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$466 FREE ITEMS SAVE $1100 Nikon D750 DSLR with 24-120mm

$556 FREE ITEMS SAVE $800 Nikon D810 DSLR with 24-120mm
$468 FREE ITEMS SAVE $470 Nikon D500 DSLR with 16-80mm
$61 FREE ITEMS SAVE $570 Nikon D7500 DSLR with 16-80mm
SAVE $40 Samsung 500GB T5 Portable Solid…

View all 35 deals…

Durable and fast, up to 1800MB/s

How to Post Images to Instagram from a Computer

It’s crazy—Instagram has no provisions for posting images from a computer, only from a smart phone or similar.

Since my workflow always involve raw format with my regular cameras that’s a non-starter. As for my iPhone, I want to embed my copyright and so on, and tweak the image to my liking. So that means downloading and then deleting the images from the phone—so a phone for use with Instagram is useless to me.

I am sure there are other workarounds, like Lightroom plugins. But there are so many cases of having an existing image and being on a regular computer, that this approach is ideal, and very simple to do.

How to use Instagram from a computer

1. Enable the Develop menu in Safari as shown.

macOS and Apple Safari: enable the Develop menu

2. Fool Instagram.com into thinking your computer is an iOS device.

1. Create a new private window (File => New Private Window).

2. Change the User Agent to iOS (Develop => User Agent => Safari—iOS...)

3. Go to Instagram.com and login.

4. Click the plus symbol at page bottom. A file open dialog will appear; choose the image and proceed.

macOS and Apple Safari: enable the Develop menu
Instagram web page on macOS Safari

Sigma DG HSM Art Lenses Now Available for Sony Mirrorless

Get Sigma DG HSM Art at B&H Photo.

Sigma is now shipping many of its DG HSM Art series lenses in native Sony mount.

See my existing in-depth reviews of Sony DG HSM Art lenses in diglloyd Advanced DSLR. Performance on Sony mirrorless can be expected to match DSLR performance.

Sigma Ships Five Prime Art Lenses for Sony E-mount Cameras with Full-Frame Sensors

Ronkonkoma, NY – June 19, 2018 – Sigma Corporation of America, a leading still photo and cinema lens, camera, flash and accessory manufacturer, today announced availability of five of its interchangeable Art prime lenses for Sony E-mount camera systems – Sigma 20mm F1.4 DG HSM ($899 USD)
Sigma 24mm F1.4 DG HSM ($849 USD)
Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM ($899 USD)
Sigma 50mm F1.4 DG HSM ($949 USD)
Sigma 85mm F1.4 DG HSM ($1199 USD)

Offering the same high-performance optical design as other lenses in the Art line, the new Sony E-mount models feature a newly developed control algorithm that optimizes the autofocus drive and maximizes the data transmission speed. In addition, these lenses are compatible with Sony’s Continuous AF (AF-C) and high-speed autofocus, which are not addressed by Sigma Mount Converter MC-11. Like MC-11, the lenses are compatible with in-camera image stabilization and in-camera lens aberration correction, which includes corrections for peripheral illumination, chromatic aberrations and distortion.

Key Features and Benefits

Autofocus Tuned for Each Lens Thanks to an autofocus drive control program tuned for each lens and high-speed data transmission, the lenses offer a high-speed autofocus at the same performance level as that of a lens designed exclusively for mirrorless cameras. In particular, in E-mount cameras offering Sony’s Fast Hybrid AF, AF-C mode delivers exceptional subject following performance. Autofocus remains extremely precise even in those E-mount cameras offering only contrast AF.

Compatible with In-Camera Image Stabilization The lenses are compatible with in-camera image stabilization. The Sony E-mount camera senses the focal length of the lens and automatically optimizes image stabilization performance.

Data Loaded for Compatibility with In-Camera Aberration Correction The lenses are fully compatible with in-camera aberration correction, which includes corrections for peripheral illumination, chromatic aberrations and distortion. By matching corrections to the optical characteristics of the lens, this function takes image quality to an even higher level.

Native Mount for a More Rigid and Stable Feel Making the mount native to the lens means a more rigid and stable feel to the lens. Featuring a special surface treatment to enhance strength, the brass bayonet mount offers a high-precision fit and exceptional durability. The mount connection area incorporates rubber sealing for dust- and splash-proof construction.

Available Mount Conversion Service* This service converts the mount of Sigma lenses to that of a different camera body, allowing photographers to continue using their favorite lenses over the long term regardless of camera system.

*The Mount Conversion Service is different from a normal repair. In order to apply for the service, please contact your nearest authorized Sigma subsidiary or distributor: http://www.sigma-global.com/en/about/world-network/. **This service is performed exclusively by Sigma.

 

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

OWC Savings on *Factory Sealed* Apple iMac 5K

See also my top deals lists and also deals of the day and various wishlists for cameras and computers. Or, search for deals by category or search for deals by brand, filter by percent savings and search. All updated daily, bookmark these pages!

Kid going to college or high school? Mine are.

These are great machines at a terrific price for a college student.

Don’t wreck your kid’s neck with a laptop (hunching over, terrible ergonomics)—get a desktop with a big screen (or a desktop and a laptop).

