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Adobe Camera Raw Enhance Details Continues to Frustrate: Stripes Over Entire Image

Woe to the photographer who uses Adobe Camera Raw Enhance Details to process raw files into DNG and then discards the originals—permanent baked-in stripes with no going back.

I’ve been a fan of Enhance Details, but I have now largely abandoned it, because while it improves sharpness and reduces moiré and color aliasing, the side effect of stripes covering the entire image is a cure far worse than the disease.

At this point, I get the feeling that Adobe is not taking the issue seriously: I’ve provided multiple examples and I know the developer has those examples. Yet I’ve heard not a peep as to whether there is any hope of a fix, or (perhaps) whether Enhance Details is inherently flawed at least with raw files from some (most) cameras.

Enhance Details is even worse with frame averaging because the more noise is reduced, the more visible the striped line overlay becomes (as random noise is removed, latent patterns become plain to see).

Below, the striped lines do NOT appear without Enhance Details. The lines are more or less visible depending on the subject matter detail and brightness but cover the image in its entirety

Here, the image was shot in landscape orientation, and the stripes are primarily vertical. As I understand it, this seems to rule some kind of sensor inter-row differential issue, since the rows of the sensor are horizontal. However, the overall pattern is more of a grid than just unidirectional, so that leads me to believe it is iterative image processing that is introducing the pattern.

More about Enhance Details...

enlarged crop with/without using Adobe Camera Raw Enhance Details

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Sigma 35mm f/1.2 DG DN Art Examples: Eastern Sierra, Yosemite and Twenty Lakes Basin

Various examples from the Eastern Sierra:

Sigma 35mm f/1.2 DG DN Art Examples: Eastern Sierra, Yosemite and Twenty Lakes Basin

This is about all I saw of clouds in the past 10 days except for hazy yuck yesterday... and they rapidly dissipated even as I made the images, having been extensive enough at dawn to concern me for snow—no worry as it turns out.

Saddlebag Lake, Early Morning Clouds
f5.6 @ 1/250 sec electronic shutter panorama 5 frames, ISO 100; 2019-11-06 07:58:07
Sony A7R IV + Sigma 35mm f/1.2 DG DN Art + polarizer Breakthrough Photography X4
ENV: Saddlebag Lake, altitude 10100 ft / 3078 m, 29°F / -1°C
RAW: LACA corrected, distortion corrected, vignetting corrected, pull 0.66 stops, +100 Shadows, -100 Highlights, +45 Whites
cylindrical projection

[low-res image for bot]
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Fujifilm Medium Format Rebates on Lenses and Cameras are Back

Why ever pay full price when Fujifilm keeps making these rebates available every few months?

See also Fujifilm X rebates.


CLICK TO VIEW: Fujifilm Medium Format






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

Weather in Eastern Sierra is Exceptional, Idyllic

Update: there is probably a 3-4 day window for seeing things before a storm happens. I’m remaining up here for 3 or 4 more days and shooting in unprecedented November comfort, then I’ll return home with loads of good material. I have one day available for a photo tour ($800 for one day, dawn to dusk with me one-on-one).


Cold nights, but barely—perhaps 28°F, with days warming at 10000' elevation as high as 60°F in sunny locations (but much colder in shade). It’s so warm that ice formed 10 days ago has largely melted in sun-exposed areas.

In other words: conditions are idyllic and awesome and... almost no one is there—maybe 3 people including me all day in this area. All those people on the meteoric airplane have no idea how crappy civilization is by comparison.

Check weather reports, but if these conditions hold, this is one of the warmest and most beautiful Novembers I have ever seen in 30 years in the Yosemite area. Get up there if you can, ASAP! There are very few outdoor experiences that can match these conditions. But check weather predictions first, just in case a storm moves in, which will close off this high country until next spring. Temperatures could easily drop 40°F, as they did in late September.

Ice formed overnight on the lake has been largely melting by mid-afternoon. Ice skaters should hold off a week or two for a cold snap, though there is thicker and almost skateable ice at higher elevations in shaded areas.

The full 60MP version of this image can be viewed in Examples: Twenty Lakes Basin.

Greenstone Lake shoreline with view to Mt Conness
f7.1 @ 1/125 sec electronic shutter focus stack 3 frames, ISO 100; 2019-11-05 10:18:14
Sony A7R IV + Sony FE 12-24mm f/4 G @ 12mm
ENV: Greenstone Lake, altitude 10250 ft / 3124 m, 60°F / 15°C
RAW: LACA corrected, vignetting corrected, pull 0.3 stops, +79 Shadows, -100 Highlights, +40 Whites, +20 Contrast

[low-res image for bot]
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Voigtlander 65mm f/2 APO Macro-Lanthar Aperture Series: 'View to Mt Conness from Tuolumne Meadows Area, Early Night' — also evaluates long exposure noise on Sony A7R IV

This series at f/2, f/2.8, f/4.5, f/6.3 evaluates the Voigtlander 65mm f/2 Macro APO-Lanthar on an finely detailed at very far distance.

