Welcome to diglloyd.com
In-depth review coverage is by subscription.
Also by Lloyd: MacPerformanceGuide.com and WindInMyFace.com
First-time visitor
Upgrade MacBook Pro Retina SSD
Internal SSD Wishlist…

Cambo Introduces Electronic Adapter for Canon EF Lenses on Fujifilm GFX

Thanks to reader Hans B for pointing this out.

Cambo CA-GFX lens adapter for Canon EF to Fujifilm GFX

Cambo has introduce the CA-GFX lens adapter, for adapting Canon EF lenses to the Fujifilm GFX. It can be used standalone; no Cambo Mini View Camera needed.

The CA-GFX will be the third Canon lens adapter that Cambo have manufactured and marketed for camera movement. Having successfully adapted Canon lenses to the Cambo ACTUS (ACB-CA) and more recently the WIDE series camera (WRES-CA.) It was a natural transition to manufacture the adapter as it gives many photographers the option of using their existing lenses with the latest mirrorless, large sensor, Fujifilm GFX50s (CA-GFX.)

The CA-GFX adapter fits directly to the bayonet of the GFX camera body and the lens aperture is controlled electronically when dialing in the required f-stop. As there is no direct connection between lens and body, there is no data received; aperture, auto-focus or EXIF, from the lens.

Why make this lens adapter?

The Fujifilm GFX50s sensor measures 33x44mm and Canon lenses such as the Canon 17mm TS-E and Canon 24mm TS-E have very large image circles, they will cover the sensor size and will enable the photographer to apply movement.

I applaud this development, but I caution readers to assume nothing about actual lens performance on the Fujifilm GFX when using adapted lenses; it is a matter of “try it and see if the quality holds up”.

See also:


Cambo CA-GFX lens adapter for Canon EF to Fujifilm GFX
ThunderBay 4 - The Speed To Create. The Capacity To Dream.

Fujifilm GFX: Adapting Medium Format Lenses

See my discussion of adapting 35mm lenses to the Fujifilm GFX.

Just prior to receiving this email, I tested the Hartblei 80mm f/2.8 Super Rotator (which uses Zeiss multi-coated medium format optics suitable for 6 X 6 camera) on the Fujifilm GFX.

John G writes:

I'm not yet a subscriber, but I'm very impressed with your work.

I'd like to suggest that some of the best DSLR lenses suited to being adapted to the FujiFilm GFX camera are Tilt-Shift models from Canon and Nikon, and possibly from Hartblei. The old Zeiss 28mm model is probably not as good, but I don't have any experience with it. Perhaps the super-sharp and highly corrected Canon 90mm T-SE lens would be a good candidate, assuming an electronically coupled adapter becomes available.

Please note that quite a few wide angle lenses have been tested for their larger image circle potential with lenshood and/or rear baffle removed, and some have been adapted with custom German-made T-S and double-shift adapters (and shaved or removed hoods) to the Sony E-mount by Stefan Steib of HCam. He is considering building an adapter for the FujiFilm GFX.

http://www.hcam.de/en/index.htm
https://www.facebook.com/HCamde-122001131245665/ https://www.facebook.com/122001131245665/photos/rpp.122001131245665/958286137617156/?type=3&theater

Thanks for all your excellent work.

DIGLLOYD: the image circle is a basic check as to whether the frame is fully illuminated, but says nothing about the imaging performance, which for some of the world’s best lenses is hugely disappointing, even in the central 36 X 24mm area.

As for 35mm tilt shift lenses, they might be OK, but if an Otus looks awful, I have little hope for lenses a whole tier lower in performance. Still, there might be some that work OK at f/11 but I have not explored that question. The main thing is that the latest Canon TS-E and Nikon PC-E lenses are all electronic apertures and thus of no practical use until and unless an electronic adapter appears.

I tested the Hartblei 80mm f/2.8 Super-Rotator, a lens picked for me some years ago by Stefan. It has the multicoated Zeiss optics suitable for the 6 X 6 format, which is more than ample coverage. Its main claim to fame is unrivalled bokeh. See Hartblei 40/80/120mm SuperRotators in Advanced DSLR. It needs some stopping down for good sharpness and has some mild field curvature, but is capable of exceptionally pleasing images on the Nikon D810.

I am sorry to report that its performance on the GFX suffers as most lenses do. Something about the GFX sensor (sensor and micro lenses, ray angle, cover glass) makes most lenses unhappy. Even at f/8 I deem it a disappointment, far below the quality I’m after (bokeh aside). The only lens so far out of ten that I deem satisfactory is the Zeiss 135mm f/2 APO-Sonnar.

I cannot make any proper claim as to how other medium format lenses might perform without testing them, but the same things that degrade so many fine lenses would apply to them as well, so I seriously doubt that good performance will result from any lens designed for film. The exception might be lenses designed for digital sensors, e.g., those made by Fujifilm for Hasselblad H over the past years.

Deals Updated Daily at B&H Photo

Evaluating 9 Top-End 35mm DSLR Lenses on the Fujifilm GFX

Two new pages in Medium Format:

I may add some additional simple examples and summary conclusions in Medium Format but (it has been a looong day) and the bottom line is that the Fujifilm GFX makes a poor platform for DSLR lenses, even the very best, like Zeiss Otus. For why this is so, see Adapting Lenses to the GFX: General Discussion.

The smart move is to stick with native-mount lenses, with certain specific exceptions.

Full lens evaluations always go into the native guide regardless of camera body used. The following aperture series were shot with the Fujifilm GFX and in total give a thorough view of what one might encounter in adapting a lens to the Fujifilm GFX. These are all in Guide to Zeiss DSLR Lenses except for the Coastal 60/4 which is in Advanced DSLR.

Meanwhile, what happens if a very old lens (converted to Nikon mount!) is used on the Fujifilm GFX at close range? That is the Olympus Zuiko 50mm f/1.2 Auto-S. Not all images have to be sharp; impressionistic may be the goal.

“But I thought that adapting the best 35mm lenses to the Fujifilm GFX made sense!”
__METADATA__

John G writes:

I'm not yet a subscriber, but I'm very impressed with your work.

I'd like to suggest that some of the best DSLR lenses suited to being adapted to the FujiFilm GFX camera are Tilt-Shift models from Canon and Nikon, and possibly from Hartblei. The old Zeiss 28mm model is probably not as good, but I don't have any experience with it. Perhaps the super-sharp and highly corrected Canon 90mm T-SE lens would be a good candidate, assuming an electronically coupled adapter becomes available.

Please note that quite a few wide angle lenses have been tested for their larger image circle potential with lenshood and/or rear baffle removed, and some have been adapted with custom German-made T-S and double-shift adapters (and shaved or removed hoods) to the Sony E-mount by Stefan Steib of HCam. He is considering building an adapter for the FujiFilm GFX.

http://www.hcam.de/en/index.htm
https://www.facebook.com/HCamde-122001131245665/ https://www.facebook.com/122001131245665/photos/rpp.122001131245665/958286137617156/?type=3&theater

Thanks for all your excellent work.

DIGLLOYD: the image circle is a basic check as to whether the frame is fully illuminated, but says nothing about the imaging performance, which for some of the world’s best lenses... sucks, even in the central 36 X 24mm area.

Just today I tested the Hartblei 80mm f/2.8 Super-Rotator, a lens picked for me some years ago by Stefan. It has the multicoated Zeiss optics. Its main claim to fame is unrivalled bokeh. See Hartblei 40/80/120mm SuperRotators in Advanced DSLR. It needs some stopping down for good sharpness and has some mild field curvature, but is capable of exceptionally pleasing images on the Nikon D810.

I am sorry to report that its performance on the GFX suffers as most lenses do. Something about the GFX sensor (sensor and micro lenses, ray angle, cover glass) makes most lenses unhappy. The only lens so far out of ten that I deem satisfactory is the Zeiss 135mm f/2 APO-Sonnar.

B&H Deal ZoneDeals by Brand/Category/Savings
Deals expire in 7 hours unless noted. Certain deals may last longer.
$2699 SAVE $300 = 10.0% Canon 11-24mm f/4 EF L USM in Lenses: DSLR

Evaluating 9 Top-End 35mm DSLR Lenses on the Fujifilm GFX

Two new pages in Medium Format:

I may add some additional simple examples and summary conclusions in Medium Format but (it has been a looong day) and the bottom line is that the Fujifilm GFX makes a poor platform for DSLR lenses, even the very best, like Zeiss Otus. For why this is so, see Adapting Lenses to the GFX: General Discussion.

The smart move is to stick with native-mount lenses, with certain specific exceptions.

Full lens evaluations always go into the native guide regardless of camera body used. The following aperture series were shot with the Fujifilm GFX and in total give a thorough view of what one might encounter in adapting a lens to the Fujifilm GFX. These are all in Guide to Zeiss DSLR Lenses except for the Coastal 60/4 which is in Advanced DSLR.

Meanwhile, what happens if a very old lens (converted to Nikon mount!) is used on the Fujifilm GFX at close range? That is the Olympus Zuiko 50mm f/1.2 Auto-S. Not all images have to be sharp; impressionistic may be the goal.

“But I thought that adapting the best 35mm lenses to the Fujifilm GFX made sense!”
__METADATA__

Adapt to Native

“But I thought that adapting the best 35mm lenses to the Fujifilm GFX made sense!”

Leica M on Sony sounded good but with very few exceptions it turned out to be an awful combination (unless one has very low standards).

Yet there was some hope that a DSLR lens on medium format might be different: “look guys, it covers the frame, oh yeah” makes great clickbait. I ain’t gonna do that to you.

