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July 4th Conditions Vary Widely Year-to-Year in the Mountains

What a difference 3 years make!

This year, Saddlebag Lake was free and clear of all ice by late May.

Compare that to June 25 2017 at Saddlebag Lake—wow! The lake was still full of ice on the 4th.

CLICK TO VIEW: Leica M10 and Recommended Lenses

f8 @ 1/500 sec, ISO 100; 2017-06-25 16:38:01
LEICA M10 + Leica 18mm f/3.8 Super-Elmar-M ASPH

[low-res image for bot]
f8 @ 1/500 sec, ISO 100; 2017-06-25 16:57:10
LEICA M10 + Leica 18mm f/3.8 Super-Elmar-M ASPH

[low-res image for bot]
f8 @ 1/500 sec, ISO 100; 2017-06-25 17:01:02
LEICA M10 + Leica 18mm f/3.8 Super-Elmar-M ASPH

[low-res image for bot]
Save Big $$$$ on Memory for 2019 Mac Pro

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Lloyd recommends 32GB RDIMM modules for most users (more expensive LRDIMMS are for 512GB or more).

Putting the 16TB OWC Accelsior 4M2 PCIe SSD to Use as Main Storage

UPDATE:technology like this is wonderful: fast beyond measure and totally silent. See the blazingly-fast performance of the OWC Accelsior 4M2 PCIe SSD.


A dream of mine is now fully realized: no more noisy 'spinners' (hard drives) except for backup!

With the 16TB OWC Accelsior 4M2 PCIe SSD as main storage along with the 8TB internal Apple SSD (24TB SSD internal total), I now can store all the data and images I’ve ever created in my life, on internal SSD storage, with room to spare for ~2 years to come.

OWC Accelsior 4M2 PCIe SSD

And with dual 8TB OWC Thunderblade external SSDs, I have another 16TB of SSD storage, which is ample for several more years of 100MP and 150MP cameras. For now I can use them for clone backups and travel storage.

With such large amounts of data, data integrity with a tool like IntegrityChecker is essential for validating backups and data transfers. Not to mention finding many gigabytes of duplicate files.

Over the next few days, I’ll be reporting on performance (outrageously fast) and how I’m utilizing the OWC Accelsior 4M2 PCIe SSD in my 2019 Mac Pro as main storage. The OWC Accelsior 4M2 is an awesome choice for video use too, ditto for the OWC Thunderblade.

Regarding the 2019 Mac Pro for professionals, it is by far the best Mac out there for outstanding flexibility and my recommendation for professionals is to apply risk mitigation by avoiding ARM-based Macs and required macOS Big Sur until they are well established.

SoftRAID configuration of 4-blade RAID-0 stripe for 16TB OWC Accelsior 4M2 PCIe SSD
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GVM MB832-2L Bi-Color LED 2-Light Kit with Stands
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REVIEWED: Netgear Nighthawk X10 Wireless-AD7200 Tri-Band Gigabit Router

I haven’t been happy with my WiFi for quite some time now—Apple Airport Extreme not only has poor range and poor performance, but they go AWOL often enough to be annoying, and the performance is flaky too.

Accordingly, I ordered the Netgear Nighthawk X10 Wireless-AD7200 Tri-Band Gigabit Router a few days ago, and I have now tested it and it is a very satisfying upgrade.

REVIEWED: Netgear Nighthawk X10 Wireless-AD7200 Tri-Band Gigabit Router

As always, I strongly recommend wired Gigabit (or 10G) ethernet as vastly superior to all forms of WiFi, at least until we see 60GHz support (which the Netgear Nighthawk X10 supports). All my Macs are using gigabit ethernet (though my kids stick to WiFi). WiFi is for entertainment and miscellaneous devices like iPad/iPhone/TV etc—WiFi is best avoided for performance-sensitive work.

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Reader Comment: Hasselblad X1D-50C II vs Fujifilm GFX100 and Lenses for Each System

See also: Reader Question: Fujifilm GFX100 Best Medium Format Option?.

Reader Micha writes:

I’ve recently subscribed to your digital medium format reviews as I am considering to invest in one of the two systems, either the Hasselblad X1D II or the Fujifilm GFX-100.

I am mainly photographing people in all sorts of situations (mainly on location) and have tried out both systems myself by renting or loaning them for a couple of days.

