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Venus Optics Laowa 12mm f/2.8 Zero-D Aperture Series: Milling Lathe

See Sony mirrorless wish list.

Venus Optics Laowa 12mm f/2.8 Zero-D

The about $949 Venus Optics Laowa 12mm f/2.8 Zero-D promises zero distortion (“Zero-D”) in an extreme ultra wide angle lens with f/2.8 lens speed.

This series looks at general performance. Later, I’ll evaluate just how low the optical distortion is (it is indeed low*).

Venus Optics Laowa 12mm f/2.8 Zero-D Aperture Series: Milling Lathe

Includes images up to full resolution from f/2.8 through f/16, along with crops and commentary.

* Optical distortion is not to be confused with so-called “perspective distortion” which is a law of physics: the edge are significantly more distant from the lens than the center of the image and that leads to a stretching effect that is particularly visible when the lens is skewed or off-level from the subject. The camera here was perfectly level with only a slight up/down deviation.

 

f8 @ 2.0 sec, ISO 50; 2018-02-20 13:59:50
Sony A7R III + Venus Optics Laowa 12mm f/2.8 Zero-D

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Restoring the 'Send Feedback' Link on this Site’s Pages (mailto://...) when Disabled by Web Browser Security

With recent changes in Apple Safari (and maybe other browsers), the Send Feedback link no longer works as intended because the browser blocks the functionality.

To re-enable, command click on the SEND FEEDBACK link, which creates another web browser tab—close that tab. On the original page, this dialog appears. Click Allow to enable internet standard mailto functionality to work on my site. This same procedure should work on any website with a similar feature.

Unfortunately, it appears that this workaround is a one-time only bypass—only for that particular click; the 'Allow' does not stick for a website.

mailto broken by security restrictions
Our trusted photo rental store

Site Reachability: blank page (seems to be European users with the issue)

All my sites are up and running and have had no issues for weeks (well, years). Everything running very fast and no issues.

But I’ve had three readers email to say they cannot reach my site, and just get a blank page. I am about 99% certain that this is a misconfigured ISP on their end—has happened before (update this is now all but a certainty for one user, another user has a flaky IP that drops connections).

UPDATE: so far, all reports are from European users, on in the UK and two in Italy.

My guess is a faulty internet server provider (ISP), which I have seen before. European ISPs often use caching proxy servers. Some are really awful, sending requests laden with garbage that looks just like hacking probes—that is one possible explanation for blank pages as my server blacklists such IPs.

UPDATE 2: it looks like at least some offending IPs are sending my server URLs that contain characters that hackers often use (e.g., to compromise SQL), namely the color (":") character. This is being sent in a bogus URL, for example:

/diglloyd%20inquiry:%20/blog/2018/20180209_1942-flu.html

I’ve seen this pattern before: last time I determined that it was either a buggy proxy server (invisible to end users, run by the ISP) and/or someone using a scraper or page caching plugin, one that sends malfored URLs created by buggy parsing of HTML code. So far, I’ve seen it only from European ISPs for some reason—probably they all use the same buggy software when this happens.

Another error is a bogus URL which puts a / before https; maybe some user typing it in:

/https://diglloyd.com/_deals-bh-brand-Apple.html referer "http://m.facebook.com"

I can perhaps deal with some of this on the server end, but in general a crappy ISP generating bad URLs (first case above in all its variants) is just about impossible to distinguish from a bad actor looking to compromise the site.

UPDATE 3: one user reports that using the same browser on a different network (friend’s house next door) that all is well.

I’m having the ISP for my server traceroute back to IP addresses for users with failures, so I can identify the problematic ISP on the European end.

I put in some server side workarounds for stupidly simple errors. Not sure if this will help.

Getting your IP address

Your IPO address is almost never the IP address seen on the computer; it will often be a gateway or router IP address. That’s why the link below is important/useful.

I suppose if you’re reading this, then you’re not having the issue, but if you see this via one access method and a totally blank window through some other ISP, then please go to:

https://whatsmyip.com

Send me the TEXT version of the IP address (NOT a screen shot). Then my provider can traceroute back to see why traffic might be going into a black hole.

Voigtlander Nokton 40mm f/1.2 Aperture Series: Milling Lathe

See Sony mirrorless wish list.

Voigtlander Nokton 40mm f/1.2 Aspherical

The about $1099 Voigtlander Nokton 40mm f/1.2 Aspherical offers the highest lens speed available for a normal lens on Sony.

This example looks more promising than the previous example, with a target at a close distance. A key (limiting) lens aberration is discussed and demonstrated.

Voigtlander Nokton 40mm f/1.2 Aperture Series: Milling Lathe

Includes images up to full resolution from f/1.2 through f/11, along with crops and commentary.

f1.2 @ 1/30 sec, ISO 50; 2018-02-20 10:51:48
Sony A7R III + Voigtlander NOKTON 40mm F1.2 Aspherical

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

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

Voigtlander Nokton 40mm f/1.2 Aperture Series: Sprinter Van, Sunlit Frontal View

See Sony mirrorless wish list.

The about $1099 Voigtlander Nokton 40mm f/1.2 Aspherical offers the highest lens speed available for a normal lens on Sony.

