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Meyer-Optik Gorlitz Nocturnus 50mm f/0.95 II Lens for Sony E

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

Meyer-Optik Gorlitz Nocturnus
50mm f/0.95 II Lens for Sony E

I have the Meyer-Optik Gorlitz Nocturnus 50mm f/0.95 II Lens for Sony E on request at B&H Photo. It looks to be shipping in February.

  • Sony E-Mount Lens/Full-Frame Format
  • Aperture Range: f/0.95 to f/22
  • Manual Focus Design
  • De-Clicked Aperture Ring
  • 15 AR-Coated Aperture Blades

It looks like all the right mechanical things have been done, except perhaps the rather smooth focusing ring (no texture)—though the Zeiss Milvus line has smooth rubber and that works fine. A lot depends on how it actually feels and operates.

I am curious if an all-new rangefinder design that is 1/3 the price of the Noctilux for Leica M could possibly perform as well—or better*. It is possible, since Leica’s prices for M lenses are stratospheric.

That is, an all-new design that takes ray angle into account might mean something approaching a real T/1.0—I’m guessing T/1.1 if done well.

For example, f/1.2 lenses on DSLRs (so far) are really more like T/1.4 due to ray angle—not very “fast” at all. Canon even cheats and compensates for the light loss with the 85/1.2L II.

A really fast lens is great fun:

* You too can experience the Noctilux feel with a Noctilux coffee mug. Fill it with coffee and it will have similar heft!

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Reader Experience: Fotodiox Fusion Lens Adapter for Nikon F to Sony E

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

I haven’t tested the FotodioX FUSION Smart AF Adapter for Nikon F Lens to Sony but reader Roy P has, and he offers this perspective.

Update: readers are also advised to web search for potential adapter issues. There seems to be some concern about electronic damage. I hesitate to post such things, but the claim is that of camera damage, so worth a read if considering and adapter like the Fotodiox.

THE FOTODIOX FUSION SMART AF SONY TO NIKON ADAPTER RUINED MY SONY A6300 CAMERA

FotodioX FUSION Smart AF Adapter
for Nikon F Lens to Sony E-Mount Camera

I had a bad experience a few years back with a Fotodiox mechanical Nikon to Canon adapter—it had to be destructively removed from a Zeiss prime.

I’ve never been a fan of electronic adapters though the Sigma MC-11 is very well made and worked successfully for me when I used it briefly with the Canon 11-24/4L.

...

Roy Pwrites:

Feedback on the Fotodiox Fusion adapter: I was hoping this adapter would finally give me a usable solution, but it is far from being ready to be marketed. They should not be putting out a product like this that is at best beta quality.

First, the good news: the build quality is good. It fit well on my Sony A7RM2 with my Nikon 105mm f/1.4 lens, with no wiggles, without being overtight. No issues with setting the f-stop from the camera or exporting EXIF data. After taking 200+ test shots of varying subjects, distances, and good/bad lighting conditions, it nailed the focus every time – surprisingly, not a single frame with my target out of focus.

The autofocusing is slow, and happens in jerky steps, until it finally gets to focus. Annoying, but I got used to it. It takes much longer to focus than with my Sigma MC-11 + Canon lenses - that combo is just about as fast as native Sony E mount lenses are on my A7RM2. The Fotodiox Fusion is 3-4 times slower. But to its credit, eventually, it did nail the focus every time, so I was willing to live with the slow performance.

But it has two fatal flaws: first, it sharply drains the battery in the camera. With a 100% charged battery, I could get only about 65 shots before the battery went totally dead. Even if you’re not taking a lot of photos, the adapter is consuming gobs of battery power, so unless you’re turning the camera off after every shot, you could be out of battery power in an hour or less. That is absurd.

I even briefly considered living with this headache, but the second fatal flaw, which was the killer for me, is that there is no USB port on this adapter. That means this is it – no firmware upgrades, no bug fixes or performance improvements, ever. Worse, if Sony comes out with a new camera next year, there is no guarantee this adapter will work with it optimally, or even work at all. That is totally unacceptable for a $370 adapter.

So I’m returning it, and I will keep looking for something better.

DIGLLOYD: I have not tested these adapters (below); they are provided for reference.

Michael R writes:

I read the reader experience of this lens adapter. I also have his adapter and generally agree with the comments although I don't have a lot of experience with just how much the battery drain is accelerated. From what I can tell this adapter is physically and functionally identical to the Commlite adapter (except for the faux gold plating). This adapter, in fact, can be updated through a firmware download. The way it's done is to connect the adapter to the SONY camera and download the update to the camera. I have tried it on the Commlite and it seems to work well. Both adapters are running ver. 4.0 of the software so they work identically. (http://www.commlite.com/en/down.php)

I don't think these adapters will ever be a viable replacement for native lenses but I will be interested to see if they work with Nikon's new PC-E lens.

DIGLLOYD: I’m a big NON-fan of electronic adapters, and these two posts are best read stepping back out of the reality distortion field: Sony is all well and good, but native is better. And nearly $400 is better put towards buying a used Nikon D500 or similar.

Zeiss Loxia 85mm f/2.4 MTF Series from f/2.4 to f/16

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

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

See my review of the Zeiss Loxia 85mm f/2.4 Sonnar in Guide to Mirrorless.

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

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

Zeiss Loxia 85mm f/2.4 Sonnar

MTF from f/2.4 to f/16

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

See my commentary on the MTF of the Zeiss Loxia 85mm f/2.4 Sonnar.

MTF for Zeiss Loxia 85mm f/2.4 Sonnar

Distortion

Pincushion distortion is typical for a medium telephoto lens.

Distortion for Zeiss Loxia 85mm f/2.4 Sonnar

Vignetting

Vignetting is about 1 stop wide open—minimal.

