Upgrade the memory of your 2019 iMac up to 128GB
Handpicked deals...
$1299 $1124
SAVE $175

$30 $15
SAVE $15

$2998 $2498
SAVE $500

$1199 $920
SAVE $279

$1999 $1599
SAVE $400

$2799 $2399
SAVE $400

$89 $59
SAVE $30

$400 $280
SAVE $120

$1798 $1598
SAVE $200

$3297 $2797
SAVE $500

$3397 $2797
SAVE $600

$150 $90
SAVE $60

$1398 $898
SAVE $500

$3698 $2998
SAVE $700

$1799 $1329
SAVE $470

$1999 $1199
SAVE $800

$2299 $1599
SAVE $700

$2399 $2049
SAVE $350

$2799 $1899
SAVE $900

$997 $897
SAVE $100

$2099 $1699
SAVE $400

$1999 $1369
SAVE $630

$1349 $949
SAVE $400

$4499 $3999
SAVE $500

$329 $329
SAVE $0

$1499 $1029
SAVE $470

$1499 $1289
SAVE $210

$2199 $1999
SAVE $200

$3399 $2199
SAVE $1200

Sigma 70mm f/2.8 Macro Aperture Series: Mosaic (Sony A7R IV)

  
Sigma 70mm f/2.8 Macro Aperture Series

This series evaluates the Sigma 70mm f/2.8 DG Macro from f/2.8 through f/8 on an extremely demanding target: a planar subject with exceedingly fine detail. This target is among the most demanding any lens can face, inexorably showing most all lens weaknesses.

Of keen interest here is focus shift, which is the kiss of death on a ~40MP sensor, let alone a 60MP sensor. When it happens in the central area of the frame, it is a serious problem.

Sigma 70mm f/2.8 Macro Aperture Series (Sony A7R IV)

Includes images from f/2.8 to f/8 at up to full camera resolution.

f8 @ 1/20 sec pixel shift, ISO 100; 2019-09-17 18:54:19
Sony A7R IV + 70mm F2.8 DG MACRO Art 018
RAW: LACA corrected, vignetting corrected, USM{8,50,0}

[low-res image for bot]
OWC Thunderblade Thunderbolt 3 SSD
Gen 2!

Blazing fast, 1TB, 2TB, 4TB, 8TB.

Lloyd’s all-time favorite SSD!

√ No more slow and noisy hard drives!
OWC
USB-C Travel Dock

Fast charging with up to 100W!

HDMI, SD card reader,
USB-C port, 2 USB Type-A ports
Built-in cable self-stores neatly.
See also OWC 14-port Thunderbolt 3 Dock"

Sony 16-35mm f/2.8 GM Aperture Series @ 35mm: Mosaic (Sony A7R IV)

This series evaluates the Sony FE 16-35mm f/2.8 GM from f/2.8 through f/8 on an extremely demanding target: a planar subject with exceedingly fine detail. This target is among the most demanding any lens can face, mercilessly showing most all lens weaknesses.

  
Sony 16-35mm f/2.8 GM

Of keen interest here is lens symmetry, which is relatively challenging on a 60MP sensor, which mercilessly shows the slightest flaw. For this sample of the Sony FE 16-35mm f/2.8 GM, the lens skew is so awful that f/8 won’t overcome it, and yet it performs reasonably well at 18mm.

Sony 16-35mm f/2.8 GM Aperture Series @ 35mm (Sony A7R IV)

Includes images from f/2.8 to f/8 at up to full camera resolution.

Sadly, this is an excellent example of some of the worst quality control you might find. Sources tell me this is quite common for Sony lenses.

I also find pincushion distortion just unacceptable at 35mm, wether it be a horizon, a building, or a human face in a portrait. Distortion correction for pincushion distortion guarantees further loss of fine detail, because pixels must be stretched apart. Such distortion is typical for a 16-35mm zoom, so it’s not a zoom range I tend to like.

CLICK TO VIEW: 35mm Options for Sony Mirrorless

f5.6 @ 1/60 sec pixel shift, ISO 100; 2019-09-14 18:39:26
Sony A7R IV + Sony FE 16-35mm f/2.8 GM @ 35mm
RAW: LACA corrected, vignetting corrected, +30 Shadows

[low-res image for bot]
View all handpicked deals...

Pelican 3rd-Generation 1910B LED Flashlight (Black)
$30 $15
SAVE $15

Sony A7R IV Burst Mode for Frame Averaging Drops to 12-Bit Files if Using Compressed RAW

David S writes:

Thanks for hammering away at the importance of frame averaging and focus stacking. Like you say, these already-available technologies are crucial for getting the most out of recent cameras.

Just wanted to let you know that with the Sony cameras, you can use self-timer mode with a two-second delay to take a burst of five images. I’ve been using this feature with good success hand-held, in silent shutter mode at high speed burst. I find that blending five exposures gives a significant bump up in image quality. Too bad the readout speed of the electronic shutter is so slow.

DIGLLOYD: past Sony cameras dropped to 12 bit in burst mode, and unfortunately the Sony A7R IV still drops to 12-bit files in burst mode with file format set to Compressed.

With the file format set to Uncompressed (123MB each!), Sony A7R IV burst mode records in 14-bit Uncompressed, doubling the storage requirements.

The space cost of Uncompressed is just unpalatable to me. The alternative is to use the wireless remote control in single shot mode, and just hit it quickly N times using Compressed mode, which delivers 14-bit files at half the size. This can be done very quickly with a remote control (I tried it).

For ten frames, the space savings is 1.2GB vs 610MB.

Compressed should be fine for frame averaging, or so I presume based on what I know about its compression algorithm—I could be mistaken and have not yet confirmed of it, but I don’t know of any inherent reason it should matter in this use case.

Frame averaging could be used with pixel shift too, and maybe frame averaging could help cancel out checkerboarding problems, say four pixel shift shots (16 frames total). I will try it.

diglloyd-iMac:DIGLLOYD lloyd$ exiftool _DGL1045.ARW
...
Bits Per Sample                 : 12  <=== burst mode drops to 12 bit files
Compression                     : Sony ARW Compressed

Upscaling/Uprezzing Images: Gigapixel AI Stuns Versus Photoshop Upscaling

I was comparing the Sony A7R IV to the Sony A7R III as to how much (if any) additional resolving power is there. Prepare to be surprised for what I show. Anyway, I was not happy with Photoshop upscaling results. The Photoshop upscaling is very good for what it is, but that’s the problem—aging technology.

But never mind the upscaling details for Photoshop—you’re wasting your time with any of its image resizing methods (I tried several, best was Preserve Details (enlargement).

Brian K recommended Topaz Labs Gigapixel AI to me at some point, but I didn’t pay proper attention—OMG! It does a fantastic job, my jaw just dropped when I saw the results. Fine lines and detail are much finder and better defined with clean edges, but coarse-looking in the Photoshop upscaling. This might be harder to see on a Retina display however*.

Crops below are from a 60MP Sony A7R IV image upsampled to 121 megapixels (13508 X 8994). To a certain extent, the coarseness of the Photoshop upscaling fools the eye from contrast when viewed improperly*. Not persuaded? See the 243MP upscaling example further below.

* Zooming in a Retina display will blur the image and make the effect less clear.
Click to view at actual pixels, preferably at 110 dpi or less—the difference is dramatic when viewed properly.

Actual pixels from 120 megapixel image, upscaled from 60MP Sony A7R IV image
f4 @ 1/100 sec pixel shift, ISO 100; 2019-09-17 18:48:27
Sony A7R IV + Voigtlander MACRO APO-LANTHAR 65mm F2 Aspherical

[low-res image for bot]

Below, actual pixels crops from a 243 megapixel upscaling (19104 X 12720).

Continues below.

Actual pixels from 243 megapixel image, upscaled from 60MP Sony A7R IV image
f4 @ 1/100 sec pixel shift, ISO 100; 2019-09-17 18:48:27
Sony A7R IV + Voigtlander MACRO APO-LANTHAR 65mm F2 Aspherical

[low-res image for bot]

Computing power for Gigapixel AI

Consult with Lloyd on a high-performance computing system for photographers or video.

You will want at least 8 CPU cores, and preferably more (though I can’t verify CPU scaling and be sure it would help)—Topaz Labs says 2 million operations per pixel—it takes a huge amount of computing power, meaning 30 minutes or so for a single 60MP image. I didn’t time it—that’s a rough guess, but that's a long time on an 2019 iMac 5K with 8-core 3.6 GHz Intel Core i9 CPU—no other computing task I do comes close and no other Mac today with 8 cores is faster.

The GPU is little used by Gigapixel AI (at least on macOS) by default. With a slow GPU, it’s all about CPU speed and CPU cores, as is true with most things even in Photoshop.

The main suggestion I have for Topaz Labs is to offer a cloud computing tie-in, so that 30-minute upscaling jobs could be done perhaps in a minute or less.

CPU usage of Topaz Labs Gigapixel AI on 2019 iMac 5K 8-core CPU

Preferences can be set to use the GPU, but responsiveness of the Mac becomes so poor that I deem it useful only for batch processing while not using the computer for other things.

Topaz Labs Gigapixel AI Preferences
CPU usage of Topaz Labs Gigapixel AI on 2019 iMac 5K 8-core CPU

Jason W writes:

Holy shit. This is mindblowing. Best upscale I've seen.

For the past two weeks, you've done nothing but posted the most compelling image quality I've seen to date. Well done.

DIGLLOYD: the crops below are actual pixels from a 2X upscaling using Gigapixel AI to 183 megapixels (16576 X 11040).

Actual pixels from 183 megapixel image, upscaled from 45 megapixel Nikon D850 monochrome image
f5.6 @ 10.0 sec, ISO 31; 2019-09-19 19:23:51
NIKON D850 + Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 APO-Distagon RAW: resampled 200% linearly,

[low-res image for bot]
Actual pixels from 183 megapixel image, upscaled from 45 megapixel Nikon D850 monochrome image
f5.6 @ 10.0 sec, ISO 31; 2019-09-19 19:23:51
NIKON D850 + Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 APO-Distagon RAW: resampled 200% linearly,

[low-res image for bot]
Actual pixels from 183 megapixel image, upscaled from 45 megapixel Nikon D850 monochrome image
f5.6 @ 10.0 sec, ISO 31; 2019-09-19 19:23:51
NIKON D850 + Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 APO-Distagon RAW: resampled 200% linearly,

[low-res image for bot]

Frame Averaging for Ultra Low Noise with the Nikon D850 Monochrome (but works for any camera, color or monochrome): Moots MootoX YBB 29er

Background: The Nikon D850 monochrome is a Nikon D850 with its color filter array (CFA) removed by maxmax.com. The NEF files are converted to monochrome DNG via LibRaw Monochrome2DNG and “Method B”, then processed using Adobe Camera Raw. Doing so avoids any demosaicing and thus retains full spatial resolution.

After working from 4 AM to 7 PM, I was getting bored* with lens quality control problems, and so I turned my attention to the intriguing results in Wheel and Tire. So I shot another scene and this time I verified that the Nikon D850 in-camera averaged exposure is the same as merging in Photoshop—pretty much identical.

