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Nikon AF-S 105mm f/1.4E ED: Best f/1.4 Lens *Ever* from Nikon, Examples

See my Nikon wish list and other wish lists at B&H Photo.

 
Nikon AF-S 105mm f/1.4E ED

The Nikon AF-S 105mm f/1.4E is surely the best-corrected f/1.4 lens that Nikon has ever produced, and by no small margin. If Leica produced this lens, everyone would rave about it and pay 3X the price—but it’s a stop faster than anything Leica has in this range.

I think the examples speak for themselves: supreme sharpness, velvety smooth bokeh rivaling the very best lens in its range:

Nikon AF-S 105mm f/1.4E ED Examples: Initial Evaluation, Backyard and Misc

These examples were chosen to challenge the lens. Instead, I was stunned with not just the technical performance, but the jaw-dropping beauty of the images. Image sizes up to 28 megapixels, with crops.

Don’t blame me if your wallet suffers: the about $2195 Nikon AF-S 105mm f/1.4E ED is worth every penny for what it delivers. This is the first Nikon lens in years that I have lusted over.

 
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MacPerformanceGuide.com

Off Topic: Gambrel & Co Craft butchery for Sustainable Meats

Outstanding meat, at least the two grass-fed cuts I ate: bavette steak and tri-tip—and I don’t usually care for tri-tip that much. I can’ take credit for finding it—my wife did that.

It’s a small shop, where the owner takes pride in his offerings.

http://gambrelandco.com in Redwood City, CA.

See the Gambrel & Co blog.

Gambrel & Co Craft butchery for Sustainable Meats

ISO Shootout: Canon 5D Mark IV vs Canon 5DS R (Dolls)

See my Canon wish list and other wish lists at B&H Photo.

The about $3499 Canon 5D Mark IV is just out and this is my first formal look at it.

No doubt it will delight some shooters for its somewhat higher resolution over the Canon 5D Mark II and especially for its dual-pixel autofocus chops, but just how well does it do on noise compared to the Canon 5DS R?

Canon 5D Mark IV ISO Series from 100 to 25600 vs Canon 5DS R (Dolls)

Very large crops are shown from ISO 100 to ISO 12800 (and ISO 50 for the 5DSR and ISO 25600 for the 5DM4).

For comparison purposes, the Canon 5DS R is includes twice: dowsampled to 5D Mark IV resolution, and also at native resolution. This study is really useful I think, because of the relative comparison with the 5DS R.

 
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September/October Photo Tour on Focus Stacking (or Other Things), Yosemite Area

See my in-depth coverage of focus stacking in MSI and/or my Depth of Field Challenges: Bypass the Limits with Focus Stacking, Near or Far, Macro or Landscape.

For late September and early October I’m offering 1 or 2 day outings concentrating on focus stacking (or other things), including how to best shoot for a “stack” and how to process the images after shooting. We’ll spend part of the day shooting, and part of the day processing. A laptop is not essential as I will have mine along, but bringing your own is the best way to learn. I recommend 2 days because that allows a day for feedback and learning, and then a 2nd day for trying more.

Dates are flexible, but in the range of Sept 27 - Oct 7, when I’ll be in the high country of Yosemite and/or the ancient Bristlecone Pine area of the White Mountains. Group size kept to 1 or 2 people—this is a one on one. Cost is $800 per day, or $600 per day per person for a 2 person arrangement. More info on photo tours. Contact Lloyd.

The composition benefits from having everything sharp near to far. At f/9, there are two unpalatable options: either the tree is badly blurred with focus in the distance, or the tree is sharp with blurred background: the range is too great for to achieve sharpness by stopping down. Stopping down to f/13 would only make a less blurred image, not a sharp one. In the full-res stacked image at actual pixels, a diamond-shaped road sign with a dark symbol inside it can be seen on the road far below along Tuolumne Meadows. View at 50% of actual pixels and see the actual pixels crops.

Pine Growing in Solid Granite, Pothole Dome
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iOS 10 Supports Color Spaces

Color gamut is going mainstream!

My workhorse display, the NEC PA302W, still has the best gamut and neutral grayscale out there.

Bill C writes:

I’m one of your subscribers, and I’d like to let you know that Safari on iOS 10 is now colorspace-aware. I checked Safari on my iPhone 7 running iOS 10.0.1 against some of your web pages and some at other sites, and all the results showed that it was paying attention to embedded profiles. The pages I checked were:

Web Browser Display of Image Color: Color Space and Gamut

Web Browser Color Display

https://chromachecker.com/info/en/page/webbrowser

http://petapixel.com/2012/06/25/is-your-browser-color-managed/

Not surprisingly, my iPad Air 2, also running iOS 10.0.1, passed too.

As a control, I viewed those pages on an iPhone 5s running iOS 8.1.2, and it clearly failed all of them.

As for display gamut, the iPhone 7 exhibited a larger gamut than that of the iPad Air 2 and of my mid-2014 15” Retina MacBook Pro.

Wide Gamut Displays and Calibration

Color Gamut Example: Green Shirt in Sunlight

Installing the DCI-P3 Color Profile for Use with Photoshop / Lightroom

In the photo of the “NEXT SERVICES” sign on the first of those three pages, the “DIGLLOYD.com” was dimly visible on the iPhone 7 (I recall it being plainly visible on my NEC LCD2690W2). It’s not at all visible on the iPad Air 2 or on the MacBook Pro. It’s slightly more visible on the iPhone 5s / iOS 8.1.2, but that’s no doubt due to the lack of colorspace awareness, and indeed the road sign is distinctly purple rather than blue on that device.

In the green shirt photos, the iPhone 7 shows a clearly richer green in the ProPhotoRGB and AdobeRGB variants (these two appeared the same) than in the sRGB variant. On the MacBook Pro and the iPad Air 2 (I didn’t check on the iPhone 5s), all three variants show the same washed-out sRGB-ish green.

On the last page, the photo of the Golden Trout isn’t strikingly different between the iPhone 7 and the MacBook Pro or iPad Air 2. The iPhone 7 might have some more saturation in the reds, but I’d want to do a careful adjustment of luminances before saying that for certain.

...

Apple has also fixed how Safari on OS X handles untagged images (those without an embedded color space). Checking your article:

Web browser color display, Untagged Images

On my late-2009 27” iMac (OS X 10.11.6, Safari 10.0) with an NEC LCD2690W2, I see no differences between the tagged and untagged sRGB images, on either the built-in display or the NEC display. The NEC does show differences (the built-in shows them only slightly) between the tagged ProPhotoRGB and the tagged sRGB versions of those images in your article:

Web Browser Display of Image Color: Color Space and Gamut

so I’d expect that improper handling of untagged sRGB would be apparent on the NEC.

DIGLLOYD: this is awesome news. Now the images I present will have the right color, even if iOS still mangles them by resampling (TBD).

Mouse over to compare; if a web browser manages color, the images will look the same.

Bill C continues:

I’ve done some examination of the metadata in photos shot by the iPhone 7 / iOS 10, using both the native Camera app and the ProCamera third-party app. The native app doesn’t offer raw shooting (yet), but ProCamera does take advantage of the new API. When set to shoot raw, ProCamera records both a DNG file and a rendered file in your choice of JPEG, TIFF uncompressed, or TIFF LZW, saving both in the normal iOS photo albums.

Using the third-party PhotoSync app to send some photos from the 7 to my MacBook Pro and running exiftool (http://www.sno.phy.queensu.ca/~phil/exiftool/) on them, I see that JPEGs from the native camera app and from ProCamera are tagged as “Display P3,” which I take to mean DCI-P3. The DNGs from ProCamera do not have an embedded profile (makes sense).

And, I’m happy to see that transport via Apple’s iCloud Photo Library leaves the JPEGs’ embedded profiles intact (at least for the P3 profile) according to exiftool. I tested with photos shot on the iPhone 7, which then showed up on my iPad Air 2 (iOS 10.0.1) via iCloud Photo Library, and then sent by PhotoSync from the iPad to my MacBook Pro. In fact, the Mac’s (UNIX) ‘diff’ and ‘cmp’ commands show that the versions sent to the MacBook directly from the iPhone and via the iPad are bit-for-bit identical.

Apple is being quite civilized about color management!

DIGLLOYD: more good news! I don’t know what ProCamera is as yet, but I assume it is this app.

OWC Thunderbolt 2 Dock
Review of Thunderbolt 2 Dock

Canon 5D Mark IV: Adobe Does Not Support Dual Pixel RAW

 
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

See my wish lists at B&H Photo including my Canon wish list.

Adobe Camera Raw 9.7 now supports the Canon 5D Mark IV raw files, but NOT the dual pixel raw format.

In Limitations with Canon Dual Pixel raw files in Camera Raw and Lightroom, Adobe provides a ridiculous confusing mess of an explanation that just leaves me scratching my head:

Adobe Camera Raw and Adobe Photoshop Lightroom offer standard support for all Canon 5D Mark IV CR2 files. Please note that Canon’s Digital Photo Professional software is required for users that want to take advantage of Canon’s new Dual Pixel raw adjustments.

Note: Canon CR2 files generated with Dual Pixel raw enabled require that the “Embed Original Raw File” option be checked when converting to DNG. For this reason, converting to DNG on Import in Lightroom is disabled for Canon Dual Pixel Raw files.
Use Canon Digital Photo Professional with Adobe Camera Raw or Lightroom

  1. Open the Dual Pixel raw CR2 file in Canon Digital Photo Professional.
  2. Adjust the image using the specific Dual Pixel raw functionality.
  3. Adjust the white balance.
  4. Create a TIFF file with your adjustments.
  5. You can now import or open the resulting TIFF file in Adobe Camera Raw or Lightroom

Translation:

  • I have confirmed that a Canon 5DM4 dual pixel raw file can be opened in Photoshop/ACR, but that there is no support for the dual pixel layer.
  • When importing into Lightroom, dual pixel raw files will go as-is (not converted to DNG), which is my recommended/preferred way to operate anyway.
Which Mac? Storage, Backup, RAID? Color Management?
✓ diglloyd consulting starts you out on solid footing.

Reader Comments: Leica S System Promises

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

NEW! the Leica 50mm f/1.4 Summilux-SL ASPH is available for pre-order.

See my review of the Leica S system.

Reader Bob H from the UK asked me to publish the letter that follows

Hot on the heels of Photokina, I decided it time to write the attached “Open Letter” to Leica and wonder if you would be interested in publishing it given that they appear to be on the brink of complete annihilation by the likes of Fujifilm and about to abandon the S system much as they did in 2009 to the R system?