Vignetting for Zeiss Loxia 85mm f/2.4 Sonnar
Specifications for Zeiss Loxia 85mm f/2.4 Sonnar
Focal length: 85mm
Aperture scale: f/2.4 - f/22
Number of lens elements/groups 7 elements in 7 groups
Lens diaphragm: 10 blades, straight-edged
Angular field (diag./horiz./vert.) 28.63° / 24.05° / 16.23°
Focusing range: 80 cm / 31.49 in
Free working distance at MOD: 68.5 cm / 26.97 in
Coverage at close range (MOD): 257.9 x 172.6 mm / 10.15 x 6.80 in
Image ratio at MOD: 1:7.2 = 0.139X
Rotation angle of focusing (focus throw): 220°
Entrance pupil position, in front of image plane: 58.7mm / 2.13 in
Diameter of image field 43.3mm
Flange focal distance: 18.0mm
Filter thread 52mm
Weight: 594g / 1.32 lb (nominal)
Length : 94.8 mm / 3.73 in (without caps)
108 mm / 4.25 in (with caps)
Diameter max 62.5 mm / 2.44 in
List price: about $TBD
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Zeiss Milvus 18mm f/2.8: Full MTF Series from f/2.8 through f/16

Zeiss Milvus 18mm f/2.8

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

Get the new Milvus 18mm f/2.8 at B&H Photo.

See also last year’s Understanding the new Zeiss Milvus Lineup.

The new-new kid on the Milvus block is the Zeiss Milvus 18mm f/2.8, a long overdue all-new optical design that replaces the weakling in the ZF.2 lineup, the Zeiss ZF.2 18mm f/3.5 Distagon. Its size and weight and angle of view are just about perfect for landscape use: not so wide as 15mm, but very wide and thus more applicable more of the time. It is a lovely match to a Nikon D810 in terms of size/weight/balance; it feels right at home on the D810.

Very high performance, the Milvus 18mm f/2.8 promises via its measured (not just theoretically computed) MTF numbers to match or outperform the Leica 18mm f/3.8 Super-Elmar-M ASPH. Now that is a proposition I like, since the Leica 18/3.8 SEM has been one of my favorites on Leica M. See the full MTF series below.

The Milvus 18mm f/2.8 looks to match and maybe even beat (very slightly) its superb Batis 18/2.8 sibling (the MTF is close enough that this is a sketchy proposition, but on the whole the Milvus looks to have a slight edge). But a bonus is that the Milvus 18/2.8 has substantially less distortion than the distortion of the Batis 18/2.8. That matters, because if distortion must be corrected, it drops the MTF (because of pixel stretching).

The Milvus 18/2.8 is a substantial 2/3 of a stop faster (brighter) than its f/3.5 predecessor. Shooting at dusk, f/2.8 is a big improvement over f/3.5, whether using the optical viewfinder or Live View.

The improvements over the ZF.2 18/3.5 are substantial::

MTF

MTF across the aperture range is discussed on the MTF page for the Zeiss Milvus 18mm f/2.8 in Guide to Zeiss.

MTF for Zeiss Milvus 18mm f/2.8

Distortion

Plain barrel distortion (excellent, easy to correct) and of a relatively minor amount for an 18mm—superb in total.

Distortion for Zeiss Milvus 18mm f/2.8

Vignetting

Vignetting is 2+ stops at f/2.8, and about one stop by f/5.6. This is about what one expects for a DSLR or rangefinder lens.

Vignetting for Zeiss Milvus 18mm f/2.8
Zeiss Milvus 18mm f/2.8 Distagon Specifications
Focal length 18mm (nominal)
Aperture range f/2.8 - ƒ/22
Number of lens elements/groups 14 elements in 12 groups
Aperture blades:  
Entrance pupil position ( in front of image plane): 107.1 mm / 4.22 in
Rotation angle, focusing (inf - MOD): 145.5°
Focusing range: 25 cm / 9.84 in
Image ratio at close range 1:7.4
Free working distance at MOD: 12 cm / 4.73 in
Coverage at MOD: 274 x 180 mm / 10.79 x 7.09 in
Angular field (diag./horiz./vert.) 99.9° / 89.4° / 66.5°
Diameter of image field 43 mm / 1.69 in
Flange focal offset ZF.2: 46.50 mm / 1.83 in
  ZE: 44.00 mm / 1.73 in
Filter thread 77mm
Length without caps ZF.2: 92.0 mm / 3.62 in
  ZE: 93.0 mm / 3.66 in
Length with caps ZF.2: 107.0 mm / 4.21 in
  ZE: 10.,4 mm / 4.31 in
Diameter max ZF.2: 90.0 mm / 3.54 in
  ZE: 90.0 mm / 3.54 in
Weight (nominal), ZF.2: ZF.2: 675 g / 23.8 oz
  ZE: 721 g / 25.4 oz
Street price: about $2299

Reader Comment: Hasselblad X1D Delay

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

Hasselblad X1D

See also Hasselblad X1D-50C: Reader Comments and Hasselblad X1D-50C: 50-Megapixel Mirrorless Medium Format.

Michael E writes:

Have you heard information about the advent of the Fujifilm GFX, which I am now considering, having been put off by Hasselblad’s not sharing with us the problem with delivery of the X1D.

DIGLLOYD: As of December 6, my latest information from my sources at B&H Photo is that the Hasselblad X1D has not yet begun shipping.

Fujifilm has wisely not promised anything more than a vague availability date for the Fujifilm GFX. But the way things are going, maybe Fujifilm will beat Hasselblad to market.

I think that it is very unwise of Hasselblad to leave customers hung out to dry who have pre-ordered the X1D. For one thing, it may be a deductible expense for a business, but it needs to be put into service by the end of the year. If that deadline is missed, the deduction for 2016 cannot be taken. As a big expense, it would have a material effect on my business taxes, if I could afford to buy one. So I would be getting very, very grumpy, particularly since tax deductions may be worth less in 2017.

