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Up to 1527MB/s sustained performance
🌈Shooting in Mountains thru ~Oct 27
I descend for internet service each day *when feasible*, but not always. Please be patient when subscribing. Hiking injured knee but cycling is therapeutic.

Test What Next?

Referring to the Nikon Z7 and Canon EOS R systems and the Zeiss Batis 40mm f/2 CF, I have a number of things to explore yet. But feel free to send me suggestions. Those that seem to be more than one-offs I’ll definitely consider.

Meanwhile, I am under a different deadline on a different project today and tomorrow, but will be back with my usual stuff soon.

Turns out the biking helps my injured knee and walking irritates it. So I am getting out for half an hour or so each day and this seems to be really helping my knee along.

Below, my favorite MTB Moots.

Lloyd at South Lake (Bishop Creek area)
f8 @ 1/30 sec handheld IS=on, ISO 100; 2018-10-21 16:21:01
[location “South Lake”, altitude 9800 ft / 2987 m, 43°F / 6°C, "injured knee, riding OK up 1000 ft", LACA correction]
Canon EOS R + RF24-105mm F4 L IS USM @ 35mm

[low-res image for bot]

 

World of Sigma and especially Sigma ART Lenses

B&H Photo Deal Zone Flash Sale Today

B&H is having various flash sales today.

Go to the B&H Deal Zone

We are running a Special Deal Zone today with Flash Deals – Also, as you know PhotoPlus is upon us shortly, and B&H Photo will be running promotions– so stay tuned.

B&H Photo flash sales at Deal Zone

 

MacPerformanceGuide.com

Email Issues Resolved

UPDATE and success: several very helpful readers helped me debug the issue of GMail putting my emails into the junk folder—many thanks. There goes my morning, but it was worth it.

Not only should GMail (or any other mail server) not mark my mail as junk, it also does SPF=PASS, which is an improvement over before where it was neither yeah nor nay, raising the hackles of spam filters. Now that is solved.

Receiving end (not me)

Sometimes subscribers supply email addresses that don’t work at all, which is an issue on the receiving side, nothing I can do about that. Actually it leaves me helpless to communicate with the buyer, since the email is bad and I get no phone number from PayPal.

Examples of bad emails on the receiving end:

The following message could not be delivered to ****@earthling.net at host earthling.net (74.208.5.22) because the host is not accepting mail.

The following message could not be delivered to ******@gmx.info at host gmx.info (212.227.17.5) because the host is not accepting mail. 554-gmx.net (mxgmx116) Nemesis ESMTP Service not available

DM3NAM03FT018.mail.protection.outlook.com rejected your message to the following e-mail addresses: *******@autonation.mail.onmicrosoft.com DM3NAM03FT018.mail.protection.outlook.com gave this error: Hop count exceeded - possible mail loop

<****@busmail.net>: host 127.0.0.1[127.0.0.1] said: 552 5.2.2 [MDA 1.3.0-22951] Delivery failed for <****@busmail.net> : User's mailbox quota exceeded (in reply to end of DATA command)

Zeiss Batis 40mm f/4 CF: Bokeh Wide Open at f/2 Shows Nonagonal Shape of Lens Diaphragm

Get Zeiss Batis at B&H Photo and see my Sony mirrorless wishlist.

Marat S writes:

Does your sample have aperture slightly closed when set to f2? It causes nonagonal shapes of OOF point light sources especially noticeable when focusing up-close and seems to be common among early Batis 40mm samples.
I know one person who contacted Zeiss about this issue as soon as first images surfaced after Photokina, but they haven't told him whether it's normal. I really hope it's not.

Eyal O writes:

I’m glad to see that you have the Zeiss Batis 40mm f/2 CF in hand and are actively testing it. I’ve been scouring the web for info/images and am really looking forward to your thoughts/review. One thing that has been noticed over on Fred Miranda’s forum is the tendency for the camera to render background lights in a stop-sign pattern when used for close focus at f/2. It is unclear if this is:
1. An issue with very early copies
2. An issue only when using the close focus
3. An issue at all distances

DIGLLOYD: Similar to the Hasselblad XCD 90mm f/2, the Zeiss Batis 40mm f/2 CF wide open at f/2 does not show circular bokeh on out of focus highlights. This appears to be as designed. I have an inquiry into Zeiss.

Further insight below—the apparent diameter of the diaphragm can be seen to change with focus distance.

* See Hasselblad XCD 90mm f/2 Bokeh: Out-of-Focus Lights at Night.

Zeiss Batis 40mm f/2 specular highlight bokeh at f/2
f2 @ 1/800 sec, ISO 100; 2018-10-22 12:02:36
Sony A7R III + Zeiss Batis 40mm f/2 CF

[low-res image for bot]

Infinity focus versus close focus

Toggle the image below to compare. As the Zeiss Batis 40mm f/2 CF is focused closer, the apparent size of the diaphragm opening contracts. Hence at everything but infinity, the background out-of-focus bokeh wide open at f/2 will show the nonagonal shape of the lens diaphragm.

I determined that there is a two stop difference in exposure for focus at MOD vs focus at INF. I used an even gray material and then manually focused at INF then manually focused at MOD. This is good and bad: it is good in that it looks like Zeiss is not using the trick (very common) of shortening the focal length in order to maintain aperture. The bad is that the lens becomes f/4 at MOD. This is consistent with the size of the lens diaphragm seen below, well stopped down when the shooting aperture is f/2.

This is kind of crazy: near MOD, the lens diaphragm is stopped well down even as the shooting aperture on the camera is f/2! That explains the light loss, but it does not explain why it is stopped down in the first place.

MOD = Minimum Object Distance e.g., very close focus
INF = infinity focus

Zeiss Batis 40mm f/2: toggle to see infinity focus vs close focus

Google GMail is Putting my Messages into Junk Folder — Please CHECK YOUR JUNK/SPAM FOLDER

UPDATE and success: several very helpful readers helped me debug the issue—many thanks.

Not only should GMail (or any other mail server) not mark mail as junk, it also does SPF=PASS, which is an improvement over before where it was neither yeah nor nay.

This is for the nerds out there like me who run their own mail server—the desired thing to see in the headers is this:

Received-SPF: pass (google.com: domain of ****@diglloyd.com designates 173.164.178.42 as permitted sender) client-ip=173.164.178.42

The TXT record (SPF) turned out to be trivial since I use only one IP for email:

diglloyd.com       v=spf1 ip4:173.164.178.42 -all

...

I always reply to courteous and appropriate emails.

In the past week, I’ve responded to half a dozen readers asking why no reply. There my response sits in the GMail JUNK folder, which all of these readers confirmed. I’ve had to resort to multiple different email accounts in order to get through (e.g., diglloyd.com, me.com, etc).

Please check your junk folder if you do not receive a reply, GMail or otherwise (Earthlink.net is the very worst of all).

This is a behavioral change apparently brought on by something over at Google. As far as I can determine, I have all my DNS and DNS-related records correct. I have no idea how I could get Google to keep its aggressive algorithm from junking my messages.

Other issues

Invalid email address at PayPal

Sometimes readers/subscribers use bad emails even when subscribing, not checking if the email at PayPal is even valid. I have no way to contact these users—none at all since PayPal does not supply that kind of contact info in most cases—so I am helpless in that situation.

