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25% Off Coupon Code for Software by LibRaw: RawDigger, FastRawViewer, Monochrome2DNG

See my Sigma DSLR lenses wishlist.

I’ve arranged with Alex Tutubalin of LibRAW LLC to offer a discount on RawDigger and other software.

Discount coupon code DIGLLOYD25 provides 25% off for all LibRaw products (RawDigger, FastRawViewer, Monochrome2DNG) and for all bundles. Coupon discount is added to bundle discount. The coupon is valid through January 31 (inclusive).

RawDigger in particular is must-have for any serious shooter. More about RawDigger.

Get RawDigger here.

Histogram of raw file presented by RawDigger

Up to 1527MB/s sustained performance

Sigma 40mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Examples: Laws Railroad Museum

See my Sigma DSLR lenses wishlist.

These examples shot at the Laws Railroad Museum in Bishop, CA.

The Sigma 40mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art is a DSLR lens more at home on the Nikon D850. However, the focus shift of the Sigma 40/1.4A along with focusing accuracy issues proved problematic on the Nikon D850. Accordingly I shot using the Nikon FTZ lens adapter on the Nikon Z7 which afford much more accurate focus as well as mostly mitigating the focus shift.

Sigma 40mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art

Sigma 40mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Examples: Laws Railroad Museum

Include images up to full camera resolution through f/11.

The Sigma 40mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art is a lens whose performance places it squarely in Zeiss Otus territory. If the stunning clarity of these images (most at f/1.4) does not smack you with astonishment, I don’t know what will.

At about $1399, the Sigma 40mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art might well be the best value on the market today, bar none. Even in absolute terms, its performance in the 35 to 55mm range is rivalled only by the Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 APO-Distagon, and I’m not yet clear on which is superior.

Below, depth of field is thin, but the startling clarity and color purity at f/1.4 is world class. This is not a 5mm longer version of the Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art; rather it is a world class cine-grade design that along with the Sigma 105mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art represents the state of the art lens design for the 35mm format.

f1.4 @ 1/160 sec handheld, ISO 100; 2018-12-19 16:51:47
[location “Laws Railroad Museum”, altitude 4000 ft / 1219 m, 45°F / 7°C]
NIKON Z7 + Sigma 40mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art

[low-res image for bot]
f4 @ 1/320 sec handheld, ISO 31; 2018-12-19 16:07:18
[location “Laws Railroad Museum”, altitude 4000 ft / 1219 m, 45°F / 7°C]
NIKON Z7 + Sigma 40mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art

[low-res image for bot]

3 Way Shootout: Nikon NIKKOR Z 50mm f/1.8 S, Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/4 S, Zeiss Milvus 50mm f/1.4: Laws Railroad Museum Locomotive

See my Nikon Z wishlist.

This 3 way shootout compares the Nikon NIKKOR Z 50mm f/1.8 S to the Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/4 S and the Zeiss Milvus 50mm f/1.4. Sharpness over the field and secondary color correction are the focus in this series.

Nikon NIKKOR Z 50mm f/1.8 S vs Nikon Z 24-70/4, Zeiss Milvus 50/1.4: Laws Railroad Museum Locomotive

Include images up to full camera resolution through f/11 along with crops.

While the Zeiss Milvus 50mm f/1.4 normally is reviewed only in diglloyd Zeiss DLSR Lenses, I wanted a solid reference lens for comparison, which proved worthwhile. I considered the Nikon AF-S 50mm f/1.4G, but it’s just not a very good lens.

f4 @ 1/320 sec, ISO 31; 2018-12-19 13:56:05
[location “Laws Railroad Museum”, altitude 4000 ft / 1219 m, 45°F / 7°C, LACA corrected]
NIKON Z7 + Nikon NIKKOR Z 50mm f/1.8 S

[low-res image for bot]
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Reader Comment: Hard Drive Bad Sectors, Enterprise vs Consumer Drives

See my OWC storage wishlist.

See also Reader Comment: Hard Drive Error Rates and Drives Full, Upgrading to OWC Thunderbay 6 with Six 14TB Drives (84TB total space).

Need help on storage and backup? Consult with Lloyd.

Update: see see also Backblaze Hard Drive Stats for 2017. I am glad to see that Toshiba hard drives (the brand I'm buying in 14TB size) has a 0.00% failure rate for 4TB and 5TB drives. However the figures listed are only failures for Q4 2017. The Backblaze Hard Drive Stats for Q3 2018: Less is More still show 0.0% failure for Toshiba. See also my post on a drive failure in 2016 in Even ”Enterprise Grade” Drives Fail.

Reader Rich S writes about hard drive failures:

Reallocated bad sectors are the death knell for any drive. As soon as there is one, the drive should be replaced.

My spreadsheet of failed drives shows ~30 drives I tracked that failed after a reallocated bad sector. Most of these were consumer drives used with SoftRAID mirrors. This attribute in the SMART stats should be carefully monitored and immediately acted upon.