My initial impression proved to be right on the money with only one exception out of eight top-flight lenses I shot tonight. The vignetting seen below is one issue but one of the minor ones. I sure wish Zeiss would develop manual focus lenses for the GFX.

“But I thought that adapting the best 35mm lenses to the Fujifilm GFX made sense!”
__METADATA__

First Impressions in Adapating Lenses to the GFX (Otus 55/1.4)

In my hands is the about $150 FotodioX Nikon F Lens to Fujifilm G-Mount Camera Pro Lens Mount Adapter:

 
FotodioX Nikon F to Fujifilm G-Mount Lens Adapter
  • No manual, no warranty card, no printed material of any kind in the box.
  • The Fujifilm GFX requires that Shoot Without Lens is enabled. This is a little weird, since the adapter is electronic and the camera ought to know that a lens is attached, but maybe the adapter fails to communicate properly.
  • The control dial on the adapter is physically tight on one end of the range (excessive resistance) and OK over the rest of the range. This dial seems to be merely a device to control the contact (slop) between the internal lever and the lever on the lens that controls the aperture—it is not electronic in any way.
  • To use the aperture ring on the lens (Zeiss ZF.2), set the control on the adapter to the leftmost dot on its aperture control ring. This yields manual control over the diaphragm via the aperture ring, allowing one to know both which aperture is in use and to use the feel and sound of clicks which aperture is chosen (click-click-click-click from wide open is f/2.8 (half stop clicks, kudos to Zeiss design).
  • To use electronic aperture control with an electronic aperture... find another adapter—this one is not electronic (no contacts of any kind are seen) and so cannot work with "E" lenses.

Those adapters with Canon EF mount (Canon or Sigma or Zeiss) of course must have an electronic control since there is no lever on the lens to be moved by an adapter. But I’m now confused, since the FotodioX Canon EF/EF-S Lens to Fujifilm G-Mount Camera Pro Lens Mount Adapter shows no signs of electronic contacts either (with a product description of no use at all), so I do not understand how the lens diaphragm could be controlled—maybe it cannot be. The Zeiss ZE lenses I have have no mechanical level by which an aperture could be controlled, only electronic contacts.

Eric B writes:

From your photograph, I have neither the GFX camera nor the Otus lens, there does not appear to be an electronic connection on the adapter.

It looks similar to the “dumb” Nikon F(G) to Fuji X adapters I have. They control the aperture of Nikon G lenses with a small arm that grabs the aperture lever on the lens. They require my Fuji X T-2 be set to operate without lens as well. If the Otus has an aperture ring, as does my old Micro-Nikkor, one can use that to control the aperture.

If it is an “E” lens, like my PC-E’s, there is no way to control the aperture on any adapted body, Fuji, Sony, M4/3. One can only mount it on a Nikon body, set the aperture, and remove the lens while holding down the depth of field button. It will then remain permanently at the set aperture. That is what I did with my PC-E’s after selling my D800E body so that I might use them, forever, at f/8 on my Fuji.

I have searched far and wide for an adpater that would allow me to control the aperture on the PC-E lenses on an adapted body, Fuji, but have found nothing. I looked at the Fotodiox GFX to Nikon F(G) adapter on the B&H website and it does not mention anything electronic about this adapter. I might be wrong, often am, but this time I fear I might be right.

DIGLLOYD: Eric is right and sometimes it pays to just LOOK: there are no electronic contacts of any kind on the Fotodiox adapter.The ring on the adapter apparently exists to adjust for slop in contacting the aperture lever on the lens, to compensate for any slop in the mechanical contact. I had incorrectly assumed that since there are electronic adapters for Canon lenses, that this adapter would be electronic also.

The adapters shown below are not a recommendation; consider them an illustration.

Preliminary impressions

 
Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 APO-Distagon

I shot my close-range dolls scene with the Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 APO-Distagon. The image circle covers the full GFX sensor at close range but at infinity focus it shows dark corners at all apertures.

My impression (near MOD) based on focusing and confirmed using the full aperture series of exposures is that something degrades with lens performance, greatly increasing astigmatism and emphasizing the slight mid-zone color fringing one can see even on the D810. It looks like ray angle degradation that I’ve seen before when adapting M lenses to Sony because central sharpness is excellent, yet the outer zones decline rapidly. I would say also that focusing seems strangely difficult except near center, which is also consistent with ray angle degradation. I’m speaking generally here, taking ray angle to mean ray angle and sensor cover glass thickness and refraction and micro lenses all together. That said, an outstanding image develops by f/11 corner to corner.

See Ray Angles for Zeiss DSLR Lenses.

I would say that my initial impression is that one of the world’s best lenses does not look too promising on the GFX at wider apertures—and that any tests as such are deeply flawed in terms of evaluating the lens versus its native platform, namely that the lens is being asked to perform through sensor cover glass and special micro lenses for which it was not designed.

Tonight I plan to do some distance shooting with a planar subject, which is a far more challenging test than anything else.

I want to be clear that I am doing a quicklook survey for the Medium Format section as to general applicability of adapted lenses and that a full assessment of a non-native lens (should I choose to do so) will go into the respective area, e.g., Guide to Zeiss or Advanced DSLR, as has been my policy for the past six years or so.

Reader Comment: Hasselblad X1D

Get Hasselblad X1D at B&H Photo.

Dante M writes:

I subscribed to your Medium Format as interested in the Hasselblad X1D. Your review and work is much appreciated though I noted that the GFX section looks being updated at a higher pace. Does this mean that you have "dismissed" the Hasselblad as a serious tool in the field?

I tested the X1D and I decided to buy it as it provided, apart form the image quality, the simple and essential approach I'm looking for when I want to take pictures. A tool not distracting from the final purpose, a camera not overloaded with functions and settings which render the photographing process a pain, at least to me (that's why I abandoned the Sony A7R2 and the Canon 5D Mark IV last month).

DIGLLOYD: the 30-day loaner period was over for the X1D, and I had to move on to the GFX, which I am almost done with, for now. Plus the X1D focusing issue.

I will have another X1D as soon as Hasselblad provides me one for some more evaluation with updated firmware to address the focusing issue. Also, there are the 22mm and 120mm lenses yet to come. My intent is to continue to cover the system, as well as add additional material.

As for “not overloaded with functions and settings” I agree only partially: in my view the GFX works better in the field than the X1D (the GFX focus issues aside): the 15 second blackout of Live View, the lack of a 4-way controller, the poor battery life, the taking of images by mistake just trying to get back into Live View (since it shuts off at 15 seconds), and so on. It’s fine for many types of work, but problematic for the way I like to work, and I see no hardware solution.

Michael Erlewine writes:

Right now, with the X1D, I am learning to take photographs, as in: the process. I am not quite there with the camera enough to capture my ‘impressions,” at least not yet. And it’s not just the learning curve I’m talking about either, but the entire process, in particular getting the focus and the aperture just right. This will take some time.

The process involved in using the X1D is more involved than the simplistic camera it is made out to be. Since I tend to use LiveView, outside and in sunlight, this requires some kind of optical viewfinder to block the sunlight and offer some magnification. I started out with the Zacuto Z-Finder, hanging from a lanyard around my neck. However, the Z-Finder is so robust that its heaviness proved distracting. So, I switched to one of the ELVID viewfinders that, while not as good as the Zacuto, are so very light that I even forget I’m wearing it. Still, it is sharp enough and magnifies adequately to work just fine. I don’t need the extra clarity offered by the Z-Finder, at least not with the LiveView screen on the X1D. I can see to focus via the magnification “star” button.

Meanwhile, I am still very put off by the fact that LiveView switches off automatically after 15 seconds. This is not helpful when setting up a shot with the X1D, so I have no idea what they were thinking. However, I have been assured that this LiveView problem is fixed in the next firmware update, so I can wait for that. I am getting too old to always be the sacrificial lamb at the altar of technology, even (or especially!) with a Hasselblad.

I will leave it to others to comment on using the X1D for sports or walk-around shots. I may get to that, but so far that has not happened. I do have to keep remembering to have the timer on, since often (but not always) it turns itself off when I turn the camera off. Perhaps someone could tell me how to set it and have it on permanently. Since there is no hard-wired remote cord, I am stuck with the timer or using Phocus on my iPhone, which is just one more stone around my neck to carry around.

I am happy with the color on the X1D although I do find myself looking to NIK’s “Color Efex Pro 4” to tweak the removal of color casts from time to time. As mentioned earlier, at this stage in my learning curve I am just taking photos with the X1D, not actually creating them yet in my style, although I am getting close.

I am more or less happy with the lenses and understand that they may be working to improve the focus shift of the 90mm lens. I do everything with manual focus, and that is working OK. As for stacking, no problem, but I have not attempted large stacks, only what I call short stacks of maybe 3-4 layers. Like all cameras, this one takes some study, coupled with learning to use a medium-format lens, such as it is.

There is no doubt that I move more slowly with the X1D compared to the Nikon D810, and it is not just because it is a new camera to learn. In large, being more careful and attentive to process is good for me, and the X1D demands this if I want good results. So, I am into it.

Things I would like: Aside from leaving LiveView on, I would like a wired or IF remote and not have to haul around (and be careful of) my iPhone with Phocus software to be a remote. No thanks!

I would like a separate button to return to LiveView other than trying to guess how much pressure to place on the shutter release without accidently taking an unwanted photo. That is a pain.

I’ve got to do something until Nikon gets on the stick. I was not happy with the GFX, even though it is getting all the press these days. As for the timer. I have to take the battery out all the time because it’s the only one I have, although I should be getting two more in the next two days.

My firmware is up to date. Learning to use the X1D is a bit of work. Trying to see to focus with the LV going off all the time, should have been avoided

DIGLLOYD: I share these concerns, although I have no issue with the Zacuto Z-Finder.

