Welcome to diglloyd.com
In-depth review coverage is by subscription.
Also by Lloyd: MacPerformanceGuide.com and WindInMyFace.com
First-time visitor
SSD upgrade that takes full advantage of APFS

Lenses Coming for Review for Sony Mirrorless

Get Zeiss Loxia 25mm f/2.4 and other Zeiss Loxia and Zeiss Batis at B&H Photo. See Sony mirrorless wish list.

In Guide to Mirrorless, my review of the Zeiss Loxia 25mm f/2.4 is in progress. I’ll be shooting it a lot in the field in the coming weeks.

Other lenses below are on the menu to be fit in to the degree they perform with something worthwhile or interesting.

Update Feb 16: the Voigtlander 40/2 is really nicely built, harkening back to the Zeiss ZF series. The Venus Optics Laowa 12mm f/2.8 looks promising but I have yet to use it in the field.

I’ll be intermittent for several days as I’m riding 200 miles on Feb 17 and then I am having a 2nd 5 kilowatt battery wired up in my Mercedes Sprinter photography adventure van at ADF Sprinters.

Venus Optics Laowa 12mm f/2.8 Zero-D

Laowa claims zero optical distortion for the about $949 Laowa 12mm f/2.8 Zero-D , which would be quite an accomplishment, and very useful under the right conditions. It should be interesting to see how it performance on sharpness.

Venus Optics Laowa 12mm f/4 Zero-D

Sergey Z writes:

I wanted to bring to your attention the REAL reason in my opinion for owning this lens -- the combination of:
(1) really short minimal focusing distance
(2) f/2.8
3) very interesting quality "smudge" bokeh This lens produces very interesting (in my view) results when used wide-open focused on a subject located roughly at its minimal focusing distance and with interesting stuff in the background.

I highly recommend you take some images like that during your review as I predict you will be surprised by the results (though you may disagree with me on the goodness of the bokeh, since it is very subjective and quite pronounced).

DIGLLOYD: the ZF.2 Zeiss 25mm f/2.8 Distagon is poorly corrected for close distance focusing which is nearly right at the front lens element, and its rendering there is very interesting. I’ll certainly check it out with the Laowa 12m f/2.8.

Voigtlander Nokton 40mm f/1.2 Aspherical

The about $1099 Voigtlander Nokton 40mm f/1.2 Aspherical offers the highest lens speed available for a normal lens on Sony. It remains to be seen if f/1.2 makes any real difference over f/1.4, that is, whether its T-stop is more like T/1.4.

The lens looks beautifully built and attractive to the eye—compare to the generic blah of the Samyng 35/2.8 and the Sony 85/1.4 further below, both of which look like cheap plastic yuck.

Voigtlander Nokton 40mm f/1.2 Aspherical

Samyang 35mm f/2.8

The about $349 Samyang 35mm f/2.8 competes against the about $698 Sony/Zeiss Sonnar T* FE 35mm f/2.8 ZA. At half the price some skepticism is warranted as to performance. Since I don’t have the Sony 35/2.8, I’ll be pitting it against the Zeiss Loxia 35mm f/2 Biogon.

Compact it is, but it sure looks unserious compared to the Voigtlander 40/1.2.

Samyang 35mm f/2.8

Sony 85mm f/1.8

The about $548 Sony FE 85mm f/1.8 is a much less expensive alternative to the about $1798 Sony FE 85mm f/1.4 GM. Since I don’t have the Sony 35/2.8, I’ll be pitting it against the Zeiss Loxia 85mm f/2.4 Sonnar. I can’t say I have much if any interest in shooting the Sony 85/1.8, but it’s worth a look to establish where it stands on image quality.

Upgrade Your Mac Memory
At much lower cost than Apple, with more options.
Lloyd recommends 64GB for iMac or Mac Pro for photography/videography.

New Zeiss Loxia 25mm f/2.4 Distagon

Get Zeiss Loxia 25mm f/2.4 and other Zeiss Loxia and Zeiss Batis at B&H Photo. See Sony mirrorless wish list.

Zeiss Loxia 25mm f/2.4 Distagon

In Guide to Mirrorless, my review of the Zeiss Loxia 25mm f/2.4 is in progress. I’ll be shooting it a lot in the field in the coming weeks.

The about $1299 Zeiss Loxia 25mm f/2.4 Distagon debuts in February 2018 for the full-frame Sony A7 series. As an all-new Distagon design, it is ray angle friendly and optimized for Sony digital sensors.

  • E-Mount Lens/Full-Frame Format
  • Aperture Range: f/2.4 to f/22
  • Distagon Optical Design
  • 2 Anomalous Partial Dispersion Elements
  • 1 Aspherical element
  • Zeiss T* Anti-Reflective Coating
  • Manual Focus Design
  • Manual Aperture Can Be De-Clicked
  • All-Metal Barrel, Engraved Scales
  • Weather-Resistant Lens Mount Gasket

In the field, I’ve been very impressed with the optical performance.

MTF of the Zeiss Loxia 25mm f/2.4 is world-class and (for context) far exceeds lenses that of the Leica 24mm f/1.4 Summilux-M ASPH and with a much flatter field; it is similar to the MTF of the Leica 24mm f/3.8 Elmar-M ASPH only a bit better, at more than a stop faster.

Along with its Loxia 21mm f/2.8, Loxia 35mm f/2, Loxia 50mm f/2 and Loxia 85mm f/2.4 siblings, a very compact travel kit takes minimal room compared to DSLR solutions or mirrorless zooms of similar speed. I would call such a kit the ideal hiker’s photography kit (along with the Sony A7R III).

