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Reader Comment: Phase One IQ4

Louise SMD writes:

I am surprised that you are struck by the quality of the image produced from the Phase One camera system. At that price I would be surprised and shocked if this one trick pony didn’t deliver the best image quality available, as that’s what is designed to do at a price that only top end commercial pros could afford or people with too much money to care.

At the end of the day surely it is the emotional and intellectual content of the image that makes it a great image not an over obsessing with image quality that will be indiscernible at even large scale unless pointed out.

It is disappointing that you are over obsessing with this line of enquiry that many of the great photographers and image makers wouldn’t get worked up about.

DIGLLOYD: I did not and do not take it as a given that the per pixel quality of the same generation Sony sensor technology with identical size pixels is necessarily any better on the Phase One IQ4, but indeed it is. And I do not agree that it is only about degree of enlargement!

The “too much money to care” comment speaks to a psychological disposition that does not fit into my world view, that view being an admiration for apex products produced by keen minds are wonderful. So while I cannot begin to afford an IQ4, I am glad that such things are created and available in this world.

What should I be assessing with the IQ4, if not image quality? The IQ4 user interface is far more difficult than a Fujifilm GFX100 or Sony A7R IV... not even a contest in favor of those two cameras in terms of ease of use. Actually, I can’t stand the user interface—it has cost me shots, it takes far too much effort for simple things... uggh.. But the image quality is so enjoyable that it makes it worth the effort.

It is my business to maintain perspective on what is possible. I am filling in my own knowledge base as well as speaking to some high-end readers to whom it does matter (professionals).

As for “emotional and intellectual content of the image”, true enough in its proper context—but relating to whom by what standard? Judged by whom? An image has no validity for documentary or historical or scientific or other purposes? Or... just enjoying the sheer quality approaching the original closer than any other camera? Many images I make please me especially for their realism, which engages both emotional and intellectual aspects for me—and the IQ4 does that better than any camera I have ever used. So I’d say the view expressed above is self-contradictory.

For myself, I have less than zero interest in hanging a Cartier Bresson or Ansel Adams image on my wall because the experiences I relate to the most are... mine and my family’s (ditto for all of you and your interests—it’s personal). Who is to tell me or you what we should value in our images? I respond to some aspects of an image that others do not—and that makes my enjoyment no more worthy or less worthy than anyone’s. As a friend once said to me (paraphrasing): “I know my picture is not as good as Ansel’s, but it’s my picture”.

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Apple Mac Pro and Apple Pro Display XDR Now Available for Pre-Order at B&H Photo

See Why Consult with Lloyd for your own Workflow Needs.

The Apple 2019 Mac Pro is a serious workhorse machine costing up to US$50000. I am sure Apple will sell plenty of that model to Hollywood studios and similar.

MONEY SAVING TIP: order your Mac Pro with 32GB memory, then upgrade with OWC memory for Mac Pro. In the past, you could get TWICE the memory for about the same proce.

But for most of us, here are some mimimal recommendations. for buying (thank you for buying throough my links to B&H Photo).

  • minimum 12 core CPU (if all you need is 8 cores ,consider the 2019 iMac 5K unless there are other features in a Mac Pro that make only 8 CPU cores worthwhile).
  • minimum 96GB memory but order with 32B, then add OWC memory for 2019 Mac Pro.
  • minimum 2TB SSD

View all Mac Pro skus at B&H Photo

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Phase One IQ4 + Schneider Kreuznach LS 80mm f/2.8 Example: Last Change Wash (depth of field is nil on a 53.4 X 40 mm sensor!)

I haven’t published a lot just yet from the Phase One IQ4 because when nightfall hits, there are only so many hours, and 1 AM has worn me down for a week now. Focus stacking takes 1-2 hours per image.

This 14-frame focus stack took over 6 minutes, with exposure time of 20 seconds per frame. The Phase One IQ4 made it longer than necessary by doing dark frames at random intervals for some of the images of the sequence, good for a tiny improvement in image quality, but bad when the light is failing.

In diglloyd Medium Format:

Schneider Kreuznach LS 80mm f/2.8 Examples: Death Valley / Eureka Dunes Area

Includes images up to full 151MP camera resolution.

Lest there be any doubt as to the mandatory use of focus stacking for a huge 53.4 X 40.0mm sensor at f9 (f/11 would add only marginally more DoF), compare the single frame to the focus stacked image on the page above. It is impossible to make an image like this without focus stacking, the exception being the exceptionally rare scene amenable to a tilt lens, of which there is only one in the Phase One lineup which means it is impractical in general and still inadequate in most all cases.

f11 @ 20.0 sec electronic shutter focus stack 14 frames, ISO 50; 2019-12-09 17:00:23
Phase One IQ4 + Schneider Kreuznach LS 80mm f/2.8 + polarizer Zeiss
ENV: canyon SE of Eureka Dunes, altitude 4100 ft / 1250 m, 55°F / 12°C
RAW: LACA corrected, push 1.6 stops, USM {8,50,0}, SmartSharpen{60,0.8,0}, diffraction mitigating sharpening

[low-res image for bot]

Eureka Dunes in December

Twas a promising approach to Eureka Dunes today, just gorgeous.

But... after scarfing lunch, half way up to the summit the clouds had other ideas.

Still, I made some “blue” images with the Phase One IQ4, I just cannot stay up past midnight yet another night processing raw files... Capture One 20 is all well and good, but it is so slow to work with compared to Adobe Camera Raw, and it has bugs that are slowing me down too. But see the Moonrise shot further below.

If you like such stuff, conditions now and impending look fanastic. Except for the heavily tracked dunes—with little wind and high water content, tracks have been accumulating.