Battery life with the GFX I estimate at 3X better, and the Live View does not cut out. I do feel I can work better with the GFX in the field for the way I shoot, focusing being a glaring exception.

First 3rd-Party Lenses for Fujifilm GFX are High Speed Primes from Mitakon Zhongyi

Get Mitakon Zhongyi at B&H Photo.

Reader John G points out two lenses announced for the Fujifilm GFX:

  • Mitakon Zhongyi Speedmaster 65mm f/1.4, equivalent to 79mm f/1.15.
  • Mitakon Zhongyi SpeedMaster 85mm f/1.2, equivalent to 103mm f/0.98.

WOW! That’s as fast as it gets for medium format, and lends weight to what I’ve implied and stated explicitly before: medium format is the new full frame. Which is a reversal from back in 2013 of saying that 35mm is the new medium format. The slowest of these two lenses is a full stop faster than the fastest lens Fujifilm is offering (the 110mm f/2), the other is 1.5 stops faster.

Development of a wide-ranging lens ecosystem massively increases the appeal of a camera platform. This Fujifilm has done by offering an EFC shutter and mechanical shutter and lens adapters and now these 3rd party lenses come along too, surely not the last to appear. By comparison, the appeal of the Hasselblad X1D is weakened by eliminating these potentials. It remains to be seen whether Hasselblad can offer an EFC shutter via a firmware update which would allow adapted lenses to be used.

Rough google translation:

Displayed "SPEEDMASTER 65mm F1.4" and "SPEEDMASTER 85mm F1.2" of the middle one optical booth, FUJIFILM G mount

The SPEEDMASTER (Speedmaster) series prototypes "SPEEDMASTER 65 mm F1.4" and "SPEEDMASTER 85 mm F1.2" are G for Fujifilm's medium format mirrorless digital camera "FUJIFILM GFX 50S" (released February 28) It is a mount lens. "SPEEDMASTER 65mm F1.4" is designed exclusively for Fuji Film GFX series. "SPEEDMASTER 85 mm F1.2" is a product that made the conventional model into a G mount. It is planned to be released in 2017, the price is yet to be determined.

From what I understand, the Meyer-Optik Gorlitz Nocturnus 50mm f/0.95 II Lens for Sony E has optics by Mitakon Zhongyi, which also makes the Mitakon Zhongyi Speedmaster 50mm f/0.95 for Sony Mirrorless. Mitakon seems to be on a high-speed roll to reset expectations.

ThunderBay 4 - The Speed To Create. The Capacity To Dream.

NEC Display Warranty Bonus Deal Through June 30: 5 years of Coverage

5-year total warranty on NEC displays

See my reviews of NEC wide-gamut professional displays.

The NEC PA302 with the SpectraView II color calibration software and hardware remains my workhorse display to this day; I started using it way back in September 2013—3.6 years or so ago. Works like new.

The 5-year warranty (4 years even normally) shows that NEC is a company that stands behind its products. Compare that to a typical (and pathetic) 1 year warranty from Apple, Sony, Leica, Hasselblad, Fujifilm, Canon, etc. Heck, Apple makes you pay $300 or so for a maximum of only 3 years total, yet charges a huge price premium.

Look for a deal like the ones that sometimes come along, and thanks for using the link from this site when buying so I get credit.

The PA302W GB-R LED backlighting affords an incredible gamut and outstanding grayscale neutralitybetter 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.

NEC PA302W wide gamut display

Fujifilm Starts Professional Services Program

Fujifilm USA has started a professional services program. See the terms and conditions.

There are at least two things that grate:

  • To be forced to sign up within 30 days seems unfriendly at best. Sony’s pro services ($99 a year) have no such time cutoff.
  • Warranty extension is “outsourced to a 3rd party”. Not much of a confidence builder.
  • Alaska and Hawaii residents are excluded. Is this just to save shipping costs?
  • Registration of purchased products must be done within 30 days.Proof of purchase ought to be enough.
  • Non-transferable.

Still, a pro shooter has a lot of benefits that if needed are very worthwhile, such as 2 day turnaround, clean and check, loaners, and dedicated hotline and email support.

Fujifilm Professional Services (FPS) provides outstanding support for professional photographers. For only $499 per year, qualified GFX system owners can rest assured that they have Fujifilm's Professional Service on their side. Members in the GFX FPS Program will receive exclusive phone and email support, complimentary Check and Cleans, discounted and expedited services, and express repairs and loaners where applicable.

Program Eligibility Requirements:

Participant must own no less than one (1) FUJIFILM GFX digital camera body and one (1) GF lens product, each of which were registered at www.RegisterMyFujifilm.com within 30 days of purchase. Program sign-up is subject to registration verification. Membership is personal to the member and is non-transferrable.

Participant must sign up for the GFX FPS Program within 30 days of purchase of a GFX System product. Once registration has been completed, the GFX FPS Program will apply to all GFX System products that are subsequently purchased by the participant and that have been properly registered within 30 days of purchase, for the remaining applicable Program Term.

Participant must be at least 18 years of age, and must reside in the continental United States or the District of Columbia, excluding Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico or the US territories.

Participation is subject to the GFX FPS Program Terms and Conditions as well as the general terms and conditions of the Program and other terms that Fujifilm may designate from time to time.

...

Fujifilm GFX pro services program
Envoy Pro mini - In Motion There Exists Great Potential
SSD Wishlist…

Is the Fujifilm GFX Suitable as a Digital Back?

I have my doubts that adapting 35mm lenses to the Fujifilm GFX is more than an awkward kludge (because it sure feels that way with adapters on Sony), but given the non-deterministic focusing problems affecting all the GF lenses and the uncertainty of whether a forthcoming Fujifilm firmware update will fix the problems, it is at least worth thinking about.

Nikon and Canon have given no sign that they take the high-end market seriously (I’m talking about high-end as in Nikon D810 and Canon 5DS R, not sports shooters). How long will CaNikon fecklessly ignore the market opportunity by sticking to hopeless dinosaur products, ones that force me to use a loupe instead of an EVF and deal with the needless bulk of a mirror box? I never want to buy another DSLR myself. Maybe CaNikon are not ignoring the market and have some awesome rabbit under the hat, but the natives (like me) are getting very restless.

Is the Fujifilm GFX in effect a digital back that will save the day for CaNikon users who look increasingly abandoned at the (non sports) high end?

Suppose that one has (like me) a large collection of Zeiss and Canon and Nikon lenses. An adapter is awkward, but might it be worth the trouble if Nikon cannot get its hapless and inept act together with a D850 with serious advancements, before it implodes from market pressures from Sony. Ditto for Canon, though Canon has far more leeway due to its vastly larger product lines (much more than Nikon), so show us something already, CaNikon!

The old saying that the easiest way to make a small fortune is to start with a large one seems to hit the mark for Nikon: shrinking a solid business into a moribund one.

Adapting lenses is not elegant but it might be better than spending for yet another dinosaur DSLR—let’s see what happens this year.

  • Lenses for the 35mm format have a variety of potential shortcomings on the GFX. But even if one can gain only 20% or so on imaging area, the high sensor quality and the increased area may be a winner.
  • Traditional medium format lenses (Mamiya, Pentax, Hasselblad, etc) are highly unlikely to perform as well as lenses designed from scratch for the GFX sensor. Ditto for view camera lenses. But there are some standouts, and some may have special imaging qualities that make them worthwhile.
  • Fujifilm offers adapters for a view camera and for Hasselblad lenses and there are other adapters and there is also the Cambo Mini View Camera with GFX adapter. Color shading may be an issue, but tilt and shift come to mind.

I for one think that Nikon and Canon must deliver (or at least promise delivery) of some new exciting full frame camera by end of 2017. Better yet, deliver a GFX-like camera with large sensor that not only takes a new mirrorless lens line, but comes with a high quality adapter for compatibility with existing DSLR lenses. Otherwise, hang up the jock strap.

Nikon and Canon are NOT going to survive selling to sports and wildlife shooters, even if sports shooters decide that the Sony A9 remains a less good choice than a traditional DSLR. And if even a significant percentage of sports/wildlife/action shooters go with the A9 (consider the implications of even a 20% switchover to Sony A9), the pressure on CaNikon will go from high to existential. So anyone with a collection of high-grade lenses might start thinking about a different digital back for those lenses, such as the Fujifilm GFX.

While we’re at it, what if Sony produces a medium format body, one compatible in some way with the existing E mount lens lineup. That would be a death blow to CaNikon IMO.

Reader coments follow.

Not having used these GFX lens adapters (yet), I am merely showing the options that might be viable.

Reader comments

Roy P writes:

Just read your comments about possibly Fuji GFX as a digital back for Canon/Nikon lenses. While the large sensor size maybe appealing, I expect a Sony A9R coming up, maybe by year end, that will have the same large battery cavity, EVF, etc. in the A9, but perhaps with a 60-70MP sensor and 5fps (fast enough for bracketing, but not for action). That would give you the digital back.

But if you wanted a medium format body, the Hasselblad X1D is likely a better fit – it’s about the same size as the A7x and A9 bodies, with a bigger sensor. Perhaps a 35mm crop size could be displayed as a bright white rectangle in the EVF. That would take away the one last bragging rights the Leica rangefinder apologists have: with an M camera, you can look at a larger scene, compose, focus by distance, and wait for the lady in red to step into the frame lines, so can click to capture the perfect moment! Yawn.