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Reader Comment: Using the Nikon 19mm f/4E ED PC-E

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

Nikon PC Nikkor 19mm f/4E ED PC-E

See reviews of tilt/shift lenses in DAP.

Michael E writes:

Of course, I am fascinated by the articles on the Nikon 19mm tilt/shift lens, although I am still trying to get a handle on what is the best prescription or recipe for using this lens properly.

Hopefully, at some point, you will list out the steps we must be aware. I can’t just fun out and buy one, because of the price, but if I do I will credit it to you.

How does this lens approximate a medium format experience and how does it not? I would think that many people might want to have this lens, but for me, I need to have a little more information about how to use it properly and avoid its pitfalls. I imagine you are still figuring this out. Must be fun.

DIGLLOYD: I’ve stubbed out a page in my review of the Nikon 19mm f/4E ED PC-E on which I intend to summarize best practices for using it. But I need to spend a week or two with it to nail down some particulars and good field examples. In the meantime, the series discuss the behavior and that is itself some guidance.

Thunderbolt 3 Dock
Must-have expansion for 2016 MacBook Pro
Thunderbolt 3 • USB 3 • Gigabit Ethernet • 4K Support • Firewire 800 • Sound Ports

Sigma sd Quattro H Due Soon

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

Sigma sd Quattro H

See my in-depth reviews of Sigma DP Merrill and Sigma dp Quattro cameras.

Three years ago I wrote Pixel for Pixel, *Nothing* Beats a Sigma DP Merrill. That remains largely true, except for the special Pentax K1 SuperRes pixel shift mode, which has severe practical limitations. And now—the Sigma sd Quattro H comes along with so many more pixels that it should be king of the hill up to 36 megapixels or so.

See Sigma dp0 and dp1 Quattro: Razor Sharp Detail—I shot the Sigma sd Quattro with its APS-C sensor last fall with some gorgeous results.

The about $TBD Sigma sd Quattro H with its larger APS-H sensor is due very soon. The larger sensor captures 25 megapixels at 6192 x 4128 pixels with a bit depth of 14 bits. And of course those numbers belie the per pixel detail which I would rate as something more like 36 megapixels on a conventional Bayer sensor, but without most of the digital artifacts.

Given the pixel quality I saw with the sd Quattro APS-C sensor, the results may be quite alluring for some shooters and should approach the resolution of the Nikon D810, though it may be subjectively better (and worse) in some ways.

The Sigma DP Merrill cameras appear to finally be out of production. I still have all three of them, and in my view they offer a classic look which I feel have the same kind of appeal that certain photographic films offered versus other films. But they are now outgunned by the sd Quattro H.

Sigma sd Quattro H

The newer Sigma dp Quattro cameras use a new sensor over the Merrills, with some improved characteristics. Out in the field this preceding autumn, I found myself very glad to leave behind the Nikon D810—the light and easy-shooting Quattros just felt a lot more satisfying than the Big Black Brick: at 10,000+ feet elevation and many miles of slogging, there is a lot to be said for smaller cameras.

But size and weight aside, the Sigma dp Quattro cameras deliver a level of detail that few if any conventional cameras of up to 24 megapixels can even approach. There is more detail out of the dp Quattros than anything I could get out of the Leica SL, which costs 13X as much with its underperforming 24-90mm zoom. However, lenses remain a limiting factor on the sd Quattro line, just as on Canon and Nikon (Zeiss Otus excepted and a few others).

The Sigma sd Quattro H would be 'killer' if it had a Nikon F mount (or Sony) since as it stands, a buyer has to invest in Sigma sd-mount lenses rather than being able to use Nikon or Canon Sigma Art lenses. I want the Ssd Quattro H as a camera that will take any of my Nikon lenses, including Zeiss Otus. Now THAT would be a huge win.

Sigma announcement:

The SIGMA Corporation is pleased to announce the SIGMA sd Quattro H, a new high-image-quality digital camera that incorporates the Foveon X3 direct image sensor (generation name: “Quattro”).

The SIGMA sd Quattro H is the first camera to feature the newly developed APS-H size Foveon X3 Quattro direct image sensor with an incredible 51-megapixel- equivalent resolution. Featuring SIGMA’s SA mount, this new camera is compatible with all SIGMA GLOBAL VISION lenses in the Contemporary, Art and Sports lines, and is designed to take full advantage of these lenses' superb optical performance.

In addition, it is compatible with DNG format, and imaging software from other companies is also available for higher versatility.

  • The DC Crop Mode, which is automatically activated when DC lenses are attached, makes it possible to take full advantage of your lens assets.
  •  Along with the release of the SIGMA sd Quattro H, related software is planned to be updated, such as SIGMA Photo Pro 6.5 and SIGMA Capture Pro 1.3. SIGMA Photo Pro 6.5 seeks for higher usability by utilizing the computer’s GPU for faster processing and an improved algorithm for Auto development along with a more user-friendly SFD Mode.
  • SIGMA Capture Pro 1.3 also offers enhanced usability since it is compatible with SFD Mode and Live View Mode.

Once these updates become available for download, the announcement will be made accordingly.

I wrote this before DNG support was announced, but it still holds as discussed: BTW, Sigma dp Quattro JPEGs are essentially of lossless quality—superbly stunningly sharp, superior to JPEGs from any other camera I’ve ever seen. While I shoot RAW+JPEG, I have absolutely no concerns about the JPEG sharpness (exposure and white balance are still big pluses of raw format). So while processing Sigma RAW has been a headache, the JPEGs are so good that if attention is paid to exposure and white balance, superb results as JPEG are available right out of the camera. That the JPEGs are so good seems to be a combination of two things: (1) the inherently high sharpness and acutance of the Sigma sensor, and (2) compressed oriented towards max quality.