A major deluge hit this area a few days ago, and I’m guessing that might mean a super-bloom come late February or so. So much water that there is road damage for miles (cuts through the road as seen below), and standing water in places. And the sand of the dunes is heavy with moisture.

I’m stunned by how bad the image quality of the iPhone 11 Pro Max is—most of the panos I took have severely mutilated pixels, with heavy noise with heavy-handed compression, posterization and pixellation. Raw files are better, but can also suffer from extreme noise if the dynamic range is high. Of the images I’ve taken with it, 90% are total crap in image quality terms.

f2 @ 1/1900 sec panorama, ISO 20; 2019-12-08 13:27:00
iPhone 11 Pro Max + iPhone 11 Pro Max 6.0 mm f/2
ENV: Eureka Dunes, altitude 2881 ft / 878 m, 55°F / 12°C

[low-res image for bot]
f2 @ 1/1150 sec panorama, ISO 20; 2019-12-08 15:11:00
iPhone 11 Pro Max + iPhone 11 Pro Max 6.0 mm f/2
ENV: Eureka Dunes, altitude 3499 ft / 1066 m, 45°F / 7°C

[low-res image for bot]
f6.3 @ 1/100 sec electronic shutter, ISO 50; 2019-12-08 16:03:42
Phase One IQ4 + Schneider Kreuznach LS 240mm f/4.5 IF + polarizer Zeiss
ENV: Eureka Dunes, altitude 3500 ft / 1067 m, 50°F / 10°C
RAW: LACA corrected, vignetting corrected

[low-res image for bot]

MacPerformanceGuide.com

Apple Mac Pro and Apple Pro Display XDR to be Available for Ordering December 10 — Consult with Lloyd for your own Workflow Needs

The 2019 Apple Mac Pro is due out for ordering on December 10th, as is the Apple Pro Display XDR. I (Lloyd) will be testing the Mac Pro in depth as soon as I can ahold of one.

Realistically a non-token configuration Mac Pro is going to run $7000 at a bare minimum (no one in their right mind should buy it with les than 64GB!).

But what will really help your specific workflow in terms of CPU cores, GPU, memory, SSD?

Whether you use Capture One, Lightroom, Photoshop, video software, etc, there are options that move the ball forward, and options that just burn money.

That’s where I come in... I have decades (nearly 30 years) of experience as a professional software engineer along with testing performance of Macs at MPG for a decade. Even without testing I am certain that I can save you needless expense and more important: help you avoid losing performance by making non-optimal choices, some of which are unfixable without buying a new machine. And here in California, my consulting fee is about 1/3 of the tax on basic Mac Pro!

Consult with Lloyd on the best Mac Pro for your needs.

While I am in a remote area (nar Eureka Dunes), I have a cell signal and flexible hours, so I can talk to you prior to the ordering frenzy on December 10.

Basic recommendations, minimum: 2TB SSD, 48GB memory, 12 core CPU.

MONEY SAVING TIP: order your Mac Pro with 32GB memory, then upgrade with OWC memory for Mac Pro. In the past, you could get TWICE the memory for about the same proce.

 


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Phase One IQ4 + Schneider Kreuznach LS 35mm f/3.5 Examples: Northern Death Valley Area

I am struck by how the Phase One IQ4 consistently delivers image better than any camera I have used before.

These examples in the Death Valley area. These images use focus stacking, assembled using Zerene Stacker.

In diglloyd Medium Format:

Schneider Kreuznach LS 35mm f/3.5 Examples: Northern Death Valley Area

Includes images up to full 151MP camera resolution (14204 X 10652).

Separately, I show why the 35mm f/3.5 should be strongly preferred over the Schneider Kreuznach LS 40-80mm f/4.5-5.6 zoom:

Schneider Kreuznach LS 40-80mm f/4.5-5.6: Performance at 40mm for Landscape Imagery (Death Valley Area, Phase One IQ4)

Fog and Snow, High Desert Peaks
f11 @ 210.0 sec electronic shutter focus stack 3 frames, ISO 64; 2019-12-07 17:17:21
Phase One IQ4 + Schneider Kreuznach LS 35mm f/3.5
ENV: NE of Eureka Dunes, altitude 5600 ft / 1707 m, 42°F / 5°C
RAW: LACA corrected, push 2.3 stops, -100 Highlights, +5 Contrast, USM {8,50,0}, diffraction mitigating sharpening

[low-res image for bot]
High Desert Dusk
f9 @ 15.0 sec electronic shutter focus stack 5 frames, ISO 64; 2019-12-07 17:02:29
Phase One IQ4 + Schneider Kreuznach LS 35mm f/3.5
ENV: NE of Eureka Dunes, altitude 5600 ft / 1707 m, 42°F / 5°C
RAW: LACA corrected, push 1.4 stops, +8 Shadows, -50 Highlights, USM {10,50,0}, diffraction mitigating sharpening, SmartSharpen{70,0.8,0}

[low-res image for bot]
View Towards Eureka Dunes
f9 @ 6.0 sec electronic shutter focus stack 5 frames, ISO 64; 2019-12-07 16:53:16
Phase One IQ4 + Schneider Kreuznach LS 35mm f/3.5
ENV: NE of Eureka Dunes, altitude 5600 ft / 1707 m, 42°F / 5°C
RAW: LACA corrected, push 0.66 stops, +5 Contrast, USM {10,50,0}, SmartSharpen{60,0.8,0}, diffraction mitigating sharpening

[low-res image for bot]
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Phase One IQ4 + Schneider Kreuznach LS 150mm f/2.8 Aperture Series: MemChu

I was curious whether the Phase One IQ4 frame averaging feature could be used outdoors in order to achieve exceptional dynamic range.