OWC sells a wide variety of used and factory sealed Macs.

B&H Deal ZoneDeals by Brand/Category/Savings
Deals expire in 3 hours unless noted. Certain deals may last longer.
$1049 SAVE $450 = 30.0% $20 FREE ITEMS Canon EOS 77D DSLR with 18-135mm USM in Cameras: DSLR
$2497 SAVE $470 = 15.0% $468 FREE ITEMS Nikon D500 DSLR with 16-80mm in Cameras: DSLR
$1497 SAVE $500 = 25.0% $466 FREE ITEMS Nikon D750 DSLR in Cameras: DSLR
$1997 SAVE $1100 = 35.0% $466 FREE ITEMS Nikon D750 DSLR with 24-120mm in Cameras: DSLR
$1747 SAVE $570 = 24.0% $61 FREE ITEMS Nikon D7500 DSLR with 16-80mm in Cameras: DSLR
$3297 SAVE $800 = 19.0% $556 FREE ITEMS Nikon D810 DSLR with 24-120mm in Cameras: DSLR
$1998 SAVE $400 = 16.0% Sony a7R II Mirrorless in Cameras: Mirrorless
$648 SAVE $100 = 13.0% $37 FREE ITEMS Sony DSC-RX100 III in Cameras: Point and Shoot
$300 SAVE $160 = 34.0% $9 FREE ITEMS Steiner 8x32 XC Binocular in All Other Categories
$1399 SAVE $100 = 6.0% ZEISS 18mm f/2.8 Batis in Lenses: Mirrorless

OWC Hard Drive and SSD Savings

See also my top deals lists and also deals of the day and various wishlists for cameras and computers. Or, search for deals by category or search for deals by brand, filter by percent savings and search. All updated daily, bookmark these pages!

Save up to 78% on internal, external, portable drives and more. Deals end May 30.

Many more items discounted than those shown below.

Terrific for external storage on any Mac with Thunderbolt 3 are the Envoy Pro EX series SSDs.

MPG has two key recommendtions about hard drives:

  • Buy hard drives the next size up than need seems to call for, because larger hard drives are faster as they fill up (not an issue for SSDs).
  • Consider a drive a disaster waiting to happen at 4+ years because the chances of failure rise dramatically—better to replace it with a newer (and much faster) drive.

For myself, I retire drives at 3 years if they have not already become too small. Retiring a drive can mean making it into one of several backups.

Separately, B&H has many excellent choices for laptops for a student:

LensRentals.com: 15% Off This Month

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

See also the very funny LensRentals.com spoof videos.

LensRentals.com: 15% off this month

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

LensRentals.com has 15% off with code FLOW15 this month. Valid on orders arriving thru 6/29.

LensRentals.com: 15% off this month

Leica 90mm f/2.2 Thambar-M Aperture Series, With and Without Its center Filter: Sprinter Van

Get Leica 90mm f/2.2 Thamber-M at B&H Photo.

Leica supplies a center filter with the 90mm f/2.2 Thamber-M.

This series looks at the Leica 90mm f/2.2 Thamber-M over the entire aperture range with and without the center filter, showing:

  • Which apertures are viable for use with the center filter.
  • How the center filter affects image rendition and sharpness.

Includes the aperture series f/2.2, 2.4, 2.6, 3.2, 4.5, 6.3, 9, 12.5, 18, 25 at sizes up to full camera resolution.

Leica 90mm f/2.2 Thambar-M Aperture Series, With and Without Its center Filter: Sprinter Van

Includes images at sizes up to full camera resolution.

Below, the center filter has a very limited useful aperture range.

Sprinter Van near Deep Springs (Hwy 168)
f9 @ 1/350 sec, ISO 200; 2018-06-12 14:12:27
LEICA M (Typ 240) + Leica 90mm f/2.2 Thambar-M

[low-res image for bot]

David C writes:

Could it be that you accidentally substituted a jpeg from an old cellphone for the thambar-m image you intended? at least on my screen “soft” doesn’t really go far enough.

DIGLLOYD: a cell phone would be tharper.

Dan M writes in response to my comment “While it is surely a specialty optic, it’s hard to conceive of paying $6500 for a lens designed for inferior performance when world-class performance in a Zeiss Otus costs at most about $4500.”

For those images you posted just now? That’s taking $6,500 out on the front lawn and burning it. Well, maybe pooping on it first, then burning it.

DIGLLOYD: not for Leica collectors—they’re loving it (isn’t that the phrase McDonald’ uses? Which seems appropriate compared to regular Leica glass).

Peter K writes:

This comparison is not completely fair, because in 1930 Leica introduced this LEICA Thambar 90mm/2.2 only as a soft-focus lens and not as a 'normal' lens.

I have to admit that until today I haven’t seen a single picture made with the LEICA Thambar 90mm/2.2 that makes me smile]. In 1931 Leica had a 'normal' LEICA Elmar 90mm/4.0 in their program. You can assume this lens gives different results compared with the LEICA Thambar 90mm/2.2.

DIGLLOYD: also, Leica has single-coated the lens elements on the modern Thamber. Also, an f/4 lens is necessarily better, and indeed the Thambar 90/2.2 improves a lot by f/4, though it is still a very weak performer.