Email address that just doesn’t work

Sometimes the email is at a server that doesn’t even function, sometimes the server says “email box full”, etc. Example:

The following message could not be delivered to ****@earthling.net at host earthling.net (74.208.5.22) because the host is not accepting mail.

and

The following message could not be delivered to ******@gmx.info at host gmx.info (212.227.17.5) because the host is not accepting mail. 554-gmx.net (mxgmx116) Nemesis ESMTP Service not available

and

After 3 days the following message could not be delivered to *****@suddenlink.net at host suddenlink.net (208.180.40.132). The last attempt to send this message failed because the message was temporarily rejected. 421 dalifep02.suddenlink.net connection refused from [173.164.178.42]

and

DM3NAM03FT018.mail.protection.outlook.com rejected your message to the following e-mail addresses: *******@autonation.mail.onmicrosoft.com DM3NAM03FT018.mail.protection.outlook.com gave this error: Hop count exceeded - possible mail loop

The following message could not be delivered to ****@optonline.net at host optonline.net (167.206.4.79) because the sender address was rejected. 550 5.7.1 Unacceptable hostname 173-164-178-42-SFBA.hfc.comcastbusiness.net from host 173.164.178.42 : denied - 01 Reporting-MTA: dns; llc4.com

This last example is annoying: optonline.net clearly recognizes DNS as llc4.com (which is also diglloyd.com), yet it refuses the email. I’ve put in place DNS records, but either I’ve got it wrong, or some email servers do not check things like TXT records for email servers, e.g.:

smtp.diglloyd.com     v=spf1 +mx +a -all

It is my understanding that this TXT record should make most mail servers happy. Maybe someone network nerd out there can help me figure this out. It’s not like smtp.diglloyd.com is unavailable on DNS:

diglloyd-iMac:DIGLLOYD lloyd$ ping smtp.diglloyd.com PING smtp.diglloyd.com (173.164.178.42): 56 data bytes

Zeiss Batis 40mm f/2 CF Aperture Series: Lichen Covered Rock

Get Zeiss Batis at B&H Photo and see my Sony mirrorless wishlist.

The Zeiss Batis 40mm f/2 CF (“Close Focus”) is not a macro lens, but it is designed for high performance at close range. This scene at a reproduction ratio of approximately 1:10 looks at just how good it is at close range.

Zeiss Batis 40mm f/2 CF Aperture Series: Lichen Covered Rock

Includes images up to full camera resolution from f/2 through f/13.

My jaw dropped when I saw the result at f/2, so much so that I did a double take and checked the EXIF info—wow!

Lichen Covered Rock
f2 @ 1/40 sec IBIS=off, ISO 100; 2018-10-19 17:44:35
[location “Bishop Creek”, altitude 8780 ft / 2676 m, 36°F / 2°C, LACA correction]
Sony A7R III + Zeiss Batis 40mm f/2 CF

[low-res image for bot]
Nikon Z7 Kit IN STOCK!
Nikon Z7 + 24-70mm f/4 + FTZ Adapter
$100 savings!
ends in 47 hours

Nikon Z7: Validating Focus Accuracy, Exposure, Handheld with IBIS and Nikon NIKKOR Z 35mm f/1.8 (Bishop Creek)

Get Nikon Z at B&H Photo and see my Sony mirrorless wishlist.

What better way to assess focusing, lens performance and metering than to shoot a steady series of images, then evaluate them for focus accuracy, exposure, and how well IBIS worked. For this test, 150 images were shot, all examined and some are shown here. All examples were shot handheld with IBIS and all used camera autofocus (normal, non-magnified) with Pinpoint AF.

These were the key goals, important to me (and highly persuasive), and ought to be highly useful for any Nikon Z7 shooter or prospective buyer:

  • Given the Nikon Z7 focus shift and stopped-down autofocus behavior, can the Nikon Z7 accurately center the zone of sharp focus around the chosen focus point?
  • Just how good is the performance of the Nikon Nikon NIKKOR Z 35mm f/1.8 S?
  • How effective is Nikon Z7 IBIS when no special efforts are made, just handheld normal shooting... what is the hit rate at low shutter speed?
  • How accurate is matrix metering on the Nikon Z7?

Nikon Z7: Validating Focus Accuracy, Exposure, Handheld with IBIS (Bishop Creek)

Includes images up to full camera resolution for each of many examples.

Fishing South Lake
f8 @ 1/40 sec handheld IBIS=on, ISO 64; 2018-10-20 16:00:55
[location “South Lake”, altitude 9700 ft / 2957 m, 48°F / 8°C, polarizer=Zeiss, "Pinpont AF on fisherwoman", LACA correction]
NIKON Z7 + Nikon NIKKOR Z 35mm f/1.8 S

[low-res image for bot]
Hope Springs Eternal at a shallow pond
f9 @ 1/160 sec handheld IBIS=on, ISO 64; 2018-10-20 16:17:26
[location “Shallow pond below South Lake dam”, altitude 9300 ft / 2835 m, 52°F / 11°C, diffraction mitigating sharpening, LACA correction]
NIKON Z7 + Nikon NIKKOR Z 35mm f/1.8 S

[low-res image for bot]

Glenn K writes:

Great post! Were these all using autofocus? If so, which AF area mode were you using? Single-point or pinpoint?

Looks like Nikon's IBIS works pretty well!

DIGLLOYD: I used Pinpoint AF handheld (no magnification) with Nikon Z7 IBIS for all the shots.

Purely subjective: Nikon’s IBIS seems to work as good and seemingly better for me than all other stabilization systems I’ve used. It could be in part the excellent grip and body size; for example, the Sony A7R III just doesn’t fit my largish hands.

That I can capture 45 megapixels tack sharp at 1/25 second with a high hit rate (at least at 35mm focal) is incredible, and very useful. At lower speeds the hit rate declines, but see the 1/3 second shot in the Otus 28/1.4 post and others at 1/6 second.

Nikon Z7: White Balance and Tint in Adobe Camera Raw using Datacolor SpyderCHECKER (Mountain Morning Shade)

See my Canon mirrorless wishlist and Nikon mirrorless wishlist and Sony mirrorless wishlist.

Lightroom users: since Adobe Camera Raw is a shared code between Photoshop and Lightroom, the figures will apply regardless of which program is used.

...

I evaluated white balance and tint for the Nikon Z7 using a SpyderCHECKER® color checker card to evaluate the appropriate white balance and tint in the Adobe Camera Raw 11.0.0.61 dialog in Photoshop CC 2019 20.0.0.

The Nikon Z7 raw files have an unusually strong magenta tint compared to other cameras I’ve used as of late 2018. The settings on the following page might save you some grief:

Nikon Z7 White Balance and Tint in Adobe Camera Raw (Mid-Day Sunny, Mountains @ 6000 ft)

An about $127 DataColor SpyderCHECKER was used for this evaluation. I use the clamshell version so I can safely carry it without damaging it. I do not use the calibration software as I have not been satisfied with the results versus the stock Adobe profiles.

Datacolor SpyderCHECKER, as shot on Nikon Z7
f5.6 @ 1/13 sec handheld IBIS=on, ISO 64; 2018-10-21 08:24:19
[location “Bishop Creek”, altitude 8780 ft / 2676 m, 30°F / -1°C, "sun up on high peaks but most of valley shaded", LACA correction, IS=on]
NIKON Z7 + Nikon NIKKOR Z 35mm f/1.8 S

[low-res image for bot]
Our trusted photo rental store

Nikon NIKKOR Z 35mm f/1.8 S Aperture Series: Twisted Aspen Trunks, Evaluating Focus Accuracy in Dim Light

See my Sony mirrorless wishlist and Nikon mirrorless wishlist and Canon mirrorless wishlist.

Under most conditions the Nikon Z7 does a superb job of accurate focus in which the depth of field is centered around the focus point (though not always).

This series evaluates the ability of the Nikon Z7 to center the zone of focus at f/1.8, f/2.8, f/4 and beyond, a challenge harder than it sounds in dim light, what with the pronounced focus shift of the Nikon NIKKOR Z 35mm f/1.8 S.

* See the comments on compensating for focus shift in Sage, Aspen, and Waterfall.

Nikon NIKKOR Z 35mm f/1.8 S Aperture Series: Twisted Aspen Trunks, Evaluating Focus Accuracy in Dim Light

Includes up to full resolution images from f/1.8 through f/13 with commentary on how well the Nikon Z7 did on centering the zone of focus where desired.

View the image below at full resolution on an iMac 5K. It is from the Nikon NIKKOR Z 35mm f/1.8 S Aperture Series: Sage, Aspen, and Waterfall. If your eyeballs don’t pop out of your head as to the quality, well then, get some glasses (or an iMac 5K).

Twisted Aspen Trunks
f4.5 @ 1/25 sec IBIS=off, ISO 64; 2018-10-19 17:36:30
[location “Meadow near Bishop Creek”, altitude 8780 ft / 2676 m, 37°F / 2°C, LACA correction]
NIKON Z7 + Nikon NIKKOR Z 35mm f/1.8 S

[low-res image for bot]
Up to 1527MB/s sustained performance

Zeiss Batis 40mm f/2 CF Aperture Series: Bishop Creek Aspen

Get Zeiss Batis at B&H Photo and see my Sony mirrorless wishlist.