Drive life is very variable. In tracking about 60 drives, I’ve seen everything from infant mortality to drives lasting over 40,000 hours. With a modern NAS rated drive in a two drive fail safe like a DROBO or Synology, I feel comfortable running a drive for about 30,000 hours before relegating it to offline backup status. And I try and keep RAIDs with a good mix of usage hours.

When I need a “new" drive for backup, that drive goes in the RAID to replace a high hour drive that moves to use for offline backup. RAIDS should always use NAS rated drives, not consumer drives, for a variety of reasons.

...let me get a little more granular. My reluctance for consumer drives come after a very bad run where I was constantly replacing Western Digital green drives because they had settings that did not work with 24/7 operation. So may drive failed so frequently that it changed my life habits because of being woke up by staff with messages that the servers were down.

After that, I stick to NAS rated drives for multi drive enclosures. NAS was for networked environment where multiple people needed shared access to image files for work and printing. I wouldn’t use a NAS for a single user setup. Synology was very smart in that it could sleep the drives after backup and during off hours. Before that my OSX servers ran 24/7 because they behaved better when running, as well as nightly backup. Staff were accessing files for over 12 hours a day, then nightly tape and later HD backups.

Most of those 30,000 hour drives were 6-7 years old [diglloyd: OMG]. Once I switched to the Synology, I think I was logging about 10,000 hours a year per drive in M-F operation, and sleeping rest of the time. My personal system is much more simple, but still robust.

Drive status in SoftRAID

DIGLLOYD: I would not touch Western Digital hard drives (green series or otherwise) with a 10 foot pole, also because of the poor performance I saw when I tested WD green drives.

The conclusion is a good one (use NAS drives or enterprise drives), but the logic is faulty: WD drives were notoriously poor. Other brands might have been fine. Still, for the described usage, NAS drives or enterprise drives are definitely the way to go as there are other concerns involving spindles and vibration in multi-drive setups.

Agreed that when a bad sector appears it's time to throw the drive away—dumpster—it will almost certainly fail totally within month. Fortunately SoftRAID detects this and warns, which is how I got the heads up I mentioned in Even ”Enterprise Grade” Drives Fail.

Rich S figure of 30000 hours is 3.4 years spinning constantly. That is a waste of power and money unless there is solid reason to do so—I cannot see a legitimate reason to have a drive spin half the day when I won’t be using—one spin-up a day is no big deal. But that figure reflects a workgroup usage and (too many) years of usage. For personal use, I can't see every getting beyond ~2 years of spin time.

I would never use a NAS of any kind for my work due to terrible performance—gigabit ethernet runs at half the speed of just one hard drive and is far slower than that for small files. Every NAS I’ve tried is a dog for performance. It makes sense in shared setting as with Rich S, but it is not a good solution for a workstation. While 10 gigabit on new Macs will help, latency is still very high for small files.

Continues below.

SoftRAID warning of bad sector on hard drive, predicted drive failure
SoftRAID showing hard drive status for 16 hard drives of ages 5, 2.5, 1 years old

Too many drives

Guessing a little in terms of how used, I’d say that Rich S is using too many hard drives—migrate to larger ones. Sixty drives all but guarantees a failure or three every year. It also adds complexity, which raises the chance of mistakes. Backups on geriatric drives is a dubious approach in terms of the odds, but can be OK for backup if carefully monitored and there is a lot of redundancy. But the very idea of having to spend mental energy on monitoring 60 drives does not appeal to me. I’m speaking generally of course, as I do not know the details of Rich S’ setup.

See my discussion of validating data integrity in Reader Comment: Hard Drive Error Rates. Validating data can kick out latent errors meaning that validation might fail because the drive cannot even read the data.

Consumer vs enterprise drives

Hard drives are lumped into "consumer" vs enterprise drives and NAS drives (NAS drives are supposed to spin reliably for many years). However, some consumer drives are “waterfall” drives that are actually enterprise drives that didn’t meet some spec—bad sectors not being the issue since they are not surface tested anyway (enterprise or otherwise).

While I wouldn't consider most consumer drives for my own use (I prize reliability), a blanket statement is erroneous in my view, because it ignores waterfall drives. I would say that waterfall drives and NAS drives are A-OK, but also that some brands are more reliable than others. Last I checked, Toshiba had a very low failure rate.

While I use mostly enterprise (or waterfall) hard drives, I have not seen even a fraction of the failures that Rich S notes. But I also don’t use drives more than about 5 years old—mainly because the capacity becomes useless. I am also not keen on managing 5 dozen flaky drives for issues—better to use high grade drives of high capacity IMO. Finally, I do not spin drives 24 X 7, needlessly wasting energy. Nor do I leave backup drives spinning except when backing up (excepting one LaCie 2Big)—sleep the machine before bed, spin it up in the morning—one spin-up per day is no big deal.

Pre-detecting drives with reallocated sectors


New hard drives are not surface tested, so the best thing to do with a new drive is to graph its performance across the capacity, that is, write the entire drive and read it back, showing the performance in a graph. Which is what doing a fill-volume on a new drive using diglloydTools DiskTester does. See Checking drives before putting into “production”.

