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Sony A7R IV: Which High-Speed and High-Capacity SDXC Cards Are Best?

See my Sony wishlist at B&H Photo.

The new Sony A7R IV has dual SDXC UHS-II card slots. The UHS-II designation means that extra pins are on the card to allow extra high speed reading and writing with cameras that support UHS-II. Cameras lacking that support read/write at slower speed.

Terence M writes this just as I was looking into it!

What are your highly recommended SDXC cards for the Sony A7R IV? What about the Sony Tough cards, are they the best?

File size

Shooting 61-megapixel images is going to demand a lot of storage space and fast write and read times, both for writing and image review.

61 vs 42 megapixels means (61/42) * 86 MB/file ~= 125 MB per uncompressed raw file
61 vs 42 megapixels means (61/42) * 43 MB/file ~= 62 MB per compressed raw file
(assuming the same Sony 11+7 lossy compression format)

Sony 16-shot high-res mode will generate up to 16 * 125 = 2 gigabytes per capture uncompressed and still 16 * 62 = a gigabyte per capture compressed. Unless Sony comes up with a lossless compression format, guaranteed full image quality requires uncompressed format. That’s a storage disaster for both mult-shot and the 10 fps mode.

CLICK TO VIEW: Fast SDXC UHS-II camera storage cards

You’ll need a lot of storage on your computer. Consult with Lloyd for how to do that well and how to validate data integrity over time and across backups and originals on any media, Mac or Windows.

CLICK TO VIEW: High Capacity Computer Storage

Write speed bandwidth

Plus, 10 fps means 1250 megabytes per second for uncompressed raw, and still a huge storage challenge at 620 MB/sec for compressed raw. You probably won't be fond of uncompressed raw at 10 fps for that reason! The fastest cards seem to write at 200 to 300 MB/sec.

But here are some links that steer you to what look like solid options. It seems that UHS-II at high speed does not come cheap.

I don’t like to count on “up to” write speed as that can be misleading—I want to see “minimum sustained write speed” quoted—many cards don’t say. For example, the SanDisk 128GB card below claims “up to 260MB/sec” but only guarantees that it won’t drop below 30 MB/sec—8 times slower! Similarly, the ProGrade offering guarantees only 90MB/sec, which is good, but far short of its 200MB/sec max speed. The Lexar 128GB offering guarantees a minimum 90 MB/sec which is quite good.

Then there are the Angelbird offerings which confuse the issue by claiming “sustained write speeds of 260 MB/sec” in conjunction with “minimum write speeds of 90 MB/sec”—confusing, but that’s as good a performance as seems to be available—but Sony Tough series matches it.

Below are some hand-picked candidates. I’m inclined to go with Sony SF-G Tough Series UHS-II SDXC card for several reasons: (1) absence of the annoying write-protect tab, (2) almost certain compatibility, (3) guaranteed minimum 90 MB/sec. I would much prefer a 256GB capacity but with dual card slots, dual 128GB cards is perfectly viable.

Please buy using these links—it matters!

Fast 256GB SDXC UHS-II cards

Fast 128GB SDXC UHS-II cards

Sony A7R IV: Serious Doubts About Viability of Sony 16-Shot High-Res Mode for Field Use

See my Sony wishlist at B&H Photo.

Sony A7R IV

The new Sony A7R IV has many appealing improvements, with Sony once again leading the technology race and while improving the ergonomics/haptics too. Just how other competitors can respond without still lagging behind is unclear, especially with Sony controlling the sensor market.zz

CLICK TO VIEW: Sony A7R IV + Highly Recommended Lenses

I will be buying the Sony A7R IV as it is a compelling upgrade in many ways. But I fear that the one feature that most interests me might turn out to be dead on arrival for field shooting: the Sony 16-Shot High-Res Mode feature.

The use of SDXC cards in the Sony 7R IV is disappointing; I vastly prefer XQD cards as used in the Nikon Z7 and Panasonic S1R. SDXC cards are just not robust, with several of my cards disintegrating with use, and the locking pin is frequently being a problem too (self locking upon insertion all too often). There are cards now without the idiotic locking pin, which is all I will buy in the future for SDXC.

How Sony 16-Shot High-Res Mode works as I understand it

Sony has done a poor job of explaining just how the 16-Shot High-Res Mode feature works . The video is a nerd thing showing how pixels and sub-pixels overlap and say nothing about shooting speed, inter-frame time gap (if any), card-write time, or post-processing issues, such as how motion is handled. Or whether Sony’s required computer software processing is better than its prior toy-grade implementation.