Nikon D850 monochrome

Frame averaging takes remarkably little work compared to things like focus stacking, the main chore being taking the images, which could have been (and could be automated with a firmware update!) fully automated at high speed, but Nikon screwed up its multiple exposure mode implementation in the D850. Nikon are you paying attention? But at least Nikon offers a useful form of multiple exposure—Sony lacks multiple exposure support in the needed form AFAIK (can’t find anything in-camera or in the manual).

Indeed, Apple is at the forefront of frame averaging (one of many variants of computational photography) with Night Mode in the latest iPhone, with most all “real” camera vendors sitting with their thumbs up their backsides. They’re all gonna fail from their own lack of imagination, and the deserve it.

Frame Averaging, Camera vs Photoshop (Moots MootoX YBB 29er)

Includes images up to full camera resolution for single shot, camera 10-frame average, and Photoshop 10-frame average, plus enlarged crops with commentary.

The results, I suspect, are probably superior to an ultra-exotic large format monochrome camera costing $100K. Just an educated guess—a guess only, but it’s a visual treat.

My trip to the mountains has been delayed a week now, pre-flighting a crop of crappy quality control lenses—I’m getting antsy what with the first touches of snow hitting the Eastern Sierra—I want to shoot the Sony A7R IV, but remarkably, the Nikon D850m intrigues me much more as offering a breakthrough capability of unique quality potential. The change of seasons waits for no man or woman or variant**.

* While I still have some lapses and lingering side effects, my brain is working almost as well as pre-concussion again—finally, 15 months later!

** But it’s also that my perspective has changed—I want to take a big bite out of the apple of life every damn day if my mind and body will cooperate, because I don’t know if I have one day or one year or what the Simulation is gonna grant me. Good health and fitness are things I take as gifts that can disappear any time, even if I have no retirement savings, because money cannot buy the former.

Below, the Moots MootoX YBB 29er is my favorite mountain bike. With its “soft tail” no-maintenance rear suspension, it adds comfort way over a hardtail, particularly when carrying a pack of camera gear up mountains. And its titanium frame is just about indestructible with years of hard usage—and it can be bead-blasted to look brand-new all over again, if desired.

f5.6 @ 10.0 sec frame averaging 10, ISO 31; 2019-09-19 19:23:51
NIKON D850 monochrome + Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 APO-Distagon
RAW: USM{15,50,0}
Nikon D850 average of 10 frames

[low-res image for bot]

Ryan M writes:

I was excited to learn in your article that the D850 supported an AVG multi-exposure mode. Somehow I thought it only had ADD which isn't very useful to me.

I played around with it a bit this morning and found two things worth mentioning one good and one bad. On the good side, in the self timer release mode it will automatically exposure the number of images selected in multi-exposure settings. Turns out that's also true for bracketing which I also didn't know. So you can have a slow but fully automated exposure-delayed multi-image taken for excellent results without mirror slap. I don't think it's using EFCS in this mode though, so you would still need to use Qc and hold down a trigger to eliminate shutter shock.

On the bad side, my first use of multi-exposure had very poor results because the camera was in 12 bit mode and showed significant posterization in the shadows. I guess the way they are averaging the images is accumulating rounding error in the lower bits. In 14 bit mode the results are still slightly different than you'd get by averaging in Photoshop, but just barely. If I end up using multi-exposure mode I'll probably keep the individual images to average in Photoshop but the in-camera result makes for an excellent preview.

DIGLLOYD: Ryan is correct, self timer and bracketing can get the job done, and I tried them, but be sure there is a shutter delay to avoid vibration. The D850 can and does use EFC shutter if set to (M-Up mode must be used), but not a fully electronic shutter, which is a crazy limitation.

Be sure to use a remote release of course, choosing the appropriate one for your particular camera, which is ridiculously hard to figure out in some cases, with ambiguous descriptions like “for select Nikon cameras”. There are also annoying two-part ones that require use of the hot shoe for a receiver—fine for a studio but crappy for field work. I use the Nikon MC-36A with the Nikon D850 (the Vello RS-N1II Wired Remote Switch is cheap and smaller and I should probably get one). I am annoyed at having to plug it into the camera both for the hassle and the risk of affecting the camera slightly—Sony’s Sony RMT-P1BT Wireless Remote Commander is far superior in that the receiver is built into Sony cameras. Maybe I’ll get the Vello Free Wave Plus Wireless Remote Shutter Release and just live with the little receiver in the hot shoe.

The problem with self timer and/or bracketing mode is that shutter bang-bang-bang-... bang—so some shutter delay between frames is needed. You might get away with it much of the time, but you cannot count on vibration-free results and that means it is a non-starter for good shot discipline.

But much worse is that a delay of a second or longer between frames can be the kiss of death if external conditions vibrate the camera or move the subject—a half pixel or even quarter pixel movements are not OK. Plus, if there is wind, a strobe effect is ugly and there is also a strong risk of tiny vibrations in the tripod and thus the camera, so even if the shutter speed is high, individual frames might wiggle around so as to not align perfectly, which will slightly blur things.

The best way to do it but one that does not allow for in-camera averaging is to use silent shutter (full electronic) and bang out the exposures at 6 fps—no vibration, and far lower chance of subject movement or lighting changes. A full electronic shutter has its own downsides, namely subject movement and the jello effect. But if the subject matter is moving, the strobe effect is worse problem.

See also Sony A7R IV Burst Mode for Frame Averaging.

Upscaled to 183 megapixels

DIGLLOYD: the crops below are actual pixels from a 2X upscaling using Gigapixel AI to 183 megapixels (16576 X 11040).

Actual pixels from 183 megapixel image, upscaled from 45 megapixel Nikon D850 monochrome image
f5.6 @ 10.0 sec, ISO 31; 2019-09-19 19:23:51
NIKON D850 + Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 APO-Distagon RAW: resampled 200% linearly,

[low-res image for bot]
Actual pixels from 183 megapixel image, upscaled from 45 megapixel Nikon D850 monochrome image
f5.6 @ 10.0 sec, ISO 31; 2019-09-19 19:23:51
NIKON D850 + Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 APO-Distagon RAW: resampled 200% linearly,

[low-res image for bot]
Actual pixels from 183 megapixel image, upscaled from 45 megapixel Nikon D850 monochrome image
f5.6 @ 10.0 sec, ISO 31; 2019-09-19 19:23:51
NIKON D850 + Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 APO-Distagon RAW: resampled 200% linearly,

[low-res image for bot]

MacPerformanceGuide.com

Sony A7R IV vs Lens Quality Control (all brands), Actual Increase in Resolution over the Sony A7R III

After working from 4 AM to 7 PM (with a 1-hour break for a vigorous mountain bike ride), I was getting bored and f'ing annoyed today dealing with lenses having ridiculous lens skew. Zooms suck—good at one end, and blur at the other, or in the middle or vice versa. What a clusterf*k of manure-grade quality control. Well, I’ll show some of the manure soon. The Sony A7R IV doesn’t let a lens get away with anything.

Sony A7R IV

And (coming soon) it is really hard to actually get more detail out of the Sony A7R IV than the Sony A7R III even with the best lenses. It’s more about oversampling for better total quality for any fixed reproduction size. Today I was hard pressed to persuade myself with the best lens I’ve tested so far that the A7R IV does more than add a smidgen more detail, at least using 4-shot pixel shift mode (which is definitely a factor in that statement). A let-down really. And... Sony’s 16-shot pixel shit is all but worthless and generally worse than 4-shot—no joke, or rather the reverse, the joke is on you at 2GB per image (16 X 123MB = 1.968GB per WTF-uncompressed image).

I’m getting pissed off at the huge space requirements of the Sony A7R IV, which are needlessly double that which is demonstrably needed with just trivial engineering.

There is Good Stuff that 'real' cameras could do

What is a real camera? Seems like it increasingly is an iPhone, in the sense of computational photography.

Sony has seemingly not heard of computational photography yet. I know that the engineers at the various camera companies are way smarter than me—and blind as moles as to what needs to be done.

Nikon has a dim glimmer. Canon and Fujifilm... nope. Panasonic has one clue at least with Multi-Shot High-Res mode.

Indeed, Apple is at the forefront of computational photography (Night Mode being just one of many variants of computational photography already in iPhone), with most all “real” camera vendors sitting with their thumbs up their backsides. All these camera vendors are gonna go bust from their own lack of imagination, and they deserve to when those who might have bought a Sony A7R IV are looking to the iPhone 11 Pro. Do any of these camera vendors realize how deep in the one-holer outhouse they are unless they climb out and get their acts together yesterday?

Where is my focus stacking support Sony? What a glaring omission, because automated focus stepping for focus stacking is the most important thing to be done to make use of the A7R IV resolution for anything needing depth of field commensurate with the pixel density.

All of which is not to say I’d want to stick with the A7R III—there are many good improvements in the Sony A7R IV. Heck the EVF alone is worth upgrading for, for me at least. And the buttons are way better.

LibRaw Monochrome2DNG and PixelShift2DNG Are Indispensible for my Current Tasks

Awesome software by LibRaw—these guys know their stuff.

Monochrome2DNG is awesome for the Nikon D850 monochrome, and PixelShift2DNG is equally awesome for Sony pixel shift files. And RawDigger is a longtime favorite. The only program I haven’t put into my workflow is FastRawViewer—me bad as it has a lot of great features.

PixelShift2DNG (beta): Convert Pentax K1/K3-II and Sony A7R-III Pixel Shift Files to DNG

In order to streamline the workflow with the raw shots taken in the new Pixel Shift Multi Shooting mode offered by the Pentax K1(-II)/K3-II and Sony A7R-III cameras, and provide a way to use popular RAW converters (Adobe Camera Raw/Lightroom, Capture One, and some others) for processing these shots, we’ve developed the PixelShift2DNG application, which converts Sony and Pentax shots taken in Pixel Shift mode to DNG, supported by most (but not all) RAW converters.

PixelShift2DNG performs the two following tasks:

• Combine 4 source ARW files taken in Pixel Shift Multi Shooting mode and save the result as a DNG;

• Convert ARQ file formats (and ARW file quartets previously combined into one file by the program Sony Imaging Edge) or 4-shot PEF/DNG containers (taken with Pentax K1/K1-II/K3-II cameras) to regular DNG files. The resulting DNG files can later be processed in familiar applications like Adobe Lightroom and Camera Raw, CaptureOne, Iridient Developer, Luminar, and others.

The resulting DNG files can later be processed in familiar applications like Adobe Lightroom and Camera Raw, CaptureOne, Iridient Developer, Luminar, and others.

LibRaw PixelShift2DNG
LibRaw Monochrome2DNG


Upgrade the memory of your 2019 iMac up to 128GB

Voigtlander MACRO APO-Lanthar 110mm f/2.5 Aperture Series: Mosaic (Sony A7R IV)

This series from f/2.5through f/8 evaluates the Voigtlander 110mm f/2.5 Macro APO-Lanthar on an extremely demanding subject, revealing every weakness, lack of symmetry, etc. Most lenses require f/5.6 or f/8 to sharpen the whole mosaic.