Specifications for Zeiss Loxia 85mm f/2.4 Sonnar
Focal length: 25mm
Aperture scale: f/2.4 - f/22
Number of lens elements/groups 10 elements in 8 groups
Lens diaphragm: 10 blades, straight-edged
(makes pronounced diffraction stars)
Angular field (diag./horiz./vert.) 81.25° / 70.93° / 50.49°
Focusing range: 25 cm / 9.84 inches - inf
Free working distance at MOD: 16.3 cm / 6.42 inches
Flange focal distance: 18 mm = 0.71 in
Coverage at close range (MOD): 231.1 x 154.1 mm = 9.10 x 6.07 in
Image ratio at MOD: 1:6.4
Rotation angle of focusing (focus throw): 90°
Entrance pupil position, in front of image plane: 64.5mm = 2.54 in
Diameter of image field 43.3mm
Flange focal distance: 18.0mm
Filter thread 52mm
Weight: 393g = .987 lb
Length : 74.5 mm = 2.93 in without lens caps
87.6 mm = 3.45 in with lens caps
Diameter max 62.0 mm = 2.44 in
List price: about $TBD
Zeiss Loxia 25mm f/2.4 Distagon

The New ZEISS Loxia 2.4/25 – Flexibility for Photography On-the-Go

With this compact wide-angle lens, ZEISS is adding a new focal length of modest proportions to its Loxia lens family.

OBERKOCHEN, 14 February 2018

With the ZEISS Loxia 2.4/25 compact wide-angle lens, ZEISS is adding a new focal length to its lens family that will benefit both landscape and architectural photographers: "High resolution across the entire image as well as low distortion ensure the perfect result," says Product Manager Christophe Casenave. "The compact lens delivers great images thanks to the new optical design." The ZEISS Loxia 2.4/25 also features high-quality mechanical parts, and the durable metal housing makes this a reliable lens for photographers on the road.

The right companion for years to come

Small, robust and versatile: the lenses in the ZEISS Loxia family for mirrorless cameras in the Sony Alpha series are particularly well-suited for street and travel photographers who love being inconspicuous as they capture special moments in cities and in nature without carrying around a lot of equipment.

The compact design of the ZEISS Loxia lenses has been specially developed for the mirrorless full-frame Sony E-mount cameras. Used in tandem, the lens and camera enable filmmakers and photographers to achieve a high-quality result, while the equipment's modest dimensions ensure users always have whatever they need with them.

"This is a significant advantage for anyone who wants to blend into the background and is also on the road a lot," says Product Manager Casenave. The all-round talent from the ZEISS Loxia family is also great for filming.

Bringing creativity to life through precise, manual focusing

Traditional photography and cutting-edge technology all in one: with the ZEISS Loxia 2.4/25, photographers can let their artistic creativity run free. "A steady hand and the manual focusing means users achieve impressive results," says Casenave.

The electronic interface for the ZEISS Loxia 2.4/25 transfers both lens data and focus movements to the Sony camera and then activates the focus peaking or the zoom function. Demanding photographers can achieve a wide range of creative possibilities thanks to precise, manual focusing, including a retro look and feel.

Precise and sophisticated – the ZEISS Loxia lens family featuring five focal lengths between 21 and 85 millimeters gives users a large number of creative possibilities when taking photographs . Page 1 or filming because of its technical refinement, linking traditional photography with modern technology.

A strong all-rounder for taking photographs and filming

The ZEISS Loxia family comprises five lenses with focal lengths between 21 and 85 millimeters. The lenses with manual focusing are all compact, durable and do not draw too much attention. With these lightweight companions, photographers and filmmakers have the necessary equipment and flexibility they need while on the road.

The ZEISS Loxia lenses along with all the accessories have the same diameter and enable users to quickly and easily switch between different focal lengths during a shoot. The lenses offer the optimum foundation for capturing photographs and filming, both individually and as a set. These strong all-round talents excel at a wide range of uses.

Price and availability

The ZEISS Loxia 2.4/25 will be available at the ZEISS Webshop and at dealers from March 2018. The price of the new ZEISS Loxia 2.4/25 is €1,299 (incl. German VAT) or $1,299 US (excl. local taxes). The lens hood is included. Filmmakers can look forward to a special offer on a set comprising all five ZEISS Loxia focal lengths ranging from 21 to 85 millimeters.

For more information, please visit https://www.zeiss.com/photo/loxia2425

Zeiss Loxia lens line
Our trusted photo rental store

What Can an iMac Pro 18 Core Do? Coming Next Week to Find Out

See the MPG recommendations for iMac Pro, backup, peripherals. Not sure which Mac to get or how to configure it? Consult with MPG.

My in-depth comparative review of the Apple iMac Pro evaluates the 8-core and two models of the 10-core 2017 iMac Pro against the 2017 iMac 5K and the 2010 and 2013 Mac Pro.

Both B&H Photo and OWC / MacSales.com made those comparisons possible, so I thank you for clicking through links on this site and buying your Mac and other gear at those vendors.

B&H Photo has graciously agreed to send me a loaner of the Apple 2017 iMac Pro 18-core 128GB 2TB Vega 64. I expect it early next week (Feb 20 or so), and I am eager to see if an 18-core CPU with 128GB and Vega 64 can crank out something compelling for photography work.

2017 iMac Pro Pricing for top-end configuration

Buying an iMac Pro or iMac 5K

Go in with eyes wide open—marketing hype is neither workflow efficiency, nor value.

Before spending for an iMac Pro, review all the shootout tests with the iMac Pro, along the following articles:

Backup, peripherals, etc

Budget for peripherals as well.

Backup

Everyone should have an absolute minimum of two backups drives and preferably four: two always-attached, and two offsite. Single drives best for offsite backup (separable and multiply redundant on power supply).

The Thunderbay 4 makes an excellent “always attached” backup unit for Time Machine and clones (use the drives individually in most cases, not RAID).