The S Typ 007 was introduced at Photokina 2014 and there has been no new hardware since then. I took delivery of mine in the second half of 2015 but it was rolled out as the new, cutting edge Leica product at Photokina in September 2014. I suspect the delay in actual release was because it was not the "real deal" at the time of Photokina 2014 and needed further testing and refining despite images of it and images taken by it were on display at Photokina 2014.

My “beef” is that Leica has not carried out what they said they would do 8 years ago when the system was launched and make it a true “system” camera with the lenses mentioned.
They appear to be doing what they did with the R system in 2009.

Here is the letter:

An Open Letter to Leica [by Bob Hamilton]

Dear Leica,

It’s no coincidence that I compose this letter to you hot on the heels of a disappointing Photokina, itself the culmination of an increasingly bemusing and frustrating period of years as a Leica S system owner.

I have been a user and lover of Leica imaging equipment for many years and moved to the “Pro Format” S system following a period of ownership of a Hasselblad H3D-50 and H4D-50 system remarkable only for the fragility of the equipment which, despite being cared for lovingly and treated with kid gloves, refused repeatedly to function – usually, as per Murphy’s Law, at the most inopportune moment when a memorable image was developing in front of my eyes. A series of such events, in late 2010 and early 2011, along with the “promise” made by Leica at the S system’s launch at Photokina 2008, of the development of the system to truly make it a “system”, persuaded me that a move to a system which was much more robust and suited to my needs would be the best way forward and, at no small cost, I sold off my Hasselblad system of digital camera and 7 lenses and purchased an S2 along with the 35mm, 70mm, 120mm macro and 180mm lenses.  The 30mm soon followed and, when the 30-90mm zoom lens, which had been on the advertised development list since 2008, became available in December 2012, I acquired it and sold off my 30mm and 35mm lenses. Two further lenses were acquired as soon as they became available – the 24mm and the 120mm PC – and the S2 body was replaced by the S Typ 006 and S Typ 007 as soon as they became available, both of which I still own.

And that’s where this story ends or, should I say, the kernel of my increasing frustration grows into something which has made me pen this letter.

Since Photokina 2014, other than the occasional firmware update, most of which I would describe as essentially “cosmetic” and akin to “moving the deck chairs around the Titanic”, the S system has seen no development at all while it would appear that the lion’s share of the R&D budget has gone towards developing the new kid on the block – the SL system - which is in grave danger, after, in Leica terms, a “mere” 2 years or so of life since its announcement in October 2015, of becoming a true “system” with a raft of lenses covering the needs of most amateur and professional users.

To put it bluntly, Leica made “promises” at the S system’s launch in September 2008 which have not been kept and, in doing so, lured loyal, long-term customers into a system which appears, ultimately, to have gone only part of the way to meeting those “promises” and their customers’ needs. I wonder how many S system owners bought into the system, as I did, on the back of the September 2008 promise of lenses such as a 30mm tilt and shift and a 350mm telephoto, the promise of which even included serial numbers in the images of the lenses published at the time. Needless to say, neither of these lenses has been forthcoming and no further mention has been made of them. My (several) pleas made over the last couple of years to Leica UK and Germany to, at the very least, produce an APO tele-converter matched to the superb 180mm lens, to give S owners access to a native focal length longer than the current maximum of 145mm full frame equivalent, have fallen on deaf ears.

Come on Leica, treat your loyal S customers fairly and either advise them honestly that the S system is no longer central to the corporate strategy and has entered its “end of life phase” or do as other manufacturers, such as Fuji, do and give us a road map of system development which you intend to honour.

Yours sincerely,
Bob Hamilton

DIGLLOYD: I have more severe gripes of how Leica has dead-ended my M240, offering no useful firmware updates, no improved EVF and the system is wedged at 24 megapixels . I have no idea of whether the M system is history or not and I don’t see the modernized SL as a suitable platform.

The M system was the biggest investment in camera gear I ever made. As Leica rapidly devalued my investment with lens discounts lasting over a year and failed to offer any value over several years, I began to feel that I had bought into a dead system, all while Leica produces boutique special run editions for collectors along with assorted trinkets, ignoring the M system (and S system, where is the mirrorless S?).

The extreme prices that Leica charges represent poor value, both in the immediate term and in the long term committment to maintaining system viability and value.

Gary M writes:

First, the S System will get a lot of pressure over the next year. With the continuing sales of the Pentax 645, the new Hasselblad X1 and maybe something from Fuji (showing a mule and selling a product are two different things… Fuji has their work cut out). The next year will be a make or break year for the S System. At the very least, Leica will need to update the sensor size to stay competitive. And a few f4 lenses to shave some weight would be nice.

Next, I was dismayed at the SL lens road map. Not until sometime in 2018 will a 35mm f2 lens become available?!? Leica has been making lenses for 100 years… even for a small boutique operation such as Leica you’d think they would have the lens thing more or less down by now. The SL lens road map was nice, but four lenses over nearly 2 years does not make a professional system… it makes a tiny little camera family, NOT a system (think Canon EOS M or Nikon 1)!

Finally, you will NEVER have an updated, higher resolution EVF for the M240. First and foremost, I was told (and also saw this in print) that the processor in the M240 could not handle the throughput of the little EVF that was produced for the now discontinued T. The M240 would have to have an updated processor (the Maestro II) to work with the T, EVF. At that point, it would be a new camera (M250?). My beef with the M240 (and it’s derivatives) is that at the very least, the optical viewfinder should have a diopter adjustment and maybe a built-in magnifier (the focus patch is pathetically small). Currently it has nothing. I don’t think that would be too much to ask (Leica has the whole Oskar Barnack mojo going and if Oskar did not need a diopter adjustment, then neither do you).

Overall, after reading the press releases from most of the exhibitors (Fuji, Olympus, etc.), I find the 2016 version of this show underwhelming. I guess the demise of the point and shoot and is cheap and easy revenue and the rise of the cell/mobile phone has really cut into revenue so much that there is little money left (once salaries are paid and earthquake damage repaired) for any company to do big stuff.

DIGLLOYD: the SL lenses have to be all-new designs with AF, so there is real R&D cost there and Leica is probably trying to spread out the costs.

The truth about the M240 is that a higher-res EVF is possible, but would probably be something like 15 fps (I got this directly from an engineer over at Leica some time ago). So it's a misleading statement from Leica to say it’s not possible. 15 fps would be just fine with me, but Leica's attitude is that if it can't be 30 fps, it's not worth doing. Leica is clueless about the needs of eyes over 40 years old, a subject near and dear to my decade-older than that eyes.

Photokina: two mirrorless medium format cameras with 9 total lenses between them sounds pretty good to me. Some good Sigma lenses, a Loxia 85/2.4, one all-new Zeiss Milvus 18/2.8 — there is a fair amount of good stuff. Presumably Sony was delayed in some announcements by the factory earthquake last spring.

Reader Comments: Really Right Stuff TFA-01 Ultra, Gimbal Head

 
Right Stuff TFA-01 Ultra Pocket Pod

See my discussion of the Really Right Stuff TFA-01 Ultra Pocket Pod.

Roy P writes:

BTW, after dragging my butt for a year on the Really Right Stuff TFA-01 mini tripod, I finally decided to get one. I hated the fact that it just splayed open to ground level, so I also bought the MTX Multi Tool that I thought I could use as a stem to raise the tripod. The MTX Multi Tool is handy and useful, but I still disliked the TFA-01.

Then as soon as I got back from Kenya, I saw you mentioned the Really Right Stuff TFA-01 Ultra Pocket Pod. I instantly called RRS. I was a tad over my 30-day return window, but they agreed to let me send back my TFA-01 and get the ultra for $22 more. The Ultra just arrived, and I love it! There are a lot of different ways I could use it.

Also, before my Kenya trip, I got the RRS PG-02 LR Pano-Gimbal head with the Really Right Stuff B2-LR-II clamp. This is exceptionally good, and it worked wonderfully well. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in wildlife photography.

What is really great about this gimbal head is, it has a slot at the top that you can plug a camera like a Sony RX10M3 that you can use to take 4K video, while you’re shooting stills with your Canon 1DX or Nikon D5 and some Ubertelelenz. I highly recommend this to anyone interested in safari / wildlife, both still and video. See the image below that shows the setup, from the RRS site. As you know, it is REALLY hard to switch from still to video in real time, or use the same camera for both still and video. This gimbal head is a terrific solution.

Last, but not least, I also highly recommend the RRS Multi Clamp, either with the flat surface adapter. If you NEVER, ever used it, it’s still worth getting it for the sheer enjoyment of how brilliantly this thing has been designed and engineered, a testament to human creativity!

DIGLLOYD: yup, the about $221 Really Right Stuff TFA-01 with BC-18 head is excellent. There are other variants available with different tripod heads or no head at all.

I prefer the screw-knob clamps for my work, particularly in cold weather, such as the Really Right Stuff B2-Pro-II. But each type has its pluses.

 
Really Right Stuff PG-02 LR: Pano-Gimbal Head w/ B2-LR-II

Fujifilm GFX 50S: Reader Comments/Questions

Get Hasselblad X1D and Fujifilm GFX at B&H Photo.

I’ll post an update when B&H has a price for the GFX—thank you for ordering using my links at B&H when buying—NOT email notification from B&H—so I get credit.

See yesterday’s posts Thoughts on the Fujifilm GFX 50S and Fujifilm GFX 50S Disrupts the Medium Format (and 35mm) Marketplace.

Michael E writes:

Excuse my ignorance, but will this new camera take Nikon-mount lenses?

DIGLLOYD: potentially, once lens adapters exist. The flange focal distance between the Fujifilm GFX and Nikon F lenses is:

46.5 - 26.7 = 19.8mm

In other words, a lens adapter has 19.8mm off width between lens and camera. This should be ample thought it won’t easily allow a tripod foot for big/heavy lenses.

Image circle on some lenses is big enough to deliver beyond between 35mm full frame, but with extreme corner vignetting (in most cases) on the larger GFX sensor. However, since macro lenses (some) might produce a much larger image circle at close range, macro work holds better potential, at least for lenses that don’t play focal-length-shortening tricks, e.g. the Zeiss Milvus 50/2M, Zeiss Milvus 100/2M and Zeiss Milvus 135/2 APO (goes to 1:4). Possibly the Otus lenses also project a larger image circle at MOD.

The Fujifilm GFX has a focal plane shutter (EFC shutter unknown as yet), so anything that can be attached can be shot. By comparison, the Hasselblad X1D has no focal plane shutter, relying entirely on the leaf shutters in the lenses, so it cannot do any DSLR or medium format lenses, excepting lenses with manual Copal shutters or similar, and it is unclear how to do such an exposure except in bulb mode or long exposure, even if the lens can be mounted (and ray angle issues are not a problem).

