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Back (to van) from 4 Day / 3 Night Overnight at Spire Lake

I think I’ve answered all emails and subscriptions as of this evening.

The Sony A7R IV got a major workout, and I’ll have quite a few thoughts to share on my experience with it. In brief, Sony has a winner—even with gloves on. Best camera ever methinks.

The hike up from Pine Creek towards Morgan Lakes but cutting west instead to Spire Lake is a grueling 4000 vertical feet (that’s not the hard part!) over very challenging terrain, including getting past the two-year-old deep landslide gully cutting through the old mining road/trail—definitely not for the faint hearted or for any but very experience hikers at ease with class 3 climbing and I’m glad a rope was there that someone put into place (National Forest Service still calls it “impassable” with advisory at the Rock Creek trailhead).

Just got back after dark tonight and wishing I were still at Bear Lake (next lake down) —the lighting was magical in that area and through the aspen on the way down—awe inspiring. Lots of pictures coming, but I had to rush today as it is a very long and difficult hike back down that I did not want to make in the dark, particularly the traverse over the “impassable” area.

Last night it took me 3 hours to get down from Spire Lake to Bear Lake; it started snowing and it’s tricky enough when dry so I made the call to descend late in the day, descending very slowly down boulder fields and similar (no trails!) in the dark on snowy rocks, placing every footstep carefully. Got into the fart sack at Bear Lake by about 9:30 at 25°F and warmed up and dried out slowly. But I know my stuff and had all the right gear, including the Spot X to check in and let family know all OK.

The weather up here this time of year can swing 30°F in temperature in an hour as I was reminded at Spire Lake yesterday. Was a bit annoyed that the first day up hiking up was gorgeous but next day very windy and cold, then decent the next day then gorgeous the day I had to descend (today). So the two best days by far were the days I had to hike most of the day up or down!

f1.8 @ 1/1100 sec panorama, ISO 20; 2019-10-16 16:53:01
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus 4.0 mm f/1.8
ENV: Spire Lake, altitude 11591 ft / 3533 m, 35°F / 1°C

[low-res image for bot]

Below is what I hate about the iPhone—severely mutilated flesh tones—looks like I have a disease. Hopefully the iPhone 11 Pro Max will be less bad.

Lloyd bundled up, snow is coming
f1.8 @ 1/150 sec, ISO 20; 2019-10-17 16:52:44
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus 4.0 mm f/1.8 @ 28mm equiv (4mm)
ENV: Spire Lake, altitude 11600 ft / 3536 m, 28°F / -2°C
snow starting to fall

[low-res image for bot]

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Sigma 35mm f/1.2 DG DN Art Examples: Eastern Sierra, Pine Creek

These examples with the Sigma 14-24mm f/2.8 DG DN Art taken in the Eastern Sierra in the Pine Creek area on the 60-megapixel Sony A7R IV. Some are focus stacked images showing off the incredible detail possible on 60MP, and some also versions upscaled using Gigapixel AI.

Sigma 35mm f/1.2 DG DN Art Examples: Eastern Sierra, Pine Creek (Sony A7R IV)

Includes images up to full camera resolution plus up to 120 megapixel images upscaled by Gigapixel AI.

I am using the combination of the Sigma 14-24mm f/2.8 DG DN Art and Sigma 35mm f/1.2 DG DN Art and loving them in the f/5.6 - f/8 range—a spectactular two-lens combo that along with the Voigtlander 65mm f/2 Macro APO-Lanthar makes a hell of a slick 3-lens kit—maybe the best ever. Now if only I can locate prime samples of the two Sigma lenses (the Voigtlander 65/2 is so spectacular that I am going to have to keep it and no need to search for a better sample).

CLICK TO VIEW: Outstanding Three-Lens Kit for Sony A7R IV

f8 @ 1/4 sec electronic shutter focus stack 3 frames, ISO 100; 2019-10-12 09:08:45
Sony A7R IV + Sigma 35mm f/1.2 DG DN Art + polarizer Breakthrough Photography X4 CPOL
ENV: Pine Creek Pass Trail, altitude 7600 ft / 2316 m, 26°F / -3°C
RAW: Enhance Details, LACA corrected, USM{8,50,0}, SmartSharpen{30,0.7,0}

