (the case for many lenses).
  • Existing issues with ray angle will be even worse on a higher res body (in per pixel terms), so don’t get excited about Leica M lenses on a 50MP Sony.
  • Design and manufacturing tolerances have to be higher! Good luck with that. And I wish all these vendors would spare us the fantasy MTF graphs, and publish measured results from real physical lenses (like Zeiss does).

Still, oversampling has merit, and technology can fix some things and steadily improve, so 2015 could be exciting. We shall see. Now the question is whether Leica will ever update the aging M240 with its yawner of a 24MP sensor (but which makes exeptionally lovely images with the Zeiss ZM 35/1.4 Distagon). But Leica lens price escalation now puts many of them strictly out of reach and into the camera-as-jewelry realm.

Rest of January: “Everything Deal” for 0.75 Bitcoin, or Upgrade to Everything for 0.6 Bitcoin

The “everything deal” (US$249.99) for 0.75 Bitcoin.

Use coinbase.com/diglloyd.

Please send a follow-up email to indicate what was purchased.

Already a subscriber to anything? Same deal for 0.6 Bitcoin, plus all existing time on prior subscriptions will be added on, and expiration dates synced for all.

The easiest way to get Bitcoin and handle it security is to create an account at Coinbase.com. (I also very strongly suggest using two-factor authentication via Authy, which runs on your iPhone or similar). Like Paypal and banks, you have to be verified, etc. See also Bitcoin price and volume graphs.

Sony Kolarivision A7R.MOD: Performance with Leica 28mm f/2.8 Elmarit-M ASPH

See the prior posts: Sony A7R: Sensor Glass Thickness, Ray Angle and Image Degradation: Kolarivision Modification and also Modified Sony A7R Sensor Glass: Impact on Rangefinder Lens Performance.

The Leica 28mm f/2.8 Elmarit-M ASPH is a dimunitive jewel with very low distortion. But even on Sony NEX (APS-C sensor), it had its issues. But on the Kolarivision A7R.MOD it offers a nice boost in quality over an unmodified Sony A7R.

In Guide to Leica:

Sensor Cover Glass: Leica 28mm f/2.8 Elmarit-M ASPH on Stock vs Modified Sony A7R (Mosaic)

Includes HD images up to 4320 pixels across the f/2 - f/11 aperture range as well as HD crops from both the the stock A7R and Kolarivision A7R.MOD can be easily compared. With commentary.

See similar analysis for:

Feb 2015 National Geographic Magazine: “Healing Our Soldiers” — Powerful Tragic Images

The Feb 2015 National Geographic article “Healing Our Soldiers” is a powerful article. In particular, the photograph of Army Maj Jeff Hall with his family held me riveted. It is a simple image, but incredibly personal and deeply moving, heartbreaking in its emotional intensity. Being taken on home ground, it eloquently captures the personal tragedies of war, which injure far beyond the soldier. I salute the courage of that entire family in allowing the photograph to be taken and published. And I feel grateful to live in peace protected by such heroes.

CamsFormer Next Gen DSLR Tether,High Speed Trigger

What the big companies cannot or will not take on, creative folks out there are inventing all kinds of stuff. Here’s a multi-purpose camera trigger kickstarter project that can triggered by just about anything: light, sound, movement, temperature, wind or flatulence (OK, I made that last one up, but should be possible). Much more at this URL:

CamsFormer Next Gen DSLR Tether,High Speed Trigger

CamsFormer Next Gen DSLR Tether,High Speed Trigger

CamsFormer – Next Generation TimeLapse, DSLR remote, High Speed Trigger, /w Pan/Tilt/Zoom

PEMBROKE PINES, Florida-January 7, 2015-CamsFormer has launched on KickStarter, CamsFormer is the next generation in DSLR camera accessory that combines timelapse, bulb ramping, remote camera control, remote live view, high speed triggering, sensors, and pan/tilt/zoom all in one wireless device controlled from your smart phone, tablet, or computer.

CamsFormer transforms cameras into lean mean photography machines. CamsFormer is the worlds first device to combine so many features into a single compact device.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/969220052/camsformer-high-speed-triggeringwireless-camera-co

CamsFormer is currently trending on KickStarter, over 700% funded with a ship date of June 2015

CamsFormer plugs into the USB port and cable release port of your camera, and can independently connect to and trigger two other cameras and two other flashes.

CamsFormer shows a real-time live view of your cameras view finder remotely from the app on your smart device. It can wirelessly change a wide range of camera settings including ISO, White Balance, Shutter Speed, Aperture, and even adjust the camera focus remotely from the app.

While shooting, pictures taken by the camera are wirelessly uploaded saved and viewed on the app, this includes both JPG and RAW images. It has a picture buffer that allows you to shoot rapidly while pictures are queued up and uploaded in the background. CamsFormer has an infinity camera memory mode that allows you to take pictures forever without running out of camera memory.

