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Black Friday Deals Begin at B&H Photo

See my Zeiss DSLR lenses wishlist.

The holiday shopping season begins, below an initial selection of Black Friday deals:

Black Friday Deals
$999 SAVE $700 = 41.0% $99 FREE ITEMS Canon EOS 6D DSLR in Cameras: DSLR
$530 SAVE $220 = 29.0% $39 FREE ITEMS LG G7 ThinQ 64GB Smartphone (Unlocked, Black) in Electronics: Phone
$599 SAVE $100 = 14.0% $26 FREE ITEMS GoPro Fusion in Video: Camcorders
$149 SAVE $51 = 25.0% GoPro HERO Session in Video: Camcorders

As Close to Giving it Away as I’ve Seen: 52% Off the Zeiss ZE 25m f/2 Distagon

See my Zeiss DSLR lenses wishlist.

At 52% off for the Zeiss ZE 25mm f/Distagon (for Canon EF), it’s crazy discount.

Personally I prefer the Zeiss 28mm f/2 Distagon as an all-arounder, but 25mm is good also.

Putting a DSLR prime lens on Nikon Z7/Z6 or the Canon EOS makes good sense—these smaller classic Zeiss lenses balance nicely.

The Zeiss ZE 25mm f/Distagon is a prime lens of a reasonable size and weight for the Canon EOS R using the Canon Mount Adapter EF-EOS R, below.

Which Camera System 📷 is Best?
Which Lenses to Choose?🌈

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

Pentax K-1 II Reader Interest?

Get Pentax K-1 II at B&H Photo.

The Pentax K-1 II is a full-frame 35mm camera. See also my review of Pentax medium format.

A persistent reader has finally 'won': I have the Pentax K-1 Mark II coming, along with the Pentax HD FA 50mm f/1.4 SDM AW and the Pentax HD Pentax-D FA 24-70mm f/2.8 SDM ED.

I was impressed with the image quality in pixel shift mode of the Pentax K-1 Mark II, and Pentax has now improved it. Worth a try perhaps, as 36 with a good pixels shift exposure is something more akin to 60 megapixels. I never did find Sony’s pixel shift persuasive like Pentax, but I may try it again and compare.

The Pentax K-1 Mark II will be a 2nd priority for me (behind the Hasselblad H6D-100C) and it will be another week before it arrives. I am interested in knowing if readers out there have interest—I expect it to be low, but maybe I'll be surprised.

I ponder whether this will be the last DLSR I will ever review—interest is moribund in DSLRs from what I can tell.

Pentax K-1 II and Lenses
$1897 SAVE $100 = 5.0% $301 FREE ITEMS Pentax K-1 Mark II DSLR in Cameras: DSLR
Pentax K-1 II, front
Pentax HD FA 50mm f/1.4 SDM AW
Pentax HD Pentax-D FA 24-70mm f/2.8 SDM ED
Pentax K-1 II, rear

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

Time to clean house again.

  • 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.

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

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

Olympus

  • Olympus Super HIgh Grade (SHG) lenses (set of three, mint): 7-14mm f/2, 14-35mm f/2, 35-100mm f/2 with two MMF-3 lens adapters for Micro Four Thirds: $4500 Great choice for videographers. HOT DEAL These are the most highly corrected lenses that Olympus makes.

Leica

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

  • Leica M240 with Really Right Stuff L bracket and 4 batteries $3800

Rodenstock and Schneider view camera lenses

All on Linhof Technikardan lens boards, copal shutters.

  • 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

P100 / N100 Particulate Respirator Works for Smoke — Air Quality in the San Francisco Bay Area is the Worst I’ve Seen it in 35 Years — from the 'Camp Fire'

I wrote about the health hazards of some in P100 / N100 Particulate Respirator Works for Smoke back in July.

The past two day has shown the worst air quality I have ever seen, apparently as bad as in Beijing, due to the Camp Fire, the most destructive fire in California history. Speaking for myself, it’s the worst I have ever breathed in my entire life and that fire is hundreds of miles away.

Cycling using 3M Respirator N100

I reiterate my warning about the health hazards of smoke, but this smoke is especially pernicious—even an N100 face mask which eliminates 99.75% of particulates down to 2.5 microns cannot take out an apparently nasty chemical content that irritates my nose and throat. For most people, a 3M particulate respirator N95 is better, more comfortable over time, though it is 10X less effective, it is a 20X improvement over no mask.

Dr. John Balmes, who studies air pollutants and their effects on respiratory health at UCSF, said the bad air puts everyone’s health at risk, but especially those with heart and lung diseases. Children also have increased risks because they breathe more rapidly than adults, leading to higher exposure to the polluted air, he said.

The tiny particles in wood smoke are what make it especially dangerous, Balmes said.

“Those fine particles can make it down into the deep lung and they can cause harm to people with pre-existing heart and lung disease, people with asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease,” he said. “Those conditions are exacerbated by air pollution like this.” Ace Hardware manager, Art Grassi, discusses respirator masks. Video: San Francisco Chronicle If going outside can’t be avoided, N95 respiratory masks offer some protection, Balmes said. The name comes from the fact that the masks can filter out 95 percent of the fine particles in wood smoke.

The air quality index, a number that measures air pollutants, hovered between 105 and 152 around the Bay Area on Friday. A healthy level is 50 or lower. By contrast, in Beijing, one of the world’s worst places for air pollution, the rating was 21 early Saturday.

I’ve done my 90-minute baseline ride for 4 days in a row now with an N100 and my lungs have not reacted at all in spite of high respiratory rate. My lungs are extremely sensitive to smoke. Athletes take in volumes of air 5X to 10X greater than when idle, yet public health officials don’t even mention that severe risk (see quote below)—what jackasses.

Proving that public health officials are a menace to public health, the understated idiocy of “considering” an N95 respirator makes it sound unimportant. An N95 respirator is way better than nothing, but 20X less effective than an N100 mask (99.75% down to 2.5 microns). An N95 mask is not adequate under current conditions. Fine particles can accumulate in the body to cause persistent coughing, difficulty breathing and reductions in lung function. I can attest that such impairment doesn’t go away quickly—I suffered for a month last summer after exposure I should have avoided.