It is in also an evaluation of the long exposure performance of the Sony A7R IV with long exposure noise reduction enabled (30, 93, 211, 611 seconds).

Voigtlander 65mm f/2 APO Macro-Lanthar Aperture Series: View to Mt Conness from Tuolumne Meadows Area, Early Night (Sony A7R IV)

Includes images up to full camera resolution plus a 100-megapixel upscaled image at f/4.5 using Gigapixel AI.

CLICK TO VIEW: Outstanding Three-Lens Kit for Sony A7R IV

The large meadow is near Tuolumne Meadows, downstream. Mt Conness radiates in the lingering twilight due to its elevation.

View to Mt Conness past granite dome, late dusk
f4.5 @ 211.0 sec electronic first curtain shutter LENR enabled, ISO 100; 2019-11-02 18:44:12
Sony A7R IV + Voigtlander FE Macro APO-Lanthar 65mm f/2 Aspherical + polarizer Zeiss
ENV: granite dome near Tuolumne Meadows, altitude 9070 ft / 2765 m, 40°F / 4°C
RAW: vignetting corrected, push 0.33 stops, +100 Shadows, -100 Highlights, +50 Whites, Color Luminance {Blues -20, Oranges -30}, USM {8,50,0}

[low-res image for bot]

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Herding Cats

I’ve been overworked lately, and with all these characters to manage, it has been tough.

And the cost for clothing and shoes are rough, especially on granite.


Seriously, I have a ton of things coming for the Sony A7R IV and lenses and image making from this trip, but it is difficult to find enough time to both shoot and publish.

If focus stacking sees like too much trouble (or seems so), it's not all that hard, with some up-front learning followed by high productivity. Making this series was not difficult. The main challenge was the flakiness of the Sony remote release (terrible flakiness issues), and the limited range of Bluetooth.

Lloyd at Work
f8 @ 1/100 sec electronic shutter focus stack 9 frames, ISO 100; 2019-11-02 16:56:47
Sony A7R IV + Sigma 35mm f/1.2 DG DN Art + polarizer Breakthrough Photography X4
ENV: granite dome near Tuolumne Meadows, altitude 9070 ft / 2765 m, 45°F / 7°C
RAW: LACA corrected, vignetting corrected, push 1.0 stops

[low-res image for bot]

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Reader Comment: Image Quality of 2019 Cameras

Jason W writes:

Looking back at your Hasselblad H6D-100C images posted just one year ago, I'm kind of thrown by how has happened since then. At the time, short of the 150 megapixel back, it was the very best image quality available and it really towered above the rest. It was the best image quality you'd posted up until that point, and it was so by a good margin.

But yet, in just one year, the Fujifilm GFX100 and Sony A7R IV have matched or toppled it for a fraction of the cost.

Additionally, with the Nikon 850 Monochrome and frame averaging techniques, you've again posted the highest quality field images I've seen to date. You have to wonder what will be available this time next year that will make the current options seem sedate.

DIGLLOYD: golden age of photography!

Jason W writes again:

I completely agree with James K about the GFX100 je ne sais quoi and these are your best images. I'll offer my theory, which is subjective, but this is a subjective point.

1) You personally shoot more compelling compositions with the 4:3 aspect ratio than 3:2. I believe I told you this before when you posted your early impressions of the GFX50S. The only time I think you're as good on 3:2 is shooting 25mm. I feel like that's true with Batis or Milvus variants.

2) Native 100 megapixels is more natural than anything produced by Gigapixel+A7RIV. Good as it is, I see artifacts in Gigapixel on tight rock formation lines and especially oceans that remind me of the "wormy" artifacts you pointed out on X-Trans sensors. Not as bad and results vary but native is native.

3) Fujifilm GF lens draw. Unfortunately impossible to put these on the A7RIV to compare but they don't look like Zeiss, Voigtlander or Sigma and you can put most of those lenses on the GFX. I see all variety of lenses adapted on the GFX and you can still tell when what's mounted isn't the native glass.

DIGLLOYD: I do like 4:3, this is true. I have made some very fine images this trip on the A7R IV (many yet unpublished), so I’m at a loss to validate this idea.

100 megapixels is a plus on the oversampling front for sure, but if the pixels are less sharp or there is less depth of field (or more diffraction trying to get it) or more field curvature (definitely on the GF lenses), then there is a narrowing difference between 60 and 100 megapixels, which is a 1.3X linear resolving power difference (if the aspect ratio matches).

I never considered the GF lenses to be exceptional in rendering style, but I do think they are pleasing and very good. At any rate, I cannot afford a Fujifilm GFX100, not even close. So if the camera makes the photographer, I’m out of luck!

James K writes:

I still think that the images you made with the Fujifilm GFX 100 were excellent- your best. The GFX has the secret sauce for you the others don’t. Hopefully Fuji will fix the problems you noted and deliver a better shooting experience.

Greenstone Lake 2019-08-04 20:16:27
White Mountains 2019-08-10 5:49:15
Conness Lake 2019-08-04 20:11:33
Self Portrait seated close could not find the image.

The “feel” of the images is unique.

