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

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

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

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

2019 Apple MacBook Pro 16"

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

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

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

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

OWC Easy SSD Upgrade Guide
MacBook Pro and MacBook Air
iMac, Mac Pro, MacMini, more!

Sony Invests in AI for Gaming, Imaging, Gastronomy

Reader John W writes:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

...

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Attention all Camera Makers: 23.5 Things To Please Your Customers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Camera Functionality Deficits

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Robin D writes:

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

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

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

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

Mark A writes:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

See what’s new in Capture On 20.

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

Some surprises I ran into:

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

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

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

View all OWC Cyber Week deals...

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

OWC Cyber Week

Upgrade the memory of your 2019 iMac up to 128GB

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

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

I hope to test the NEC PA311D sometime soon.

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

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

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

More info on the NEC PA311D.

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

NEC PA311D Professional wide gamut color critical display
OWC Thunderbolt 3 Dock
Ideal for any Mac with Thunderbolt 3


Dual Thunderbolt 3 ports
USB 3 • USB-C
Gigabit Ethernet
5K and 4K display support plus Mini Display Port
Analog sound in/out and Optical sound out

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Leica Q2 First Look Examples

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

In diglloyd Leica:

Leica Q2 Examples: Initial Evaluation, Backyard Color

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

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

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

[low-res image for bot]
Lloyd’s Sony Mirrorless Wishlist
Hand-picked items for Sony.

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

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

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

 

Half price on refurbished Panasonic S1R $3697.99 only $1862.12

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

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

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

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

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

Half price on refurbished Panasonic S1R $3697.99 only $1862.12

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[low-res image for bot]

Below, actual pixels crop from the 150 megapixel image.

Actual pixels crop from 150 megapixel Phase One IQ4 image
OWC Thunderbolt 3 Dock
Ideal for any Mac with Thunderbolt 3


Dual Thunderbolt 3 ports
USB 3 • USB-C
Gigabit Ethernet
5K and 4K display support plus Mini Display Port
Analog sound in/out and Optical sound out

Works on any Mac with Thunderbolt 3

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

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

WOW!

Half price for the Panasonic S1R $3697.99 only $1862.12

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

L-Mount gear
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Phase One IQ4 + Schneider Kreuznach LS Lenses: Initial Evaluations Done

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

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

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

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

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

Insane Deal on Nikon D610, and Other Good Stuff

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

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

Nikon DSLR Deals
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Nikon mirrorles has some good savings too.

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

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

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

In diglloyd Medium Format:

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

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

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

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

MacPerformanceGuide.com

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

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

In diglloyd Medium Format:

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

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

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

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

Upgrade the memory of your 2019 iMac up to 128GB

Save the Sales Tax using B&H Photo Payboo Credit Card

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

Bookmark my Top Deals pages, which are updated daily with the best deals. Check the deal of the day page for each day’s deals. Search with the deal finder tool for deals by brand or category. Examples with deal finder:

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

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

In diglloyd Medium Format:

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

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

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

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

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Initial Impressions of Leica Q2

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

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

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

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

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

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

...

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

You can’t make this stuff up...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

See also: Leica Q2 Initial Impressions.

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

Phase One IQ4 + Schneider Kreuznach LS 240mm f/4.5 IF Aperture Series: Mosaic

This aperture series look at performance of the Schneider Kreuznach LS 240mm f/4.5 on a planar target at far distance. Key issues include sharpness across the frame and in particular, lens skew.

In diglloyd Medium Format:

Phase One IQ4 + Schneider Kreuznach LS 240mm f/4.5 IF Aperture Series: Mosaic

Includes images up to full 150MP camera resolution (14204 X 10652) from f/4.5 through f/11 including 100 megapixel versions for perspective vs other medium format cameras, plus crops.

f8 @ 1/25 sec, ISO 64; 2019-11-29 08:20:19
Phase One IQ4 + Schneider Kreuznach LS 240mm f/4.5 IF
RAW: LACA corrected, USM {8,50,0}, SmartSharpen{120,0.7,0}

[low-res image for bot]
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Phase One IQ4 + Schneider Kreuznach LS 80mm f/2.8 Aperture Series: Mosaic

This aperture series look at performance of the Schneider Kreuznach LS 80mm f/2.8 on a planar target at far distance. Key issues include sharpness across the frame, spherical aberration and focus shift, and field curvature.