People going outside should consider [diglloyd: WTF?] wearing N95 masks, which filter out 95 percent of the fine wood particles in the smoky air. The masks are available for purchase at any hardware store. Daly City and South San Francisco officials are handing out masks to residents at government buildings.

Update: the next day Nov 10 I did go for a ride using an N100 face mask as the air had improved to just plain bad. It was as effective as I had found it to be with pollen and smoke and dust in the past: not even a hint of bronchospasms or coughing or other issues.

Orange sun, smoky irs, birds
f2.8 @ 1/490 sec, ISO 20; 2018-11-10 17:13:14
[location “Cañada Road”, altitude 328 ft / 100 m, 52°F / 11°C]
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus 6.6 mm f/2.8

[low-res image for bot]
Cycling using 3M Respirator N100
f1.8 @ 1/270 sec, ISO 20; 2018-11-10 17:27:41
[location “Cañada Rd near Hwy 92”, altitude 356 ft / 109 m, 50°F / 10°C, "heavy smoke from 'Camp' fire"]
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus 4.0 mm f/1.8

[low-res image for bot]
Extreme smoke from the 'Camp Fire' over Highway 101
f1.8 @ 1/490 sec, ISO 20; 2018-11-09 17:04:37 [altitude 2 ft / 1 m]
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus 4.0 mm f/1.8

[low-res image for bot]

Hasselblad H6D-100C Reader Interest?

See my Hasselblad medium format wish list.

Update 1: there has been a suprising amount of interest running 6:1 in favor, and against a few "no interest" emails. At least for me and the scope of my knowledge, the H6D-100C establishes a high-end “what is possible” context, which will lend perspective to what’s coming in other areas.

Update 2: the Hassy system is on the way with the 50/3.5 II and the 120/4 II. It will arrive in a few days and I will be shooting it in the mountains shortly thereafter. Coverage will go into Medium Format.

...

I am able to obtain on loan courtesy of Hasselblad the 100-megapixel Hasselblad H6D-100C (about $33000) plus the Hasselblad HC 50mm f/3.5 II and the Hasselblad HC Macro 120mm f/4 II which I selected as desirable lenses for evaluation, having excellent MTF.

The main issue is the sheer cost of the system—I need it on my business insurance since I could not tolerate a loss of a fraction of its cost, so I am waiting for a quote on what it would cost to cover the system for 2 weeks. If it can be worked out, I’ll be shooting it in mid-November.

Contact me about your interest in this camera. I’m personally interested in seeing what 100 megapixels and 15 stops of dynamic range on an enormous 53.4 x 40 mm sensor can do, as well as what I can accomplish with focus stacking. Plus some 60 minute long exposures might be interesting.

  
Hasselblad HC Macro 120mm f/4 II and Hasselblad HC 50mm f/3.5 II
Hasselblad H6D-100C

Need Memory for the 2018 Mac Mini? OWC Saves You Money

See my Mac wish list.

The macMini has its place among very capable extremely compact computers, but personally I’ll be waiting for the next-gen iMac 5K (iMac 8K would be slick), because I want that display built-in. OTOH, the 2018 Mac mini would make a superb web server or similar, or be great for anyone with existing displays.

PLUS, trade in
factory 8GB for $30 back

If you need 64GB memory for the 2018 Mac Mini, saving $320 sounds good to me ($1080 at OWC vs $1400 at Apple).

The savings are even larger in percentage terms for 32GB ($600 vs $330), with 32GB pricing looking like the sweet spot.

PLUS, trade in the factory 8GB for $30 back.

The MPG recommended configuration for 2018 Mac Mini is bought with 8GB memory, then upgraded. Do not get less than a 1TB SSD, 2TB Mac mini SSD configuration preferred but darn expensive.

64GB memory for MacMini, OWC pricing
64GB memory for MacMini, Apple pricing
Up to 1527MB/s sustained performance

Subjective Impressions of the Leica 50mm f/0.95 Noctilux-M ASPH on the Nikon Z7 vs Canon RF 50mm f/1.2L on Canon EOS R

See my Canon mirrorless wishlist and Nikon mirrorless wishlist.

See my in-depth review of the Leica 50mm f/0.95 Noctilux-M ASPH and in-depth review of the Canon RF 50mm f/1.2L.

A reader sent me a series of shots on the Nikon Z7 with the Leica 50mm f/0.95 Noctilux-M ASPH (using a GABALE Leica M to Nikon Z lens adapter). It looks better than I expected or hoped in terms of any degradation from sensor cover glass.

But what really stood out is that the Noctilux (1/2 stop faster) has a level of optical correction which is so inferior to the Canon RF 50mm f/1.2L that they are not even in the same league—pick any aberration and the Canon RF 50/1.2L is leaps and bounds ahead with a startling clarity that the Noctilux cannot approach without stopping down 4 stops at least, and I saw not one image approaching what the Canon RF 50mm f/1.2L can produce wide open (depth of field aside).

This was not an A/B test, but my eyes are well trained and I have little doubt of my subjective reaction. I have many recent Canon RF 50mm f/1.2L shots of my own, all strikingly stunningly excellent. Seeing the batch of Noctilux images, I am just amazed all over again at how good the Canon RF 50mm f/1.2L really is. World class.

My advice for Noctilux shooters: sell it, and buy a Canon EOS R with the Canon RF 50mm f/1.2L. You’ll come out ahead on the deal and with far, far superior image quality. I’m glad I sold my Noctilux 50/0.95 a few years ago.

Some lenses are so good that you just buy the necessary camera. The Canon RF 50mm f/1.2L is a lens you buy, then look around for the accessory to shoot it on (the Canon EOS R).

Combination below, all manual, about $4600.

   +
Canon EOS R and Canon RF 50mm f/1.2L USM

Combination below, all manual, about $15000.