CamsFormers built in timelapse function allows you to change camera settings during the timelapse, for example you can change the exposure after each shot to adjust for lighting conditions, bulb ramping, or even change the ISO, white balance or other settings after each shot to adjust for different conditions or for added creativity.

CamsFormer has built-in 3-axis motion control that lets you wirelessly control camera pan/tilt/zoom from the app, or use it during a timelapse or video recording. DIY to use it to control motorized sliders, or dollies, to allow sliding, panning, and tilting all at the same time.

CamsFormer has built in 4 high speed triggering channels that can independently trigger two cameras and two flashes using built in sensors for light, lightning, laser, sound, and motion. The high speed trigger uses the sensors to detect external events, which are then used to trigger your camera within microseconds, much faster than your human reflexes, helping you take more creative pictures, or to help automate or control your camera picture taking or video recording.

For example the motion sensor can be used as a wildlife camera trigger trap. It can sit and wait for hours, automatically triggering your camera to take a picture or start a video recording when it detects motion in the area, from possibly a bird, or an animal, helping you get great shots of that elusive species of tiger nobody has seen in 10 years for example.

The sound sensor can be used to trigger your camera when it detects a sound. For example it can wait for the sound of firecracker, fireworks, or any other event that generates a sound, then triggers your camera within microseconds to take pictures of events the instant it happens, like taking picture of a lightning bolt using the light sensor, or water droplets.

CamsFormer even has its own scripting programming language developed especially for photography. The scripting language lets photographers control the camera, triggering, sensors, and pan/tilt/zoom anyway they want, easily adding new features themselves that they need, simply by writing a simple script. For example a simple script can be written that takes a picture, then changes the ISO and white balance, take another picture, change the shutter speed, take another picture, pan the camera, then start a video recording for 30 seconds, then take another 5 pictures, etc. The script can read any of the sensors, and set up custom triggering scenario. Scripting allows the photographer to automate their picture taking by giving CamsFormer a set of steps they want it to do automatically. This is the only product that has this capability on the market today.

CamsFormer can be used by both professional and armature photographers, for different types of photography, such as high speed photography, sports, action, aerial, pole, architectural, real estate, commercial, landscape, studio, wild life, astronomy, stop motion, portraits, macro, HDR, even DIY for experimental photography

The CamsFormer project on kickstarter is seeking backers to help fund its production. Its campaign will end in only a couple of weeks as of this writing.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/969220052/camsformer-high-speed-triggeringwireless-camera-co

eMail: info@comp-hx.com Twitter: @CamsFormer

Lexar 2000X SDXC Card

The Lexar 2000X SDXC rocks for card download. Testing shows speeds up to 300 MB/sec using the supplied USB3 card reader (also a still very good but “slow” ~150 MB/sec in regular USB3 card reader). [when copying to fast internal SSD, the card read speed is too fast for any hard drive to keep up with].

The most reliable and fastest CompactFlash card I’ve used is the Toshiba Exceria Pro—not one glitch ever.

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

Sony Kolarivision A7R.MOD: Performance with Zeiss ZM 21mm f/4.5 C-Biogon (a worst case)

See the prior posts: Sony A7R: Sensor Glass Thickness, Ray Angle and Image Degradation: Kolarivision Modification and also Modified Sony A7R Sensor Glass: Impact on Rangefinder Lens Performance.

The Zeiss ZM 21/4.5 C-Biogon is a worst-case lens for digital sensors: its 44.4° chief ray angle is the least friendly to a digital sensor of all the Zeiss ZM lenses; even on the Leica M bodies its color shading is problematic.

In Guide to Leica:

Sensor Cover Glass: Zeiss ZM 21/4.5 C-Biogon on Stock vs Modified Sony A7R (Mosaic)

Includes HD images up to 4320 pixels across the f/2 - f/11 aperture range as well as HD crops from both the the stock A7R and Kolarivision A7R.MOD can be easily compared. With commentary.

See similar analysis for:

Sony Kolarivision A7R.MOD: Performance with Leica 50mm f/2 APO-Summicron-M ASPH

See the prior posts: Sony A7R: Sensor Glass Thickness, Ray Angle and Image Degradation: Kolarivision Modification and also Modified Sony A7R Sensor Glass: Impact on Rangefinder Lens Performance.

This 2-way comparison demolishes the idea that a 50mm rangefinder lens is free from the damaging effects of ray angle, a fact sshown 9 months ago in the 50/2 APO mosaic aperture series. But the A7R.MOD versus stock A7R can leave no doubt.

In Guide to Leica:

Sensor Cover Glass: 50/2 APO-Summicron-M on Stock vs Modified Sony A7R (Mosaic)

Includes HD images up to 4320 pixels across the f/2 - f/11 aperture range as well as HD crops from both the the stock A7R and Kolarivision A7R.MOD can be easily compared. With commentary.

See similar analysis for:

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