Here is what I gather, and I hope I am mistaken about some of these points:

  • The Sony A7R IV makes 16 exposures using pixel shift in various ways to in effect quadruple the number of pixels captured, and with each having full RGB true-color information. In theory, wonderful quality. This is somewhat different than Panasonic S1R, which makes eight (8) exposures. So presumably Sony’s peak quality will be superior.
  • The Sony A7R IV apparently stores sixteen (16) separate files on the camera card, for a whopping gigabyte or more for a single capture. That’s a striking difference in two ways: 16 separate files and a 1000+ megabytes versus the 342MB single raw files of the Panasonic S1R (plus optional single-shot frame)—Sony is a 3X larger hit—a huge nuisance and waste of space and you'd better have a very fast SDXC card.
  • Sony apparently does zero in-camera processing for multi-shot. Compare that to Panasonic which uses sophisticated in-camera processing to produce a single convenient raw file usable immediately in any raw converter.

What’s appears to be unworkable with Sony’s implementation

With those assumptions, here are my concerns, which have many undesirable implications for both capture and processing.

1. Exposure time

Sony’s current pixel shift on the Sony A7R III interposes a minimum 1/2 second delay between exposures (adding 1.5 seconds to the total time required). In the field as a practical matter, this guarantees motion/lighting artifacts resulting in godawful checkerboarding, disgusting me so many times that I gave up on pixel shift on the Sony A7R III. And that is only 4-shot pixel shift! It is why I lauded the Panasonic S1R, which exposes its 8 frames as fast as the exposure time allows and has sophisticated in-camera generation of a single raw file.

The chance of motion/lighting artifacts for 16 vs 8 exposures is in practice not just twice as likely. It is probably 10X higher under so many field conditions. I might be able to time an 8 frame exposure on the Panasonic S1R such that wind or lighting issues are minimized, but it’s drastically harder to do so for twice as long a time—lulls in wind and shifts in lighting are impatient with photographers. Already on the Sony A7R III, 4-frame pixel shift has been proven to be troubled even under ideal conditions.

With sixteen frames instead of four, any delay adds up to a lot of time in terms of subject changes, which includes shadows/lighting as the sun or clouds move!

Even assuming zero inter-frame delay for 16 frames, sixteen exposures is a lengthy duration in which motion artifacts and lighting changes guarantee problems, even under ideal conditions.

Therefore, unless the Sony processing software has exceptionally sophisticated ways of dealing with motion/lighting artifacts that are far superior to the Panasonic S1R, I see no hope for field use.

Checkerboarding with moving water
f6.3 @ 1/160 sec PixelShift, ISO 100; 2019-07-10 19:05:37
Sony A7R III + Voigtlander FE NOKTON 21mm f/1.4 Aspherical

[low-res image for bot]
Checkerboarding with moving water
f6.3 @ 1/160 sec PixelShift, ISO 100; 2019-07-10 19:05:37
Sony A7R III + Voigtlander FE NOKTON 21mm f/1.4 Aspherical

[low-res image for bot]

2. Lack of in-camera processing, no raw file, huge file count

Sony’s 4-frame pixel shift on the Sony A7R III is a huge hassle: if I want to delete the single capture, I have to delete 4 separate files one-by-one. With 16-shot mode, will I have to delete 16 frames one-by-one?

Storage needs are problematic. With the Panasonic S1R, 324MB finished raw files on the Panasonic S1R are one thing, but 1000+ megabytes scattered across 16 separate files is quite another.

Perhaps 120 images on a 128GB card = buy a pocketful of expensive storage cards—fast SDXC UHS-II cards are not cheap, and that speed is important.

Because there is no in-camera raw file produced as with the Panasonic S1R, there is no way to determine whether the final assembled image is OK in terms of focus and depth of fieldthis cannot be done satisfactorily at normal resolution but that’s all the A7R IV has—16 separate images at standard resolution.

I know this from extensive field experience with the Panasonic S1R that I have to be able to check the full resolution multi-shot image. With the S1R, the shot discipline demands are the hardest of anything I have ever done with any camera, and the Sony A7R IV increases that substantially over the S1R (16% more resolution, linearly). Yet Sony defeats any ability to verify the essentials of focus and depth of field, by not providing any high-res image in-camera.

3. Workflow

Not being able to review the full resolution image in camera as with the Panasonic S1R is a very serious field-usage flaw with the Sony A7R IV, bad enough on its own.

But consider that Sony’s solution is to require usage of Sony imaging software. That’s a serious headache for workflow, versus just importing into Lightroom or Photoshop. And it might be iterative, meaning, do and redo and redo and redo in the Sony software with various parameters to fix artifacts. Assuming it even can.

In the best case Sony’s imaging software will perform brilliantly and using all CPU cores and GPU power, with sophisticated handling of motion/lighting artifacts accruing from field use. I am not feeling hopeful on any of those points.

It’s also possible that Adobe could do something useful, but that never happened for 4-shot pixels shift, so it seems doubtful.

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Reader Question: Zeiss Otus vs Voigtlander APO Lenses for Sony 16-Shot High-Res mode

See my Sony wishlist at B&H Photo.