Whether the DNG format is viable for workflow depends on quality of results and performance as well as whether the X3I (super res mode) format is also available in DNG—TBD.

Image below is a 3-frame focus stack using the in-camera JPEGs. Lighting here was extreme high-mountain dusk blue, partly but not fully

Quaking Aspen, Last of the Leaves
3-frame focus stack using JPEG from camera
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Nikon 19mm f/4E ED PC-E Aperture Series: Maple Trees in Sunken Area (Nikon D810)

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

Nikon PC Nikkor 19mm f/4E ED PC-E

See reviews of tilt/shift lenses in DAP.

This aperture series is at the full 12mm shift along the long axis.

It evaluates field curvature and focus shift and as it turns out, it is an outstanding example that is a must read for any Nikon 19/4 shooter.

Nikon 19mm f/4E ED PC-E Aperture Series, 12mm shift: Maple Trees in Sunken Area(Nikon D810)

Includes dual series from f/4 to f/11 at image sizes up to 28 megapixels with large crops.

__METADATA__
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only $270

What Lloyd uses in the field for a carry-around backup.
Fits just about anywhere, tough aluminum case.

Nikon 19mm f/4E ED PC-E Aperture Series: Evaluating Sharpness at 12mm Shift Along the Short Axis (Mosaic, Nikon D810)

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

Nikon PC Nikkor 19mm f/4E ED PC-E

See reviews of tilt/shift lenses in DAP.

This aperture series is at the full 12mm shift along the short axis. It complements the full 12mm shift series along the long axis.

Nikon 19mm f/4E ED PC-E Aperture Series at 12mm Shift, Short Axis: Mosaic at Dusk (Nikon D810)

Includes dual series from f/4 to f/9 at image sizes up to 28 megapixels with large crops.

The image is not exactly level; the built-in leveling indicators of the Nikon D810 are good only to 1% or so, which is not nearly good enough. The leveling is off by about only 0.3% here, but it is visible. Meticulous work should utilized the grid overlay, but it was getting dark and I was in a hurry and it’s slow going to make sure things are exactly level.

__METADATA__

Nikon 19mm f/4E ED PC-E Dual Aperture Series: Evaluating Sharpness at 12mm Shift (Mosaic, Nikon D810)

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

Nikon PC Nikkor 19mm f/4E ED PC-E

See reviews of tilt/shift lenses in DAP and my October overview of Nikon 19mm f/4E ED PC-E.

The Nikon 19mm f/4E ED PC-E is in effect a medium format rectilinear fisheye lens projecting a huge image circle. To maintain high image quality over a 35mm frame at 19mm is a challenge, but to do it over an area 4X or so larger is a major challenge indeed.

Accordingly, something has to give, and it seems that the “give” is in allowing a significant amount of field curvature, such that that the placement of focus becomes a key determinant for image quality when fully shifted, particularly when shifted the full 12mm along the long axis of the frame.

On a hunch based on what I saw in the first few shots, I explored focus placement on a planar subject, and I was handsomely rewarded with a finding that is essential reading for anyone using the Nikon 19mm f/4 PC-E. This evaluation presents two aperture series from f/4 through f/11, each with its own focus.

Nikon 19mm f/4E ED PC-E Dual Aperture Series at Maximal Shift: Focus Placement is Critical

Includes dual series from f/4 to f/11 at image sizes up to 28 megapixels with huge crops.

__METADATA__

Nikon 19mm f/4E ED PC-E Initial Coverage (updated with reader comments)

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

Nikon PC Nikkor 19mm f/4E ED PC-E

See reviews of tilt/shift lenses in DAP and my October overview of Nikon 19mm f/4E ED PC-E.

The price of $3396 is well earned as the Nikon 19mm f/4E ED PC-E looks to be the best tilt-shift or shift lens I have ever seen, and I’ve gone through virtually all of them for 35mm and several for medium format.

Nikon is on a roll, what with this amazing performer following on the heels of the class-leading Nikon 105mm f/1.4E. This is one trend I want to see continue.

If you are a pro using a tilt-shift lens for your work, RUN (don’t walk) and get this lens. It’s a no-brainer. Ditto for anyone looking for gobs of megapixels on a D810, or perspective correction or for changing the plane of focus via tilt and swing. This is a lens you buy for itself, with the camera an accessory. And please use my link so I get credit.

Two pages of initial coverage are now published:

Shifting for Stitching: Double the Camera Megapixels*

Examples: Corrected vs Uncorrected Lateral Chromatic Aberration

Tomorrow I will be posting an astounding aperture series with a finding that is an absolute must-read for anyone shooting this lens.

As for adaptation to Sony, I’ll be checking if it performs well on the Sony A7R II. But coverage will be in DAP (lenses are always reviewed in their native publication regardless of camera).

*The Nikon 19mm f/4E ED PC-E is essentially a rectilinear fisheye lens that covers a large medium-format size image area. Shifting captures an image area that is off-center. By combining these images, a much larger capture area is possible.

Below, results of a 72-megapixel 3-frame stitch created by a fall of 12mm + center frame + rise of 12mm.

72-megapixel 3-frame stitched image result
__METADATA__
FotodioX FUSION Smart AF Adapter
for Nikon F Lens to Sony E-Mount Camera

Eric B writes:

I noticed that you were speculating about using the Nikon 19mm PC-E on Sony E mount cameras.

Are there adapters that allows Nikon E or G lenses with electronic aperture, such as all of Nikon’s PC-E’s, to operate on other cameras? I am not aware of any but did at one time look for something to allow me to use my PC-E’s on my Fuji X cameras and was unable to find anything.