[low-res image for bot]
f6.3 @ 1/320 sec electronic shutter, ISO 100; 2019-10-12 09:57:50
Sony A7R IV + Sigma 35mm f/1.2 DG DN Art + polarizer Breakthrough Photography X4 CPOL
ENV: Pine Creek Pass Trail, altitude 7600 ft / 2316 m, 28°F / -2°C
RAW: LACA corrected

[low-res image for bot]
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Sigma 14-24mm f/2.8 DG DN Art Examples: Eastern Sierra at Pine Creek

These examples with the Sigma 14-24mm f/2.8 DG DN Art taken in the Eastern Sierra in the Pine Creek area on the 60-megapixel Sony A7R IV. Some are focus stacked images showing off the incredible detail possible on 60MP, and some also versions upscaled using Gigapixel AI.

Sigma 14-24mm f/2.8 DG DN Art Examples: Pine Creek (Sony A7R IV)

Includes images up to full camera resolution plus up to 241 megapixel image upscaled by Gigapixel AI.

Even with a sample of the Sigma 14-24mm f/2.8 DG DN Art which is clearly not performing as designed at f/2.8 and f/4 over much of its zoom range, stopping down results in spectacular results, and I am not using that word lightly—it might be the best prime and zoom lens available today in that range.

Who needs medium format? With ultra-high lens performance, focus stacking and Topaz Labs Gigapixel AI (and Topaz Labs Sharpen AI), I am seeing some pretty incredible results. I consider my print size limit to be about two meters wide and so I begin to seriously doubt if more than the Sony A7R IV is needed for that (assuming good samples of top flight lenses)—especially when pixel shift and/or frame averaging can be used. But in just about all cases focus stacking is a hard requirement—master focus stacking for landscape shooting, or you’re just playing around.

I am using the combination of the Sigma 14-24mm f/2.8 DG DN Art and Sigma 35mm f/1.2 DG DN Art and loving them in the f/5.6 - f/8 range—a spectacular two-lens combo that along with the Voigtlander 65mm f/2 Macro APO-Lanthar makes a world-class 3-lens kit for landscape—maybe the best ever. Now if only I can locate prime samples of the two Sigma lenses (the Voigtlander 65/2 is so spectacular an ideal sample that I am going to keep it, no need to search for a better sample).

CLICK TO VIEW: Outstanding Lenses

f8 @ 1/80 sec electronic shutter focus stack 2 frames, ISO 100; 2019-10-10 09:24:20
Sony A7R IV + Sigma 14-24mm f/2.8 DG DN Art @ 14mm equiv (14.6mm)
ENV: Pine Creek Pass Trail, altitude 7700 ft / 2347 m, 26°F / -3°C
RAW: LACA corrected, TopazSharpenAI.Sharpen {RemoveBlur=0.21 SuppresNoise=0.24 AddGrain=0}

[low-res image for bot]

Voigtlander 65mm f/2 Macro APO-Lanthar Focus Stack: Twisted, Burned, Broken Downed Tree High in Pine Creek Canyon

This 12-shot focus stack deserves its own page because of the exquisite detail shot in Sony A7R IV pixel shift mode, a rare win, given how severe the problems tend to be with using Sony’s 4-shot pixel shift outdoors.

This stack also points out the difficulty of stepping the focus of each shot in the stacking series just right, with not a lot to guide the progression—I created a few unfortunate gaps resulting in softness in places. Yet the resulting image still impresses.

Voigtlander 65mm f/2 Macro APO-Lanthar Focus Stack: Twisted, Burned, Broken Downed Tree High in Pine Creek Canyon

Includes images up to full camera resolution plus 243 megapixel image upscaled by Gigapixel AI.

f7.1 @ 1/15 sec electronic shutter focus stack 12 frames pixel shift, ISO 100; 2019-10-12 12:12:40
Sony A7R IV + Voigtlander MACRO APO-LANTHAR 65mm F2 Aspherical + polarizer Zeiss
ENV: Pine Creek Pass Trail, altitude 9400 ft / 2865 m, 32°F / 0°C
RAW: LACA corrected, vignetting corrected, SmartSharpen{20,0.7,0}, USM{8,50,0}

[low-res image for bot]
Which Camera System 📷 is Best?
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Sony A7R IV: Confusing Stop-Down Behavior, Camera Chooses Arbitrary/Unspecified Aperture for Viewing/Focusing

With lenses having manual aperture control such as Zeiss Loxia and the Voigtlander 65mm f/2 Macro APO-Lanthar, everything is straightforward—the manually-set aperture is the aperture in use for viewing and focusing.

