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Up to 65% better pricing than Apple

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


Apple 2020 iMac 5K: some Nice New Options but with Downsides for Pro Users (and save up to 77.7% on memory at OWC)

Get 2020 iMac 5K at B&H Photo.

I’m tempted to get a 2020 iMac 5K, as I still use the 2019 iMac 5K heavily during my travels to places like the Eastern Sierra, Alabama Hills, Mt Dana area, Saddlebag Lake area, White Mountains, etc—4 months straight this sprint during the feckless COVID-19 lockdowns.

The improvements in the 2020 iMac 5K are incremental. But for demanding computing chores like I do, including focus stacking and image scaling and panorama assembly using raw files of images up to 150MB each, the following features...

MPG: Apple 2020 iMac 5K: some Nice New Options but with Major Downsides for Pro Users

Apple wants a +$2600 for 128GB memory in the 2020 iMac 5K. This profit margin would make a Wall Street weasel blush.

Or you can get the 128GB at OWC for $600, a savings of $2000.

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USB-C model also available


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


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diglloydTools IntegrityChecker Java v2.0 fc4 Available for Download

See data integrity, including recent post Data Loss Prevented: IntegrityChecker Saves my Bacon by Detecting Corrupted Files after a Clone bit rot.

IntegrityChecker java runs on any platform with a JVM. I’m looking for Windows, Linux, and NAS users to test IntegrityChecker java. Contact Lloyd.

A major update to diglloydTools IntegrityChecker is now available. Key things are noted below.

This final candidate (fc4) is production-ready, or so I believe.

More info, plus links at MacPerformanceGuide.com.

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Photographers and Videographers: get GigaBYTE Speeds up to 100 Meters Away with the OWC Thunderbolt 3 10-Gigabit Ethernet Adapter

WOW—this is one of the most awesome upgrades ever with a huge value proposition. All you need is Thunderbolt 3 Macs (2019 Mac pro already has 10G ethernet built-in)*.

With this kind of speed, the network actually outperforms most HDD-based RAID systems, certainly any 4-drive RAID. So put those noisy spinners out in the garage connected to any Thunderbolt 3 Mac (think Mac mini set to never sleep), and run an ethernet cable up to 100 meters out there.

Get the about $150 OWC Thunderbolt 3 10G Ethernet Adapter at MacSales.com. You might also want some Cat 7 ethernet cables.

* Well, sort of: it’s easy enough to connect two Macs directly together as done for testing here, but with 3 or more Macs you’ll need a 10G ethernet switch like the NETGEAR 10-Port Gigabit/10G Ethernet Unmanaged Switch GS110MX. The bummer is that it’s hard to get three or more 10G ports without high cost—you get into the $2000 range just to get four 10G ports, such as the NETGEAR 28-Port 10G Ethernet Smart Managed Pro Switch XS728T. Or the QNAP QSW-1208-8C-US 12-Port Unmanaged 10GbE Switch.

OWC Thunderbolt 3 10-Gigabit Ethernet Adapter vs Gigabit Ethernet and WiFi

Upgrade the memory of your 2018 Mac mini up to 64GB

Reader Comments: Leica M10 monochrome

See also: Leica M10-R and Leica M10 Monochrom: 40-Megapixel Sensor, but Nil New Design Thinking.

I hope to review the about $8000 Leica M10-R and the about $8000 Leica M10 monochrom this autumn, ideally simultaneously. But I’ll need special dispensation from B&H Photo to have that much gear out at once (loaner budget). After I am done with the new Canon EOS R5 and a bunch of its lenses, and all the lenses on on the Nikon Z7 that I have not yet yet covered then I’ll turn my attention to Leica M10-R/m.

CLICK TO VIEW: Value: Leica vs Sony

Roy P writes:

Leica M10 monochrome
Leica M10 monochrome

I have now done several aperture series with my borrowed Leica M10 monochrom, using several M mount lenses on both cameras, and comparing what’s supposed to be the best M lenses with some very good Sony lenses.

Here’s my most recent comparative shoot out, indoors with a small carpet hanging on the wall, from about 3.5 feet.  So a flat subject at just a little beyond the minimum focusing distance.  This is my sixth aperture series, and I left nothing to chance – every precaution taken, including my best tripod setup, precise alignments, remote commander for the Sony A7R IV, shutter release cable for the M10-Mono, etc.

Here are the key takeaways:

  1. Even with the most basic black-and-white conversion and downscaling (just the defaults in Capture One), the Sony files converted to black and white look every bit as good as the M10-Mono files, and the IQ (image quality) mostly looks better from the Sony.
  2. When shooting wide open, the M lenses perform better on the A7RM4 than on the M10-Mono in the center of the frame, and probably even up to the vertical edges.  If you did a square crop around the center, the M lenses on the Sony A7RM4 will probably win every time over the M10-Mono.
  3. The M lenses fare better on the M10-Mono at the corners and the left / right edges.
  4. The Voigtlander 50mm f/2 APO Lanthar just clobbers the Leica 50mm f/2 APO Summicron-M on the M10-Mono.  The pecking order is, the CV 50 + Sony A7RM4, then the Leica 50 APO + Sony A7RM4, and then the Leica 50 APO on the Leica M-10 Mono.
  5. The Sony 85mm f/1.4 GM, which I already demonstrated to deliver a much more pleasing bokeh at f/1.4 than the Leica 75mm f/1.25 Noctilux-M ASPH at f/1.25, also delivers an overall performance on the Sony that’s as good as anything the Leica M10-Mono + 75 Noctilux can deliver. There are situations when the Noctilux delivers a sharper image than the 85 GM, but it’s on the Sony A7RM4, not the Leica M-10 Mono!
Leica M10 monochrome
Leica M10 monochrome

Bottom line, for all the hype and the price of the M10 Mono, I don’t see the Leica M10 matching the image quality that the Sony A7RM4 so effortlessly spits out.

Here are some crops and JPEGs outputs at the M10-Mono’s resolution for this aperture series (about 750 MB)...

...

A few more thoughts and speculations, considering the center performance of the M lenses is better on the A7RM4 than the M10-Mono:

I would say the M lenses are sensor-limited.  Meaning, the sensor in the M10-Mono.  I don’t know if there’s some room to improve the IQ in firmware.  But the M10-M has been out for a while, so presumably, that well has run dry.  The last firmware upgrade was six months ago, and it only addresses some exposure problems at ISO 25K.

It must have been a huge struggle to build the micro lens array for a 40 MP sensor. A 30 or 32 MP sensor + MLA might have produced better looking images, even at lower res.  But you can’t blame Leica for reaching higher.