For the moment, Nikon / Canon don’t have to fear an immediate exodus of the pro sports photographers, although I fully expect some of that to begin to happen gradually as these photographers realize four very compelling benefits the A9 gives them over the 1DX II or D5: no mirror blackouts, 20 fps (which will at least double their throughput of keepers in sharp focus), silent shooting (especially valuable for golf, tennis, etc.), and 693 AF points with 93% frame coverage, which should also hugely improve their yield with less work. But their investment in their existing glass, lack of equivalent Sony glass, unproven field reliability and ruggedness of the new A9, and untested pro support will dampen the rate of switching. My guess is, every new pro lens Sony announces for the E mount will erode some of the Nikon / Canon pro base.

The bigger and more immediate risk for Nikon / Canon is, an en masse defection of wedding and event photographers. They carry three bodies, one with a 24-70 f/2.8, one with a70-200 f/2.8, and a third, which is typically on a tripod, dedicated to video. For the video, these pros have been steadily migrating to mirrorless over the past 3-4 years, with the Sony A7S one of the major beneficiaries. I have now seen an A7 or A7S with the Sony 70-200 f/4 on a tripod at least at three weddings in the past year, and one with a Panasonic GH4. Now, between the A7, A7S, A7R (all in their 2nd generations), and with the A9, there is a full line of price / performance bodies and lenses in place, as well as an impressive wireless flash system. The Sigma CEO has also said there will be a major commitment to the E mount, and new, native Sigma E mount lenses are coming. That will give the wedding / event photographers less expensive 24-70 and 70-200 f/2.8 lenses, too. We could see a much faster switch to Sony from this segment. This is a very big market for Nikon and Canon, and it will be a body blow if they lose it.

We will almost certainly see all the reportage / media photographers switch to the A9. You look at any White House press coverage, debates, etc. on TV, and you can’t but help hearing all the annoying shutter clicks every time someone blinks. Ditto for people who cover concerts, events at churches, etc., where silence is highly desired. This is probably another segment that has been switching to mirrorless, and that will only accelerate with the A9.

If Canon / Nikon haven’t been working on their own A9-like cameras, and don’t at least announce something very credible and very soon, enough to persuade their customers to wait, they will find themselves in serious trouble.

DIGLLOYD: for those of us short $20K, an X1D system is not so appealing, and a complete system change. For now at least the X1D cannot do other lenses, since it lacks an EFC or mechanical shutter option.

The crop option is a big plus, and the GFX has it, and the GFX is substantially less expensive than the X1D and with 3X (at least) the battery life. But I’m not arguing against the X1D if the shutter issue could be resolved.

Wedding and event: I think this has already happened in spades, but I entirely agree that the Sony A9 kicks the crap out of a DSLR solution and with the 100/2.8 STF GM and similar lenses and the bread and butter 24-70 and eye (iris) spot-on focusing plus 4K video—game over.

Shutter noise and frame rate are HUGE for some types of photography (including wildlife!), where disturbing the situation is a problem (startle effect, obnoxiousness, etc).

John G writes:

If Sony were to introduce a medium format lineup, it would be a very good thing for the serious amateur and professional photographer. My sense is that it would be a technically superior product; they’ve demonstrated their ability to engineer products that offer unique performance capabilities and excellent image quality.

Most recently, Sony has demonstrated their prowess for serious lens design. Lens designs that, while different in drawing style, challenge Zeiss’s best efforts in the category. On that topic—Sony’s innovations and success in the FF mirrorless category have persuaded Zeiss and others to design some pretty great optics for Sony’s system, simply because the market is big enough to justify their efforts. Serious photographers in this category now have a wide-ranging buffet of great optics from which to build their kits.

My sense is that, while perhaps it would be on a smaller scale, Sony could bring all this to medium format. Among several other factors, It would further pave the way for MF to truly evolve downward out of its current rarefied, unobtainium market position where it would be an actual viable choice for the serious amateur or professional. This was a trend first started by Pentax and continued recently with Fuji, but neither have the marketing or technological chops to turn the category into a truly viable system choice. They are uber niche products by definition. My hope is that Sony’s entry would encourage Zeiss and others to develop high-end options for serious glass in the MF category. I was encouraged by this announcement of 65mm f/1.4 and 85mm f/1.4 lenses for the Fujifilm GFX by Mitakon Zhongyi. While I’m not sure I’d be interested in these particular lenses if I were to purchase a GFX, I am excited by and attracted to the idea of a good array of lens choices in the category.

My sense is that the industry has hit a wall of diminishing technological and IQ returns in the development of the FF category. In reality, there have been no categorical advancements in IQ since the introduction of the three-year-old Nikon D810, which itself was an evolution and update of the D800E. It could be logically argued, based on the current empirical (albeit anecdotal) evidence, that, for overall IQ, 36MP represents a sort of critical image-quality mass for FF. Neither the 42MP Sony nor the 50M Canon perform as well, in overall IQ terms, when compared critically to the D810. Certainly more pixels have an advantage when consider in isolation, but it has yet to be demonstrated in an actual product that more pixels beyond 36 can deliver as good, let alone better, overall IQ.

Obviously, I realize that this is a conclusion reached by the current state of affairs, which are limited, and may ultimately suggest any veracity as to the possibility of a higher megapixel, full-frame product outperforming the D810 in overall image quality. It just hasn’t happened yet. But I think the fact that it hasn’t happened yet cannot be ignored. And clearly the FujiFilm GFX sensor/processing engine does offer IQ that is in most critical ways truly better than any of the current offerings in FF, including the D810. Indeed, in some areas of image performance, it breaks new ground. I contend that the next frontier in ultra-high IQ for the serious amateur and professional will be relatively affordable MF systems.

We just need Sony to do it.

DIGLOYD: I agree on all points here. As well, there is no size impediment standing in the way; both the Hasselblad X1D and Fujifilm GFX show that medium format camera sizes are not particularly large and I’m sure that Sony could cut the size down to that of a Nikon D810, or smaller.

Sony A9 NEW!
Sony’s 20 fps DSLR killer?

Dracast LED: Just ordered another one

I have Dracast LED500 Silver Series Bi-Color LED Light with Dual NP-F Battery Plate that I ordered when it was only $199. It’s a nice compact well built little unit.

The larger Dracast LED500 Pro Bi-Color LED Light with V-Mount Battery Plate (or Gold Plate) is $379.95 / 45% off today only at the B&H Deal Zone, and I just ordered a SECOND one, having been enjoying the first one and its sibling for a few months now.

Dracast LED500 Pro Bi-Color LED Light

The simple fact is that I don’t see as well in dim light as when I was younger. My kids can rad in light that stymies me!

I love flipping on this light and swiveling it where I need it. And so I ordered a second one for ever better illumination.

Also important to me is the bi-color feature so I can tune the color to what I prefer. For example, at night I bias it to warmer (yellowish).

Today only in B&H deal zone $379.95 with stand and accessoriies.

...

 

Below, the Cineo Matchbox is currently $129 off and ony $333 with excellent color rendering (CRI). I liked it a lot when I tested it.

Cineo Matchbox LED remote phosphor lighting

Adapting Lenses to the Fujifilm GFX

Update 25 April: adapter in hand:

  • No instruction manual, no warranty card, no printed material of any kind in the box.
  • The Fujifilm GFX requires that Shoot Without Lens is enabled. This is a little weird, since the adapter is electronic and the camera ought to know that a lens is attached, but maybe the adapter fails to communicate properly.
  • The aperture control dial on the adapter is physically tight on one end of the range (excessive resistance) and OK over the rest of the range.
  • To use the aperture ring on the lens (Zeiss ZF.2), set the aperture control on the adapter to totally stopped down (leftmost dot on its aperture control ring). This yields manual control over the diaphragm via the aperture ring, allowing one to know both which aperture is in use and to use the feel and sound of clicks which aperture is chosen (click-click-click-click from wide open is f/2.8 (half stop clicks, kudos to Zeiss design).
  • To use electronic aperture control with an electronic aperture, set the lens diaphragm to the locked position (if it has such a control, as do ZF.2 lenses). The adapter then controls the aperture—except that it doesn’t work correctly: nothing happens to the lens diaphragm (stays open) until the 2nd or 3rd dot on the adapter is dialed in. In other words, the adapter does not work correctly for electronic control of aperture. Manual aperture control as per the first point is the way to go for ZF.2. Otherwise, it’s a crap shoot on which aperture is actually in use.
  • The utility of using the aperture ring is a key feature for me: it means I’d need a flashlight and have to peer down on top of the thing in dim conditions. No way to go click-click-click to know I’m at f/4 on an f/1.4 lens. So Zeiss lenses with aperture rings (ZF.2) are ideal.

I’d prefer an all-manual adapter myself, since that’s all I need for Zeiss ZF.2 lenses with aperture rings. But those with Canon or Zeiss ZE or Nikon G of course must have an electronic control. However, as per the point above, aperture control on the adapter doesn't work properly, so one has to guess at aperture. This product needs work just to function properly with a lens lacking an aperture ring, even if one forgoes the desire to know the aperture.

...

One last thing before I send back the loaner Fujifilm GFX is to establish how lenses for 36 X 24mm format perform on the larger 44 X 33mm sensor of the GFX.

I expect to receive the about $150 FotodioX Nikon F Lens to Fujifilm G-Mount Camera Pro Lens Mount Adapter tomorrow. In the past I have been very displeased with Fotodiox quality (had to destructively remove one by sawing it off a Zeiss lens), but I am going to give this new offering a fair trial.

 
FotodioX Nikon F to Fujifilm G-Mount Lens Adapter

The lenses I intend to check out to at least establish behavior are the following:

A this point, my intent is a 'survey': what has potential and what does not and in general does does the quality hold up to a useful level.

Back in 2014, I investigated the performance of the Zeiss Touit lineup for Sony APS-C format on Sony full frame format including classic ratios like 4:5 and 1:1 and panoramic, with remarkably good results.