Roy P writes:

Does it look like a Leica S lens adapter could be built for the Fuji?!

DIGLLOYD: I’m unsure of the flange focal distance, but it surely is much greater than for Nikon, so there should be ample space to build an adapter, which would have to be electronic to be able to control aperture and/or CS lenses.

Knut writes:

I'm extremely excited about using the Otus lenses on the new Fujifilm GFX. The 1,4/ 85mm as well as the Zeiss 2,0/135 may well nearly cover 33x44mm.

There is no perceivable technical limitation for the Fuji (it will not work with the Hasselblad due to the lack of an in body shutter).

DIGLLOYD: extreme dark corners at infinity focus, but yes, they may fully cover the sensor approaching MOD (minimum object distance).

Glenn K writes:

While I share your excitement about this camera, I can't help but wonder if it will really produce images that are enough better than a FF Sony sensor behind Zeiss glass to justify a likely 2x price, particularly if Sony delivers a 50+ MP sensor with lossless compression. It will be interesting to see.

DIGLLOYD: I also wonder. There is a good chance that the Pentax K1 SuperRes pixel shift mode will outperform both the Hasselblad X1D and Fujifilm GFX (in the limited conditions in which SuperRes mode can be used). But outstanding lenses for the Pentax K1 are a serious handicap—there are none, barring conversion or certain discontinued Zeiss ones.

Compression: Sony has had lossless compression since October 2015. It doesn’t matter for much vs lossless, only in extreme conditions where Sony 11+7 lossy compression can’t handle the jump in value.

With Sony, the pixel quality is “cooked” — clearly pre-processed. As one example of evidence for this (aside from what my eyes tell me), Sony A7R II images cannot take anywhere near the sharpening of a D810 file without rapidly breaking down into an ugly mess. I think there is far more going on with image quality than compression or nominal bits per pixel or whatever.

With a little luck the Hasselblad X1D will show up in 10 days or so and I can see for myself in the field. Let’s just see what medium format mirrorless can deliver.

Michael Earlewine writes:

Any idea what size photosite are in the new Fujifilm GFX 50S sensor? Looks interesting. I am still getting the new X1D.

It looks like we will see a flurry of 50mpx sensors in the near future. If only Nikon would give me one, so I can use all my lenses.

I am willing to try the X1D, which I can always return. Right now, what I need is 50 Mpx and some stability. I returned the A7RII, the K1, and am selling off the Novoflex (poorly-designed) bellows, both the CASTBAL and the BALPRO. What were they thinking?

The Cambo Actus Miniv View Camera is great, and the Rollei X-Act 2 is huge, but works.

The inaction of CaNikon has forced me out of the mainstream and I find myself in a little eddy or sidebar to the industry, as mentioned, looking for a little stability and a chance to shoot some photos instead of endlessly testing these things out. Or is the whole industry imploding?

DIGLLOYD: the photosite size in the Hasselblad X1D and Fujifilm GFX are identical, about 5.3 microns. The fact that two new medium format mirrorless cameras says to me that the industry still sees there are risks worth taking. CaNikon are conservate committee-drive companies lacking entirely in leadership, hence kudos to Sigma. But the basic problem is that real innovation is happening in the 3rd-tier players (Pentax, Hasselblad, Fujifilm) while CaNikon explore dark recesses with their thumbs.

An interesting comment: “out of the mainstream”. The 35mm DSLR has absolutely come to a dead-end in innovation. Hence the interest in Sony mirrorless and medium format.

Our trusted photo rental store

Pentax to Add EFC Shutter to Pentax K1 for Single Exposures via Firmware Update

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

See my in-depth review of the Pentax K1.

A key disappointment with the Pentax K1 when I reviewed it back in June was the lack of an EFC shutter, which causes loss of sharpness with telephoto lenses.

While the K1 always has utilized an EFC shutter in SuperRes pixel shift mode, that was the only case in which it did so, which was a bizarre and ill-considered design choice given the potential for loss of sharpness with telephoto lenses.

The 2016-09-20 Ricoh Imaging (Pentax) press release states that EFC shutter for single exposures will become available soon via a firmware update.

Release of the function expand Firmware version 1.30 for PENTAX K-1

RICOH IMAGING COMPANY, LTD. is pleased to announce the release of the function expanding Firmware version 1.30 for PENTAX K-1 digital SLR camera (launched on April, 2016) on September 29, 2016.

The function expand firmware is to add new function or increase number of setting for currently used PENTAX K-1 camera, so that improve the function, easy handling and update to the latest function.
You can download the free function expand firmware at the official website.

Enhanced functions (PENTAX K-1 V1.30)
Release date : September 29, 2016

*The Electronic Shutter at Live View mode
The Electronic Shutter can be selected at the Menu to reduce camera shake from the mechanical shutter when shooting with Live View mode.

*Add the [1:1] format at the Crop mode
Added and selectable [Square format (1:1)] size at the Crop mode.

*Add [2 frames bracketing] for the [AA Filter Simulator bracketing]
Addition to the current [3 frames bracketing (OFF, TYPE1, TYPE2)], the [2 frames bracketing (OFF, TYPE2)] is added and selectable for the [AA Filter Simulator bracketing]

*Smart Function
At the [BKT] setting, the bracketing range [±0 (=single frame)] can be selected.

[Others]
*Improved stability for general performance.

Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II: Major Improvements and New Features

See my Micro 4/3 wish list at B&H Photo.

 
Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II

See my commentary on frame rate and autofocus for the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II.

There are too many improvements over the E-M1 to go over in detail; Olympus looks to have improved just about everything.

  • 20.4 Megapixel Live MOS with ProcessorTruePic™ VIII Dual Quad Core Processor
  • 50 megapixel High-Res shot mode (sensor shift based) combines 8 shots for a single high-res image.
  • Dual F.A.S.T. AF (Contrast & Phase Detection AF) 121 Point (All Cross Type) On-Chip Phase Detection
  • 5-Axis In Body Image Stabilization
  • 2.36M dot LCD Electronic Viewfinder, 3.0" Vari-Angle Touch LCD
  • 12-bit lossless-comressed RAW, JPEG, RAW+JPEG
  • Dust, Splash and Freezeproof
  • 15fps [H] mode 10fps [L] mode mechanical shutter +
    60fps [H] mode 18fps [L] mode silent electronic shutter
  • Bundled FL-LM3 flash (dust & splash-proof)
  • 4K (3840x2160) and C4K (4096x2160) video capture with a max bit rate of up to 237 Mbps is ideal for video production
  • Lag-Free Electronic Shutter Mode, In-camera Focus Stacking, Dual SD Card Slots
  • Metal body is hermetically sealed to be splashproof, dustproof, and freezeproof down to 14°F (-10°C)
  • The new high-capacity Li-Ion battery enables more shots on single charge, significantly less charging time.
  • Dual card slots.

I’ve always enjoyed shooting the E-M1 but lacking high-res pixel shift mode and 4K video, I had shot it little in the past two years. But the E-M1 Mark II offers new incentive with its 4K video and excellent image stabilization; see my mountain bike videos with the E-M1 to get an idea of how I might use it for video.

MacPerformanceGuide.com

Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II: Sport Shooter’s Dream?

See my Micro 4/3 wish list at B&H Photo.

Back in February I wrote about the Sony A6300 autofocus as while perhaps not being viable for sports shooters yet:

This is not just a warning shot across the bow to CaNikon, it’s a laser-drilled hole just above waterline: the technology pieces could come together within a year to blow CaNikon out of the water even in their prized sports-shooter market

I got some push-back on the focus tracking front (because of phase and contrast detect autofocus differences), which I largely agreed with, but I was talking about the writing on the wall, not a specific camera that has come and yawn more or less.

So how about sixty (60) frames per second for sports shooting? Or a “slow” 18 fps with AF tracking? With both phase and contrast-detect AF, thus neatly sidestepping the DSLR AF advantage, at least in theory?

Along comes the $TBD Olympus E-M1 Mark II with some nifty claims that no DSLR can even remotely approach. Could this shake up the sports-shooter market? It seems to me that if the focus tracking works as claimed, the image that gets the “big sale” is the one that gets exactly the right moment. From my novice (sports shooter) point of view, that seems game changing, that is, something that might make CaNikon break into a cold sweat because this isn’t the final story—it will only get better, and in favor of mirrorless.

THE WORLD’S FASTEST*

*Sequential shooting speed as of 9/2016, using the E-M1 Mark II electronic shutter in S-AF Mode.

Experience sequential shooting speeds that far surpass those of DSLR cameras. Using its advanced silent electronic shutter, the E-M1 Mark II captures 20 MP RAW image files at up to an astonishing 60 fps in S-AF Mode and 18 fps in C-AF Tracking Mode. Or, use the E-M1 Mark II’s high-speed mechanical shutter to shoot full resolution photos at a blazing 15 fps in S-AF Mode, far surpassing other cameras in its class. Thanks to cutting-edge processing speeds, even fast-moving subjects are captured in stunning detail.

LAG-FREE PHOTOGRAPHY

Capturing precise moments often proves to be difficult, especially when your subject is in motion. The E-M1 Mark II’s Pro Capture Mode ensures that you catch the exact moment you want without any lag. Pro Capture starts taking and buffering a running series of full resolution JPEG / RAW images as soon as you press the shutter release button halfway. Fully press the shutter button to instantly record an image plus up to 14 previous frames. Keep the shutter button fully depressed to continue shooting. With Pro Capture’s silent electronic shutter and high speed sequential shooting, you’ll capture once-in-a-lifetime images in no time.

AF SPEED & ACCURACY LIKE NEVER BEFORE

The high-speed autofocus built into the E-M1 Mark II captures split-second moments with precision and ease. Its Dual FAST AF system boasts an outstanding 121 points of On-Chip Phase Detection plus Contrast Detection AF. Every point of On-Chip Phase Detection is cross-type, facilitating detection of vertical and horizontal lines for superior accuracy. Four AF Target Modes – All Point, Single Point, 9-Point Group, and 5-Point Cross – can be easily switched with a single button press. Plus, the new Subject Tracking Cluster Display lets you easily focus on moving subjects using the camera’s C-AF Tracking.

Roy P has thoughts on the Olympus E-M1 Mark II, Sony RX10, Canon:

Unfortunately, they sat on their butts for 3+ years. There was no excuse for Olympus to not come out with a MFT camera for sports photographers, even with less capabilities. The 300mm f/4 and the Leicasonic 100-400mm f/4-6.3 could have been leveraged to provide a very useful solution.