   +
Nikon Z7 and Leica 50mm f/0.95 Noctilux-M ASPH
Our trusted photo rental store

Reader Comments: Mirrorless System Choice (Nikon Mirrorless, Canon Mirrorless, Sony Mirrorless, Medium Format)

See my Nikon mirrorless wishlist.

Glenn K writes:

Got to say, I am glad I don't have to make a quick decision on a camera.

Zeiss Loxia 25mm f/2.4

The Zeiss Loxia lenses, for landscape work, seem to be a big feather in Sony's cap. And the Sony A7R IV will bring new improvements and probably a higher resolution sensor. For someone like me, with no current stable of glass, it would seem foolish to bet against Sony/Zeiss.

Unless or until Canon makes a breakthrough in sensor technology, it's hard to see anyone else getting very far ahead of Sony in sensor performance since they are doing all of the fab work for Nikon, Fuji and others.

The Sony G-Master series also shows they can compete handily in the AF lens arena. Nikon would be smart to sign a licensing agreement with Zeiss. Zeiss needs to sell lenses to folks with bodies, and Nikon could use a quick ramp of native Z-mount lenses. Zeiss could produce Loxias for the Z-mount very quickly since all that would be needed is a different rear barrel with different pins. Sigma seems a less likely partner since they want to compete with Nikon in bodies.

DIGLLOYD: absolutely. Nikon and Canon just do not have compelling systems in mirrorless and will not for years, the Canon RF 50mm f/1.2L USM ad Nikon Z7 notwithstanding.

The wildcard is this: lens adapters for Leica M lenses on Nikon mirrorless and lens adapters for Sony mirrorless lenses (at least Zeiss Loxia) on Nikon mirrorless. Then Nikon would have an immediate story which works for me.

I greatly prefer operating the Nikon Z7 over the Sony A7R III. While the Sony A7R IV will surely be improved, Sony is clueless about building cameras with the right ergonomics/haptics; that is a key strength of the Nikon Z7. In my view, the Nikon Z7 and Canon EOS R are already superior in ergonomic/haptic terms to any model Sony camera.

Claude F writes:

Thinking about camera lens future upgrade.

Stick with Sony, which I have with an adapted Canon 24-70. An excellent combination with stitching. Change over to Zeiss Loxia 25mm f/2.4 and Zeiss Loxia 35 35mm f/2, and trusting their stopped down performance will be able to work with a higher megapixel camera. Bail on Sony for the Fujifilm GFX. Wait and hope Canon delivers a pro grade high megapixel camera to couple with their new lenses.

Nikon came close but in the end disappointed with a not quite there system.

DIGLLOYD: my advice to anyone is to stand pat for six months, then reevaluate.

For the serious landscape shooter, the Fujifilm GFX-100S and/or the Fujifilm GFX-50R may be just the ticket, particularly the much more tolerable price of the latter. OTOH, weight and hiking distance and steep slopes can injure as I found out last month (my knee), so I’m thinking Zeiss Loxia and Zeiss ZM lenses on the Nikon Z7 would be just the ticket—lens adpater already exist for Leica M and Zeiss ZM lenses, and I have ordered one to test all the lenses I have on the Nikon Z7, particularly the Zeiss ZM 35mm f/1.4 Distagon.

Especially using focus stacking, the image quality at 42/45/50 megapixels with proper shot discipline is capable of imagery good to six feet wide. And if Sigma release a full frame true color sensor in a decent camera body or fixed-lens format, that rocks the boat some more. At 100 megapixels (coming in 2019 as the Fujifilm GFX-100S), focus stacking is almost a hard requirement since the depth of field will be a stop less relative to the pixel size.

Zeiss Milvus 25mm f/1.2

Gilles P writes:

How do you feel about using the Nikon Z7, the adapter and a Zeiss Milvus in a handheld shooting scenario? Is such a combination useable or does the adapter make it unwieldy and awkward to use?

It’s clear to me that the Nikon Z7 won’t replace my D500 for action shooting, but it could well replace my Nikon D810 for handheld landscapes, as such a setup would provide some useful stabilization, not otherwise available for Zeiss lenses on a D810 or D850.

DIGLLOYD: last month I presented several pages on hanholding with IBIS using Zeiss Milvus / Zeiss Otus. Using the Nikon FTZ lens adapter is a bit clumsier than shooting directly on the D810 in terms of holding the rig, but not really an issue. But the Z7 is far better for focusing than the D810, since the OVF is all but useless except for sloppy work (OVF focusing is poor shot discipline), and a loupe on the rear LCD is far more awkward than using the excellent Nikon Z7 EVF. Large lenses will never handle as nice as compact ones like Zeiss Loxia, but IMO the Loxia lenses are too small.

Up to 1527MB/s sustained performance

Revenge of the Beaver: Lundy Canyon Road Blocked by Felled Aspen

See my Nikon mirrorless wishlist.

Castor canadensis Swimming

I just know that beaver has it out for me—I’m lucky it didn’t come chew on my tires while I slept!

The night before I had taken some pictures, which apparently irked off this beaver, the revenge being a blocked road the next morning. Wait—maybe it wanted more pictures—dunno.

Read on for how I cleared the road and got out of Lundy Canyon.

 

 

Too bad iPhone 7 Plus image quality is so poor, even downsampled 2:1 linearly, lacking detail, massive artifacts from compression that make B&W conversion usually unteneble, blown whites and pinned blacks. When it’s good (sometimes and only with panoramas), it’s quite good but most of the time it’s manure. I should have used the Sony RX100 or a proper camera but the iPhone sure is convenient and I had hatcheting to do. I marvel at how not a single real camera has a panorama mode 1/10 as good as the iPhone.

Beaver-felled aspen tree blocking Lundy Canyon road
f1.8 @ 1/1000 sec, ISO 80; 2018-11-02 12:29:13
[location “Lundy Canyon”, altitude 8111 ft / 2472 m, 45°F / 7°C, altitude 8100 ft / 2469 m, "beaver blocks the road"]
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus 4.0 mm f/1.8

[low-res image for bot]

Too heavy to lift, at least with a bum knee.