In particular, I wanted to capture an intense glare off an icy lake while also retaining outstanding detail in the deeply-shadowed mountainside, a challenge that in my experience over decades no camera has ever met before to my satisfaction.

Well, this example shows why pros who want the best shoot Phase One.

In diglloyd Medium Format:

Phase One IQ4 Image Quality: Extreme Dynamic Range in the Field (Lundy Lake)

Includes images up to full 150MP camera resolution in both color and black and white.

NOTE: my output script developed a bug (a change I made), and this image is too dark because a key adjustment layer was omitted. I need to fix that bug and redo the image.

f11 @ 1/1000 sec electronic shutter frame averaging 5.655 seconds, ISO 50; 2019-12-06 13:37:51
Phase One IQ4 + Schneider Kreuznach LS 35mm f/3.5
ENV: Lundy Lake, altitude 7600 ft / 2316 m, 35°F / 1°C
RAW: LACA corrected, USM {10,50,0}, SmartSharpen{40,0.7,0}

[low-res image for bot]

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B&H Photo Has the Top-End 16-inch 2019 MacBook Pro in Stock — this is the one you want as the single travel/desktop machine

For how to use a laptop as a desktop computer, see:

2019 Apple MacBook Pro with 16" Display: the Single Computer Solution At Last

Thoughts on Choosing Between the Apple 2019 Mac Pro vs 2019 MacBook Pro 16-Inch and Expected 2020 iMac Pro

2019 Apple MacBook Pro 16"

This machine below is the cat’s meow for anyone who wants high performance (not the highest possible, very high) and a single computer for desktop usage and travel—none of the extra expense and hassle of syncing two systems.

I strongly recommend at least a 4TB SSD but the 8TB SSD (more than twice as much usable space) is the smart move if used heavily and for some years to come. You cannot buy any external SSD that is as fast or convenient as the internal one, and an additional $1100 for an other 4TB of ultra-fast SSD storage is a steal—.

As much as the OWC Thunderblade is the best-ever external SSD (that I use every day and is critical to me), a big internal SSD is even faster and more convenient—unless one needs to high performance storage moved between machines, so it is apropos for that purpose.

Below, the 8TB SSD model just went back in-stock as I write this.


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Sony Invests in AI for Gaming, Imaging, Gastronomy

Reader John W writes:

Sony just made it plain that they’re not just investing in sensor dominance. See this press release on the founding of “Sony AI”:

https://www.sony.net/SonyInfo/News/Press/201911/19-118E/

It’s not only hard / expensive to build world-class imaging sensors. Cutting-edge software capabilities can also be very hard to bootstrap. Sony’s moat appears to be growing.

DIGLLOYD: Panasonic just quit the sensor business, which Sony dominates. There are not mamy players.

A company that does not invest in AI is a goner, whatever the industry. Though I’m still waiting for RI (rudimentary intelligence) in so many products.

Sony Announces the Establishment of Sony AI with the mission to unleash human creativity

... Sony AI will combine world class fundamental research and development with Sony's unique technical assets, especially in Imaging & Sensing Solutions, Robotics and Entertainment (Games, Music and Movies), driving transformation across all existing business domains and contributing to the creation of new business domains.

In addition, one of Sony AI's long-term goals is to contribute to the resolution of shared global issues extending beyond Sony's business domains. Sony AI will drive the research and development of AI in both physical and virtual space through multiple world-class flagship projects as well as other explorative research projects, including AI ethics.

Initially, Sony AI will launch three flagship projects in the areas of gaming, imaging & sensing, and gastronomy. The adoption of new AI technologies developed through these flagship projects will be critical to further enhancing the value of Sony's gaming and sensor businesses in coming years. This research will be pursued in close collaboration with the relevant Sony Group business units.

...


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

Attention all Camera Makers: 23.5 Things To Please Your Customers

Why should it even be a consideration when choosing a camera as to whether it has Eye AF or frame averaging support or focus stacking support or AF-ON separate from the shutter or... <insert_your_own_favorite>. Most such features should be taken for granted now, just like autofocus and exposure.

Further below, I list the things that could make cameras better for everyone, at no downside in other aspects of operation.

I hope that Nikon, Canon, Leica, Panasonic, Sony, Phase One, Fujifilm all read this page and formulate a plan to improve/add.

In many if not most of these cases, there is no credible rationale for not getting it done. The key shortcomings can be lumped into several categories:

  • Features that improves sharpness.
  • Features that improve image quality, including dynamic range.
  • Design that simplifies the user experience e.g., eliminating all JPEG-centric stuff for those of us that shoot raw. Real customization, not just a My Menu.
  • Features that raise the hit rate (e.g., Eye AF that really does focus on the iris of the eye)
  • Addressing anything that reduces the chance of missing the shot or getting a sub-optimal picture in any technical way, e.g., auto-ETTR, deadly accurate autofocus.
  • Features that automate challenges that need not be challenges (exposure, focus stacking, etc).
  • Features that make it easy for the photographer determine that optimal image quality has been captured (exposure, dynamic range, sharpness, depth of field, etc), turning that into a guarantee in some cases (no verification needed).
  • Computational photography of various kinds, which will surely kill off any camera maker that does not embrace it (Sony has publicly stated that it Sony is investing in AI for photography).

I have a deep well of ideas in my noggin, as many other photographers do. Why do camera makers apparently design without serious input? Not-invented-here syndrome? No one at any of the camera companies has ever contacted me for input. Ditto for other photographers I know—this is not about me but about listening to skilled photographers out there, and there are many. Why camera companies ignore such a rich resource is puzzling, because asking and listening are one inexpensive way to prioritize R&D—all it would take is tasking one person at the company to make it their mission.