Sometimes a macro lens performs less well at distance. The Voigtlander 65mm f/2 Macro APO-Lanthar is outstanding on this same scene to the point of being a reference lens, so how does the 110mm do?

Voigtlander MACRO APO-Lanthar 110mm f/2.5 Aperture Series: Mosaic (Sony A7R IV)

Includes images from f/2.5 to f/8 at up to full camera resolution.

f4 @ 1/200 sec pixel shift, ISO 100; 2019-09-14 18:11:26
Sony A7R IV + Voigtlander MACRO APO-LANTHAR 110mm F2.5
RAW: LACA corrected, vignetting corrected, USM{8,50,0}

[low-res image for bot]

Upgrade the memory of your 2019 iMac up to 128GB

Sony FE 35mm f/1.8 Aperture Series: Mosaic (Sony A7R IV)

This series from f/1.8 through f/8 evaluates the diminutive Sony FE 35mm f/1.8 on an extremely demanding subject that makes mincemeat of most lenses, mercilessly revealing every weakness, lack of symmetry, etc. Most lenses require f/5.6 or f/8 to sharpen the whole mosaic.

Sony FE 35mm f/1.8 Aperture Series: Mosaic (Sony A7R IV)

Includes images from f/1.8 to f/8 at up to full camera resolution.

I had no idea that there were thirteen (13!) 35mm full-frame lens choices for Sony, not counting zoom options!

CLICK TO VIEW: 35mm Options for Sony Mirrorless

f1.8 @ 1/500 sec pixel shift, ISO 100; 2019-09-14 18:35:38
Sony A7R IV + Sony FE 35mm f/1.8
RAW: LACA corrected, vignetting corrected, USM{8,50,0}

[low-res image for bot]

Upgrade the memory of your 2019 iMac up to 128GB

Shootout: Sony 12-24mm f/4 G vs Sigma 14-24mm f/2.8 DG DN Art: Mosaic (Sony A7R IV)

This series compares the Sigma 14-24mm f/2.8 DG DN Art at 14mm against the Sony 12-24mm f/4 G from f/2.8 through f/8 on an extremely demanding target: a planar subject with exceedingly fine detail. This target is among the most demanding any lens can face, mercilessly showing most all lens weaknesses.

Shootout: Sony 12-24mm f/4 G vs Sigma 14-24mm f/2.8 DG DN Art: Mosaic (Sony A7R IV)

Includes images from f/2.8 to f/8 at up to full camera resolution.

The stellar performance seen here with the Sigma 14-24mm f/2.8 DG DN Art has to be seen at full resolution—stunning, the best 14mm performance I have ever seen (setting aside distortion and the likely need for distortion correction)—and at 60MP from a zoom! Which makes the 18mm performance more acceptable.

CLICK TO VIEW: 14mm Options for Sony Mirrorless

  
Sigma 14-24mm f/2.8 DG DN Art and Sony 12-24mm f/4 G (not to scale)
f4 @ 1/4 sec pixel shift, ISO 100; 2019-09-14 19:26:22
Sony A7R IV + Sigma 14-24mm f/2.8 DG DN Art @ 14mm
RAW: LACA corrected, vignetting corrected, USM{8,50,0}

[low-res image for bot]

3-Way Shootout: Sony 16-35mm f/2.8 GM vs Sony 12-24mm f/4 G vs Sigma 14-24mm f/2.8 DG DN Art: Mosaic (Sony A7R IV)

This series compares the Sigma 14-24mm f/2.8 DG DN Art against the Sony 16-35mm f/2.8 GM and Sony 12-24mm f/4 G from f/2.8 through f/8 on an extremely demanding target: a planar subject with exceedingly fine detail. This target is among the most demanding any lens can face, mercilessly showing most all lens weaknesses.

Field curvature is of particular interest because at 60MP, small deviations across the field are not so small, and stopping down past f/4 begins to degrade micro contrast from diffraction. Focus shift, even small, can also be a challenge.

Sharpness at 18mm is relatively hard to achieve and has traditionally been a challenge, even for high-grade lenses. The zoom lens that can deliver at 60MP deserves praise.

Also of interest is lens symmetry, which is relatively challenging on a 60MP sensor, which mercilessly shows the slightest flaw. However, lacking stated specifications from Sony, there is no way to be certain that any particular lens skew is the fault of the lens, or the sensor/flange parallelism being off a few microns.

3-Way Shootout: Sony 16-35mm f/2.8 GM vs Sony 12-24mm f/4 G vs Sigma 14-24mm f/2.8 DG DN Art: Mosaic (Sony A7R IV)

Includes images from f/2.8 to f/8 at up to full camera resolution.

CLICK TO VIEW: 18mm Options for Sony Mirrorless

  
Sigma 14-24mm f/2.8 DG DN Art, Sony 16-35mm f/2.8 GM, Sony 12-24mm f/4 G (not to scale)
f2.8 @ 1/13 sec pixel shift, ISO 100; 2019-09-14 19:19:28
Sony A7R IV + Sony FE 16-35mm f/2.8 GM @ 18mm
RAW: LACA corrected, vignetting corrected, +30 Shadows, USM{8,50,0}

[low-res image for bot]

Zeiss Milvus 135mm f/2 Aperture Series: Mammoth Peak (Fujifilm GFX100)

The Zeiss Milvus 135mm f/2 is a very high performer on 35mm, but it also offers the largest image circle of any of the Zeiss Milvus or Zeiss Otus lenses. It thus represents the best case scenario for Zeiss 35mm format lenses for use on the 100-megapixel Fujifilm GFX100, which has a 44 X 33mm sensor, 67% larger in area than a 35mm full-frame sensor.

The series evaluates the Zeiss Milvus 135mm f/2 from f/2 through f/11 on a far distance scene, looking at sharpness and micro contrast, frame coverage and general performance.

In diglloyd Zeiss DSLR Lenses:

Zeiss Milvus 135mm f/2 Aperture Series: Mammoth Peak (Fujifilm GFX100)

Includes images up to full camera resolution of 100 megapixels.

f5.6 @ 1/800 sec, ISO 100; 2019-08-06 18:14:58
Fujifilm GFX100 + Zeiss Milvus 135mm f/2 + polarizer Zeiss
ENV: Tioga Road, altitude 8600 ft / 2621 m
RAW: Enhance Details, LACA corrected, vignetting corrected, USM{8,50,0}

[low-res image for bot]

Get up to 16x more storage and 2x the speeds of the original drive

Sony FE 12-24mm f/4 G Aperture Series: Mosaic (Sony A7R IV)

This series from f/2 through f/8 evaluates the diminutive Sony FE 12-24mm f/4 G on an extremely demanding subject that makes mincemeat of most lenses, mercilessly revealing every weakness, lack of symmetry, etc. Most lenses require f/5.6 or f/8 to sharpen the whole mosaic.

Sony FE 12-24mm f/4 G Aperture Series @ 12mm: Mosaic (Sony A7R IV)

Includes images up to full camera resolution of 60 megapixels.

Well, a 60MP sensor is a serious challenge that some lenses don’t meet.

f8 @ 1.3 sec pixel shift, ISO 100; 2019-09-14 19:23:26
Sony A7R IV + Sony FE 12-24mm f/4 G @ 12mm
RAW: vignetting corrected, USM{8,50,0}

[low-res image for bot]

Upgrade the memory of your 2018 Mac mini up to 64GB

Zeiss Loxia 35mm f/2 Biogon Aperture Series: Mosaic (Sony A7R IV)

Zeiss Loxia 35mm f/2 Biogon

This series from f/2 through f/8 evaluates the diminutive Zeiss Loxia 35mm f/2 Biogon on an extremely demanding subject that makes mincemeat of most lenses, mercilessly revealing every weakness, lack of symmetry, etc. Most lenses require f/5.6 or f/8 to sharpen the whole mosaic.

The Loxia 35/2 is a rangefinder design adapted (tweaked by Zeiss) for mirrorless use. It is not a high performer wide open, but its intrinsically superb optical design can shine when stopped down, so how does it do on the 60MP Sony A7R IV?

Zeiss Loxia 35mm f/2 Biogon Aperture Series: Mosaic (Sony A7R IV)

Includes images up to full camera resolution of 60 megapixels.

CLICK TO VIEW: Zeiss Loxia for Sony Mirrorless

f5.6 @ 1/8 sec pixel shift, ISO 100; 2019-09-17 19:13:19
Sony A7R IV + Zeiss Loxia 35mm f/2 Biogon
RAW: vignetting corrected, USM{8,50,0}

[low-res image for bot]

Upgrade the memory of your 2019 iMac up to 128GB

Voigtlander 65mm f/2 Macro APO-Lanthar Aperture Series: Rodin Courtyard (Sony A7R IV)

Voigtlander 65mm f/2 Macro APO-Lanthar

This series from f/2.8 through f/5.6 demonstrates the jaw-dropping imaging potential of the Voigtlander 65mm f/2 Macro APO-Lanthar using Sony A7R IV 4-shot pixel shift mode.

Voigtlander 65mm f/2 Macro APO-Lanthar Aperture Series: Rodin Courtyard (Sony A7R IV)

Includes images up to full camera resolution of 60 megapixels.

The about $999 Voigtlander 65mm f/2 Macro APO-Lanthar surely is a must-have lens and a 'steal' for any Sony shooter for whom manual focus is acceptable—best lens so far that I have tested on the Sony A7R IV.

CLICK TO VIEW: Suggested Voigtlander Lenses for Sony FE

f2.8 @ 1/5 sec pixel shift, ISO 100; 2019-09-17 19:25:38
Sony A7R IV + Voigtlander MACRO APO-LANTHAR 65mm F2 Aspherical
RAW: vignetting corrected, USM{8,50,0}

[low-res image for bot]

Get up to 16x more storage and 2x the speeds of the original drive

Voigtlander 65mm f/2 Macro APO-Lanthar Aperture Series: Rodin Burghers (Sony A7R IV)

Voigtlander 65mm f/2 Macro APO-Lanthar

This series from f/2 through f/8 demonstrates the astounding imaging potential of the Voigtlander 65mm f/2 Macro APO-Lanthar using Sony A7R IV 4-shot pixel shift mode, along witih showing its bokeh style.

Voigtlander 65mm f/2 Macro APO-Lanthar Aperture Series: Rodin Burghers (Sony A7R IV)

Includes images up to full camera resolution of 60 megapixels.

The about $999 Voigtlander 65mm f/2 Macro APO-Lanthar surely is a must-have lens and a 'steal' for any Sony shooter for whom manual focus is acceptable—best lens so far that I have tested on the Sony A7R IV.