Hasseblad X1D 50C

My experiences regarding the X1D II mirror exactly yours, on the outside it’s a lovely camera, but what’s being used inside is just outdated and can easily lead to frustration. The AF system used is incredibly archaic. And not having a multifunction button to focus and have to use the display instead just doesn’t feel right.

I am not sure and don’t think that those issues will be amended in the upcoming camera version, I was told by sources who are close to Hasselblad that there will be a 100MP X1D next year (which in my case would be more than I need for my kind of work).

Hence I am leaning towards the Fujifilm system.

I’ve read that you praise the quality of the XCD lenses in general, do you find that the GF lenses come close quality wise? I did read the reviews of the lenses which would be of interest for me. XCD 21mm, 45mm and 80mm, and the GF 23mm, 45mm, 63mm and the 110mm

I’d be very interested to hear your opinion and thank you so much for providing those very helpful reviews on your site.

Have a great Sunday, with best wishes from London, Micha

Fujifilm GFX100

DIGLLOYD: my essay on this topic including the true cost of each system is found in my review of the Hasselblad X1D-50C II:

Value Proposition: Hasselblad X1D II System vs Fujifilm GFX100 System

By the end of my trip shooting the Hasselblad X1D II, I was so pissed-off and irritated with the camera that it felt like punishment to use it. After a few hundred camera lockups (often losing me shots at critical moments), I wouldn’t advise anyone in their right mind to consider it. And yes, the autofocus is as bad as it gets on any modern camera, a huge handicap that that is a huge time-waster that forced me to to verify focus manually since I found I could never depend on the AF to get it right.

In general, my experience tells me that Hasselblad XCD lenses are generally held to higher quality control standards than Fujifilm GF lenses. But seeing asymmetry with most of the lenses I tested, I now have to wonder about that, as this go-round it looks more like a lens mount / sensor parallelism issue. I would also say that overall, lens performance is superior with Hasselblad XCD lenses (which carry a large price premium), BUT that is very different than choosing the best lenses in each system and getting good samples of those lenses.

However, Fujifilm GF lenses chosen well (and good samples) range more than good enough excellent, and image quality is also about the huge quality advantages of oversampling. Sampling at 100 megapixels (100MP sensor) blows away any 50MP camera in detail of course, but it also means greatly reduced digital artifacts for a more natural result. And when 100MP is downsampled to 50MP and then compared to a native 50MP sensor image, it is easily seen that the native 50MP image is grossly inferior in every way (digital artifacts of all kinds, noise, detail, etc).

Micha continues:

... thank you so much for your kind reply! .. and even putting my question and the answer on your website :) That’s super helpful and very appreciated.

Yes the X1D II still feels and operates very much like an unfinished product. I spoke to a few of my colleagues who owned one, invested a lot of money for extra lenses, and then switched over to the Fujifilm GFX, it’s not as sexy and pretty, but at least it works and gets the job done in a reliable way.

DIGLLOYD: exactly. The Hasselblad X1D II 50C is the “dumb blonde” of the camera industry. A mindful person (photographer) knows that “beauty” starts inside, with reliable operation, bang-on AF, fast response time, etc.

Thanks everyone for buying via my B&H links if you can as it matters to me a lot.

Howard C writes:

I read with interest your recent review of the Hasselblad X1D II and several XCD lenses, and then your comparison of the X1D II v. the Fuji GFX 100. I thought I would provide a counterpoint. 

First, your experience with the multiple freeze-ups with the X1D II you reviewed is totally at odds with my experience over the last 3 years. I used an X1D from January, 2017 to the Fall of 2019, and an X1D II from the Fall of 2019 until now. For the first 5-6 months, I did find the X1D to be buggy and at times frustrating to use. Lock-ups were frequent and the AF was also not always reliable. However, after a number of firmware updates, the stability of the X1D improved dramatically. The X1D and now the X1D II have proven to be the very best cameras I have ever used, going all the way back to 1967. Are they the perfect answer for every photographer? Of course not. Nothing in life is perfect. Everything has it plusses and minuses, and we all decide how to prioritize them.