Addressing these issues would make cameras more competitive and useful—much more in some cases yet without adding any complexity for those that don’t use the features (at least if designed right). Still, I (sadly) expect this list to be ignored by most or all camera makers.

Going forward, any camera make that makes no effort to address these issues in new cameras and firmware is going to get called out by me here on a regular basis with some kind of Clown Award, at least if the easy stuff is left unaddressed. There is no defensible reason for not getting much of this stuff right.

After all these years, anyone who understands programming and computers* or just usability alone can only throw up hands in frustration at the scattershot approach camera makers take to their feature set. It makes no sense either technically or for marketing, given how trivial some of these things are to add or fix.

* I majored in mathematics and computational science at Stanford and have a long and varied professional software engineering history in the professional world.

Camera Functionality Deficits

You don’t have to be an engineer to scratch your head at the lack of some of this stuff in many or most cameras. Most of it is not hard.

All brands refer to mirrorless offerings, as DSLRs are dinosaurs and preclude some features.

Ratings subject to change (going from memory for first pass). Rating of 0 means not supported, low numbers means problems/bugs/dumb stuff, 10 means perfect, anything less means room for improvement. Please contact me if I have made an error for any brand.

I’ll see if I can come up with a better layout for poor table presentation. Partial list to be continued...

Feature / Behavior Difficulty Sony Nikon Fujifilm Canon Leica
Self timer:
– option to remain enabled for power on/off and between shots
- at least supports 1/2/3/5/10/15/20/30/60 seconds
- supports user selectable time
- supports multiple frames at specified interval
trivial 5
- too few choices
- no flexibility
5
- too few choices
- no flexibility
5
- too few choices
- no flexibility
5
- too few choices
- no flexibility
1
- 2/12 seconds only
             
Long exposure:
- must not require remote release
- must support one press to start, stop
- supports dialing in any time in minutes/seconds
- must support arbitrary timed exposure min:sec
- counts time remaining for exposure, dark frame too
trivial 0
- cannot shoot longer than 30 seconds
- does not display time remaining
- cannot enter duration
6
- does not display time remaining
- cannot enter long duration
TBD TBD 3
- - does not display time remaining
- cannot enter long duration
             
Lossless compressed raw format
- well established technology
trivial 0 10 10 10 0
             
Save/restore settings
- save/restore settings to camera card
- simple text file for easy editing
- must also save My Menu
trivial 5 5 TBD 5 0
             
AF-ON support:
- supports release without refocusing
- support AF-ON independent of shutter
trivial 10 10 10 10 LeicaQ2: 0
Leica SL: TBD
             
True raw histogram
- histogram of actual raw data for each color channel (no RGB processing)
easy 0 0 0 0 0
             
Frame averaging

- option to keep all
- option to store 2/4/8/N-frame averages
- option to
- full electronic shutter
- FAST
easy          
             
pixel shift
- FAST so checkerboarding declines as an issue
moderate 2
- generally unusable in the field
0 0 0 0
             
Aperture and focus, Live View including magnified:
- stop down option
- wide open option
- choosable aperture option
- toggle aperture while focusing
- avoids unpredictable aperture choice
- must support AF across frame
- allow focus anywhere in frame
- must have deadly-accurate mode
easy 5 7 5 TBD
- no control
3
- no control
             
Focus stacking support:
- AF single-focus to INF
- AF focus near point to far point
- control over step size
- accounts field curvature for INF
_ must support focusing to frame edge
- must operate FAST
- analyze image and don’t do stupid stuff like 10 badly blurred frames past INF
- option to preconfigure near-to-far setups eg 1m to INF, 3.5m to INF, etc
- auto detect near/far blur boundaries and narrow step size locally
moderate (basic)

challenging (advanced)
0 6
- does not understand INF
- does not offer far point, keeps taking images way past INF
- relatively slow
4
- serious bugs with tele lenses
- difficulty focusing in outer zones
0 0
             
Auto detect camera movement in capture
- audible warning
- blur rating
- option to take up to N images keeping least motion M of N
moderate 0 0 0 0 0
             
Auto detect subject motion in capture
- audible warning
- blur rating with mask
- option to take up to N images keeping least motion M of N
moderate 0 0 0 0 0
             
Auto-ETTR exposure mode
- best possible ETTR exposure
- adds EXIF flag for pull adjustment relative to 18% gray
- specular highlight support; allows 0.DD% blowout
- bias control for shadows or highlights when both cannot work
- electronic shutter
- retakes automagically if calculation wrong
- gets it right to 1/10 stop
- just works!
moderate 0 0 0 0 0
             
16-bit dynamic range
- high speed electronic shutter melds exposure brackets
- produce single raw file
0 0 0 0 0 0
             
AF accounts for focus shift:
- option to focus wide open but compensate
- option to focus stopped down
- option to focus at fixed aperture
moderate 5
cannot focus wide open and compensate for shooting aperture, no behavioral control
5
cannot focus wide open and compensate for shooting aperture, no behavioral control
5
cannot focus wide open and compensate for shooting aperture, no behavioral control
TBD
no behavioral control
TBD
no behavioral control
             
Auto select best sharpness of N exposures
- option to keep all
- mark/flag best exposures with ranking
- option to keep best M of N
- mode that show mask of what has high micro contrast in taken image
challenging due to CPU speed 0 0 0 0 0
           
Electronic panorama mode
- electronic shutter for quiet/fast
- works like iPhone
challenging due to CPU speed 1
no ES
0 0 0 0
             
multi-shot high-res mode a la Panasonic
- intelligent motion detection, mitigation
challenging 0 0 0 0 0
             

Robin D writes:

Your editorial... just rammed it home to me how Sony, now with an utterly dominant position in the market, is now leading the industry backwards. You may not know of it but believe it or not Sony had a rough (and I mean it was a toy, a joke) focus bracket app in "PlayMemories" . The least said the better on that score, but it proved to me that Sony is brain dead when it comes to software.