Previous Sony mirrorless cameras stopped down the lens to the shooting aperture at all times. While undesirable for many purposes (including creating autofocus errors), this was at least predictable. It’s possible that Sony might change the behavior of previous cameras with a firmware update, so “previous” should be taken as “in previous years”.

In the Sony A7R IV, the aperture behavior for viewing and focusing has changed, whether magnified or not. In my review of the Sony A7R IV:

Sony A7R IV: Confusing Stop-Down Behavior, Camera Chooses Arbitrary Aperture for Viewing/Focusing

This new behavior really causes me headaches when doing focus stacking. Nor does Sony document it, leaving open the questions of whether it is relative to lens speed and/or influenced by scene brightness or shooting mode and/or brand of lens and/or firmware of lens and camera.

60MP Sony A7R IV
Lloyd’s Sony Mirrorless Wishlist
Hand-picked items for Sony.

Fujifilm Medium Format Rebates on Lenses and Cameras are Back

Why ever pay full price when Fujifilm keeps making these rebates available every few months?

See also Fujifilm X rebates.

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Sony A7R IV: Using Pixel Shift to Capture 4 Frames for Frame Averaging

Sony’s 4-shot pixel shift is so badly implemented* that it is largely useless for work outdoors, where any number of factors cause checkerboarding. It is far too slow, which raises motion issues, and change-in-lighting issues. It is algorithmically flawed, in that that it naively makes 4 exposures literally*.

However, there is a non-obvious useful functionality available using pixel shift:

Using Pixel Shift to Capture 4 Frames for Frame Averaging

Includes images up to 120 megapixels for both single-frame and frame averaging.

* For example, 4 nominal frames could be implemented as 16 rapid-fire exposures, e.g., 4 exposures at 1/4 exposure repeated four times (or 1/32 exposure repeated 32 times, etc), thus cycling rapidly so as to average out the capture values at each location for each color. Doing pixel shift must be done in literal fashion show a lack of creative thought in solving practical usage challenges, rendering outdoor use an oxymoron mosty of the time. BTW Sony’s 16-shot pixel shift is a total failure—worse than 4-shot in every attempt I’ve made—Sony seems intent on making pixel shift (both variants) of minimal practical use.

The Eastern Sierra is in it wonderful transition state typical of October, passing the days with hard freezes at night and warm sun in the day, yet temperatures in the shade are not enough to melt the night’s newly formed ice. When the big heat lamp in the sky is not shining (shade, even mid-day), hands get stiff and cold quickly, with shaded areas feeling like walking into a freezer. One storm front and the landscape will change from summer-in-statis to bitter cold pre-winter.

Pine Lake at Dusk before Moonrise
f5.6 @ 30.0 sec electronic shutter frame averaging 4, ISO 100; 2019-10-12 18:50:29
Sony A7R IV + Sigma 14-24mm f/2.8 DG DN Art @ 14mm
ENV: Pine Lake, altitude 9950 ft / 3033 m, 30°F / -1°C
RAW: LACA corrected, USM{8,50,0}

[low-res image for bot]
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Various Zeiss Milvus and Zeiss Otus Lenses Now with Monochrome Examples from Nikon D850

The Nikon D850 monochrome is a Nikon D850 with its color filter array (CFA) removed by maxmax.com. NEF files 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 had posted most black and white images with the Nikon D850 monochrome in my review of the Nikon D850 monochrome in digloyd Advanced DSLR. I’ve now ported over various images to Zeiss Milvus and Zeiss Otus Lenses in diglloyd Zeiss DSLR Lenses:

Zeiss Milvus 15mm f/2.8 Examples: Eastern Sierra and White Mountains (Nikon D850 monochrome)

Zeiss Milvus 18mm f/2.8 Examples: Eastern Sierra and White Mountains (Nikon D850 monochrome)

Zeiss Milvus 35mm f/1.4 Examples: Eastern Sierra and White Mountains (Nikon D850 monochrome)

Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 APO-Distagon Examples: Eastern Sierra and White Mountains (Nikon D850 monochrome)

Zeiss Milvus 85mm f/1.4 Examples: Eastern Sierra and White Mountains (Nikon D850 monochrome)

Zeiss Otus 100mm f/1.4 APO-Sonnar Examples: Eastern Sierra (Nikon D850 monochrome)

Zeiss Milvus 135mm f/2 Examples: Eastern Sierra and White Mountains (Nikon D850 monochrome)

Images up to full camera resolution, plus some frames at up to 183 megapixels upscaled using Gigapixel AI.