Like View up Bishop Creek, this scene looks at medium range scene evaluates sharpness, bokeh, color correction, and depth of field gains of the Zeiss Batis 40mm f/2 CF, showing the magnificent performance possible with tremendous detail near-to-far and corner to corner.

Zeiss Batis 40mm f/2 CF Aperture Series: Bishop Creek Aspen

Includes images up to full camera resolution from f/2 through f/11.

Sometimes lenses have limiting optical aberrations that do not allow full depth of field performance like this to accrue with stopping down. Not so here. I’d say it is perhaps the best Zeiss Batis yet. At about $1299, it’s worth it.

Aspen Along Bishop Creek
f2.8 @ 1/13 sec IBIS=off, ISO 50; 2018-10-19 17:59:47
[location “Bishop Creek”, altitude 8800 ft / 2682 m, 38°F / 3°C, LACA correction, USM{8,50,0}]
Sony A7R III + Zeiss Batis 40mm f/2 CF

[low-res image for bot]

Long Term: Usage of my Workhorse NEC PA302W Wide Gamut Professional Display in My Sprinter Van + Reasons To Like in General

See my color management wishlist and get NEC PA302W at B&H Photo. Unless you already have the NEC calibrator and software, be sure to get the NEC PA302W BK-SV.

The NEC PA302W is my workhorse display on which I do all my photography work. It is a 30-inch 2560 X 1600 wide-gamut display with true hardware calibration (vs faux calibration).

I’ve now used it for a year in my my Sprinter van on the road many hours. In spite of very rough extreme vibration roads, stored securely in my Yeti Tundra 210 cooler doubling as a bed platform, it has never even had a glitch.

NEC PA302W 30-inch wide-gamut display

The PA302W calibrates to within 1 delta-E accuracy, which means “color and grayscale accuracy that exceed the ability of most people to discern”). The Apple iMac 5K *cannot* be calibrated properly, since it means warping the video card values to try to look right which fails miserably for dark tones—it is not calibration at all!; see Understanding Display Calibration: Real vs Faux Calibration.

I write this as I sit at my hickory desk at 8:10 AM in my Sprinter van at 8800' elevation in the Eastern Sierra. It is about 19°F outside, but I’m too hot and will have to turn down the heat now.

The critical features for me with the NEC PA302W are:

  • Perfect color and grayscale accuracy with consistent results day to day and month to month.
  • Wide color gamut.
  • Low pixel density, which greatly aids image evaluation.

I discuss these issues in various articles:

Getting one

The NEC PA302W regularly goes on sale, but current pricing is shown here. I strongly recommend the BK-SV model which includes the calibrator software and hardware.

Note: on Thunderbolt 3 Macs, you’ll need DisplayPort. The OWC Thunderbolt 3 Dock solves it. I have it fixed in place on my desk in my Sprinter van, as well as another one at home.

Summary of what to like about the NEC PA302W

There is a lot to like about the NEC PA302W, which is why I consider it the finest display available today for evaluating and processing images (though the iMac 5K is my preferred display for viewing images). That is why I call it my workhorse display. The NEC PA302W is the display I will be installing in my mobile photography adventure van.

  • Screen resolution of 2560 X 1600 in a 30" form factor, for eye-friendly pixel density that allows me to quickly evaluate image sharpness. As well as the 1600-high thing: *way* better than 1440 (including the “looks like” 2560 X 1440 of the iMac 5K).
  • Color gamut that extends *way* beyond the AdobeRGB color space, important for making decisions on saturation and color subtlety, plus today’s printers are also beyond AdobeRGB gamut.
  • Neutral backlighting— the GB-R backlighting delivers a neutral gray—not the magenta-tinted “gray” W-LED displays that most calibration devices see as neutral, but is in fact tinted magenta to the human eye, or at least my eyes, which are unusually good for color discrimination.
  • Low glare—unlike the iMac 5K, the NEC PA302W has surface coating that works well in all sorts of lighting conditions, and does not display the walls behind my back.
  • 4-year warranty. Compare that to the abbreviated 1 year warranty Apple provides.

Color gamut

Below, check out that color gamut! The inside triangle is AdobeRGB, which falls far short of what the NEC PA302W offers. I use the 16-bit ProPhotoRGB color space for most of my work, outputting to AdobeRGB JPEG files unless the image is out of gamut in AdobeRGB.

Color gamut of NEC PA302W wide gamut display, full range calibration
Color gamut of NEC PA302W wide gamut display, full range calibration
NEC PA302W 30-inch wide-gamut display showing a bristlecone pine I shot one day
Up to 1527MB/s sustained performance

Zeiss Batis 40mm f/2 CF Aperture Series: View up Bishop Creek, Late Dusk

Get Zeiss Batis at B&H Photo and see my Sony mirrorless wishlist.

This medium range scene evaluates sharpness, bokeh, color correction, and depth of field gains of the Zeiss Batis 40mm f/2 CF, showing the magnificent performance possible with tremendous detail near-to-far and corner to corner.

The scene is rendered as it felt—cold and pre-winter in very blue mountain light only partly corrected, and also in the dimness of late dusk. It’s a “feel” shot intended to capture how it feels to be there at this pre-winter time of year.

Zeiss Batis 40mm f/2 CF Aperture Series: View up Bishop Creek, Late Dusk

Includes images up to full camera resolution from f/2 through f/11.

Wow—sometimes lenses have limiting optical abberations that do not allow a stellar performance like this to accrue with stopping down. This is one terrific lens. I’d say it is perhaps the best Zeiss Batis yet. At about $1299, it’s worth it.

View up Bishop Creek
f4.5 @ 1/25 sec IBIS=off, ISO 100; 2018-10-19 17:27:14
[location “Bishop Creek”, altitude 10800 ft / 3292 m, 38°F / 3°C, LACA correction]
Sony A7R III + Zeiss Batis 40mm f/2 CF

[low-res image for bot]

Zeiss Batis 40mm f/2 CF Aperture Series: Sprinter Van, Late Dusk

Get Zeiss Batis at B&H Photo and see my Sony mirrorless wishlist.

This medium range scene evaluates sharpness, bokeh, color correction, and depth of field gains of the Zeiss Batis 40mm f/2 CF. A very high dynamic range scene, details in the black tires are of interest in terms of penetrating power under extreme blue light.

Zeiss Batis 40mm f/2 CF Aperture Series: Sprinter Van, Late Dusk

Includes images up to full camera resolution from f/2 through f/11.

The Zeiss Batis 40mm f/2 CF looks to be an exceptionally strong performer; see for example (at full resolution at f/2) the spectacular resolving power in the horizontal interior of the headlight and nearby areas.

Winterized with 3/4" high-grade foam insulation along with Reflectix shields for windows, the van stayed 32°F inside with outside temperatures of 19°F for 20 hours. I could take further measures if I anticipated temperatures down to 15°F and lower such as baffling the interior, but I sleep best at 32°F anyway. It takes about 20 minutes of idling to get the interior from 32°F to 70°F, and that also charges my 10 kW battery system. This article and many others were written within this van exactly as seen!

Sprinter Van, Late Dusk
f6.3 @ 2.5 sec, ISO 50; 2018-10-19 18:27:11
[location “Bishop Creek side road just across bridge”, altitude 8800 ft / 2682 m, "19"]
Sony A7R III + Zeiss Batis 40mm f/2 CF

[low-res image for bot]

Zeiss Batis 40mm f/2 CF Aperture Series: White Aspen, Late Dusk

Get Zeiss Batis at B&H Photo and see my Sony mirrorless wishlist.

This medium range scene evauates sharpness across the frame depth of field gains, focus shift, color correction, and bokeh of the Zeiss Batis 40mm f/2 CF, showing just what a reliable stalwart performer the Batis 40/2 is.

Zeiss Batis 40mm f/2 CF Aperture Series: Creekside Aspen

Includes images up to full camera resolution from f/2 through f/11.

The Zeiss Batis 40mm f/2 CF looks to be an exceptionally well balanced optical design with little to criticize.