Primary storage

Most photographers are going to need large storage like the OWC Thunderbay 4 (Thunderbolt 3 version).

Note: the Thunderbay 4 is a terrific solution (I have 5 of them) but a Thunderbolt 3 version should be out soon. Hard drives go into the Thunderbay 4 or an external enclosure.

Port expansion

To attach Mini DisplayPort display, the OWC Thunderbolt 3 Dock is best.

See also OWC Offers Dual DisplayPort and dual HDMI Adapter for Thunderbolt 3 Macs or PCs.

Peripherals

B&H Deal ZoneDeals by Brand/Category/Savings
Deals expire in 19 hours unless noted. Certain deals may last longer.
$1999 SAVE $800 = 28.0% Canon EOS 5D Mark III DSLR in Cameras: DSLR

Shootout: Zeiss Milvus 15mm f/2.8 Distagon vs Nikon 14mm f/2.8D ED: Alpine Creek, Low View

See my Zeiss DSLR lens wish list and get Zeiss Milvus at B&H Photo.

This series is a close-range evaluation of sharpness of the Zeiss Milvus 15mm f/2.8 versus the about $1892 Nikon AF NIKKOR 14mm f/2.8D ED. At this close range, many a lens breaks down in the outer zones and/or shows excessive field curvature and/or color correction. and/or reduced micro contrast.

Zeiss Milvus 15mm f/2.8 Distagon vs Nikon 14mm f/2.8D ED: Alpine Creek, Low View

Includes images from f/2.8 through f/11 at up to full camera resolution, with commentary and large crops. Also includes a 3-frame focus stack at f/11.

As this was written, the ZF.2 and ZE predecessors of the Milvus 15mm f/2.8 are a whopping $1051 off for both Nikon and Canon mount. Those non-Milvus versions differ only in slightly less good lens coatings and are priced essentially the same as the about $1892 Nikon 14mm f/2.8D ED, making the Zeiss lenses a screaming deal.

f4 @ 4.0 sec, ISO 64; 2018-02-10 17:45:35
NIKON D850 + Zeiss Milvus 2.8/15 ZF.2

[low-res image for bot]
Screaming Deal on Zeiss 15mm f/2.8 Distagon
$1899 SAVE $1051 = 35.0% ZEISS 15mm f/2.8 Distagon T* ZE in Lenses: DSLR

Shootout: Zeiss Milvus 15mm f/2.8 Distagon vs Nikon 14mm f/2.8D ED: Spring Leaves on Riparian Tree

See my Zeiss DSLR lens wish list and get Zeiss Milvus at B&H Photo.

This series is a medium-far evaluation of sharpness, color correction, flare, etc of the Zeiss Milvus 15mm f/2.8 versus the about $1892 Nikon AF NIKKOR 14mm f/2.8D ED.

Zeiss Milvus 15mm f/2.8 Distagon vs Nikon 14mm f/2.8D ED: Spring Leaves on Riparian Tree

Includes images from f/2.8 through f/11 at up to full camera resolution, with commentary and large crops.

As this was written, the ZF.2 and ZE predecessors of the Milvus 15mm f/2.8 are a whopping $1051 off for both Nikon and Canon mount. Those non-Milvus versions differ only in slightly less good lens coatings and are priced essentially the same as the about $1892 Nikon 14mm f/2.8D ED, making the Zeiss lenses a screaming deal.

Screaming Deal on Zeiss 15mm f/2.8 Distagon
$1899 SAVE $1051 = 35.0% ZEISS 15mm f/2.8 Distagon T* ZE in Lenses: DSLR
f2.8 @ 1/4 sec, ISO 64; 2018-02-10 17:19:07
NIKON D850 + Zeiss Milvus 2.8/15 ZF.2

[low-res image for bot]
Rigorously lab tested and OWC certified.

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. Buyer pays FedEx 3 day shipping and buyer is responsible for California sales tax, if applicable. Local inspection/pickup if you are close to Palo Alto, CA.

Mac gear

$2400 2015 iMac 5K: 1TB SSD, 64GB memory, 4.0 GHz, AMD Radeon R9 M395X GPU (4GB GDDR5), keyboard and mouse. Covered under Applecare (transferable) until November 2018. Very lightly used (2nd machine).

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.

Canon mount

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

  • Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM, LNIB, in box $1500

The following Zeiss lenses for Canon are for sale because I almost always shoot Nikon and I have them all for Nikon:

Olympus

Leica

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

Rodenstock and Schneider view camera lenses

All on Linhof Technikardan lens boards, copal shutters.

  • FOR SALE Rodenstock 135mm f/5.6 APO-Sironar-S Copal shutter + Linhof Technikardan lens board $1200 PRISTINE
  • FOR SALE Schneider 400mm f/5.6 APO-TELE-XENAR Copal shutter+ Linhof Technikardan lens board $1500 PRISTINE
  • FOR SALE Linhof Tecknikdan 4 X 5 View camera with quickload holders and various mounting boards $500

Update on the 2018 Influenza Virus

For more on health, see my articles on health and nutrition at WindInMyFace.com.

Back in January I posted an off-topic editorial, Heads Up: 2017/2018 Flu Worst in a Decade or More, Killing Young and Old. I strongly recommend reading that post—this is no ordinary flu this year, and pneumonia can be very serious, very fast (personal experience, 3 times)—and be instigated by the flu.

Do NOT assume the flu cannot kill you quickly. Also, the already very bad H3N2 influenza variant out there could mutate into something 1000 times more deadly—no one can see that coming or say that it won’t happen. Get your flu shot, it is still not too late given how the disease is still killing people.

...

Here is one tragic story of a healthy adult succumbing quickly:

The Deadly Flu No One Saw Coming

Actually, the recent Smithsonian had a fascinating article on the 1918 killer flu, including how the US government suppressed the truth and made matters much worse, and millions died. Along with an article on a potential universal flu vaccine.