Pine Lake, Early Night
f8 @ 3.0 sec electronic shutter focus stack 7 frames, ISO 31; 2019-10-10 18:13:25
NIKON D850 monochrome + Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 APO-Distagon + filter B+W Green 061
ENV: Pine Lake, altitude 9900 ft / 3018 m, 29°F / -1°C
RAW: USM{8,50,0}

[low-res image for bot]

Razor Sharp Zeiss Milvus 135mm f/2 Aperture Series on Nikon D850 Monochrome: Pine Creek Mining Buildings from Pine Creek Trail (up to 183 megapixels)

The Nikon D850 monochrome is a Nikon D850 with its color filter array (CFA) removed by maxmax.com. NEF files 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.

This aperture series from f/2 through f/8 evaluates the performance of the Zeiss Milvus 135mm f/2 at far distance on the 45 megapixel Nikon D850 monochrome, with stunning results—you won’t believe your eyes—sharpness feels like a 100MP color camera without the indecisive resolution of a Bayer matrix color camera which mangles textures and very fine details.

In diglloyd Zeiss DSLR Lenses:

Zeiss Milvus 135mm f/2 Aperture Series on Nikon D850 Monochrome: Pine Creek Mining Buildings from Pine Creek Trail

Images up to full camera resolution, plus all frames at 183 megapixels upscaled using Gigapixel AI.

I am not shooting a secret 183 megapixel camera. Just a Nikon D850 monochrome. Images like these surpass in detail and tonality and low noise anything I’ve ever shot on any camera of any resolution. Well I have not shot (yet) the PhaseOne IQ180 or its monochrome sibling, so I’ll exclude those for now.

The monochrome sensor and its freedom from debayering reveal the native performance of the lens without any intervening software behaviors. And I seem to have mastered the exposure and raw conversion side of things. The quality is breathtaking. I am now actively pondering how to acquire a D850m of my own.

f4 @ 2.5 sec electronic shutter, ISO 31; 2019-10-11 18:09:42
NIKON D850 monochrome + Zeiss Milvus 135mm f/2 ZF.2 + filter B+W Dark Red 091
ENV: Pine Creek Tungsten Mine, altitude 7900 ft / 2408 m, 30°F / -1°C
RAW: USM{10,50,0}

[low-res image for bot]

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Nikon D850 monochrome: Creating a Color Image from Monochrome Using Filters

I made another attempt at creating a color image from a monochrome camera (the Nikon D850 monochrome). The technique works, but it seems that the act of screwing/unscrewing filters and/or detaching/attaching the lens hood leads to alignment problems. There might be a better solution, one that avoids disturbing the camera in any way.

Nikon D850 monochrome: Creating a Color Image from Monochrome Using Filters

In this case, I also show all three black and white images from which the composite was made, using the B+W Dark Blue KB-15, B+W Green 061m B+W Dark Red 091.

The monochrome sensor and its freedom from debayering reveal the native performance of the lens without any intervening software behaviors. Assembling a color image this way has some creative potential for several reasons including that the color filters used can cover distinct areas of the spectral band, versus most color cameras, which overlap the R/G/B spectral absorption.

f8 @ 1/6 sec electronic shutter, ISO 31; 2019-10-07 15:50:00
NIKON D850 monochrome + Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 APO-Distagon + filter B+W Dark Red 091, Green 061, Blue KB15
ENV: Abandonded mine NW of Death Valley, 70°F / 21°C
RAW: USM{8,50,0}

[low-res image for bot]

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Eastern Sierra Nevada: Fall Color in Full Swing, get there soon!

Strong cold winds and smoke from local fires forced me down from the White Mountains, killing two days of shooting time. Bummer, since I had distinct shots planned. But it was just unpleasant and unworkable. That weather has passed, and maybe I’ll try it again.

But yesterday I did a long (too long carrying gear!) up to Pine Creek Lake. While there are no aspen up at 10000 feet in that canyon, a brilliant stand of golden yellow aspen is not far up from the trailhead.