Voigtlander Nokton 40mm f/1.2 Aspherical

The Voigtlander Nokton 40mm f/1.2 has some highly unusual behaviors, which are shown here to illustrate its unsuitability for general purpose photography (or video).

Voigtlander Nokton 40mm f/1.2 Aperture Series: Sprinter Van, Sunlit Frontal View

Includes images up to full resolution from f/1.2 through f/11, along with crops and commentary.

The the unusual behaviors of the Nokton 40/1.2 set expectations—more examples are going to needed to articulate just what is going on, and I’d say this is one lens for which a planar target or lab test would be quite useless for understanding it.

f1.2 @ 1/8000 sec, ISO 50; 2018-02-18 15:10:19
Sony A7R III + Voigtlander NOKTON 40mm F1.2 Aspherical

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Lenses Coming for Review for Sony Mirrorless

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

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

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

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

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

Venus Optics Laowa 12mm f/2.8 Zero-D

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

Venus Optics Laowa 12mm f/4 Zero-D

Sergey Z writes:

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

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

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

Voigtlander Nokton 40mm f/1.2 Aspherical

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

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

Voigtlander Nokton 40mm f/1.2 Aspherical

Samyang 35mm f/2.8

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

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

Samyang 35mm f/2.8

Sony 85mm f/1.8

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

New Zeiss Loxia 25mm f/2.4 Distagon

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

Zeiss Loxia 25mm f/2.4 Distagon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

OBERKOCHEN, 14 February 2018

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

The right companion for years to come

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

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

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

Bringing creativity to life through precise, manual focusing

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

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

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

A strong all-rounder for taking photographs and filming

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

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

Price and availability

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

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

Zeiss Loxia lens line

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

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

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

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

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

2017 iMac Pro Pricing for top-end configuration

Buying an iMac Pro or iMac 5K

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

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

Backup, peripherals, etc

Budget for peripherals as well.

Backup

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

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

Primary storage

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

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

Port expansion

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

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

Peripherals

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Screaming Deal on Zeiss 15mm f/2.8 Distagon
$1899 SAVE $1051 = 35.0% ZEISS 15mm f/2.8 Distagon T* ZE in Lenses: DSLR

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Rigorously lab tested and OWC certified.

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

I’d rather just keep a growing collection, but that’s just not feasible, for both space and financial reasons—I constantly have to be working with the newest lenses for my publications. There is no ROI (return on investment) for lenses that I rarely or ever need for my publications. Plus the ongoing insurance costs are negative ROI, plus I have to buy certain new gear each year. It’s time to clean house on some very good lenses.

  • All lenses here are “good samples” as far as my testing has determined; I never keep bad samples.
  • Nearly all are with original box and packaging (all that stuff up in the attic, I never throw away boxes).
  • My reputation is more important to me than any sale. I would never knowingly sell any gear with an issue. It’s that simple—just not worth it. Local buyers welcome to inspect firsthand.
  • All my glass tends to be pristine. If I see any kind of optical marring, I will note it prior to final sale.
  • Please note that new lenses have dust inside! Used lenses always have some dust, even after a week or two of use. NONE of my gear has ever gone to Burning Man or anything 1/10 that extreme.
  • Overseas is just too much of a hassle, but if payment is made I can hold a lens until buyer visits my area.

LNIB = Like New in Box

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

Mac gear

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

Nikon mount

All Nikon lenses are original USA models—no gray market. Zeiss sales are because I have the Milvus replacements for the lenses I’m selling. These are all excellent samples, some particularly so.

Canon mount

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

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

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

Olympus

Leica

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

Rodenstock and Schneider view camera lenses

All on Linhof Technikardan lens boards, copal shutters.

  • FOR SALE Rodenstock 135mm f/5.6 APO-Sironar-S Copal shutter + Linhof Technikardan lens board $1200 PRISTINE
  • FOR SALE Schneider 400mm f/5.6 APO-TELE-XENAR Copal shutter+ Linhof Technikardan lens board $1500 PRISTINE
  • FOR SALE Linhof Tecknikdan 4 X 5 View camera with quickload holders and various mounting boards $500
4TB Internal SSD
for 2013 Mac Pro
Free how-to videos and tools included, 3-year warranty

Update on the 2018 Influenza Virus

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

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

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

...

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

The Deadly Flu No One Saw Coming

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

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

From the WSJ article:

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

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

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

...

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

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

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

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

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

Physician James A writes:

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

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

Face Masks

Wearing a mask during a dusty double century

Jeff K writes:

You make an important point about this flu.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

See my Canon wish list.

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

Alex Tutubalin of LibRaw (RawDigger, FastRawViewer) writes:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

See also:

RawDigger histogram showing a near perfect exposure within 1/3 stop of blowout
Our trusted photo rental store

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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USB-C Dock for MacBook

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

See also the very funny LensRentals.com spoof videos.

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

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

Use coupon code RENTLOVE.

LensRentals.com 15% off Feb 6 to Feb 14 with coupon code RENTLOVE

Random Photos

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

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

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

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

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David C writes:

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

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

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

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

Nick C writes:

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

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

SSD upgrade that takes full advantage of APFS

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