CLICK TO VIEW: Suggested Voigtlander Lenses for Sony FE

f2.8 @ 0.5 sec pixel shift, ISO 100; 2019-09-17 19:28:48
Sony A7R IV + Voigtlander MACRO APO-LANTHAR 65mm F2 Aspherical
RAW: vignetting corrected, USM{8,50,0}

[low-res image for bot]

Voigtlander 65mm f/2 Macro APO-Lanthar Aperture Series: Tower at Dusk in Rosy Glow (Sony A7R IV)

Voigtlander 65mm f/2 Macro APO-Lanthar

This series from f/2.8 through f/5.6 demonstrates the jaw-dropping imaging potential of the Voigtlander 65mm f/2 Macro APO-Lanthar using Sony A7R IV 4-shot pixel shift mode.

Voigtlander 65mm f/2 Macro APO-Lanthar Aperture Series: Tower in Rosy Dusk Glow (Sony A7R IV)

Includes images up to full camera resolution of 60 megapixels.

As shot, I am pretty sure that this result beats even the Fujifilm GFX100 resolving power, because the ultimate result depends on the lens and camera. With successful pixel shift and a lens like this, the gap between 60MP and 100MP is pretty small when the 100MP camera is having to do debayering.

The about $999 Voigtlander 65mm f/2 Macro APO-Lanthar surely is a must-have lens and a 'steal' for any Sony shooter for whom manual focus is acceptable.

This is the best lens so far that I have tested on the Sony A7R IV— few lenses approach it, let alone deliver what it does at f/4. You have to get this lens for the Sony A7R IV if you want the very best. It really makes me also lust over a monochrome Sony A7R IV.

CLICK TO VIEW: Suggested Voigtlander Lenses for Sony FE

f2.8 @ 0.6 sec pixel shift, ISO 100; 2019-09-17 19:37:10
Sony A7R IV + Voigtlander MACRO APO-LANTHAR 65mm F2 Aspherical
RAW: vignetting corrected, USM{8,50,0}

[low-res image for bot]
Make an Old Dog Run Like a Young Puppy
with an OWC SSD

SATA, USB3, Thunderbolt, internal upgrades and PCIe SSD options for Mac or PC.
View All OWC SSDs...

Shootout: Voigtlander FE Nokton 21mm f/1.4 Aspherical vs Zeiss Loxia 21mm f/2.8: Mosaic (Sony A7R IV)

This series evaluates the Voigtlander Nokton 21mm f/1.4 Aspherical from f/1.4 through f/8 against the Zeiss Loxia 21mm f/2.8 on an extremely demanding target: a planar subject with exceedingly fine detail. This target is among the most demanding any lens can face, mercilessly showing most all lens weaknesses.

Sony A7R IV 4-shot pixel shift was used to capture the best possible detail. Results with pixel shift will always look notably better than without (assuming no checkerboarding issues).

Field curvature is of particular interest because at 60MP, small deviations across the field are not so small, and stopping down past f/4 begins to degrade micro contrast from diffraction. Also of interest is lens symmetry, which is hard to find among most lenses on a 60MP sensor, which mercilessly shows the slightest flaw. However, lacking stated specifications from Sony, there is no way to be certain that any particular lens skew is the fault of the lens, or the sensor/flange parallelism being off a few microns.

Shootout: Voigtlander FE Nokton 21mm f/1.4 Aspherical vs Zeiss Loxia 21mm f/2.8: Mosaic (Sony A7R IV)

Includes images from f/1.4 to f/8 at up to full camera resolution.

CLICK TO VIEW: 21mm Options for Sony Mirrorless

CLICK TO VIEW: Suggested Voigtlander Lenses for Sony FE

  
Zeiss Loxia 21mm f/2.8 and Voigtlander Nokton 21mm f/1.4 Aspherical
f2.8 @ 1/60 sec pixel shift, ISO 100; 2019-09-17 18:58:47
Sony A7R IV + Voigtlander FE NOKTON 21mm f/1.4 Aspherical
RAW: vignetting corrected, USM{8,50,0}

[low-res image for bot]
Lloyd’s Sony Mirrorless Wishlist
Hand-picked items for Sony.

Health: A Year’s Experience Using CBD

I am not a doctor, and none of what follows is medical advice! Consult your own doctor before using CBD. Also be aware of any legal issues, if only police with an attitude.

This short note is an addendum to my April 19 report on my experience with CBD. Please read that post first as well as my other thoughts on CBD for background, as I won’t be repeating that here—and it’s worth reading what readers have to sy also.

Small airway pulmonary function and allergies — best in many years

NuLeaf Naturals CBD
Use code diglloyd20 for 20% off every day of the year at NuLeafNaturals.com

I started using CBD in August 2018 after having really bad small airway impairment. I reported in some detail on my experience with CBD in November 2018.

After years of impaired lung function provoked mostly by seasonal allergies (winter and early spring generally not an issue), I noted a striking difference in 2019 which continues to this day.

Basically, I’ve had almost no allergy trouble this year, and my lungs have been functioning better than they have in at least the past seven years. Which is awesome because I have highly atypical lung function (large lungs with very high VO2 Max)*.

Can it be coincidence? My hypothesis is that using CBD for nearly a year has damped-down the inflammatory processes in my body, and that results directly in reduced allergies and reduced small airway reactivity.

I’m 'sold' on CBD. How well it might work for others with inflammatory issues of various kinds I cannot say, but IMO medical science is screwball irresponsible in not looking at this intensely, rather than relying on Big Pharma, whose products did diddly squat for my asthma in 2018.

* When my lungs don’t work well, I am at 75% to 85% of average, when they are working well at least 125% of average for my height/weight. Which makes me just about unbeatable by 99.99% of the population anywhere near my age. I cannot take credit for that—genetics, but I do take credit for hard-core training and it’s why I can ride comfortably to 14252' elevation with a week or so of acclimatization.

Upgrade Your Mac Memory
At much lower cost than Apple, with more options.
Lloyd recommends 64GB for iMac or Mac Pro for photography/videography.

Lens Quality Control as Revealed by Demanding Sony A7R IV 60MP Sensor

In Demands on Lens Performance with the Sony A7R IV are More Pronounced than I had Anticipated I expressed some disappointment with a few lenses.

The Sony A7R IV sensor reveals weakness more than any 35mm digital camera yet. The slightest asymmetry can look pretty bad. Of course, there is no easy way to rule out the camera itself as being off slightly (even if “in spec”)—if it’s off 3 micron left/right, that will definitely show up. Sony won’t say what the tolerances are—I asked after sending in my Sony A7R III and being told it was “in spec”.

Chris M writes:

Got a Sony A7R IV last Thursday and ordered the Voigtlander 21mm f/1.4. Heading to Europe on Monday for several weeks. Concerned about your comments testing the 21 on the new Sony. Sounds like a bad sample?

I plan to test the one I get later today, but do you think that the sample you praised so highly would’ve fared well or are there other issues? I plan on taking the Zeiss Batis 40mm f/2, Voigtlander 65mm f/2 APO, and the Zeiss Batis 135mm f/2.8 APO-Sonnar. If the 21mm is not up to snuff, I can take the Zeiss Batis 18mm f/2.8 and/or the Zeiss Loxia 25mm f/2.4. Trying to keep the kit “small.”

DIGLLOYD: the good news is that I received another copy of the Voigtlander Nokton 21mm f/1.4 Aspherical and shooting it last night on the mosaic, it looks to be as good as any I’ve yet tried (best of three so far), with excellent symmetry and edge sharpness—no small feat at 21mm on a 60MP sensor. Actually, upon further review, it does show some asymmetry, with the left side being weaker than than the right side, just like the first copy and the 2nd (first copy evaluated on the Sony A7R III). It looks like a perfectly symmetric copy is going to be very hard to obtain—since two different camera bodies are involved, it does not look like a camera body issue.

Nikon D850 Monochrome: Initial Example, and Frame Averaging for Ultra Low Noise (updated with comments, Sony A7R IV Potential)

Background: The Nikon D850 monochrome is a Nikon D850 with its color filter array (CFA) removed by maxmax.com. The NEF files are converted to monochrome DNG via LibRaw Monochrome2DNG and “Method B”, then processed using Adobe Camera Raw. Doing so avoids any demosaicing and thus retains full spatial resolution.

I’ve just started using the Nikon D850 monochrome, and wanted to get some sense of what it can do. One good example, plus an exploration of frame averaging, which can be used to good effect with color cameras also (already tried with the Sony A7R IV, and I might show that soon):

Nikon D850m Examples: Various
Nikon D850m Examples: Frame Averaging for Ultra-Low Noise

More about monochrome cameras.

Both pages are in diglloyd Advanced SLR and with images up to full camera resolution.

Nikon D850 monochrome

Jason W writes:

That is an incredibly impressive image Lloyd. Whatever tonality issues I saw before are not there. Spectacular quality. Rough bayer megapixel equivalent? 70? The tire image with the frame averaging is otherworldly.

The cumulative total effect of zero noise, zero debayering errors, and extreme detail without sharpening combines to create something very striking because there is no interference with the observation of the subject. It's what in the audiophile world you would call transparency. What comes across is not the artifacts of reproduction but the original object.

DIGLLOYD: exactly! (tire image is further below). It makes me want a Sony A7R IV monochrome but it will be a stretch just to afford one A7R IV as it is.

I’ll be making some images with filtration (blue, green, red, orange, yellow, etc) in the mountains soon, and I hope to make images of detail and tonality that I’ve never been able to make before—and in some cases with true 14-bit dynamic range, meaning noise-free jet-black shadow areas.

Comments continue below...

f5.6 @ 15.0 sec, ISO 64; 2019-09-15 08:46:17
NIKON D850 monochrome + Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 APO-Distagon
RAW: pull 0.33 stops, +50 Shadows, +10 Dehaze

[low-res image for bot]

Below, no black and white camera I have ever shot can approach the qulity in this image. I show single shot and 4/9/16/32/49 frame averaging images.

f5.6 @ 1/1600 sec frame averaging 49, ISO 64; 2019-09-17 11:38:24
Nikon D850 monochrome + Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 APO-Distagon
RAW: push 1.65 stops, +100 Shadows, +10 Dehaze

[low-res image for bot]

Terence M writes:

Could the Sony A7RIV be converted to monochrome, would it effect the autofocus especially the Eye AF or metering?

I always preferred the traditional Silver Gelatin Fiber print to Inkjet for B&W. Digital Silver Imaging in Boston can make a Silver Gelatin B&W Fiber print from a digital file.

Since you are testing the D850 Monochrome this would be good timing to make a print and review the process, I would be willing to pay the cost of a print if your interested or have the time.

DIGLLOYD: it's a BSI sensor, so the color filter array can probably be removed as with the Nikon D850. As to a print, I’ve asked Digital Silver Imaging if they will comp me a print or two for evaluation.

Dan Llewelyn of maxmax.com who did the D850m responds:

My guess is that, yes, the Sony A7R IV can be converted. I have an A7R II sensor on my workbench now with the coverglass removed and a spare A7R II camera for testing. Today or tomorrow, I hope to try converting the A7R II to monochrome. If that goes OK, then the A7R III and, after that, the A7R IV. Sometimes R&D goes quickly and sometimes it doesn't.