FotodioX Nikon F to Fujifilm G-Mount Lens Adapter

Considerations in applying a lens designed for the 36 X 24mm format on the much larger 44 X 33mm format are several:

  • All lenses will vignette much more than on the 36 X 24mm frame, some excessively, some modestly. Vignetting can vary substantially depending on focusing distance (decreasing with closer focusing unless focal length shortening tricks are use). Stopping down reduces vignetting substantially.
  • Just because a lens covers 44 X 33mm area does not mean the quality will be worthwhile. And even if the lens is sharp, there may be excessive field curvature or focus shift and/or aberrations that increase to greatly reduce the point spread function outside the 36 X 24mm frame. Such things might require using only at f/8 or f/11 for example.
  • Color shifts from ray angle might be an issue with some lens designs.
  • Planarity of the lens adapter is always a concern, as is the increased lever-arm torque on the lens mount with a heavy lens.
  • Flare and uneven lighting outside the 35mm frame area.
  • ... and so on.

Why anyone would bother mounting a 'dog' of a lens like the Nikon 50/1.4G on the GFX as shown in the product shot is dubious, both for very poor focusing throw and feel but also for its modest optical performance and severe flare issues. It is precisely for this reason that I feel it is worthwhile to try the best and establish the gamut of performance, so perhaps I’ll mount that Nikon 50/1.4G and see how badly or not so badly it does.

OWC Thunderbolt 2 Dock
Review of Thunderbolt 2 Dock

FOR SALE: Lloyd’s Own Lenses (Zeiss, Leica, Voigtlander, Nikon, Canon, Olympus, Rodenstock, Schneider)

I’d rather just keep a growing collection, but that’s just not feasible, for both space and financial reasons—I constantly have to be working with the newest lenses for my publications. There is no ROI (return on investment) for lenses that I rarely or ever need for my publications. Plus the ongoing insurance costs are negative ROI, plus I have to buy certain new gear each year. It’s time to clean house on some very good lenses.

  • All lenses here are “good samples” as far as my testing has determined; I never keep bad samples.
  • Nearly all are with original box and packaging (all that stuff up in the attic, I never throw away boxes).
  • My reputation is more important to me than any sale. I would never knowingly sell any gear with an issue. It’s that simple—just not worth it. Local buyers welcome to inspect firsthand.
  • All my glass tends to be pristine. If I see any kind of optical marring, I will note it prior to final sale.
  • Please note that new lenses have dust inside! Used lenses always have some dust, even after a week or two of use. NONE of my gear has ever gone to Burning Man or anything 1/10 that extreme.
  • Overseas is just too much of a hassle, but if payment is made I can hold a lens until buyer visits my area.

LNIB = Like New in Box

Payment as agreed upon. You pay FedEx 3 day shipping and are responsible for any California sales tax, if applicable.

Nikon mount

All Nikon lenses are original USA models—no gray market.

Zeiss sales are because I have the Milvus replacements for the lenses I’m selling. These are all excellent samples, some particularly so.

  • Voigtlander Color-Skopar 28mm f2.8 SL II with lens hood LNIB $550.
  • Voigtlander Ultron 40mm f/2 SL II with lens hood LNIB $340.
  • Nikon 45mm f/2.8 ED PC-E Micro Nikkor $1299. Shows some wear, but perfect glass and mechanical.
  • Nikon AF-S 50mm f/1.4G $250
  • Nikon AF-S 85m f/1.4G $1050
  • Nikon AF 105mm f/2D DC-Nikkor $925 LNIB
  • Zeiss ZF.2 18mm f/3.5 Distagon $875
  • Zeiss ZF.2 21mm f/2.8 Distagon $1150
  • Zeiss ZF.2 35mm f/2 Distagon $825
  • Zeiss ZF.2 50mm f/2 Makro-Planar $875
  • Zeiss ZF.2 100mm f/2 Makro-Planar $1425 (particularly outstanding copy with superb symmetry at distance)

Canon mount

All Canon lenses are original USA models—no gray market.

  • Canon EF 15mm f/2.8 fisheye $525
  • Canon EF 24mm f/2.8 IS USM $400 LNIB
  • Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II $1350 excellent (lens hood has scratches, but lens is very lightly used).
  • Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L $560
  • Zeiss ZE 21mm f/2.8 Distagon: $1225 LNIB
  • Zeiss ZE 50mm f/2 Makro-Planar: $975 LNIB
  • Zeiss ZE 100mm f/2 Makro-Planar: $1375 LNIB

Olympus

  • Olympus E-M1 + Olympus 45mm f/1.8 w/ lens hood + Panasonic 14mm f/2.5 + Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 ASPH + Panasonic DMC-GF3 $1050.
  • Olympus SHG lenses (set of three): 7-14mm f/2, 14-35mm f/2, 35-100mm f/2 with two MMF-3 lens adapters for Micro Four Thirds: $4200 Great choice for videographers. These are the most highly corrected lenses that Olympus makes.

Leica

All Leica lenses are original USA models—no gray market.

  • Leica 28mm f/2 Summicron-M ASPH (prior version but 6-bit coded) $2900. My testing showed no meaningful difference vs the 2016 version.
  • Leica 28mm f/2.8 Elmarit-M ASPH (6-bit coded) $1750.
  • Leica 50mm f/2 APO-Summicron-M ASPH black $6800. I was told by Leica that this was a hand-picked best of batch sample (chosen for me as replacement from original problem run of the 50/2 APO).

Rodenstock and Schneider view camera lenses

All on Linhof Technikardan lens boards, copal shutters.

  • Rodenstock 135mm f/5.6 APO-Sironar-S Copal shutter + Linhof Technikardan lens board $MAKE_OFFE PRISTINE
  • Schneider 400mm f/5.6 APO-TELE-XENAR Copal shutter+ Linhof Technikardan lens board $MAKE_OFFER PRISTINE
  • Fujifilm Fujinon A 240mm f/9
  • Linhof Tecknikdan 4 X 5 View camera with quickload holders and various mounting boards.
SSD Upgrade for MacBook Pro Retina
Internal SSD Wishlist…

B&H Photo NAB Specials

See also my wish lists and top deals pages B&H Photo.

B&H has a variety of specials for the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) show.

Shop all B&H Photo NAB specials.

B&H Photo NAB Specials (partial list)
$3999 SAVE $4000 = 50.0% Canon EOS-1D C Camera in All Other Categories
$299 SAVE $150 = 33.0% GoPro HERO4 Black in Computers: Other
ThunderBay 4 - The Speed To Create. The Capacity To Dream.
Storage Wishlist…

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 about $2999 Meyer-Optik Gorlitz Nocturnus 50mm f/0.95 II Lens for Sony E on request at B&H Photo. It is now shipping, but I am unsure of arrival data as yet.

  • 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.

From what I am reading, the optical design is the same as the Mitakon Zhongyi Speedmaster 50mm f/0.95, which I reviewed back in January. What Meyer-Optik has done is deliver a completely different build around cherry-picked samples.

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 with poor value being inbred at Leica and prices going up yet again next month.

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!

ThunderBay 4 - The Speed To Create. The Capacity To Dream.

Sony FE 100mm f/2.8 STF GM OSS — Portraits

The about $1499 Sony FE 100mm f/2.8 STF GM OSS is a pleasing lens.

At Photoshop World, I had just 3 minutes today to take a few snaps of a skilled and lovely model as seen below (competing with 25 or so other photographers, nearly all with 24-70 or 70-200 zooms, LOL). Me, I just had the Sony 100/2.8 STF GM. I took 82 seconds to fire off 11 frames and dang I love that Sony A7R II focusing.

UPDATE: I’ve posted three samples. Viewed properly at high-res on an late 2015 iMac 5K, the images are stunning.

UPDATE 2: I’ve added the black and white conversion settings and Adobe Camera Raw conversion settings and two more poses using different processing approaches.

Examples: Portrait Model

Includes images up to full resolution in both color and black & white.

I like the Sony 100mm f/2.8 STF GM a lot—it balances very nicely on the Sony A7R II, it’s razor sharp, the focal length is ideal for portraits, and its rendering style is unique even among apodized lenses. The brightness loss of two stops (f/2.8 is as dark as f/5.6) is regrettable as a working challenge, but I applaud Sony’s decision to not go half-way—the results are beautiful (model or not), and I deem the 100/2.8 STF GM a must-have lens for the Sony shooter.

As for the A7R II, the images look fantastic at full res at ISO 1600. The black and white images I’ll take over an Leica M Monochrom any day (far more flexible and more detail). What does it imply for CaNikon or Leica or even medium format when the next-gen Sony hi-res camera will without a doubt improve the performance in every aspect, the 24MP Sony A9 being a technical tour de force ummatched by anything on the market?

__METADATA__
At f/2.8 (camera records as f/5.6 in EXIF)
__METADATA__
__METADATA__

John G writes:

Seems like Sony continues their roll with killer new lens designs.

I thought the picture is quite beautiful. The photograph prompted my email. Stunning tonality—a quality I hesitate to ascribe to the Sony cameras themselves.

DIGLLOYD: the results (at ISO 1600) speak for themselves—stunning. See the full-res images in both color and black and white.

Sony is the most innovative company in the business today—cameras like the A9 and now optics like the 100/2.8 STF GM.

SSD Upgrade for MacBook Pro Retina
Internal SSD Wishlist…

Sony’s New α9 Camera Appears to Target the High-End Sport Shooter Market

Get the about $4499 Sony a9 and about $2499 Sony FE 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 GM OSS at B&H Photo.