In spite of this, ultimately, I think the lenses will drive the use cases. I just got back from 11 days in Kenya. The Canon 200-400 with the internal 1.4x was indispensable. It’s so dusty out there that you really don’t want any lens that doesn’t have internal zoom.

Also, at higher shutter speeds, the ISO climbs up very quickly. Even in reasonable light, if you have animals in shade, you end up frequently shooting at ISO 3200-6400 at f/4 or f/5.6. You really need a FF sensor.

The MFT should be a fun camera for birds in flight in good lighting, and it could be good for sports in very good light. But I’m not sure it can be a general purpose action / sports solution.

The Sony A99 is supposed to be for sports / action photography that has both a high RAW frame rate, but also has no buffer size limits. Problem is, Sony has no long lenses, but they could quickly and trivially modify their A-mount lenses to E-mount by just extending the lenses and putting on an E mount. Maybe we will see E-mount 300mm f/2.8, 400mm f/2.8, 70-400mm f/4.5-5.6, 500mm f/4, etc.

I think all this will finally get Canon and Nikon to jettison the DSLR and go 100% mirrorless. I suspect the 1DX-III and D6 will both be mirrorless. The new Hassleblad MF is mirrorless. I think Leica is quietly putting the M line on a “Living Dead” track, and transitioning to mirrorless. Maybe the next S body will be a 60 or 80 MP mirrorless, too – if only Leica can find someone who can build a sensor for them!

At any rate, my vision for the world is, in 2-3 years, there will be only mirrorless cameras, and it would be no longer even necessary to use the mirrorless adjective – it will be just cameras. So the decision will again become a matter of lenses and use cases!

...

For my Kenya trip, I took my Canon 1DX-II, 5DS R, Sony A7R-II and RX10-III. A couple of months ago, I made a trip to Svalbard / Arctic, and I had taken the same gear on that trip as well.

To my surprise, on both trips, I ended up using the Sony RX10-III a great deal more than I had expected. In good lighting, the 1” stacked CMOS sensor with the Zeiss lens delivers an IQ that comes very close to any high end DSLR. Its AF acquisition for moving subjects is nowhere near a Canon 5DS R or 1DX-II, but for static subjects, the RX10-III performs surprisingly well, considering its tiny sensor

The body of the RX10-III is nearly the size of a DSLR. I can easily see Sony adding a little more beef to the build of this camera, perhaps stick a bigger or two batteries into it, and with more electronics, make this a competent sports / action camera. It has a 24-600mm equivalent reach, which is very handy.

Sony also has a popular APS-C camera in the A6300, and of course, a range of FF cameras. Fuji also has an APS-C camera. So one of the problems for the MTF format is, it’s getting squeezed from below by the 1” format below (Sony RX10-III, RX100-IV), and APS-C from above (Sony A6300, Fuji). It’s a tough spot to be in.

Olympus as a company also had financial and accounting troubles that it is still struggling with. In the meantime, Panasonic, which has a lot of resources, has not really been aggressive with its MFT system, apart from introducing the Leica 100-400 a year ago. The Panaxonic Lumix LM-100 is a brilliant camera, but they have just let it languish at 12MP for 4+ years now. If Panasonic puts out a 20MP version of the LX100, I’d buy one in a heartbeat. But they have not done anything new or exciting on the MFT front, which is a red flag.

So those are some concerns for anyone considering making a bet on the Micro Four Thirds… I don’t know where this format going, long term.

DIGLLOYD: I would say that the Olympus E-M1 Mark II deserves a chance at this game and may perform better than expected on the noise front, etc.

SSD Upgrade for MacBook Pro Retina

Thoughts on the Fujifilm GFX 50S

Get Hasselblad X1D and Fujifilm GFX at B&H Photo. See my Fujifilm GFX wish list, to be fleshed out as the product line becomes available for ordering.

B&H does not yet list a price for the Fujifilm GFX. I’ll post an update when available—please order using my links at B&H when buying—NOT email notification from B&H—so I get credit.

Fujifilm has a microsite for the Fujifilm GFX.

I covered the Fujifilm GFX in detail in an earlier post today. More thoughts here.

First, I would not be a buyer of the Hasselblad X1D at this point in time. It could turn out to be the better performer (doubtful but possible), but unless you have to have one now, it makes a lot of sense to see what Fujifilm delivers. I will be reviewing both cameras in detail of course.

Second, I see the Fujifilm GFX 50S as the camera I’ve been waiting for. Years of CaNikon stagnation and failure to innovate in any real way have left me and many of my readers at best irritated with CaNikon. And many have said the heck with it and moved to Sony with all the negatives there (many positives too, but at present Sony still is a flawed system). Basically, if I’m going to shoot mirrorless, the Fujifilm GFX looks awesome, and coupling it with something like the Olympus E-M1 Mark II may well cover all the mainstream bases. It certainly would for me—the only sports I do are my daughters running cross country and even the E-M1 works great for that. Still, I’ll carve out a blanket exception for sports and wildlife, where 35mm DSLRs (and sometimes APS-C) still ‘rock’.

 
Fujifilm GF 23mm f/4 R LM WR

Unless something changes in the CaNikon DSLR market (resolution, EVF, dropping the bulky mirror, in body stabilization and pixel shift like Pentax—basically mirrorless with all the trimmings), no one looking for maximum image quality and able to afford things like Zeiss Otus or Leica SL would be in their right mind to choose a 35mm DSLR or a Leica SL or whatever—it makes no sense in this new context. The Fujifilm GFX is not just rocking the boat, the boat has flipped over. Which players will swim, and which will sink? Note that I’m not talking about the low and mid-range here, but the high end of the DSLR market, which has always been an area where buyers look “up” for options. Now there is something not that far up (far less expensive than something like a Leica S, and with the right optics and design features).

From what I can tell, Fujifilm has done just about everything right, including allowing aperture control from either the lens or the camera. The type of shutter support is as yet unknown as I write this (there is a focal plane shutter, but is there an EFC shutter?). A focal plane shutter allows for a wide range of possibilities that the Hasselblad X1D does not, since the X1D requires the leaf shutters in the lens (leaf shutter remains a compelling feature for some pros, but I deem that segment tiny). But an EFC shutter is important too, since a focal plane shutter can also cause vibration.

Lenses are key, and here Fujifilm has made a brilliant strategic move in offering a lens line (within a year) that spans the key 18mm to 100mm (35mm equiv) range. Anything outside that range is nice, but not a requirements for the vast majority of shooters. Compare that to the Leica SL system, which 9 months after introduction still has no shipping prime lens option—not one. Thus the major stumbling block to moving to a new system (for those who can afford it) is just not there (it held back Sony mirrorless for a few years, and still does for Pentax).

The Fujifilm GFX sensor is apparently an optimized/customized Fujifilm effort. On paper, the 51.4-megapixel is a winner just from having ~67% more area than a full-frame 35mm sensor, though that comes with a 4:3 aspect ratio (43.8 x 32.9mm). But I don’t see that as the big win per se. Rather, the increased sensor area coupled with a set of all-new lenses optimized for mirrorless, close attention to image quality in the areas of dynamic range and color and electronics are all equally if not more important. If Fujifilm executes well as I expect they will, the image quality ought to set a new bar for single frame images that should be breathtaking, perhaps rivalling or beating an optimal Pentax K1 SuperRes mode image. Except that the Fujifilm lenses are likely to trounce all the lenses offered by Pentax.

The statement by Fujifilm that a mirrored camera has vibration issues that degrades image sharpness by up to 15% is not to be taken lightly: one can compare megapixels, but if a decade of assessing cameras and lenses has taught me anything, it’s about time that having huge mirror (or lousy shutter) vibrating the sh*t out of image quality is an approach destined for the dumpster (so I have to believe Fujifilm did something to deal with the shutter, like an EFC shutter option). So we have to step back and look at the actual recorded files with real lenses, not some set of specifications. With the huge commitment shown by announcing 6 lenses within the first year, I expect that Fujifilm is going to deliver something really, really nice. Something I’m going to really want, and something I suspect Sony will be hard pressed to compete with, because there is no evidence that Sony is serious about high-end image quality (in particular the Sony A7R II compressed raw fiasco (now fixed) and the “cooking” of image files not to mention ergonomic and menu issues). I hope I’m dead wrong there, since a bruising competition between Fujifilm and Sony and Hasselblad can only drive down prices and raise quality over a few years.

Which makes me wonder even more: just how long are Canon and Nikon going to sit on their hands while Sony eats away at their core business and Fujifilm now draws off the higher end customer?

Glenn K writes:

While I share your excitement about this camera, I can't help but wonder if it will really produce images that are enough better than a FF Sony sensor behind Zeiss glass to justify a likely 2x price, particularly if Sony delivers a 50+ MP sensor with lossless compression. It will be interesting to see.

DIGLLOYD: I also wonder. There is a good chance that the Pentax K1 SuperRes pixel shift mode will outperform both the Hasselblad X1D and Fujifilm GFX (in the limited conditions in which SuperRes mode can be used). But outstanding lenses for the Pentax K1 are a serious handicap—there are none, barring conversion or certain discontinued Zeiss ones.

Compression: Sony has had lossless compression since October 2015. It doesn’t matter for much vs lossless, only in extreme conditions where Sony 11+7 lossy compression can’t handle the jump in value.

With Sony, the pixel quality is “cooked” — clearly pre-processed. As one example of evidence for this (aside from what my eyes tell me), Sony A7R II images cannot take anywhere near the sharpening of a D810 file without rapidly breaking down into an ugly mess. I think there is far more going on with image quality than compression or nominal bits per pixel or whatever.

With a little luck the Hasselblad X1D will show up in 10 days or so and I can see for myself in the field. Let’s just see what medium format mirrorless can deliver.

Olympus 25mm f/1.2 PRO

 
Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 25mm f/1.2 PRO

Get Olympus 25mm f/1.2 PRO and see my M4/3 mirrorless wish list at B&H Photo.

See my reviews of Olympus and Panasonic lenses.

The about $1199 Olympus 25mm f/1.2 PRO looks like a strong offering that will be intriguing to compare to the Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 25mm f/1.4 ASPH, which is my favorite all-around lens for Micro Four Thirds because of its rendering style.

  • Micro Four Thirds System Lens
  • 25mm, equivalent to 50mm f/2.4 on 35mm full frame
  • Aperture Range: f/1.2 to f/16
  • Three Extra-Low Dispersion Elements
  • One Aspherical Element
  • Four High Refractive Index Elements
  • MSC High-Speed Imager AF System
  • Internal Focusing, MF Clutch
  • Weather-Sealed Construction
  • Nine-Blade Diaphragm

With 19 elements in 14 groups, the design looks to be outrageously well corrected for a normal lens. But with 19 elements, the quality control had better be outstanding, since the risk of optical alignment issues is very difficult with that many elements.

The Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 12mm f/1.4 ASPH seems to be an ideal companion for the Olympus 25/1.2.

My preference is to review both lenses together when the new Olympus E-M1 Mark II arrives with its 20MP sensor and high-res mode as improved over the E-M5 Mark II. But as yet it is unclear when the E-M1 Mark II will arrive.

A high-speed normal-length prime featuring an advanced optical design, the M.Zuiko Digital ED 25mm f/1.2 PRO Lens from Olympus is a 50mm equivalent focal length lens designed for Micro Four Thirds mirrorless cameras.

Its unique 19 elements, 14 groups construction incorporates extra-low dispersion, aspherical, and high refractive index elements to significantly reduce both spherical and chromatic aberrations for notable image clarity, sharpness, and color accuracy.

The lens is also characterized by a bright f/1.2 maximum aperture, which benefits working in low-light conditions and also affords extensive control over depth of field. A nine-blade aperture is featured as well, to achieve a smooth bokeh quality when working with shallow depth of field techniques.

Beyond the imaging assets, the lens' physical design is characterized by a weather-sealed construction to benefit working in harsh climates. It also features a Movie & Stills Compatible (MSC) autofocus system for smooth, quiet, and fast focusing performance that is suitable to both stills and video recording. A manual focus clutch permits quick switching to MF control and a printed depth of field scale is also featured on the lens barrel for pre-focusing and hyperfocal focusing techniques.

  • Standard prime 25mm lens is designed for Micro Four Thirds system cameras, and provides a 50mm equivalent focal length.
  • Exceptionally fast f/1.2 maximum aperture supports working in difficult lighting conditions and also affords extensive control over depth of field for selective focus techniques.
  • The intricate optical design employs one Super Extra-Low Dispersion element, two extra-low dispersion elements, one Extra High Refractive Index element, three high refractive index elements, and one aspherical element, which all work in concert to control chromatic and spherical aberrations for improved clarity, reduced color fringing, and enhanced sharpness.
  • A MSC autofocus system, along with an internal focusing design, provides quick, quiet, and precise focusing performance to benefit both still photo shooting and movie recording. Additionally, an MF clutch is used for fast changing to manual focus for more precise control.
  • Lens function button is featured on the side of the barrel for direct settings adjustment.
    Weather-sealed construction guards the lens against dust and moisture for working in harsh environments.
  • Nine-blade diaphragm contributes to a pleasing bokeh quality.

Specifications

Nominal except as noted.

Specifications for Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 25mm f/1.2 PRO
Focal length: 25mm, equiv to ~50mm on full frame
Aperture scale: f/1.2 - f/16
Diaphragm blades: 9 blades
Number of elements/groups: 19 elements in 14 groups
Focusing range: 11.81 in / 30 cm
Angular field: 47°
Image ratio at close range:            0.11X = 1:9.1
Filter thread: 62mm
Weight, nominal: 14.56 oz / 410g
Weight, as weighed TBD
Dimensions: 2.76 x 3.43" (70 x 87 mm)
List price: about $1199
Includes LH-66B Lens Hood
LC-62F Lens Cap
260056 LR-2 Rear Lens Cap For E-P1
LSC-0811 Case
Lens Limited 1-Year Warranty
 
Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 25mm f/1.2 PRO
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Sigma 12-24mm f/4 DG HSM Art in Nikon, Canon, Sigma SA Mount

 
Sigma 12-24mm f/4 DG HSM Art

Get Sigma 12-24mm f/4 DG HSM Art and Sigma DG HSM Art lenses at B&H Photo.

See my reviews of Sigma DG HSM Art lenses at 20mm, 24mm, 35mm, 50mm.

Looks like another fine 'Art' lens from Sigma. I’ll be testing it and adding it to my Sigma Art lens reviews just as soon as it ships.

At about $1599, it offers performance that might rival Canon’s about $2799 11-24mm f/4L, but is also available for Nikon or Sigma SA.

  • High Grade Aspherical Glass to control distortion
  • Constant F4 through entire zoom
  • Updated AF system with 1.3X Torque
  • Full frame coverage for Nikon F, Canon EF, Sigma SA mount
  • Aperture Range: f/4 to 22
  • FLD and Aspherical Elements
  • Super Multi-Layer Coating
  • Hyper Sonic AF Motor, Manual Override
  • Rounded 9-Blade Diaphragm
  • TSC Material, Brass Bayonet Mount
  • Dust- and Splash-Proof Construction
  • Compatible with Sigma USB Dock

With 16 elements in 11 groups (same as Canon 11-24/4L) including two elements claimed equivalent to fluorite, the Sigma 12-24mm appears to be a very highly corrected lens offering very low distortion and outstanding performance.

Fit and finish are attractive, just like all its siblings, and more attractive than Nikon and Canon offerings, to my eye.

Selected comments from Sigma

It’s unclear what “minimal distortion” means, but it presumably means something of 1.5% or lower, which would be a huge win for the range of focal lengths.

The Sigma 12-24mm F4 DG HSM Art is a premium full frame wide angle zoom designed to have minimal distortion in its wide angle imagery. Part of the Art line, the Sigma 12-24mm F4 DG HSM Art was created from decades of experience manufacturing wide-angle lenses.

FLD glass elements, with performance equal to fluorite, provide for exceptional image quality while an updated Hyper Sonic Motor (HSM) uses 1.3X the torque for quick AF.

A constant F4 aperture through the entire zoom range allows for greater ability in low light compared to previous models and the use of the largest aspherical element in the industry controls distortion, ghosting and flaring.

An emphasis on edge to edge performance brings stunningly sharp and contrasty images to life. Ideal for many types of photography, the 12-24mm F4 Art is perfect for landscape photography, architecture photography, interior photography and much more.

Benefitting handling, the 12-24mm is equipped with a Hyper Sonic AF motor with an optimized algorithm for speed and accuracy. The lens also offers a large focusing ring with full-time manual override settings for quickly making adjustments.

A rounded 9-blade diaphragm improves image quality by helping create smooth bokeh while the lens is constructed from a lightweight and durable thermally-stable composite.

Also, the 12-24mm has a brass bayonet lens mount and is dust- and splash-proof. And, it is fully compatible with Sigma's USB Dock.

As part of the Art line within Sigma's Global Vision series, this lens' is designed to achieve truly notable optical performance and is ideally suited for creative and artistic applications.

  • Designed for full-frame format Nikon F-mount cameras, and can also be used with APS-C models where it will provide a 18-36mm equivalent focal length.
  • Constant f/4 maximum aperture provides consistent performance throughout the zoom range.
  • F Low Dispersion and aspherical elements, including an 80mm large-diameter molded glass aspherical element, have been incorporated within the lens design to correct for chromatic aberrations throughout the entire focusing range and help to ensure high image sharpness, clarity, and contrast regardless of focus point or aperture setting. This optical design also helps to control distortion and limit vignetting.
  • A Super Multi-Layer Coating has been applied to lens elements in order to minimize lens flare and ghosting and contribute to producing contrast-rich and color-neutral imagery, even in backlit conditions.
  • The integrated HSM (Hyper Sonic Motor) realizes quick and quiet autofocusing, which is further complemented by an optimized AF algorithm to produce smoother focusing performance. The HSM also permits full-time manual focus control simply by rotating the focus ring at any time.
  • Minimum focus distance of 9.4" when shooting at 24mm for getting close to your subjects.
  • A rounded nine-blade diaphragm helps to produce an attractive out-of-focus quality.
  • Specialized electromagnetic aperture mechanism provides greater exposure control stability that is especially beneficial when working with fast continuous shooting rates.
  • Constructed using a Thermally Stable Composite (TSC) material, along with traditional metals, for greater precision and use in wide temperature variations.
  • Bayonet mount is constructed from brass for ensured accuracy and durability.
  • Dust- and splash-proof construction with rubber sealing to protect the mount and a water- and oil-repellent coating on the front and rear elements.
  • Compatible with the optional Sigma USB Dock for fine-tuning different lens characteristics and updating its firmware.

Specifications

Nominal except as noted.

Specifications for Sigma 12-24mm f/4 DG HSM Art
Focal length: 12mm - 24mm
Aperture scale: f/4 - f/22
Diaphragm blades: 9 blades, rounded
Number of elements/groups: 16 elements in 11 groups
Focusing range: 9.45 in / 24 cm
Angular field: 122° - 84.1°
Image ratio at close range:            1:4.9
Filter thread: none
Weight, nominal: 2.54 lb / 1150 g
Weight, as weighed TBD
Dimensions: 4.02 x 5.18 in / 102 x 131.5 mm
List price: about $1199
Includes LH927-02 Lens Hood
Lens Case
Limited 1-Year Warranty
MacPerformanceGuide.com

Sigma 85mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art in Nikon, Canon, Sigma SA Mount

Get Sigma 85mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art and Sigma DG HSM Art lenses at B&H Photo.

See my reviews of Sigma DG HSM Art lenses at 20mm, 24mm, 35mm, 50mm.

Sigma 85mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art

Looks like another fine 'Art' lens from Sigma. I’ll be testing it and adding it to my Sigma Art lens reviews just as soon as it ships. At about $1199, it offers performance that looks to be superior to the Canon and Nikon competition, at a considerably lower price.

  • Stellar optical performance
  • Updated AF system with 3X the Torque
  • Designed and tested for high mega-pixel cameras
  • Full frame coverage for Nikon F, Canon EF, Sigma SA mount
  • Aperture Range: f/1.4 to 16
  • Two Low Dispersion Elements
  • Super Multi-Layer Coating
  • Hyper Sonic AF Motor, Manual Override
  • Rounded 9-Blade Diaphragm
  • TSC Material, Brass Bayonet Mount
  • Compatible with Sigma USB Dock

With 14 elements in 12 groups including two elements claimed equivalent to fluorite, the Sigma 85/1.4A is a very highly corrected lens offering unbeatable distortion and outstanding performance. Its 86mm filter size further reinforces the idea that its performance can be expected to be outstanding: bigger tends to mean more measures were taken to to optimize the lens, just as the Zeiss Otus 85mm f/1.4 APO-Planar does.

Fit and finish are attractive, just like all its siblings, and more attractive than Nikon and Canon offerings, to my eye.

Selected comments from Sigma

It’s unclear what “rigorous testing” means, but it presumably refers to quality control, and possibly helps explain the relatively high price compared to its siblings.