I have converted the Sony A7S II to monochrome. Basically, all the features of a monochrome converted camera should work except for the obvious things like color settings and not so obvious, auto sensor cleaning is usually removed (not always) and phase detection AF is lost. Probably biggest thing is phase detection AF, but most cameras revert to contrast AF is phase AF isn't working. On some cameras, phase AF is used for continuous AF. Eye AF and metering should be fine an the A7R IV.

Metering on the A7R IV is set off the image sensor unlike the D800 which can use either the sensor in the base of the camera or the image sensor (when in Live View). With a mirrorless camera or camera in Live View, exposure and focus is set off the image sensor (unless you have a DSLR that can be set to flip the mirror back down when you take a picture in Live View).

For the cameras I do convert to monochrome, which is a limited range, APS sensors are $1,500 and full frame sensors are $2,500. Fuji and Sony cameras get an extra $100 tacked on because they are a pain to take apart. Each type of sensor requires its own R&D to figure out how to remove the coverglass, machine stainless steel fixtures to hold it and experiments to figure out the processing parameters. Out of the first 20 D800 sensors I tried converting, 4 were successful; they were costing me $2,000/sensor initially. Then there is the $100K+ equipment needed. Converting to monochrome is a pretty big deal unless you are one of the guys using sharp sticks to scrape the CFA off the sensor (those guys actually exist).

DIGLLOYD: see also Why manufacturers don't make monochrome versions of some of their cameras.

128GB Memory in iMac 5K $679

128GB in 2019 iMac 5K is what Lloyd uses!
Up to 64GB for 2015/2017 iMac 5K

TWICE the memory for $320 *less* than Apple charges for 64GB!!!

64GB for Mac mini only $335

Sony A7R IV: Diffraction with High Grade Lenses

This page discusses considerations for diffraction on the Sony A7R IV, which has 3.74 micron photosites—extremely small.

The effects of diffraction will be vary depending on optical performance: a mediocre lens has less to lose, the wavelength of light involved (blue resolves much better than red and is thus affected more quickly). Subject matter interacts with it all, particularly in terms of textural detail on relatively low contrast subject matter. Diffraction mitigating sharpening can help, but never improves tonality and at some point can never 'get it back'.

Diffraction Considerations for Sony A7R IV

Includes discussion of a series from f/2 through f/8.

f4 @ 1/200 sec pixel shift, ISO 100; 2019-09-14 18:23:18
Sony A7R IV + Voigtlander MACRO APO-LANTHAR 65mm F2 Aspherical
RAW: LACA corrected, vignetting corrected, USM{5,50,0}

[low-res image for bot]

Get up to 16x more storage and 2x the speeds of the original drive

Sony A7R IV 'Cooks' Its RAW Files, Just Like Its Predecessors

Previous Sony cameras all 'cooked' their raw files, even with uncompressed raw. In my experience, this shows up as 'brittle' files that 'break' when pushed beyond a certain—post processing is impaired whereas raw files from cameras like the Nikon D850 and Nikon Z7 have resilience to them.

Alex Tutubalin of RawDigger comments:

Sony A7R III has very same gaps, one level missing out of 16 signs of 'cooked file' (noise reduction, star eater, etc, etc)

Gapping a levels means potential posterization in dark tones; the eye picks up abrupt transitions.

When will we get a fully serious camera from Sony? With lossless compressed uncooked raw? Is it going to take 5 generations? What about focus stepping support for focus stacking, and multiple-exposure capability and more? Sony is intent on some areas (autofocus) but drops the ball in all sorts of areas that are useful to me.

OTOH, this behavior below may actually be among the best—see the Nikon D850 histogram below it.

Sony claims 15-bit dynamic range, which is a total joke when there are two pixel gaps in dark tones, and rampant hot pixels in dark areas in daylight exposures (which I will be showing). Image quality is not proven by ordinary images in ordinary lighting, but by how a camera performs in difficult circumstances.

However, to be fair to Sony, take a look at the Nikon D850 further below.

RawDigger histogram showing two-pixel gaps in Sony uncompressed raw files = potential posterization and loss of tonality

The Nikon D850 gaps its raw 14-bit lossless compressed raw files every 7 pixels in the red channel, every 8 pixels in the blue channel, and every 59 pixels in the green channel. So the Sony raw file looks to be far higher quality.

RawDigger histogram showing two-pixel gaps in Nikon D850 lossless-compressed 14-bit raw files = potential posterization and loss of tonality

Voigtlander 65mm f/2 Macro APO-Lanthar Aperture Series: Mosaic (Sony A7R IV)

Voigtlander 65mm f/2 Macro APO-Lanthar

If you want to see what the 60 megapixel sensor of the Sony A7R IV can deliver, this is a reference example that maybe cannot be beaten.

This series from f/2 through f/8 evaluates the Voigtlander 65mm f/2 Macro APO-Lanthar on an extremely demanding subject that makes mincemeat of most lenses, mercilessly revealing every weakness, lack of symmetry, etc. Most lenses require f/5.6 or f/8 to sharpen the whole mosaic.

Sony A7R IV 4-shot pixel shift was used to capture the best possible detail. Results with pixel shift will always look notably better than without (assuming no checkerboarding issues).

Flatness of field is of particular interest because at 60MP, small deviations across the field are not so small, and stopping down past f/4 begins to degrade micro contrast from diffraction.

Voigtlander 65mm f/2 Macro APO-Lanthar Aperture Series: Mosaic (Sony A7R IV)

Includes images up to full camera resolution of 60 megapixels.

The about $999 Voigtlander 65mm f/2 Macro APO-Lanthar surely is a must-have lens and a 'steal' for any Sony shooter for whom manual focus is acceptable. Meaning go buy one right now if you are serious about image quality on the Sony A7R IV.

This is the best lens so far that I have tested on the Sony A7R IV— few lenses approach it, let alone deliver what it does at f/4.

f4 @ 1/200 sec pixel shift, ISO 100; 2019-09-14 18:23:18
Sony A7R IV + Voigtlander MACRO APO-LANTHAR 65mm F2 Aspherical
RAW: LACA corrected, vignetting corrected, USM{5,50,0}

[low-res image for bot]

Our trusted photo rental store

Sony A7R IV Image Quality: Crosshatching Pattern Noise (Looks Like Adobe Camera Raw Enhance Details Issue)

I have determined that the Sony A7R IV suffers from the same crosshatching pattern noise problem as does the Fujifilm GFX100.

I am hopeful of a solution soon from Adobe, but note that the issue affects the Sony A7R III also.

More info:

Fujifilm GFX Image Quality: Crosshatching Pattern Noise (Looks Like Adobe Camera Raw Enhance Details Issue)

Below, same issue with Sony A7R III after using Enhance Details. Zoom in slightly if using a Retina display with its very high pixel density.

Crosshatching patterns after using Enhance Details
f6.3 @ 30.0 sec, ISO 50; 2019-07-14 20:47:39
Sony A7R III + Voigtlander FE NOKTON 21mm f/1.4 Aspherical RAW: Enhance Details

[low-res image for bot]
Crosshatching patterns after using Enhance Details
f4 @ 2.6 sec, ISO 100; 2019-07-20 20:54:47
Fujifilm GFX 100 + Fujifilm GF 110mm f/2 R LM WR @ 87mm equiv (110mm)
RAW: Enhance Details, LACA corrected, distortion corrected, vignetting corrected

[low-res image for bot]

Upgrade the memory of your 2018 Mac mini up to 64GB

Sigma 35mm f/1.2 DG DN Art Aperture Series: Effects of Distortion Correction

This page looks at distortion for the Sigma 35mm f/1.2 DG DN Art, showing uncorrected and corrected images along with crops showing the loss of micro contrast that results from distortion correction.

Distortion Correction for Sigma 35mm f/1.2 DG DN Art

Includes images up to full camera resolution of 60 megapixels.

f5.6 @ 1/60 sec pixel shift, ISO 100; 2019-09-14 18:32:27
Sony A7R IV + Sigma 35mm f/1.2 DG DN Art
RAW: LACA corrected, distortion corrected, vignetting corrected, USM{5,50,0}

[low-res image for bot]

Get up to 16x more storage and 2x the speeds of the original drive

Sigma 35mm f/1.2 DG DN Art Aperture Series: Mosaic (Sony A7R IV)

Sigma 35mm f/1.2 DG DN Art

This series evaluates the Sigma 35mm f/1.2 DG DN Art on an extremely demanding target: a planar subject with exceedingly fine detail. This target is among the most demanding any lens can face, mercilessly showing most all lens weaknesses.

Sony A7R IV 4-shot pixel shift was used to capture the best possible detail. Results with pixel shift will always look notably better than without (assuming no checkerboarding issues).

Field curvature is of particular interest because at 60MP, small deviations across the field are not so small, and stopping down past f/4 begins to degrade micro contrast from diffraction.

Sigma 35mm f/1.2 DG DN Art Aperture Series: Mosaic (Sony A7R IV)

Includes images up to full camera resolution of 60 megapixels.

This 2nd sample of the Sigma 35mm f/1.2 DG DN Art is not perfect, but it is much better than the first sample, and stunningly good when stopped down to f/5.6.

f1.2 @ 1/1600 sec pixel shift, ISO 100; 2019-09-14 18:30:42
Sony A7R IV + Sigma 35mm f/1.2 DG DN Art
RAW: LACA corrected, vignetting corrected, USM{5,50,0}

[low-res image for bot]

Get up to 16x more storage and 2x the speeds of the original drive

Sigma 45mm f/2.8 DG DN Contemporary Aperture Series: Mosaic (Sony A7R IV)

This series evaluates the Sigma 45mm f/2.8 DG DN Contemporary on an extremely demanding target: a planar subject with exceedingly fine detail. Sony A7R IV 4-shot pixel shift was used to capture the best possible detail. This target is among the most demanding any lens can face, mercilessly showing most all lens weaknesses.

Field curvature and lens symmetry are of particular interest because at 60MP, small deviations across the field are not so small, and stopping down past f/4 begins to degrade micro contrast from diffraction, though the Sigma 45/2.8 needs more like f/5.6 to banish its wide-open softness from (apparently) spherical aberration.

Sigma 45mm f/2.8 DG DN Contemporary Aperture Series: Mosaic (Sony A7R IV)

Includes images up to full camera resolution of 60 megapixels.

Sadly, Sigma quality control seems to be suffering—this lens along with two copies of the Sigma 35mm f/1.2 DG DN Art leave me quite unhappy about it.

f4 @ 1/40 sec pixel shift, ISO 100; 2019-09-14 18:59:39
Sony A7R IV + Zeiss Loxia 25mm f/2.4 Distagon
RAW: vignetting corrected, USM{8,50,0}

[low-res image for bot]

Best Deals, Updated Weekly

Demands on Lens Performance with the Sony A7R IV are More Pronounced than I had Anticipated

It was my premise that the 60-megapixel Sony A7R IV with its 3.74 micron pixels* would place an unprecedented demand on lens performance, demands never before experienced except when using Multi-Shot High-Res mode of the 45MP Panasonic S1R.

I was not disappointed—or rather I was quite disappointed. Last night, I shot 22 different lens combinations in order to assay what to expect (I’m counting zooms and their focal lengths as a lens).