Creekside Aspen
f4.5 @ 1.6 sec IBIS=off, ISO 50; 2018-10-19 18:13:15
[location “Bishop Creek”, altitude 8800 ft / 2682 m, 37°F / 2°C, LACA correction]
Sony A7R III + Zeiss Batis 40mm f/2 CF

[low-res image for bot]

Zeiss Otus 85mm f/1.4 APO-Planar Aperture Series: Waterfall Amid Aspen (Nikon Z7)

See my Nikon mirrorless wishlist and Canon mirrorless wishlist and Sony mirrorless wishlist.

This series evaluates performance of the Zeiss Otus 85mm f/1.4 APO-Planar on a distance scene from f/1.4 through f/11 on the 45-megapixel Nikon Z7. The light was very blue and flat, so good , 'penetrating power' is needed to deliver good contrast and micro contrast, as well as world-class control of LOCA.

Sharpness doesn’t get any better than this—f/1.4 is really amazing in this series. Alas for want of a 90 megapixel sensor. View the full resolution f/1.4 image on an iMac 5K for an eye-popping experience. This performance is as good as I have ever seen at f/1.4.

In Zeiss DSLR Lenses*:

Zeiss Otus 85mm f/1.4 APO-Planar Aperture Series: Waterfall Amid Aspen (Nikon Z7)

Includes images up to full camera resolution from f/1.4 through f/9.

I always knew that the 85/1.4 APO-Planar was delivering the goods, but the rear LCD of the Nikon D850 never let it shine so clearly as does the EVF of the Nikon Z7—awesome! I could watch the tiny sticks on the rock pile in front of the waterfall pop into amazingly crisp focus—wide open at f/1.4.

* Lens reviews always go into their native publication.

Waterfall Amid Aspen, Bishop Creek
f1.4 @ 1/250 sec IBIS=off, ISO 64; 2018-10-19 17:09:57
[location “Bishop Creek”, altitude 8500 ft / 2591 m, 37°F / 2°C, "focusing incredibly contrast at f/1.4"]
NIKON Z7 + Zeiss Otus 85mm f/1.4 APO-Planar

[low-res image for bot]
Up to 1527MB/s sustained performance

Nikon NIKKOR Z 35mm f/1.8 S Aperture Series: Sage, Aspen, and Waterfall

See my Sony mirrorless wishlist and Nikon mirrorless wishlist and Canon mirrorless wishlist.

This medium range scene compensates for the focus shift of the Nikon NIKKOR Z 35mm f/1.8 S by refocusing at f/1.4, f/2, f/2.8, f4* and thus delivering the best performance possible (assuming autofocus is accurate and it seems to be).

The results here are strong evidence for why Nikon’s PR lays claim to better optical performance: there can be no doubt that the Nikon NIKKOR Z 35mm f/1.8 S not only delivers a far superior image to any previous 35mm Nikkor such as the Nikon AF-S 35mm f/1.4G, it delivers an outstanding image by any standard, at least with a little stopping down). Color, contrast, detail—it has it all: Nikon has never built a wide angle prime lens this good. That is, setting aside the atrocious focus shift, which must be understood and dealt with.

Nikon NIKKOR Z 35mm f/1.8 S Aperture Series: Creekside Aspen

Includes up to full resolution images from f/1.8 through f/11.

View the image below at full resolution on an iMac 5K. It is from the Nikon NIKKOR Z 35mm f/1.8 S Aperture Series: Sage, Aspen, and Waterfall. If your eyeballs don’t pop out of your head as to the quality, well then, get some glasses (or an iMac 5K).

Creekside Aspen
f6.3 @ 2.0 sec IBIS=off, ISO 64; 2018-10-19 18:16:44
[location “Bishop Creek”, altitude 8700 ft / 2652 m, 38°F / 3°C, LACA correction]
NIKON Z7 + Nikon NIKKOR Z 35mm f/1.8 S

[low-res image for bot]

Thoughts on My Injured Knee, Aging, and Native Lenses Weighing 1/3 As Much as Preferred Option

See my Sony mirrorless wishlist and Nikon mirrorless wishlist and Canon mirrorless wishlist.

View the image below at full resolution on an iMac 5K. It is from the Nikon NIKKOR Z 35mm f/1.8 S Aperture Series: Sage, Aspen, and Waterfall. If your eyeballs don’t pop out of your head as to the quality, well then, get some glasses (or an iMac 5K). Color, contrast, detail—it has it all: Nikon has never built a lens this good (focus shift aside).

The knee and older-age hubris: (yeah, well it is a first time)—six days ago I carried a 6-pound tripod + ballhead along with about 20 pounds of gear for a ~14 mile hike (Rock Creek via Mosquito Flat to Bear Lake) from 10200' to 11100' down to 9600' up a steep and loose slope up to 10200' that tweaked my knee slightly, back down to 9600', back up to 11100', then miles back to 10200'. Plus some “extra credit” stuff off trail. I was frisky as a spring lamb to Morgan Pass / Morgan Lakes (75 minutes flat), leaving everyone in the dust in spite of the weight (double centuries do something for aerobic fitness!). But my left knee started nagging on the way back, and by the time I got to my Sprinter van, it was swollen up like a softball. Sitting here writing this, my knee now constrains what I can consider doing. I can walk short distances while I listen to crunchy sounds. I know it is probably mostly fluid (that happened to a hamstring earlier this year just before my concussion), but it is something that makes me sit back and take pause—sometimes life starts broadcasting messages that should not be ignored.

For starters, I am going to take along my “hang scale” that I’ve used for bikes and such in my garage, and limit my pack to 15 pounds from now on, preferably 12. I’m sh*tting bricks hoping my knee returns to normal, because I love backcountry hikes and was aiming for another decade before hanging up my jockstrap (so to speak).

Second, I’m working with Really Right Stuff on an ultra light tripod that would be extra light and about as high as my chin, which should drop weight off the tripod situation. Stay tuned, as RRS might make a long version for me as well as a slightly shorter version that can be taken on an airplane. No promises of course—that’s their ROI call and it might not happen. It won’t be for heavy loads, but way more than adequate for all the mirrorless cameras and DSLRs I shoot for any reasonable lens.

Which leads me to camera gear. I wrote The Irrational Aim of F/1.4 Lenses a few years ago. It is not irrational if market sales prove otherwise (e.g. video), but the situation is this for me now: large and heavy f/1.4 lenses suck, no matter how good optically and what the hell do I really need f/1.4 or f/2 for when hiking anyway? Give me Zeiss Otus grade f/2.8 lenses please, and Zeiss Loxia lenses will do if that ain’t gonna happen. If I had not hauled all that f/1.4 stupidity along, my knee might not be in its present state of yuck.

Then there are cameras and native lenses. Let’s take the poster-child for an absurd amount of focus shift, the Nikon NIKKOR Z 35mm f/1.8 S. Mounted on the Nikon Z7, the combination is never a strain on neck or back or knees (along with a few similar lenses). That is clearly the future for anyone with physical limitations: f/1.8 or f/2 or f/2.8 on mirrorless. DSLRS are truly dead for that reason alone, as a generations of photographers 'mature' and the onslaught of 'killer' mirrorless cameras accelerates.

To wit: the Nikon NIKKOR Z 35mm f/1.8 S weighs 1/3 as much as my preferred Zeiss Milvus 35mm f/1.4, even less considering the required Nikon FTZ lens adapter for the Milvus. Which can I afford to carry, speaking in terms of physical risk and the ongoing physical discomfort? Now that I know how to deal with the ridiculous focus shift of the NIKKOR Z 35/1.8, the compromise is just fine for landscape work: well over a kilogram plus adapter, or ~1/3 kilogram. A frickin' no-brainer.

Seems to me that Zeiss has a real opportunity here, one never taken up in spite of vigorous lobbying for f/2.8 Otus-grade lenses back in Oberkochen by Ming Thein and I several years ago. Is the still photo market really not there? Hard to believe.