The Sigma 85mm 1.4 DG HSM Art is a latest addition to the world renowned Sigma Global Vision Line. Designed and engineered for unparalleled image quality, the Sigma 85mm 1.4 Art employs a completely new optical design and premium components.

Two FLD (performance equal to fluorite) glass elements and 1 element boasting a high rate of anomalous partial dispersion and high refraction achieve a class leading level of performance.

The highly anticipated 85mm 1.4 Art is an ideal lens for a variety of photographic subjects, particularly portrait photography, both in-studio and on-location. The newly updated Hyper Sonic Motor (HSM) allows for 1.3X the torque of previous generations for fast and efficient autofocus.

Through rigorous testing, the Sigma 85mm 1.4 Art ushers in a new era of quality and performance for this popular fast prime focal length.

A 9 blade rounded diaphragm creates beautiful background bokeh to isolate and accentuate the subject. Full Time manual focus can be engaged by rotating the focusing ring, even when shooting continuous autofocus and a state-of-the-art electronic diaphragm is included for lenses in the Nikon mount..

A Super Multi-Layer Coating has been applied to lens elements in order to minimize lens flare and ghosting and contribute to producing contrast-rich and color-neutral imagery, even in backlit conditions.

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

Specialized electromagnetic aperture mechanism provides greater exposure control stability that is especially beneficial when working with fast continuous shooting rates.

Constructed using a Thermally Stable Composite (TSC) material, along with traditional metals, for greater precision and use in wide temperature variations. The bayonet mount is constructed from brass for ensured accuracy and durability. Compatible with the optional Sigma USB Dock for fine-tuning different lens characteristics and updating its firmware.

Tested for Optimum Performance

Sigma lenses are born of well thought-out design concepts, exceptional Japanese craftsmanship and manufacturing, and advanced lens performance testing and evaluation. To this end, Sigma has developed its own A1 proprietary MTF (modulation transfer function) measuring system using 46-megapixel Foveon direct image sensors. Even the most elusive high-frequency details are within the scope of Sigma’s quality control inspections. Every Global Vision lens is A1 tested, analyzed and approved before leaving the factory, ensuring maximum performance out of the box. For more information on Sigma’s industry leading testing, please visit http://blog.sigmaphoto.com/2012/a1-mtf-testing-for-new-sigma-lenses/

Specifications

Nominal except as noted.

Specifications for Sigma 85mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art
Focal length: 85mm (nominal)
Aperture scale: f/1.4 - f/16
Diaphragm blades: 9 blades, rounded
Number of elements/groups: 14 elements in 12 groups
Focusing range: 85 cm / 33.5 in
Angular field: 28.6°
Image ratio at close range:            1:8.5
Filter thread: 86mm
Weight, nominal: not specified
Weight, as weighed TBD
Dimensions: 94.7 x 126.2 mm / 3.7i x 5.0 in
List price: about $1199
Includes LH927-02 Lens Hood
Lens Case
Limited 1-Year Warranty
ThunderBay 4 - The Speed To Create. The Capacity To Dream.

Fujifilm GFX 50S Disrupts the Medium Format (and 35mm) Marketplace

Get Hasselblad X1D and Fujifilm GFX at B&H Photo. See my Fujifilm GFX wish list, to be fleshed out as the product line becomes available for ordering.

B&H does not yet list a price for the Fujifilm GFX. I’ll post an update when available—please order using my links at B&H when buying—NOT email notification from B&H—so I get credit.

Fujifilm has a microsite for the Fujifilm GFX.

The nascent medium format with one entrant is transforming into a category: with the Hasselblad X1D due to arrive within a week for testing, the Fujifilm GFX 50S is now on the horizon. Can Sony be far behind?

  • 51.4MP 43.8 x 32.9mm CMOS Sensor, X-Processor Pro Image Processor
  • Removable Electronic Viewfinder
  • ISO 100-12800
  • Focal Plane Shutter, Up to 1/4000 sec. [diglloyd: is there an EFC shutter?]
  • Top Settings LCD Monitor
  • Multi Aspect Ratio Shooting
  • Weather-Sealed Construction and Tethered Shooting Support

Target price for the GFX 50S with 63mm standard prime is said to be well under $10,000 with the camera to be available in early 2017, which should give Hasselblad time to work out any kinks in the Hasselblad X1D. Personally, I’d place my bet on Fujifilm, with its deep experience in mirrorless technology, and the aggressive lens line rollout (see below).

A key unanswered question as I wrote this is whether the Fujifilm GFX 50S sports an electronic first curtain EFC shutter, a focal plane shutter and/or leaf shutter lenses. The X1D has only leaf shutter lenses and is thus useless for adapting to systems like the Cambo ACTUS Mini View Camera.

Regular readers know that I have been quite unhappy about the fractal-like artifacts of the Fujifilm X series along with the APS-C sensor and relatively low resolution (well, and the operating quirks also). But Fujifilm has some terrific technology, and brought together on a 50-megapixel conventional sensor, the appeal will be great. Still, I wonder how much the ardor of the fan base will cool when the pricing is considered, seemingly around 3X to 4X the price for a one-lens Fujifilm X system.

The 51.4-megapixel sensor in the Fujifilm GFX 50S measures 43.8 x 32.9mm giving it a 4:3 aspect ratio, same as the Hasselblad X1D. The sensor is apparently a design as per Fujifilm specifications. Since there is no mention of the solution-in-search-of-a-problem X-Trans technology, I am hopeful for conventional ultra-high grade medium-format image quality.

One missing thing that would have been awesome: in body image stabilization with Pentax K1 Super High Res pixel shift mode . One can’t have everything; the technology to stabilize a medium format sensor may be too troublesome.

Given the lens lineup generously-sized 50-megapixel sensor, I’m having a hard time figuring why I would ever want to bother again with Nikon or Canon for landscape shooting*. With Live View and an EVF and the full range of focal lengths I commonly shoot (well, close enough anyway), The Fujifilm GFX resets the game on not just landscape photography, but still-life, macro, heck even street shooting if the GFX camera performs anything nearly as good as the Fujifilm X-T2. If the GFX has an EFC shutter, it also means that adapting the camera to many platforms (e.g., Cambo Mini View Camera) and to Nikon and perhaps even Canon lenses should be possible (albeit with less than full image circle coverage), further enhancing its value. If the Leica S system had been a dubious value with its grossly over priced camera body with its godawful autofocus, the Fujifilm GFX is the nail in the coffin for it and its overpriced and underfeatured ilk.

I’m a bit puzzled by 14°F / -10°C rating. That is not very cold, indeed it is 14°F warmer than my Thanksgiving camp-out and when I was shooting images in the 0°F to 15°F range with the Canon 5DS R and Nikon D810. Presumably it still works at 0°F, but with reduced battery life.

*That is, for my own personal purposes—I’ll continue to review 35mm gear just as always.

Fujifilm GF lens lineup: 5 primes and zoom, optimized for mirrorless

One wonders whether Leica S lenses might be adapted? WiThe GFX has a flange focal distance of only 26.7mm, so there appears to be ample room for a lens adapter for Leica S, including a tripod collar. Ditto for adapting Zeiss Otus lenses, which won’t cover the frame, but will go somewhat larger than 36 X 24mm.

 
Fujifilm GF 23mm f/4 R LM WR

Lenses use the new Fujifilm GF mount. An aggressively fast rollout schedule that by mid 2017 promises a full-range lens kit is impressive indeed, showing that major engineering resources were deployed. This is not a tentative dip of toes into the water; this is a major launch unprecedented in medium format (or any format), by the range and variety of the lens line to appear in less than a year after announcing.

Other medium format companies should look at this as both validation of the medium format market (maybe, since mirrorless MF is a total remake of the market), and thus an existentiual crisis for the same reasons that DSLR market has been assaulted by 35mm mirrorless cameras. When and if Sony enters the MF market, it will exert huge price pressure on existing conventional MF players: Pentax failed because nothing really new was offered and most of the lens line is mediocre. Fujifilm is all new (mirrorless) with all-new lens designs likely to 'rock'.

Is medium format the new full frame?

The 51.4-megapixel sensor measures 43.8 x 32.9mm, so multiply by 0.82 for the equivalent focal length for the equivalent horizontal field of view in full-frame 35mm, ditto for the f-stop (or divide by 1.22). See also Format-Equivalent Depth of Field and F-Stop. However, the sensor is a 4:3 aspect ratio, so there is no exact equivalence for a 3:2 aspect ratio; the horizontal or vertical or diagonal length produce slightly different equivalence numbers.

  • GF 23mm f/4 R LM WR [FF equiv ~19mm f/3.2], in 2017
  • GF 32-64mm f/4 R LM WR [FF equiv ~26-52mm f/3.2]
  • GF 45mm f/2.8 WR [FF equiv ~37mm f/2.3], in late 2017
  • GF 63mm f/2.8 R WR [FF equiv ~52mm f/2.3]
  • GF 110mm f/2, in mid 2017 [FF equiv ~90mm f/1.6]
  • GF 120mm f/4 Macro [FF equiv ~98mm f/3.2]

Of particular note is the ~19mm equivalent. This is exciting as there are few extreme wide angle lenses for medium format.

For the most part, Fujifilm has chosen wisely to use relatively modest maximum apertures, typical in medium format lenses in order to keep size and weight down, and performance up. The notable exception is the 110mm f/2 which offers the brightest aperture of any medium format lens out there (the Leica 100mm f/2 Summicron-S ASPH is just as fast, but a slightly shorter focal length).

If the price point of this system is aggressive enough, might it generate enough volume to entice Zeiss to create Otus grade lenses for the system? Zeiss did commit to the Touit system, but its costs were amortized across both the Sony and Fujifilm X systems. My guess is that the Touit lineup was a net loss and the Zeiss will hestitate to support a low-volume system, even a pro system like the Fujifilm GFX.

Fujifilm GF Lenses

The lenses look to have professional-grade build and are dust and weather sealed.

This is an astonishing range to be rolled out within a year. Fujifilm is clearly going after the medium format market with a major investment.

 
Fujifilm GF 23mm f/4 R LM WR
 
Fujifilm GF 32-64mm f/4 R LM WR
 
Fujifilm GF 45mm f/2.8 R WR
 
Fujifilm GF 63mm f/2.8 R WR
 
Fujifilm GF 110mm f/2 R LM WR
 
Fujifilm GF 120mm f/4 R WR OIS Macro

Fujifilm press release

As per Fujifilm.