Beaver-felled aspen tree blocking Lundy Canyon Road
f1.8 @ 1/1250 sec, ISO 20; 2018-11-03 09:47:48
[location “Lundy Canyon”, altitude 8113 ft / 2473 m, 45°F / 7°C, panorama, "Beaver-cut aspen blocking road", altitude 8100 ft / 2469 m]
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus 4.0 mm f/1.8

[low-res image for bot]

Hatchet or saw? I’m glad I carry both but for this job the saw binds up too easily and green wood fills the teeth. My long-honed teenager wood splitting/chopping axe skills are encoded in muscle memory, though a hatchet is a far slower tool than a full-length axe. Thirteen minutes and some sweat later, the aspen tree trunk is ready to break in two with a little applied force. I bet the beaver was watching and thinking “gotta get me one of those”!

Hatchet or saw: the hatchet did the job
f1.8 @ 1/380 sec, ISO 20; 2018-11-03 10:00:15
[location “Lundy Canyon”, altitude 8092 ft / 2466 m, 45°F / 7°C, "hatcheted most of the way through", altitude 8100 ft / 2469 m]
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus 4.0 mm f/1.8

[low-res image for bot]

The road is now clear, the top half of the aspen tree thrown to the pond side, ready for beaver dining.

Hatchet success: aspen tree on Lundy Canyon Road cut in two, road cleared with top half of aspen tree thrown off the road
f1.8 @ 1/1000 sec, ISO 40; 2018-11-03 10:04:16
[location “Lundy Canyon”, altitude 8100 ft / 2469 m, 45°F / 7°C, "hatcheted tree in half", altitude 8095 ft / 2467 m, panorama]
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus 4.0 mm f/1.8

[low-res image for bot]

Dang, it’s a destructive species, but a beaver’s gotta eat.

Wholesale destruction of small aspen trees by beaver
f1.8 @ 1/1000 sec, ISO 50; 2018-11-03 10:13:14
[location “Lundy Canyon”, altitude 8100 ft / 2469 m, 45°F / 7°C, "beaver sliced off almost all young aspen", altitude 8076 ft / 2462 m]
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus 4.0 mm f/1.8

[low-res image for bot]

Not content with five already-downed aspen trees totally unused, and also with killing the two largest aspen on the entire Lundy Canyon road, this beaver has a total of seven aspen trees felled, all lying unused, five below plus sure death for the two large aspen above at right. I both admire and despise the industriousness of the beaver, as this lovely area will soon be denuded of populous tremuloides. Someone with a 0.22 rifle and a scope could take out the beaver at dusk quite easily, though it will not be me. BTW, those lopped-off knee-high aspen shown above are dangerous in that they could disembowel someone hiking through the uneven terrain of a meadow—one slip means a spear into the guts or leg—caution advised.

Tree-felling to make an Oregonian logger proud — two nights of teeth
f1.8 @ 1/1000 sec, ISO 40; 2018-11-03 09:47:25
[location “Lundy Canyon”, altitude 8109 ft / 2472 m, 45°F / 7°C, "swath of detruction", altitude 8100 ft / 2469 m]
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus 4.0 mm f/1.8

[low-res image for bot]
Beaver Swimming in Beaver Pond
f9 @ 1/60 sec handheld IS=off, ISO 400; 2014-08-10 17:54:06
[location “Uppermost Lundy Canyon beaver pond”, altitude 8700 ft / 2652 m, 55°F / 12°C]
NIKON D810 + Zeiss Otus 85mm f/1.4 APO-Planar

[low-res image for bot]

One thing Castor canadensis do create, at least for some years, is trout habitat, though these trout were not taken from beaver ponds. Eight of these brook trout, the largest quite mature and old at 9 inches, make a meal. The limit for most trout is five per day, but there are five “bonus” trout for Brook Trout in the Eastern Sierra (because they overpopulate so easily), so any five trout of any kind plus 5 “brookies”. The Brook Trout is actually a char, Salvelinus fontinalis related to Lake Trout, Dolly Varden, Arctic Char.

Brook Trout for dinner
f1.8 @ 1/3700 sec, ISO 20; 2018-11-04 15:44:25
[location “Maul Lake”, altitude 10223 ft / 3116 m, 50°F / 10°C, "took"]
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus 4.0 mm f/1.8

[low-res image for bot]

Glenn K writes:

Always get a signed photo release before posting beaver photos!

DIGLLOYD: I’ll use a carrot and an aspen stick.

Jason W writes:

I really like your beaver post. Well done having two tools for the job.

Have you ever done a post on your survival gear + tools you carry in the Sprinter? I have a bunch of stuff always in my jeep and would like to know what your setup is.

DIGLLOYD: it would make a good article, but in brief I carry the following in my Mercedes Sprinter, and more. It all stows way quite easily and out of the way:

  • About 10 days of dehydrated means for intermittent or emergency use, plus fresh food and drinks which I replenish at intervals.
  • Minimum of six gallons of potable water at all times, usually 12 gallons or so. Typically I freeze eight (8) one gallon Crystal Geyser bottles and use them as ice for my cooler, refreezing them at night if/when the temperature allows while also keeping on hand 4 to 6 gallons unfrozen for daily use. Since I do not have a shower or shitter in the van, I carry no water tanks; these are incompatible with my usage in freezing weather and raise the cost and complexity and hassles considerably.
  • Fill up the 48.5 gallon diesel fuel tank when going into a remote area and/or late in the season, so that I could with care stay comfortable for a week by idling for heat and power for two hours a day (2.4 gallons X 2 hours per day X 7 days = 34 gallons).
  • Dual industrial grade carbon monoxide detectors.
  • Half a dozen down jackets of various weights, down pants, 5 or 6 wool hoodies, several pairs of wool pants, a variety of hats (wool beanies, thick wool hats, sun hats), various weights of gloves, 3 or 4 pairs of boots of various weights, disposable heat packs, etc. Plus various other clothing of course. Everything I might need for conditions from 110°F down to -10°F.
  • Dual 2000W DC to AC power inverters so if one were to fail I have a spare and/or for temporary 3000 watt loads (e.g., a space heater plus another kilowatt for an electric kettle or induction plate).
  • In winter months, a foldable snow shovel and insulated winter calf-length boots.
  • Reflectix shielding for windows and van exterior for extreme heat or cold.
  • Hatchet and foldable wood saw (both double as defensive weapons without the hassles of a gun).
  • Heavy duty towing strap, full size spare tire, wrenches, screwdriver, allen wrenches, air compressor.
  • Charging cables, spare fuses, various spare batteries, spare lights, 1500W space heater.