Stefan I writes:

I’m a long term subscriber and I absolutely appreciate your work. You’ve saved me save money, several times, as your recommendations have been spot-on. The last time I almost bought a Leica 24-90mm SL zoom, planning a transition to the Panasonic S1R, but your well executed review made me reconsider, at the last minute.

I’ve been waiting for the multishot capability to be added to the Sony ecosystem ever since the Sony A7R III came out. For my large gallery prints (2m to 3m wide) there are never enough pixels. Currently I’m doing all sorts of stitching (flat, nodal, mixed) combined with focus stacking or lens tilts / swings. But it’s very time consuming, and I would rather spend my time on composition and light than technicalities.

I have a question: Based on your experience with Panasonic’s multishot implementation, and with all sorts of lenses, will there be a meaningful difference at 200+ true-color megapixels, at f 5.6 / f8, between a Voigtlander FE 65mm f/2 APO and Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 APO-Distagon (or even a Sigma 40mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art for that matter) ? Same thing about the Voigtlander 21mm f/1.4 vs Zeiss Otus 28mm f/1.4 APO-Distagon.

I appreciate the 21mm FOV a lot more than 28mm, but hanging on to my Otus, and lugging it around just for the sake of absolute IQ and resolution. Again, we are talking about optimal shooting conditions: f 5.6 to f8 for all lenses, solid tripod and head, remote etc.

I’m tired of lugging around adapted DSLR bricks, I would really like to trade in my Otuses for Voigtlanders - the 110 APO has already made an excellent impression, but then, again, I haven’t tested any of my lenses on 200MP shots. Your thoughts on this topic would be greatly appreciated. Best regards,

DIGLLOYD: I am more than a little concerned that the Sony 16-shot high-res mode implementation will not be field usable as is the Panasonic Multi-Shot High-Res mode. There are numerous drawbacks in its implementation also.

the Leica 24-90mm f/2.8-4 Vario-Elmarit-SL ASPH OIS was at best a mediocre performer on the Panasonic S1R in multi-shot high-res mode coupled with seriously damaging focus shift—just not a reliable instrument for the purpose. I didn’t publish many results with it, so disappointing was it, which is not to say it’s bad, just that it is way below the results I could get with the primes, or the Leica 16-35mm f/3.5-4.5 Super-Vario-Elmar-SL ASPH.

But to the point: Zeiss Otus lenses did not behave as I expected on the Panasonic S1R. While I was able to achieve high-grade results, field curvature in the outer zones and unexpected focus shift that does not exist on the Nikon D850 caused me some grief. It suggests an interaction with sensor cover glass—high performance lenses can be quite sensitive to relatively small differences in cover glass thickness. Along with the size and weight, this also makes me ponder whether other choices are better.

Accordingly, when I explore the Sony 16-shot high-res mode implementation, I will be paying close attention to how Zeiss Otus lenses behave, and I also intend to test the Voigtlander FE NOKTON 21mm f/1.4 Aspheric, Voigtlander FE MACRO APO-LANTHAR 65mm f/2 APO and Voigtlander FE MACRO APO-LANTHAR 110mm f/2.5. Since they are native-mount and designed fresh for Sony cameras, I expect very high performance. Which is not a statement that color, flare control and other aspects are up to Zeiss Otus levels—just a comment on resolution.

In my view, Zeiss is not taking the mirrorless market seriously: the failure to produce reasonable size/weight lenses for mirrorless with better than Otus-grade performance (quite possible with an f/2 or f/2.8 lens speed) is a strategic mistake IMO, at least if there is any desire to remain relevant. Something half the size of an Otus with Otus+ performance and a stop or even two less speed would be VERY appealing. While the Zeiss Loxia and Zeiss Batis lenses are strong offerings, they can no longer claim to be the best—witness at the least the stellar Sony FE 135mm f/1.8 GM and the Voigtlander FE NOKTON 21mm f/1.4 Aspheric.

CLICK TO VIEW: Sony A7R IV and Highly Recommended Lenses (partial list)

Fujifilm GFX-100 is Confoundingly Complicated

Get Fujifilm GFX-100 at B&H Photo.

For the first time ever in 11 years of reviewing cameras, I do not feel I can use a camera (GFX-100) without a significant risk of problems/mistakes that would ruin the shoot. The Fujifilm GFX-100 has so many buttons, many tiny, that are easily pressed just by holding or handling the camera, each of which can make a serious change to shooting parameters.

It is the anti-Hasselblad X1D!

As just one example, the front dial was pre-set to change the ISO and it wraps around, making it easy to go from ISO 50 to ISO 32000 without even noticing. Yikes.

Looks like a long read of the manual, which is on par with the average in not really explaining much. It will take hours to sort it all out.