Today in going over the files I was shocked at how disappointing most of them were—yikes, this is going to require careful selection and usage to really use the Sony A7R IV to its best. The gains for 60MP are real, but you’d better have the best lenses and perfect shot discipline and be aware of focus errors, focus shift and field curvature and lens asymmetry, with most of the lenses showing symmetry issues of varying degrees (and I’m beginning to question Sigma’s quality control, looks like the claims are bogus as to MTF testing).

As just one example in the quality control area, the Voigtlander 21mm f/1.4 Aspherical which I praised so highly on the Sony A7R III... well this latest copy is a dud, unable to make sharpness in the outer zones at f/5.6 or even f/8—what the hell? A bummer, as I was hoping to use it a lot. Update: I received another Voigtlander 21mm f/1.4 and it looks to be as good as any I’ve yet tried (best of three so far)—excellent symmetry and edge sharpness.

Here’s a headache: stopping down is not much of a solution for focus shift and field curvature and lens asymmetry because f/4 is the last aperture (for a high-grade lens) that avoids diffraction effects! Using f/5.6 shows subtle micro contrast losses with the best lenses, and f/8 visibly degraded. It’s exactly analogous to f/8 vs f/5.6 on the Sony A7R III—f/8 is the new f/11, so to speak.

* 9552 x 6360 images in a 35.7 X 23.8 mm form factor— not quite full frame sensor, about 1.6% smaller.

Total benefits are still a plus

While the resolution gains require the best lenses and shot discipline, the benefits of higher resolution are there in other ways for “free”: reduced moiré, reduced color aliasing, reduced spurious detail, all of which produce a superior image compared to the 42MP of the Sony A7R III. Image quality is a lot more than just resolving power!

Gordon S writes:

Very interesting update and glad to see you are finding similar challenges with the Sony A7R IV.

I was beginning to question wether I had some issues with my A7R IV or just my techniques. With IBIS on, I am finding the shutter speed for sharp shots needs to be almost 3X the focal length for consistency.

My simple backyard testing parameters are showing serious flaws in some of the lenses I would take on a family vacation that allowed for both easy walking around plus ability to have some more serious shot taking time.

Retried the same shots on the Panasonic SR1 and shots were sharp - so while I had hoped for the smaller footprint for travel I am not ready for spending a few weeks on the road and constantly having to chimp to see if things are in focus and sharp. (this was comparing the 24-105s to each other). I think my spouse would shoot me! She is normally a good sport but if I began taking extra time on every shot it would end up pushing her over the edge. Just the couple hundred frames I tested over the weekend in the backyard was getting me some serious annoyed looks.

DIGLLOYD: that IBIS comment raises serious concern but the other comments are consistent with what I am seeing.

I have now had to exchange four lenses, hoping for better samples:

Per K writes:

My experience is that Sony A7x IBIS is below average compared to the competition. But not as poor as the reader experiences on this brand new mk4. My advice to him would be to use the warranty.

IBIS performance definition used is, to me, rather worthless: What is "5 steps" really? staring from 1/8000 sec? I have some personal (being not very stable myself) tests with non stabilized and stabilized 85mm on A7R2: The gain with stabilized lens was about 1/30 sec. With the stabilized Batis 135/2.8 I can get sharp images (if I am lucky) at 1/30 sec. The gain on just IBIS is in practice far from 5 steps that Sony brags about. I'd say "two steps" or rather 1/30sec. One has to bear in mind that results heavily depends on how you hold the camera and wind conditions.

(Last year I was trekking in Nepal and I was really happy, especially above 4000m, with the short and light Batis 135! It is 614g, the Sony 135 weighs 50% more and the Sigma 100% more. Weight and balance actually contributes a lot to image quality!)

DIGLLOYD: my impression is that Nikon Z7 and Fujifilm GFX100 IBIS are better than Sony.

Zeiss Loxia 25mm f/2.4 Aperture Series: Mosaic (Sony A7R IV)

I’m kicking off my coverage of the Sony A7R IV by showing various lenses and their performance—good and bad—see Demands on Lens Performance with the Sony A7R IV are More Pronounced than I had Anticipated.

The Zeiss Loxia 25mm f/2.4 is one of the top few best of the 22 lens combinations I tested last night, but it has some field curvature behavior that is more important than ever to be aware of, that is, on a 60MP sensor.

....

This series evaluates the Zeiss Loxia 25mm f/2.4 on an extremely demanding target: a planar subject with exceedingly fine detail. Sony A7R IV 4-shot pixel shift was used to capture the best possible detail. This target is among the most demanding any lens can face, mercilessly showing most all lens weaknesses.

Field curvature is of particular interest because at 60MP, small deviations across the field are not so small, and stopping down past f/4 begins to degrade micro contrast from diffraction.

Zeiss Loxia 25mm f/2.4 Aperture Series: Mosaic (Sony A7R IV)

Includes images up to full camera resolution of 60 megapixels.

f4 @ 1/40 sec pixel shift, ISO 100; 2019-09-14 18:59:39
Sony A7R IV + Zeiss Loxia 25mm f/2.4 Distagon
RAW: vignetting corrected, USM{8,50,0}

[low-res image for bot]
Make an Old Dog Run Like a Young Puppy
with an OWC SSD

SATA, USB3, Thunderbolt, internal upgrades and PCIe SSD options for Mac or PC.
View All OWC SSDs...

Sony A7R IV Raw File Support in Adobe Camera Raw is Preliminary, Problematic

Adobe Camera Raw Support for Sony A7R IV raw files is preliminary.

Update September 19: support is now finalized.

Color rendition is way off for the A7R IV, such as tint needing to be +25M to +35M and white balance is off too. Not to mention there being no camera profile.

I am unsure how to proceed showing much work since comparing the Sony A7R III to the Sony A7R IV is inappropriate with no solid camera profile.

Adobe Camera Raw support for Sony A7R IV is preliminary as of September 25, 2019

Upgrade the memory of your 2019 iMac up to 128GB

Sony A7R IV Quick Thoughts

The Sony A7R IV seems improved in every way in terms of the camera itself: better button feel, best EVF for manual focus in ANY camera I’ve yet used—awesome! Operational speed is improved but still a bit sluggish to do things like zoom into a recorded image, though scrolling is very fast.

One thing I’ve learned is that even some very good lenses are going to struggle with the sensor resolution of the Sony A7R IV! Color fringing shows up in unexpected places, like the Voigtlander 110mm f/2.5 APO-Lanthar.

You will not get full resolution without focus stacking because depth of field relative to pixel size is substantially reduced. Which is awful in practice, because there is no automated focus stacking support on the A7R IV. The huge file sizes are ridiculous too—often larger than the lossless-compressed files with the 100MP Fujifilm GFX100, so much so that I anticipate running out of card space in the field with the A7R IV.

Sony 4-shot pixel shift remain a science fair project outside, even for static subjects—checkerboarding is almost impossible to avoid, at least on all-critical edges. its 16-shot pixel shift mode is just lot of soft pixels often inferior to 4-shot mode—and both suck compared to Panasonic S1R Multi-Shot High-Res mode.

Sony A7R IV

Our trusted photo rental store

FOR SALE: Canon EF 200mm f/1.8L USM

I'm selling this lens on behalf of a friend.

As some readers might know the Canon EF 200mm f/1.8L is a beautiful supertele long lusted over that has become a collector’s item—not many were made.

  • Glass looks perfect front and rear and through, lens is not mint but looks close to it.
  • Field shots show perfect performance on the 50 megapixel Canon 5DS R—sharp as a tack across the field.
  • Includes Canon lens hood and hardcase and warranty card (out of warranty, USA).
  • I am including the Canon EF 1.4X II tele extender
  • Circular drop-in filter holder and spare one.
  • Includes original lens foot plus Really Right Stuff LCF-40 Foot.
  • USA warranty card

Local sale (San Francisco Bay Area) preferred so buyer can inspect lens, other areas possible with travel (Eastern Sierra, Reno, NV, a few others). Contact Lloyd. $5500 or best offer.

Canon EF 200mm f/1.8L and stuff
f1.8 @ 1/100 sec, ISO 20; 2019-09-15 09:22:47
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus 4.0 mm f/1.8 ENV: altitude 473 ft / 144 m

[low-res image for bot]
Canon EF 200mm f/1.8L, side view with controls
f1.8 @ 1/120 sec, ISO 20; 2019-09-15 09:26:22
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus 4.0 mm f/1.8 ENV: altitude 492 ft / 150 m

[low-res image for bot]
Canon EF 200mm f/1.8L, side view with Really Right Stuff lens foot
f1.8 @ 1/120 sec, ISO 25; 2019-09-15 09:26:55
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus 4.0 mm f/1.8 ENV: altitude 491 ft / 150 m

[low-res image for bot]
Canon EF 200mm f/1.8L, front glass
f1.8 @ 1/60 sec, ISO 25; 2019-09-15 09:27:19
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus 4.0 mm f/1.8 ENV: altitude 493 ft / 150 m

[low-res image for bot]
Canon EF 200mm f/1.8L, ZZZZ
f1.8 @ 1/120 sec, ISO 40; 2019-09-15 09:27:35
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus 4.0 mm f/1.8 ENV: altitude 491 ft / 150 m

[low-res image for bot]

Our trusted photo rental store

LibRaw Updates PixelShift2DNG for Sony A7R IV, Supports 4-frame and 16-frame Pixel Shift Files

LibRaw LLC is responsible for excellent software including RawDigger and FastRawViewer and utilities like PixelShift2DNG and Monochrome2DNG. Functionality and performance are first-rate.

PixelShift2DNG (beta): Convert Pentax K1/K3-II and Sony A7R-III Pixel Shift Files to DNG

In order to streamline the workflow with the raw shots taken in the new Pixel Shift Multi Shooting mode offered by the Pentax K1(-II)/K3-II and Sony A7R-III cameras, and provide a way to use popular RAW converters (Adobe Camera Raw/Lightroom, Capture One, and some others) for processing these shots, we’ve developed the PixelShift2DNG application, which converts Sony and Pentax shots taken in Pixel Shift mode to DNG, supported by most (but not all) RAW converters.

PixelShift2DNG performs the two following tasks:

• Combine 4 source ARW files taken in Pixel Shift Multi Shooting mode and save the result as a DNG;

• Convert ARQ file formats (and ARW file quartets previously combined into one file by the program Sony Imaging Edge) or 4-shot PEF/DNG containers (taken with Pentax K1/K1-II/K3-II cameras) to regular DNG files. The resulting DNG files can later be processed in familiar applications like Adobe Lightroom and Camera Raw, CaptureOne, Iridient Developer, Luminar, and others.

The resulting DNG files can later be processed in familiar applications like Adobe Lightroom and Camera Raw, CaptureOne, Iridient Developer, Luminar, and others.


Get up to 16x more storage and 2x the speeds of the original drive

Sigma 35mm f/1.2 DG DN Art Aperture Series: Teak Bench (Sony A7R IV)

See my initial comments on disappointing performance of the Sigma 35mm f/1.2 DG DN Art.