Jason W writes:

I agree with your evaluation of the subject qualities of the Thambar, but couldn't one produce a highly similar diffusion effect with a $20 pro mist filter?

DIGLLOYD: probably the mist filter would be sharper, and different as well, which does not mean less pleasing. I was thinking of vaseline on a filter also.

Hasselblad to Announce a 100-Megapixel X2D Soon?

The discounts on the Hasselblad X1D are now very large. See my in-depth medium format camer and lens reviews.

The only reasons I can think of that Hasselblad would offer such deep discounts are (a) poor sales (which I deem unlikely to result in such deep discounts), or (b) the imminent announcement of an X2D with a 100-megapixel sensor (or at least a successor of some kind). Fujifilm also has discounts on the Fujifilm GFX system, though not as deep.

As a Hasselblad X1D owner, I’d not be terribly pleased to have my X1D resale value plummet by $3500, but these days many vendors have such practices. For those looking into the system, these discounts means that used X1D systems should sell for about half the original asking price, a nice way to get into the system.

I’ve asked Hasselblad for a loaner of the new and exciting Hasselblad XCD 21mm f/4, but it seems that I am well down the priority list, alas. I might have to use dependable B&H Photo, but at this point, I’d really prefer to review a 21mm on a 100 megapixel sensor.

Continues below...

Who wants 100 megapixels, and why bother?

I am hoping that sometime this year that both Hasselblad and Fujifilm will both release 100 megapixel camera bodies, which would be an exciting development in today’s jaded market. IMO, getting to 100 megapixels solves a bunch of issues, including:

  • Unprecedented resolution in a relatively small package. At 100 megapixels, there are things to see that the naked eye will easily miss. I find this fascinating for landscape photography in particular, but it also applies to portraiture (clothing, hair, iris of the eye, etc).
  • A large reduction in aliasing and color moiré as compared to 50 megapixels. A boon to product and fashion photographers, not to mention guys like me shooting stands of aspen—red and green speckles everywhere are a ugly mess. 100 megapixels won’t make these issues go away, but diffraction will mean that they should be minimal by f/5.6.
  • As compared to 50 megapixels, hugely increased pixel quality (excepting noise on a per pixel basis) meaning that if 100 megapixels is downsampled to 50MP, aliasing and moiré and other Bayer matrix errors largely disappear, which for years I have discussed as oversampling, an idea familiar to any student of sampling theory, e.g. Nyquist Theorm. The ignorant say “we don’t need that many pixels”, which translates as a lack of understanding of what determines total image quality.

Which 13-inch Apple MacBook Pro for Photography and General Use?

A friend recently was buying a 13-inch 2017 Apple MacBook Pro. He went through an iteration or two of models, so let me cut to the chase here, for the benefit of anyone considering a similar purchase:

The only 13-inch MacBook Pro that I would consider is the NON touchbar model 2.5 GHz / 1TB SSD / 16GB memory.

See also the MacBook Pro touchbar and review of the 2016 and 2017 MacBook Pro.

The 2016 15-inch MacBook Pro with 2TB SSD is a whopping $1500 off. While the 2017 model is a little faster, that’s a very large discount (2017 model has no discount at all as I write this)—and a 2TB internal SSD is a must-have for me (1TB not enough). Plus that internal SSD is non-replaceable and blazingly fast.

Recommended 2017 Apple 13-inch Apple MacBook Pro

Off Topic: Keep Your Lungs Healthy: Particulate Face Mask

You might not realize how much dirt is thrown up by traffic or wind, and it all goes right into the lung. The evidence in double centuries is dirt-brown-faced riders (sunblock picks up dirt and dust) at the end of a double century. And for me, it also means bronchospasms.

So I no longer ride in conditions involving heavy traffic, dust storms, or high pollen condidtions without using an N100 face mask. Today I mowed my lawn (very large, dry, dusty) and wore a face mask—no bronchospasms and the mask was brown when done.

You don’t want crap in your lungs—ever—really fine stuff (10 microns and smaller) goes in and never comes out. Surely lung cancer risk increases over a long period of time, if not asthma and bronchospasms immediately.

I used a crummy face mask for about 50 miles while riding the 2017 Southern Inyo Double Century—with a big brown cloud of dust and toxins from Owens Lake in the air—and no bronchospasms. I rode the 2018 Joshua Tree Double Century for 50 miles or so with an N100 face mask (particularly along the interstate) and no bronchospasms.

The face mask I use and find comfortable even under heavy exertion is the 3M Particular Respirator 8233, N100. I suggest buying a 4-pack of 3M Particular Respirator 8233, N100. It is relatively durable too, so it can be used many times. It seals up really well, far better than N95 or other inferior face masks.

3M Particular Respirator 8233, N100

Specifications for 3M™ Particulate Respirator 8233, N100.