I’m sure I’ll sort it out satisfactorily but there is something badly thought out about the whole idea of so many actively risky buttons sprinkled around the camera in seemingly random positions, all of which one has to actively reprogram or deprogram or at least memorize and remember not to touch. I could not for example figure out how to set aperture priority, meaning that I succeeded eventually, but the logic of how I got there escapes me.

Add in baked-in JPEG-centric settings in the Q menu (totally useless to my raw shooting), and it feels incoherent.

So I am having to methodically go through and deprogram all sorts of things. It's a tedious unnecessary task had it been designed better. The Fujifilm GFX-50S did not have this issue. I don't see this design helping anyone; it's cognitive and haptic overload to make use of all the buttons.

Fujifilm GFX-100 rear view showing most of the numerous buttons

MacPerformanceGuide.com

A Big Thank You to Those Who Took Action in Response to Last Night’s Email + Reducing Ad Clutter

I’ve long desired to reduce the ad clutter on this site. Note that since subscriber pages have few to no ads* , we’re talking almost entirely about this blog, which is free to all.

Last night I sent an email titled “request from Lloyd Chambers at diglloyd.com, plus 🔥 Sony A7R IV ordering” to all subscribers.

My appreciation and big thank you to those who responded, and especially to those who purchased the Sony A7R IV. B&H tells me it was a 4-year best sales day—the test worked beautifully. I did that test for a reason!

* A very few subscriber pages have products shown as a convenience out of the way at the very end of the page after all the review content. Out of the way, but handy..

Win-Win-Win

Contact me with feedback.

Would you partner with me to reduce ad clutter by accepting just a few promotional emails? Emails that you act on—clicking through at least, and buying when the product matches plans*.

I’m talking about once or twice a month (on average), with emails especially targeting the release of significant and desirable new products—curated stuff I choose by hand. And/or products that I have found personally excellent and valuable.

Here’s why accepting a few promotional emails can be a win for you, me, and B&H Photo:

  • Reducing ad presence helps readers and subscribers because I can spend more time publishing content, since I would spend less time dealing with ads.
  • Reduced ad presence is a better experience for all.
  • B&H has generously loaned me gear for over a decade now—more important than ever given the huge costs of the latest gear. Prioritized loaners are critical to me covering the gear you all want to hear about. B&H deserves your patronage.

If I can rely on some level of purchasing through these occasional promotional emails, then ads for B&H Photo can take a back seat. Regular blog readers who are not subscribers would be encouraged to join the list.

I would offer some level of control over the emails (on or off to start), but who would want to decline while enjoying the benefits when the vast majority of subscribers are partnering to make the experience better for all?

For now, the OWC (MacSales.com) ads are critical and I am not in a position to make changes there, but the same model might be possible—TBD. My ultimate goal is fewer ads, more content front and center.

* B&H Photo ships overseas, but I realize that some overseas subscribers don’t find this convenient in many countries (customs clearance in particular). Still, just by clicking through and at least considering it, overseas readers can contribute to the benefit of having fewer ads.

EASY and FAST way to steer towards fewer ads

Buy using diglloyd.com links/ads as follows:

1. Go to diglloyd.com
2. Click through any link or ad to B&H Photo (or OWC).

- One click-through on any link to B&H attributes sales to diglloyd.com in that browser session. - No need to click through over and over, unless you quit the browser.
- High-priced items count the most, as total dollar amount is the most important metric.
- click-throughs even without purchase show interest too!
- Does NOT work: adding yourself to a B&H mailing list, and ordering through email link in email from B&H. Love

Sony A7R IV Takes the Floor

I am sure Sony planned the Sony A7R IV announcement for my drive home from Yosemite followed by my dentist visit for four new front crowns—busy day yesterday! Sony must have an 'in' with someone in Scott’s Simulation.

It’s nice to have real teeth again (six were broken during my Dec 30 bike crash).

I will have a lot to say about the Sony A7R IV in coming days and in my in-depth review. There is much to like, and yet the most important feature of the Sony A7R IV (for me) looks to be dead on arrival for practical use.

Sony A7R IV

I can’t foresee any company overtaking Sony at this point. Mirrorless is Sony. Sony is mirrorless. All the other me-too'ers are there to keep the Sony juggernaut going via a competitive pressure. Sony dominates the sensor business too. Fujifilm has wisely staked out the medium format area with Hasselblad a distant second. The DSLR is dead.

Meanwhile, the Fujifilm GFX-100 is here and I have a backlog on Canon EOS R and the Voigtlander FE NOKTON 21mm f/1.4 Aspheric. I will interleave coverage of the two latter items into my coverage of the GFX-100.

How much better will medium format have to be to beat the advancing 35mm state of the art? Perhaps a multi-shot high-res mode on the Fujifilm GFX-100 with a firmware update?

Sony A7R IV — high demand, pre-order for priority

Due to ship on September 12, we’re 8 weeks away from when I can start reviewing.

Demand 🔥 is likely to be high, pre-order the Sony A7R IV ASAP.