Creekside Aspen
f6.3 @ 2.0 sec IBIS=off, ISO 64; 2018-10-19 18:16:44
[location “Bishop Creek”, altitude 8700 ft / 2652 m, 38°F / 3°C, LACA correction]
NIKON Z7 + Nikon NIKKOR Z 35mm f/1.8 S

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Nikon NIKKOR Z 35mm f/1.8 S Aperture Series: Sage, Aspen, and Waterfall

See my Sony mirrorless wishlist and Nikon mirrorless wishlist and Canon mirrorless wishlist.

There is no sense beating up on something for what it is, that is, the fact that the extreme focus shift of the Nikon NIKKOR Z 35mm f/1.8 S is a bit absurd should not distract from the possibility of using it so as to bypass the issue. Showing more images damaged by that behavior only show the futility of using the 35/1.8 as I would use an optically rigorous design like Zeiss Milvus or Zeiss Otus.

Accordingly, this series uses a 3D subject mostly at distance and also with a nearby foreground. It bypasses the extreme focus shift of the Nikon NIKKOR Z 35mm f/1.8 S by refocusing at f/1.4, f/2, f/2.8, f4 and thus delivering the best performance possible (assuming autofocus is accurate and it seemed to be).

Nikon NIKKOR Z 35mm f/1.8 S Aperture Series: Sage, Aspen, and Waterfall

Includes actual pixels crops and up to full resolution images from f/1.8 through f/9.

Sage, Aspen, and Waterfall
f1.8 @ 1/125 sec IBIS=off, ISO 64; 2018-10-18 17:09:05
[location “Bishop Creek”, altitude 8500 ft / 2591 m, 37°F / 2°C, "lens refocused at f/1.8, f/2.8, f/4", LACA correction]
NIKON Z7 + Nikon NIKKOR Z 35mm f/1.8 S

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Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 APO-Distagon Aperture Series: Waterfall Amid Aspen (Canon EOS R)

See my Canon mirrorless wishlist and Sony mirrorless wishlist and and Nikon mirrorless wishlist.

This series evaluates performance of the Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 APO-Distagon ZE on a distance scene from f/1.4 through f/9 on the 30-megapixel Canon EOS R. The light was very blue and flat, so good , 'penetrating power' is needed to deliver good contrast and micro contrast.

Shot on the Canon EOS R using the Canon Mount Adapter EF-EOS R.

In Zeiss DSLR Lenses*:

Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 APO-Distagon Aperture Series: Waterfall Amid Aspen (Canon EOS R)

Includes images up to full camera resolution from f/1.4 through f/9.

* Lens reviews always go into their native publication.

Waterfall Amid Aspen, Bishop Creek
f1.4 @ 1/320 sec IS=off, ISO 100; 2018-10-18 17:00:16
[location “Bishop Creek”, altitude 8500 ft / 2591 m, 37°F / 2°C, "best of 4 for focus balance"]
Canon EOS R + Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 APO-Distagon ZE

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Zeiss Batis 40mm f/2 CF Aperture Series: White Aspen, Late Dusk

Get Zeiss Batis at B&H Photo and see my Sony mirrorless wishlist.

This series assesses corner-to-corner sharpness, field curvature and any possible focus shift, particularly in corner areas, on the 42-megapixel Sony A7R III. On a scene like this, field curvature is a primary concern because even a small amount of it will drastically reduce sharpness where the field curves out of focus, typically in the mid zones or corners.

As a close focus (“CF”) lens which Zeiss states to be excellent from 1:5 all the way to infinity (“floating lens design for consistently high image quality across the entire focus range”), the far-distance performance is a good place to start to evaluate field curvature and total performance. The MTF charts for the Zeiss Batis 40mm f/2 CF show a very consistent performance across the field, which is consistent with the stated goal.

Zeiss Batis 40mm f/2 CF Aperture Series: White Aspen, Late Dusk

Includes images up to full camera resolution from f/2 through f/8.

White Aspen, Late Dusk
f4.5 @ 1/8 sec IS=off, ISO 100; 2018-10-18 17:50:34
[location “Bishop Creek”, altitude 8700 ft / 2652 m, 34°F / 1°C, "very blue mountain shade", LACA correction]
Sony A7R III + Zeiss Batis 40mm f/2 CF

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Zeiss Batis 40mm f/2 CF Aperture Series: Evaluating Secondary Color

Get Zeiss Batis at B&H Photo and see my Sony mirrorless wishlist.

In my review of the Zeiss Batis 40mm f/2 CF I evaluate longitudinal chromatic aberration (LOCA) and secondary longitudinal chromatic aberration (SLOCA), two bugaboos of image clarity.

Zeiss Batis 40mm f/2 CF: Longitudinal and Secondary Longitudinal Chromatic Aberration

Includes images up to full camera resolution with crops.

Below, out of focus image used to look for color errors.

White Aspen, Late Dusk
f2 @ 1/25 sec IS=off, ISO 100; 2018-10-18 18:11:17
[location “Bishop Creek”, altitude 8600 ft / 2621 m, 38°F / 3°C, LACA correction]
Sony A7R III + Zeiss Batis 40mm f/2 CF

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Zeiss Batis 40mm f/2 CF Aperture Series: Mountainside near Aspendell

Get Zeiss Batis at B&H Photo and see my Sony mirrorless wishlist.

This series assesses corner-to-corner sharpness, field curvature and any possible focus shift, particularly in corner areas, on the 42-megapixel Sony A7R III. On a scene like this, field curvature is a primary concern because even a small amount of it will drastically reduce sharpness where the field curves out of focus, typically in the mid zones or corners.

As a close focus (“CF”) lens which Zeiss states to be excellent from 1:5 all the way to infinity (“floating lens design for consistently high image quality across the entire focus range”), the far-distance performance is a good place to start to evaluate field curvature and total performance. The MTF charts for the Zeiss Batis 40mm f/2 CF show a very consistent performance across the field, which is consistent with the stated goal.

Zeiss Batis 40mm f/2 CF Aperture Series: Mountainside near Aspendell

Includes images up to full camera resolution from f/2 through f/8.

Mountainside near Aspendell
f2.8 @ 1/640 sec IS=off, ISO 100; 2018-10-18 15:28:30
[location “Road to Lake Sabrina”, altitude 9000 ft / 2743 m, 50°F / 10°C, LACA correction, polarizer=Zeiss]
Sony A7R III + Zeiss Batis 40mm f/2 CF

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Nikon Z7 ISO Series from ISO 64 to ISO 25600 (Juniper over Beaver Pond)

See my Nikon mirrorless wishlist and Canon mirrorless wishlist and and Sony mirrorless wishlist.

This page shows ISO 64 to ISO 25600 on a real-world outdoor scene in which the background is out of focus, and thus yields a good look at just how noise develops with the Nikon Z7 including how it looks in smooth areas and how it obscures details.

Two series are presented, one without noise reduction and one with chroma and luminance noise reduction (long exposure noise reduction used for both).

Nikon Z7: ISO 64 to ISO 25600 (Juniper over Defunct Beaver Pond)

Includes images up to 4320 pixels wide, plus actual pixels crops, all with and without noise reduction from ISO 64 through ISO 25600.

f3.2 @ 0.4 sec, ISO 6400; 2018-10-08 19:02:31
[location “Lundy Canyon above large defunct beaver pond”, altitude 8400 ft / 2560 m, 40°F / 4°C]
NIKON Z7 + Zeiss Milvus 25mm f/1.4

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Reader Comment: Nikon Z7 and Nikon NIKKOR Z Lens Line

See my Canon mirrorless wishlist and Nikon mirrorless wishlist and Sony mirrorless wishlist and and .

Greg H writes:

Just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate the evolution of your review of the Z camera system. Although you have experienced some glitches with your Z7 that I have not, I recall your initial enthusiasm for using the Z7 body. Does that still hold? I enjoy the Z7 body a lot, and image quality SOOC in RAW is quite good for me. On some images taken with my Otus 28 and Milvus 18/25, I can prefer the Z7 image over the D850, but not really enough to matter. [Still waiting for PhaseOne to update CaptureOne for Z7 RAW files.]