I almost always hike alone, so I take extra precautions in cold months in particular:

  • Water purifier (warm months only). One or two 1-liter Evian water bottles (if carring a purifier, I start empty to save weight, and take only one bottle).
  • Emergency sleep sack.
  • Dual flashlights with dual batteries, headlamp.
  • Matches, knife, a few Tylenol or similar, spare contact lenses, sunglasses.
  • Sometimes spare socks and spare base layer (in case base layer gets soaked with sweat).
  • More food than I think I will eat that day, high calorie food in cold weather (nuts, 100% cacao, energy gels, etc).
  • Rain/wind shell and rain/wind pants.
  • Water resistant down jacket and when really cold additional layers like a wool jacket to go over the down and/or another lighter down jacket. Down pant when super cold.
Up to 1527MB/s sustained performance

Thoughts on a 'Nikon D850Z ' Transition Camera Combining Best of the Nikon D850 and Nikon Z7, Canon EOS R

See my Nikon mirrorless wishlist.

The Nikon FTZ lens adapter on the Nikon Z7 lets me mount all my Zeiss Milvus and Zeiss Otus and Zeiss ZF.2 lenses on the Z7. But it’s not particularly 'clean' feeling, what with having to mount the lens adapter plate into the tripod head and that being very close to the camera body. So my thoughts turn to the Nikon D850 and how much cleaner it feels to dispsense with the lens adapter and also not have the extra weight and mess of the lens adapter jammed right next to the camera body.

The Nikon Z7 EVF is so terrific that I hugely prefer it to using a loupe on the rear LCD of the Nikon D850. But the Z7 as yet doesn’t have a single satisfactory native lens as far as I’m concerned (I’ve tested only the Nikon NIKKOR Z 35mm f/1.8 S and the Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/4 S so far).

Which makes me wonder if the perfect transition camera that I called for over the past few years still has a place: a “Nikon D850Z”, that is, a Nikon Z7 / Nikon D850 hybrid having no optical viewfinder, a DSLR lens mount and a D850 body style (larger and with D850 size buttons). It would be the perfect end-of-the-line DSLR camera—no muss no fuss, just mount DSLR lenses with all the Nikon Z7 EVF goodness. Because the DSLR is dead. I just cannot see it continuing much longer, it future clouded from R&D costs vs sales, with implosion in view.

Would a “D850Z” transition camera be worth it, given that it would not mount Nikon NIKKOR Z lenses? Certainly not two years from now, but for the next two years? Maybe—I’m on the fence on it. Perhaps Really Right Stuff will deliver a bracket system that makes a Nikon Z7 with the Nikon FTZ lens adapter a non-issue operationally. I’d rather not carry two camera bodies and I really do love that EVF on the Nikon Z7.

Review Conclusions on Canon RF 50mm f/1.2L USM

Get Canon 50mm f/1.2L USM at B&H Photo and see my Canon mirrorless wishlist.

The about $2299 Canon RF 50mm f/1.20L USM delivers outstanding performance. To my eyes the Canon 50/1.2L has a special quality to it that nothing else but the Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 APO-Distagon can deliver—with autofocus and another 1/2 stop of lens speed and a native lens mount.

The price of the Canon 50mm f/1.2L USM is high in absolute terms, but the value for professional and targeted usage is unbeatable. I’d snap it up in an instant had I the budget for it.

Before reading this conclusion, it is best to take in the context behind it, so please see the various series and examples in my in-depth review of the Canon 50mm f/1.2L USM.

Canon 50mm f/1.2L USM: Conclusions

I deem the Canon 50mm f/1.2L USM the first (and as yet only) CaNikon mirrorless lens to persuasively and unequivocally demonstrate that the new wide diameter and short flange focal distance mounts make possible what is claimed in terms of optical design. The Nikon NIKKOR Z lenses have been a disappointment at best, so I look forward to testing the Canon RF 28-70mm f/2L USM because it seems that Canon is taking the pro market seriously in terms of lenses, but Nikon is not, at least not yet.

Canon RF 50mm f/1.2L USM
Up to 1527MB/s sustained performance

Canon RF 50mm f/1.2L USM Examples at f/1.2: Lundy Canyon Evening

See my Canon mirrorless wishlist.

These examples includes single frames as well as focus stacked images, the Canon RF 50mm f/1.2L being an ideal lens for focus stacking.

Canon RF 50mm f/1.2L USM Examples at f/1.2: Lundy Canyon Evening

Includes images up to full camera resolution.

Brimming Beaver Pond
f11 @ 2.0 sec, ISO 100; 2018-11-02 18:07:22
[location “Lundy Canyon”, altitude 8100 ft / 2469 m, 50°F / 10°C, diffraction mitigating sharpening]
Canon EOS R + Canon RF 50mm f/1.2L USM

[low-res image for bot]

Adobe’s Licensing Too Quickly Denies me Use of Photoshop When Off the Internet

Update 2018-11-06: Adobe tells me that the licensing should be good for 99 days, so something is amiss (e.g., a bug of some kind). I have sent the logs from my machine to Adobe for evaluation, using the Adobe Log Collector Tool.