In diglloyd Medium Format:

Phase One IQ4 + Schneider Kreuznach LS 80mm f/2.8 Aperture Series: Mosaic

Includes images up to full 150MP camera resolution (14204 X 10652) from f/2.8 through f/11 including 100 megapixel versions for perspective vs other medium format cameras, plus crops.

f8 @ 1/30 sec, ISO 64; 2019-11-29 08:29:31
Phase One IQ4 + Schneider Kreuznach LS 80mm f/2.8
RAW: LACA corrected, USM {8,50,0}, SmartSharpen{120,0.7,0}

[low-res image for bot]Image cropped at bottom

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Phase One IQ4 + Schneider Kreuznach LS 35mm f/3.5 Aperture Series: Mosaic

This aperture series look at performance of the Schneider Kreuznach LS 35mm f/3.5 on a planar target at far distance. Key issues include sharpness across the frame and focus shift and field curvature.

Phase One IQ4 + Schneider Kreuznach LS 35mm f/3.5 Aperture Series: Mosaic

Includes images up to full 150MP camera resolution (14204 X 10652) from f/3.5 through f/11, plus crops, and also 100 megapixel versions for perspective vs other medium format cameras.

f8 @ 1/20 sec, ISO 64; 2019-11-29 08:38:32
Phase One IQ4 + Schneider Kreuznach LS 35mm f/3.5 RAW: USM {8,50,0}, SmartSharpen{120,0.7,0,0}

[low-res image for bot]

 


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

This aperture series look at performance of the Schneider Kreuznach LS 150mm f/2.8 on a planar target at far distance. Key issues include sharpness across the frame and focus shift.

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

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

Overall image quality (sensor quality) is fabulous—even on a per pixel basis (150 megapixels!). This is easily the best image quality I have ever encountered from any camera as of late 2019 (that claim based not just on this series).

f8 @ 1/25 sec, ISO 64; 2019-11-29 08:05:32
Phase One IQ4 + Schneider Kreuznach LS 150mm f/2.8 IF RAW: USM {8,50,0}, SmartSharpen{120,0.9,0,0}

[low-res image for bot]

 

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Phase One Capture One Pro vs Adobe Camera ERaw

Interesting read in Photoshop User, slightly dated:

Photoshop User, September 2016: Lightroom vs Capture One Pro

I will be doing my own assessment at some point.

 


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Phase One Capture One Pro: Custom Palette Setup Rocks

This video is worth watching for understanding what follows:
Capture One Pro 10 Webinar | Three Stage Sharpening with Proof View.

The palette configurability in Phase One Capture One Pro is outstanding. This kind of capability is a feature I’ve asked Adobe for in the Adobe Camera Raw dialog in Photoshop, but with no progress so far.

Configuring it this way lets me get at the controls I need for raw conversion in the order I typically use them—perfect.

Even better, each palette can be collapsed, so that if I am working on images where I have already dealt with overall stuff, I can hide most of them and just tweak things like minor exposure adjustments, sharpening by aperture*, etc.

Update: I am unhappy about two behaviors on a dual-display setup in which the main display shows the image and the 2nd display shows thumbnails: (1) moving left to the 2nd display, unwanted palettes pop up on the main display, which is really obnoxious, and (2) there seems to be no way to eliminate the area reserved for palettes on the 2nd display, so much of the window is wasted (I am using floating palettes).

* That latter point is a feature no raw converter has AFAIK, that is, setting a a default sharpening setting for each apeture on each camera. And yet I always need that feature for an aperture series.

Phase One Capture One Pro: Lens Correction

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Need Advice/Help with Phase One Capture One Pro Sharpening Tools (UPDATE with reader comments)

Update: this video is worth watching for understanding what follows:
Capture One Pro 10 Webinar | Three Stage Sharpening with Proof View.

Update 2: I’ve worked out a protocol for sharpening that I am reasonably happy with, what with the C1 Pro Sharpening palette offering only Unsharp Mask facilities, which I consider crude/coarse here in 2019. My initial approach uses a modest amount of sharpening in C1Pro along with C1Pro Diffraction Correction, followed by Smart Sharpen in Photoshop, and (sometimes) localized contrast enhancement. A more rewarding approach might be to use Topaz Labs Sharpen AI, but that is so time consuming that it is not practical for my work plus I am seeing it generate unacceptable color noise that isn’t there to start with!