I have been unimpressed with Nikon’s lens roadmap, but now, I am increasingly unimpressed with the lenses themselves. The Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/4 S is adequate to me for being a walk-around lens. I have not tried the Nikon NIKKOR Z 35mm f/1.8 S, and after your review/images, I am not likely to. It is looking increasingly like the Nikon FTZ lens adapter will be permanently affixed to my Z, and that my Zeiss lenses will be my most likely traveling companions in this kit. I envision the Zeiss Milvus 135, and the 25 as the base kit, and then maybe one other depending on specific target shooting. But not the miniaturized version of a Nikon D850 kit I was hoping for. This doesn’t bode well, in my view, for long term success of these cameras, unless 3d party lenses pick up the slack.

Part of the frustration for me is that the Z6/7 seemed so promising due to Nikon’s commitment to a larger lens opening and short flange distance. And I think the body itself is quite a pleasure to use. No, it’s not the D850, but live EVF histogram and the smaller body size [and what should be more manageable lens sizes] could present some opportunities for the landscaper/backpacker. That’s my primary use case: compact body [essentially the same size and weight of the Lumix G9, but with the much better image quality], and with lenses that should be even better and more compact than the current lineup. Sadly, that latter part does not appear to be coming true from Nikon any time soon. The traveling landscaper, especially one who has to board airplanes, should be getting a better product out of Nikon. You said it well in your review of the Canon RF 24-105mm f/4L IS: "This optical laziness seems to be all the rage these days.” Still, I have my fingers crossed for some Zeiss lenses native to the Z, but I am not holding my breath.

This is really unfortunate. I am not much of a fan of the ergonomics, menu, and EVF of the Sony A7Riii, though I know Sony could make a better body/menu/EVF if they just decided to, and maybe the will; maybe the A7RiV will be the camera I want. Conversely, though every Sony Artisan describes every Sony GM lens as “tack sharp,” I know that’s not exactly spot on correct. Overall, though, the Sony lenses, and the Zeiss Loxia/Batis line, may be good enough to make the switch tolerable. And a Sony/Zeiss backpack is an easier, more compact burden than the equivalent Nikon Z/FTZ/Zeiss backpack.

None of this is “bad.” It’s great to have choices. I just wish the array was not quite so disappointing.

DIGLLOYD: my enthusiasm for the Z7 camera body holds, mainly because of the EVF. I’d sum it up as “love the camera, disappointed in the lenses”. The Nikon Z system badly needs support from Zeiss in the form of Zeiss Loxia lenses at the least. Or an adapter suitable for Zeiss Loxia to Nikon Z—there is 4mm of flange focal distance to work with. It should not be hard at all, but I presume patents are involved.

Kevins S writes:

I’m developing a similar mindset to Greg H, that the Nikon Z7 and Zeiss Milvus/Zeiss Otus are the quality landscape workhorse combination for the foreseeable future, and Sony A7R III/iii w/Batis/Loxia/Sony fills the gap for what the Z7 doesn’t do so well (action, eye AF portraits, lightweight travel/hiking). Expensive to maintain two systems, but once invested in both Nikon and Sony lens ecosystems the Z7 plus A7R II /A7R III bodies are the incremental price of covering a wide range of applications well.

For me, the benefits of the Z7 – fantastic EVF, excellent focus peaking, natural ergonomics (buttons & menus), freedom from DSLR back focusing – make all F-mount lenses vastly more useable and enjoyable, both manual focus and auto focus. While I’m sure there will be Z mount cameras in the next 1-2 years that fully supersede the D850, the benefits of the Z7 today for ‘slow photography’ landscape work are just too great to wait for the uber-Z. By then, the trusty D800 will be a paperweight and there will be need of a second body.

I, too, would love to see compact Zeiss Z-mount (ZZ?) lenses, but don’t expect to see that anytime soon or before the eventual arrival of the uber-Z. Adapting E-mount lenses to Z-mount would be wonderful, of course … but I’d hate to be handed the job of developing E-to-Z physical and electronic adaptation in 4mm depth! Will definitely require some ingenuity – hope there is a quality outfit out there up to the challenge. Might be in Zeiss’s interest to take this on themselves, even if not in their traditional wheelhouse? Given they’ve reverse engineered the old F-mount interface (albeit w/o AF), how difficult could reverse engineering a modern Z-mount (with or w/o AF) be?

Certainly second the sentiment that it’s great to have all these choices. May we all live in interesting (photographic) times.

DIGLLOYD: the Zeiss Loxia are all manual including aperture control, so in theory if one can live without EXIF info, a simple physical extension would make the Loxia lenses work on Nikon Z. But again, it’s the patent thing I think, not a question of reverse engineering. I declined to be an expert witness in a pending lawsuit I’ll say no more about.

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Canon RF 24-105mm f/4L IS Aperture Series @ 50mm: View Over Lower Morgan Lake to High Peak

See my Canon mirrorless wishlist and Nikon mirrorless wishlist and Sony mirrorless wishlist.

This series evaluates performance of the Canon RF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM at 50mm on a far distance scene on the 30-megapixel Canon EOS R.

Canon RF 24-105mm f/4L IS Aperture Series @ 50mm: View Over Lower Morgan Lake to High Peak

Includes images up to full camera resolution from f/4 through f/11.

View past Lower Morgan Lake to High Peak
f8 @ 1/50 sec IS=on, ISO 100; 2018-10-13 12:44:09
[location “Lower Morgan Lake”, altitude 10600 ft / 3231 m, 54°F / 12°C, LACA correction, polarizer=Zeiss]
Canon EOS R + RF24-105mm F4 L IS USM @ 50mm

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Up to 1527MB/s sustained performance

Canon RF 24-105mm f/4L IS Color Fringing (Lateral Chromatic Aberration) with/without Correction

See my Canon mirrorless wishlist and Nikon mirrorless wishlist and Sony mirrorless wishlist and and .

This page evaluates correction for color fringing (lateral chromatic aberration) of the Canon RF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM at multiple focal lengths.

Canon RF 24-105mm f/4L IS Color Fringing (Lateral Chromatic Aberration) with/without Correction

Includes pairs of crops corrected and uncorrected at 24mm, 39mm, 105mm.

f13 @ 1/25 sec, ISO 100; 2018-10-13 15:17:51
[location “Bear Lake”, altitude 10200 ft / 3109 m, polarizer=Zeiss]
Canon EOS R + RF24-105mm F4 L IS USM @ 24mm

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Canon RF 24-105mm f/4L IS Aperture Series @ 39mm: View Down Aspen-Lined Trail to Spire Lake Peak

See my Canon mirrorless wishlist and Nikon mirrorless wishlist and Sony mirrorless wishlist and and .

This series evaluates performance of the Canon RF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM at 39mm on a near to far distance scene on the 30-megapixel Canon EOS R.

Canon RF 24-105mm f/4L IS Aperture Series @ 39mm: View Down Aspen-Lined Trail to Spire Lake Peak

Includes images up to full camera resolution from f/4 through f/11. Includes a tip on how to optimize sharpness in such a scene given the focus shift and field curvature behavior.

View Down Aspen-Lined Trail to Spire Lake Peak
f9 @ 1/50 sec IS=off, ISO 100; 2018-10-13 14:42:28
[location “Old mining road approaching cutoff to Bear Lake”, altitude 10000 ft / 3048 m, 50°F / 10°C, diffraction mitigating sharpening, polarizer=Zeiss, LACA correction]
Canon EOS R + RF24-105mm F4 L IS USM @ 39mm

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Up to 1527MB/s sustained performance

Zeiss Batis 40mm f/2 CF Arrived, Testing it Soon

Get Zeiss Batis at B&H Photo and see my Sony mirrorless wishlist.

The Zeiss Batis 40mm f/2 CF has arrived. At about $1299, its pricing is consistent with the other Batis lenses. Although I am backlogged with the Nikon Z7 system and the Canon EOS R system and my knee is injured, I’ll be covering the Batis 40/2 quite soon.

The Zeiss Batis 40mm f/2 CF (“Close Focus”) is the first Batis lens with macro capability (1:3.3 reproduction ratio). Zeiss has seemingly thrown a great deal of optical chops into the lens design, with 3 elements of special glass and three aspherical elements (one of special glass). Accordingly, I’m little puzzled at how MTF at f/4 never reaches the 80% level, which the Zeiss Loxia lenses easily do (see MTF for the Zeiss Loixa 25mm f/2.4). It appears that total consistent imaging quality over the frame and near to far may be the compromise involved.