The graph makes visible remapped sectors. That is, remapped sectors show up as discontinuities in performance, such as the drive being strangely slow in the fast parts of the drive, or blazingly fast at the end. Such discontinuities also wreak havoc on RAID performance.

The graph below shows some spikes, but those are within normal range—most likely some other behavioral issue. Remapped sectors show up as a contiguous block of performance out of kilter with the pattern. See Testing Seagate 12TB Enterprise Capacity 3.5-inch (Helium) Hard Drives.

diglloydTools DiskTester graph: speed across capacity for four 12TB hard drives
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Reader Comment: Hard Drive Error Rates

See my OWC storage wishlist.

Photographers and videographers need capacious storage, and thus should pay close attention to performance as needed, but most important of all: data integrity.

After reading Drives Full, Upgrading to OWC Thunderbay 6 with Six 14TB Drives (84TB total space), reader Tetsu E writes:

Regarding your choice of RAID 4 or 5, isn´t it dangerous to use such a big drives? The failure rate is quite big and the build times too.

Quote: " almost all SATA drives, and many SCSI drives, were spec'd with one Unrecoverable Read Error (URE) at 10^14. That's one URE every 12.5TB".

Rebuild times can take ages with big drives and the possibility of URE during rebuild is high and you can lose everything. Raid 10 is recommended on this situations, whats your opinion on this?

DIGLLOYD: the quote that Tetsu E references is dated and inaccurate and the assumptions are incorrect about the chances of URE during rebuild.

Small drives increase failure rates

For starters, smaller drives are likely to have higher error rates because they typically are not enterprise grade and/or are older models. Even if one uses twice as many drives of half the capacity with the same error rate, it would not change the error rate. Indeed, the chance of one drive of 12 failing (for mechanical reasons or otherwise) versus one drive in 6 is twice as high.

Error rate is stunningly low

Specifications for the Toshiba MG07ACA14TE 14TB hard drive state 1 unrecoverable read error per 10^16 bits (100 times better than 10^14), along with a MTBF of 2.5 million hours. Do I have the math right that this means a 1-bit error every 1250 terabytes? The URE rate for my 84TB setup is thus about 0.07 bit. Thus the chance of any critical corruption is so close to nil as to be absurdly low. Especially since only a portion of the capacity is used, and there will be plenty of spare blocks to map out bad ones.

10^16 / 8 / (1000*1000*1000*1000) = 1 bit error every 1250 terabytes.

SoftRAID rocks

SoftRAID is highly effective at warning about drive failures, and should a read error occur, SoftRAID can rebuild the RAID from parity information. Partial rebuilds are very fast, and typically take minutes, not a day. Plus SoftRAID is generally faster to much faster than hardware RAID.


Tip: buy new hard drives every two years or so, moving the older ones into backup duty—failure rates rise dramatically past year three. By year five, it’s russian roulette with your data.

I’ve used eight 12TB drives for a year and eight 8TB drives over two years. One 8TB drive has failed with no data loss due to using RAID-5 (I kept working and replaced the drive). Plus SoftRAID warned of the impending failure. I've NEVER lost a raid in the last decade.

Multiple and frequent backups are the ONLY true solution

Finally, for most everyone, the smart move is making multiple redundant backups rather than wasting a huge amount of storage. RAID is NOT a backup and physical loss (theft, fire, flood, electrical surge, etc) all pose a far greater risk to data than 1 bit every 1250 terabytes.

Barring mission-critical storage where downtime is unacceptable, I consider it a huge waste of space and performance to use RAID 1+0 (stripe of mirrors) rather than a simpler setup with frequent multiple redundant backups.

Validate data integrity


If one actually is concerned about such remote possibilities (I am, slightly), run diglloydTools IntegrityChecker regularly on your original master data files just in case—IntegrityChecker will flag any changes in files (it cannot check the file system itself, only file data). See Data Integrity Over Time, and with OS Changes. Certainly data integrity verification should be done as a high priority for any major data transfer such as switching storage systems; see How to Safely Transfer Data or Verify Backups (IntegrityChecker).

Below, a recent validation of two of my main storage volumes (volumes Main and Archived) totaling 9.5TB (8.9TiB), using diglloyd IntegrityChecker (java version).

diglloyd-iMac:DIGLLOYD lloyd$ icj verify Main Archived
### RUNNING development version in /Master/diglloyd/DOMAINS/DIGLLOYD
# icj version 1.01 @ 2019-01-10 11:00
# Copyright 2018-2019 DIGLLOYD INC. All Rights Reserved
# Use of this software requires a license.http://macperformanceguide.com/Software-License.html
# Thu Jan 10 12:35:18 PST 2019

[2]={/Volumes/Main, /Volumes/Archived} Scanning folders...4668.7740.11971.17829.22819.25440 10979 ms to find 25440 folders