DIGLLOYD: I have not tested these adapters as yet and they might not work at all with Nikon "E" lenses (they are stated to work with “G” lenses, but E lenses are electronic aperture control with no mechanical lever).

Michael E writes:

Nikon 19mm T/S is fascinating. Have you tried focus stacking with a shallow stack, to see whether you can overcome the focus challenge that you point out?

DIGLLOYD: Not yet, but it of course will work well. Should be possible (especially with tilt when tilt is appropriate) to do some crazy good things with DoF.

Jason W writes:

Assuming adapters existed, is there a reason you couldn't use the 19mm PC-E unshifted on the Fuji GFX or an Alpa 12 FPS and get an equivalent 15mm FOV? It's basically a medium format lens, yes?

DIGLLOYD: focal length is focal length, that is, 19mm is 19mm on any camera, any format. It's the image circle (angle of view) that varies in size to cover the format: APS-C, full frame, medium format, etc.

Image Circle as Photographed on tracing paper
Nikon PC Nikkor 19mm f/4E ED PC-E

A 19mm can project an image circle that is (for example), ~28mm in diameter, ~43mm in diameter (full frame) or 63mm in diameter (shift lenses for full frame). A lens might project an image circle large than needed to cover the format, but things usually go whacky outside the format area (such as field curvature). See the Zeiss Touit 12mm, 32mm, 50mm examples on full frame Sony (Touit line is marketed for APS-C cameras) for superb examples of image circle size.

The Nikon 19mm f/4E ED PC-E has an image circle at f/4 at infinity focus of about 63mm. Stopped down it is likely around 68mm.

But to your point—an 18/19mm lens on the 43.8 x 32.9mm sensor of the Fujifilm GFX would be equivalent in angle of view to a 15.6mm on the Fujifilm GFX (calculating for long edge of frame). Which is huge plus for the Fujifilm GFX over the Hasselblad X1D—the X1D has no shutter and thus the Nikon 19mm could not make an exposure (not having an in-lens shutter). Of course an electronic adapter would be required.

The Nikon 19mm f/3.5 PC-E has an image circle more than sufficient to cover the GFX sensor area at high quality and even allow some shifting range, since its image circle is at least 63mm in diameter, versus the nominal 43mm for ordinary full frame lenses. Lenses like the Zeiss Milvus 18mm f/2.8 might work, but the corners of the 43.8 X 32.9 frame might be black or of poor quality.

Nikon PC Nikkor 19mm f/4E ED PC-E

Pieter K writes:

Many thanks for the 19mm coverage especially the mosaic with full shift over the length.

I do architecture as a core business and know exactly the problem with these PCE lenses - sharpness over the whole image is a compromise.

I sold the 24mm PCE cause it would fail on your mosaic test at any aperture. Mind you it was introduces at the same time as the 12MP nikonD3.

I was wondering do you ever use split view on the d810.. for finding the right compromise it works quite well.. (also when you use tilt).

Your coverage of the sigma art 85+ this 19mm PCE is enough to make my contribution for DAP the right choice.

It also was much appreciated that you put the Zeiss Milvus 85/1.4 in for comparing the Sigma Art.

DIGLLOYD: the Nikon 24mm f/3.5 PC-E is a poor performer. The entire Nikon PC-E line is badly in need of an upgrade to the quality level (optical and mechanical) of the Nikon 19/3.5 PC-E. Ditto for /dap.CanonTSE17Canon TS-E lenses at 45mm and 90mm.

Nikon D810 split view: I never learned to use this, but I ought to, it seems. Good reminder.

Zeiss Milvus 85/1.4: as a rule I do not cross post, because it fundamentally undermines the viability of my business. But for this case I had to have a superior reference lens to show the relative performance. I really must have at least some solid percentage of subscribers at the “everything” level to remain in business, so I cannot do such things often. Any active subscriber can upgrade to “everything” (except software) for $200/year.

Water Safety: Steripen Deal vs MSR Guardian, Life Straw

I wrote an in-depth review of the MSR Guardian water purifier last summer. Since then I’ve consumed about 150 liters of water pumped from streams and lakes, out of its rated life of 10,000 liters. It is a full-on water purifier which removes bacteria, protozoa and viruses.

On sale today at half price at B&H Deal Zone is the SteriPEN Classic 3 UV Water Purifier.

While the MSR Guardian is superb (see my video on my review page on how it is used), I’ve ordered a SteriPen to try out (never used before so I cannot speak to its efficacy from personal experience as yet), because it is much more compact, and sometimes my North Face Recon daypack is stuffed so full of gear that I cannot carry the MSR Guardian.

David C:

I am curious about one of the company’s claims: that it removes viruses. have you seen a review anywhere that confirmed that claim by actually testing it? if yes could you please send me the link? I’m not saying that it can’t be done, but it’s a big claim and a big part of justifying the price.

DIGLLOYD: the claim is misleading in this sense: the SteriPEN removes nothing. Rather, it kills the nasties with UV light. I had a conversation with a reader some months ago, this reader having used it extensively and he is confident that it kills the nasties quite effectively, including viruses.

Personally I would much rather use a true water purifier (not “filter”) like the MSR Guardian water purifier because it not only removes bacteria, protozoa and viruses, but also removes crud: sediment, mosquito larvae and whatever else might be in the water. The issue is that the MSR Guardian weighs a pound and is the size of a 1L Evian water bottle, so it is often problematic to squeeze into my pack and I have gone (very) thirsty on some all day hikes when I did not bring along two full liters of water (one liter is never enough in the high country).

A water filter option is the LifeStraw Personal Water Filter. It is very compact and weighs hardly anything. I have one, but I have not used it as yet. And it does not remove viruse, which is probably not an issue in the high Sierra, but would be an issue with poor water quality in some areas.