CLICK TO VIEW: Sony A7R IV and Highly Recommended Lenses (partial list)

Help me help you

I need your help.

B&H Photo has generously loaned gear to me for over a decade. Loaner gear is critical to my reviews. But B&H needs something in return: sales originating from diglloyd.com.

When sales from diglloyd.com fall off, I must divert time to ads/promotion, which takes time away from my review coverage and blog. Such as this afternoon, when I would have much preferred writing all about the new Sony A7R IV.

I don't like too many ads—they clutter things and distract. If readers can make a habit of buying through links to B&H Photo, over time I hope to reduce the clutter.

EASY and FAST way to help me and you: buy using diglloyd.com links/ads

1. Go to diglloyd.com
2. Click through any link or ad to B&H Photo (or OWC).

- One click-through on any link to B&H attributes sales to diglloyd.com in that browser session. - No need to click through over and over, unless you quit the browser.
- High-priced items count the most, as total dollar amount is the most important metric.
- click-throughs even without purchase show interest too!
- Does NOT work: adding yourself to a B&H mailing list, and ordering through email link in email from B&H. Love

Amazon for other stuff? Bookmark https://www.amazon.com/?tag=diglloyd-20

Thanks!

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Lundy Canyon Resident Beaver Made it Through Winter + Sow and Cub (black bear)

I’ll be home tomorrow with a bunch of material—I got enough and enough variety in spite of being laid low by a back problem for 3 days—can hike again now.

The resident beaver (there are others up and down too) made it through the winter.

I saw a nice healthy sow (female bear) as I drove in at dusk... she stood up on hind legs to check me out when I got out of the car. A beautiful orange colored black bear (not black at all). Coloration looked more like a grizzly than a black bear but fortunately there are only black bears in California.

A bit later while driving out, I spotted a furball of a bear cub. I decided not to photography there that evening, not so much because I was worried about safety for myself, but I prefer the windows and doors on my van intact rather than lying on the ground torn away. I would advise anyone visiting Lundy Canyon to take appropriate precautions because sooner or later bears discover what an ice chest means. There are no bear boxes at the Lundy Canyon trailhead.

Kudos to Canon’s superb focusing in low light. The Canon EOS R just nails it and the Canon RF 85mm f/1.2L is everything I might hope for in a lens.

f1.2 @ 1/80 sec, ISO 50; 2019-07-15 19:57:19
Canon EOS R + RF85mm F1.2 L USM

[low-res image for bot]

The tweaked back was OK 4 days later.

f1.8 @ 1/2200 sec, ISO 20; 2019-07-10 18:12:12 [altitude 7381 ft / 2250 m]
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus 4.0 mm f/1.8

[low-res image for bot]
Which Camera System 📷 is Best?
Which Lenses to Choose?🌈


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

Three Canon EF 200mm f/1.8L USM Aperture Series: Lee Vining Creek Through Meadow + Young Pine Amid Its Ancestors + Mt Dana, Earth Shadow Rising (Canon 5Ds R)

This series looks at far distance performance of the Canon EF 200mm f/1.8L USM.

The 200/1.8L ceased production around the time DSLRs emerged. Its predecessor, the Canon EF 200mm f/2L IS USM, is 1/3 stop slower and might have better performance in various ways.

So how does the 200/1.8L hold up at 50 megapixels, a challenge never envisioned when the lens was designed?

Canon EF 200mm f/1.8L USM Aperture Series: Lee Vining Creek Through Meadow

Canon EF 200mm f/1.8L USM Aperture Series: Young Pine Amid Its Ancestors

Canon EF 200mm f/1.8L USM Aperture Series: Mt Dana, Earth Shadow Rising

Includes images up to full camera resolution.

f1.8 @ 1/200 sec, ISO 100; 2019-07-12 18:49:31
[location “Lee Vining Creek”, altitude 9500 ft / 2896 m, 60°F / 15°C, Enhance Details, LACA corrected]
Canon EOS 5DS R + Canon EF 200mm f/1.8L USM

[low-res image for bot]
f2.8 @ 1/6 sec, ISO 50; 2019-07-12 19:54:28
[location “Mt Dana from Saddlebag Lake area”, altitude 10000 ft / 3048 m, 60°F / 15°C, USM{8,50,0}, Enhance Details, LACA corrected]
Canon EOS 5DS R + Canon EF 200mm f/1.8L USM

[low-res image for bot]
f4 @ 1/25 sec, ISO 100; 2019-07-12 19:08:27
[location “Saddlebag Lake area”, altitude 9950 ft / 3033 m, 60°F / 15°C, Enhance Details, LACA corrected]
Canon EOS 5DS R + Canon EF 200mm f/1.8L USM

[low-res image for bot]
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Snow Levels in Sierra Nevada Appear to Be a Record

With a quite cool May and June and heavy dumps of snow in May, the winter of 2018/2019 might not have brought record snowfall, but to all appearances the July snowpack is the greatest I’ve ever seen it. Below is Mt Dana, still with a hefty covering of snow.