I have to laugh a little—starting a few years ago I posited breakthroughs that would challenge the best DSLRs even for sports shooting. I remember many a reader email admonishing me that the blackout issues, the phase detect focusing challenge, etc all made mirrorless inferior and would not be beaten anytime soon, if ever. I had total faith that this viewpoint was in serious error, and even if this new A9 fails in some area(s), time will take if far forward, leaving DSLRs in the dust if indeed that is not now already the case.

Sony Alpha α9 aka ILCE-9

And so here it is complete with zero blackout, 20 fps for 241 RAW images, 693 focus points with 93% frame coverage over far more of the frame than any DSLR can manage, phase-detect (!) autofocus, silent and vibration-free shooting, in body image stabilization (IBIS), 4K video, enhanced pro support services, and more.

I had to do a double take: this is an E-mount camera taking FE lenses from what I understand, so it is a perfect complement to the Sony A7R II. The death knell for the DSLR?

The use of phase-detection points also enables the use of A-mount lenses via the optional LA-EA3 or LA-EA1 lens mount adapters with full continuous AF/AE tracking compatibility.

I have said that Sony was gunning for DSLRs, and this is clearly the case with the A9—the finally “victims” are in the crosshairs: high end sport shooter DSLRs.

The about $4499 price is in the same territory as the high-end pro DSLR cameras, so even the price is consonant with the area of application.

Also announced is the new about $2499 Sony FE 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 GM OSS.

Any revision to the Sony A7R II will surely see at least some of the improvements seen in this new camera—I am hoping the zero blackout feature at last.

Sony’ press release below. Emphasis added

Groundbreaking Full-frame Mirrorless Camera Delivers Unmatched Speed, Versatility and Usability

  • World’s First1 full-frame stacked CMOS sensor, 24.2 MP2 resolution
  • Blackout-Free Continuous Shooting3 at up to 20fps4 for up to 241 RAW5/ 362 JPEG6 images
  • Silent7, Vibration-free shooting at speeds up to 1/32,000 sec8
  • 693 point focal plane phase detection AF points with 60 AF/AE tracking calculations per second
  • Extensive professional features including Ethernet port for file transfer, Dual SD card slots and extended battery life
  • 5-Axis in-body image stabilization with a 5.0 step9 shutter speed advantage
    ...
Sony Alpha α9 aka ILCE-9

NEW YORK, Apr. 19, 2017 – Sony Electronics, a worldwide leader in digital imaging and the world’s largest image sensor manufacturer, has today introduced their new revolutionary digital camera, the α9 (model ILCE-9).

The most technologically advanced, innovative digital camera that Sony has ever created, the new α9 offers a level of imaging performance that is simply unmatched by any camera ever created – mirrorless, SLR or otherwise.

The new camera offers many impressive capabilities that are simply not possible with a modern digital SLR cameras including high-speed, blackout-free continuous shooting at up to 20 fps, 60 AF/AE tracking calculations per second, a maximum shutter speed of up to 1/32,000 seconds and much more. These are made possible thanks to its 35mm full-frame stacked Exmor RS™ CMOS sensor – the world’s first of its kind – which enables data speed processing at up to 20x faster than previous Sony full-frame mirrorless cameras11. This unique sensor is paired with a brand new, upgraded BIONZ X processing engine and front end LSI that maximizes overall performance.

This industry-leading speed and innovative silent shooting7 is combined with a focusing system that features an incredible 693 phase detection AF points. Covering approximately 93% of the frame, the focusing system ensures that even the fasting moving subjects are reliably captured and tracked across the frame.

The new α9 also features a vibration free, fully electronic, completely silent anti-distortion shutter with absolutely no mechanical mirror or shutter noise, making it an extremely powerful photographic tool for any shooting situation that demands quiet operation. To ensure maximum usability and reliability, the camera features a new Z battery with approximately 2.2x the capacity of W batteries, as well as dual SD media card slots, including one that supports UHS-II cards. An Ethernet port (wired LAN terminal) is available as well, and there is a wide variety of new settings, controls and customizability options that are essential for working pros.

“This camera breaks through all barriers and limitations of today’s professional digital cameras, with an overall feature set that simply cannot be matched considering the restrictions of mechanical SLR cameras” said Neal Manowitz, Vice President of Digital Imaging at Sony Electronics. “But what excites us most about the α9 – more than its extensive product specs – is that it allows professionals to see, follow and capture the action in ways that were never before possible, unlocking an endless amount of new creative potential.”

A New Standard of Speed and Focusing Accuracy

Sony Alpha α9 aka ILCE-9

Critical to the record-breaking speed of the new α9 is the combination of the new stacked 24.2 MP2 Exmor RS image sensor, new BIONZ X processor and front end LSI.

The immense processing power from these new components allows for faster AF/AE calculation while also reducing EVF display latency. The processor and front end LSI are also responsible for the larger continuous shooting buffer, enabling photographers to shoot at a blazing 20 fps4 with continuous AF/AE tracking for up to 362 JPEG6 or 241 RAW5 images.

The camera’s innovative AF system tracks complex, erratic motion with higher accuracy than ever before, with the ability to calculate AF/AE at up to 60 times per second(10), regardless of shutter release and frame capture. Further, when the shutter is released while shooting stills, the electronic viewfinder functions with absolutely no blackout, giving the user a seamless live view of their subject at all times (12). This feature truly combines all of the benefits of an electronic viewfinder with the immediacy and “in the moment” advantages that not even the finest optical viewfinders can match, and is available in all still image modes including high speed 20 fps4 continuous shooting.

With 693 focal plane phase detection AF points covering approximately 93% of the frame, the camera ensures improved precision and unfailing focus in scenes where focus might otherwise be difficult to achieve. The Fast Hybrid AF system – pairing the speed and excellent tracking performance of phase detection AF with the precision of contrast AF – achieves approximately 25% faster performance when compared with α7R II, ensuring all fast-moving subjects are captured.

Professional Capabilities in a Compact Body

Sony’s new full-frame camera is equipped with a variety of enhanced capabilities that give it a true professional operational style.

The α9 features an all-new, high-resolution, high-luminance Quad-VGA OLED Tru-Finder with approximately 3,686k dots for extremely accurate, true-to-life detail reproduction. The new Tru-Finder, which is the highest resolution viewfinder ever for a Sony α camera, incorporates an optical design that includes a double-sided aspherical element, helping it to achieve 0.78x magnification and a level of corner to corner sharpness that is simply outstanding. The EVF also utilizes a ZEISS® T* Coating to greatly reduce reflections, and has a fluorine coating on the outer lens that repels dirt.

This all adds up to a luminance that is 2x higher than the XGA OLED Tru-Finder from the α7R II, creating a viewfinder image with a brightness level that is nearly identical to the actual scene being framed, ensuring the most natural shooting experience. The frame rate of the Tru-Finder is even customizable, with options to set it for 60 fps or 120 fps13 to best match the action.

The α9 is equipped with an innovative 5-axis image stabilization system that provides a shutter speed advantage of 5.0 steps 9, ensuring the full resolving power of the new sensor can be realized, even in challenging lighting. Also, with a simple half press of the shutter button, the effect of the image stabilization can be monitored in the viewfinder or on the LCD screen, allowing framing and focus to be accurately checked and continually monitored.

The α9 also offers an Ethernet port (wired LAN terminal), allowing convenient transfer of still image files to a specified FTP server at high-speed, making it an ideal choice for studio photography, high-profile news and sporting events and more. There is a sync terminal as well, enabling external flash units and cables to be connected directly for convenient flash sync.

New Features for Fast Operation

Sony’s new α9 has several new and updated focus functions that support faster, easier focusing in a variety of situations. The camera features a multi-selector joystick on the back of the camera, allowing shooters to easily shift focus point within the frame by pressing the multi-selector in any direction up, down, left or right when shooting in Zone, Flexible Spot or Expanded Flexible Spot focus area modes. The new model also offers touch focusing on the rear LCD screen for easily selecting of and shifting focus towards a desired focus point or subject.

New for Sony E-mount cameras, the α9 includes the addition of separate drive mode and focus mode dials, plus a new “AF ON” button that can be pressed to activate autofocus directly when shooting still images or movies.

Additional new capabilities include the “AF Area Registration”, which allows frequently used focus area to be memorized and recalled via custom button assignments. There is also the ability to assign specific settings (exposure, shutter speed, drive mode, etc) to a custom button to be instantly recalled when needed. The camera can memorize and automatically recall the last focus point used in a vertical or horizontal orientation as well, instantly switching back to it when that specific orientation is used again.

For enhanced customization, a “My Menu” feature is available, allowing up to 30 menu items to be registered in a custom menu for instant recall when needed.

Double Battery Life, Double Memory

The innovative α9 camera features an all-new Sony battery (model NP-FZ100) with 2.2x the capacity of previous Sony full-frame models, allowing for much longer shooting performance.

Also, based on extensive customer feedback, the new camera offers two separate media card slots, including one for UHS-II media. The same data can simultaneously be recorded to both cards, or the user can choose to separate RAW / JPEG or still images / movies. Movies can also simultaneously be recorded to two cards for backup and more efficient data management.

High Sensitivity and Wide Dynamic Range

The unique design of the α9 image sensor represents the pinnacle of Sony device technology. The 24.2 MP 2 full-frame stacked CMOS sensor is back-illuminated, allowing to capture maximum light and produce outstanding, true-to-life image quality. The sensor also enables the diverse ISO range of 100 – 51200, expandable to 50 – 20480014, ensuring optimum image quality with minimum noise at all settings.

The enhanced BIONZ X processor plays a large part in image quality as well, as it helps to minimize noise in the higher sensitivity range while also reducing the need to limit ISO sensitivity in situations where the highest quality image is required.