I’m flummoxed by how to best sharpen images in Phase One Capture One Pro. Oh, how I long for ACR with which I am expert. The acutance and micro contrast are poor at f/8 and f/11 using the default settings—indistinct and mushy—not unexpected since the pixel size of the IQ4 is the same as the Sony A7R IV and Fujifilm GFX100, which show the same losses from diffraction. I know how to deal with that in ACR. but not in C1 Pro.

Capture One Pro has three different panels for things that sharpen, which is confusing for C1 Pro newbies like me. Contact me if you have useful suggestions for how best to use these three panels.

  • The Lens Corrections panel, with Diffraction Correction and Sharpening options. [Update: I’m told that “Sharpening…” in the Lens Corrections palette is actually Sharpness Falloff, so C1 Pro has a bug in displaying the label properly. Even if I make that palette very wide, it still reads “Sharpness…”. See Capture One: Correcting soft corners.].
  • The Sharpening panel, which appears to be a form of unsharp mask sharpening (which I gave up on years ago for fine detail rendition—it doesn’t suffice).
  • The Clarity panel with its Clarity and Structure settings, which appear to be some form of wide radius unsharp mask.

Diffraction correction is not a lens correction issue, so it has no logical business being in the Lens Correction palette. Diffraction depends on the pixel size and aperture used, not the lens! Sharpness in the Lens Correction panel is arguable, depending on what is meant (in terms of lens performance).

The main thing is that separating three forms of sharpening into 3 different panels is confusing for someone new to Capture One Pro, and not helpful even for the experienced, what with having to bounce between the three.

Phase One Capture One Pro: Lens Correction
Phase One Capture One Pro: Sharpening palette
Phase One Capture One Pro: Clarity palette

David R writes:

Saw you are checking out the IQ4150 and Capture One. I’m a hobbyist photographer (in the Bay Area) that uses both these tools.

I have a few tips from the past few years of working to get the best out of these tools. First off, not sure what lenses you ended up getting, but if you need to borrow something, let me know. I have the 80, 35, and 240 blue ring lenses (and 120 older version).

You’ll find that focus is absolutely critical, and often a pain to achieve with this camera. Focus trim, wait-for-vibrations shot mode, thinking about field curvature (e.g. 35mm), atmospheric distortion (e.g. 240!) etc. needs to all be just right; I think you more than most will understand the issues!

Also, handholding needs to be done (for me) at 1/ 4x-8x focal length to avoid blur due to shake.

You mention f8 and f11 in your blog. In my experience f8 is losing the finest detail and f11 is really losing it with the 150MP back (the 100 was a bit more forgiving). If you are going for maximum resolution I think that f5.6 is where you want to be.

I find that the “diffraction correction” setting is a good way to win back some of the diffraction loss, and I just keep that setting on. Just don’t expect it to work miracles at f16 or anything—you are absolutely not getting the 150MP at those f-stops.

The main C1 “sharpness” tool, as you perhaps are discovering, is OK, but not the most amazing. The default value is 185 (I think) and I find that much sharpening overkill if you have gotten everything else right at capture time. (I find a good litmus test for if I have really nailed sharpness is that a sharpening value of around 50 looks natural to me.)

All this said, if I’m going to be printing large on my 44” Canon, I will leave diffraction correction on then turn off the normal C1 sharpening and export to Photoshop. There you can upres (if necessary, not usually) and use smart sharpen to taste. Let me know if you have other questions. These are somewhat fidgety tools. And good luck with the ~9-watt-continuous power draw in the field :)

DIGLLOYD: I completely agree that f/8 is already losing fine detail and micro contrast, and f/11 is quite bad. This is true also of the Sony A7R IV and the Fujifilm GFX100, both of which have the same pixel pitch.

I was trying f/11 for focus stacking, knowing I would be losing stuff, but it was a first learning attempt. The automated stacking tool on the IQ4 is the most tedious and difficult implementation of it that I have ever encountered—you have to work in MCUs (micro focus units) and there is no actual focusing allowed in the usual sense, as with every other camera I've used. It’s so tedious and difficult that I will probably just shoot all my stacks manually.