Contrary to the WSJ, plenty of people have seen it coming in general—a 1918 type variant is only a matter of time. Fortunately, it seems that 2018 is not the year in spite of it being the 100th year anniversary.

From the WSJ article:

Thousands of people have been treated at hospitals, including seemingly healthy adults, marking the worst season in a decade.

Heather Holland, a second-grade teacher, came home feeling a little sick on the last Monday in January. “It just sounded like her throat was scratchy,” said her husband, Frank Holland, a discomfort easy to ignore at first for a working mother. Over the next days, she made seemingly inconsequential decisions, including skipping a medicine because of the cost.

Then her symptoms suddenly worsened, eventually sending Ms. Holland, 38 years old, to the hospital, on the brink of death.

...

On Saturday night, after blood tests showed she had sepsis, an extreme complication of infections, she was put on dialysis, Mr. Holland said. He and other family members rubbed her hands and feet to warm them. Her circulation, he said, “was going by the wayside.”

Doctors told the family that Ms. Holland’s recovery was looking unlikely. On Sunday morning, Mr. Holland called his mother to bring the couple’s children.

Ms. Holland opened her eyes to look at her young boy and girl. “She’d hold them open as long as she could, then she’d close them, then open them again a little bit,” he said. “That was her way of telling them goodbye.”

She died soon after, on Feb. 4, six days after coming home from school with a scratchy throat.

The 1918 flu killed people in 2 days or so. But 6 days with the flue and it’s all over—pretty damn scary. Today I went out for various errands—I washed my hands 3 times and used hand sanitizer 3 times and refused to shake hands with anyone—take it seriously like that and the disease has one less vector by which to spread.

Physician James A writes:

Nice write up on the dangers of flu. Try to have a stock of Tamiflu at your house. Taken during the prodrome, it can really help.

DIGLLOYD: I kept some for years after the last nasty flu outbreak, fortunately never needed, but this seems like sound advice to me: if a bad flu strain breaks out, it will be impossible to obtain for all but a few.

Face Masks

Wearing a mask during a dusty double century

Jeff K writes:

You make an important point about this flu.

I was nailed last year, in April, after traveling through five countries in 2 months, 3 in Europe and two in Africa. I live in South Africa.

This flu makes you exceptionally weak and recovery takes way longer than expected. It's really frightening. People should be wearing masks, despite the circumspection about covering faces in some parts of the world.

Beme did a thoughtful video about this issue: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6dGqZmvDElA

DIGLLOYD: I’m not clear on how a face mask that is not a HEPA filter and does not seal around the entire face can block entry of a virus that might be 10 microns or smaller, let alone fully block even large dust particles. But obviously it could stop sneezes and coughs from spreading aerosolized virus particles throughout the air and that is a major benefit.

The masks I’ve seen the Japanese wearing can’t be very effective (entry), as far as I can tell. But there is no discounting the placebo effect, and preventing aerosolized virus particle emission by blocking sneezing/coughing via a mask should greatly reduce transmission.

Obviously a respirator mask like this is not going to be too attractive or comfortable, but maybe a mask like the 3M Particulate Respirator would work reasonably well, but a cool flow valve and N100 rating makes sense to me—I’m going to try the 3M Particulate Respirator 8233 N100 to see if it is compatible with cycling.

The AMSTON N95 with charcoal filtration looks good also, claiming to seal down to 0.3 microns. It’s annoying that many masks do not specify to what particle size they filter. See also the 3M web site.

We have the unusual combination of flu season going strong and allergy season ramping up big time after two weeks of better-than-summer weather (not too hot but nicely warm, grass is already two feet tall in places). Allergies irritate sinuses and lungs and can predispose to infection by things like the flu. Hence a mask worn for allergies could reduce the chance of the flu.

Asthma and cycling: I wore a mask for 50 miles that sealed off my face during the Southern Inyo Double Century last March, for dust off Owens Lake. Just pulling it down, I could immediately smell the dust, so obviously it has some beneficial effect. All the other riders were inhaling fine dust with nasty metals and things like arsenic into their lungs. The year prior it was less windy and I did not wear a mask that year and my lungs were irritated with a mild cough when done—small airway impairment.

I found that the metal nose clip on the mask I am wearing in the picture below was critical for good sealing as shown below. Those silly stretch-over-face masks I see people wearing cannot possibly seal off that nose area when stretched over like that.

Southern Owens Lake: event day, I was spattered by gravel for some miles due to very high winds, and all but blown off the road
f2.8 @ 1/1700 sec, ISO 20; 2017-04-01 09:20:58
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus back dual camera 6.6mm f/2.8 @ 57mm (6.6mm)

[low-res image for bot]

Dual Pixel Raw Support for Canon 5D Mark IV from LibRaw (RawDigger, FastRawViewer)

See my Canon wish list.

See Potential Uses for Canon 5D Mark IV Dual Pixels as per Alex Tutubalin of LibRaw.

Alex Tutubalin of LibRaw (RawDigger, FastRawViewer) writes:

I know, you're not big Canon fan, also 5D Mark IV is not high-megapixel camera, so your interest in this camera may be very moderate.

However, Canon 5D mk4 is the only camera that has 'Dual Pixel RAW' mode:

  • In 5D4 sensor, each pixel is divided into two subpixels, oriented 'left' and 'right'
  • In standard recording mode, aggregated two-subpixel signal is recorded in RAW, so not much difference from normal camera in terms of noise, resolution, and dynamic range.
  • In Dual Pixel RAW mode, sem one subpixel set, is also recorded in CR2 file (resulting in 90+Mb CR2 size).
  • These two sub-images are diffecond image frame, containing signal frorent in parallax (because left/right part of lens was used) for near object, but mostly the same for distant objects. Canon provides DPP utility, that allows (moderate) editing of sharpness zones, bokeh and lens flare.