I had planned to hike Glacier Canyon (the canyon at left of this image) today, but a sciatica-like reaction following a long and late hike has been very painful and left me unable to ponder hiking more than a few hundred yards at best. Things just seized up in my lower left back, perhaps no surprise given ongoing issues with it. I’m not looking forward to carrying the Fujifilm GFX-100 around. [Update July 14: as far as I can tell, super tight muscle/tendons are key aspects one of the side effects lingering from antiobiotic use in March/April, so I did two things to address the tightness (cycling and muscle relaxant) and am back to baseline and can walk around again]

f5.6 @ 0.6 sec, ISO 50; 2019-07-12 19:54:41
[location “Mt Dana seen from Saddlebag Lake area”, altitude 9960 ft / 3036 m, 60°F / 15°C, LACA corrected]
Canon EOS 5DS R + Canon EF 200mm f/1.8L USM

[low-res image for bot]
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Canon RF 85mm f/1.2L Aperture Series: Lingering July Ice on Exfoliating Granite (Canon EOS R)

This series evaluates the Canon RF 85mm f/1.2L at far distance on the 30-megapixel Canon EOS R, looking for sharpness, field curvature, color correction.

Canon RF 85mm f/1.2L Lingering July Ice on Exfoliating Granite

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

f1.2 @ 1/8000 sec, ISO 100; 2019-07-11 19:50:21
[location “Tenaya Canyon”, altitude 7400 ft / 2256 m, 70°F / 21°C, vignetting corrected, polarizer=Zeiss, Enhance Details]
Canon EOS R + RF85mm F1.2 L USM

[low-res image for bot]

Canon RF 85mm f/1.2L: Evaluating White Balance and Tint When Stopping Down

With most if not all f/1.2 and f/1.4 lenses, there can be a significant shift in color when stopping down. The effect can vary with the sensor/camera, being particularly noticeable with the Nikon D850 for example. See the three examples in my review of the Sigma 105mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art.

This page looks at white balance and tint shifts from f/1.2 through f/5.6 with the Canon RF 85mm f/1.2L.

Canon RF 85mm f/1.2L White Balance and Tint Across Apertures

These white balance and tint results differ substantially from the results show in Canon EOS R White Balance and Tint in Adobe Camera Raw. In that article, I noted a “whacky white balance and tint”. It appears that Adobe fixed a bug.

CLICK TO VIEW: Highly Recommended Canon mirrorless

Reader Comment: Zeiss Loxia 21/2.4 and Voigtlander FE 21/1.4:

Sebastian TR writes:

Voigtlander FE 21mm f/1.4 Aspherical

Just wanted to say, have really been enjoying your mirrorless lens comparisons of late - in particular the Sony FE mount - absolutely fantastic resource you have built up (and are building up!).

I originally used your article a year ago before a trip to Japan to help purchase the Zeiss Loxa 21/2.4 and it has been spectacular - really pleased with the decision helped by your article! :)

Just reading about this new Voigtlander - seems to be getting quite a few well received reviews! After this particular comparison, just a couple of questions:

1) Have heard a fair bit about sample variation on Loxias in addition to field curvature effecting things - assume your copy is good / still the same from the original review? Also if due to the field curvature on the loxia - assume this explains why it's not performing as good with this "oblique" perspective / focus point? ( although left @ 2.8 seems to be quite different on the lox

2)The loxia shots look to be taken with a bit less available light / reflective ambient light - just wondering if that could make a difference in lens performance , and explain part of the difference ? Also noticing on the right side (the sandstone bricks) seem to have a bit better highlight rolloff on the Zeiss 21 - wondering if that is a colour rendering thing or again the ambient light changing shifting tone?

3) Would love to see / get your thoughts on how the Loxia compares to the Voigtlander in regards to chromatic aberration , colour control and flare?* *(often use the Loxia for film work as well as photography - so these elements are just as important as resolution / micro contrast to me :)

Zeiss Loxia 21mm f/2.8

Sorry for the long read ! - just really interested & yet have been very happy with the loxia 21 ! I still wish Zeiss would bring out a premium FE / Mirrorless line - perhaps APO 1.8 / 2.0 high performance yet fairly compact primes... one can dream eh! :)

Thanks again & keep up the fantastic work !

DIGLLOYD: I have seen no sample issues with any Zeiss Loxia lenses—highly unusual. However, there is always some variation and no process is perfect.

Lighting with comparisons vs evaluation: I always take this into account and I specifically address field curvature in my MemChu oblique comparison.

All wide angles have some field curvature. Frequently it is pveripheral forward field curvature for wide angle lenses but it can be the reverse, or wave-type field curvature (more common in fast lenses).