Loading hash data concurrently for 25440 folders... ... 25057.25326.25440 Loaded hash data for 25440 folders in 36423 ms 47468 ms to scan/load 25440 folders 158 ms to count files and sizes

Hashing 366962 files totaling 8887 GiB in 25440 folders. 0%: 68 files 706 MiB @ 335 MiB/sec, 00:02.107 . . . 99%: 366907 files 8887 GiB @ 275 MiB/sec, 09:11:26.417 Waiting for 12 files to finish... 100%: 366962 files 8887 GiB @ 275 MiB/sec, 09:11:28.644
============================================================================ FILE STATUS SUMMARY for 25440 folders 2019-01-10 21:47:35 ============================================================================ # With hash: 367554 files # Without hash: 0 # Missing : 0 # Hashed: 366961 (some files were empty) # Changed size: 0 # Changed date: 0 # Changed content + date, size unchanged: 0 # Total changed content: 0 # SUSPICIOUS: 0 icj done at Thu Jan 10 21:47:35 PST 2019 runtime 09:12:16.368

Up to 1527MB/s sustained performance

New Site Feature: Quick Search

This is a sort of geek thing, and I don't see it being heavily used, but I've wanted it for my own convenience for while. It only took an hour or so to implement, although it rests on weeks of work earlier this year for keyword support.

Suppose you want to look for something related to the Nikon Z7, or depth of field, or bighorn sheep. It’s easy—just type the keyword or phrase directly into the URL area. This works with Safari, Firefox, Chrome on macOS (tested).

  1. Erase the stuff after the site name (diglloyd.com), retaining the trailing / character.
  2. Type your search term after "diglloyd.com/".
  3. Press the return or enter key.
Enter search term following the slash character

The server will match what is typed against available keywords, lens names, camera names, etc. If a match is not found, it will redirect to the search page. Examples:

Note that typing in something truncated or ambiguous is not likely to work; generally the brand name is required. For example:

"S2" — use "Leica S2"
"Z7" — use "Nikon Z7"
"5D" — use "Canon 5D"
"35/1.4 — use "Sigma 35/1.4" (or desired brand)

Up to 1527MB/s sustained performance

Drives Full, Upgrading to OWC Thunderbay 6 with Six 14TB Drives (84TB total space)

See my OWC storage wishlist.

Update: see Reader Comment: Hard Drive Error Rates and


When shooting 45/50/100 megapixel cameras, storage is a big deal, and backups more so.

To get my stuff to fit very recently, I had to rejigger a bunch of storage, but that is a short-term solution. So moving to more capacious storage. I could have put it off a few months, but it's inevitable by March or so, and I do not expect the price of 14TB drives to come down much during that time.

I don’t need 84TB total primary storage*, but it breaks down that way in terms of managing storage and attached backups and keeping high performance. One core issue is keeping backups as simple as possible so I prefer to standardize on a “chunk size”, which has gone from 8TB to 12TB and now to 14TB. That’s the size I make my volumes so that they match up to backup drive sizes.

* Using RAID-4 or RAID-5, 84TB is really 70TB usable (one drive is used for parity). It would be unacceptably risky to use RAID-0 stiping with six drives (even 4 concerns me), so RAID-5 or RAID-4 it is.

I’m thinking through the best way to do the storage. I’ll probably do a 4-drive RAID-4 for fault tolerance and performance, reserving the two other drives in the OWC Thunderbay 6 as single-drive always-attached backups.

  • 14TB data volume Archived (RAID-4, one slice off the 4 drives used)
  • 14TB data volume Main (RAID-4, 4 another slice off the 4 drives used)
  • Remainder of space (slowest space) as Spare, MasterClone, BootClone (to backup my boot drive and active working drive, both on the internal SSD)—all RAID-4.
  • 14TB single-drive Archived-Clone (can be easily removed from the unit)
  • 14TB single-drive Main-Clone (can be easily removed from the unit)

The older primary drives (12TB ones) will be repurposed as backups, which is what I previously did with my 8TB and 5TB drives. The 5TB drives have become marginal because even two of them don't total to 12TB or 14TB; splitting backups raises the chance for errors.

NOTE: choose the Thunderbay 6 RAID-5 edition if doing RAID. It bundles the RAID software with the unit. OWC doesn’t offer an 84TB unit as I write this, but you can build your own using an empty enclosure and six 14TB drives, and an 84TB version should be coming soon. My recommendation however is to purchase as a complete unit for one warranteed and pre-tested solution.

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Sigma 40mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Aperture Series: Locomotive at Laws Railroad Museum (Nikon D850)

See my Sigma DG HSM Art wishlist.

This medium-far range series evaluates lens performance from f/1.4 through f/11 paying special attention to focus shift in combination with sharpness across the frame and near to far but also discussing secondary color and bokeh and distortion as significant wins.

In diglloyd Advanced DSLR:

Sigma 40mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Aperture Series: Locomotive at Laws Railroad Museum

Include images up to full camera resolution.