On its own, the center crop of the Leica 50/2 APO on the M10-M would look sharp to most people, especially if they had not seen the original subject matter closely.  For most Leicaphiles, the 50 APO on the M10m, and presumably, the M10-R, will be good enough to feel ecstatic.

But it clearly looks inferior when you put it up against the center crop from the 50 APO on the A7RM4, which looks even more inferior when you compare it to the center crop from the Voigtlander 50mm f/2 APO on the Sony A7R IV.

The most interesting revelation for me was that the performance of the M lenses on the M10-M at the corners is not overwhelmingly superior to the M lens images from the Sony.  Better, yes.  But not compellingly better and not excellent in absolute terms.  So perhaps the micro lens (ML) array in the M10-M is not as effective as the array they had in the 24 MP cameras – meaning, the ML array could have hit a brick wall, and we’re looking at the end of the road for the M line, at least as far as resolution goes.  Not that M cameras needed more resolution for reportage, anyway.

All these ultra-high performance M lenses are a waste for the M system!  It would have made far more sense to design these lenses for the L mount.  They had the sense to retire the R mount and replace it with the L, but where was the sense to not build all these manual focus lenses for the L mount natively?!  Unbelievable.

...

I did one last aperture series today with the 50mm lenses before the battery died on the M10-Mono.  My friend, who lives in Redwood City, forgot to include the charger in the camera bag he handed me!

Same conclusions with this also: the Voigtlander 50 APO Lanthar on the Sony A7RM4 is in a class by itself.  Really amazing lens.  I would have bought the Voigtlander 50/2 APO in a heartbeat for $7500, which is what I bought my Leica 50/2 APO for.  Next, the Leica 50 APO on the Sony, at the center, but away from the center, the Leica 50 APO + M10-Mono is the better combo.

DIGLLOYD: about what I’d expect—Leica lenses are roughly 5X more expensive for lower performance than many Sony FE mount lenses. The M lenses (I still have 5 of them) show their weaknesses even at 24MP.

Bottom line is that Leica claimed MTF goes way beyond fantasy MTF in being borderline fraudulent with respect to making images—Leica MTF charts have NEVER properly reflected what an be captured on a digital sensor (ray angle losses, regardless of the camera used).

I don’t think anything can touch the Sony A7R IV with the Voigtlander 50mm f/2 APO or the Voigtlander 65mm f/2 APO. Add in pixel shift and it’s a blowout.

As far as monochrome, you’re better off with the Nikon D850 monochrome—far broader lens selection, superior lenses available, far superior ease of use, higher resolution with no ray angle issues, much higher quality rear LCD with more than twice the resolution.


Leica M10 monochrome
Leica M10 monochrome
Leica M10 monochrome
Leica M10 monochrome
New Mac?

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More about 2019 Mac Pro vs iMac 5K vs iMac Pro...

Pancake Zoom: the Nikon Nikkor Z 24-50mm f/4-6.3

The about $397 Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-50mm f/4-6.3 is a compact retractable zoom lens for the Nikon mirrorless system. Weighing only 195 grams, this is about as light as it gets for a 35mm full-frame lens, let alone a zoom lens! It’s an ideal companion lens for quick and light mirrorless shooting, assuming distortion is not too bad.

Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-50mm f/4-6.3
Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-50mm f/4-6.3

While very compact when retracted, its length increases significantly when in use. My concern is that maintaining lens-to-sensor parallelism (lens skew) seem dubious with such designs especially over time and with plastic parts, but perhaps it will work out OK.

The f/6.3 maximum aperture at 50mm is extremely limiting, with f/4 at the 24mm a bare minimum. In low light shooting, a slow (dark) maximum aperture can be a serious problem for focus accuracy. And if the lens is not already at its very best wide open, it drops off my list as not so interesting.

Yet Nikon has seen fit to use 3 aspherical elements and 2 ELD elements while restricting the zoom range to only 2X, and that might mean surprisingly good image quality. But the MTF charts for Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-50mm f/4-6.3 is fantasy MTF at only 30 lp/mm and not very instructive as to actual lens performance.

Distortion is a key concern to me (distortion correction is a surefire way to lose micro contrast), and given Nikon’s past false statements about optical distortion, optical distortion is an open question—Nikon claims “Low Distortion”, whatever that means.

* Irrelevant marketing hyperbole bordering on fraud as in “Even at their widest apertures, NIKKOR Z lenses show virtually no distortion”, requiring distortion correction with the resulting losses in micro contrast.

CLICK TO VIEW: Nikon Mirrorless system

Specifications for Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-50mm f/4-6.3
Focal length: 24-50mm
Aperture range: f/4 - f/22 @ 24mm
f/6.3 - f/36 @ 50mm
Iris blades: 7, rounded
magnification: 0.17x = 1:5.9
Focusing range: 1.15 ft = 35 cm
Angle of view: 84° to 47°
Number of elements/groups: 11 Elements in 10 Groups
Filter thread: 52mm
Weight, nominal: 6.88 oz = 195 g
Dimensions: 2.89 x 2.01 in = 73.5 x 51 mm
Includes: LC-52B 52mm Snap-On Front Lens Cap
Nikon LF-N1 Rear Lens Cap
Limited 1-Year Warranty Limited 4-Year USA Warranty Extension with Online Registration

The optical design with 11 elements looks to be

Optical design of
Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-50mm f/4-6.3
  • Z-Mount Lens/FX Format
  • 3 aspherical elements
  • 2 extra low dispersion elements
  • Aperture range f/4 - f/36
  • Stepping motor suitable for stills and video.
  • Retractable design for a 2.9 inch form factor when not in use.
  • Programmable Control Ring set to adjust manual focus, can be used to control aperture or exposure compensation.
  • Specialized electromagnetic aperture mechanism provides exposure control stability.
  • Rounded seven-blade diaphragm.
  • Dust- and moisture-resistant lens barrel.
  • No focus breathing [diglloyd: ideal for focus stacking]
Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-50mm f/4-6.3
Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-50mm f/4-6.3
Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-50mm f/4-6.3
Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-50mm f/4-6.3

Leica M10-R and Leica M10 Monochrom: 40-Megapixel Sensor, but Nil New Design Thinking —  *updated* with essay by Roy P

See also: Reader Comments: Leica M10 monochrome.

Leica now has a unique solution on the market: a pair of cameras of the same 40-megapixel resolution, one a conventional Bayer matrix sensor (Leica M10-R), and one a monochrome sensor (Leica M10 Monochrom). There is serious appeal in having a pair of such cameras, but at $9000 each with the optional EVF, that’s $18K before any lenses, which would buy a very nice Fujifilm GFX100 system with lenses.

Still, if you’re a Leica M shooter with a fat wallet, what’s not to like?