For highly fit and adventurous hikers, there are large stands of intense yellow and red aspen just below the Morgan Lakes, accessible via the Rock Creek trail, or the damaged and grueling trail from the Pine Creek area (hard core hikers only, mountain bike legal for most of the way, but top skills required). Other places are much easier to get to, such as Lundy Canyon (which I have not visited as yet), albeit relatively crowded at Lundy, vs solitude.

Fall color is down to the 7000 foot level, perhaps a bit lower or higher in some areas, depending on exposure and conditions locally.

Sorry, no pictures yet as I have not had time to process the latest—yesterday’s 13-hour hike made me sleep for 13 hours! It’s a long route of switchbacks up to Pine Lake.

The Sony A7R IV image quality under aggressive contrast control is very high, as per the image below. The image quality is better than any prior Sony mirrorless camera.

Below, it looks warm, but it is distinctly below freezing!

Lloyd on Pine Creek Trail
f8 @ 1/30 sec electronic shutter, ISO 100; 2019-10-10 09:06:50
Sony A7R IV + Sigma 14-24mm f/2.8 DG DN Art @ 14mm
ENV: Pine Creek Trail, altitude 7600 ft / 2316 m, 28°F / -2°C
RAW: Enhance Details, LACA corrected, push 1.3 stops, -100 Highlights, +33 Whites, +100 Shadows

[low-res image for bot]
Pine Lake, Rising Moon
f2.5 @ 1/10 sec, ISO 100; 2019-10-10 18:37:31
Sony A7R IV + Sigma 35mm f/1.2 DG DN Art RAW: LACA corrected

[low-res image for bot]

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Power Outage had Mail Server Down, Now Up

I live in 3rd-world country which can’t keep feces off the streets or maintain public health or keep the power on or create a viable policy to incentivize housing, but has billions for a bullet train to nowhere. Also known as California.

Anyway, the diglloyd.com mail server was down about the last 24 hours and is now back up. Please try again if your email could not be delivered.

This outage did not affect the diglloyd.com server, which is housed in tier 1 server room elsewhere.


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Voigtlander 65mm f/2 Macro APO-Lanthar Aperture Series: Old Mining Structures

This series from f/2 through f/6.3 evaluates the Voigtlander 65mm f/2 Macro APO-Lanthar on an finely detailed subject at medium-far range.

As is the case 95% of the time, Sony A7R IV 4-shot pixel shift was used but failed to deliver acceptable results, with checkerboarding and crosshatching problems. Which is a pity given the detail, but using Enhance Details gets it 70% of the delivers substantial improvement over standard processing.

Voigtlander 65mm f/2 Macro APO-Lanthar Aperture Series: Old Mining Structures near Death Valley

Includes images at up to 60 megapixel camera resolution plus 120 megapixels as upscaled by Gigapixel AI. The 120MP images are impressive, and what strikes me yet again is that they compete favorably with the 100-megapixel Fujifilm GFX100. When depth of field, micro contrast and total sharpness across the field (all of which relate to lens performance) are accounted for, I’m not so sure the GFX100 could beat this, or even match it.

CLICK TO VIEW: Top-notch Voigtlander Lenses for Sony FE

Total performance is as good as one is likely to see. This particular sample of the Voigtlander 65mm f/2 Macro APO-Lanthar continues to impress me as being exemplary in letting the Sony A7R IV show off its potential. Especially since 20 or so other lenses for the most part have obvious shortcomings.

Old Mining Structures
f6.3 @ 1/30 sec electronic shutter, ISO 100; 2019-10-07 15:21:37
Sony A7R IV + Voigtlander MACRO APO-LANTHAR 65mm F2 Aspherical + polarizer Zeiss
ENV: abandonded mine NW of Death Valley, altitude 6000 ft / 1829 m, 65°F / 18°C
RAW: Enhance Details, LACA corrected

[low-res image for bot]

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Voigtlander 65mm f/2 Macro APO-Lanthar Aperture Series: Music Box in Miner’s Cabin

This series from f/4.5 through f/9 evaluates the Voigtlander 65mm f/2 Macro APO-Lanthar on an finely detailed subject at close range.

Sony A7R IV 4-shot pixel shift was used but failed to deliver acceptable results, with checkerboarding and crosshatching problems. But, to make lemonade out of lemons, the images shown here were specially processed with frame averaging (of the pixel shift frames), and also presented upscaled to 120 megapixels, just to show off the incredible detail that is possible.