Are there quirks in the way the X1D operates? Yes. I agree with you about the way it bounces out of magnified Live View if you use back button AF. I want it to stay in magnified Live View so I can assess how well the AF performed. However, I can adapt to that, as well as the way the AF sometimes hunts in low light. OTOH, I have taken many long exposures with the X1D, and it has never locked up like your sample apparently did on many occasions. Nor has the response time of the camera ever been an issue for me. I primarily shoot landscapes. When I pull the X1D out of my backpack, I turn it on. The camera is ready to shoot long before I have set up my tripod and figured out the best composition to shoot. I shoot slowly and deliberatively. The X1D has no trouble keeping up with me. 

Second, for me, the portability, the ergonomics and the user interface of a camera are critical. I insist on a camera that is simple to learn and operate, not littered with a multitude of menus and alternative ways to program it. I want the camera to get out of my way, not get in my way as I try to recall how I programmed it and which button is for which function. The X1D is fundamentally different from the GFX 100 in these respects. Day and night. 

Third, I want lenses with superb optical quality in the limited range of focal lengths that I need. The XCD lenses are the best I have ever used, and yes, I have tried the Fuji GFX lenses. I have never had to buy multiple copies of an XCD lens. And, I have never had any lens skew issues with the five that I own. The Fuji 32-64 GFX zoom is an excellent lens. The best zoom I had ever used. The new XCD 35-75 zoom is even better. Are the XCD lenses fast lenses? No, but that’s irrelevant to me. I am far more concerned with optical quality and portability than speed. Hasselblad gets that. 

Finally, I should mention the color palette in the X1D files. It’s not easy to describe, because what makes it exceptional is that it is so natural and, in a word, elegant. It’s just…beautiful and in good taste. And it’s true whether you are talking about portraits, landscapes, product, really anything. I suggest that anyone evaluating an X1D versus a GFX spend a little time on the Hasselblad website getting a sense of the “look” of the images that are showcased there. It actually tells you a lot about the aesthetics that are important to Hasselblad (and, of course, the photographers who took the photographs.) Hasselblad is a small manufacturer. They can’t do everything well, or even at times communicate very well. However, I do appreciate that the virtues in photography and camera systems that are apparently important to Hasselblad are the ones important to me. 

DIGLLOYD: everyone is welcome to prefer a brand or a camera for completely arbitrary reasons of their own, or because of specific features, or any reason at all. But when it comes reviewing something, I deem it essential to document and discuss bugs and usability problems and time-wasting behaviors, since they may be of crucial consideration for anyone considering the system.

Hasselblad XCD lenses: excellent. Hasselblad color and tone: excellent.

With the X1D II, I could not shoot in the best dawn or dusk light over my entire evaluation 4-week evaluation period due to lockups at 16s or longer exposures (a few exceptions, which IMO all but proves it is a bug that flakes out the camera). The camera locked up hundreds of times, frequently 5 seconds just after turning it on (when it quickly entered power save mode). I lost many images. Gone forever just like the Hasselblad X1D back in 2018, which failed me on Mt Whitney with my daughter not producing even a single image—images I can never repeat any more than a wedding. Unacceptable.

45 minutes on the phone with USA Hasselblad tech for no solutions. Redoing firmware several times. Major firmware update in early June that fixed nothing. No interest by Hasselblad in camera logs to debug the problem. BTW, why does the camera have log files at all? Maybe because it is buggy as hell, and Hasselblad must need the logs to figure out what’s failed (which makes me puzzled why no interest in the logs). I don’t have log files on Canon or Nikon or Sony or Fujifilm and those cameras are highly reliable. Connect the dots.

Maybe I got a “bad camera”, but what is that exactly? I don’t know after 12 years of using just about everything on the market, but I do know that Hasselblad X1D and X1D II have been the worst experience of any cameras I have ever used. Having the X1D destroy my plans on Mt Whitney back in 2018 was bad enough (so all I got was iPhone images). But it was followed by radio silence from Hasselblad after I provided logs and the camera back to them—no explanation, no followup.

Olympus Exits the Camera Business

Olympus is selling off its imaging business, according to its press release.

Olympus Corporation ("Olympus") and Japan Industrial Partners, Inc. ("JIP") hereby announce that, today, the parties signed a memorandum of understanding to carveout Olympus’s Imaging business to a new company (“NewCo”) and subsequently transfer its shares to a fund managed, operated or otherwise handled by JIP (the "Transaction").