I’ll bea addressing these questions above more as I shoot in the field—I’m in the Eastern Sierra as I write this.

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Canon EOS R + Canon RF 85mm f/1.2L

Just mounted the Canon RF 85m f/1.2L on the Canon EOS R. What a high quality flange on both—notably more solid than the L-mount Leica lenses on the Panasonic S1R which have a slight slop (the Panasonic Lumix S PRO 50/1.4 did not, and one other reader reported the same mount slop with Leica SL lenses).

The Canon RF 85/1.2L is huge and clearly built for performance as the priority—none a trace of the Nikon NIKKOR Z compromises. Canon RF lenses (at least the 50/1.2L, 85/1.2L, 28-70/2) feel like serious pro gear. Not one Nikon NIKKOR Z lens can say the same.

If the Canon RF 50mm f/1.2L is any indication, I expect the 85/1.2L to be the world’s best. But what a boat anchor, as in sheer neck-yanking weight. However lovely the images might be, this is a serious chore to heft this thing.

Dr S, this is NOT a rig for you.

Still, Canon should deliver a high megapixel mirrorless camera out, imaging performance should prove out Canon’s distinctive “size and weight be damned, it’s the optical quality” strategy. Which might ultimately sway me to Canon once that body arrives.

I also have on hand the Canon RF 28-70mm f/2L and the Canon RF 35mm f/1.8 Macro STM. The 35/1.8 macro ships without the Canon EW-52 lens hood, which is outrageous because the front lens element is right there out in front, quite exposed.

CLICK TO VIEW: Highly Recommended Canon mirrorless


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Voigtlander FE Nokton 21mm f/1.4 Aspherical Aperture Series: Rodin Courtyard (Sony A7R III)

This aperture series assesses the Voigtlander Nokton 21mm f/1.4 Aspherical at night from f/1.4 through f/9, looking for sharpness and control of secondary color and overall image rendition, including sunstars and point spread function.

In diglloyd Mirrorless:

Voigtlander FE Nokton 21mm f/1.4 Aspherical Aperture Series: Rodin Courtyard

Includes images up to full camera resolution from f/1.4 to f/9. Savor the full resolution images by scrolling around, preferably on an iMac 5K or Apple Pro Display XDR.

If you are OK witih manual focus get this lens, right now! (and please use my link). This is the best 21mm f/1.4 I have ever seen, mirrorless or DSLR.

CLICK TO VIEW: Highly Recommended Voigtlander Lenses for Sony Mirrorless

f2 @ 4.0 sec, ISO 50; 2019-07-03 21:30:21
[Enhance Details, push 0.33 stops, -37 highlights, LACA corrected, +40 shadows]
Sony A7R III + Voigtlander FE NOKTON 21mm f/1.4 Aspherical

[low-res image for bot]

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Reader Comment: Panasonic S1R “re-think my kit and jump head-long to a new system?”

Dr S writes:

Panasonic S1R

Yesterday was my first opportunity to hold the Panasonic S1R at my local brick and mortar. Despite being invested in Sony and Nikon I made the effort to hold and feel the newest kid on the block because of your glowing comments on multi-shot hi-res mode that yields such wonderful images. Would my visit cause me to re-think my kit and jump head-long to a new system?

The answer, after handing, is a resounding no. Why? Weight and size! For my aging bones (and I am not that old) and my chronic back problems, the S1r is a behemoth. I left the heavy DSLRs awhile ago for the smaller mirrorless and my torso has been happy since. You have shown over time that excellent imagery can come from Sony and Nikon mirrorless with the appropriate lenses, this fact being punctuated with your most recent review of the Voigtlander FE 21mm f/1.4.

Sony is not going to stand idly by and not come out with newer bodies with enhanced image capabilities. And if it is not ultra hi-res as Panasonic has produced, it will still be much more than adequate for me. I cannot speak nor presume to speak for others. Indeed, there is a segment that requires Phase One, Fuji, MF for their work.

However there is large segment out there that don't. I am one of them. And in that group (assuming it exists) smaller, extremely capable mirrorless systems will be the ones I gravitate to. As you stated, I hope Sony issues a firmware that enhances resolution. However, if they have the tech to do so, they may incorporate that into a newer model for the sake of sales. Indeed, they need the appearance of being at the top of the mirrorless FF heap.

DIGLLOYD: the size doesn’t bother me that much (the Sony A7R III is too small), but the weight while not a show-stopper for field use given the unrivalled imaging potential, is nonetheless highly unattractive downside for field usage. OTOH, the S1R feels like the best built mirrorless on the market.

Since Sony’s pixel shift is incompetent for field usage, I do not have much that Sony will achieve the results that Panasonic has with the Multi-Shot High-Res mode, but I hope to be pleasantly surprised. But so far, Sony sees computational photography as shitty toy apps in its dilettante Play Memories store.