Voigtlander 65mm f/2 Macro APO-Lanthar Aperture Series: Music Box in Miners Cabin (Sony A7R IV)

Includes images up to 120 megapixels.

The combination of extreme sharpness plus ultra low noise feels like better than medium format. Use your own eyes on the 60-megapixel native-resolution and 120 megapixel upscaled images and see what you conclude. I’m saying that not as a fact, but as a summarized visual impact , having shot the Fujifilm GFX100 extensively less than 6 weeks ago.


Music Box in Miner’s Cabin
f9 @ 2.0 sec electronic shutter frame averaging 4, ISO 100; 2019-10-07 15:04:08
Sony A7R IV + Voigtlander MACRO APO-LANTHAR 65mm F2 Aspherical + polarizer Zeiss
ENV: mining cabin near Death Valley, altitude 6000 ft / 1829 m, 65°F / 18°C
RAW: Enhance Details, LACA corrected

[low-res image for bot]

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Nikon D850: the Last Best Camera for Monochrome?

I’ve been posting some technically awesome images from the Nikon D850 monochrome lately (hopefully a few have impressed on other aspects too).

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.

The lack of an EVF being the one glaring omission vs mirrorless, the Nikon D850 has the best haptics and ergonomics of any camera on the market, my opinion of course. It also lacks PDAF pixels (which I have come to despise in any/all cameras). and thus does not suffer from PDAF banding. The D850 does its phase-detect AF via conventional DSLR means via the OVF.

Therefore, if monochrome is your thing and stunning tonality with film-like grain appeals, I cannot see any better choice than modifying a Nikon D850. I would greatly prefer it even over far more expensive routes like the Hasselblad X1D, which is just too slow and with horrible usability IMO. The Fujifilm GFX 50-S/R might suit if it can be done, but the lens choices are restricted, and the Nikon F-mount is future proof.

I said “last best” in the title, because who can say if future sensors will be available without PDAF focusing pixels. Potential focusing improvements aside (Fujifilm GFX100 a notably fail), PDAF pixels in all cases do not improve image quality, either delivering image-destroying PDAF banding in too many situations Fujifilm GFX 100 or Sony A9 come to mind) or indirectly through noise suppression, leaving less than random noise patterns in dark areas.

Twenty Lakes Basin View To Mt Conness Eastern Ridge
f8 @ 0.8 sec electronic shutter, ISO 31; 2019-09-26 18:07:25
NIKON D850 monochrome + Zeiss Milvus 35mm f/1.4 + filter B+W Dark Red 091
ENV: Twenty Lakes Basin, altitude 10350 ft / 3155 m, 53°F / 11°C
RAW: USM{12,50,0}

[low-res image for bot]
Which Camera System 📷 is Best?
Which Lenses to Choose?🌈


Avoid costly mistakes and get the ideal system for your needs: diglloyd photographic consulting.

Eureka Dunes from the West in Perspective

The Eureka Dunes looks like piddling sand heaps in this context, but they are the largest in North America, at 700 feet in elevation.

As seen from a sweaty overlook to the west, they don’t look like much, but climbing the Eureka Dunes is no mean feat: two steps forward as the sand slides back down for 700 vertical feet. Under the right moisture conditions, the “singing sands” might be heard.

This image is shown at up to 183 megapixels (via Gigapixel AI) on a page which will accumulate other examples:

Zeiss Milvus 135mm f/2 Examples: Eastern Sierra and White Mountains

f8 @ 1/15 sec electronic shutter, ISO 31; 2019-10-07 10:20:33
NIKON D850 monochrome + Zeiss Milvus 135mm f/2 ZF.2 + filter B+W Dark Red 091
ENV: Talc mine to the west, altitude 6200 ft / 1890 m, 70°F / 21°C
RAW: pull 1.75 stops, +100 Shadows, USM{20,50,0}, +72 Dehaze, +100 Highlights

[low-res image for bot]

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Comparing Sony A7R IV to Sony A7R III Resolution: Pine Creek Mining Buildings

A similar study was done with the Sigma 35mm f/1.2 DG DN Art in View Past Greenstone Lake to North Peak.