So far, as far as I can tell, none of the tools in Capture One Pro are capable of rendering ultra fine detail as can be done in Adobe Camera Raw. I wish very much to be wrong on this point and am hoping to get a call from Phase One in Denmark soon. If not, I’ll use Photoshop Smart Sharpen which is decent but so-so versus the results I am seeing with Topaz Labs Sharpen AI.

Power draw is going to be a major headache in that it takes a lot of time in Live View to get focus right, and it’s a molasses-slow thing for focus stacking. While Phase One was kind enough to supply me with 8 batteries, a pair of them is required to operate, and I find what with all the fiddly and highly modal controls I drain the entire pair (6800 mAh!) in about an hour. It’s going to be rough on batteries in sub-freezing temperatures, so I hope that the Anker PowerCore 21000 can power the camera. Still, as large as that battery is, it's only equivalent to six of the Phase One batteries—and it’s awkward powering externally in the field. But... I have three of them, and I might have to just 'deal'.

My biggest concern with the IQ4 is that it is oriented heavily for touch-screen use, which is extremly painful for my fingers in the cold, as I know from this fall. So I may end up down in Death Valley or Alabama Hills to avoid it. Readers know that I dislike cameras without an EVF such as the otherwise superb Nikon D850, but a camera that all but requires using the touchscreen is far more troublesome as it both requires a loupe which must constantly be used on/off the LCD, plus gloves off. I hope I can make it all work without utter frustration.

Another practical problem is that none of my packs can fit the large-diameter Schneider Kreuznach LS lenses along with the camera. So I will have to use a hardcase to travel with the lenses, it also means any hiking will be camera + one lens + batteries, two max and that will be tough. I do have an older and larger pack, but its zipper is broken so I can use it for storage perhaps, but not for lugging.

John G writes:

If you go beyond the basics and learn how to edit in Capture One or Lightroom, you can make your photos look similar to what can be achieved in C1—and do so more efficiently. Having worked extensively in Capture One, I have full confidence in the program’s image-editing controls, just as I have in Lightroom. I can effectively edit in both programs but have come to prefer C1 for several reasons.

Capture One outshined Lightroom in many respects. The color editing sliders offer better fine-tuning control, particularly for skin tones. The ability to create and label adjustment masks is far superior to LR's approach. Similarly, with the C1 masks, all of C1's controls are available, not just the limited and truncated list of controls for LR masks. The Shadows and Highlights sliders have a greater range of tone control when editing regular dynamic range images. The Luma Curve is more useful for precise control of luminance and color contrast than any equivalent in LR. The global moiré removal is faster and leaves fewer artifacts. The black-and-white conversion process is better than LR at suppressing halos along with areas of color contrast. Similarly, C1 leaves fewer artifacts in most areas of processing. Once you get used to the controls, C1 preserves and recovers highlight and shadow detail more effectively over LR.

Lightroom, meanwhile, does have some extra controls to fine-tune sharpening and noise reduction. Also, the Vibrance slider offers better control over color saturation globally. GPU support means Lightroom’s Develop sliders are more responsive and faster, which itself is reason enough to stick with LR. LR also has fully integrated DNG support to enable things such as Panorama and HDR Photo Merges.

For the most part, both programs can produce equally good results. The most significant difference between the two programs, though, is a difference in philosophy. In Capture One Pro, you can customize the panels and the tools within them such that they make sense to you. This level of UI optimization far surpasses anything LR can offer. So, for example, if you think that the three different tools that deal with sharpening should be proximate to one another, you can easily place those tools in the same stack, adjacent to each other, and under the same corresponding panel. This, of course, is not possible in LR. And, in their tool panel, those same tools are not proximate either. Like all software, Capture One requires a learning curve to use it well. For one, unlike LR, the C1 user interface is not module based. LR has separate modules for Library, Develop, etc. This single difference in the style of the UI makes the learning curve that much steeper and more frustrating. However, there are several UI advantages to C1, most of which have to do with customizability.

As far as sharpening, once you understand how to use each of the sharpening tools in C1, you can achieve similar results. However, the tools function differently, and you may decide the way ARC and LR function in this one capacity suits your approach better.

DIGLLOYD: IQ4 files are not support by ACR, so I have no means to compare the two for IQ4 files. However, that may change now that I have sent raw files of each IQ4 file format to Adobe.