The Sigma 40mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art is surely one of the finest 35mm optics ever produced and yet its focus shift is troubling in practice in terms of getting the very best results. Still, at about $1399, the value in terms of cost vs performance is perhaps unprecedented, and it blows away the Nikon NIKKOR Z 50mm f/1.8 S on the Nikon Z7, if a lens adapter and the weight/size are acceptable.

f1.4 @ 1/2500 sec IS=off, ISO 31; 2018-12-19 13:35:53
[location “Laws Railroad Museum”, altitude 4000 ft / 1219 m, 50°F / 10°C, "focused once at f/1.4"]
NIKON D850 + Sigma 40mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art

[low-res image for bot]
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Nikon Promises Eye AF in Firmware Update

See my Nikon Z system wishlist.

Sounds promising. I’ve called Eye AF a “killer” feature because of the outrageously high hit rate for accurate focus (at least on Sony). Anything else feels like film-era technology.

See Reader Comments: Nikon Z7 Focusing and IBIS vs Sony Mirrorless and Eye AF pages.

The Nikon Z Series: Upcoming Firmware on Display

The Nikon Z series will continue to adapt to changing user needs through the development and roll-out of firmware updates to meet and exceed creative expectations. Taking into account feedback from photographers and creators, Nikon will display three feature updates under development that open creative opportunities for the Z 6 and Z 7. Displays will include:

• CFexpress - Coming soon to the Z 6 and Z 7 cameras is support for CFexpress, which is compatible with the XQD memory card form-factor.

Eye AF - Under development is an Eye AF function, which will automatically detect the subject’s eyes to make attaining critical focus on the eyes easier. It will allow users to capture photos in which focus has been clearly acquired on the subject's eye, which is useful for portrait, event and street photography scenarios.

• RAW Video Support - Nikon is currently developing a feature that works with the ATOMOS Ninja V to output video in RAW format, using the ProRes RAW codec.

Details, including the release date of new firmware updates, will be shared at a later date.

Nikon Z7

Nikon Announces Nikon NIKKOR Z 14-30mm f/4 S

See my Nikon Z system wishlist.

If this new Nikon NIKKOR Z 14-30m f/4 S performs as claimed, it seems a highly attractive hiking lens and one (becuase of autofocus) capable of using the “focus shift” (focus stepping) feature for focus stacking.

On the other hand, my experience with the Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/4 S was a disappointment, I’ll have to reserve judgment until I test the 14-30mm, which is a more difficult focal range to implement.

NIKKOR Z 14-30mm f/4 S Lens - This is the first ultra-wide zoom lens for the Z Mount System and the world’s first* full-frame 14mm filter-attachable lens. This new S-Line lens is ideal for a variety of shooting scenarios including landscapes, interiors and architecture. The 14-30mm f/4 S lens is both compact and lightweight while delivering incredible sharpness and versatility

This new lens takes full advantage of the benefits of Nikon’s new Z Mount and demonstrates superior optical performance that maximizes the potential of high pixel-count digital cameras like the 45.7-megapixel Nikon Z 7. The NIKKOR Z 14-30mm f/4 S lens will be available in Spring 2019 for a suggested retail price of $1,299.95.

Nikon NIKKOR Z 14-30mm f/4 S

LAS VEGAS – CES BOOTH #14006 (January 7, 2019) - Today, Nikon Inc. announced two new products, including the NIKKOR Z 14-30mm f/4 S, the first ultra-wide zoom lens to take advantage of the amazing capabilities of the next generation Nikon Z Mount. This newest S-Line NIKKOR lens is a popular focal length for landscape, travel, event and architecture photographers, offering a combination of performance and portability that’s only possible with Nikon’s revolutionary new Z Mount.

Featuring a new optical design, the compact and lightweight NIKKOR Z 14-30mm f/4 S delivers the high level of optical performance that still and video creators expect from the NIKKOR name. By utilizing the larger diameter and technological benefits of the Z Mount, Nikon was able to design an ultra-wide-angle lens that delivers superior optical performance and maximizes the potential of high pixel-count digital cameras such as the 45.7-megapixel Nikon Z 7. Additionally, the design features a nearly flat front lens element, making the NIKKOR Z 14-30mm the world’s first filter-attachable ultra-wide-angle zoom lens covering a focal length from 14mm.

Nikon Inc. has also announced the Nikon Z 6 Filmmaker’s Kit. Featuring a selection of popular video equipment for the Z 6, the kit allows video creators to take full advantage of the Z 6’s industry-leading video features. Included accessories such as the Atomos Ninja V 4K HDR 5” Monitor Recorder and MOZA Air 2 3-Axis Hand-Held Gimbal Stabilizer make the new Filmmaker’s Kit an enticing value for those ready to explore the Nikon Z 6’s stellar video capture and multimedia potential.