The new α9 also supports uncompressed 14-bit RAW, ensuring users can get the most out of the wide dynamic range of the sensor.

4K Video Capture

The new α9 is very capable as a video camera as well, as it offers 4K (3840x2160p) video recording across the full width of the full-frame image sensor15, 16. When shooting in this format, the camera uses full pixel readout without pixel binning to collect 6K of information, oversampling it to produce high quality 4K footage with exceptional detail and depth. Recording is also available in the popular Super 35mm size.

Additionally, the camera can record Full HD at 120 fps at up to 100 Mbps, which allows footage to be reviewed and eventually edited into 4x or 5x slow motion video files in Full HD resolution with AF tracking17.

New Accessories

Sony has released a variety of new accessories to compliment the new α9 camera, including:

  • NP-FZ100 Rechargeable Battery – high-capacity battery with approximately 2.2x the capacity of the NP-FW50 W-series battery. It also supports InfoLITHIUM® technology, making it possible to view the remaining battery power as both a percentage display and five step icon on the camera’s LCD screen.
  • VG-C3EM Vertical Grip – provides same operation, handling and design as theα9 camera, doubles battery life and allows USB battery-charging via the camera body.
  • NPA-MQZ1K Multi-Battery Adaptor Kit – External multi-battery adaptor kit capable of functioning as an external power supply for four Z series batteries and as a quick charger. Kit comes with two packs of NP-FZ100 rechargeable batteries.
  • GP-X1EM Grip Extension – Grip extender with same look, feel and design as α9 body. Enables more solid hold on camera.
  • FDA-EP18 Eyepiece Cup –eye piece cup with locking mechanism
  • BC-QZ1 Battery Charger –quick-charging battery charger. Charges one new Z series battery in approximately 2.5 hours.
  • PCK–LG1 Screen Protect Glass Sheet – hard, shatterproof glass screen protector with anti-stain coating to prevent fingerprints. Compatible with touch operation and tilting LCD screen

Pricing and Availability

The Sony α9 Full-frame Interchangeable Lens Camera will ship this May for about $4,500 US and $6,000 CA. It will be sold at a variety of Sony authorized dealers throughout North America.

Notes to Editors:

  1. As of April 19th, 2017
  2. Approx. effective
  3. Electronic shutter mode. At apertures smaller than F11 (F-numbers higher than F11), focus will not track the subject and focus points will be fixed on the first frame. Display updating will be slower at slow shutter speeds.
  4. “Hi” continuous shooting mode. The maximum frame rate will depend on the shooting mode and lens used. Visit Sony’s support web page for lens compatibility information.
  5. “Hi” continuous shooting mode, compressed RAW, UHS-II memory card. Sony tests.
  6. “Hi” continuous shooting mode, UHS-II memory card. Sony tests.
  7. Silent shooting is possible when Shutter Type is set to “Electronic” and Audio signals is set to “Off.”
  8. 1/32000 shutter speed is available only in the S and M modes. The highest shutter speed in all other modes is 1/16000.
  9. CIPA standards. Pitch/yaw stabilization only. Planar T* FE 50mm F1.4 ZA lens. Long exposure NR off.
  10. At shutter speeds higher than 1/125 sec, smooth and blackout-free live view images are shown in EVF.
  11. Compared to the front-illuminated CMOS image sensor in the α7 II.
  12. Display updating will be slower at slow shutter speeds.
  13. When the auto or electronic shutter mode is selected the viewfinder frame rate is fixed at 60 fps during continuous shooting.
  14. Still images, mechanical shutter: ISO 100 – 51200 expandable to ISO 50 – 204800.
    Still images, electronic shutter: ISO 100 – 25600 expandable to ISO 50 – 25600.
    Movie recording: ISO 100 – 51200 expandable to ISO 100 – 102400.
  15. In full-frame shooting, the angle of view will be narrower under the following conditions: When [File Format] is set to [XAVC S 4K] and [ Record Setting] is set to [30p]
  16. Class 10 or higher SDHC/SDXC memory card required for XAVC S format movie recording. UHS Speed Class U3 required for 100Mbps or higher recording.
  17. Sound not recorded. Class 10 or higher SDHC/SDXC memory card required.

Buttons look to be very similar to the Sony A7R II, but I deem them too small and tight as compared to a Nikon or Canon pro body, and not laid out well for quick and easy access including with gloves on in cold conditions.

Sony Alpha α9 aka ILCE-9
Sony Alpha α9 aka ILCE-9

Reader comments

James P writes:

Unfortunately just because they announce this camera the PRO sports shooter market will still be controlled by both Nikon and Canon. Why, simply because of their PRO support, both Canon and Nikon have outstanding service to the pro users, expediting repairs, loaners and being on site for equipment issues at major events.

Sony is making nothing but disposable, cheaply made cameras that will not hold up to the demands of a working sports photographer, Period. They are toys and when they break, where do you send them, you don’t, you buy a new one. Sony is an electronics company, not a PRO camera maker. I had a A7II for all of one month, nice file, but too small and a menu system that is not user friendly, a flash system or should I say no flash system that can compete with both Nikon and Canon. It’s great to dream, but there are PRO camera makers, such as Nikon, Canon, Hasselblad, Phase and Leica that may not have all the things you want in a camera but have the most important thing that a PRO depends on and that is service of their products and support to the working PRO, those that make a livelihood using their gear depend on that.

DIGLLOYD: the market will decide this point, not assertions by me or anyone else.

I’ll be the first to agree that I Sony’s professional services program remains a weak point, but note that Sony is opening walk-in centers in Los Angelese and New York, so clearly the point is not lost on Sony. It’s a move forward, just like the A9.

As for “disposable cheaply made cameras”, I don’t dismiss an as yet unseen camera out of hand before even giving it a chance. And while I know that Sony has had some issues, my A7R II has worked flawlessly since I got it—more than I can say for Leica or Hasselblad or Fujifilm.

As for Leica being taken seriously as a 'pro' system, this is surely a joke (!) to list it with Nikon and Canon! There are/were terrible problems with the S system (now defunct), the M system has left users like me hung out to dry and the SL system is too little, too late and too little even now.

Bottom line here is that this note seems based on the past. I don’t hold the past against any vendor, if they march down the right path going forward.

Roy P writes:

The focus has always been accurate even with my A7RM2 and Canon 200-400 lens with both the internal and an external 1.4x TC, for a net focal length of 784 mm. Haven’t done pathological test cases like with low contrast subjects in very low light, but at least in reasonable light, the focus is always spot on.

The question is the speed of focus acquisition and tracking. The A7R focus acquisition is not bad with an MC-11, but the Canon 5DSR is noticeably faster, and the 1DX2 is instantaneous. So I am interested to know if this is a camera or adapter limitation, or both. So I’ll be looking at how much better the AF performance will be with the A9 , and whether the adapter makes any difference.

Nikon and Canon users have been staying with their DSLRs because mostly due to their glass investments. Also, Sony has been perceived as inspired by consumer electronics and not photography, and somewhat toy grade. I think all of that instantly changed with the A9, and there are going to be thousands of people wondering if the time has come to make a switch.

A 24MP weather sealed camera with dual cards, 20 fps, almost 700 AF points, silent shooting, unblocked view and sensor stabilization that weighs less than a half of a 1DX2 or D4/D5 is impossible to ignore. So the first question that’s likely to be running in the heads of any Nikon / Canon user who heard about the A9 is likely to be how well will my lenses autofocus with the A9. I got that exact question from a friend in the U.K. who owns a 1DX2 and 5DSR, and several Canon lenses.

I think the A9 is a whack on the head with a baseball bat for Canon and Nikon. Any 2-3 of the enhancements below would merit a switch to a different system. This list should trigger a stampede, to get out before others start putting up their gear on eBay:

  • 24MP resolution, which is more important than just in landscapes, because a lot of action images are heavily cropped, esp. birds in flight. The extra pixels are invaluable in capturing detail.
  • 20 fps likely doubles the yield of in-focus frames from a burst of shots
  • 693 in-sensor PDAF points must be amazing
  • 60 times per second focus measurement to set focus, unprecedented
  • Zero black outs, so much easier to keep the subject in sight
  • Silent shooting
  • Large buffer size
  • Half the weight and bulk
  • Sony’s CEO must have told his team “Look fellas, watching a crucifixion might be entertaining, but we have a lot of work to do, and we don’t have time. Let’s just go for the slaughter.”

DIGLLOYD:

ThunderBay 4 - The Speed To Create. The Capacity To Dream.

Fujifilm Announces 23mm f/4 and 110mm f/2 Lenses for GFX

Fujifilm today announced the new about $2599 Fujifilm GF 23mm f/4 R WR and new about $2799 Fujifilm GF 110mm f/2 R WR.

My review pages are stubbed out for the 23mm f/4 and the 110mm f/2 and will be fleshed out when these lenses become available, with an anticipated ship date of late June. Available for pre-order now.

Separately, there is a rumor of a firmware update for the Fujifilm GFX which might address autofocus performance. I am hoping it deals with the erratic and highly variable autofcus performance I saw with both GFX bodies I used.

FUJINON GF23mmF4 R LM WR Lens

The FUJINON GF 23mm F4 R LM WR Lens has a focal length equivalent to 18mm in the 35mm format and is perfectly suited for landscape and architectural applications. Despite the super-wide angle of view, distortion is kept to a minimum, and with the high-resolution performance extending all the way to the edges, sharp depiction power as if looking at an actual landscape is achieved.