They have great engineers I am sure, but they could do with some photographers and have the two groups talk to each on occasion, because as your list makes clear they are the worst of all your listed camera makers at including features that make the Photographers job easier, more professional, and more fun. Good grief it took them until a year ago to add an intervelometer on the A&something I had in my D300 in 2010 I love the output from the A7R3 but I can't and don't love the camera.

DIGLLOYD: let’s not forget ergonomics and haptics—while the Sony A7R IV is another improvement, it just doesn’t rise to the feel of the Nikon Z7.

I’m not sure Sony is leading things the wrong way so much as omitting things and what they do implement not done well (e.g. pixel shift). I wonder what Sony’s investment in AI will yield but hopefully not PlayBadMemories.

Mark A writes:

This is a great and well thought-out list and I hope this sparks mainstream manufacturers to improve engagement. I can't imagine how being a hardware or software engineer at these places is deeply pleasing if some of the most obvious things are either not occurring to them (pathetic) or being suppressed by management (sad).

In any case, quick comment is this: Hasselblad tried to do this with Ming Thein and I had expected more, as I'm sure he did, too. It may be worth at least recognizing that attempts have been made and maybe Ming Thein or other people can help figure out why such seem like "tissue rejections." I suppose https://www.red.com/ could be an example of a company that does it right? Corporate America (and Japan?) is pretty much the same with suppressed entrepreneurial spirit, no real meritocracy, HR-driven organizations and cultures, management with economically perverse incentives, etc.

One other thing just occurred to me as I'm writing this. If a camera's hardware is sufficient, perhaps community-driven software is an answer ala https://magiclantern.fm/ Great leadership is required to make that work really well but perhaps medium well would suffice to get people what they need?

DIGLLOYD: agreed, it’s quite possible that engineers are not allowed to follow sensible priorities. OTOH, it’s also possible that many otherwise talented engineers have nil talent or interest in rethinking approaches to long established assumptions. I observed that firsthand for 25 years in the professional world.

As for Ming Thein and Hasselblad... brilliant minds are a poor fit for just about any corporate culture unless it comes from the top (think Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos). Most of the time, corporations create a stultifying quagmire for the those capable of original thinking.

Things like MagicLantern are not a solution IMO, any more than Linux is a substitute for macOS. And in a world of hackers, cameras are already getting hacked.

Phase One Releases Capture One 20 (formerly Capture One Pro)

The “20” is for the year 2020 (prior C1Pro is v12), Phase One apparently moving to an Adobe style system, ironic but makes sense too.

Naming convention is now simply “Capture One 20”, not “Capture One Pro 20”.

One readers suggests that C1 Pro 20 solves some bugs I’ve been seeing, so I’ve downloaded it and will be using v20 going forward.

See what’s new in Capture On 20.

Thomas Fitzgerald video has a good change summary with a video.

Some surprises I ran into:

  • Shortcuts for Fit to Window and Actual pixels are no longer cmd-0 and cmd-option-0—kind of a crazy discrepancy if you use Photoshop heavily as I do. Fortunately keyboard shortcuts can be fixed/reassigned.
  • I wasted 10 minutes getting nowwhere until I realized that C1 disables everything if the files are on a camera card—and doesn’t indicate what's wrong. It’s also very annoying if I want to do a quick check—files must be copied over first.
  • My floating palette was wiped out and my palette setup was mangled. Not exactly a seamless transition.
  • Export performance is exceptionally inefficient (as algorithmically sorry as it gets)—C1 serially processes files, so I see about one CPU core being used. This is a major performance loss on my 8 core iMac 5K.
  • GPU usage is negligible for most operations. But that is also true of Photoshop.
Capture One 20
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At much lower cost than Apple, with more options.
Lloyd recommends 64GB for iMac or Mac Pro for photography/videography.

OWC Cyber Week Deals, and Lloyd’s Most-Used Computer Products

This is the time of year when it counts to the two vendors that make possible much of what I do here at diglloyd.com and MacPerformanceGuide.com.

View all OWC Cyber Week deals...

Thank you for buying through my B&H photo links anywhere on either site. It matters to me and to them—purchases made show that it’s worthwhile for their support.

OWC Cyber Week

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

NEC Announces NEC PA311D 31-Inch Color Critical Wide Gamut Display

NEC professional displays are excellent. The NEC PA302W has long been and still is my workhorse display.

I hope to test the NEC PA311D sometime soon.

Skip the faux calibration with most display— NEC delivers real calibration.

Stable, accurate color at any time. The 31” MultiSync PA311D-BK is the new benchmark desktop display for color accurate applications including photography, advertising and video production. Utilizing a high performance IPS LCD panel and backed by a 4 year warranty with Advanced Exchange, the MultiSync PA311D-BK will reliably deliver high quality, accurate images simply and beautifully. NEC's exclusive SpectraView Engine™ ensures that the colors that you see are always correct and stable, even between calibrations.