One of my first steps with the Sony A7R IV testing is to pick out the wheat from the chaff, in terms of lenses—I have no desired to head to Yosemite and shoot with a lens that has an issue. Thus this test with two samples of the Sigma 35mm f/1.2 DG DN Art—I was lucky in getting one sample a month ago, and deferring testing it until I got another, because the first sample looked “off” even on the "only" 42 megapixel Sony A7R III.

...

I shot this series with two samples of the Sigma 35mm f/1.2 DG DN Art, my experience over the years suggesting to me the first sample was “off”, a bad sample. This comparison proved me right, and is thus excellent for anyone looking to see how sample variation can change the impression of a lens significantly.

While the same core behaviors are present, irrespective of focus the 2nd sample is distinctly superior through at least f/4. That’s a big deal for an f/1.2 lens, since the wider apertures are presumably the reason one buys it. Given what I’ve heard from two other users, there may be many not so great samples out there*.

Sigma 35mm f/1.2 DG DN Art Aperture Series: Teak Bench (Sony A7R IV)

Includes images up to full camera resolution for the good sample, and comparison crops for both samples showing the differences in performance.

The wood grain makes an excellent testing pattern for both lenses under controlled circumstances. It also shows off the resolving power of the Sony A7R IV sensor.

* High performance lens designs require tolerances that can be difficult to achieve in manufacture—there are many fine lens designs which are never built because it would be too hard (expensive) to reliably built to the designed performance level. Sigma’s quality control needs to be improved, and it raises the issue of whether an advanced design will retain its performance over time after minor bumps and such.

Teak Bench
f1.2 @ 1/320 sec, ISO 100; 2019-09-13 18:55:01
Sony A7R IV + Sigma 35mm f/1.2 DG DN Art
RAW: Enhance Details, LACA corrected

[low-res image for bot]
Protect Your Phone
NuGard KX Case for iPhones and iPads.
Outstanding protection against drops and impact!
Plus, excellent grip for wet hands, cycling, etc.

Reader Comment: Nikon Z7 vs Nikon Z6 for Focusing Tracking and Noise

Brian K writes:

I’m quite happy with the Nikon Z7. It’s not perfect, but I prefer it over any camera I have ever owned.

[diglloyd: in total, the Nikon Z7/Z6 have the best ergonomics/haptics and travel size camera/lenses combo on the market. Little surprise to see Ming Thein carrying the Nikon Z7 + the Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/4 S while traveling].

My only major complaint is the focus lag for rapidly moving subjects—something that becomes an issue with my rapidly moving 5 year old son. I’m hoping this gets improved in a subsequent iteration. The counterpoint is that setting AF to area AF in continuous focus mode is *really* useful unless the subject is moving quickly. For non-tripod work it has become my AF mode of choice. Point the camera at the area you want to be in focus, half-press the shutter to lock it on that area (with the subsequent yellow rectangle), and then recompose as needed. While not perfect, it does a decent job of continuously acquiring focus on the area you chose. When Eye AF gets activated when people are in the frame, this gets even better. Easy to switch between eyes (or people). Again not perfect, but it has worked pretty well for me. When it doesn’t work (by picking the wrong area to lock onto), it’s fairly easy to start over (by hitting the OK button to reset the area of AF).

Nikon Z7

My actual question to you involves a comparison between the Z7 and Z6. I have no idea if the Z6 is better able to handle continuous AF changes with rapidly moving subjects. Perhaps the lower MP of the sensor allows it to focus faster/more accurately with rapidly moving subjects? It has fewer AF points than the Z7 which makes me think the answer is no, but possible I’m not thinking about everything.

The other question (which is actually more important to me) is whether the Z6 might handle noise better than the Z7. The two share the same generation of sensor, but the Z6 sensor is less dense than the Z7 sensor. So the photosites are bigger? Which should result in a better ability to distinguish signal from noise?

I have a specific application in mind behind my question. With my son being 5 yrs old, he attends many birthday parties at indoor bouncy houses. The light isn’t great. Freezing motion of my son (or the other kids) jumping requires a shutter speed of at least 1/125th sec and ideally faster (1/200, 1/250, 1/300). With an f/2.8 zoom the ISO values start getting into the unacceptable range and even with an f/1.4 lens they can get fairly high (and focus errors get magnified at f/1.4 and DOF can be too shallow even without focus errors).

So if the Nikon Z6 can handle noise better by even a stop, it might be a better body for this specific application. If it can handle noise better by more than a stop, that would be even better.

CLICK TO VIEW: Nikon Z System

Though it’s somewhat crazy, I’m considering buying a Z6 specifically for this type of shooting situation—not for landscapes or tripod work where I care about detail, but for action shots in poor light. Not for the higher FPS capture, but specifically to get better IQ at a high ISO with rapidly moving subjects. Am I thinking about this correctly? Am I missing something?

DIGLLOYD: taking digital sensor noise first: given equivalent technology, two sensors of the same size but different resolution collect the same amount of total light. The sensor with lower resolution has larger photosites and in theory will yield a higher signal/noise ratio per pixel.

The f/2.8 lens speed might be hurting AF speed with most cameras but since Nikon stops down for focusing, it would not help to use an f/1.8 prime (unless the firmware now supports opening the lens in dim light to focus, in which case focus shift becomes a problem).

However, the noise on a per-image basis is not per pixel, it is per-image. So the appropriate comparison is to downsample the 45MP Nikon Z7 image to the matching 24MP size of the Nikon Z6 in order to properly compare it. Excluding extremely high ISO values perhaps (where the S/N ratio becomes very poor and thus the dominating factor), I have found that the higher resolution camera is usually preferable even when noise is a concern, because visible noise is usually no worse, but it eliminates other digital artifacts by virtue of oversampling. With a small amount of chroma noise reduction, the downsampling (using Bicubic Sharper) produces a superior overall image with much less moiré, color aliasing and with superior micro contrast.

In other words and excepting very high ISO, all other things being equal I would stick with the Nikon Z7.

Autofocus speed: I don’t have any special knowledge of Nikon Z6 vs Nikon Z7 autofocus capability and cannot speak to that. I presume the technology is the same, but that the Z7 can ultimately focus more accurately in a sense, because it does so at higher resolution. Again, that means that downsampling to 24MP then comparing the detail/accuracy may win out in favor of the Z7.


Upgrade the memory of your 2018 Mac mini up to 64GB

Nikon D850 Monochrome

I did some testing with the Sony A7R IV today, but the 45-megapixel Nikon D850 monochrome by maxmax.com looks to capture more detail and be highly resistant to diffraction too. I am testing the D850m for a few weeks, it is not my own.

The NEF file was converted to a monochrome DNG file via LibRaw Monochrome2DNG and “Method B”, then processed using Adobe Camera Raw. Doing so avoids any demosaicing.

Below, a sneak peak at what it can do via an actual pixels crop from a corner of the frame. I’ll be making some landscape images with the Nikon D850m soon, right alongside the Sony A7R IV.

Actual pixels crop, corner area
f8 @ 1/20 sec, ISO 64; 2019-09-13 23:18:25
Nikon D850 monochrome by maxmax.com + Zeiss 55mm f/1.4 APO-Distagon

[low-res image for bot]

Björn G writes:

Why D850 vs SONY. Wouldn´t Nikon Z7 be more appropriate?

DIGLLOYD: The D850 monochrome is on loan for testing; it was not my decision. If I were to convert a camera, it would indeed probably be the Nikon D850 or Canon 5DSR because I rarely use them and thus the sunk cost can be put to new use. That, versus buying another camera.

To convert a camera to true monochrome, the CFA (color filter array) is physically removed with an acid or solvent. This leaves the sensor so that all pixels record all wavelengths of light without the red or green or blue filtration of the CFA. Some sensors are amenable to this, and others are not because of corrosion potential with some sensors due to the physical design.

A monochrome camera may be desirable for technical or industrial reasons, and not necessarily for versus photographic/artistic reasons.

Setting aside lack of an EVF, the Nikon D850 is very well built and takes a huge variety of native-mount lenses. In physical terms, the Nikon D850 is one of the best operating cameras I have used.

Make an Old Dog Run Like a Young Puppy
with an OWC SSD

SATA, USB3, Thunderbolt, internal upgrades and PCIe SSD options for Mac or PC.
View All OWC SSDs...

Lucky to get one: Sony A7R IV Arriving Friday

Sony A7R IV will be here tomorrow. I was lucky to get one right away, as supply is tight, the A7R IV being a hotly anticipated camera.

If you purchase the Sony A7R IV, that means waiting for it at this point (pre-ordering), just as with many hot new items from Sony—but ordering now is your best way to get one as soon as you can.

Be sure to get fast UHS-II SDXC cards (see below) and computer storage might be in order also, particularly if you intend to use focus stacking or 16-shot mode.

Thanks for buying using any of the links on this site.

CLICK TO VIEW: Pre-Order Sony A7R IV

Sony A7R IV shipped

Lenses I will be testing with initially

I will be promptly doing a few things to verify the lenses I have are good samples (hard to do fully, but a quick check can sometime catch obvious issues), and I want to see if 16-shot mode is usable also.

SDXC cards

The Sony Tough series SDXC cards are definitely the way to go—two of them (128GB each)worked flawlessly in the Fujifilm GFX100, and I expect the same in the Sony A7R IV, which also has dual UHS-II card slots.

I really like the build of the Sony Tough cards—very robust, no write-protect tab—best SD card I’ve used ever, and performance is excellent.

Computer Storage

You’re going to want storage and lots of it.

 


Our trusted photo rental store

Reader Comment: “iPhone 11 Pro/Pro Max is a pivot point”

See also The NuGuard KX Case Has Saved My iPhone 7 Plus even at Speed from my Bicycle. It has saved my iPhone 7 Plus two dozen times being dropped onto concrete or asphalt, including at peed from a bicycle. Just recently, I discovered that water bars on fire roads can levitate my iPhone 7 Plus up and out of my cycling jersey pocket, dropping it nicely not the rock trail at speed—unharmed.

Michael Erlewine writes:

Harbinger: The iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max

Just a note. My gut is that the new iPhone 11 Pro/Pro Max is a pivot point, especially with the forthcoming “Deep Fusion” mode which combines a series of shots (like stacking) to make a highly detailed shot. The iPhone 11 can also produce DNGs.

The camera now has three cameras:

- An ultra-wide 13mm f/2.4 5-element lens with 120° field of view and a 12MP sensor.

- A 26mm f/1.8 wide, 6-elements, 12 MP sensor with optical stabilization camera.

- A 52mm f/2.0, 6-element lens, with optical stabilization, 2x optical zoom 12MP sensor.

It also works with a fascinating piece of software for video called Filmic, which allows you to use some of the multiple cameras in the iPhone 11. In addition, the iPhone 11 Pro/Pro Max has 512 GB and up to 5 hours more battery time than before.

My best guess is that this event is a toehold on the future and the flag or sign that a beefed-up iPhone can finally handle low to medium photographic tasks, if not right now, then soon.