I doubt that the same sharpening results can be achieved in Capture One Pro, because as far as I can tell, it's sharpening is simple Unsharp Mask, whereas ACR include deconvolution sharpening, which is far more effective with micro contrast. I had this conclusion years ago about sharpening, and sharpening seems to have remained unchanged. However, this Phase One video states that the Diffraction Correction in the Lens Correction palette uses deconvolution sharpening.

While I understand that some pros find the appeal of C1Pro to be very high for color rendition and so on, the workflow in C1 Pro is ill-suited for my usage. However, I can deal with that on a short term, and must given the lack of ACR support.

I have some mosaic aperture series from the IQ4 as of today, and they will be excellent for assessing sharpening.

Chris R writes:

I’ve been using Capture One Pro for many years now as it is way better for colour and Raw conversion than Adobe or Lightroom I find, it’s mainly with skin tones for me with my Canon gear, and for commercial commissions it’s been invaluable.

Ok, sharpening and to get the best from the settings

Lens Correction - Basically leave this at it’s default setting, you only really need to use this for non marque lenses, only if you want to do certain adjustments to change such as ‘Light fall off’ remove CA etc.

Clarity - this is personal to the particular image, but I tend to leave it on ’Natural’ then leave the clarity and structure at ‘0’ unless you have a slightly soft image, then Clarity adds a touch of contrast without losing highlights, Structure is good for making an image slightly crisper, play around with them to get you desired look, but generally leave them at their default zero setting.

Sharpening - As you can see from the drop down menu within the sharpening box, there are several presets, however what I recommend you do is to create your own, so maybe load one of your Nikon raw files that you are really happy with the pre set sharpening that you created in the Adobe ACR, then adjust the Amount, Radius, threshold in C1Pro to look the same, then create and save the result as a preset, it’s easy to do, and that will give you a good basis to work from.

So in a nutshell, just use the ’Sharpening’ box to do your main sharpening, leave the others alone for now.

Here’s another nice tip for improving the sharpness, if you go to the ‘Magnifying glass’ symbol on the browser there adjust the Luminance to ‘0’ I find that sometimes C1Pro averages out some things to make an image less grainy but this is at the expense of the image clarity, you’ll notice it more on older RAW files where you may have shot at higher iso’s.

DIGLLOYD: I’m told that “Sharpening…” in the Lens corrections tab is actually Sharpness Falloff, so C1 Pro has a bug in displaying the label properly. See Capture One: Correcting soft corners.

Sebastian B writes:

– The "Sharpness..." slider in Lens Corrections is actually "Sharpness Falloff". It is supposed to counter corner-falloff in sharpness. You'll most likely want to leave it disabled.

– "Clarity" is basically the same as in Lightroom/ACR, a very large radius unsharp mask. Won't impact pixel-level sharpness in any way.

– "Structure" I find kind of a devil. It seems to affect contrast of small details, though not as small as pixels. It produces a very impressionable effect that is very easily overdone. (Possibly some kind of edge-sharpen algorithm, though I'm not sure.) Also, what seems right (or "good") at 100 % or 200 % often produces a grossly unnatural ultra-sharpness look at lower magnifications. I'd largely avoid that too, too finicky to get right at all image sizes and not much in the way of producing natural results (unless, perhaps, your lenses suck so badly they need such a kick-in-the-ass type of post processing).

– The only actual pixel-level sharpening mechanism in C1 is indeed the "Sharpening" tool. That works pretty much like in ACR, though again I find that you can overshoot much more easily.

– I don't know if this is the case with Phase One's own cameras also, but with most other cameras (including modern low-noise cameras like the Nikon Z6), C1 employs luminance noise reduction by default. Make sure this isn't the case and set the default to 0 via the "•••" button in the "Noise Reduction" tool. Otherwise this can prevent exactly the kind of finest-level detail that you are looking for. (C1 generally seems to favor noise reduction and sharpening used in tandem, and both harmonize much better than they do in ACR, at least to my eyes. But of course you'll never get that last bit of pixel-level sharpness if any form of whole-image noise reduction is present.)