NEC PA311D Professional wide gamut color critical display
  • 100% coverage of AdobeRGB color space
  • Superior screen performance (1400:1 contrast ratio, 4096x2160 true 4K native resolution, 350cd/m2 brightness)
  • HDR support
  • 14-bit 3D internal programmable lookup tables (LUTs) for calibration Picture in Picture and Picture by Picture modes increase productivity by displaying two sources simultaneously
  • MultiProfiler™ software provides complete control over the five picture modes, including the loading of any ICC profile directly into the monitor for optimal color space matching.
  • DisplaySync Pro™ controls three computers with only one keyboard and mouse
  • Wide connectivity includes both regular and Mini DisplayPort with 10-bit support, 10-bit HDMI, and USB Type-C with 65W of power delivery
  • Human Sensor saves power when not in use DisplayPort cable compatibility notice
  • NaViSet Administrator 2: Free software solution that greatly eases administration and management of larger display device installations
  • Available with SpectraViewII Color Calibration Kit (PA311d-BK-SV)

More info on the NEC PA311D.

The NEC PA3111D cam be ordered at B&H Photo. I strongly recommend order NEC’s BK-SV variant because it includes the Spectra View II calibration software, and the colorimeter.

NEC PA311D Professional wide gamut color critical display
Upgrade Your Mac Memory
At much lower cost than Apple, with more options.
Lloyd recommends 64GB for iMac or Mac Pro for photography/videography.

Leica Q2 First Look Examples

I shot these examples as an initial look-see at how the 47MP Leica Q2 performs, both in overall visual impact as well as technically.

In diglloyd Leica:

Leica Q2 Examples: Initial Evaluation, Backyard Color

Includes images up to full 47MP camera resolution, with full-res images saved at near lossless quality.

Ahh, to have had this kind of image quality in an eminently portable camera in my younger days! And yet, while the image are gorgeous, the sharpness seems to be strangely lacking over much of the frame.

f4 @ 1/60 sec, ISO 100; 2019-12-02 15:26:32
LEICA Q2 + Leica 28mm f/1.7 Summilux-Q2-ASPH RAW: LACA corrected, distortion corrected

[low-res image for bot]

Medium Format Now Costs What High-End 35mm Does, at Least Today on Cyber Monday

The Panasonic S1R at full price is only a few hundred dollars different from the FujifilmGFX-50R medium format camera.

Medium format Fujifilm GFX-50R $3999.$4499.99 only $3999.12

 

Half price on refurbished Panasonic S1R $3697.99 only $1862.12

Half price on refurbished Panasonic S1R + 24-105mm lens $4597.99 only $2313.23

Awesome Cyber Monday Deals
$1499 SAVE $700 = 31.0% $99 FREE ITEMS Canon EOS RP Mirrorless with 24-240mm in Cameras: Mirrorless
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Best Deals, Updated Weekly

Medium Format Now Costs What High-End 35mm Does, at Least Today on Cyber Monday

The Panasonic S1R at full price is only a few hundred dollars different from the FujifilmGFX-50R medium format camera.

Medium format Fujifilm GFX-50R $3999.$4499.99 only $3999.12

Half price on refurbished Panasonic S1R $3697.99 only $1862.12

Half price on refurbished Panasonic S1R + 24-105mm lens $4597.99 only $2313.23

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Awesome Cyber Monday Deals
$1499 SAVE $700 = 31.0% $99 FREE ITEMS Canon EOS RP Mirrorless with 24-240mm in Cameras: Mirrorless
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Get up to 16x more storage and 2x the speeds of the original drive

Phase One IQ4 + Schneider Kreuznach LS 150mm f/2.8 Aperture Series: MemChu

This aperture series look at performance of the Schneider Kreuznach LS 150mm f/2.8 on a planar target at far distance with much more near to-far detail than in the mosaic series. The detail in the tiles of the mosaic is at a much smaller scale than in the mosaic series, which is helpful in seeing which aperture is really optimal.

This series is also a demonstration of the superb image quality of the Phase One IQ4. I might have to shoot it again though, if I can get just the right lighting at dusk, which should be awesome compared to this fairly ordinary morning lighting.

Phase One IQ4 + Schneider Kreuznach LS 150mm f/2.8 Aperture Series: MemChu

Includes images up to full 150MP camera resolution (14204 X 10652) from f/2.8 through f/11, plus crops.

I am eager to do my field shooting, but hazardous winter conditions have delayed my departure.

The fabulous sensor quality of the Phase One IQ4 has a wonderful synergy with the 150/2.8. It makes me wonder just how well the Phase One IQ4 Achromatic could do on a highly detailed scene like this, not that I’d really want to lose the color—but 150MP at this quality would be incredible (better actually, since no Bayer matrix and filtration can be used).

f8 @ 1/125 sec, ISO 50; 2019-11-29 09:09:56
Phase One IQ4 + Schneider Kreuznach LS 150mm f/2.8 IF
RAW: LACA corrected, USM {8,50,0}, SmartSharpen{120,0.7,0}

[low-res image for bot]

Below, actual pixels crop from the 150 megapixel image.

Actual pixels crop from 150 megapixel Phase One IQ4 image

Panasonic Goes Nuts with the Panasonic S1R: Half Price (refurbished)

See my in-depth review of the Panasonic S1R—it’s a highly capable camera.

WOW!

Half price for the Panasonic S1R $3697.99 only $1862.12

Well, that's a refurbished price and you have to wait 2-4 weeks for arrival, but still.

L-Mount gear

Best Deals, Updated Weekly

Phase One IQ4 + Schneider Kreuznach LS Lenses: Initial Evaluations Done

I’m exhausted having worked about 14 hours each day over the weekend, but I’m glad I’ve laid out the general performance expectations of these lenses in diglloyd Medium Format:

I would like to cover 45mm, 55mm, 110mm, 120mm lenses also, but they are not available to me at this time.

Having done this work, it should be a valuable reference for anyone considering the Schneider Kreuznach LS blue-line lenses for the Phase One XF camera system.