FUJIFILM ANNOUNCES DEVELOPMENT OF NEW MEDIUM FORMAT “GFX” MIRRORLESS CAMERA SYSTEM

FUJIFILM GFX 50S will give professional photographers the most extraordinary image quality in the history of Fujifilm

Valhalla, N.Y., September 19, 2016 – In response to unprecedented interest from professional photographers, FUJIFILM North America Corporation today announces the development of the new medium format FUJIFILM GFX mirrorless digital camera system that will deliver unmatched and exceptional image quality. The innovative GFX system will reach a new Fujifilm photographic standard, and support its ongoing commitment to providing the total imaging solution for photographers.

Photographic Excellence and Innovation

Over the course of its proud history that extends over 80 years, Fujifilm has developed
and manufactured photographic films with advanced image resolution, outstanding
color reproduction and tonal qualities to meet the needs of professional photographers as well as photo enthusiasts. Fujifilm offers an extensive range of professional cameras under the consistent philosophy that “a camera is a tool for capturing your creative vision,” and high quality FUJINON lenses are an indispensable part of that commitment. All of the technologies and expertise of Fujifilm have been amassed to develop the new GFX, which uses a medium-format sensor to achieve the highest level of image quality and a completely new type of mirrorless system, and its companion FUJINON GF lenses.

FUJIFILM GFX 50S

The FUJIFILM GFX 50S mirrorless digital camera will feature the new FUJIFILM G Format 43.8 x 32.9mm sensor with an astonishing 51.4MP resolution and six FUJINON GF Lenses that will be introduced sequentially in early 2017.

Professional-use Mirrorless Camera System

As a long-term manufacturer of photographic films and medium-format film cameras,
Fujifilm was always aware of the impact that different formats have on
photographic expressions. Using a larger format gives an ultimate enhancement to a
camera’s ability to capture “texture,” “depth” and “dimension,” which cannot be attained even by substantially increasing the sensor’s pixel count.

Since the launch of the X Series, an increasing number of professional photographers
and photo enthusiasts expressed their desire to achieve the ultimate photographic expression with the X Series’ signature color reproduction. The GFX camera system with the G Format is Fujifilm’s response to their requests.

The FUJIFILM GFX 50S 51.4MP sensor can be adapted to various aspect
ratios, including 4:3 (default), 3:2, 1:1, 4:5, 6:7 and 6:17, which were available in large and medium format film cameras. The GFX 50S will use the high-performance “X-Processor Pro” imaging processor to provide Fujifilm’s outstanding color and tone reproduction at an extremely high level. The result is the ultimate capability in photographic expressions that only Fujifilm can deliver thanks to its extensive knowledge in film and medium-format cameras.

Revolutionary Design Concept

The FUJIFILM GFX 50S revolutionizes the concept of medium-format cameras, and compared to conventional medium-format digital SLR cameras, the GFX is lighter in weight, and achieves a far more compact form factor. With regards to functionality, the camera follows in the footsteps of the X Series by featuring numerous physical buttons and dials, and is designed with an ergonomic grip, shaped carefully and optimized for the camera body and lenses.

The FUJIFILM GFX 50S will feature a detachable electronic viewfinder, which users can remove when using an external monitor or wanting to make the system even lighter. In addition, an optional adapter makes it possible to fit the EVF at any angle, giving greater freedom in the choice of shooting angle. Other optional accessories that will be available at launch include the Vertical Battery Grip, which enhances functionality when shooting in the portrait orientation. The camera also supports tethered shooting, which has become an essential part of the professional photographers’ workflow, and will be compatible with various RAW conversion application software.

 
Fujifilm GF 110mm f/2 R LM WR

Newly-developed FUJINON Lenses

The FUJIFILM GFX 50S will use newly-designed FUJINON lenses with a new lens mount for highest performance and image quality.

A new lineup of FUJINON GF lenses, designed specifically for the GFX, supports the
new G Mount. Taking advantage of the mirrorless system’s structure, the G Mount has
the short flange back distance of just 26.7mm to shorten the back focus distance as
much as possible. This prevents vignetting to achieve edge-to-edge sharpness of the
world’s highest level.

The initial lineup will include the following six FUJINON lenses (“equivalent to” is relative to 35mm format):

  • GF 32-64mm F4 R LM WR (equivalent to 25-51mm)
  • GF 23mm F4 R LM WR (equiv to 18mm )
  • GF 45mm F2.8 R WR (equiv to 35mm )
  • GF 63mm F2.8 R WR (equiv to 50mm )
  • GF 110mm F2 R LM WR (equiv to 87mm )
  • GF 120mm F4 Macro R LM OIS WR (equiv to 95mm)

Additional Features

The new FUJINON lenses will feature an aperture ring, a popular feature in the X Series, and have a new C (Command) Position on the ring to enable aperture adjustments with the Command Dial on the camera body. Each lens will be dust and weather resistant, built to withstand operation at temperatures as low as 14 degrees Fahrenheit / -10 degrees Celsius allowing photographers to take them outdoors with confidence in challenging weather conditions.

FUJIFILM GFX 50S Key Features:

51.4MP Medium Format 43.8 x 32.9mm sensor for superior sharpness and
image quality for all professional photographers

Can be adapted to various aspect ratios, including 4:3 (default), 3:2, 1:1, 4:5, 6:7 and 6:17
FUJIFILM “G Mount” with short flange back distance of just 26.7mm

“X-Processor Pro” imaging processor

Detachable electronic viewfinder

Weather and dust resistant; operates as low as 14 degrees Fahrenheit \ -10 degrees Celsius

Availability and Pricing

The new FUJIFILM GFX system will be available in early 2017 in the U.S. with pricing to be announced at a later date.

Michael J writes:

One question I have that I don’t see answered in Fuji’s official press release is if the camera will have it’s own internal shutter or depend on lenses with internal shutters as the Hasselblad X1D does. Here’s a response from Richard Lotte of Cambo about the Hasselblad being compatible with the Cambo ACTUS Mini View Camera:

"Unlike other mirrorless cameras on the market, the X1D has no built-in shutter. An adaptation to the Actus would only make sense, if the camera can be triggered by a ‘3rd party shutter’ like a Copal in a Rodenstock lens. It is up to Hasselblad whether or not they are going to support this.”

Hopefully the Fuji will not have the same restriction.

DIGLLOYD: I don’t know, but I have sent an inquiry to the PR agency (I don’t have any direct Fujifilm contacts unfortunately).

Sony A99 II: Mirrorless that Looks Like a DSLR

Get Sony A99 II at B&H Photo.

I’m not keen on the too-small body which squeezes out a Nikon-grade or Canon-grade button and control arrangement (smaller is not a feature when it compromises controls), but the about $3200 Sony A99 II hits the nails on the head that Nikon and Canon are not hammering, namely an EVF and in-body image stabilization. Do Canon and Nikon still think that no DSLR owner never wants an EVF option? Well, presumably the EVF in the Canon M5 will make its way to full frame...some day.

What struck me in looking at the Sony A99 II is that it looks like a DSLR but it is a mirrorless camera—sort of—it still has some DSLR aspects such as conventional AF through a pellicle mirror. So it’s not a real mirrorless camera, but still a hybrid.

Taking the Nikon D810: why isn’t there a Nikon M810 with 42MP or higher-res sensor that dumps the mirror box and other anachronism, and focuses squarely on the promise of mirrorless while remaining compatible with Nikon F-mount lenses. For example, one feature worth its weight in gold is Eye AF, something any wedding or portrait photographer can use to raise the hit rate drastically over a DSLR. I’d bet that a large fraction of Canon and Nikon buyers would surely consider a “Nikon M810” or “Canon EOS 5E”, if only as a powerful complement to the mirror-box DSLRs available today.

It seems likely that there will be a future Sony “A9” E-mount mirrorless that in essence blends the features of the Sony A7R II and the Sony A99 into one new camera that feels more like a DSLR. Heck, Sony could in essence take the A99 II and change the lens mount and be done with it.

Steve K writes:

So glad I kept my A mount Lenses, Now I can order the Nikon Milvus primes and easily convert them using Leitax mounts and will have a real Nikon D810 alternative with a nice EVF…
Good times for A mount folks who could never quite get the big hands around the A7 small body which always bothered me.

DIGLLOYD: LOL—no market for an EVF for Nikon users, eh? Steve K is even willing to modify lenses to get there. It’s insane that CaNikon sit on their hands like this. For that matter the Sigma sd Quattro would be 10X more compelling if offered with Nikon F mount instead of Sigma SA mount.

Stuart H writes:

I read your post and for one minute, I honestly thought that Sony had done the obvious and created a mirrorless camera with a legacy mount and EVF. Then I re-read the press release and realized that it wasn't mirrorless at all, just another camera with their dead-end "SLT" technology. Great, I would really want to shell out on a full frame camera to get APS-C sensor performance. Why didn't they just remove the stupid pellicle mirror - it's a solution to a problem from another age.

DIGLLOYD: fooled me too. It’s still a hybrid camera, albeit one with EVF and IBIS.

Mark V writes:

Regarding your post about the Sony A99 II, and why it retains the SLT design, I’m guessing that it has to do with the superior AF performance Sony can get using the dual, or hybrid, AF system. Mirrorless cameras continue to have issues with AF in lower light, particularly with slower lenses, when compared to more “traditional” AF systems in DSLRs. Additionally, tracking performance in mirrorless cameras is not up to DSLR standards, at least with respect to higher end DSLR AF performance (e.g., Canon and Nikon). While all I know about the A99II is what I have read, including Sony’s claims for the camera, the new AF system in the A99II is said to offer the best of both worlds - on sensor PDAF and more traditional systems with a separate AF sensor array. I would expect lenses like Sony’s 70-400, 500/4, and other A-mount slower, longer telephoto lenses to perform far better on the A99II than they do on the A7RII with either adapter.

I also would expect the rumored A9 camera not to have such a hybrid AF system, but hopefully will be a larger camera than the current A7 series, so Sony can incorporate a dedicated control for manually selecting AF sensors, a larger battery (perhaps the same as the DSLT cameras), dual card slots and other ergonomic improvements or features that a larger camera can provide over the A7 sized cameras.

Like you, I am not a fan of the smaller cameras primarily for ergonomic reasons. There is a fairly significant imbalance when shooting with bigger telephoto lenses (which I have). As a current A99 user the A99II is the camera I was generally waiting for, though I do remain interested in what the A9 might be if/when it gets announced. It may very well be an A99II in E-mount, though obviously the body will need to get much thinner.😊 However, I suspect that Sony might want to create something that has a greater differentiation from the A7RII than just the larger body and some ergonomic “enhancements." What that might be I have no clue other than the next generation in on-sensor AF technology (and higher MP, or lower MP but improved high ISO performance and speed?).

DIGLLOYD: I’m not sure tracking performance will remain inferior to DSLRs much longer, given the dual-pixel sensor design of the Olympus E-M1 Mark II, which has both phase and contrast detect AF, and is not a DSLR—I think I have that right.