– Lastly, as a word of caution, my #1 killer problem with C1 is that images can be rendered differently depending on viewing size. Specifically, on some images, zooming in will produce shifts in color and contrast, sometimes going so far as to require different white balance and tonal adjustments at 100 % than in fit-image-to-screen view. (Though the extent of the difference is dependent on the size and resolution of your screen – on a 15-inch MBP with Retina Display, it can be very pronounced.) This seems to be most prominent when there are significant levels of noise, but I've come not to trust the software in general because of that – it seems to be a general trait that only becomes more visible with increasing noise. What's more, exported images do not show this shift upon zooming in – they look basically like the whole-image preview within C1, regardless of magnification, not like what you see at 100 % in C1. (Or anyway, that's my experience with three different cameras, so I'd really urge caution in this respect – make sure whole-image + pixel-level view in C1 + exported image all actually look the same with your own images. (And yes, this effect is exclusive to C1, I don't see it in Lightroom with the same images. I once wrote to Phase One support about this, which acknowledged the effect and informed me this was "normal" and "due to mathematical facts". Well, no, no such problem in ACR/Lightroom...))

Anyway, that's what I've learned in my limited time with Capture One. Maybe other more seasoned users can chime in or have knowledge on how to deal with these issues. (I'd be interested myself.)

DIGLLOYD: the C1Pro Sharpening palette seems to use simple Unsharp Mask, but that might not be correct. However, if it is, then it cannot compete with the more advanced sharpening in Adobe Camera Raw, which is really a hybrid shaprening consistent of both Unsharp Mask and deconvolution sharpening—and the latter is crucial for micro contrast on very fine details. However, this Phase One video states that the Diffraction Correction in the Lens Correction palette uses deconvolution sharpening.

I almost always turn off noise reduction, unless a file is plagued with noise.

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Brain-Saver: Sony Noise-Canceling Headphones... will Sony In-Ear Noise Canceling Earphones Also Work Well?

This is a re-run blog post; I have found these headphones so critical to my well being at times that I chafe at forgetting them, like yesterday at America’s Tire, which was very loud and really stressed me badly (the noise). I am considering buying a second pair just so I have them at home and in my van at all times. I am also considering the in-ear earphones for times when headphones are not ideal.

In Brain-Saver: Sony Noise-Canceling Headphones I discussed just how critical the Sony WH-1000XM3 Wireless Noise-Canceling Over-Ear Headphones to me after my concussion last year.

Sony WH-1000XM3 Wireless Noise-Canceling Over-Ear Headphones

The Sony WH-1000XM3 noise-canceling headphones continue to be very helpful, especially with a house being built from the ground up right next door what with constant pounding, drilling, sawing, buzzing and the drone of equipment. Were it not for the headphones, I’d just have to leave my home for weeks on end in my Sprinter van, as I cannot tolerate that kind of sustained noise, though I can tolerate much more than even six months ago.

Noise pollution is a cumulative thing over the course of the day, and if there are other stressors, getting the noise down really is a brain saver. Everyone is wired differently but no one benefits from sustained noise.

Noise is far more of a hazard than most people acknowledge, with studies showing damaging hits to learning of children whose classrooms are in noisy environments. Not that adults outgrow the bad effects of noise! Noise disrupts the ability of the brain to focus and learn, at the least.

See also Wikipedia: Sensory Processing Sensitivity.

Along come the Sony WF-1000XM3 True Wireless Noise-Canceling In-Ear Earphones (more info at Sony). I’m not sure they will do the job as well, not having anything over the outer ear, and I tend to have discomfort with in-ear things of any kind, but so useful have the headphones become that I have to try the in-ear version too!

David C writes:

Noise does more than screw up your cognitive abilities at the time, you get cumulative hearing damage that eventually shows itself when, like me, you discover you are reading lips to hear people talking. I don’t know if the damage is latent or if you just don’t notice as your hearing goes away, drip, drip, drip, but I have read that a single exposure to really loud noise may cause permanent damage. I worked in an underground gold mine for five years, so I got plenty; for instance a jackhammer is estimated to be around 130dBA, but that’s on the street, think of the same noise in a small room with stone walls (tunnel face) with a pneumatic rock drill that is a lot bigger than a typical street jackhammer. I wore foam plugs part of the time, but sometimes didn’t have time or inclination (yes stupid, youthful invincibility). all the “old” guys (40+!) at the mine were deaf.