When you consider you can get DNGs from this camera, Night Mode, and a small host of other features, we have, IMO, crossed a point of no-return. If this is not the next page, then it at least the iPhone 11 sends a signal that change indeed is coming.

The thought of carrying an iPhone, a gimbal, and a few other accessories instead of all the gear I now carry is worth thinking about. No, not for landscapes and the kind of close-up I like, but to be able to carry around a camera in my shirt pocket to address all of the times I wish I had a camera with me is tempting. I am getting one and selling a bunch of lenses.

...

My comments on the iPhone 11 Pro Max are not meant to mean I won’t be using my scores of lenses (maybe I will sell some of these; I’m not a camera museum! LOL) I will continue to use my APO lenses, etc., especially indoors in the studio for winter. I don’t consider the iPhone a replacement, except perhaps for my Sony RX100, which I never bother to carry around with me. I will use the Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max, since I need an iPhone a lot anyway. My eye for light and composition works 24x7 and not just when I carry heavy gear around. I can’t imagine how many times I have been out walking or whatever, seen something that strikes my eye, but have no way to record it.

I don’t print photos and have not even one of the hundreds of thousands of images I have taken on the wall. None. I do however blog every day to some 7500 folks who would be happy to see what I can produce on a smart phone. I don’t consider this iPhone as a come-down, but rather as a challenge that I am happy to accept. I also have always wanted to make short, personal, videos and will try that.

I see this as an extension of my photography rather than as a surrogate.

DIGLLOYD: the iPhone is one more tool for the photographer and has its place.

But will it have Eye AF? Too often, the iPhone has given me a blurry face and sharp background—unbelievable given the other sophisticated functions.

On the way

A big downside for me at least is that the iPhone 11 Pro Max weighs another 40 grams or so—that’s a lot—it approaches half a pound! The weight is bothersome already with the iPhone 7 Plus in my cycling jersey pockets in particular.

At right, if Apple has sold me a bill of goods like with the iPhone 7 Plus with its garbage quality 2X camera, the iPhone 11 Pro Max will go back. My iPhone 7 Plus is nearly 3 years old, and its battery is not keeping a good charge, and it’s not meeting my needs for the times I use it for images, so I’m treating the iPhone 11 Pro Max as a camera, loathe as I am to pay the price.

It’s very clear that computational photography has enormous potential. The Apple iPhone is leading in that area, with cameras like the Panasonic S1R with its Multi-Shot High-res mode doing sophisticated things for motion (quite unlike Sony’s lame pixel shift, which is a “dumb” shooting mode generating files you have to process later).

I’ve been using the Pro Camera app to shoot raw/DNG on my iPhone 7 Plus for some time now—it’s the best of the bunch for my purposes. The result from raw are quite good for the 1X camera on the iPhone 7 Plus. In JPEG, results from either camera are frequently garbage —huge amounts of detail smeared away, mottled diseased-looking skin, heavily posterized tonal transitions, etc. The 2X camera I gave up on, so consistently poor are its results. But in raw/DNG the 1X camera is really good and built-in fill flash makes it even better outdoors.

The new iPhone 11 Pro Max I had already decided I have to buy to maintain perspective on the state of the art and its 3 cameras, and also the all-important image stabilization and 12MP front-facing selfie camera. I hate to spend more money on anything with Apple, but it’s now a camera as much as a phone.

Night Mode on the iPhone 11 Pro is an open question—maybe it will solve the #1 problem I’ve had with the iPhone 7 Plus, that is, garbage quality in low light and unusable camera shake.

Nick C writes:

The new iPhone 11 pro max is it. I actually canceled my A7R IV preorder and am selling off my lenses. I did a statistical analysis of the photos I’ve been taking over the last couple of years, and 90+% of the views have been those taken using my iPhone. Add to this that I don’t print, and it’s increasingly evident that the ship for dedicated cameras other than niche use cases is being loaded for departure, if it hasn’t sailed yet.

Add to this—

1. Unlimited photo and video storage in iCloud for instant viewing anywhere. And yes I can still copy the files locally.

2. Freedom from testing stresses: do I have a sharp copy? Is it centered? F*k that sh*t.

3. Banding when pushing exposure? Exposure to the right? Focusing concerns? Obsolete topics. Computational photography makes all the other cameras look defective in this regard.

4. Life is short. Perfect pixels do not replace a light traveling experience where the phone just gets out of the way, is there when needed to take a great looking photo, and disappears in a pocket when not.

5. Battery life so long that you don’t even think about it.

6. Superlative, instant, in the field publishing options that are simply unrivaled.

I am done with high end gear, and feel unbelievably relieved.

DIGLLOYD: tools are tools. If a hammer suits all your needs, start pounding.

seems rather optimistic as to results (personal experience makes me highly skeptical, including pictures of myself that make me look like I have a serious skin disease), but I agree that for the 99%, regular cameras are pointless. The iPhone gets a lot of use in my hands in the field and is a big win for some things, and a losing proposition at other times with hugely disappointing fails—when it’s ugly its fugly. It’s a tool that work well for some things but is like trying to use a hammer to clip a fingernail at other times.

Point 3 is euphoric. Bad focus (background instead of me), blown-out skies, severely posterized skies and skin, blocky shadows, etc have been my iPhone experience. Raw solves that, but not Apple’s horrible JPEG quality in too many cases. Maybe it's better with the newer phones, but I’m dubious—I suppose most people think it’s fine, but shooting outdoors it never is in some lighting and flushed skin or sunburn.

There are no publishing options where I like to shoot (no internet), and I’m not into social media, so point #6 is of little interest. But I recognize that the 99% always have internet along with a deep-seated social anxiety—a need to impress others so as to validate themselves to the point of morbidity—never in the moment, living second-handedly. I wonder if using an iPhone intensively is really a risk to a healthy mind.

Finally, if you’re not in your 50s or older, good luck seeing the iPhone screen clearly in dim light, e.g., the best shooting light! There are also ergonomic and physical factors which make an iPhone highly unappealing in many ways—it’s physically excellent for selfies, and very poor for other things.

Dr S writes:

My wife andI are hiking/traveling in the Canadian Rockies. When we get decent cell reception I do some looking on the web. Since I knew the new iPhone was going to be announced while away I was curious about your and your reader's impressions. So I just looked at the 2 comments on the new iPhone and their view of the change(s) they may make as far as their way of doing things in the future. I read them and here are a couple of my observations as a vacationer.

Knowing that the general population seems to be using their phones as their primary device to view images whether they take it themselves or view any other content I was curious about what the vacationer's are doing.

Well.....the great sites are being recorded by.................phones (iPhones primarily). I asked my wife, a statistical analyst and professor, if she could give a number, what percentage of individuals taking photos were using their phones vs some sort of more serious camera. She acquiesced to telling me what I thought I also saw..... 90% phones in high touristy areas and 70% on longer but not a "bust-your buns" hike.

The numbers of phone-cam users have been increasing and probably will not decrease. I am still lugging around 2 lighter cams and 3 lenses which are lighter than the past but as I age this will change.

When I visited the Rockies 12 years ago serious imaging was with larger cams and many were carrying compact cams. Phone-Cams were non-existent.

I know the arguments for serious, quality imaging and I will continue to use high-end gear to produce great prints that hang on the walls at my office/gallery....and sell to whomever wishes them. I am old enough that innovation will continue long enough until I am not on this earth anymore but in it. However, the new iPhone 11 Pro and Pro-Max seem to be a real watershed moment, more profound than in the past, that will make the Nikons, Sony's, Panasonics, Fujis, Olympus, etc., rethink their future direction.

Indeed this vacation when people ask me to take an image of them at a nice spot "with their iPhone" they comment on how wonderful the image is and I should "be a photographer." I just chuckle internally but also recognize and accept the future is in the pocket. Phones are the primary visual medium and the images they produce seem satisfactory for the public at large.

I always carry a good-quality cam with me everywhere I go but when I get the new iPhone Pro Max, I may get lazy in some instances, and just carry it as my serious cam.....espcially when my bones begin to ache even more.

DIGLLOYD: ironically, what I see people using iPhone and iPad for is landscapes, never taking a picture of the people with them. The generic and usually very poorly framed landscape images wil have little meaning years later and the quality will be marginal at best; the ones in which people of personal interest are included will have lasting interest and quality defects will be of no real consequence.


Best Deals, Updated Weekly

A Few Hours with a Good Friend

The “problem” with Ming Thein and me is that we forget about taking pictures, since we have such a good time talking in one continuous stream of consciousness. But we did get one picture before Ming had to go.

I don’t think I could handle his schedule, jetting across the world showing his fantastic wristwatch designs to customers (see Horologer MING).

Ming Thein and Lloyd Chambers
f2.2 @ 1/120 sec, ISO 25; 2019-09-11 14:44:52
iPhone XS Max + iPhone XS Max 2.9 mm f/2.2 @ 32mm equiv (2.9mm)
ENV: San Francisco embarcadero area, altitude 6 ft / 2 m

[low-res image for bot]

Upgrade the memory of your 2019 iMac up to 128GB

Panoramic Focus Stacking with Fujifilm GFX100: View to Mono Craters from Dana Crest

See also Gigapixel Stitched Images and Panoramas with the Really Right Stuff PG-02 on the Really Right Stuff TFC-24L Tripod and panoramas.

The image below was one of my panorama focus stacking efforts, highly successful with a 287 megapixel result from 8 total frames (4 frames for the pano, each a 2 image focus stack) with the Fujifilm GF 45mm f/2.8:

Examples: Panoramas in the Eastern Sierra and White Mountains (GFX100)

Presented in color and black and white at up to 287 megapixels plus crops showing hideous pattern noise prominent in the B&W image from PDAF pixels.

While just visible in color, I am hugely disappointed that a $10K camera shows vertical lines in the sky which are the result of PDAF pixelshow can Fujifilm ship a medium format camera with such a serious image quality defect?

Below, the relatively recently formed Mono Craters can be seen left of center in the distance—obsidian and pumice, pumice dust being nasty stuff if it gets into cameras or similar. Way up here, the geology is mixed as it is along many areas of the Eastern Sierra. The lake below is impounded by a glacial moraine, as can be seen.

Toggle to view black and white version.

View to Mono Craters from Dana Crest
f8 @ 1/100 sec focus stack 2 frames panorama 4 frames, ISO 100; 2019-08-21 18:16:15
Fujifilm GFX100 + Fujifilm GF 45mm f/2.8 R WR @ 36mm equiv (45mm) + polarizer Zeiss
ENV: Dana Crest, altitude 12600 ft / 3840 m
RAW: LACA corrected, distortion corrected, vignetting corrected, SmartSharpen{32,0.7,20}, USM{8,50,0}

[low-res image for bot]

Get up to 16x more storage and 2x the speeds of the original drive

Deals Updated Daily at B&H Photo

diglloyd Inc. | FTC Disclosure | PRIVACY POLICY | Trademarks | Terms of Use
Contact | About Lloyd Chambers | Consulting | Photo Tours
RSS Feeds | Twitter
Copyright © 2019 diglloyd Inc, all rights reserved.