2016 MacBook Pro: Cannot Sustain Performance Under Load

Mac wish list •  all 2016 MacBook pro models at B&H Photo • all 15" Apple MacBook Pro 2016 models •  all 13" Apple MacBook Pro 2016 models. MPG gets credit if you buy through those links.

While testing the 2016 MacBook Pro, a consistent pattern of declining performance was observed. For example, with 10 iterations of of the Photoshop sharpening test, the 2016 MacBook Pro declined in performance by 23%. No such decline was seen on the iMac 5K or 2013 Mac Pro.

This differential helps explain why the 2016 MacBook Pro is slower than the 2013 MacBook Pro on the Lightroom import test.

2016 MacBook Pro: Cannot Sustain Performance

This finding may be of keen interest to anyone processing video or importing into Lightroom or any task that incurs a sustained load.

NuGard KX Case for iPhones and iPads
Outstanding protection against drops and impact!
Excellent grip for wet hands, cycling, etc!

2016 MacBook Pro TESTED: Photoshop Filters

Mac wish list •  all 2016 MacBook pro models at B&H Photo • all 15" Apple MacBook Pro 2016 models •  all 13" Apple MacBook Pro 2016 models. MPG gets credit if you buy through those links.

Following up on the other Photoshop and Lightroom tests, this set of tests offers a detailed look as to how the 2016 MacBook Pro fares with respect to its desktop peers and the 2013 MacBook Pro when there are no memory constraints.

2016 MacBook Pro: Photoshop Filters

The late 2015 iMac 5K and 2013 Mac Pro are leaps and bounds ahead of the laptops.

2016 MacBook Pro vs other Macs: Photoshop filters
Upgrade Your Mac Memory
At much lower cost than Apple, with more options.
Lloyd recommends 64GB for iMac or Mac Pro for photography/videography.

Finding a Deal, FAST

Consider the following buying challenges.

I’ve reworked my deals pages.

In an instant, you can find deals by brand or by category and filter by percent discount. Give it a try, and thanks for buying through the links on this site, so I get credit.

Click on the percent savings to instantly require a savings minimum. Choose by brand or by categories I’ve curated specifically for photographers.

NuGard KX Case for iPhones and iPads
Outstanding protection against drops and impact!
Excellent grip for wet hands, cycling, etc!

Want a Fast Lens for Micro Four Thirds? HandeVision IBELUX 40mm f/0.85 is 71% Off

This is about as fast as it gets, though f/0.85 on Micro Four Thirds is equivalent to f/1.7 on full frame, in depth of field terms.

At about $549 (a whopping $1350 off), it might be a fun buy for the M4/3 shooter. Limited supply at this price according to B&H.

Handevision IBELUX 40mm f/0.85 Lens for Micro Four Thirds Mount
Performance Package for Mac Pro or iMac 5K
For iMac 5K or For 2013 Mac Pro
Recommended by diglloyd as ideal for photographers and videographers

2016 MacBook Pro TESTED: Lightroom Import RAW Files

Mac wish list •  all 2016 MacBook pro models at B&H Photo • all 15" Apple MacBook Pro 2016 models •  all 13" Apple MacBook Pro 2016 models. Lloyd gets credit if you buy through site links.

See my in-depth coverage of the 2016 MacBook Pro at MacPerformanceGuide.com.

Disappointing on two counts: the 2016 MacBook pro and Adobe’s algorithms:

2016 MacBook Pro: Adobe Lightroom Import RAW Files with 1:1 Previews

Between the minimal or negative improvements with Photoshop and this inferior performance with Lightroom, the 2016 MacBook Pro surely deserves being sent back to its maker.

2016 MacBook Pro: Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Import 52 Canon 5DS R 50-megapixel raw files with 1:1 high quality previews

Hasselblad X1D-50C: Delayed Again

See my Hasselblad X1D-50C wish list at B&H Photo.

If you order the X1D, please use my link so I get credit. B&H is loaning me the X1D, and so readers ordering through my links are important.

See also Hasselblad X1D-50C: Reader Comments and Hasselblad X1D-50C: 50-Megapixel Mirrorless Medium Format.

Delayed 2+ months back in September, the Hasselblad X1D is now delayed again (verified through my contacts at B&H Photo as of today). I’m actually glad for this, since I have too many other items to deal with right now (Nikon 19mm, Nikon 70-200, Zeiss Milvus 18mm f/2.8).

Who the heck does Hasselblad they think they are, Leica? “Hassleblad” for those who have pre-ordered. But better to work the bugs out and do it right than ship prematurely as Leica does.

Fujifilm has wisely not promised anything more than a vague availability date for the Fujifilm GFX. But the way things are going, maybe Fujifilm will beat Hasselblad to market.

This whole “announce and ship someday” stuff is an ill-advised practice, and it shows poor planning and unrealistic leadership. Working in the software industry as an engineer for 25 years, I saw it all the time—so obvious and yet the people in charge are generally clueless, wishing for milk and honey to spout from rocks, so to speak.

Hasselblad X1D-50C shipping status 01 Dec 2016

Photoshop + Lightroom for a Year for $88

I see $10 a month for Photoshop and Lightroom as a bargain for any professional.

Today only, Photoshop and Lightroom CC 12 month subscription is only $88.95, which is $7.41 a month. Compared to my cell phone bill, it is less than the tax.

Deal ends at midnight tonight, EST.

...

It neatly solves another nuisance for me: one purchase, vs the monthly $9.99 charge, each of which I have to enter in my accounting program to balance the books. As I have two subscriptions, that’s 24 annoying entries per year. I called Adobe and they refused to allow billing on a year basis.

So now I can pay once, save $31 X 2 = $62 and make only two accounting entries per year.