O course, a big incentive for me personally was nailing down what to expect prior to beginning field shooting in a few days.

     
  
Schneider Kreuznach LS blue-line lenses for Phase One XF system (not to scale)

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

Insane Deal on Nikon D610, and Other Good Stuff

55% / $1100 off and only $896.95 for a full-frame DSLR with 50mm lens?

And if you get the B&H Photo Payboo card, you don’t even have to pay sales or use tax—B&H Photo pays it for you!

Nikon DSLR Deals
$897 SAVE $1100 = 55.0% $149 FREE ITEMS Nikon 50mm f/1.8 D610 DSLR with Lens Kit in Cameras: DSLR
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Nikon mirrorles has some good savings too.

Nikon Mirrorless Deals
$1697 SAVE $300 = 15.0% $246 FREE ITEMS Nikon Z 6 Mirrorless in Cameras: Mirrorless
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Upgrade the memory of your 2019 iMac up to 128GB

Phase One IQ4 + Schneider Kreuznach LS 40-80mm f/4-5.6 Aperture Series @ 80mm: Mosaic

This aperture series look at performance of the Schneider Kreuznach LS 40-80mm f/4-5.6 at 80mm on a planar target at far distance. Key issues include sharpness across the frame and particularly peripheral forward field curvature and focus shift.

See also this same series shot with the Schneider Kreuznach LS 80mm f/2.8. Regrettably I did not shoot things as an A/B direct comparison, but conclusions about the relative performance can nonetheless be made.

In diglloyd Medium Format:

One IQ4 + Schneider Kreuznach LS 40-80mm f/4-5.6 Aperture Series @ 80mm: Mosaic

Includes images up to full 150MP camera resolution (14204 X 10652) from f/5 through f/11 including 100 megapixel versions for perspective vs other medium format cameras, plus crops.

f8 @ 1/40 sec, ISO 64; 2019-11-29 08:54:27
Phase One IQ4 + Schneider Kreuznach LS 40-80mm f/4-5.6 @ 80mm
RAW: LACA corrected, USM {8,50,0}, SmartSharpen{120,0.7,0}

[low-res image for bot] Bottom of frame cropped off

Best Deals, Updated Weekly

Phase One IQ4 + Schneider Kreuznach LS 40-80mm f/4-5.6 Aperture Series @ 40mm: Mosaic

This aperture series look at performance of the Schneider Kreuznach LS 40-80mm f/4-5.6 at 40mm on a planar target at far distance. Key issues include sharpness across the frame and particularly peripheral forward field curvature and focus shift.

In diglloyd Medium Format:

One IQ4 + Schneider Kreuznach LS 40-80mm f/4-5.6 Aperture Series @ 40mm: Mosaic

Includes images up to full 150MP camera resolution (14204 X 10652) from f/5 through f/11 including 100 megapixel versions for perspective vs other medium format cameras, plus crops.

f8 @ 1/25 sec, ISO 64; 2019-11-29 08:45:56
Phase One IQ4 + Schneider Kreuznach LS 40-80mm f/4-5.6 @ 40mm
RAW: LACA corrected, USM {8,50,0}, SmartSharpen{120,0.7,0}

[low-res image for bot] Bottom of frame cropped off

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B&H Photo Payboo credit card has already saved me something like $600 in sales tax this year!

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This site proudly sponsored by B&H Photo—thank you for using my links to buy.

Payboo explained by B&H Photo

I just got this email from B&H—Payboo is the real deal with real savings. Emphasis added.

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Phase One IQ4 + Schneider Kreuznach LS 40-80mm f/4-5.6 Aperture Series @ 55mm: Mosaic

This aperture series look at performance of the Schneider Kreuznach LS 40-80mm f/4-5.6 on a planar target at far distance. Key issues include sharpness across the frame and in particular, peripheral forward field curvature.

In diglloyd Medium Format:

One IQ4 + Schneider Kreuznach LS 40-80mm f/4-5.6 Aperture Series @ 55mm: Mosaic

Includes images up to full 150MP camera resolution (14204 X 10652) from f/5 through f/11 including 100 megapixel versions for perspective vs other medium format cameras, plus crops.

f8 @ 1/40 sec, ISO 64; 2019-11-29 08:51:03
Phase One IQ4 + Schneider Kreuznach LS 40-80mm f/4-5.6 @ 55mm
RAW: LACA corrected, USM {8,50,0}, SmartSharpen{120,0.7,0}

[low-res image for bot] Bottom of frame cropped off

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

Initial Impressions of Leica Q2

Setting aside the lens hood failure and the inability of some readers to understand humor, I have some comments on the Leica Q2.

Picking up and handling the Q2, I am favorably impressed with the viewfinder and focusing, and I look forward to shooting it. Something about the overall form factor is very nice, the viewfinder, etc. Too bad the EVF (3.68M) is not the very latest high-res EVF as in the Leica SL2 (5.76M), but it’s quite good as it is.

It will be interesting to see how all this balances out in the end. I suspect that most of this will fade away as more than minor nuisances if the shooting experience is good enough, and the image quality rocks.