As to “excellent imagery”—not so much with Sony and Nikon and Canon, as shown in the pixel shift vs single-shot examples I posted yesterday—the context even just on Sony vs itself shows how crappy image quality really is.

See my in-depth review of the Panasonic S1R in L-mount mirrorless.Subscribe now

CLICK TO VIEW: Panasonic S1R and S1 and Lenses


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Voigtlander FE Nokton 21mm f/1.4 Aspherical Aperture Series: Red Electric Cart — should knock your socks off (Sony A7R III)

This aperture series assesses the Voigtlander Nokton 21mm f/1.4 Aspherical at night from f/1.4 through f/4, looking for sharpness and control of secondary color and overall image rendition.

In diglloyd Mirrorless:

Voigtlander FE Nokton 21mm f/1.4 Aspherical Aperture Series: Red Electric Cart

Includes images up to full camera resolution from f/1.4 to f/4. Savor the full resolution images by scrolling around, preferably on an iMac 5K or Apple Pro Display XDR—on those displays they should knock your socks off.

Yes, you want this lens, right now! This is the best 21mm f/1.4 I have ever seen. Well, probably the best 21mm lens of any speed (DSLR or mirrorless) that I have seen.

It’s frustrating as hell not having Multi-Shot HighRes mode or a 100MP sensor. The Sony A7R III is making me chafe with frustration, being fresh off high grade 125MP images from the Panasonic S1R. Where’s my firmware update for the A7R III already, Sony?

CLICK TO VIEW: Highly Recommended Voigtlander

f1.4 @ 13.0 sec, ISO 50; 2019-07-03 21:16:12
[+100 shadows, Enhance Details, push 0.45 stops, LACA corrected]
Sony A7R III + Voigtlander FE NOKTON 21mm f/1.4 Aspherical

[low-res image for bot]
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Shootout: Voigtlander FE Nokton 21mm f/1.4 Aspherical vs Zeiss Loxia 21mm f/2.8: MemChu Oblique

This shootout compares the Voigtlander Nokton 21mm f/1.4 Aspherical to the Zeiss Loxia 21mm f/2.8 on a near-to-far scene from f/1.4 through f/11.

This scene with its oblique viewpoint was chosen to ferret out differences at the edges at far and near areas, in case field curvature might otherwise disadvantage one lens.

In diglloyd Mirrorless:

Shootout: Voigtlander FE Nokton 21mm f/1.4 Aspherical vs Zeiss Loxia 21mm f/2.8: MemChu Oblique

Includes images up to full camera resolution from f/1.4 to f/11, plus crops.

Yes, you do want this lens, right now!

Voigtlander 21mm f/1.4 Aspherical about $1199

f2.8 @ 1/400 sec, ISO 50; 2019-07-03 19:48:40 [LACA corrected, Enhance Details]
Sony A7R III + Voigtlander NOKTON 21mm F1.4 Aspherical

[low-res image for bot]

Reader Comment: Canon EOS R “has brought the fun and results back”

Brian S writes:

Leica 180mm f/2.8 APO-Elmarit-R

Sensors + focus assist have finally allowed the performance of lenses such as the Leica 180mm f/2.8 APO-Elmarit-R to reach their potential. I bought the lens back in 2009 based on your review.

It's so fun to shoot with now.

I enjoyed with the Canon 5D "Classic" with an alternative focus screen, although the 12MP sensor didn't take advantage of it. When I upgraded to the Canon 5D Mark III the manual focus lens fun ended due to no interchangeable focus screens.

The Canon EOS R has brought the fun and results back. The rendering and bokeh on this lens are so amazing... especially considering how much smaller it is than the Canon 200mm f/2L IS which is the only lens that brings similar results, in my experience.

DIGLLOYD: Yay!

Of course these comments apply to Sony mirrorless and Nikon mirrorless and L-mount mirrorless also.

Mirrorless has made shooting DSLR lenses so much more reliable too—focus can pretty much be guaranteed via magnified Live View and even unmagnified it is probably bettr than today’s horrible DSLR focusing screens.

Regrettably, I had to sell most of my Leica R lenses to raise funds. But I still have the Leica 90mm f/2 APO-Summicron-R ASPH and the Leica 100mm f/2.8 API-Elmarit-R.

Lloyd’s Sony Mirrorless Wishlist
Hand-picked items for Sony.

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Thank you to all those who served in the armed forces, then and now.

Doesn’t look like any fireworks pictures for me—I have the Voigtlander FE 21mm f/1.4 Aspheric, but close-range access like at Shoreline Ampitheatre doesn’t work—no real cameras allowed.

f1.4 @ 1.3 sec, ISO 64; 2019-05-05 19:33:59 [Enhance Details]
NIKON D850 + Zeiss Otus 100mm f/1.4 APO-Sonnar

[low-res image for bot]
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