  • NIOSH's highest rated filtration efficiency in a disposable respirator N100
  • M™ Cool Flow™ Exhalation Valve reduces heat build-up inside the respirator
  • Compatible with a variety of protective eyewear and hearing protection
  • Adjustable noseclip helps provide a custom secure seal

3M™ Particulate Respirator 8233, N100 is a disposable particulate respirator that is designed to help provide reliable respiratory protection of at least 99.97 percent filtration efficiency against certain non-oil based particles. Soft inner material provides added comfort while the cup shape design makes the respirator spacious and durable. Adjustable noseclip helps provide a custom secure seal. Fully adjustable head straps help provide a secure seal. The respirator incorporates 3M’s proprietary technology with advanced electrostatically charged microfiber filter media designed for ease of breathing. This respirator is compatible with a variety of protective eyewear and hearing protection. Recommended applications include foundry operations, grinding, petrochemical manufacturing, processing of minerals, and welding. Industries in which this respirator is commonly used includes construction, general manufacturing, mining, oil and gas, and transportation. Fitted with a 3M Cool Flow™ Exhalation Valve, this respirator is ideally suited for work situations involving heat, humidity, or long periods of wear. The proprietary 3M Cool Flow valve is designed to release hot, humid exhaled breath quickly, helping to prevent an unpleasant build up of heat inside the facepiece - a significant cause of discomfort to respirator wearers. This particulate respirator is NIOSH (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health) approved for environments containing certain non-oil based particles and provides N100 (99.97%) filter efficiency. Respirator helps provide protection against certain OSHA substance specific contaminants including lead, MDA, arsenic, and cadmium (excluding asbestos). Breathing hazardous particles can pose a risk to your health. NIOSH, a Federal government regulatory agency, has tested and approved the 3M Particulate Respirator 8233, which is designed to help reduce exposure to certain airborne particles.

David M writes:

Thanks for your post about the N100 face mask. A few weeks ago I was photographing on the island of Hawaii and was overwhelmed by the vog (volcanic emissions) from Kīlauea volcano. I've been coughing constantly for the last 3 weeks. My doctor gave me an inhaler, but once you get junk in your lungs, it's there to stay.

I'm going back in 2 weeks and I'll definitely be bringing one of these face masks.

DIGLLOYD: not only can the 'junk' stay, micro scarring can occur, and that can lead to a permanent reduction of lung function (small airways), and a predisposition to viral infections.

I question the wisdom of going back given the damage already done (it can take years for the lungs to recover from some insults, personal experience), but the mask should keep particulate matter out, provided it is properly fitted. Also, the N100 face mask does nothing to keep out chemical vapors like hydrogen sulfide. Were I going back, I’d get something 'serious' with activated carbon.

Thunderbolt 3 Dock
Must-have expansion for 2017 iMac/ MacBook Pro
Thunderbolt 3 • USB 3 • Gigabit Ethernet • 4K Support • Firewire 800 • Sound Ports

Email Server Swapped Over, Hoping for No Issues

About 5 days ago I reported on some site issues. I’ve rejiggered my email server and it all seems to be working properly, but that is as yet unproven to my satisfaction (not on my end, but the Comcast connection). Let me know at my alternate email address @me.com if you send me an email and it goes unanswered.

Today I swapped the email server over, after 5 hours of Comcast hell. Comcast technical support is an oxymoron: they don’t know even the rudiments of port mapping and NAT and can scarcely comprehend a static IP, but one of them was so belligerent he was willing to argue, believe it or not. Still, two of four were at least honest, even if they had no answers.

The worst part is that the Comcast cable modems *all* have a serious bug in routing local LAN to WAN IP and back—I found that 5 or 6 years ago and it still fails even after I supplied all the technical details to Comcast Level 2 support. Upshot is that I have a workable solution (with work/home hassles of reconfiguration). It’s a temporary solution—I’m going to relocate the servers—dealing with Comcast is worse than a root canal. Dang I’d love to dump Comcast and have 10 times the speed for 1/6 the price that a friend of mine has (gigabit fiber).

Leica 90mm f/2.2 Thambar-M Aperture Series: Sunset for a Dead Pine (M240)

Get Leica 90mm f/2.2 Thamber-M at B&H Photo.

This series assesses the Leica 90mm f/2.2 Thamber-M through f/9 on a far distance scene. results at distance show just how strikingly good today’s $300 lenses are compared to 80-year-old lens designs, although perhaps there were better 90mm lens designs back then, and ones trying to avoid soft focus.

Leica 90mm f/2.2 Thambar-M Aperture Series: Sunset for a Dead Pine

Includes the aperture series f/ 2.2, 2.4, 2.6, 3.2, 4.5, 6.3, 9 at sizes up to full camera resolution.

Sunset for a Dead Pine
f2.2 @ 1/3000 sec, ISO 200; 2018-06-14 19:37:52
LEICA M (Typ 240) + Leica 90mm f/2.2 Thambar-M

[low-res image for bot]

David C writes:

Could it be that you accidentally substituted a jpeg from an old cellphone for the thambar-m image you intended? at least on my screen “soft” doesn’t really go far enough.

DIGLLOYD: a cell phone would be tharper.

Dan M writes in response to my comment “While it is surely a specialty optic, it’s hard to conceive of paying $6500 for a lens designed for inferior performance when world-class performance in a Zeiss Otus costs at most about $4500.”

For those images you posted just now? That’s taking $6,500 out on the front lawn and burning it. Well, maybe pooping on it first, then burning it.