This meticulous study looks at the real-world 1.2X linear resolving power difference of the Sony A7R IV versus the Sony A7R III on a finely detailed distant scene. Nothing short of perfect shot discipline and the very best lens is likely to match this comparison’s articulation of the differences. Based on the care I took, and other comparisons I’ve done between the A7R III and A7R IV, I consider it definitive as to potential of the A7R IV detail capture.

Extensive discussion. Everything matters, including how the images are upscaled.

Shootout of Sony A7R IV vs Sony A7R III: Pine Creek Mining Buildings

Includes images up to 138 megapixels plus crops from the 138MP images from f/2 through f/8 for both cameras with both Gigapixel AI and Photoshop upscaling. Plus the full resolution as-shot images from both cameras.

I worked hard to get things just right for comparison purposes. It took the right lens, the right subject at the right distance, and the right conditions (e.g, no wind).

f4 @ 1/400 sec electronic shutter, ISO 100; 2019-10-05 09:24:59
Sony A7R IV + Voigtlander MACRO APO-LANTHAR 65mm F2 Aspherical + polarizer Zeiss
ENV: Pine Creek Tungsten Mine, altitude 8250 ft / 2515 m, 60°F / 15°C
RAW: Enhance Details, LACA corrected, vignetting corrected, -100 Highlights, +50 Whites, +100 Shadows

[low-res image for bot]

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Epic Monochrome Panoramas at Pine Creek, Rock Creek with Nikon D850 monochrome

I’ve posted some very large black and white panoramas / stitched images in my review of the Zeiss Otus 100mm f/1.4 APO-Sonnar, taken on the 45MP Nikon D850 monochrome, which delivers the most detailed imagery of any camera I’ve ever used so far, at least with top Zeiss Otus and Zeiss Milvus glass. I marvel at the superiority in detail over the 60MP Sony A7R IV, and by the wonderfully low noise and absence of digital artifacts.

Unless I’m working in the dark without panorama gear, in which case this 578 megapixel panorama is a little off from its peak potential, which is to say it is still astonishing. I can’t find any hikers on the trail that winds itself up the canyone, and only two coyotes.

In diglloyd Zeiss DSLR Lenses:

Zeiss Otus 100mm f/1.4 APO-Sonnar Examples: Eastern Sierra (Nikon D850 monochrome)

Includes images up to 578 megapixels.

I goofed on one frame at far right—23 frames instead of 24—even the camera could show me nothing but black at f/1.4 in Live View, so I was guessing at position, dang it! Or maybe I’m just hiding all those naked sunbathing beauties at far right. Your call.

f4 @ 4.0 sec electronic shutter stitched from 24 frames (6 X 4), ISO 31; 2019-10-05 18:54:37
NIKON D850 monochrome + Zeiss Otus 1.4/100 ZF.2
ENV: Pine Creek Tungsten Mine, altitude 8250 ft / 2515 m, 52°F / 11°C
RAW: vignetting corrected, -100 Highlights, +50 Whites, +100 Shadows, USM{10,50,0}

[low-res image for bot]
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Dusk, Rock Creek

With everyone having abandonded the area in favor of their car, no one else was around to witness this striking glow at dusk on the high peak—it’s not sunlight as far as I could tell, but some unusual illumination. When I got back an hour later, only one lonely car was there, where there had been 100. Sunshine hikers are fine with me—I like the solitude and quiet.

I’m working my way through a lot of lenses, shooting more than I can possibly publish on the road, but here is a look at two solid choices for the Sony A7R IV.

f5.6 @ 13.0 sec electronic shutter, ISO 100; 2019-10-02 19:00:35
Sony A7R IV + Sigma 14-24mm f/2.8 DG DN Art @ 24mm
ENV: Rock Creek, altitude 10750 ft / 3277 m, 35°F / 1°C
RAW: Enhance Details, LACA corrected

[low-res image for bot]
f6.3 @ 30.0 sec electronic shutter, ISO 100; 2019-10-02 19:07:54
Sony A7R IV + Zeiss Loxia 85mm f/2.4 Sonnar
ENV: Rock Creek, altitude 10750 ft / 3277 m, 35°F / 1°C
RAW: Enhance Details, LACA corrected

[low-res image for bot]

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You Won’t Believe Your Eyes... Zeiss Milvus 135mm f/2 Aperture Series on Nikon D850 Monochrome: Pine Creek Mining Buildings (up to 183 megapixels)

This aperture series from f/2 through f/8 evaluates the performance of the Zeiss Milvus 135mm f/2 at medium-far distance on the 45 megapixel Nikon D850 monochrome, with stunning results—you won’t believe your eyes.