“The NIKKOR Z 14-30mm lens demonstrates the optical superiority of the Z system, taking advantage of the newest high-performance lens technologies while maximizing compactness and portability,” said Jay Vannatter, Executive Vice President, Nikon Inc. “The Nikon Z series is a powerfully capable camera system for all types of video production, and with the Z 6 Filmmaker’s Kit, we’re giving videographers and content creators the gear they need to begin capturing high-quality videos with the most compelling hybrid camera on the market.”

The new 14-30mm lens was designed for photo and video shooters looking for a sharp ultra-wide zoom lens with which to seek out gorgeous landscapes or cityscapes on their next travel adventure, and is an excellent choice for capturing interiors, architecture or events. It’s a lens for those who need to pack light without sacrificing image quality – an ultra-wide-angle lens that delivers portability and performance that pushes the boundaries of what is optically possible in a lens of its size.

Lightweight and Ultra-Portable: At just 3.5-inches long when retracted, and weighing only 485g/1.07lbs, the NIKKOR Z 14-30mm f/4 S is approximately 28.6% lighter and 32% shorter than the popular Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 16-35mm f/4G ED VR, and approximately 51.5% lighter and 35% shorter than the tried-and-true Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED for the F mount.

Nikon NIKKOR Z 14-30mm f/4 S

Uncompromising Optics: Featuring a new optical formula that utilizes four Extra-Low Dispersion (ED) elements and four aspherical elements, the 14-30mm f/4 offers unparalleled control of distortion and chromatic aberration. Additionally, the use of Nikon’s anti-reflective Nano Crystal Coat effectively reduces ghosting and flare, delivering clearer images that maintain contrast in challenging lighting situations.

Filter Attachable: For the first time on a 14mm FX-format (full-frame) lens1, photographers will be able to attach various types of screw-on filters (82mm) to the front of this ultra-wide-angle lens, infinitely expanding the creative possibilities of the NIKKOR Z 14-30mm f/4 S for landscape and cityscape photographers, videographers and more.

Stepping Motor Technology: Featuring the latest Nikon Stepping Motor (STM) technology, the new lens provides smooth, fast and quiet AF performance—ideal for photographers shooting in sensitive environments, as well as videographers who must avoid focus noise in productions.

Control Ring: As with the rest of the S-Line of NIKKOR Z lenses, the 14-30mm f/4 includes a customizable control ring that can be assigned to manual focusing, exposure compensation or aperture control depending on personal preference or shooting situation, maintaining different custom settings when in photo and video mode.

Fully Compatible with In-Camera 5-Axis VR: To help ensure the sharpest possible images and most stable video, the new NIKKOR Z 14-30mm f/4 S is fully compatible with the in-body 5-axis VR found in the Nikon Z 6 and Z 7, providing up to 5 stops2 of image stabilization without adding to the size or weight of the lens itself.

Optimized Video Performance: In addition to the speedy and near-silent stepping motor technology and customizable control ring, the lens reduces focus breathing, preventing the angle of view from changing unintentionally when adjusting focus.

Reliability: The NIKKOR Z 14-30mm f/4 S is designed with consideration to dust and drip resistance, and features a fluorine coat that effectively repels dust, water droplets, grease and dirt.

Up to 1527MB/s sustained performance

Initial Impressions of Nikon NIKKOR Z 50mm f/1.8 S

See my Nikon Z wishlist.

(revised, I somehow got my initial impression wrong)—Taking a look at a comparison I shot with the Nikon NIKKOR Z 50mm f/1.8 S I’m struck by the outstanding color correction of the Nikon NIKKOR Z 35mm f/1.8 S, which is much 'cleaner' than the Zeiss Milvus 50mm f/1.4. A 3-way comparison is coming.

f5.6 @ 1/160 sec, ISO 31; 2018-12-19 13:56:13
[location “Laws Railroad Museum”, altitude 4000 ft / 1219 m, 45°F / 7°C, LACA corrected]
NIKON Z7 + Nikon NIKKOR Z 50mm f/1.8 S

[low-res image for bot]

Up to 1527MB/s sustained performance

Sigma 40mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art First Look

See my Sigma DG HSM Art wishlist.

In my Dec 18 post I remarked on the Sigma 40mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art on the Nikon D850. It’s a heck of a lens, and I am much happier with it on the Nikon Z7 because focusing is so much more accurate.

I’m still weak and needing rest, but in time I’ll be reporting in detail on it as soon as may be.

f8 @ 1.3 sec, ISO 31; 2018-12-19 16:48:40
[location “Laws Railroad Museum”, altitude 4000 ft / 1219 m, 45°F / 7°C]
NIKON Z7 + Sigma 40mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art

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Up to 1527MB/s sustained performance

Zeiss ZM 35mm f/1.4 Distagon on Nikon Z7

I’m still weak and needing rest, but in time I’ll be reporting in detail on the Zeiss ZM 35mm f/1.4 Distagon lens performance on the Nikon Z7*. I shot some material with it on my last trip that I thought I’d preview.