After the due diligence and further discussions and negotiations, the parties are aiming to sign a legally- binding definitive agreement for the Transaction (the "Definitive Agreement") by September 30, 2020.

Reader Roy P writes:

I guess the MFT format just got killed by ASP-C:


I don’t know if you know the story about Yoshihisa Maitani, the guy who started Olympus. He was a short man with small hands, and he wanted to create an SLR that was really compact and comfortably fit his hands. All Olympus SLR cameras were really tiny, the smallest you could make an SLR camera.

Olympus E-M1X

The challenge today is how to find a competitive position in the industry. Sony and Canon both have the scale, own proprietary sensor technologies, have extensive chip design expertise in house, and can draw out their own technology roadmaps that have no critical dependencies on anyone in their supply chain.

Panasonic has very deep pockets and owns a good slice of consumer videography. It remains to be seen how far they take the Panasonic S1R / S1 line. So far, they haven’t exactly been super aggressive, but they have the staying power.

Fujifilm has the money, a strong share of the APS-C market and increasing share of the large format market, and the staying power.

Phase One has its own unique niche positioning that no one else will want to step into, and has the staying power

You have to wonder how Pentax is going to survive. It’s going to be a struggle for Nikon and Hasselblad also.

DIGLLOYD: I’d rather see Olympus around, this is a shame, but I’ve long felt that Micro Four Thirds was doomed in the era of sub-$1000 full-frame cameras with bodies smaller then MFT. There is still a place for MFT of course, but enough to keep it viable.? Dubious. But the scandals and mis-management at Olympus were too much of a load to carry.

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Mega Deal Zone at B&H Photo Ends Today

Easiest way to find the best deals is to peruse my top deals pages.

Top deals on Sony full frame cameras
Top deals on Zeiss DSLR lenses and Zeiss for Sony mirrorless
Pro Video...
Apple MacBook Pro...

Wifi fix?

I haven’t been happy with my WiFi for quite some time now—Apple Airport Extreme not only has very poor range and poor performance, but they go AWOL often enough to be annoying.

Today I ordered the Netgear Nighthawk X10 Wireless-AD7200 Tri-Band Gigabit Router, currently $230 off (deal ends today). Hopefully I will see much better performance—I’ll post a review once up and running.

Netgear Nighthawk X10 Wireless-AD7200 Tri-Band Gigabit Router


Top Deals Pages

25% Off Software by LibRaw: RawDigger, FastRawViewer, Monochrome2DNG

I’ve arranged with Alex Tutubalin of LibRAW LLC to offer a discount on RawDigger and other software.

Due to current circumstances, people are trying to stay inside - so there are fewer photo opportunities. Maybe now is a good time to go through your old photo archives!

We are offering a 25% discount on all LibRaw products and bundles.

We are extending our Special Prices until June 30, 2020.

RawDigger is a must-have for any serious shooter. More about RawDigger and get RawDigger here.

See also FastRawViewer: Saving me a Lot of Time Organizing My Shoots Into Subfolders.

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Hasselblad XCD 80mm f/1.9 Aperture Series: Bristlecone Graveyard, Dusk

This aperture series from f/1.9 through f/11 evaluates performance of the Hasselblad XCD 80mm f/1.9 from near to far and across the frame. The subject matter is ideal for understanding optical performance of all kinds.

Hasselblad XCD 80mm f/1.9 Aperture Series: Bristlecone Graveyard, Dusk

Includes images up to full camera resolution plus crops.

CLICK TO VIEW: Hasselblad X Medium Format

Bristlecone Graveyard, Dusk
f1.9 @ 1/60 sec electronic shutter, ISO 100; 2020-06-18 19:58:07
Hasselblad X1D II 50C + Hasselblad XCD 80mm f/1.9 @ 65.5mm equiv (80mm)
ENV: White Mountains, altitude 11600 ft / 3536 m, 60°F / 15°C
RAW: pull 1.17 stops, +40 Whites, +15 Clarity, vignetting corrected (partial)

[low-res image for bot]

Upgrade the memory of your 2019 iMac up to 128GB

XMP Sidecar File Handling in Lightroom Non-Functional with DNG Files — inconsistent with Photoshop / Adobe Camera Raw Handling

Background info: Hooray! Adobe Camera Raw Now Has Option to Always Use Sidecar XMP files with DNG

Update: my suggestion to use Sync Settings was incorrect. Using Sync Settings in Lightroom will wipe out existing develop settings; I’ve had to restore from a backup. My sincere apologies for my mistake to anyone who used this erroneous tip. See details further below. Do NOT use Photo ===> Develop Settings ===> Sync Settings.