DIGLLOYD: not for Leica collectors—they’re loving it (isn’t that the phrase McDonald’ uses? Which seems appropriate compared to regular Leica glass).

Peter K writes:

This comparison is not completely fair, because in 1930 Leica introduced this LEICA Thambar 90mm/2.2 only as a soft-focus lens and not as a 'normal' lens.

I have to admit that until today I haven’t seen a single picture made with the LEICA Thambar 90mm/2.2 that makes me smile]. In 1931 Leica had a 'normal' LEICA Elmar 90mm/4.0 in their program. You can assume this lens gives different results compared with the LEICA Thambar 90mm/2.2.

DIGLLOYD: also, Leica has single-coated the lens elements on the modern Thamber. Also, an f/4 lens is necessarily better, and indeed the Thambar 90/2.2 improves a lot by f/4, though it is still a very weak performer.

Jason W writes:

I agree with your evaluation of the subject qualities of the Thambar, but couldn't one produce a highly similar diffusion effect with a $20 pro mist filter?

DIGLLOYD: probably the mist filter would be sharper, and different as well, which does not mean less pleasing. I was thinking of vaseline on a filter also.

Up to 1527MB/s sustained performance

Leica 90mm f/2.2 Thambar-M Aperture Series: Robust Green Growth in High Mountain Meadow (M240)

Get Leica 90mm f/2.2 Thamber-M at B&H Photo.

This series assesses the Leica 90mm f/2.2 Thamber-M across its entire aperture range, starting with the pronounced dreamy veiling haze effect at wider apertures, on down to f/25.

Aperture Series: Robust Green Growth in High Mountain Meadow

Includes the full aperture series, f/: 2.2, 2.4, 2.6, 3.2, 4.5, 6.3, 9, 12.5, 18, 25 at sizes up to full camera resolution.

These Spring Corn Lilies (Veratrum californicum) are gorgeous and very common at high altitude in the Sierra Nevada, which does not lessen their appeal. This stand of them was particularly robust. As soon as the snow recedes, they pop up out of the ground on cue, sometimes right through a lingering thin layer of snow.

Spring Corn Lilies (Veratrum californicum) in High Mountain Meadow
f2.2 @ 1/180 sec, ISO 200; 2018-06-14 19:29:33
LEICA M (Typ 240) + Leica 90mm f/2.2 Thambar-M

[low-res image for bot]

Death Valley Eureka Dunes in Infrared

I’ve been pondering trying infrared again because I really like the rendering of some images. So I went back and reprocessed some images from 2007.

Death Valley: Eureka Dunes in Infrared

The 50-megapixel Canon 5Ds R should do nicely (or the Nikon D810 or D850), but for now I need to keep both in color for review purposes, and I can’t afford to buy a 2nd one.

As for myself, I have no interest in shooting anything at less than 24 megapixels (bare, inadequate minimum, 16 megapixels will fill 1/3 of an 8K display, which are coming in a year or two).

If you want the best, convert a Hasselblad X1D to infrared or a high-res Canon or Nikon DSLR. A Sony A7R III would be a fine candidate, but might have infrared bleed issues internally.

See my diglloyd Digital Infrared Photography, still a useful guide and how-to, even if it does not add new cameras—things are pretty much the same, the factors being (a) spectral cutoff, (b) sensor noise, (c) processing techniques. Why don’t I review converted infrared cameras for diglloyd Digital Infrared Photography? Simple—no ROI—it’s a costly exercise and these days I have no wiggle room at all.

At Eureka Dunes, Death Valley National Park
f9 @ 1/200 sec, ISO 200; 2007-02-24 13:35:54
Canon EOS 5D + Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM @ 24mm

[low-res image for bot]

Rebates on Many Zeiss Lenses

See my top deals lists and also deals of the day and various wishlists for cameras and computers. Or, search for deals by category or search for deals by brand, filter by percent savings and search. All updated daily, bookmark these pages!

Big discounts on many terrific Zeiss lenses are now up.

Bookmark my top deals pages to see deals for many brands, updated daily.

There is also a new ZEISS landing page at B&H Photo which notes the characteristics of each Zeiss lens.

And of course see my diglloyd Zeiss DSLR Lenses and Zeiss Loxia lens reviews, and Zeiss Batis lens reviews, and Zeiss ZM lens reviews.

Zeiss Lenses for Nikon and Canon
$1999 SAVE $300 = 13.0% ZEISS 18mm f/2.8 Milvus ZE in Lenses: DSLR
$1999 SAVE $300 = 13.0% ZEISS 18mm f/2.8 Milvus ZF.2 in Lenses: DSLR
$2099 SAVE $300 = 12.0% ZEISS 25mm f/1.4 Milvus ZE in Lenses: DSLR
$917 SAVE $200 = 17.0% ZEISS 35mm f/2 Milvus ZE in Lenses: DSLR
$917 SAVE $200 = 17.0% ZEISS 35mm f/2 Milvus ZF.2 in Lenses: DSLR

 

USB-C Dock for MacBook

4 USB3 ports, 1 USB-C port, SD card reader, gigabit ethernet, audio ports, HDMK 4K port!

OWC announces mission with Splash to bring clean water to children

I take clean safe drinking water for granted—well, not all the time and I almost never drink from the tap, which tastes bad, being full of chloramine.