Update: gah! There is a limit of one (1) purchase only (I tried!):

Please note: You have exceeded the limit for ADCCPP12MS-Creative Cloud Photography Plan (12 Month Subscription, Download). You currently cannot purchase additional quantity. The item has been removed from you cart

Here’s how it works:

  1. Purchase at B&H Photo. An email like the one below will be sent.
  2. Login to existing Adobe account (if any); cancel current membership.
  3. Logout of Adobe account
  4. Click the redeem link and enter code.

Voila—a year of the plan at reduced cost.

Electronic download info for Adobe Creative Cloud

Mark C writes:

This seemed like a good deal, so I went ahead and bought one myself. When I cancelled my existing plan, however, Adobe stated I would be charged $54.95 as a cancellation penalty. That’s 50% of the $119/year cost of the photography plan. I did go ahead and cancel and then added the newly purchased plan via the redemption code. That all worked, but I was still on the hook for the fee.

I had to call Adobe, and the guy had to talk with his supervisor. In the end, they credited me back the fee, but it was a hassle. They started out saying it was in my “contact” for the yearly membership, etc.

Just wanted to let you know there may be others that run into this scenario.

Regardless, thanks for the heads-up on the deal.

DIGLLOYD: Interesting... I was on a month to month $9.99 plan and no mention was made of any cancellation fee when I cancelled. Sounds like a criminal (used loosely) policy by Adobe.

NuGard KX Case for iPhones and iPads
Outstanding protection against drops and impact!
Excellent grip for wet hands, cycling, etc!

Camera Repair in Taiwan

Just passing this along as FYI for anyone in that neck of the woods.

Bryan S writes:

Thank you for the '2013 Camera Repair in Taiwan' post. I know it's been a few years but it is still helping. The shop fixed my Lumix at low cost and in just a few days.

DIGLLOYD: it’s nice to know such posts are useful. Prior post from 2013, with contact info for the shop.

Michael G writes in his 2013 post:

I'm in Taiwan this week for Computex. I brought along the Canon 7D that I just purchased. I got it second-hand and saved a bundle. But when I looked at some of my photos, I noticed a smudge in all of them! I used the sensor cleaning system with no luck... but when I locked up the mirror, I could see the smudge right on the sensor.

Is it dirt, dust or... did the guy sell me a camera with a broken sensor?

When I googled Taipei camera repair, nothing useful came up. I went to the camera area and found it by luck. I first went into a normal camera store. They blew in compressed air, without any luck. I then came across the "real" repair place by accident.

Luckily, I found the Quan Tai Camera Repair shop, at Number 60, BoAi Road, Taipei. It's easy to miss this shop... it's a hole in the wall on a street filled with large camera stores. (BoAi is the camera neighborhood in Taipei). When I walked in, I knew I was in the right place, because there were two techs repairing cameras, and one of them was deep inside a Hasselblad. I knew a Hasselblad owner wouldn't trust just anyone to repair his camera.

Sure enough, 30 minutes and $20 later, my sensor was de-smudged and dust-free. So there you go... if you're ever in Taiwan with a broken camera, Quan Tai is the place to go.

DIGLLOYD: well, it’s not exactly a repair in the mechanical sense, but comes pretty close.

Thunderbolt 3 Dock
Must-have expansion for 2016 MacBook Pro
Thunderbolt 3 • USB 3 • Gigabit Ethernet • 4K Support • Firewire 800 • Sound Ports

My Workhorse Display Just Dropped to $1649 (NEC PA302W)

The NEC PA302W just dropped $500 (although it says $100, that's because it dropped to a lower price then $100 instant rebate on top) and is now available at an outstanding price of $1649 with the SpectraView II color calibration software and hardware.

The PA302W GB-R LED backlighting affords an incredible gamut and outstanding grayscale neutrality—better than the white backlights in most displays which may measure neutral but have a visible magenta tint to the eye.

The NEC PA302W is my workhorse display on which I do all my photography work. It is a 30-inch 2560 X 1600 wide-gamut display with true hardware calibration (not faux calibration). The PA302W calibrates to within 1 delta-A accuracy and has a gamut greatly exceeding AdobeRGB in some areas (like reds).

I also use the NEC PA322UHD 4K display (3840 X 2160), but due to pixel density, I still do all my photo evaluation on the PA302W, because its 2560 X 1600 resolution with much lower pixel density makes evaluating images for sharpness much easier. And its gamut is significantly wider than the PA322UHD. As a 30-inch display the 2560 width is easy on the eyes (pixel density) and the 1600 height is substantially more working room than the typical 1440 height of most display (1440 feels squeezed and cramped to me compared to 1600).

The about $1109 NEC PA272W (2560 x 1440 pixels, 27") is of similar quality and color gamut, also with hardware and software calibration. But I greatly prefer the greater working space of 2560 X 1600 on the PA302W (vs 2560 X 1440 on the PA272W), plus the pixel density of the PA302W is lower, which makes for easier image evaluation for sharpness.

See my reviews of NEC wide gamut displays.

NEC PA302W wide gamut display

Nikon 19mm f/4E ED PC-E: First Impressions

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

See reviews of tilt/shift lenses in DAP and my October overview of Nikon 19mm f/4E ED PC-E.

The price of $3396 is not for the faint-hearted, but it speaks to the unusually strong efforts that Nikon has made with the 19mm f/4 PC-Nikkor.

My first (and so far very limited) impression is that this is by far the best PC-E lens Nikon has ever delivered, as one should expect from the nearly double price.

For example, below is an actual pixels crop from the short end of the frame at full 12mm shift. The sharpness and the freedom from color fringing at this extreme are both unprecedented for a Nikon PC-E lens. It seems (to be proven out) that this performance is superior to any tilt/shift lens from Canon or Nikon or any other vendor. If that proposition pans out, then the Nikon 19mm f/4 PC-E may be one of those lenses that one buys a camera for as an accessory.

My review of the the Nikon 19mm f/4E ED PC-E is coming to DAP.