Yet it’s clear that Leica has made a strong effort to do nothing significant other than add a higher-res sensor—nil new design thinking, (still a half-decade-old design). Diehard Leica M fans might dismiss these concerns, but they are significant design disappointments unworthy of a $9000 camera.

  • Mechanical shutter has long been seriously bad for vibration, with shutter vibration ruining every image I ever took with the Leica 280mm f/4 APO-Telyt-R (using the Leica R-Adapter M). There is still no electronic shutter option. WTF?
  • No built-in EVF is a bad joke for high-res digital—why wasn’t this a Leica Q style design? What mental prison is at work at Leica? The low-res 2.4MP Leica Visoflex (Typ 020) Electronic Viewfinder costs an additional $635 (but at least it adds GPS), so this is really a $9000 camera.
  • The rangefinder design is dubious at best given the severe accuracy issues that crop up. You can send in all your lenses in and have them all calibrated to the camera (be patient this can take months)—and it’s still dubious. Good luck with that—and I say that from considerable experience over years. Yeah, blind squirrels do find acorns and you’ll find some too. The workaround is using the EVF in magnified Live View, but that’s the point: the rangefinder is for slipshod sharpness—problematic on a 24MP sensor, let alone 40MP. But Instagram size images will look fine and stopping down to f/8 can mask a lot of technical errors to avoid cognitive dissonance at the foregoing claims—good luck at f/1.4!
  • At 1.04 megadots, the Leica M10r rear LCD has to be the crappiest one on the market today.
  • You get built-in WIFi, but no built-in EVF?
  • Self-timer is still limited to either 2 seconds or 12 seconds. That's actually a BFD at times.
  • No GPS.
  • Sync speed only 1/180 second.
Leica M10-R
Leica M10-R

Daryl O writes:

So critical of the M. Leica is decidedly bent on keeping the M a rangefinder with traditional values. The SL is the camera they make to compete with traditional mirrorless. Leica has decided the SL is their tech camera with innovation, the M is stuck in it's ways. So, if you want a small camera that will shoot amazing pictures, not high tech, take your APO 50 place it on a M10 and shoot. Thanks for the kind wishes of luck with my f1.4 lenses on the M, but seriously I don't need it, I can shoot a f1 or f0.95 Noctilux and get sharp images from the rangefinder/viewfinder, if I need to frame perfectly I can do this also with the rangefinder except in certain situations, so then I use the EVF. Except for battery life I really like the M system and don't want it to change. There's a dozen good systems competing on a best-tech level including the SL, one camera doesn't follow, so should it be judged as lacking or judged for what it's intended for? Of course you may disagree but I'll be willing to guess you love shooting an M, set the shutter, aperture, iso, very simple. Hope you and your family are well,

DIGLLOYD: not a rebuttal but proof of my points? It’s not even on topic.

Roy P captures many of my sentiments below, and what follows next is relevant to what I am saying, whereas the email above is in some other bailiwick.

I have done careful work for 12 years evaluating focusing with hundreds of lenses. I've proven my findings many times for well over a decade. Maybe a handful of people in the world can approach anything near my knowledge base? Heck, Zeiss made at least one new test for new lens designs based on my reports.

Few photographers (even pros) are even aware of all the factors involved in sharpness, let alone understand them in any practical working sense. Stop down and mask the error is the most practical solution, but it has strict limits, particularly at 40MP.

I have shot the Leica M9, Leica M240, Leica M10, Leica M Monochrom and I still own the M240. Invariably the rangefinder accuracy is a major concern. Invariably I find focus accuracy issues with the rangefinder when multiple lenses are considered. And with less than 20/20 vision (which includes fatigued eyes)... yikes. Indeed, this is the #1 issue I’ve heard over the years from those with aging eyes.

  • Frequent out-of-the-box major errors. See for example Leica 28mm f/2.8 Elmarit-M ASPH Examples: Focusing Error Case Study. There have been NUMEROUS other issues like this, too many to bother document. Try getting rangerfinder focusing spot-on for half a dozen lenses, particularly new ones out of the box—or just try getting Leica to get the calibration right without more than one expensive shipping and long wait to get it done (personal experience). Hell, the loaner lenses I’ve had have been a focusing bad joke.
  • Talking about 18MP and 24MP resolution along and non-static subjects is rather silly, as is claiming sharpness with the Noctilux wide open, which has a very deep smeared zone of focus.
  • Cherry picked “evidence” to support your claims of "sharp" are no substitute for, say, refocusing and shooting 20 frames of a resolution target or other target that allows critical evaluation. The variance is high.
  • That some photographers are so skilled as to be able to exceed the tolerances of the mechanical rangerfinder focusing (even assuming it is perfectly calibrated to the lens)... well judge that for yourself. Even Leica acknowledges that a 75mm f/2 is about the limit of what the rangefinder can handle assuming perfect lens/body calibration, and I doubt that their metrics are for critically sharp focus at 24MP, let alone 40MP. And f/2 at 75mm is akin to f/1.4 at 35mm.
  • Accounting for focus shift is impossible to deal with using rangefinder focusing (in any practical sense), and it is a major problem with some lenses; see for example Leica 35mm f/2 vs Leica 35/1.4, ZM 35/1.4, 35/2, 35/2.8, Voigtlander 35/1.2 (Wyman Cabin)
  • Accounting for field curvature is impossible to deal with using rangefinder focusing (in any practical sense). Since the M rangefinder can focus only in the center, you’re hosed.
  • Focusing in the center (only) with rangerfinder focusing and then recomposing (focus lock and recompose) changes the plane of focus. Pile that onto field curvature and focus shift and anyone who claims they can make sharp images is prima facie clueless.Claims of “my images are sharp” are not proof of anything. In my years of experience, 90% of the time I am send unsharp images that the send claims are sharp.
  • Evan at only 24MP, it takes f/8 (yes, f/8) to make an image that is sharp across the frame at Leica 35/1.4, due to field curvature.

Focusing in magnified Live View addresses all these issues. The conclusions in my work would far less defensible were I so inept as to use rangefinder focusing when magnified Live View is available.

Claiming that rangefinder focusing is accurate shows a lack of knowledge or willful evasion of all these issues. Rather, what I observe repeatedly is cognitive dissonance (the 'tell' being the evasion of all or most of these issues) along lack of objective critical assessment. My understanding of “sharp” as stated by those making this error is “sharp enough for my purposes”—and that is just fine with me. But it lacks objective credibility.

Leica M10-R
Leica M10-R

Roy P writes:

Emphasis added.

As you know, I have been following the Leica M10-R on the rumor sites for a few weeks, mostly with a yawn. So when the actual announcement came, it was easy for me to bite my tongue and not go on one of my usual rants about yet another ill-conceived product intro from Leica, signifying yet another wasted opportunity. I wasn’t planning on saying anything, but saw a response to your commentary, and thought I’d submit some thoughts and invite others to respond to my comments, if you think that’s appropriate.