OWC wants to make a difference. Together with Splash, a highly reputable international clean water charity, OWC is looking to make a lasting impact on the lives of kids, their families, and the larger community. OWC's goal of raising $250,000, and commitment to match funds up to $125,000, OWC aims to make clean water, clean hands, and clean toilets a reality for kids living in some of the biggest, toughest cities in the world.

Today, over 1.8 billion people lack consistent access to clean water and 2.4 billion people lack access to improved sanitation. The urban water crisis affects everyone, but with a much harsher impact on kids. Diarrheal disease is the second leading cause of death in children under five years old. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Splash ensures clean water flows from taps, teaches kids the importance of washing their hands with soap, and provides students with access to safe and sanitary restrooms. Join OWC and Splash to empower kids to hold their futures in their own, clean hands, and end the deadly impact of water borne-diseases and viruses. Will you help us bring clean water to kids? Every donation helps to make a Splash! Learn more at www.splash.org
When you make a donation $50 and above, you'll receive an exclusive coupon code via email for your next order on OWC's e-commerce site, www.macsales.com $50 - $499 donation - $10 off $500 > donation - $50 off

ABOUT OWC

OWC is celebrating its 30th year of service by partnering with Splash to raise funds to help a great cause. OWC was founded with the drive to provide solutions for the needs of our customers. After learning about the work Splash is doing to help kids and communities, we knew that this was not just a great cause, but a true solution for one of the most basic needs of all: access to clean water and sanitation. With access to clean water, the lives and health of children and the communities they live in are improved dramatically. Clean water empowers independence and the opportunity to pursue one’s potential. Supporting this cause isn’t a one day “feel-good” event, it’s a solution that has a positive effect for generations.

OWC Founder and CEO Larry O’Connor said “OWC has been committed to green practices since our inception, and as we celebrate 30 years in business, we renew that commitment by supporting Splash, who are bringing clean water and improved sanitation to children across the globe. These solutions will have lasting impact for generations, and empower independence and better living opportunities.”

All funds raised go directly to water, sanitation, and hygiene projects to support kids living in urban poverty. Keep an eye out for exclusive updates on how your donations are being used and the communities we’ve helped.

Up to 1527MB/s sustained performance

Leica 90mm f/2.2 Thambar-M: Focusing Challenges, with examples

Get Leica 90mm f/2.2 Thamber-M at B&H Photo.

Focusing the Leica 90mm f/2.2 Thambar-M is exceptionally difficult—this is not a lens that will ever snap into focus. That is ironic because the raison d^etre of the Thambar 90/2.2 is the combination of some sharpness with what I’ll just call a “haze effect” (caused by many optical aberrations and high veiling flare). So getting focus right is critical, or the whole image becomes an unfocused blurry blob.

Focusing the Leica 90mm f/2.2 Thambar-M (with examples)

Two examples are included, one portrait, one landscape. Images up to full camera resolution so the 0% or so MTF for fine details can be seen. I have more stuff coming, including aperture series with and without the center filter.

I’d say, think very hard unless the visual effects are something you must have in your repertoire, Me, I’d be infinitely more interested in the Leica 75mm f/1.25 Noctilux (coming soon for review). Still, there are certain types of portraiture where it might apply (boudoir?), or bucolic/idyllic scenes where the intent is to evoke a sense of timelessness. Not my style, but I am sure some striking images could be made.

On a separate note, it is striking to me just how poor the Leica M240 is for making portraits: the shutter delay and blackout time is unacceptable because it makes capturing the right expression hit-and-miss at best—Sony with Zeiss Loxia (or an autofocus lens with Eye EF to boot) is so much superior it’s not even funny.

Dee Sickles, LMT, MMT
f2.2 @ 1/45 sec, ISO 400; 2018-06-10 20:32:17
LEICA M (Typ 240) + Leica Thambar 90mm f/2.2

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When it Rains, it Pours: Server Issues Delay Email and Website Updates, Blown-Off Steering Hose in Sprinter

I am deleting all emails over 64K that are sent to me, so please do not send anything other than very small plain text emails. Response to subscriptions likely to be delayed. Reasons follow below.

...

When it rains, it pours, so they say. Only it has been up to 109°F while traveling (Las Vegas).

I had some lingering physical issues from my bike crash that needed addressing: mashed ribs impairing breathing on the right side of my chest, twisted torso (partly from mashed ribs on the right side), and a few other things. That took me 6 days including travel time of a day each way. Much better now, it was time well spent.

Returning towards home yesterday, the power steering hose of my Mercedes Sprinter blew off deep into Wyman Canyon, dumping all power steering fluid across the lower half of the radiator (smells nice too). And eliminating all planned shooting for then and today and tomorrow. I manhandled the Sprinter out of the canyon (quite a workout!) and back from Deep Springs area on Hwy 168 over to Big Pine, then to Bishop. Two hours to determine what kind of power steering fluid to use, and then two grubby hours under the Sprinter underbody getting the hose back on trying to avoid burns, this time with some stainless steel screw camps instead of the toy spring clamp that was on the hose. But the manual did not state how much steering fluid was needed and I could only buy 24 oz of it—half of what is needed. The steering worked again but sounded awful and no more was available in Bishop. This morning I drove to Mammoth Lakes and got a liter of Pentosin Hydraulic Fluid CHF11S (after many phone calls to find the right kind). But I overfilled not knowing the capacity and bled it out with rolled paper towels which took half an hour. Then I headed to Mercedes of Reno (3.5 hour drive with 4 road-work delays) to have my work checked out (better than stock, I think), and the fluid flushed/swapped with official. And while I am at it, a screw clamp on the top hose and 20K service, a bit early at 17K miles, but might as well drive away with confidence.