Update 30 Nov: pouring rain today, so I’m not going to be able to shoot outdoors at all.

Note: on Retina/HiDPI screens this crop may look blurred because it is pixel doubled. Click to view at actual pixels.

Nikon PC Nikkor 19mm f/4E ED PC-E: actual pixels crop from the short end of the frame at full 12mm shift
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Nikon PC Nikkor 19mm f/4E ED PC-E

Budget Macs

For the biggest savings, OWC sells used Macs as well as factory sealed Apple refurbished Macs with full 1 year warranty. For example:

B&H Photo has Mac deals and AppleCare deals. Several budget choices below.

Expiring today Nov 30: 30 Apple Deals.

Prices as of the date this ad was first posted:

Performance Package for Mac Pro or iMac 5K
For iMac 5K or For 2013 Mac Pro
Recommended by diglloyd as ideal for photographers and videographers

Shootout: Sigma 85mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art vs Zeiss Milvus 85/1.4 (Siemens Chart, Nikon D810)

Get Sigma DG HSM Art and Zeiss Milvus at B&H Photo.

The Lundy Beaver Ponds and Snowy Spur of Mt Conness series both showed disappointing performance with the Sigma 85mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art.

One can make the “bad sample” argument. Accordingly, I obtained another copy of the Sigma 85mm f/1.4 DG HSM (brand new also), and pitted both against the Zeiss Milvus 85mm f/1.4 on a Zeiss Siemens chart at close range, to see if the results would echo the field shootout findings.

...

This shootout compares two samples of the Sigma 85mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art to the Zeiss Milvus 85mm f/1.4 on a Siemens star chart.

  • Sample #1 of the Sigma 85/1.4 is the lens used for the November 2016 three-way shootouts and examples; it was brand-new out of the box for that work.
  • Sample #2 of the Sigma 85/1.4 was brand new out of the box and never shot prior to this test.
  • The Zeiss Milvus 85mm f/1.4 was about a year old, and has seen field use over that time.

Shootout: Sigma 85/1.4A (Two Samples) vs Zeiss Milvus 85/1.4 (Seimens Chart, Nikon D810)

One center crop from f/1.4 through f/4 for all three lenses makes a compelling confirmation.

   
Zeiss Milvus 85/1.4, Sigma 85mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art
NuGard KX Case for iPhones and iPads
Outstanding protection against drops and impact!
Excellent grip for wet hands, cycling, etc!

LED light deals

See my reviews of LED lights.

For $199 with free shipping this is a killer deal at 60% OFF. I just ordered one. Flash deal ends at 13:00 PST, act soon! DEAL OVER

Update: the 60 watt version (twice as wide) is on for a 2 hour flash sale until 4 PM PST. DEAL OVER

Another deal: $505 off Dracast LED1000 Silver Series Foldable Bi-Color LED Light .

The Cineo Matchbox (see my review) with remote phosphor was one of my favorites.

View all LED lights with CRI of 95 or better sorted from high to low price or from lowest price to highest price.

Dracast LED1000 Silver Series Foldable Bi-Color LED Light

My Articles on the Zeiss Lenspire Site

I’ve published a number of articles over the past year on the Zeiss Lenspire site.

Published today is Macro and Close-up Shooting, Especially Outdoors.

Other articles at lenspire.zeiss.com:

These articles are also available here on this site.

Sigma 12-24mm f/4 DG HSM Art Aperture Series: Sunlight on the Beaver Pond (Nikon D810)

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

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

This aperture series from f/4 through f/11 shows how well the Sigma 12-24mm f/4 DG HSM Art handles flare into a direct intense light source along with bright clouds and deeply shadowed areas.

 
Sigma 12-24mm f/4 DG HSM Art

The ability to maintain contrast (minimize flare) is critical in such situations so that shadow areas can be opened up with detail, but not haze. It is particularly important with a camera like the Nikon D810 at ISO 64, because the camera has a tremendous dynamic range—the lens has to not limit that dynamic range (the Canon 5DS R would have been in trouble on this image)

Also treated here are field curvature and focus shift. The example is highly instructive and should prove very useful for anyone shooting the Sigma 12-24/4A.

In my review of the Sigma 12-24mm f/4 DG HSM Art in DAP:

Sigma 12-24mm f/4 DG HSM Art Aperture Series: Sunlight on the Beaver Pond

Includes images up to 28 megapixels along with many large crops, all from f/4 through f/11.

Especially at 36MP on up, the photographer must place focus wisely for the subject matter, not just the “1/3 in” rule and not even just the near/far relationships, but also anticipating and compensating for a lens with focus shift and field curvature, which requires special care based on the shooting aperture.

Sunlight on the Lundy Canyon Beaver Pond
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Really Right Stuff: Free Shipping for a Few Days + a Price Increase

When I go shooting, Really Right Stuff tripods are what I count on. While I manage to shake loose a part or two every six months or so (the rubber screw-in feet for example), the tripod are rock solid and the service is outstanding.

Update: B&H Photo now carries some Really Right Stuff products.

My favorite tripod for all around use is the TVC-24L, that is, if I have to carry a tripod for miles, it is just right. I actually prefer shooting with the TVC-34L even more, but I don’t like the 'carry' aspect. The "L" versions are very important to working in steep terrain, since the extra leg length may be mandatory.

Really Right Stuff TVC-34L
Canon Best of Breed Lenses
$2799 SAVE $200 = 6.0%
Canon 24mm f/4 EF 11-L USM
$1649 SAVE $150 = 8.0%
Canon 35mm f/1.4 EF L II USM

Cyber Monday Deals

Thank you for using my links. Just click through any link on my site and I get credit for everything that goes into your cart once on that site in that session.

Availability and time frame for special pricing may be limited in some cases—don’t delay.

Callouts


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