I agree on size: make it as small as possible but not too small. The A7R II is too small in that the buttons are compromised because the body size won’t allow for better ones.

What I want to see in a theoretical Sony “A9R” is ultra high image quality of at least 50 megapixels, extreme dynamic range (all sorts of possibilities for how that could be done), Pentax K1 SuperRes pixel shift option. Fast AF for tracking is all well and good... and I don’t care much at all about it. I would accept 36 to 50 megapixels so long as the pixels were true RGB pixels, because the Pentax K1 SuperRes pixel shift results set the standard for extreme pixel quality.

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Zeiss Milvus 100mm f/2M: Many Examples + Bokeh Aperture Series

See my Zeiss DSLR lenses wish list and other wish lists at B&H Photo.

The about $1843 Zeiss Milvus 100mm f/2M is my preferred all-around telephoto. While marketed as a macro lens, it is also superb at distance with “high and flat” MTF free of field curvature plus no focus shift and no distortion and unrivalled bokeh. It delivers richly saturated colors with very high contrast. No other lens in its range can pull all that together. So many shots just have that special quality to them that I don’t see in other lenses in its range.

I’ve published a whole range of examples, including an aperture series showing the very special bokeh style as well as a second bokeh page:

All pages include images up to 28 megapixels.

 
Sedges
__METADATA__
 
White Daisy
__METADATA__

Canon 5D Mark IV Here

Get Canon 5D Mark IV at at B&H Photo and my Canon DSLR wishlist and other wish lists.

Adobe Camera Raw unsupported file type

The Canon 5D Mark IV is here. Nice camera—Canon has stepped up its game on the menu system, and the touch screen (which I rarely use on any camera) is actually quite handy for entering things like copyright info.

I remain disappointed that neither Nikon nor Canon see fit to offer an optional hot-shoe-based EVF option, which would be very nice for some shooting scenarios.

Plate for tripod use: Really Right Stuff has the B5DMkIV plate available for pre-order, but it won’t ship for a few weeks, so I am using the generic BP-CS Multi Camera Plate for now as a workaround. All my gear sports RRS plates.

Unfortunately, Adobe Camera Raw does not yet support either the standard or double-pixel raw format of the 5D Mark IV, so the ISO series I had planned to shoot and present will have to wait until that support is available.

As shown below, the double-pixel raw format is twice the size (almost) of plain raw. The double pixel stuff is going to require special support to extract the extra benefits, so I hope Adobe plans on doing so.

Canon 5D Mark IV file sizes: dual-pixel raw and raw
Which Mac? Storage, Backup, RAID? Color Management?
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OWC Drive Dock Now Available in USB 3.1 Gen 1 for about $75

Get OWC Drive Dock at MacSales.com.

OWC Drive Dock

The OWC Drive Dock is an excellent solution for anyone needing to work with bare hard drives or SSDs for backup or similar. For example, videographers who need to download and backup to SSDs or hard drives in a single portable solution.

Back in late 2015 MPG reviewed the OWC Drive Dock. That version of the OWC Drive Dock offers both Thunderbolt and USB 3.1 gen 1 connectivity. But because of the high cost of Thunderbolt-based peripherals, its about $240 price tended to make it more of a product for professionals.

OWC has now released the OWC Drive Dock USB 3.1 gen 1 model for about $75. MPG has not yet tested the USB 3.1 gen 1 version, but performance should be identical when using the USB port (that is, almost as fast as the Thunderbolt port).

  • Two drive bays each accommodate 2.5 or 3.5-inch SATA drives
  • USB 3.1 Gen 1 port
  • Read up to 434 MB/s, write up to 406 MB/s
  • Supports drives up to 10TB or greater
  • Mac & PC compatible
  • Each bay features an independent power switch and LED activity indicator
  • Universal auto-switching internal power supply
  • Professional aluminum enclosure
  • Two year OWC Limited Warranty including award-winning technical support
  • Includes 24-inch (.6m) USB 3.1 Gen 1 cable

The OWC Drive dock accepts either 3.5" or 2.5" drives—SSD or hard drives in either size. Bare hard drives and fast high-quality bare SSDs are the least expensive way to expand storage, since there is no enclosure (case) or power supply or cabling involved. With the OWC Drive Dock, just insert the bare drive and go.

OWC Drive Dock: Thunderbolt + USB3 Connectivity Using Dual Bare Hard Drives or SSDs

Bare hard drives and fast high-quality bare SSDs are the least expensive way to expand storage, since there is no enclosure (case) or power supply or cabling involved. With the OWC Drive Dock, just insert the bare drive and go, swapping drives as needed. For example, inserting two bare 6TB HGSG Desktar NAS hard drives into the OWC Drive Dock delivers 12TB of capacity at low cost. Swap more drives as needed.

MacPerformanceGuide.com

Nikon 105mm f/1.4E In Stock

Get Nikon 105mm f/1.4E ED at B&H Photo.

See previous discussion of the Nikon AF-S 105mm f/1.4E ED.

B&H Photo has the Nikon 105mm f/1.4E in stock, and I expect to have a sample by Monday for testing.

Nikon AF-S 105mm f/1.4E ED
USB-C Dock for MacBook

4 USB3 ports, 1 USB-C port, SD card reader, gigabit ethernet, audio ports, HDMK 4K port!

Zeiss Announces Loxia 85mm f/2.4 for Sony Mirrorless

Zeiss Loxia 85mm f/2.4 Sonnar

See my Sony mirrorless wish list and other wish lists at B&H Photo.

Get the new Zeiss Loxia 85mm f/2.4 Sonnar at B&H Photo.

The Zeiss Loxia 85mm f/2.4 fills out the Loxia lens lineup, which now covers 21mm, 35mm, 50mm and 85mm.

I’ll be testing the Loxia 85/2.4 just as soon as Zeiss gets one to me.

The Zeiss Loxia 85mm f/2.4 Sonnar delivers performance that beats out the best Leica M APO lenses, according to its (measured) MTF chart provided by Zeiss (Leica MTF charts are theoretical computed, not measured).

The Loxia 85/2.4 is a an exciting lens for Sony shooters because it is close to Otus-grade performance, yet native-mount for Sony in a relatively compact package. With a 2 or 3 frame focus stack, I’d bet that many outdoor images can be made that will be jaw dropping in detail—I’m sure looking forward to a 70 megapixel Sony of some sort.

While Zeiss calls out the Loxia 85/2.4 as being particularly well-suited for portraiture, I beg to disagree in part: this will certainly be true in an optical sense, but it’s extremely difficult to focus on the iris of the eye with manual focus. Even with perfect technique, no photographer or subject avoids the unavoidable movement of a millimeter or two between focusing and exposing—enough to blur the iris of the eye slightly. I think users would be better off shooting portraits with an autofocus lens like the excellent Sony 85mm f/1.4 GM. Horses for courses and it’s not a hammer just because the nail is the number 85. But of course I’ll be shooting some portraits with it, that is if I can get any of my teenage daughters to pose (and it now seems to take money to make it happen, LOL).

Zeiss Loxia 85mm f/2.4 Sonnar
Specifications for Zeiss Loxia 85mm f/2.4 Sonnar
Focal length: 85mm
Aperture scale: f/2.4 - f/22
Number of lens elements/groups 7 elements in 7 groups
Lens diaphragm: 10 blades, straight-edged
Angular field (diag./horiz./vert.) 28.63° / 24.05° / 16.23°
Focusing range: 80 cm / 31.49 in
Free working distance at MOD: 68.5 cm / 26.97 in
Coverage at close range (MOD): 257.9 x 172.6 mm / 10.15 x 6.80 in
Image ratio at MOD: 1:7.2 = 0.139X
Rotation angle of focusing (focus throw): 220°
Entrance pupil position, in front of image plane: 58.7mm / 2.13 in
Diameter of image field 43.3mm
Flange focal distance: 18.0mm
Filter thread 52mm
Weight: 594g / 1.32 lb (nominal)
Length : 94.8 mm / 3.73 in (without caps)
108 mm / 4.25 in (with caps)
Diameter max 62.5 mm / 2.44 in
List price: about $TBD

MTF

The Zeiss Loxia 85mm f/2.4 Sonnar delivers performance that beats out the best Leica M APO lenses, according to its (measured) MTF chart provided by Zeiss.

MTF for Zeiss Milvus 18mm f/2.8

Distortion

Pincushion distortion is typical for a medium telephoto lens.

Distortion for Zeiss Loxia 85mm f/2.4 Sonnar

Vignetting

Vignetting is about 1 stop wide open—minimal.

Vignetting for Zeiss Loxia 85mm f/2.4 Sonnar

Telephoto lens for the ZEISS Loxia family

With the ZEISS Loxia 2.4/85, the optics company expands its compact lens family for mirrorless Sony full-frame cameras with E mount.

The newest member of the ZEISS Loxia family is a short telephoto lens called the ZEISS Loxia 2.4/85. It supplements three focal lengths that are already available for this lens family, namely the ZEISS Loxia 2.8/21, Loxia 2/35 and Loxia 2/50, and was specially designed for mirrorless full-frame cameras with E mount. The ZEISS Loxia 2.4/85 will be available in stores starting mid-December 2016.

The new ZEISS Loxia 2.4/85 has been designed for digital sensors. Based on an optimized ZEISS Sonnar design, it has seven lens elements in seven groups. “With the ZEISS Loxia 2.4/85, we have managed to develop a well-rounded and new interpretation of the original ZEISS Sonnar optical design that meets all the requirements of digital photography and videography,” continued Casenave.

The lens has a minimum object distance of 0.80 meters and a manual focus ring with a rotation angle of 220 degrees, enabling the subtlest variations of focusing. The large aperture of f/2.4 combined with the high-quality optical design ensures an appealing bokeh. The electronic interface transfers both lens data (EXIF) and focus movements, and activates the magnification function of the camera if desired by the user.

With the well-known De-Click function of the ZEISS Loxia lenses, the optics company is also targeting videographers. The De-Click function allows to mechanically deactivate the click stops on the aperture ring — a condition for silent and smooth adjustments of the aperture. As a result, the ZEISS Loxia 2.4/85 is also an attractive lens for video cameras that have an E mount, such as the Sony PXW-FS7 and PXW-FS5.

Global delivery of the ZEISS Loxia 2.4/85 will begin mid of December 2016. The lens shade is included with delivery. The recommended retail sales price is $1,399 USD.

Zeiss Loxia 85mm f/2.4 Sonnar
Zeiss Loxia 85mm f/2.4 Sonnar
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