In brief, my expectations have been tempered by the reality that the performance of the ZM 35/1.4 is indeed impaired because of the sensor cover glass of the Nikon Z7. However, even at f/1.4 things are not terrible, and the drawing style still comes through. Stopped down, very high performance can be had, so I think some shooters looking for style of rendition at wider apertures and sharpness stopped down all in a compact package might consider it.

Lens performance evaluations go into the native lens guide, e.g. diglloyd Leica, but I’ll be discussing non-native lenses on the Nikon Z7 at some point and will give some guidance.

f1.4 @ 1/1000 sec, ISO 31; 2018-12-20 14:51:09
NIKON Z7 + Zeiss ZM 35mm f/1.4 Distagon

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f2 @ 1/320 sec, ISO 31; 2018-12-20 15:00:33
NIKON Z7 + Zeiss ZM 35mm f/1.4 Distagon

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Up to 1527MB/s sustained performance

Reader Comment on diglloyd Guide to Zeiss

Unsolicited comment.

My feeling is that the Zeiss Milvus 18mm f/2.8, Zeiss Milvus 25mm f/1.4 and Zeiss Milvus 35mm f/1.4 make an outstanding trio for the landscape photographer. I keep hoping that Zeiss will make a Zeiss Milvus 11mm f/4.

Subscriber Stevens T writes:

Zeiss Milvus 35mm f/1.4

Thank you very much for creating the Zeiss lens review website.

With holiday sales, I could finally afford a Zeiss Milvus 35mm f/1.4 this season. Wait! Should save up up for a 21mm or a 25mm instead? Maybe save up for an Otus?

I had difficulty when trying to decide by reading other websites. Online lens testing databases didn't address the feel of the image. Other reviewers did not have a consistent approach to support the comparisons I needed. Sure, they compare a Milvus 35mm to a Canon 35mm, but not to a Milvus 25mm.

Your objective data and images demonstrate what is achievable with good technique. Your consistent approach to reviewing multiple lenses makes it much easer to get a feel for how a lens will work and to make some kind of comparison between very different lenses. That is exactly what I was hoping for when I subscribed.

Above and beyond that, by including an interpretation of what is seen in the images, you educate on thinking about lenses. And that is worth even more. My new Milvus is on its way!

DIGLLOYD: I always try to insert things that help make deciding easier, in all of my publications.

Happy New Year! (UPDATED: repairing teeth)

Tip for Palo Alto area residents: I keep hearing from various parties that the best place to go for trauma is Stanford Hospital, particularly for potential concussion. I don’t quite know how that works out with insurance just yet (out of network), but that’s where they took me.

I feel blessed because my neck is not broken though it took the ER 20 hours to be sure—just back home out of the ER overnight this afternoon. No nerve damage or signs of it.

Everything hurts and 2 hours of sutures on face and mouth (inside too) is no picnic, but I seem to be A-OK, just sore and very tired. I won’t post any pictures—too gruesome. I am not using narcotics, and Tylenol/Advil are doing the job just fine.

I want to forestall answering many emails, so I’m going to tell the story here, once.

Many thanks to the highly skilled plastic surgeon at Stanford who was on call (how lucky is that?!), who related to me his 25 years of sewing up Marines, and 6 crashes of his own—he no longer rides, which is food for thought. I got to listen to all the shop talk while he and another surgeon sewed things up methodically and efficiently—these guys are total pros and every MD with that level of skill has my deep respect and admiration.

Even with XRays, CAT scans and MRI, an old injury had them sure that I had a broken C3 vertebrae, but it turns out that it was/is a “chronic” thing caused by past injury. I’ve had that awkward spot in my neck for years, but that did not occur to me while lying on the gurney in pain. Fentanyl (once) and hydromorphone (3 times 3 hours apart) work, but I asked that it be minimized as I wanted to remain reasonably alert.

The neck brace worn overnight was torture, digging into my back and making it ache as bad as the injuries. Stone-age technology. This is almost funny—the morning doctor asked if I wanted to take the neck brace home with me for “comfort” (strained neck muscles)! I passed.

Fantastic skilled surgical work—not a person could see a stitch when done: so skillfully did he close the wounds that even the the nurses only half-believed me about the 3/4" hole punched through my upper lip all the way through, and the deep cut on my chin, and the large divot inside. Small chunks of tissue were missing (as per the “shop talk”), and nerve, muscle and skin had to be done in sequence. He kept running out of suture material.

It all looks cleanly done, but until it heals and the swelling drops, I don’t know if I’ll look more rascalish or not. Some teeth need repair and that will probably be the worst part. I am eating smoothies for the time being but the front teeth shifted overnight and I cannot chew—might need orthodontia for the two fronts.

Dumb goof

People ask (already), so I might as well relate what to me is a really bad protocol, combined with bad luck:

I was riding my bike, the 2nd day of what was to be intensive 50 mile/day training for 3 weeks. The wind was strong but I was getting warm so (riding no-handed), I pulled off my wool hoodie. That in itself went fine as it always does. The wind was strong so I decided to stop to tie it around my waist. Accordingly, I half-balled the hoodie against the handlebar, in preparation to stop. That proved disastrous—somehow the wind grabbed a sleeve and threw it into the front wheel, which rotating forward, caught the sleeve and instantly balled-up the entire hoodie, stopping the bike in an instant from 15-20 mph. Newton’s Law took over from there at 19.44 mph.