One thing I find odd is most sources list a chainsaw at around 130dBA, but I don’t find them to be very loud. maybe it’s because my high frequency hearing ability is gone (spectrum matters).

An interesting bit of trivia, apparently a lot of older people in the US have become deaf in the left ear because, before AC, they rolled down the car window while driving.

I don’t wear hearing aids yet, mainly because the markup on them amounts to highway robbery (a device bought by millions of people that is mostly electronic shouldn’t cost $thousands). yeah, I know, this isn’t rational; maybe it’s due to hearing damage ;). I *do* wear plugs or headphones running the tractor, lawnmower, grinder, etc now, but too late.

“protect your ears!” is one bit of advice I’d give to all young people if I could; of course they wouldn’t listen.

If you can tolerate them give foam plugs a shot. they are useful sometimes because they are easy to carry, don’t interfere with your head movement and don’t lose their seal as easily by being bumped (e.g. when your head is in the bushes trimming a tree). plugs aren’t sensitive to your head shape, but the size of your ear canals may dictate which plugs will work.

DIGLLOYD: loud noise is bad news indeed. When I mow the lawn, I use earplugs plugs the Sony noise canceling headphones. Foam earplugs can be risky—I've had way too many that don’t quite fully seat. I prefer the soft rubery ones, having ordered a number of different ones to find some that insert reliably and stay in.

Jeffrey J writes:

I purchased the latest version of the Sony in ear noise cancelling earbuds. WF-1000MX3. I had a difficult time getting a proper seal even after trying several sizes of the ear buds.

They would seal for a bit then if I moved the seal would be lost.

Even when sealed the noise cancelling was not as good as the over the ear WM-1000MX3’s. I ended up returning them. They must work for some because reviews are generally good. Just didn’t work for me.

DIGLLOYD: I also have hard-to-fit ear canals. I find that even earplugs cause me discomfort within an hour or so too, Apple earbuds are awul for me, etc.

Sony WH-1000XM3 Wireless Noise-Canceling Over-Ear Headphones
Lloyd’s Sony Mirrorless Wishlist
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First Major Storm Hits Northern California, Sort of Crummy Timing for Me

Well, we needed the rain badly and nature delivered quite late but with the urgency of a UPS drive dumping boxes at your door before XMAS.

I was out tonight and the wind was violent and the rain coming down about as hard as it can, hammering on my van like politicians demanding more taxes, so much that I had to slow to 10 mph due to near-zero visibility.

Huge puddles that don’t drain on I280 show the continuing incompetence of California to address basic safety with fire or water, let alone keep feces off your shoes. I could not see the puddles at night (even with high beams) and I hit them hard, and was very glad for the 16/32" tread on new BF Goodrich K02 A/T tires, and credit where credit is due to the incredible stability control system of the Mercedes Sprinter. The 2-year old tires with 34K miles might have sent me into the guardrail. I never try to get the last 10K out of a set of tires—that would be foolhardy where I go late in the season, let alone hydroplaning issues.

With the Phase One IQ4 here, I am both relieved and disappointed with the weather. Relieved that I now am under no time pressure to race away to the Eastern Sierra, and bummed that I am now frozen out of prime areas for the next 6 months, as there surely will be a meter of snow or more piled up with this first onslaught, with several stormy days yet to slam in. The passes are now closed until June or so. Thus I’ll be shooting in northern Death Valley (e.g. Eureka Dunes) or Alabama Hills or similar, which are at lower snow-free elevations year round.

Below: alas, no late-season shooting up here in the White Mountains, due to the prodigal quantity of fresh snow.

Full resolution image can be seen in Sigma 14-24mm f/2.8 DG DN Art Examples: White Mountains.

Pre-Dawn Glow, Patriarch Grove
f8 @ 10.0 sec electronic shutter focus stack 2 frames, ISO 100; 2019-10-25 06:39:48
Sony A7R IV + Sigma 14-24mm f/2.8 DG DN Art @ 18mm equiv (18.2mm)
ENV: Patriarch Grove, altitude 11300 ft / 3444 m, 32°F / 0°C
RAW: LACA corrected, vignetting corrected, TopazSharpenAI {RemoveBlur=0.29 SuppressNoise=0.17 AddGrain=0}

[low-res image for bot]

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