The second frame is actually recorded at ~1EV lower than composite frame (half pixel area, same ADC, so same exposure results in lower signal), this creates possibility to recover additional 0.9-1 stop in highlight (here is our old article, RawDigger was used to display/extract second frame: https://www.rawdigger.com/howtouse/canon-dual-pixel-mode-highlights-are-there ). Unfortunately, no known software allows to use this extra stop in highlights in raw processing.

We just released DPRSplit utility for extract this second frame (or both): https://www.fastrawviewer.com/DPRSplit

Extracted second frame can be used alone (effectively, it is bracketed -1EV below composite frame, so if composite is overexposed, second frame will have no-so-blown highlight). Also, one can mix composite and second frames (e.g. in ACR/HDR merge mode), creating high-dynamic range image. For distant objects two images are very same (and exposed at very same time), so no problems with camera/object movement.

This is beta, but works fine in our tests. This will be free software after beta-test period. It is very similar in interface to SonyPixelShift2DNG (of course, large parts of SPS2DNG source code was used in this new program).

DIGLLOYD: I am not a “not Canon” guy, it’s just that Canon has sat on its hands for years now in terms of offering a high-grade high megapixel sensor.

See also:

RawDigger histogram showing a near perfect exposure within 1/3 stop of blowout
SSD upgrade that takes full advantage of APFS

Sony FE 24-105mm f/4 G OSS Aperture Series @ 70mm (Mosaic)

See my Sony wish list and get Sony A7R III and Zeiss Loxia at B&H Photo.

This aperture series at 105mm looks at the Sony 24-105mm f/4 G OSS on a planar target that gives many lenses (well, most) at best a passing grade, but rarely an 'A'. It is a very difficult challenge for a lens because it not only mercilessly reveals any symmetry issues, but the target is also planar (flat), so field curvature can wreak havoc with mid/edge/corner sharpness

Sony 24-105mm f/4G OSS Aperture Series @ 70mm: Mosaic

Includes images from f/4 through f/11 at up to full camera resolution, with commentary and large crops.

Correcting distortion this strong will automatically degrade resolving power and micro contrast in the areas that must stretch-apart the pixels the most (e.g., if 1.0 pixels become 1.2 pixels).

f5.6 @ 1/60 sec, ISO 100; 2018-01-20 08:35:33
Sony A7R III + Sony FE 24-105mm F4 G OSS @ 68mm

[low-res image for bot]
Upgrade Your Mac Memory
At much lower cost than Apple, with more options.
Lloyd recommends 64GB for iMac or Mac Pro for photography/videography.

Sony FE 24-105mm f/4 G OSS Aperture Series @ 50mm (Mosaic)

See my Sony wish list and get Sony A7R III and Zeiss Loxia at B&H Photo.

This aperture series at 105mm looks at the Sony 24-105mm f/4 G OSS on a planar target that gives many lenses (well, most) at best a passing grade, but rarely an 'A'. It is a very difficult challenge for a lens because it not only mercilessly reveals any symmetry issues, but the target is also planar (flat), so field curvature can wreak havoc with mid/edge/corner sharpness

Sony 24-105mm f/4G OSS Aperture Series @ 50mm: Mosaic

Includes images from f/4 through f/11 at up to full camera resolution, with commentary and large crops.

f5.6 @ 1/60 sec, ISO 100; 2018-01-20 08:37:28
Sony A7R III + Sony FE 24-105mm F4 G OSS @ 49mm

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

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

Sony FE 24-105mm f/4 G OSS Aperture Series @ 105mm (Mosaic)

See my Sony wish list and get Sony A7R III and Zeiss Loxia at B&H Photo.

This aperture series at 105mm looks at the Sony 24-105mm f/4 G OSS on a planar target that gives many lenses (well, most) at best a passing grade, but rarely an 'A'. It is a very difficult challenge for a lens because it not only mercilessly reveals any symmetry issues, but the target is also planar (flat), so field curvature can wreak havoc with mid/edge/corner sharpness

Sony 24-105mm f/4G OSS Aperture Series @ 105mm: Mosaic

Includes images from f/4 through f/11 at up to full camera resolution, with commentary and large crops.

f8 @ 1/30 sec, ISO 100; 2018-01-20 08:45:45
Sony A7R III + Sony FE 24-105mm F4 G OSS @ 34mm

[low-res image for bot]
Rigorously lab tested and OWC certified.

Shootout: Sony FE 24-105mm f/4 G OSS vs Zeiss Loxia 35mm f/2 (Sony A7R III)

See my Sony wish list and get Sony A7R III and Zeiss Loxia at B&H Photo.

This shootout at 35mm looks at the Sony 24-105mm f/4 G OSS vs the Zeiss Loxia 35mm f/2 on the 42-megapixel Sony Alpha A7R III.

The subject matter is a planar target that gives many lenses (well, most) at best a passing grade, but rarely an 'A'. It is a very difficult challenge for a lens because it not only mercilessly reveals any symmetry issues, but the target is also planar (flat), so field curvature can wreak havoc with mid/edge/corner sharpness.

Shootout: Sony 24-105mm f/4G OSS vs Zeiss Batis 35mm f/2 (Mosaic)

Includes images from f/2 (f/4) through f/11 at up to full camera resolution, with commentary and large crops.

f8 @ 1/30 sec, ISO 100; 2018-01-20 08:45:45
Sony A7R III + Sony FE 24-105mm F4 G OSS @ 34mm

[low-res image for bot]

LensRentals.com: 15% off for all orders placed from Feb 6 to Feb 14

LensRentals.com offers an incredible selection of lenses and cameras, both still and video all the way up to very high end gear. As well as accessories—flashes, brackets, etc.