Well, it’s still raining.

For the past 3 days, my mail and git servers have been almost unusable; these run on a high speed wireless link and are not in the server room along with the web server. It turns out that newly-planted and very fast growing redwood trees* (up to 10 feet in a year) grew just enough in the past months and recently spurted even more, so as to nearly obliterate the wireless signal, rendering my ability to access my mail or git servers nearly zero. I’ll be moving those servers into the server room along with the web server, but this will take a few days.

* Redwood trees grow fast, and my neighbors, knowing exactly their prior Eucalyptus trees were wrecking my signal (I offered to help pay for removal), promptly planted and amply watered very large redwood trees in the same place after removing the Eucalyptus—the same neighbors with that multi-lingual “we welcome everyone” sign out front (meaning undocumented people, I guess)—but it seems that they do not consider neighbors. Though they are within their legal rights of course. Well the redwoods are growing like weeds now.

Bottom line: I am over in Reno with my Mercedes Sprinter being worked on (Merceces of Reno is terrific, very helpful on short notice!) and minimal ability to update my web content or even get email. Almost inoperable, so I apologize for delays in responding to emails or subscrptions. I have material to publish but yesterday I could not even read my email so posting images is problematic. A bit better luck today—I’ll see how it goes.

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GoPro Hero 6: Zero Protection for front Lens Cover; Shatters in an Instant

Get GoPro Hero 6 at B&H Photo.

Very first usage, I dropped it onto pavement. It landed perfectly square on the front lens area, cracking the cover glass.

I do not understand why zero protection to the front—absolutely nothing but maybe 0.5mm of cheap plastic—no rubber bumper or nothin'.

Isn’t it a rough-and-tumble sports video camera?! Alas today’s videos are flawed; I shot them anyway on a very fast descent of Rock Creek from Mosquito Flat.

GoPro Hero 6 with cracked front lens cover

I won the Eastern Sierra double, and in under 3 days I have had complete recovery, so I did a 4800 foot climb today. Below, from today’s ride, my Team OWC (MacSales.com) sponsorship bike and wheels, which still needs OWC decals. The Moots Vamoots RSL + Lightweight Meilenstein wheels combo rides like a dream—I was able to do up to 50 mph on the descent and the bike tracks like it is on rails—feels so safe and sturdy compared to the prior bike, just awesome. And it’s even more comfortable for doubles than the old one (for sale).

Lloyd at Mosquito Flat (top of Rock Creek road)
f1.8 @ 1/125 sec, ISO 20; 2018-06-06 00:48:40
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus 4.0 mm f/1.8

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Arrived: Leica 90mm f/2.2 Thambar-M

Get Leica 90mm f/2.2 Thamber-M at B&H Photo.

Twenty aperture blades make for a nearly circular diaphragm. I’ll be shooting the Thambar-M 90mm f/2.2 over the next few weeks. I want to make some unusual images with it as well as see what it can deliver for quality if pressed into service at f/6.3 and f/9.

I rather wish that other vendors would consider this awesome circular aperture, with its 20 blades. Even holding it, one has to look closely to see that it is not quite circular—very impressive.

Leica Thambar-M 90mm f/2.2: 20 aperture blades make for a nearly perfect circular diaphragm

I’d never use the leather hard case, which also accommodates the center spot filter— a total nuisance in my pack.

Leica Thambar-M 90mm f/2.2, as supplied (internal padded box)

On the Way for Testing: Leica 90mm f/2.2 Thambar-M

Get Leica 90mm f/2.2 Thamber-M at B&H Photo.

I know that reader Roy P has been waiting with bated breath for me to review this lens. That’s better than baited breath, since he does not fish. Sometimes I like non sequiturs.

Is there room in today’s market for “throwback retro” lenses? Leica must think so. But I for one would like to see Leica focus on bringing the M platform into the modern world with a built-in 4MP OLED EVF, no rangefinder at all, 45 megapixel sensor, and lenses totally optimized for the sensor.

The Leica 75mm f/1.25 Noctilux-M ASPH is a totally different animal and it is not yet available to me (waiting for loaner), so I thought I’d take a look at something of a similar focal length but entirely different in design.

At about $6495, the Leica Thambar-M 90mm f/2.2 brings “retro” of the 1930's to the Leica rangefinder platform, complete with single-coated lens elements and a leather case and center spot filter.