You should be able to work offline for 99 days. I suspect there’s something off here and hopefully the logs and backend details can help us troubleshoot. https://helpx.adobe.com/creative-cloud/kb/internet-connection-creative-cloud-apps.html

Update 2018-11-08: Adobe responded quickly and I had a talk with senior engineer. It seems that the clock on the iMac 5K is losing time and thus time regresses, triggering the Adobe licensing code to disable the license

....

Adobe’s licensing verification scheme (appropriate word) is problematic if one is away from the internet more than a day or two.

I've been away from home working offline in canyons and such with no internet for an entire month. During that month I've used Photoshop regularly at least a dozen times with internet. In other words, Adobe has been able to verify the same Mac dozens of times in a month. Ditto for every day I’ve been home for the past year. That ought to be good enough for the Adobe verification system!

Making the behavior even more egregious, earlier today I was on the internet for at least 3 hours before coming up again into the high country where there is no internet. Plenty of time for Adobe's background daemon to check with the servers. I might not have launched Photoshop during that time, but it sure would make sense for the ever-present Adobe daemon software to unotrusively do its checks without me having to remember to launch Photoshop.

The more troublesome implication seems to be that I can never plan on being without internet more than some period of time (48 hours?), or it seems that Adobe will shut my work down (at least until this apparent bug is fixed).

Below, Photoshop was working in the mountains at 18:35. Then abruptly around 19:00 it shut off as per the dialog. So the hours of work I had planned this evening (and tomorrow) are kaput. The only way I can make Photoshop work again is an hour-long 30 mile round trip drive 3000 vertical feet down and back up while burning 3 gallons of fuel (about $15 over here, 50% more than the Adobe monthly licensing charge!).

Adobe licensing cannot work without internet, shuts users down fairly quickly
Up to 1527MB/s sustained performance

Reader Question: Canon RF 50/1.2L USM vs Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 APO-Distagon Plus White Balance and Tint

See my Nikon mirrorless wishlist and Canon mirrorless wishlist.

Chris R writes:

Been really enjoying your lovely Autumn shots with various lenses, the Aspen shots this time of year are a perfect subject for lens testing of which you do so well.

Canon RF 50mm f/1.2L USM

Regarding the Canon RF 50/1.2L USM, would be great to see this up against the Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 APO-Distagon, but of what I’ve seen so far, this new RF 50mm is is superb. Shame it won’t fit the EF mount cameras such as my 5D4 Canon R against the Nikon Z7.

We’ve spoken in length about this in the past so no need to go over about general colour again, but I noticed last week when you shot the cameras together there was a quite a big difference in the colour balance between both bodies, I understand that they are totally different systems and also that ambient light can change quite quickly whilst shooting, but was curious, which camera seemed to give the most natural colour rendition generally.

DIGLLOYD: given the fantastic performance of the Canon RF 50/1.2L USM and native mount vs awkward adapter and manual focus and half a stop slower for the Otus, I’d just stick with the Canon RF 50/1.2L myself. There is just too much convenience in favor of the Canon. If it comes to landscape and when Canon has a higher resolution camera body, then it might be worth poking at the performance differences more.

If one already has the Otus, the Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 APO-Distagon performs beautifully on the Canon EOS R. It is better corrected in some ways, but probably has more field curvature.

Regarding the bizarre white balance of the Canon EOS R raw files, the Nikon Z7 has a bizarre Tint but either way, one just has to get the WB and Tint right and both are excellent. I show the necessary settings in my respective reviews of those cameras. Every camera sensor has an inherent tint. Maybe Adobe will implicitly build in a fix to bring those values to the usual ones and maybe not—but it doesn’t really matter for raw shooters.

Reader Question: Nikon Z7 or Canon EOS R for Portraits?

See my Nikon mirrorless wishlist and Canon mirrorless wishlist.

Josh T writes:

I have a budget for one camera to use for both landscapes and portraits, with a priority on portraits.

I'm interested in even your tentative/casual thoughts on how much better the Canon EOS R is than the Nikon Z7 in capturing sharp portraits (I am not interested in learning Sony's cumbersome system).

I presume the Canon EOS R has a higher hit rate (given that it actually has an Eye AF function), but if it's not much better, I won't be tempted to buy it over a Nikon Z6/7. Thanks for your time. I have enjoyed being a subscriber to your Mirrorless content and plan to expand to Making Sharp Images later this year.

DIGLLOYD: given the fantastic performance of the Canon RF 50/1.2L USM, I'd go with Canon EOS R if portraits are the priority. Also, the 50/1.2L focuses incredibly accurately even under very very low light.

The Canon RF 50/1.2L USM makes a darn fine landscape lens also, the issue being eating the cost of the Canon EOS R until a higher resolution body appears.

Nikon has nothing but consumer grade lenses as yet for the Z7, a terribly slow release schedule for new lenses, and no Eye AF, so I just cannot recommend it for portraits at this time since I consider hit rate key, and the Canon RF 50/1.2L is a world-class optic.

   +
Canon EOS R and Canon RF 50mm f/1.2L USM
   + ???

SHOOTOUT: Nikon Z7 + Nikon NIKKOR Z 35mm f/1.8 S vs Sony A7R III + Zeiss Loxia 35mm f/2 (Lower Lundy Beaver Pond)

See my Nikon mirrorless wishlist and Sony mirrorless wishlist.

A few people might be wondering whether to jump ship from Sony mirrorless to the Nikon Z7. In terms of ergonomics and EVF that’s a no-brainer IMO. But the Nikon Z7 has no native lenses above consumer grade (as of Oct 2018) and unless that changes in various ways or one is willing to adapt lenses, it is a problematic situation.

This shootout addresses the lens aspect directly—

The Nikon Z7 is a brand-new camera (late 2018) offering a large-diameter lens mount which eliminates most all obstacles to an optimal lens design for the brand-new and clean-sheet Nikon NIKKOR Z 35mm f/1.8 S.

The Sony A7R III is a year-old camera (2017). The Zeiss Loxia 35mm f/2 Biogon is a venerable but old lens rangefinder design for photographic film, never designed for mirrorless or even sensor cover glass, but is an optical design that was adapted/tweaked by Zeiss for Sony mirrorless.