I look a lot better all sewn up and cleaned up (front teeth, not so much, that will be a project). Nor do I feel concussed, which is a miracle of sorts. So I feel lucky and blessed and joyful all at once, really happy to come out so well when it could have been so bad (eyes, arms, legs, back, nose, spine all good). Today on New Year’s Day 32 hours later, I don’t even need Tylenol.

The 2 cm hole which punched all the way through my upper lip was a bit messy when the saline was cleaning things. But it’s all nicely sewn back together. The yellow stuff is lymph fluid which oozes out, not infection, or so I think. The doctor advised to not remove it, and I’ll see an MD tomorrow to check for any signs of infection.

Below, it might look like abrasions, but a 2cm through-hole had existed in my upper lip as well as deep internal gouges and a deep cut in my chin. Repairing nerve, muscle, and skin required at least 90 minutes of stitching by this very skilled plastic surgeon, and a 2nd doctor assisted. I’m guessing at least 100 stitches or so and the surgeon ran out of sutures at least 3 times. The job was so well done with invisible self-dissolving stitches of very fine diameter that even the nursing staff were skeptical that a 2cm through-hole had existed in my upper lip prior. Lots of stitches are inside in lower and upper lips areas too—a big job, expertly done.

f2.2 @ 1/30 sec, ISO 160; 2019-01-01 11:15:06 [altitude 511 ft / 156 m]
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus 2.9 mm f/2.2

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Update: I picked up my bike from the fire station. I had not seen it since before the crash, but my theory looks to have been spot-on: the sleeve got sucked up and wedged into the front brake. The bike computer showed that I was going 19.44 mph.

f1.8 @ 1/120 sec, ISO 40; 2019-01-01 15:53:04
[altitude 316 ft / 96 m, "bike after crash as picked up at Fire Station"]
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus 4.0 mm f/1.8

[low-res image for bot]

Repairing the teeth

Periodontist Dan Nelson writes:

I’m a subscriber and I follow your blog and read about your recent bike accident. I’m also a periodontist in Mountain View. As a dental specialist and an owner of a referral based practice, I know a lot of really great dentists and specialists who can help you in your area (if you don’t already have a great dentist). Trauma to your front teeth can involve a lot of different issues and you’re likely to need at least an evaluation by a specialist or two (and endodontist and periodontist come to mind). Please feel free to reach out to me if you need help of any kind. I’m happy to recommend some high quality dentists who can help.

I am grateful to periodontist Dan Nelson DDS in Mountain View for recommending an excellent endodontist and securing a 9 AM appointment for me. In this sort of crash, prompt action can save teeth that might die from the damage, so if you have trauma to teeth, get them looked at without delay. I wasn’t aware of two key risks: (1) death of the nerve into the tooth, and (2) bone growth into the tooth, was if not prevented can cause the tooth to die.

I visited Dr. Keivan Zoufan DDS MDS in Los Altos this morning on a day he had scheduled no patients or staff. We had a short examination and chat and then used his state of the art CT scanner to create a 3D scan of my teeth, as shown below—all in a few minutes. This is incredible stuff—turns out that the broken-off tooth shows no internal damage but the intact tooth can be seen to be wedged out of place along with a broken piece of bone in the surrounding jaw, as seen below. Seems that this particular tooth was “too strong” and instead of breaking itself, disrupted the tissue around it.

Dr. Zoufan’s wife, orthodontist Dr. Mozafari DDS was also in, also with no scheduled patients and thus no staff present. To my utter surprise, Dr. Mozafari along with Dr. Zoufan as assistant (!) installed orthodontia to ease the intact tooth back into its proper place, thus raising the odds of both saving the nerve and avoiding losing the tooth by having bone grow into the tooth, not to mention restoring proper alignment for a proper bite (this takes time of course).

Talk about exceeding expectations! I don't think I've ever had such attention from a doctor for a regular visit, let alone two and the work was quickly and expertly done. I felt very special, and I thank them both profusely for their expert on-the-spot analysis and repair. Highly recommended!

Dr. Zoufan also ground the out-of-place tooth a little to allow chewing with some care, versus a hard stop-click prior which has made any solid food challenging so far. Given a little time the orthodontia should move the tooth back into place.

Tooth pushed out of place with broken bone chip in jaw
Tooth pushed out of place with broken bone chip in jaw

Update Jan 13, 2019

I’m healing up very fast. Biking the past 3 days seems to have accelerated the pace. I also think that the Bemer pulsed electromagnetic therapy has contributed.

14 days of healing
f4 @ 1/30 sec, ISO 80; 2019-01-12 16:35:11
DSC-RX100 + 28-100mm F1.8-4.9 @ 39mm equiv (14.6mm)

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