Zeiss Batis 40mm f/2
Zeiss Batis lens family

Canon RF 24-105mm f/4L IS Aperture Series @ 24mm: Late Day Light on Bear Lake

See my Canon mirrorless wishlist and Nikon mirrorless wishlist and Sony mirrorless wishlist and and .

This series evaluates performance of the Canon RF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM at 24mm on a near to far distance scene on the 30-megapixel Canon EOS R.

Canon RF 24-105mm f/4L IS Aperture Series @ 24mm: Late Day Light on Bear Lake

Includes images up to full camera resolution from f/4 through f/13.

Keep going up the canyon to Split Lake and then Spire Lake, which vies in its own way with Patagonia—I visited Spire Lake in 2015 but had to leave immediately due to waning daylight. Take the notch at far left (steep boulder field near cliff). Don’t break a leg, because your bones will be picked clean by the time anyone finds you—don’t hike alone.

Late Day Light on Bear Lake
f9 @ 1/50 sec IS=on, ISO 100; 2018-10-13 15:17:44
[location “Bear Lake, CA”, altitude 10200 ft / 3109 m, 38°F / 3°C, diffraction mitigating sharpening, "beautiful light good for only 30 minutes or so", LACA correction]
Canon EOS R + RF24-105mm F4 L IS USM @ 24mm

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Up to 1527MB/s sustained performance

Canon RF 24-105mm f/4L IS Aperture Series @ 56mm: View Past Bear Lake to Spire Peak

See my Canon mirrorless wishlist and Nikon mirrorless wishlist and Sony mirrorless wishlist and and .

This series evaluates performance of the Canon RF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM at 56mm on a close to medium distance scene on the 30-megapixel Canon EOS R.

Canon RF 24-105mm f/4L IS Aperture Series @ 56mm: Logjam at Outlet of Bear Lake

Includes images up to full camera resolution from f/4 through f/13.

Below, the outlet of Bear Lake contains a log jam from what must have been a year with torrential water, since it was there and has not changed since 2015.

View Past Bear Lake Gorge to Spire Peak
f9 @ 1/30 sec IS=off, ISO 100; 2018-10-13 16:37:08
[location “Bear Lake CA”, altitude 10200 ft / 3109 m, 35°F / 1°C, diffraction mitigating sharpening, LACA correction, "arrived too late in day, freezing temps and losing light"]
Canon EOS R + RF24-105mm F4 L IS USM @ 56mm

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Trout spawning physiology

Below, my 5-trout dinner is in a Ziploc bag but these heads and innards show that spring-spawning rainbow trout unable to spawn can hold their eggs a good long time. One trout held this spring’s eggs and last years as well (the light orange deflated ones).

Remains of five rainbow trout, with unspawned eggs
f5.6 @ 1/13 sec handheld IBIS=on, ISO 64; 2018-10-13 16:19:22
[location “Bear Lake”, altitude 10200 ft / 3109 m, 35°F / 1°C, "Rainbow Trout, eggs from spring still there, oversized heads indicates malnourishment", LACA correction, "composite f/5.6, f/8"]
NIKON Z7 + Nikon NIKKOR Z 35mm f/1.8 S

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Nikon Z7: White Balance and Tint in Adobe Camera Raw using Datacolor SpyderCHECKER (Mountain Mid-Day Autumn Sun)

See my Canon mirrorless wishlist and Nikon mirrorless wishlist and Sony mirrorless wishlist.

Lightroom users: since Adobe Camera Raw is a shared code between Photoshop and Lightroom, the figures will apply regardless of which program is used.

...

Previously, I evaluated white balance and tint for the Nikon Z7 in mountain mid-day clear blue sky sun. However, I had noted a very strong shift in tint when shooting in mountain shade. I had compensated for this buty not had a good metric for reference. Now I do.

This page uses a SpyderCHECKER® color checker card to evaluate the appropriate white balance and tint in the Adobe Camera Raw 11.0.0.61 dialog in Photoshop CC 2019 20.0.0 in mountain morning shade.

Nikon Z7 White Balance and Tint in Adobe Camera Raw (Early Morning Shade, Mountains @ 8800 ft)

An about $127 DataColor SpyderCHECKER was used for this evaluation. I use the clamshell version so I can safely carry it without damaging it. I do not use the calibration software as I have not been satisfied with the results versus the stock Adobe profiles.

Datacolor SpyderCHECKER, as shot on Nikon Z7
f5.6 @ 1/640 sec handheld IS=off, ISO 100; 2018-10-16 10:20:12
[location “Eastern Sierra”, altitude 6000 ft / 1829 m, 60°F / 15°C, "mid-morning October sun, clear blue sky, crystal-clear air", LACA correction]
Canon EOS R + RF24-105mm F4 L IS USM @ 43mm

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Canon EOS R: White Balance and Tint in Adobe Camera Raw using Datacolor SpyderCHECKER

See my Canon mirrorless wishlist and Nikon mirrorless wishlist and Sony mirrorless wishlist.

I evaluated white balance and tint for the Canon EOS R using a SpyderCHECKER® color checker card to evaluate the appropriate white balance and tint in the Adobe Camera Raw 11.0.0.61 dialog in Photoshop CC 2019 20.0.0.

The Canon EOS R has a strange white balance compared to other cameras I’ve used as of late 2018. The settings on the following page might save you some grief:

Canon EOS R: White Balance and Tint in Adobe Camera Raw

An about $127 DataColor SpyderCHECKER was used for this evaluation. I use the clamshell version so I can safely carry it without damaging it. I do not use the calibration software as I have not been satisfied with the results versus the stock Adobe profiles.

Datacolor SpyderCHECKER, as shot on Canon EOS R
f5.6 @ 1/640 sec handheld IS=off, ISO 100; 2018-10-16 10:20:12
[location “Eastern Sierra”, altitude 6000 ft / 1829 m, 60°F / 15°C, "mid-morning October sun, clear blue sky, crystal-clear air", LACA correction]
Canon EOS R + RF24-105mm F4 L IS USM @ 43mm

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Canon RF 24-105mm f/4L IS Aperture Series @ 105mm: View Past Bear Lake to Spire Peak

See my Canon mirrorless wishlist and Nikon mirrorless wishlist and Sony mirrorless wishlist and and .

This series evaluates performance of the Canon RF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM at 105mm on a far distance scene on the 30-megapixel Canon EOS R.

Canon RF 24-105mm f/4L IS Aperture Series @ 105mm: View Past Bear Lake to Spire Peak

Includes images up to full camera resolution from f/4 through f/8.

Below, this image is too blue, and was not processed with white balance as I later found to be quite unusual.

Below, Bear Lake lies hidden in the gorge near bottom at ~10200 feet. It is full of hungry trout, if you can get there. I reached it about an hour later. A few years earlier, I hiked to Spire Lake, which lies beneath Spire Peak (top, center). To my chagrin, I injured my left knee on this long and grueling hike (too much weight, too many miles, a nag became a limp) and it might be some time before it recover and I can hike such territory again.

View Past Bear Lake Gorge to Spire Peak
f8 @ 1/40 sec, ISO 100; 2018-10-13 14:27:56
[location “Old mining road between Morgan Lakes and cutoff to Bear Lake”, altitude 10500 ft / 3200 m, 50°F / 10°C, polarizer=Zeiss, LACA correction]
Canon EOS R + RF24-105mm F4 L IS USM @ 105mm

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James K writes:

The quality of the Canon RF 24-105/4L makes the photo looks like it was shot with an iPhone. You have been making some very nice artistic images lately (log dam in particular). You should always have the Zeiss Loxia 25/2.4 handy so that you will have some technically brilliant photos after all that hiking and physical effort.

DIGLLOYD: that's not quite fair—the Canon EOS R sensor is good for what it is (30MP) and looks good at ISO 100. But I’ll be damned if I’ll carry a camera that far and hard to get 30MP instead of 45MP, particularly with a dud lens.