As a quick backgrounder for people who don’t know me, I used to own an extensive M system with sixteen(!) M lenses. I was very adept at using the RF, but I just got tired of the endless roadblocks the RF kept placing in my path, and eventually, sold my M9, M240 and all but four of my M lenses, which I use with my Sony A7x cameras. (The Sony A7R IV is physically smaller than the Leica M10, not to mention infinitely more competent).

The major limitation of the RF for me was the fundamental inability to C1F2 (Compose 1st, Focus 2nd), my preferred approach to photography with a manual focus lens. The RF forced me to F1C2, which frequently lost me the best focus (e.g., eye in a portrait). The RF was also hard to focus in low light, which made it very frustrating to use with fast lenses wide open. What’s the point paying for expensive f/0.95, f/1.25 and f/1.4 lenses if you can’t shoot in low available light?

Then there were all the secondary annoyances – lack of perfect alignment in the RF coupling (you cannot get the RF precisely aligned with a multitude lenses!), blockage of a big part of the viewfinder by lenses like the Noctilux, inability to use wide angle lenses without a goofy looking hot-shoe mounted viewer, unavoidable parallax at close range, the need to add on things like a thumb support and hand grip to simply hold the camera well, the need to take off the bottom camera plate to replace the battery, inability to achieve critical focus without an add on EVF, crappy LCD back, etc. And over time, I also discovered Leica’s poor product reliability and terrible service, only further underscored by their outrageous prices for value delivered.

The problem Leica has had for 10+ years now is a lack of vision for the M line. It is a mishmash of things today, a little bit of this and a little bit of that, with no coherent thesis to the line. Leica is confused and continues to make the marketing and strategic mistakes that reduced it from a once premier camera manufacturer to a boutique shop with a sub-1% market share these days.

If you see the classic RF images from the past, one thing becomes very clear: very few of them were particularly sharp, and they were not images known for their technical excellence. I don’t think you could find a single photo taken by Henri Cartier-Bresson that is really sharp. Cartier-Bresson in fact, had only one lens, a 50mm, and he almost always shot at f/5.6. He rarely focused precisely, using distance for setting focus, and he looked through the viewfinder only to frame. The whole point of the M line was to capture the moment, epitomized by Cartier-Bresson, who never cared to crop any of his images or do any kind of special processing. For him, the decisive moment was either captured or it was not.

There is a charm to that approach to photography. And the RF lends itself to that kind of photography. But that approach is inconsistent with everything Leica has been doing to the M line. For the “decisive moment” reportage or street photography, you don’t need focal lengths like 18mm or 135mm that you can’t even use properly with a RF. You don’t need the optical performance of lenses like the 50mm APO Summicron-M, the 75mm Noctilux-M, the 28mm Summilux-M or the 90mm Summilux-M, arguably the four best M lenses today in terms of their resolving power and MTF.

Why is it consistent with the M philosophy to have a lens like the 75mm Noctilux with an impressive, near-flat line MTF, for a whopping $14,000+, if the lens blocks out 25% of the viewfinder and you can’t focus worth a damn with the RF? Why do you need 40 MP of resolution, if most of the time, you’re not able to focus to anything better than a 12-16 MP quality?

For the reportage-happy RF afficionados, a far better direction for the M line would have been maybe four primes (28, 35, 50, 75mm) in 3 speeds (f/1.4, f/2, f/2.8), with medium optical performance, good enough to resolve 24MP by f/5.6. You need all these high-performance lenses only if you’re shooting landscapes, cityscapes, portraits, etc. that will be made into big prints.

Instead of pouring so much money into these ultra performance lenses, Leica would be better off to improve the RF camera with a few better amenities, like a retina-grade LCD back, integration with smart phones, and instant uploads to Instagram, which is where these crappy images (technically speaking) with presumably some story to tell, would be uploaded and consumed. The vast majority of the Leica M photos uploaded on Flickr are badly focused images that are barely 6-8 MP quality, many not even 2 MP. Why squander money on developing a 40 MP sensor and an expensive micro lens array needed to support such resolution?

On the other hand, if it’s Leica’s goal to showcase its optical engineering prowess and make all these high performance lenses at stratospheric prices, they by golly, provide some competent cameras with high res sensors and importantly, tools that enable a photographer to get the most out of those expensive lenses that cost more than used cars, and collectively, would buy a house in most places in the world.

The answer to this has been obvious for a decade:

For the RF afficionados, improve the M240 to make it far more usable (e.g., better LCD back, Instagram integration, etc.), and leave it alone at 24 MP.

For the rest of us who have moved on from the RF paradigm, make cameras with no RF but with an integrated high-res and fast EVF, oversized and retina-grade articulating LCD backs, IBIS, multi-shot high-res mode a la Panasonic S1 / S1R, automated frame averaging a la Phase One IQ4, a loupe look in the EVF or LCD for localized live view with focus peaking inside it for precise focusing while maintaining the composition, etc. This is the camera I have been waiting for almost a decade now.

Instead, Leica continues to live in this neither-here-nor-there world of expensive lenses that actually do work, and expensive cameras that make no sense at all. The cameras and the lenses have been and continue to be strategically misaligned.

Your reader Daryl O mentioned “what it’s intended for” – I don’t know if he knows the answer to it, but I certainly don’t think Leica does.

DIGLLOYD: I have nothing of significance to add to this superb essay.

Leica M10-R
Leica M10-R

Leica M10-R description

Putting the 'R' in resolution, the Leica M10-R is a digital rangefinder camera with a high-resolution take on the traditional, stills-only design of the acclaimed M10-series. Revolving around an impressive 40MP full-frame CMOS sensor and Maestro II image processor, the M10-R is distinguished by its image quality, dynamic range, and sensitivity, with an ISO 100-50000 range and low noise. Complementing the applications suited to a higher resolution design, the M10-R also features an extended shutter speed range for making long exposures up to 16 minutes-long for nighttime and low-light shooting. The increased resolution and redesigned sensor structure also highlight the unique optical qualities of Leica's extensive lens lineup.

Beyond the updated sensor, the M10-R takes on a familiar form with a slim body profile that is reminiscent of M film cameras, and a large 0.73x-magnification optical viewfinder for notable composition and focusing accuracy. The body design also incorporates a dedicated ISO dial for quick adjustment, even when the camera is turned off, and the rear 3.0" 1.04m-dot touchscreen LCD features a Gorilla Glass cover to guard against scratching and light impacts. Also contributing to durability, the top and bottom plates are constructed from brass and the chassis is built from magnesium alloy to realize a robust physical construction for long-lasting use. Additionally, the M10-R also sports an integrated Wi-Fi module for wireless sharing and remote camera control from a linked mobile device.