See also the very funny LensRentals.com spoof videos.

Not sure about a lens or camera? Rent it first. Highly recommended.

LenRentals.com has 15% off for all orders placed from Feb 6 to Feb 14.

Use coupon code RENTLOVE.

LensRentals.com 15% off Feb 6 to Feb 14 with coupon code RENTLOVE
SSD upgrade that takes full advantage of APFS

Random Photos

See my Sony wish list and get Sony A7R III and Zeiss Loxia at B&H Photo.

I rather like this image, though I have no idea what it is.

Seems like the kind of stuff I see in hospitals and such: offends no one, mysterious, ambiguous with only hints of what it might be.

f1.8 @ 1/7400 sec, ISO 25; 2018-02-05 13:49:32
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus back camera 3.99mm f/1.8 @ 28mm (4mm)

[low-res image for bot]

David C writes:

Looks suspiciously like this https://www.slrlounge.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/steichen-the-pond-moonlight.jpg, but I doubt it would sell for $3M.

Maybe you should try making really bad pics like this https://www.slrlounge.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/sherman-untitled-96.jpg almost $4M item.

I will never understand people…at least the Steichen piece has a place in history, Sherman must be a brilliant marketer to be able to sell that ****. A fool and their money are soon parted.

DIGLLOYD: the reason such things are incomprehensible comes from a fundamental difference in premises: to an active independent mind it makes no sense, but to Second Handers (those whose sense of worth is derived from external factors, namely other people) an item has value because other people say it does. Thus personal validation comes from herd approval and thus my photograph is worth zilch, and another one (which I like less) is worth $3M.

Nick C writes:

Art is the ultimate perpetration of fraud. And I agree with you when you say that to most people it plays upon their insecurities and provides validation.

DIGLLOYD: well, there is great art. I think it would be interesting to put highly educated people in a room with a wide range of art, and have them rank it, not knowing anything about its origin or alleged value or creator.

Our trusted photo rental store

Sony A7R III Pixel Shift: Is it Viable Outdoors Even in Almost-Still Conditions?

See my Sony wish list and get Sony A7R III and Zeiss Loxia at B&H Photo.

Pixel Shift is a wonderful idea. But it is also severely limited in its application, with unpredictable results from conditions one cannot even feel or sense, including changes in lighting. I can’t see much use for it in my shooting. I‘m thinking a Bayer-matrix 100-megapixel Fujifilm GFX-100S or Hasselblad X2D, I guess.

OTOH, I don’t recall the Pentax K-1 SuperRes pixel shift mode having such problematic usage. Maybe Sony can up their game by improving it to not require 3+ seconds regardless of shutter speed. Still, there are outdoor uses in which it will work. But then it’s not a habit, it’s an exception and easy to forget to do.

This example looks at using pixel shift in an outdoor situation in which there is very little wind and yet issues occur because pixel shift requires zero movement for 3+ seconds. This kind of scenario interests me greatly, since pixel shift bumps up the image quality considerably—if it can be used.

A DNG file incorporating all 4 pixel-shift frames was generated using LibRaw SonyPixelShift2DNG. The resulting DNG was then processed exactly the same as the ordinary non-pixel-shift frame (number 1 of the group of 4).

Sony A7R III Pixel Shift: Aspen Trunks at Dusk

Includes Pixel shift and single shot image at up to full resolution as well as a large crop and discussion of the viability of pixel shift for outdoor use.

f11 @ 1.3 sec, ISO 100; 2017-12-08 16:23:35 [PixelShift]
Sony A7R III PixelShift + Voigtlander MACRO APO-LANTHAR 65mm F2 Aspherical

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

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

Bought My Own Sony A7R III

Get Sony A7R III at B&H Photo and see my Sony wish list.

See my review of the Sony A7R III in diglloyd Mirrorless.

The Sony A7R III that I had on loan from B&H Photo went back a few days ago. My very own A7R III ($ouch) arrives Monday. That’s good since I have a lovely new optic to test on it.

 

Sony deals

See my Sony wish list.

Sony is currently offering big savings on most all Sony Alpha camera (except the A7R III), with up to $900 off Sony Alpha + 4% B&H Photo rewards as well as the Sony Alpha winter trade-in event with up to $500 off for a trade-in.

 
Up to $900 off Sony Alpha + 4% B&H Photo rewards

2.5K or 4K or 5K Display for Image Editing and Viewing?

See my Mac wish list.

In yesterday’s Too-High Pixel Density on 5K and 8K Displays Impedes Image Assessment essay, I discussed the challenges of evaluating and editing images on a display with extreme pixel density. Today, I want to up-level that discussion and summarize what I see as the pros and cons of a 4K or 5K or 8K display versus a 2K or 2.5K display.

Definitions: industry-standard rounding of horizontal resolution means that only 2.5K (2.5 * 1024) and 5K (5 * 1024) are honest:

  2K = 1920 @ 2.1 MP
2.5K = 2560 @ 3.7 to 4.1 MP
  4K = 3840 or 4096 wide @ 8.3 to 9.4 MP
  5K = 5120 wide @ 14.7 MP
  8K = 7680 wide @ 33.2 MP
 15K = 15360 (will this be called 16K?) @ 133 MP
MP = megapixels

Here are the displays I recommend for various reasons:

 
LG 5K display for 2016 MacBook pro
  • My workhorse display, the 2.5K 30" NEC PA302W. True internal calibration and tracking, true neutral grayscale rendition (no magenta tint as with many LED displays), outstanding color gamut, 2560 X 1600 resolution for superior vertical working space. Similar, but smaller the PA242W and PA272W.
  • The 32" NEC PA322UHD 4K display. True internal calibration and tracking, wide color gamut, 3840 X 2160 resolution for superior vertical working space, moderate pixel density due to the 32" form factor.
  • The viewing enjoyment champion: the late 2015 Apple iMac 5K. The best way to view images, bar none (possibly the LG 5K is as good, or the Dell 8K).
  • For 2016 MacBook Pro users: the LG 5K. Considerations are the same as for the iMac 5K.
  • If and when it proves out on the 2016 MacBook Pro (only, at this time), the Dell UltraSharp 32 Ultra HD 8K.
  • Eizo is excellent, but very expensive (2.5K, 4K).
  • I do not recommend TV-size displays for general work due to a basic ergonomic problem: anything past about 34 inches becomes an uncomfortable head-swivel to see the display properly. Plus the greater viewing distance required simply recreates the pixel density issue anew. Plus the pixel density becomes too coarse and most TVs do a poor job as a computer display.

Pluses and minuses of 4K / 5K / 8K:

If you’re buying a display for viewing pleasure, go straight to 5K (or 8K)—a no brainer.

  • High megapixels for outstanding realistic looking images; very high viewing pleasure. 8.3 megapixels on 4K, 14.2 megapixels on 5K, 33.2 megapixels on 8K. Like looking at a 'chrome' (4K is just a bit weak here, 5K is much better).
  • Particularly on the iMac 5K and LG 5K: outstanding image contrast that delivers rich black blacks, and white whites.
  • Extreme pixel density makes image evaluation much more challenging. A 4K display in 32" size is acceptable, but represents an inflection point on pixel density.
  • Absent or unproven color calibration with many solutions (Apple, Dell, LG all fall short). Solutions like Eizo 4K are an exception.
  • Aspect ratio of 1.78:1 is unfriendly to 3:2 or 4:3 images.
  • For 4K video, a 4K display is all but mandatory. 5K is even better in some ways, since it allows room for tools/palettes.
  • Just a heck of a lot nicer to look at for everything.

Pluses and minuses of 2.5K

Pixel density on a 32" 4K display may be acceptable, but pixel density issues come to bear with 4K at 27" or 24".

Professionals who evaluate images or edit fine details or who require superb color gamut and color tracking over time should consider the points above and below carefully; these are “bread and butter” considerations that may outweigh the beauty considerations of 4K. The right answer for any particular workflow might not be apparent until after buying, but thinking it over in advance increases the odds of making the right choice.

  • Proven color calibration (NEC, Eizo) with wide to exceptional gamut.
  • Low pixel density allows much more eye-friendly image evaluation and detail work.
  • Generally a better choice for print matching (glossy ultra high contrast displays like the iMac 5K do not translate quite the same).
  • NEC PA302W in particular: the 2560 X 1600 resolution (aspect ratio 1.6:1) is a better fit for 3:2 or 4:3 images.
  • Absent or unproven color calibration with many solutions (Apple, Dell, LG all fall short).
  • Aspect ratio of 1.78:1 is unfriendly to 3:2 or 4:3 images.

At present, I run the NEC PA302W (101 dpi) as my primary display with the 4K NEC PA322UHD (140 dpi) as a secondary display. I would prefer a secondary display that is 5K or 8K, but this is not viable on the Mac Pro (I’m not going to lose two ports to dual cables to a 5K display)—I’ll have to wait for some future Mac. At this point, I’m hoping to see a new Mac Pro that supports 8K, at which point I will decide if the benefits of 8K outweigh the evaluation and editing hassles. An iMac 8K would win me over, since I could run the PA302W as a 2nd display for calibrated color accuracy and ease of evaluating image sharpness; the 8K display would be for sheer viewing pleasure.

A compromise that I would find ideal would be a 5K display in a 34" form factor (172 dpi), thus large enough to have a pixel density that is high but (maybe) still viable for image evaluation.. But that does not exist and my existing machines would require dual Thunderbolt cables for Multi Stream Transport to make that work—unacceptable and flaky as tested.

I suspect that I ultimately will end up with an 8K display—large I hope—and I will just have to deal with the pixel density issue by zooming in and/or cropping for evaluation.

See also:

 
4TB Internal SSD
for 2013 Mac Pro
Free how-to videos and tools included, 3-year warranty

Fujifilm GFX Does not Always Focus at Full Aperture, Could it Be Compensation for Focus Shift?

See my Fujifilm GFX wish list and please bookmark my camera and computer wish lists for shopping at B&H and/or Amazon.com, so I get credit.

Regarding my post last year, Fujifilm GFX 50s Firmware Update Might Degrade Focusing by Stopping Down?.

Dmitri S writes:

After a lot of pondering I am beginning to build my own GFX50S-centric system; just purchased a barely used body. The plan is to use the GFX with adopted lenses, perhaps also with a CAMBO ACTUS MINI or a similar contraption I would build myself. That is why I was not planning to buy any native GF lenses, at least not in the beginning.

Now, I wanted to make sure the GFX 50S body I have purchased used is functioning as it should, with its native lenses. I went to my local photo retailer and spent some time there with the 110mm F2 mounted on my camera. Everything seemed to function well, except… this strange aperture behavior.

With camera in “A” and the aperture set to fully open (either with the aperture ring on the lens, or with the dial on the camera) I could hear and see (looking into the lens) the aperture blades contract and expand depending on where the camera was pointed. All the test shots show F2 as the recorded aperture setting. So - the exposures were taken at the F stop I selected, whereas in process of composing and focusing the camera was adjusting the aperture on its own. Very strange and bizarre.