Leica Thambar-M 90mm f/2.2
  • Leica M-Mount Lens
  • Aperture Range: f/2.2 to f/25
  • Distinct Soft Focus Image Quality
  • Center Spot Filter for Dramatic Effect
  • Single Coated Glass Elements
  • Manual Focus Design
  • Minimum Focusing Distance: 3.3'
  • Stepless Aperture Ring
  • 20-Blade Diaphragm
  • Based on Original 1930s Design

While it is surely a specialty optic, it’s hard to conceive of paying $6500 for a lens designed for inferior performance when world-class performance in a Zeiss Otus costs at most about $4500. However, that is a feature and not a bug, according to Leica and there is always that hard leather case good for storing in some box or closet. So it seemed an interesting challenge to find something to love in the anti-Otus.

There is little point in comparing its performance to a traditional lens, whose design goals are high performance imagery. Rather, one has to ask whether it can deliver images that are compelling for their classic look, and then decide when and why that look is justified or useful or advisable.

I’ll be testing the about $6495 Leica 90mm f/2.2 Thambar-M on the Leica M240 (I’d prefer an M10 but what I own is an M240).

Specifications

As per Leica.

With 4 elements in 3 groups, the single-coated elements will be prone to flare, but not overly so. Still, with stopping down contrast is likely to degrade to increasingly collimated rays which might interact with the sensor. Presumably Leica has taken steps to preserve the lens characteristics while avoiding undesirable interaction with a definitely non-retro recording medium.

Leica Thambar-M 90mm f/2.2
Focal length: 90mm
Aperture scale: f/2.2 - f/25
Diaphragm blades: 20 blades
Number of elements/groups: 4 elements in 3 groups
Focusing range: 3.3 ft / 1 meter
Angular field: 27°
Image ratio at close range:            na
Filter thread: 49mm
Weight, nominal: 1.1 lb / 500g
Dimensions: 2.2 x 3.5in / 57.0 x 90.0 mm
List price: about $6495
Includes Leica Thambar-M 90mm f/2.2 Lens
Metal Front Lens Cap
Rear Lens Cap for M-Mount Lenses
Metal Lens Hood
Hard Leather Case (Vintage Brown)
Limited 3-Year Warranty

Leica Thambar-M 90mm f/2.2

Leading the way in F1.4 brightness

Featuring the same optical design and distinct image quality as the original version from the 1930s, the Thambar-M 90mm f/2.2 from Leica is an M-mount lens characterized by its unique soft focus look and use of a removable center spot filter to enhance the lens's dreamy qualities.

This portrait-length lens replicates the optical layout of the original, but improves upon its predecessor with single-coated glass elements for greater protection against the elements and corrosion.

This new version also sports a striking black paint finish and dual aperture scales, in white and red, to represent working with and without the removable center spot filter.

Straying from the clean and sharp quality Leica is best known for, the Thambar-M 90mm f/2.2 serves as an homage to the unique and creative lenses that makeup their heritage of producing truly striking and unmistakable imagery.

  • Dedicated to producing soft focus imagery, this unique lens can be used in conjunction with the included center spot filter to increase the drama of the dreamy effect for striking, ethereal image quality.
  • Based on the original Thambar from the 1930s, this updated version uses the same optical layout but features a single protective coating on the glass elements to guard against corrosion.
  • Deliberate under-correction of spherical aberration, along with a 20-blade diaphragm, produce a circular rendition of out-of-focus highlights along with an overall diffuse quality that becomes more exaggerated towards the edge of the frame.
  • Short telephoto focal length and bright f/2.2 maximum aperture are ideal for portraiture and isolating subject matter using shallow depth of field techniques.
  • Dual aperture scales, in red and white, represent working with and without the center spot filter in place. Additionally, the aperture ring is stepless for smooth, precise adjustment that is not limited by click-stops.
  • Manual focus design provides a minimum focusing distance of 3.3'.
  • Included vintage brown hard leather case further reinforces the classic look and nostalgia of this lens, and contains a storage pocket for the included center spot filter in the lid. Additionally, the included specially designed metal lens hood and metal front lens cap are felt lined to protect the metal body of the lens from scratches.
Leica Thambar-M 90mm f/2.2

Sigma 14-24mm f/2.8 DG HSM Art Aperture Series @ 24mm: Lloyd on Bleached Aspen Log

Get Sigma 14-24mm f/2.8 DG HSM Art at B&H Photo.

This series at 24mm confirms and extends the results seen at 22/23/24mm.

I took this series to see how well the Sigma 14-24mm f/2.8 DG HSM Art performed in terms of subject separation, in a vein similar to what I had done for the Zeiss Loxia 24mm f/2.4 in Zion Kolob Canyons.

I had not intended to publish this series, but it is a striking demonstration that to the extent the Sigma 14-24mm f/2.8 DG HSM Art is outstanding at 14mm, it falls to pieces at 24mm, so much so that it is the best demonstration of all the series in the 22-24mm range at showing the weakness of the lens at 24mm.

In my review of the Sigma 14-24mm f/2.8 DG HSM Art:

Sigma 14-24mm f/2.8 DG HSM Art Aperture Series @ 24mm: Lloyd on Bleached Aspen Log

Includes images up to full camera resolution from f/2.8 to f/16.

Lloyd on Bleached Aspen Log
f2.8 @ 1/2000 sec, ISO 64; 2018-04-22 08:13:06
NIKON D850 + Sigma 14-24mm f/2.8 DG HSM Art @ 24mm

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