10-R for Resolution

Revolving around a unique 40MP full-frame CMOS sensor, the M-10R distinguishes itself within the M10 family of cameras by its high resolution and longer exposure capabilities. Beyond traditional Leica applications of street and reportage shooting, these capabilities lend themselves to landscape and nature shooters, as well, and also enable photographers to make full use of the exceptional Leica lens lineup. Aside from the revised sensor design, the M10-R retains its slim form factor, ultra quiet operation, and svelte design, which includes a characteristic red dot on the front of the camera, a plain top plate, and an elegant black chrome finish.

40MP Full-Frame CMOS Sensor and Maestro II Processor

A redeveloped full-frame color 40.89MP CMOS sensor pairs with the Maestro II image processor to deliver an impressively wide dynamic range with notable color saturation and contrast, as well as enhanced sensitivity from ISO 100-50000 to suit working in a variety of lighting conditions. The sensor's design also omits an optical low-pass filter in order to achieve greater sharpness and resolution.

Optical Viewfinder and Rangefinder

The optical viewfinder is a large, bright-line 0.73x-magnification rangefinder with automatic parallax compensation and bright-line frame lines, which are set to match the image sensor size at a focusing distance of 6.6'. On the front of the camera, a viewfinder frame selector can also be used to manually change the apparent image field to help visualize the scene with varying focal lengths; options are available in 35mm/135mm, 28mm/90mm, and 50mm/75mm focal length pairs. The rangefinder mechanism displays split or superimposed bright field images within the center of the viewfinder to benefit accurate manual focusing control. The effective rangefinder metering basis is 50.6mm (mechanical metering basis 69.31mm x viewfinder magnification of 0.73x). Body

Body Design and Built-In Wi-Fi

  • Slim body profile is reminiscent of Leica's film cameras for easier handling and manipulation
  • Integrated ISO dial is featured on the top plate to permit simple and direct adjustment of sensitivity values, even when the camera is turned off.
  • The rear of the camera features just three buttons—live view, playback, and menu—for more simplified and intuitive navigation of the camera's control-set.
  • A programmable Favorites menu can be used, which allows you to define your most oft-used settings and select them for easy, one-touch access.
  • 3.0" 1.04m-dot touchscreen LCD provides an intuitive, bright, and large means for image playback as well as live view shooting.
  • Rear LCD monitor has a Corning Gorilla Glass cover to protect it against scratching and impacts.
  • Top and bottom plates are machined from solid blocks of brass and the chassis is built from magnesium alloy for a truly durable, hard-wearing physical construction.
  • Rubber seals are used to prevent the entrance of light rain and dust to enable working in inclement conditions.
  • Built-in Wi-Fi permits sharing imagery directly to a linked smartphone and also enables remote control over the camera to adjust select shooting parameters or to release the shutter via the Leica FOTOS app.

Other Camera Features

  • Near-silent mechanical shutter for inconspicuous shooting.
  • Integrated 2GB buffer to for recording 4.5 fps bursts of up to 10 consecutive frames.
  • Images can be recorded in either the 14-bit DNG or 8-bit JPEG file format.
  • A top hot shoe permits working with an external flash and the top sync speed is 1/180 sec.
  • When working in live view, focus peaking is available to highlight edges of contrast for easier, more precise manual focus adjustment.
  • Designed to accept all M-mount lenses, Leica R-mount lenses are also compatible through the use of an optional R to M adapter.
  • Compatible with the optional Visoflex accessory electronic viewfinder for manually focusing adapted lenses.
  • Language support: German, English, French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Japanese, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese, Russian, and Korean.
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Canon EOS R5 Supports Focus Stacking via “Focus Bracketing” Feature (but Canon EOS R6 lacks it)

Thank you for using links on this site to buy—and FYI if you sign up for availability notifications by B&H, this doesn’t give credit to this site. Get Canon EOS R at B&H Photo.

See previous summary of the Canon EOS R5.

See also Canon EOS R5 Improvements List — Part 1.

Canon EOS R5 — front
Canon EOS R5 — front

The Canon EOS R5 includes a “focus bracketing” feature for focus stacking. The Canon EOS R6 indexplicably lacks this support.

Focus Bracketing enables new possibilities for photographers looking to increase their photo's Depth-of-Field. This operation automates the process of taking multiple images with the goal of combining the area of sharp focus of numerous depths within the scene into one image via the Digital Photo Professional application in post-production.

Of course, you need not use marginal software like Digital Photo Professional; I use Zerene Stacker.

Missing in the Canon EOS R5 are pixel shift as on Sony mirrorless, and a multi-shot high-res mode as in the Panasonic S1R.

Disappointing for still photography is the inclusion of an anti-aliasing filter aka low-pass filter. See Blur Caused by Anti-Aliasing Filter in Making Sharp Images. I’m not certain, but it might be that pixel shift and multi-shot high-res mode are precluded by the inclusion of a low-pass filter—a lousy tradeoff IMO, but I’m not a video shooter.


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Canon EOS R Mirrorless System Now Has a Robust Lens Line

Thank you for using links on this site to buy—and FYI if you sign up for availability notifications by B&H, this doesn’t give credit to this site. Get Canon EOS R at B&H Photo.

With the arrival of the Canon EOS R5, a highly competitive Canon mirrorless system is now available, suitable for the vast majority of photographers, as shown below.

A few lenses are lacking, like a fisheye, 11mm to 15mm range, and super-telephotos. But the existing Canon EF super-teles can be used with the Canon Mount Adapter EF-EOS R, so that’s not a serious issue. And there are some unique offerings, like the ultralight Canon RF 600mm f/11 and Canon 800mm f/11.

In short, we now have a 35mm full-frame mirrorless world where Canon and Nikon and Sony and Leica and Panasonic all have highly credible mirrorless systems—terrific!

Canon mirrorless
Nikon mirrorless
Sony mirrorless
L-Mount mirrorless

None of these systems all have pixel shift and multi-shot high-res mode and focus stacking support, though the Panasonic S1R has multi-shot high-res mode and focus stacking support and thus gets high marks. The other systems are a WTF situation: for example it is inexplicable why focus stacking support is not available for Sony and Canon. And none of them have any form of ETTR metering.

In most regards, Sony mirrorless retains a substantial lead, with a far wider lens selection along with resolution dominance, and so it remains the go-to system for most. But some of those Canon f/1.2L primes are spectacular and may be compelling for things like portraiture (or simply spectacular lens performance).

In August, I’ll be reviewing the Canon RF 15-35mm f/2.8L and the Canon RF 24-70mm f/2.8L on the Canon EOS R5, which is due to ship July 31.