The Nikon D850 monochrome is a Nikon D850 with its color filter array (CFA) removed by maxmax.com. NEF files 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.

In diglloyd Zeiss DSLR Lenses:

Zeiss Milvus 135mm f/2 Aperture Series on Nikon D850 Monochrome: Pine Creek Mining Buildings

Images up to full camera resolution, all frames at 183 megapixels upscaled using Gigapixel AI.

I am not shooting a secret 183 megapixel camera. Just a Nikon D850 monochrome. Images like these surpass in detail and tonality and low noise anything I’ve ever shot on any camera of any resolution. Well I have not shot (yet) the PhaseOne IQ180 or its monochrome sibling, so I’ll exclude those for now.

The monochrome sensor and its freedom from debayering reveal the native performance of the lens without any intervening software behaviors. And I seem to have mastered the exposure and raw conversion side of things. The quality is breathtaking. I am now actively pondering how to acquire a D850m of my own.

AFAIK, the Nikon D850 has no PDAF pixels to wreck the image quality with horrible PDAF banding as with the prematurely-shipped Fujifilm GFX100, which cannot hide PDAF banding even in color images in some cases, as I showed in my review. I’m quite certain that the Nikon D850 monochrome as I’m shooting and processing it has lower noise and higher detail than the GFX100—and with no PDAF banding.

If you are a fan if black and white imagery, I’d urge you to have Dan at maxmax.com convert a Nikon D850 for you, because the days of cameras without quality-wrecking PDAF pixels are coming to an end. I am available on a consulting basis for questions beyond what I cover in my review.

f4 @ 0.5 sec electronic shutter, ISO 31; 2019-10-03 17:11:14
NIKON D850 monochrome + Zeiss Milvus 135mm f/2 ZF.2 + filter B+W Dark Red 091
ENV: Pine Creek Tungsten Mine, altitude 8400 ft / 2560 m, 50°F / 10°C
RAW: pull 1.4 stops, +40 Shadows, +40 Whites

[low-res image for bot]

Deals Updated Daily at B&H Photo

Jaw-Dropping Sharpness with Zeiss Milvus 85mm f/1.4 Aperture Series on Nikon D850 Monochrome: Pine Creek Mining Buildings (up to 181 megapixels)

This aperture series from f/1.4 through f/4 evaluates the performance of the Zeiss Milvus 85mm f/1.4 at medium-far distance on the 45 megapixel Nikon D850 monochrome.

The Nikon D850 monochrome is a Nikon D850 with its color filter array (CFA) removed by maxmax.com. NEF files 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.

In diglloyd Zeiss DSLR Lenses:

Zeiss Milvus 85mm f/1.4 Aperture Series on Nikon D850 Monochrome: Pine Creek Mining Buildings

Images up to full camera resolution, plus f/4 frame at 183 megapixels upscaled using Gigapixel AI. The detail is just stunning—on an iMac 5K your eyes will insist that the image was shot on a 181MP sensor.

I would have shot the Zeiss Otus 85mm f/1.4 APO-Sonnar but it takes 86mm filters, and without color filters over the lens, there is on way to differentiate a blue from a green from a red from a yellow. So I am shooting (mostly) only the lenses to which I can apply filtration.

The monochrome sensor and its freedom from debayering reveal the native performance of the lens without any intervening software behaviors. And I seem to have mastered the exposure and raw conversion side of things. The quality is breathtaking. I am now actively pondering how to acquire a D850m of my own.

There is just no getting around the fact that a true monochrome sensor kicks the crap out of a Bayer matrix sensor (far more detail, far less noise), and because the D850m sensor is “only” 45 megapixels, diffraction losses are negligible, even out to f/8. I'll put this sharpness up against the Fujifilm GFX100 any time. Of course, it is monochrome, not color.

f4 @ 74.0 sec electronic shutter, ISO 31; 2019-10-03 18:53:08
NIKON D850 monochrome + Zeiss Milvus 85mm f/1.4 + filter B+W Dark Red 091
ENV: Pine Creek Tungsten Mine, altitude 8400 ft / 2560 m, 50°F / 10°C
RAW: pull 0.4 stops, USM{10,50,0}

[low-res image for bot]
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