A higher-megapixel camera with an all-new lens design ought to trounce its older competitor, right? Well...

SHOOTOUT: Nikon Z7 + Nikon NIKKOR Z 35mm f/1.8 S vs Sony A7R III + Zeiss Loxia 35mm f/2 (Lower Lundy Beaver Pond)

Includes images up to full camera resolution from f/2 through f/11 along with crops and commentary.

  
Sony A7R III and Nikon Z7
  
Zeiss Loxia 35mm f/2 Biogon and Nikon NIKKOR Z 35mm f/1.8S
Lower Beaver Pond, Lundy Canyon
f4 @ 1/80 sec IS=off, ISO 50; 2018-10-31 17:25:18
[location “Lundy Canyon”, altitude 8000 ft / 2438 m, 50°F / 10°C, LACA correction]
Sony A7R III + Zeiss Loxia 35mm f/2 Biogon

[low-res image for bot]
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Canon RF 50mm f/1.2L USM Examples at f/1.2: Beaver in Beaver Pond

See my Canon mirrorless wishlist.

These seven examples at f/1.2 were shot at very late dusk when I could scarcely see. However, the Canon EOS R does a wonderful job at f/1.2 in delivering a Live View image in full color, a sort of night vision device, but in color.

These frames give a good idea of what a miracle-worker the Canon RF 50mm f/1.2L USM is at f/1.2: crisp and clear imagery wide open—very impressive.

Canon RF 50mm f/1.2L USM Examples at f/1.2: Late Dusk, Beaver on the Loose

Includes images up to full camera resolution.

Beaver Swimming in Beaver Pond, Lundy Canyon
f1.2 @ 1.6 sec, ISO 100; 2018-11-01 18:30:09
[location “Lundy Canyon upper beaver pond along road”, altitude 8100 ft / 2469 m, 50°F / 10°C, "beaver swimming around slapping tail", push 2.75 stops]
Canon EOS R + Canon RF 50mm f/1.2L USM

[low-res image for bot]

Canon RF 50mm f/1.2L USM Aperture Series: Beaver Pond Beaver Trail Through Reeds

See my Canon mirrorless wishlist.

Similar to Beaver Pond Beaver Trail Through Reeds, this series evaluates performance of the Canon RF 50mm f/1.2L USM for its superb correction of aberrations. As part of that, a 4-frame focus stack is included, consisting of three frames at f/11 and one frame at f/8 (the most distant frame).

Canon RF 50mm f/1.2L USM Aperture Series: Colorful Boulder in Beaver Pond

Includes images up to full camera resolution from f/1.2 through f/11 plus a 4-frame focus stack along with a discussion of why the Canon RF 50mm f/1.2L USM makes a superb lens for focus stacking.

Detail in the 4-frame focus stacked image below is eye-popping at full resolution. Viewed on an iMac 5K it’s stunning.

Beaver Pond Beaver Trail Through Reeds, Lundy Canyon
f11 @ 1.0 sec, ISO 100; 2018-11-01 17:51:49
[location “Lundy Canyon”, altitude 8100 ft / 2469 m, 50°F / 10°C, focus stack 4 frames, diffraction mitigating sharpening]
Canon EOS R + Canon RF 50mm f/1.2L USM

[low-res image for bot]

Canon RF 50mm f/1.2L USM Aperture Series: Survivor Aspen

See my Canon mirrorless wishlist.

This series evaluates performance of the Canon RF 50mm f/1.2L USM for pure visual impact, which is truly outstanding as seen over and over again.

Canon RF 50mm f/1.2L USM Aperture Series: Survivor Aspen

Includes images up to full camera resolution from f/1.2 through f/11.

In my view, the Canon RF 50mm f/1.2L USM is a must-have lens for the serious Canon shooter. At about $2299, it’s a steal for what it delivers: world-class excellence.

Below, this lucky aspen survived. Maybe 100K tons rocks lubricated by mud roared down 1500 vertical feet from the surrounding mountains, wiping out everything in its path in this slide (one of at least six or more massive rockslides resulting from some instantaneous biblical deluge), with this lucky populus tremuloides the only trembling survivor in the path of this onslaught, where before a thicket had stood. Some happenstance must have saved it. In 30 years of visiting the Sierra, I have never seen such implacable destruction (see some of it in my review of the Nikon Z sytem), other than the 150 mph / 240 km/hr freak downdraft winds that slapped 2-3 foot trees to the ground like matchsticks.

Survivor Aspen
f1.2 @ 1/320 sec, ISO 100; 2018-10-31 17:49:01
[location “Lundy Canyon”, altitude 8100 ft / 2469 m, 50°F / 10°C]
Canon EOS R + Canon RF 50mm f/1.2L USM

[low-res image for bot]
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Canon RF 50mm f/1.2L USM Aperture Series: Beaver Pond Beaver Trail Through Reeds

See my Canon mirrorless wishlist.

This series evaluates performance of the Canon RF 50mm f/1.2L USM for its superb correction of aberrations. As part of that, a 4-frame focus stack is included, consisting of three frames at f/10 and one frame at f/8 (the most distant frame).

Canon RF 50mm f/1.2L USM Aperture Series: Beaver Pond Beaver Trail Through Reeds

Includes images up to full camera resolution from f/1.2 through f/10 plus a 4-frame focus stack along with a discussion of why the Canon RF 50mm f/1.2L USM makes a superb lens for focus stacking.

The path through the reeds and several others show routes taken by the resident beaver.

Beaver Pond Beaver Trail Through Reeds, Lundy Canyon
f10 @ 30.0 sec, ISO 100; 2018-10-31 18:23:18
[location “Lundy Canyon”, altitude 8100 ft / 2469 m, 50°F / 10°C, focus stack 4 frames, diffraction mitigating sharpening]
Canon EOS R + Canon RF 50mm f/1.2L USM

[low-res image for bot]
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Canon RF 50mm f/1.2L USM Aperture Series: Huge Boulder In Beaver Pond

See my Canon mirrorless wishlist.