I am familiar with Adobe Lightroom performance and have consulted for many clients about it, but I am NOT a Lightroom user because it would add considerable space and processing time overhead not to mention a huge waste of my own time for no benefit to my workflow.

Consider carefully whether Lightroom actually solves real issues for you, or is perhaps mainly a make-work situation, more effort and trouble than it’s worth. For example, if you shoot relatively few images, say for printing, Lightroom is not only a waste of time but anti-functional, since all such work really ought to be done in Photoshop with layers and such. In my own case, I constantly use (and require) layers and need all sorts of other Photoshop-only features—LR is not just pointless, but would be a huge waste of my time.

Lightroom note: I strongly recommend Import with leaving files in place and NOT copying or moving files and NOT converting to DNG. See my workflow tips in Making Sharp Images for the general principles. See also:

Adobe Camera Raw
Reader Question: Convert to DNG for Sony’s Space-Wasting 14-bit Uncompressed RAW Files?

Adobe Lightroom and metadata

Christopher C writes:

Thanks so much for pointing out the option for always using sidecar XMP files for DNG with Adobe Camera Raw in Photoshop. That’s a very important feature addition, and I’ve now set that in Photoshop preferences.

A number of years ago, I used the Adobe DNG converter to convert tens of thousands of older raw files to DNG, and only later learned from Jeff Schewe the implication that I was then condemned to having Chronosync re-write the bloody things every time I made some small change.

There doesn’t yet seem to be any comparable feature update in Lightroom. Are you aware of a way of batch generating XMP files for all the DNG files in a Lightroom catalog?

DIGLLOYD: configuring Lightroom appropriately maintains settings in XMP, via Automatically write changes into XMP. Unfortunately, XMP sidecar files do not work for DNG files, which Lightroom insists upon rewriting—brain-dead.

Writing development settings and metadata into sidecar XMP files

Normally, LR otherwise only stores metadata and develop settings within the catalog. But it can be configured to save changes to sidecar XMP files, but NOT for DNG files, a compelling reason to avoid using DNG:

Configuring Lightroom use use sidecar XMP files and to NOT modify proprietary raw files

Select desired files, then metadata and develop settings can be saved to files as follows, but NOT for DNG files, a compelling reason to avoid using DNG:

Save metadata to files in Lightroom: whacks (rewrites) DNG files

Locking DNG files to prevent them from being rewritten reveals the brain-dead behavior of Lightroom when handling DNG; Lightroom insists upon the ludicrous requirement of rewriting DNG files in their entirety, rather than using sidecar files. This is different from every other type of raw file. Also, having to lock the files prevents them from being moved to a different folder.

Save metadata to files in Lightroom: fails with locked DNG files

Thanks to reader Sebastian B, who prompted me to look into things, the result of this is the stuff above.

1. Regarding Lightroom behavior with the "Automatically write changes into XMP" option: Changes are always written to the catalog, but with that option enabled, LR will in addition create sidecar XMP files for all proprietary raw files but, crucially, start the same insane behavior on DNGs as in Photoshop (up until now)—namely writing the XMP data into the DNG file. I had hoped that now that Photoshop is finally cured of this madness, Lightroom would be too, but apparently it is not.

2. You are mistaking the "Sync" dialog for a metadata sync dialog. This dialog actually syncs development settings (regardless of whether you're in the Develop or Library module). The procedure you're recommending for retroactively writing settings to XMP sidecar files would quite simply make all photos in your entire library have identical develop settings, which I think would be no less than disastrous if not quickly undone. So I'd urge you to retract that recommendation. ;-)

I believe the correct solution would be to Select All and then use Metadata → Save Metadata to Files—that is, if the Lightroom didn't still have the mad sidecar file strategy with DNGs.

So actually I recommend you recommend nothing here, since there (still) seems to be no proper solution for Lightroom. (I'm still on pre-CC Lightroom and merely going by your screenshots of the catalog settings dialog, which looks like it's always looked.)

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