  • It looks beautiful, and that is always a plus.
  • Unless I’ve missed something, there appears to be no way to focus once, then take more than one image. This is a serious usability flaw for the way I like to work; I often focus once, then take more than one image. I do not want to have to focus again (possibly getting a different focus or missing it entirely). In other words, there is no AF-ON type feature. It is absolutely not a solution to move the lens to MF mode because (a) I want autofocus, and (b) that changes the focus already achieved! Maybe there is a way to do this but I cannot find it.
  • The macro range or (not) implementation is elegant in its design; rotating the ring near the camera body extends or retracts the lens to enter/leave macro mode. Very smooth and fully up to the best design standards.
  • The aperture ring is excellent.
  • Unless I’ve missed it, the EVF lacks any kind of eyeshade, which is a serious problem in bright light (e.g., with the sun at 90° to my head, as it creates a difficult glare situation. See Eyeshade for Sony A7 Series Cameras.
  • Setting aside the problematic lens hood, the lens hood itself is outstanding in minimizing volume while offering quite good shading for the front lens element. On the flip side, it is difficult for use with a polarizer (finger access), even if a thin enough polarizer can be had (most won’t fit with the hood on).
  • The lens hood kept falling off until the gaffer tape was added. I had this problem with the original Leica Q also. It will probably get worse with time as the internal soft surface compresses. Temperature may be a factor also.
  • The AF/MF control release is a little tricky—OK with bare hands but will be tricky with gloves. But AF is so good that I doubt I will care much so long as I can find an AF-ON type feature.
  • I have reservations about the half-press of the shutter; I find it a bit tricky as to the right amount of pressure for a half-press, but maybe that’s just a little usage to get used to it.. It may be a challenge with gloves on though.
  • I have largish hands, and the Q2 offers little in the way of grip. There is almost nothing for the thumb and fingers to grasp, and the proportions cramp my fingers in an unnatural way. Some kind of add-on grip would address this, but I would not dare to shoot the camera without a strap on it and around my neck—I’d almost certainly have it slip out of my hand at some point. The Sony A7R IV has a much better grip.
  • The SD card slot is immediately adjacent to the tripod screw hole. So every time I want to get my shots off the card, I have to pull out an allen wrench, undo the camera plate, then redo all that. Am I the only one who likes to download my images every day, and without using a slow USB connection?
  • The 4-way controller is about half as large as it needs to be. This is a shame, because it will make it difficult to use with gloves on in cold weather.
  • The strap lugs IMO are badly designed because they preclude use of my favorite strap, having tiny holes. Yes, some kind of ring can be inserted through the tiny holes, but I don’t have anything handy and why design things for needing to be fixed? Making this worse, the included leather lens strap cannot be adjusted in length, and it’s quite a bit longer than I prefer and there are a large range of heights, so for some people, this means having to buy a strap and figure out how to attach it.
  • The stuff in black soft cloth bags with black half-knotted string closure (black on black is really hard to see!) was an exercise in frustration in the dim light when I unpacked things, being unable to see how to open the bags. And the fall-apart box remains as annoying as ever—the Q2 deserves better more useful packaging, including perhaps a Sigma style zippered case for transport, which would also be less wasteful packaging.
Leica Q2

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How Many Photographers Does it Take to Screw On a Leica Lens Hood?

Update: about 30% of the population is apparently unable to understand humor (especially the elderly). I didn’t quite believe that, but after getting email on this post this morning showing no understanding at all (taking it all totally seriously and literally), I am now persuaded that the 30% figure may be true and perhaps under-stated. Heck, the title and first line double entendre alone seem to have been missed right off the bat. Criticize it as good or bad or lame humor wrapped around a real problem—that’s fair—but zero recognition is prima facie proof and something that will inform my interactions in the future as to where someone is “coming from”. I mention all this just because some communications now make more sense to me, and therefore I can adjust appropriately, knowing the possible context. I asbolutely do not intend it as a put down of anyone—all of us have limitations and blind spots of one kind or another (I just proved that in the post, I think, for myself!).

PS: it was a sealed box as far as I could tell. However, the screw threads look like they have a whitish powder in some places. So I’m just going to write it off as a defective lens hood and the gaffer tape solves the problem for now.

...

Well, it would have to be a really big hood for starters.

You can’t make this stuff up...

I was going to take along the Leica Q2 for some nice dilettante snapshots on my trip for times when I otherwise might just be scratching my ass, but I am flummoxed by not being able to screw on the lens hood, to get it on. No, I mean screw it on.

But I screwed up and screwed the pooch: I unscrewed the hood, and now every time I screw it back on, it screws me by stopping screwing—at about 1/4 turn shy of finishing, becoming too tight to move. So it’s screwed on—diagonally, and I’m screwed it seems. WTF.

I have now spent 15 minutes trying to screw in the f*ing lens hood and I have failed. I’ve carefully backed it off and tried every which way to start the screws threading, always the same result.

I even scrutinized the user manual (“CAUTION: in case the lens hoods screws you, please find your nearest gun dealer, and shoot yourself, you moron! Ask for help loading it, since you’re too dumb to screw on a lens hood! TIP: don’t stick your f*ing thumb[screw] in the hole-end.”).

Screw it! I’ll just be scrupulous about having something that works and instead take my Sony A7R IV with the Zeiss Loxia 25m f/2.4. It’s just not worth screwing around with screwball design.

It still amazes me that anyone can design a camera with a slippery non-grip surface lacking any leverage for fingers and thumb, along with a storage card slot right next to the bottom tripod mount hole, so that getting at the card requires removing a camera plate with an allen wrench. So if you want to see state of the art anti-design, check out the Leica Q2.

Update: screw it on less than fully! Stroke of genius! And nothing beats the schmoozy elegance of securing a lens hood (or diapers) with gaffer tape. Every Leica Q2 should be supplied with a roll (additional colors available in 2-foot-long rolls at $299.99 each). Bonus feature!!!!!! With gaffer tape installed in this screwphisticated way, the push-on lens hood cover stops falling off constantly—whoah!!!!! I should totally work for the Leica R&D department.

See also: Leica Q2 Initial Impressions.

Leica Q2 with problem lens hood secured by gaffer’s tape
Leica Q2 with lens hood screwed on

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