This odd behavior was just like with my other mirrorless – the OLYMPUS OM-D E-M1 and legacy 4/3 (SLR) lenses. I have gone through two bodies before OLYMPUS admitted the faulty and wrong behavior and exchanged my camera for a refurb that finally (!) works as any normal camera should. It looked as though the early batches of that otherwise excellent little camera were faulty. Olympus indirectly admitted it, failed to fix my camera (at first under, later post-warranty) and had the camera exchanged. The saving grace was that I ended up with a working camera. And a lot of sour taste and second thoughts on ethics and corporate culture of Olympus.

ow back to FUJIFILM GFX50S – do you know of any cases or issues with “rattlesnaking” aperture in the native FUJI GF lenses, when the diaphragm blades live their own life out of your control? Is there a chance that my GFX50S body, just acquired used, (firmware 1.11) may be faulty? The FUJI tech support laid the blame on the lens, from my description of the experience. Is the GFX50S supposed to focus fully open or at the selected aperture setting? I know that different mirrorless camera lines exercise different schools of thought regarding how to acquire focus. Any insights or suggestions from your, albeit short, GFX50S user perspective?

DIGLLOYD: I have personally observed (with the new firmware, not sure about prior), that the Fujifilm GFX will *at times* focus at other than full aperture. At least with the GF 45mm f/2.8; see Fujifilm GFX Focus Shift Evaluation.

In general, in the field is that when the 45/2.8 is set to, say, f/8 or f/11, initiating autofocus sometimes *did not* fully open the aperture to focus, but appears to open it to about f/4.5. This is direct observation of viewing the lens diaphragm from in front of the lens to see its behavior as AF is initiated. Possibly Fujifilm might have (in firmware) an intentional workaround for focus shift behavior for point-and-shoot photographers shooting at f/4.5 and beyond.

$1200 Off Top-of-the-Line 2016 MacBook Pro

See my Mac wish list.

This is the top of the line 2016 model; fastest processor, fastest CPU, 16GB memory. The only better version was/is with the 2TB SSD.

At $1200 off via B&H deal zone, it’s well worth considering for many users. The 2017 model is about $3349. For many if not most photographers, this would make a very fine travel machine, at large savings. It even has dual Thunderbolt 3 busses across 4 ports.

See my comparison and review of the 2017 MacBook Pro and 2016 MacBook Pro. The 2017 model is definitely faster, but the savings are huge on the 2016 model.

This deal might go away tomorrow (not sure); it might be only a 1-day deal zone deal.

Deal on 2016 MacBook Pro — $1200 off

 

Sony A7R III Pixel Shift: Examples of Checkerboarding Defects and a Puzzling (and Disturbing) Finding About Pixel Shift

See my Sony wish list and get Sony A7R III and Zeiss Loxia at B&H Photo.

This page shows the defect of “checkerboarding” which occurs with any movement of the subject matter (or camera/sensor) in pixel shift mode. It can also be caused by a change in lighting.

DNG files incorporating all 4 pixel shift frames were generated using LibRaw SonyPixelShift2DNG.

Sony A7R III Pixel Shift: Checkerboarding Examples

Includes large crops and 2X crops to clearly show the issue, both for checkerboarding caused by motion and a mystery case that occurs in the periphery but not the center.

The open question is whether pixel shift is practical in any outdoor setting, or whether the defects shown are related somehow to the lens. If a general camera issue, it pretty much kills the whole feature.

Below, checkerboarding overlaying the image in all outer zones, but not in central areas—a mystery.

f8 @ 1/40 sec, ISO 100; 2018-01-20 08:59:12
Sony A7R III PixelShift + Sony FE 24-105mm F4 G OSS @ 105mm

[low-res image for bot]

Sony A7R III Pixel Shift: How Distortion Correction Affects Micro Contrast and Sharpness with Sony 24-105/4G OSS @ 105mm

See my Sony wish list and get Sony A7R III and Zeiss Loxia at B&H Photo.

This analysis looks at the Sony 24-105mm f/4 G OSS @ 105mm on the Sony A7R III in pixel shift mode, and how much correcting for distortion degrades sharpness and micro contrast.

Lenses offering even higher performance will suffer relatively more than what is shown here (for a similar level of distortion correction). And that lenses needing less correction will suffer less. And that lower-grade lenses will degrade less. But all will suffer in some area of the frame when distortion is corrected, pixel shift or no pixel shift.

Sony FE 24-105mm f/4 G OSS Distortion Correction @ 105mm: Loss of Sharpness and Micro Contrast (Pixel Shift)

Includes images at f/8 up to full camera resolution, with commentary and crops, including A/B toggles for all.

f8 @ 1/40 sec, ISO 100; 2018-01-20 08:59:12
Sony A7R III PixelShift + Sony FE 24-105mm F4 G OSS @ 105mm

[low-res image for bot]

Sony A7R III Pixel Shift: How Distortion Correction Affects Micro Contrast and Sharpness with Sony 24-105/4G OSS @ 24mm

See my Sony wish list and get Sony A7R III and Zeiss Loxia at B&H Photo.

This analysis looks at the Sony 24-105mm f/4 G OSS @ 24mm on the Sony A7R III in pixel shift mode, and how much correcting for distortion degrades sharpness and micro contrast.

Lenses offering even higher performance will suffer relatively more than what is shown here (for a similar level of distortion correction). And that lenses needing less correction will suffer less. And that lower-grade lenses will degrade less. But all will suffer in some area of the frame when distortion is corrected, pixel shift or no pixel shift.

Sony FE 24-105mm f/4 G OSS Distortion Correction @ 24mm: Loss of Sharpness and Micro Contrast (Pixel Shift)

Includes images at f/8 up to full camera resolution, with commentary and crops, including A/B toggles for all.

f8 @ 1/20 sec, ISO 100; 2018-01-20 08:52:12
Sony A7R III PixelShift + Sony FE 24-105mm F4 G OSS @ 24mm

[low-res image for bot]
SSD upgrade that takes full advantage of APFS

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.