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Canon EOS R5 Ships Soon + Canon RF 85mm f/2 Macro IS STM, Canon RF 100-500mm F4.5-7.1 L IS USM, Canon RF 600mm f/11 IS STM, Canon RF 800mm f/11 IS STM

Thank you for using links on this site to buy—and FYI if you sign up for availability notifications by B&H, this doesn’t give credit to this site. Get Canon EOS R at B&H Photo.

Canon has finally announced availability of the about $3899 Canon EOS R5 as the end of July. B&H Photo has a livestream event covering the Canon EOS R5.

All in all the Canon EOS R5 looks like a highly capable and worthy camera that will surely be favored as the #1 pick for some types of photography (action, sports, weddings, etc).

Canon EOS R5 — front
Canon EOS R5 — front

The Canon EOS R5 is aimed squarely at video, sports and action with never-before seen 8K video, formerly the province of high-end pro gear. The dual-pixel CMOS AF II should make action and sports photographers thrilled, likely also bringing the death knell of DSLR cameras in that last holdout area. DSLRs are now not just dead, but buried.

The 5-axis in-body image stabilization (IBIS) brings claimed image stabilization of up to eight stops, a boon for many types of shooting.

Imaging quality should be very high, but the 45MP sensor is rather a yawn compared to 60MP for Sony, and Nikon and other brands have been at 45MP for ~2 years already. I don’t see pixel shift or multi-shot high-res mode or focus stacking support mentioned on the Canon EOS R5 web site, in spite of the IBIS capability. That’s disappointing for a landscape photographer, ruling it out as a serious camera for landscape and similar usage, but perhaps Canon could add these features later in firmware.

UPDATE: the EOS and EOS R6 includes a “focus bracketing” feature for focus stacking. See CANON.com: Canon EOS R5 Improvements List — Part 1.

Focus Bracketing enables new possibilities for photographers looking to increase their photo's Depth-of-Field. This operation automates the process of taking multiple images with the goal of combining the area of sharp focus of numerous depths within the scene into one image via the Digital Photo Professional application in post-production.

While the EOS R5 is not a camera aimed at landscape photography, it is puzzling to see these “free money” features left out—it pretty much makes eviscerates the camera possibility of it being a superb jack-of-all-trades camera and restricts it to the sports/action/wedding and similar markets. Yeah, you can use it for landscape of course, but there is zero incentive to do so compared to the 60MP Sony A7R IV, which at least is slightly less lame for having pixel shift.

The inclusion of an anti-aliasing filter (“Low Pass Filter Installed in front of the image sensor, non-detachable”) is another significant negative from my perspective; it makes sense for video but it’s an anti-feature as far as general photography. It remains to be seen how aggressive the AA filter is at damaging micro contrast.

Canon EOS R5 specifications

  • 45 megapixel full-frame dual pixel CMOS sensor
  • 10-bit HDR photos in HEIF format
  • 12fps / 20fps bursts (mech. / elec. shutter)
  • 5.76M-dot OLED EVF with 120fps max refresh rate
  • 3.2" 2.1 megadot fully articulating touchscreen
  • 100% coverage Dual Pixel II AF system with deep-learning based human and animal detection
  • VIDEO: 8K with option for RAW or 10-bit 4:2:2 C-log or HDR PQ, up to 4K/120p, or oversampled 4K up to 30p
  • 1x CFExpress slot, 1x UHS-II SD slot
  • Weather-sealing to EOS 5D Mark IV levels
  • 2.4/5Ghz Wi-FI with Bluetooth and FTP connectivity

The Secret Is Out: Canon Officially Announces The Canon EOS R5 and R6, The Company's Most Advanced Full-Frame Mirrorless Cameras Ever

The Company is Also Announcing Four RF Lenses, Two RF Lens Extenders, and a PRO Printer

MELVILLE, NY, July 9, 2020 – With anticipation at a fever pitch, Canon U.S.A. Inc., a leader in digital imaging solutions, is excited to introduce the company’s next generation of full-frame mirrorless cameras – the EOS R5 and EOS R6. These groundbreaking cameras are the result of many years of collecting and listening to feedback from Canon users and are sure to meet the needs and demands of a variety of creators. The EOS R5 is a camera designed for professional applications featuring a new 45-megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor and uncropped 8K video recording up to 29.97 fps. The EOS R6 is geared towards advanced amateurs featuring a 20.1-megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor and 4K video recording up to 59.94 fps. The addition of the EOS R5 and the EOS R6 cameras within the EOS R series lineup further solidifies Canon’s commitment to providing the equipment needed for users to bring their content to the next level.

Canon EOS R5 — front
Canon EOS R5 — front

Canon is also introducing four RF lenses and two RF lens extenders: The Canon RF100-500mm F4.5-7.1 L IS USM, Canon RF600mm F11 IS STM, Canon RF800mm F11 IS STM, and RF85mm F2 MACRO IS STM lenses. All four new lenses were designed to meet the ever-expanding demands of the skilled creatives who capture amazing imagery using EOS R series cameras, including the new EOS R5 and EOS R6. In addition to the lenses, there are two new RF lens extenders, a 1.4x and a 2x model, allowing for users to take their compatible RF lens focal lengths even farther, and a 13-inch professional printer, the imagePROGRAF PRO-300, to bring photos to life through the power of print.

“For all of the Canon research and development team members who worked tirelessly on the production of these new products, today marks the culmination of a long journey. For those people looking for the next great tools to work with to expand their creative possibilities, the door is now wide open,” said Tatsuro “Tony” Kano, Executive Vice President and General Manager of Canon U.S.A.’s Imaging Technologies & Communications Group. “The industry has asked for new products that can push their levels of creativity to new heights, and we are confident that the EOS R5 and EOS R6, alongside the new lenses, lens extenders, and the pro printer, will fulfill those needs and more.”

Canon EOS R5 — top view
Canon EOS R5 — top view

Canon EOS R5
Canon EOS R6
Both the EOS R5 and EOS R6 cameras have the ability to capture the action of a variety of fast-moving subjects with impressive accuracy and speed. When using the mechanical shutter, each can shoot up to 12 fps and up to 20 fps when using the completely silent shutter. Both cameras are the first to be outfitted with Canon’s advanced Dual Pixel CMOS AF II which utilizes up to approximately 100 percent coverage of the AF area and EOS iTR AF X incorporating AF tracking algorithms using deep learning technology and enhanced readout speed of the CMOS sensor and processing speed thanks to the DIGIC X image processor. The 1,053 automatically selected AF Zones are made even more potent by the ability to detect the human eye, face or head as well as the eye, face or body of animals such as dogs, cats and even birds[i]. Adding to the feature set is the 5-axis In-Body Image Stabilizer, having coordinated control with Optical Image Stabilizer in IS equipped RF lenses. This provides up to 8 stops[ii] of shake correction, a feature that many creators have long asked for from Canon. Both the EOS R5 and R6 cameras come with a new LP-E6NH battery with a higher capacity than the previous model.