Unfortunately I injured my knee badly by carrying a too-heavy pack with Canon EOS R and Nikon Z7 kits with various Zeiss Otus and Zeiss Milvus lenses ~12 miles that day, including up one steep and loose slope to Bear Lake where I think I mildly tweaked my left knee. No particular incident, just a slight tweak followed by a nagging irritation followed by over discomfort. By 9 PM when I finally reached my Mercedes Sprinter I was limping and the knee was swollen up badly. I am really bummed as I won’t be able to hike my favorite places for a good while probably (I’d be thrilled if it were only a 2-week downtime) as while the knee swelling has come down (prednisone accelerated that), it is still crunchy.

My points are twofold: (a) I am always evaluating new gear and there was no room for the Sony A7R III on that hike, and (2) I bit off more than I could chew: bad planning on timing as it was a 10.5 hour hike and I carried gear I didn’t have time to put to use (the Milvus and Otus and ZF.2 and ZE lenses). In the future, I’m going to take along the compact hanging scale I have in my garage for weighing bikes and such, and keep it in my van so I can hang and weigh my pack, and thus limit myself to a predetermined weight in order to cut the risk of such injuries down.

Up to 1527MB/s sustained performance

Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 APO-Distagon Aperture Series: Lundy Canyon at Dusk (Nikon Z7)

See my Nikon mirrorless wishlist and Sony mirrorless wishlist and and Canon mirrorless wishlist.

This series evaluates performance of the Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 APO-Distagon on a distance scene from f/1.4 through f/6.3. In dim flat light, 'penetrating power' is needed to deliver good contrast and micro contrast; the light here was very flat and diffuse.

Shot on the Nikon Z7 using the Nikon FTZ lens adapter. The Nikon Z7 has an ultra-thin sensor cover glass 1.1mm thick that may impact the imaging performance versus the Nikon D850 (~2.0 mm thick).

In Zeiss DSLR Lenses*:

Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 APO-Distagon Aperture Series: Lundy Canyon at Dusk (Nikon Z7)

Includes images up to full camera resolution.

* Lens reviews always go into their native publication.

Lundy Canyon above the large and now defunct beaver pond
f2.8 @ 1.6 sec, ISO 64; 2018-10-08 18:50:47
[location “Lundy Canyon above historic large beaver pond”, altitude 8350 ft / 2545 m, 40°F / 4°C, "little or no wind"]
NIKON Z7 + Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 APO-Distagon

[low-res image for bot]

Must Read: Nikon Z7 Aperture/Lens Diaphragm Behavior While Viewing/Focusing vs Focus Shift in Lenses

See my Nikon mirrorless wishlist and Sony mirrorless wishlist and and Canon mirrorless wishlist.

This page discusses how the Nikon Z7 behaves with respect to aperture behavior when viewing vs when focusing vs when shooting, including perspective on the Nikon D850 along with best practices for Nikon NIKKOR Z lenses vs model-citizen Zeiss Milvus and Zeiss Otus lenses.

Nikon Z7 Aperture/Lens Diaphragm Behavior While Viewing/Focusing

This is a must read for anyone shooting Nikon NIKKOR Z lenses. Includes a best practices discussion.

The Nikon NIKKOR Z lenses are a big disappointing to me because of poor performance at the wide end (24-70) and because of absurd amounts of focus shift (35/1.8). I don’t have high hopes for the Nikon NIKKOR Z 50mm f/1.8 which I have not yet tested.

I cannot reconcile that marketing hype with the 35/1.8 actual performance. In my view, focus shift and field curvature are the #1 and #2 lens performance bugaboos, but apparently Nikon thinks otherwise.

...every S-Line lens achieves new-dimensional optical performance including outstanding resolution that can keep pace with future imaging demands...

How bad is the focus shift of the Nikon NIKKOR Z 35mm f/1.8 S? And what to do about it?

Putting the behavior to comparative analysis (show-and-tell):

Focus Comparison: Refocusing for Each Aperture vs Focusing Wide Open (Stunted Aspen Amid Boulders)

Stunted Aspen Amid Boulders
f1.8 @ 1/160 sec, ISO 31; 2018-10-14 16:53:22
[location “Rock Creek about 3/4 mile below Mosquito Flat”, altitude 10100 ft / 3078 m, 38°F / 3°C, "Focused once at f/1.8", LACA correction]
NIKON Z7 + Nikon NIKKOR Z 35mm f/1.8 S

[low-res image for bot]

Nikon NIKKOR Z 35mm f/1.8 S Aperture Series: Log Jam at Outlet of Bear Lake

See my Sony mirrorless wishlist and Nikon mirrorless wishlist and Canon mirrorless wishlist.

This series shows overall lens performance along with the pronounced rearward focus shift of the Nikon NIKKOR Z 35mm f/1.8 S, the resulting delayed arrival of sharpness in the foreground, and the damage to the intended visual impact.

Nikon NIKKOR Z 35mm f/1.8 S Aperture Series: Log Jam at Outlet of Bear Lake

Includes actual pixels crops and up to full resolution images from f/4 through f/11.

Log Jam at Outlet of Bear Lake
f6.3 @ 1/25 sec, ISO 64; 2018-10-13 16:34:14
[location “Bear Lake”, altitude 10200 ft / 3109 m, 34°F / 1°C, LACA correction]
NIKON Z7 + Nikon NIKKOR Z 35mm f/1.8 S

[low-res image for bot]
Up to 1527MB/s sustained performance

Nikon NIKKOR Z 35mm f/1.8 S Aperture Series: Old Cabin at Middle Morgan Lake

See my Sony mirrorless wishlist and Nikon mirrorless wishlist and Canon mirrorless wishlist.

This series uses a 3D subject angled to the camera along with appropriate foreground and background to show the rearward focus shift of the Nikon NIKKOR Z 35mm f/1.8 S, the resulting delayed arrival of sharpness in the foreground, and discusses how the intended visual impact is negatively impacted.

Nikon NIKKOR Z 35mm f/1.8 S Aperture Series: Old Cabin at Middle Morgan Lake

Includes actual pixels crops and up to full resolution images from f/4 through f/11.

Old Cabin at Middle Morgan Lake
f2.8 @ 1/10 sec, ISO 64; 2018-10-13 18:16:56
[location “Near Morgan Lake 2”, altitude 10600 ft / 3231 m, 32°F / 0°C, LACA correction]
NIKON Z7 + Nikon NIKKOR Z 35mm f/1.8 S

[low-res image for bot]
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Canon EOS R, Shooting it Today

See my Canon EOS R wishlist. (if not yet live, use this link to Canon EOS R system).

PLEASE pre-order using my links—thanks!

The Canon full-frame mirrorless system is here. Well, not the whole system since the Canon RF 28-70mm f/2L is not due till December, and I did not snag a Canon RF 50mm f/1.2L (backordered). I do have the Canon EOS R and the Canon RF 24-105mm f/4L and the Canon Mount Adapter EF-EOS R, so I can shoot a few Zeiss DSLR lenses on it also.

I’ll be shooting the Canon EOS R today (and the Nikon NIKKOR Z 35mm f/1.8 S, which also arrived) up at Rock Creek. It’s due to turn bitterly cold by Sunday night, so after that I’ll be forced down from 10-11000 feet to lower elevations.

I like the Canon EOS R; nice camera but holy cow is it complex in terms of buttons and bars and dials. I’ll be writing up how I configured it, but it’s clear the possibilities are many and varied and I’d say it’s not as straightforward as the Canon 5Ds R, subsituting complexity for button layout—and I am not a fan of a lopsided all-right-side layout as is all too common these days (excepting the one button at left, Menu).

The Canon EVF seems just as sharp as the Nikon Z7 EVF, but to my eye the Nikon Z7 has all EVFs beat for its pleasant color and shadow rendition (a friendof mine, a Sony A7R II owner, immediately was wowed by the Nikon Z7 EVF)

Kobi E writes:

I also received a rental unit from LensRentals yesterday. Agree, like viewfinder very well, and am boggled by menu complexity. My sense is that it is too small and cramped for my big hands, but perhaps I'll adapt.

DIGLLOYD: works Ok, but it's a devil of a time switching between the Nikon Z7 and the Canon EOS R. The Canon EOS R has too many gadget-like features and tiny button IMO. But perhaps over time one would learn them and it would cease to be an issue. The other thing is the position of the front dial is awkward for me—Z7 is better there too.

Durable and fast, up to 1800MB/s

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