This series evaluates performance of the Canon RF 50mm f/1.2L USM with a subject at medium-far distance along with distant finely detailed subject matter all in the face of an extreme contrast situation.

Canon RF 50mm f/1.2L USM Aperture Series: Huge Boulder In Beaver Pond

Includes images up to full camera resolution from f/1.2 through f/13.

There is a good reason that the Canon RF 50mm f/1.2L USM costs about $2229—it’s worth it!

This is the finest f/1.2 lens I have ever used. Canon has achieved this performance with no lens corrections, as contrasted to the pathetic requirement for both chromatic and distortion correction for the the full-stop-slower Nikon NIKKOR Z 35mm f/1.8 S, with its impressively awful focus shift.

What a pity Canon is stuck at 30 megapixels with the Canon EOS R—and that Nikon has only consumer-grade lenses to offer so far for the Nikon Z7.

A a hungry beaver eager to survive winter, lodge at left in the distance, is actively scything-down many of the surrounding aspen trees. I hope it moves up to the very large historic pond, but this area seems prime for aspen cutting.

Huge Boulder In Beaver Pond
f1.2 @ 1/30 sec, ISO 100; 2018-10-31 18:04:54
[location “Lundy Canyon”, altitude 8100 ft / 2469 m, 40°F / 4°C]
Canon EOS R + Canon RF 50mm f/1.2L USM

[low-res image for bot]
Up to 1527MB/s sustained performance

Canon RF 50mm f/1.2L USM Aperture Series: Beaver-Knawed Aspen Spotlighted for Destruction

See my Canon mirrorless wishlist.

This series looks at the performance of the Canon RF 50mm f/1.2L USM for in terms of visual impact, which is outstanding, in an unprecedented way for f/1.2.

Canon RF 50mm f/1.2L USM Aperture Series: Beaver-Knawed Aspen Spotlighted for Destruction

Includes images up to full camera resolution from f/1.2 through f/5.6.

I am astounded at how good the Canon RF 50mm 1.2L IS USM is, and pissed off at the initial mediocre lenses that Nikon has delivered with the Nikon Z7—Canon has done its homework and delivered on the the promise of mirrorless while Nikon has aimed for consumer schlock. I want this performance on the 45-megapixel Nikon Z7.

A new resident beaver has a hunger for these two aspen, the oldest and largest I am aware of on this road up Lundy Canyon. To a beaver, a tree is just... food. I like the beaver damming this meadow but I wish it would leave these two alone. It’s too late anyhow—they will die or topple even if the beaver gives up. A previous beaver did only partial damage; this one has come to finish the job.

Survivor Aspen
f1.2 @ 5.0 sec, ISO 100; 2018-10-31 18:31:53
[location “Lundy Canyon”, altitude 8100 ft / 2469 m, 48°F / 8°C, "ancient aspen, scheduled for destruction by hungry beaver"]
Canon EOS R + Canon RF 50mm f/1.2L USM

[low-res image for bot]

Canon RF 50mm f/1.2L USM Aperture Series: Sprinter Headlights, Late Dusk

See my Canon mirrorless wishlist.

This series evaluates performance of the Canon RF 50mm f/1.2L USM into an extreme high contrast situation in order to evaluate ghosting and veiling flare, and sunstar behavior.

Canon RF 50mm f/1.2L USM Aperture Series: Sprinter Headlights, Late Dusk

Includes images up to full camera resolution from f/1.2 through f/9.

Sprinter Headlights, Late Dusk
f1.4 @ 1.0 sec, ISO 100; 2018-10-31 18:28:45
[location “Lundy Canyon”, altitude 8100 ft / 2469 m, 48°F / 8°C]
Canon EOS R + Canon RF 50mm f/1.2L USM

[low-res image for bot]

Canon RF 50mm f/1.2L USM Aperture Series: Beaver Pond With Dead Tree Set Against Lower Mountainside

See my Canon mirrorless wishlist.

This series evaluates performance of the Canon RF 50mm f/1.2L USM at medium-far distance on extremely detailed scenery across the frame which allows evaluation of lens aberrations as well as checking for focus shift and field curvature.

Canon RF 50mm f/1.2L USM Aperture Series: Beaver Pond With Dead Tree Set Against Lower Mountainside

Includes images up to full camera resolution from f/1.2 through f/8.

There is a good reason that the Canon RF 50mm f/1.2L USM costs about $2229—it’s worth it! This is the finest f/1.2 lens I have ever used. Leica never produced a Leica M lens that could touch this f/1.2 performance (though I have yet to see the Leica 75mm f/1.25 APO-Summicron-M ASPH).

What a pity Canon is stuck at 30 megapixels with the Canon EOS R—and that Nikon has only consumer-grade lenses to offer so far for the Nikon Z7.

If this f/1.2 image doesn’t look amazing to you, see your ophthalmologist.

Active Beaver Pond With Dead Tree Set Against Lower Mountainside
f1.2 @ 1/13 sec, ISO 100; 2018-10-31 18:08:23
[location “Lundy Canyon”, altitude 8100 ft / 2469 m, 50°F / 10°C]
Canon EOS R + Canon RF 50mm f/1.2L USM

[low-res image for bot]

Canon RF 50mm f/1.2L USM Aperture Series: Aspen Against Sunset Glow

See my Canon mirrorless wishlist.

This series evaluates performance of the Canon RF 50mm f/1.2L USM at medium to far distance on finely detailed scenery which intersects the zone of focus well enough to evaluate sharpness from center to extreme corners as well as whatever aberrations crop up.

Canon RF 50mm f/1.2L USM Aperture Series: Aspen Against Sunset Glow

Includes images up to full camera resolution from f/1.2 through f/11.

Aspen Against Sunset Glow
f1.4 @ 1/30 sec, ISO 100; 2018-10-31 18:10:42
[location “Lundy Canyon”, altitude 8100 ft / 2469 m, 50°F / 10°C]
Canon EOS R + Canon RF 50mm f/1.2L USM

[low-res image for bot]
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