Canon EOS R5 — rear
Canon EOS R5 — rear

As the new flagship model in the EOS R series lineup, the EOS R5 camera has features that pack a punch for a variety of users who create both still and video content. It has a powerful 45-megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor and is driven by the speedy DIGIC X image processor, giving wide dynamic range as well as boasting an ISO range of 100-51,200 that is expandable up to 102,400[iii]. In a camera full of eye-popping features, one that really stands out is the ability to record uncropped 8K RAW internal video recording up to 29.97 fps and 8K internal video recording up to 29.97 fps in 4:2:2 10-bit Canon Log (H.265)/4:2:2 10-bit HDR PQ (H.265). The camera can also record 4K internal video recording up to 119.88 fps in 4:2:2 10-bit Canon Log (H.265)/4:2:2 10-bit HDR PQ (H.265). External recording in 4K is also available up to 59.94 fps. When in DCI modes, the 8K and 4K video recording is uncropped and Dual Pixel CMOS AF II is available in all 8K and 4K recording modes. Additional features of the EOS R5 camera include:

  • Dual-card slots: 1x CFexpress[iv] and 1x SD UHS-II[v]
  • Built-in 0.5-inch OLED EVF with approximately 5.76 million dots and a 119.88 fps refresh rate[vi]
  • 3.2-inch 2.1 million dots vari-angle LCD touch screen
  • 5GHz/2.4GHz Built-in Wi-Fi®[vii] and Bluetooth[viii] Technology with the ability to utilize the image.canon application, as well as optional WFT-R10A wireless file transmitter with Ethernet support
  • Enhanced operating controls such as rear-dial, multi-controller
  • The ability to voice tag photos and videos
  • Weather, drip and dust sealing on par with the EOS 5D series

The EOS R6 camera is well-equipped with a host of new features to push the limits of creativity for imaging enthusiasts. The combination of the EOS-1D X Mark III based 20.1-megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor and the DIGIC X image processor produces an ISO range of 100-102,400 and is expandable to 204,800. Internal video recording at 4K is capable up to 59.94 fps or 1080p up to 119.88 fps in 10 bit 4:2:2 Canon Log(H.265) or HDR PQ(H.265). The camera also features a built-in 0.5-inch OLED EVF with approximately 3.69 million dots and a 119.88 fps refresh rate[vi]. Additional features of the EOS R6 camera include:

  • Dual UHS-II SD card slots
  • 3-inch 1.62 million dots vari-angle LCD touch screen
  • 2.4GHz Built-in Wi-Fi®[vii] and Bluetooth Technology[viii] with the ability to utilize the image.canon application
  • Enhanced operating controls such as rear-dial, multi-controller
  • Weather, drip and dust sealing on par with the EOS 6D series

Battery Accessory
The optional BG-R10 battery grip accessory will be available for both the EOS R5 and EOS R6 full-frame mirrorless cameras. The BG-R10 accommodates up to two batteries and is compatible with the new LP-E6NH, LP-E6N and LP-E6 batteries. The convenient BG-R10 grip accessory can also improve handling for users while capturing portrait photography.

Canon RF 100-500mm F4.5-7.1 L IS USM
Canon RF 100-500mm F4.5-7.1 L IS USM

Canon RF 100-500mm F4.5-7.1 L IS USM
The Canon RF100-500mm F4.5-7.1 L IS USM is a high-performance and versatile super-telephoto zoom lens that will find its way into the bags of many photographers. The compact and lightweight lens features optical image stabilization of up to five stops* of shake correction with three different IS modes, including standard, panning and during exposure only. Two Nano USM motors are at the heart of this lens and provide users with high-speed, smooth and quiet auto focus with a minimum focusing distance of three feet. Additional features of the Canon RF100-500mm F4.5-7.1 L IS USM include:

  • Rotation-Type zoom ring and torque adjustment allows for precision control and feel
  • Customizable control ring that enables photographers to adjust exposure compensation, shutter speed, aperture or ISO
  • 12-pin Communication System
  • Canon L-Series grade dust and weather-resistant construction with a fluorine coating
  • Lens hood with side window allows specialty filters to be adjusted even while Lens Hood is attached
  • Compatible with the new 1.4x and 2x RF lens extenders (from 300 to 500mm focal length)

Canon RF 600mm f/11 IS STM
Canon RF 800mm f/11 IS STM
The Canon RF600mm and RF800mm F11 IS STM lenses are the first fixed focal length super-telephoto RF lenses and are incredibly compact and lightweight. The portability of the new lenses is made even greater due to the ability for the lens barrel to retract and lock in place when the lenses are stowed away and not in use. Diffractive Optics technology helps to reduce the necessary number of lenses and greatly diminish the cost of the lenses, making them affordable for a broader group of photographers. Additional features of the Canon RF600mm and RF800mm F11 IS STM lenses include:

Canon RF 600mm f/11 IS STM
Canon RF 600mm f/11 IS STM
  • Lightweight - the RF600mm weighs approximately 2.05lb and the RF800mm weighs approximately 2.78lb, respectively
  • Compact size, RF600mm measures approximately 7.85inch and RF800mm with measures approximately 11.09inch when retracted, respectively
  • Fixed f/11 aperture
  • Optical image stabilization of five stops* for the RF600mm and four stops* for the RF800mm of Shake Correction
  • Lead screw-type STM enables smooth auto focusing for still-image and video shooting
  • Customizable control ring that allows photographers to adjust exposure compensation, shutter speed, aperture or ISO
  • 12-pin Communication System
  • Compatible with the new 1.4x and 2x RF lens extenders
Canon RF 800mm f/11 IS STM
Canon RF 800mm f/11 IS STM
Canon RF 85mm f/2 Macro IS STM
Canon RF 85mm f/2 Macro IS STM

Canon RF 85mm F2 MACRO IS STM
The third RF85mm lens in the RF lineup, the Canon RF85mm F2 MACRO IS STM is compact and lightweight, featuring a bright f/2 aperture helping to capture images that have exceptional bokeh. The lens features a maximum magnification of 0.5x and a minimum focusing distance of 1.15 feet, providing users with macro-photography capability. Additional features of the Canon RF85mm F2 MACRO IS STM include:

  • Optical Image Stabilization with up to five stops* of Shake Correction
  • Hybrid IS compensates for angular and shift camera shake during macro photography
  • Control Ring for Direct Setting Changes.
  • 12-pin Communication System
  • Nine blade Circular Aperture

RF Lens Extenders
Lens extenders have long been a practical and useful tool for a variety of photographers. That story continues with the introduction of the Extender RF 1.4x and Extender RF 2x. The new lens extenders inherit the same high image quality, precision AF and reliability, such as being drip and dustproof, of EF lens extenders. When used in combination with the newly-released compatible lenses, the capturing range can be dramatically increased, providing consumers with additional use cases for their existing RF lenses.

Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-300
Completing the lineup of professional printer options from 13 inches through 60 inches, Canon also unveiled today the new 13-inch Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-300 Inkjet Printer along with a new Premium Fine Art Rough paper. Providing an improved workflow and high-quality output within a smaller footprint compared to previous models, this new printer excels at professional printing performance. Combined with the new Premium Fine Art Rough paper that features a textured surface to express the depth of an image, the printer along with the paper and new EOS R5 or EOS R6 camera introduces a new powerhouse professional imaging trio that meets creators’ demands.

Pricing and Availability
The EOS R5 full-frame mirrorless camera is scheduled to be available at the end of July for an estimated retail price of $3899.00 for the body only and $4999.00 for the R5 and RF 24-105mm F4 L IS USM lens kit**.

The EOS R6 full-frame mirrorless camera is scheduled to be available at the end of August for an estimated retail price of $2499.00 for the body only, $2.899.00 for the R6 and RF 24-105 F4-7.1 IS STM lens kit or $3,599.00 for the R6 and RF 24-105mm F4 L IS USM lens kit**.

The BG-R10 battery grip accessory and WFT-R10A are both scheduled to be available at the end of July for an estimated retail price of $349.99 and $999.99**, respectively.

The RF100-500mm F4.5-7.1 L IS USM lens is scheduled to be available in September 2020 for an estimated retail price of $2,699.00. The RF600mm F11 IS STM and RF800mm F11 IS STM lenses are scheduled to be available at the end of July 2020 for an estimated retail price of $699.99 and $899.99, respectively. The RF85mm F2 MACRO IS STM lens is scheduled to be available in October 2020 for an estimated retail price of $599.99 **.

The RF Extender 1.4x and 2x are scheduled to be available at the end of July for an estimated retail price of $499.99 and $599.99** each.

The imagePROGRAF PRO-300 Printer will be available later in July for a suggested retail price of $899.99. Premium Fine Art Rough paper will also be available later in July for a suggested retail price of $44.99 for Letter size, $109.99 for 13” x 19” inches and $169.99, 17” x 22” inches**.

For more information please visit, www.usa.canon.com/virtualproductlaunch.


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Sony FE 12-24mm f/2.8 GM: will it be the ultra wide zoom I’ve been hankering for?

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The about $2999 Sony FE 12-24mm f/2.8 GM weighs in at a remarkably lightweight 867 grams for its f/2.8 speed. As a complement to other zooms such as the Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 G, it would be my strong preference over the Sony FE 16-35mm f/2.8 GM for getting into the moderate wide angle range, especially given the modest performance along with unappealing pincushion distortion at the long end of the 16-35/2.8. But mainly—there is a huge difference between 16m and 12mm, so it is disqualifying to give up the 12-16mm range for my shooting.

Sony FE 12-24mm f/2.8 GM
Sony FE 12-24mm f/2.8 GM
  • E-Mount Lens/Full-Frame Format
  • Aperture Range: f/2.8 to f/22
  • 9 special glass elements: 3 extreme aspherical, 1 aspherical, 2 Super ED, 3 ED
  • Nano AR II and Fluorine Coatings
  • Direct Drive Super Sonic Wave Motor
  • Focus Hold Button, AF/MF Switch
  • Dust and Moisture-Resistant Construction
  • Seven-Bladed Rounded Diaphragm

Will the Sony FE 12-24mm f/2.8 GM be the ultra wide angle zoom lens I finally buy? It has the speed, it has the full range I want (11mm would have been a nice touch I suppose), and it has the specifications that say it ought to be the best lens of its range yet made (the Canon EF 11-24mm f/4L is superb, but it is a stop slower). And maybe it will outperform primes in its range, like the Zeiss Batis 18mm f/2.8 Distagon and the Voigtlander FE NOKTON 21m f/1.4.

The difference between 12mm and 14mm is much greater than the small numeric difference suggests. For me, that difference is a compelling factor in selecting an ultra-wide zoom.

Also, at 12mm there will surely be strong barrel distortion which will diminish in the 14-16mm range—versus a 14-24mm zoom which will have the full or nearly full distortion problem at 14-16mm—keeping distortion down is a very real practical advantage to a 12-24mm instead of 14-24mm. UPDATE: checking sample raw images, the barrel distortion at 12mm is remarkably well controlled, and at 14mm it looks to be as good as it gets for 14mm. Pincushion distortion ismore than desirable at 24mm but it is not worse than similar lenses.

But can a good sample be obtained?

Sample (build) variation that leads to lens skew is the single biggest factor in lens performance these days (lens mount / sensor parallelism as a secondary issue)and so it’s not a question of theoretical lens design with fantasy MTF, but the concrete challenge of getting a good sample. So as much as I liked the Sigma FE 14-24m f/2.8 DG DN Art a great deal, I never could find a symmetric sample—including a sample I tried in May this year which was badly blurred on one side wide open. I for one see strong evidence that lab bench tests do NOT detect or show issues properly, because tiny changes in focus can produce wildly differing results when the lens is shot on distance scenes.

About $2998 Sony FE 12-24mm f/2.8 GM

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The exceptionally high price (for Sony) and 17-element design suggests that Sony is going all out to deliver the world’s best 12-24mm zoom. Will it outperform the Sigma 12-24mm f/4 DG HSM Art and Sigma 14-24mm f/2.8 DG DN Art?

Optical design of Sony FE 12-24mm f/2.8 GM
Specifications for Sony FE 12-24mm f/2.8 GM
Focal length: 12-24mm
Aperture range: f/2.8 - f/22
Focusing range: 11.02 in / 28 cm
Angle of view: 122° - 84°
Number of elements/groups: 17 elements in 14 groups
9 special glass elements: 3 extreme aspherical, 1 aspherical, 2 Super ED, 3 ED
Nano AR II and Fluorine Coatings
Diaphragm: 9, rounded
Magnification: 11.02 in = 28 cm to INF
0.14X = 1:7.1
Filter thread: gel filter, rear
Weight, nominal: 1.86 lb = 847g
Dimensions: Approx. 33.84 x 5.39 in / 97.6 x 137 mm
Street price: about $2999
Supplied with: Front Lens Cap
Sony ALC-R1EM Rear Lens Cap
Lens Case
Filter Cutting Template
Limited 1-Year Warranty

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