FUJINON GF110mmF2 R LM WR Lens

The FUJINON GF 110mm F2 R LM WR Lens is a medium telephoto lens for portraits. With a focal length equivalent to 87mm in the 35mm format, it achieves a brightness of F2.0 when used wide open to deliver beautiful bokeh. The high resolving power of the area in focus and the rich bokeh unique to medium-format large-diameter lenses depicts portraits with a realistic three-dimensional feel.

GFX View Camera Adapter G

The GFX View Camera Adapter G allows the GFX 50S to be used as a digital back. The view camera adapter allows the GFX 50S to be mounted to the standard graflock-type back of a view camera*. This allows the use of FUJINON large format camera lenses, such as the CM-W FUJINON lens series. The camera or lens shutter can be triggered, allowing the user to choose the optimum method. The large image circle and the bellows of the view camera can be used with tilt, shift and swing movements, effective for product and architectural photography.

*There may be instances in which the adapter cannot be mounted depending on the shape of the view camera.

OWC Thunderbolt 2 Dock
Review of Thunderbolt 2 Dock

First Look: Sony FE 100mm f/2.8 STF GM OSS Aperture Series: Dolls

The about $1499 Sony FE 100mm f/2.8 STF GM OSS is a curious beast.

I’ve taken my first look at how it behaves—off to Photoshop World tomorrow.

Sony FE 100mm f/2.8 STF GM OSS Aperture Series: Dolls

Includes images up to full resolution, from f/2.8 through f/11.

In EXIF data, the A7R II records f/5.6 for f/2.8, f/6.3 for f/4, and f/7.1 for f/5.6, which is confusing post-shot; one has to interpret in reverse to determine what was used. I deem this a bug because it corrupts the definition of f-stop vs T-stop. It also conflicts with Sony specifications: claim f/2.8 but record f/5.6? It’s not a good approach—let f-stop be f-stop and leave it at that.

At f/2.8 (camera records as f/5.6)
__METADATA__
Save big on Used Macs at OWC!
Mac Pro, Mac Mini, iMac, MacBook, MacBook Pro, iPad, Displays
Certified, and warranted by OWC
✓ Free shipping and 14-day money back guarantee

SSD Speed Anyone?

In case you need serious speed, OWC will be showing something at NAB that hits speeds that were reserved for RAM not that long ago.

State of the art SSD speed
ThunderBay 4 - The Speed To Create. The Capacity To Dream.
Storage Wishlist…

Fujifilm GFX Dynamic Range: Kitchen HDR

I admit to being fascinated with the quality possible from the Fujifilm GFX—I mean, I just cannot do this sort of thing (quality and detail) with the Canon 5DS, not even close. And in the other direction, I am disappointed once again by the flaky autofocus of the GFX.

Accordingly, I’m showing another dynamic range example which might be the most impressive example yet; this one follows the Grant Lake and Lundy Canyon Boulders examples.

Black and white conversions often place greater demands on pixel quality, so this example offers both color and black and white renditions, with two exposures, one that requires 2.8 stops push and one 3.46 stops push (plus maximal shadow boost).

Fujifilm GFX Real World Dynamic Range: Kitchen

Presented in both color and black and white. Includes images up to full resolution, ACR processing settings and RawDigger histograms. The black and white results are particularly beautiful, reminiscent of the best black and white film.

Below, faux HDR gross underexposure (to preserve the outdoor elements) combined with a 2.8 stop push and +100 shadow boost and -100 highlights.

__METADATA__
Which Camera System / Lenses Should I Get?
✓ Get the best system for your needs the first time: diglloyd photographic consulting.

Reader Perspectives on the Hasselblad X1D and Fujifilm GFX

Michael Erlewine has bought, tried and returned both the Fujifilm GFX system and the Hasselbld X1D system.

Different purposes may lead to different conclusions and decisions, but his comments may be of use to prospective purchasers of these systems, at least as food for thought:

Reader Comments on Hasselblad X1D, With Responses

Reader Comments on Fujifilm GFX System, With Responses

 
Fujifilm GFX and Hasselblad X1D

 

Mac Pro or iMac or MacBook Pro?
Storage, Backup, RAID?
Buy now or wait?

✓ diglloyd consulting starts you out on solid footing.

Fujifilm GF 32-64mm f/4 Examples, Eastern Sierra

These examples taken in the Eastern Sierra Nevada of California.

Fujifilm GF 32-64mm f/4 Examples, Eastern Sierra

Includes images up to full resolution.

The Fujinon GF 32-64mm f/4 has potential—if one can get a good copy.

It was terribly disappointing to come back with many images, of which these are only a small sampling, to find that always the right side is blurred when focused at distance from what appears to be strong lens skew. How does such a lens get shipped to customers? It is a medium format system (not entry-level APS-C), and this is unacceptable quality control.

Violent winds whip across Grant Lake, whose dry spillway will almost certainly be needed for the 2017 snowmelt.

Grant Lake, part of the June Lake loop
__METADATA__

Jason W writes:

I really like your shots on the GFX 50s. I think the aspect ratio and your composition style work well together.

Additionally, you've changed my opinion of the quality of the images the GFX 50s is capable of. Most samples I had seen before didn't look that great, but given the baseline of your other FF images compared to the new shots you've posted, the quality is definitely there.

DIGLLOYD: I have always liked the 4:3 aspect ratio. Many times it works better than 3:2, and I always found 17:6 (as with Linhhof Technorama 617S IIi) difficult.

I am now persuaded that the GFX sensor (meaning the final output from sensor and electronics together) exceeds the quality possible from the Nikon D810 and yields 50 megapixels instead of 36. That’s setting aside lens selection and optical performance, focusing problems and lens skew and so on, just speaking in terms of sensor quality. The lenses are definitely the weak point in a variety of ways, all practical and image-impacting. But when things go the right way, the results are very satisfying.

Fujifilm GFX Dynamic Range: Grant Lake

In practice it is all too easy to underexpose so as not to blow highlights, which for most cameras results in quality losses that drop below an acceptable threshold for darker areas. So I see this comparison as highly relevant in choosing a camera system. That is why I have long favored the Nikon D810 with its ultra-clean ISO 64 over any Canon offering.

Two frames are shown here, both at f/8. One frame was shot two stops underexposed accidentally (1/1000). A moment later, the frame was shot again with two stops more exposure (1/250). I wondered how well the image quality would hope with the underexposed frame versus the optimal exposure frame, particularly given the shadow boost and push and fairly aggressive sharpening of Amount = 25.

Black and white conversions often place greater demands on pixel quality, since some color channels may be emphasized and those channels by themselves may be noisier and/or just become noisier by being, in effect, pushed considerably. For that reason black and white renditions are also shown in this example.

Fujifilm GFX Real World Dynamic Range: Grant Lake

Presented in both color and black and white. Includes images up to full resolution, ACR processing settings and RawDigger histograms.

This image could not have been made with color reversal film; it would have consisted of a nearly black foreground in order to capture the sky without blowing out. Aggressive contrast control was used to brighten the foreground area, including a 2.5 stop push for the underexposed image.

__METADATA__

Fujifilm GFX + 63mm f/2.8 Aperture Series: Three Pines

I’ve more or less gravitated to the Fujifilm GF 63mm f/2.8 as the most reliable lens for the Fujifilm GFX, although I can’t stand its cheap feel: a whiny focusing motor and a front that tends to pinch my finger with its in/out non-internal focusing reminiscent of the crummiest 50/1.8 lenses from CaNikon.

Fujifilm GF 63mm f/2.8

Still, with a little stopping down the results with the 63/2.8 are very nice—a combination of very high sensor quality and very good lens performance.

Sometimes its left/right skew works out well, as in the Aspen and Firs by Lee Vining Creek series, and sometimes the lens skew is a problem until f/9 or so, as in this series, plain to see:

Fujifilm GF 63mm f/2.8 Aperture Series: Three Pines

Image sizes up to full resolution from f/2.8 through f/11.

It’s disappointing to find that 2 of the 3 GF lenses have lens skew (63/2.8 and the 32-64/34 zoom, the 120/4 is symmetric), but many vendors have such issues. Still, given the price of the system, I expect more. The lenses look nice but I wonder what the quality of the innards is like, and how rigorous the alignment can be, and whether it will deviate over time.

Three Pines, Lee Vining Canyon
__METADATA__

Larry J writes:

Just wanted to compliment you on the splendid Lee Vining creek photo. I can just imagine it printed 48" on the long side, hung and properly lighted. Beautiful image.

DIGLLOYD: yes, it should hold up beautifully at 48 inches (1.22 meters). It really looks fantastic on an iMac 5K filling the screen... the detail and pixel quality right into the dark tones is really beautiful. I look forward to seeing 8K displays arrive, which is one reason I am publishing my medium format work at full-res. I also look forward to a 75 to 100 megapixel image sensor, see next note.

Dr S writes:

If Fuji were to be able to correct via firmware (don't know if that is even a possibility) their AF anomalies, and correct focus shift, would the system rise to a "reference" standard for Lloyd Chambers? BTW it also seems that moiré from your examples can be a pesky issue at times.

DIGLLOYD: yes—the sensor is fabulous, setting aside the severe moiré issues which may make the camera problematic for some professionals, be it product photography, architecture, fabrics and clothing, etc.

The GFX moiré is as strong as I’ve seen with any camera (and shown in most of my examples), and may stem from Fujifilm’s custom sensor design that enhances sharpness. IMO, it is critical to get to a 100 megapixel sensor if only to reduce the moiré issues.


MacPerformanceGuide.com

diglloyd Inc. | FTC Disclosure | PRIVACY POLICY | Trademarks | Terms of Use
Contact | About Lloyd Chambers | Consulting | Photo Tours
RSS Feeds | Twitter
Copyright © 2008-2017 diglloyd Inc, all rights reserved.