[diglloyd: I cannot easily locate images by keyword and date (the above ones), but with some effort I found the images above. URLs to the page are what I need, please. I guess I should write some more server search code for such stuff.]


I have published so far only a tiny fraction of the images made with the Sony A7 IV. But the images below I think fairly portray the camera quality, and I don’t think it plays second fiddle to the Fujifilm GFX100.

There may be a je ne sai quoi factor at work in favor of the GFX100, but I'm not seeing it in an obvious way. Possibly the aspect ratio and focal length are involved, or possibly it is about subject matter. Or it may be color rendition—I’d bet on that for starters—Sony has never put the work into improving color rendition IMO. The GFX100 might also handle highlights better. But proving this... hard.

Note that just two (2) frames with frame averaging reduces Sony A7R IV noise levels below that of the Fujifilm GFX100 medium format camera. Indeed, per-pixel noise levels are essentially identical for the two cameras (in a single frame). So at that point it boils down to pixel count. But...

Even megapixels (100 vs 60) can be dubious in terms of results over a variety of images—superior lenses deliver a big boost to achievable image quality—nothing in its range on GFX100 can even approach the Voigtlander 65mm f/2 on Sony A7R IV or the Sigma 14-24mm f/2.8 DG DN Art (the GF 23/4 can be good, but it’s one lens!) or the Sigma 35mm f/1.2 DG DN Art, which in spite of the latter two be less than optimal samples, impress mightily. If you capture at 60MP with an impeccable lens, then this narrows the gap to 100MP considerably.

CLICK TO VIEW: Lloyd’s “go to” outstanding lens kit for Sony A7R IV

Colorful Plants Approaching Alpine Pond
f8 @ 6.0 sec electronic shutter focus stack 3 frames, ISO 100; 2019-09-26 19:09:52
Sony A7R IV + Sigma 14-24mm f/2.8 DG DN Art @ 14mm
ENV: Twenty Lakes Basin, altitude 10300 ft / 3139 m, 53°F / 11°C
RAW: LACA corrected, +100 Shadows, -73 Highlights, +57 Whites

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Pine Lake at Dusk before Moonrise
f5.6 @ 30.0 sec electronic shutter frame averaging 4, ISO 100; 2019-10-12 18:50:29
Sony A7R IV + Sigma 14-24mm f/2.8 DG DN Art @ 14mm
ENV: Pine Lake, altitude 9950 ft / 3033 m, 30°F / -1°C
RAW: LACA corrected, USM {8,50,0}

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Frame Averaging: Your first Quick Start Effort How-To

Want to get started with frame averaging? This page guides you through it step by step, both shooting and post processing.

Even this simple minimalist 2-frame approach has substantial image quality benefits. “Substantial” means that a full-frame camera can easily outperform a medium format camera in terms of noise—quite a jump given the huge cost difference!

Making Sharp Images: Frame Averaging: Quick Start How-To

This how-to applies to any kind of digital camera of any brand.

Simple 2-frame average in Photoshop

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Frame Averaging Case Study: Granite Dome After Sunset

This case study shows the benefits of frame averaging, comparing a single frame to 2 frames and 9 frames in an extreme dynamic range situation in which a maximum shadow boost and other contrast control measures were needed.

For this image, I wished to preserve all the detail in the sunset sky and have excellent detail in the black shadow areas.

Making Sharp Images: Frame Averaging Case Study: Granite Dome After Sunset

This study applies to any kind of digital camera of any brand. Includes images up to 60 megapixels, plus crops and histograms.

Given the almost pure black of this image, the result that emerges is very impressive! It could have been even better, but for design ineptitude in the Sony A7R IV.

Image as shot
f8 @ 1/5 sec electronic shutter frame averaging 9, ISO 100; 2019-10-28 18:24:21
Sony A7R IV + Voigtlander FE Macro APO-Lanthar 65mm f/2 Aspherical
ENV: altitude 9800 ft / 2987 m, 28°F / -2°C
RAW: LACA corrected, vignetting corrected, push 2.65 stops, +100 Shadows, -100 Highlights, +50 Whites, Luminance NR {10,50,0}, Chroma NR {20,50,0}, USM {12,50,0}, SmartSharpen{60,0.7,0,0}

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Sometimes, Grossly Misleading Errors in Sony RGB Histogram

It is about time cameras included a true raw histogram instead of half-assed JPEG-oriented histograms. And eliminate the the JPEG crapware when shooting raw too.

I feel infuriated at the ineptitude of Sony engineers, who for raw files shooters present a histogram as blown-out, when there can be as much as a 2.5 stop underexposure, as per the RawDigger analysis below.

This design ineptitude cheats me of a means to determine optimal exposure, and therefore, an optimal image. Sony claims 15-bit dynamic range in the A7R IV, but (WTF?) fails to design in the essential tools to get anywhere close to that claim.

By comparison, it has been a joy to shoot the Nikon D850 monochrome, because I am nailing the exposure to within 1/3 stop virtually every time. Yet that is not praise for Nikon because it is a special case for monochrome—an unmodified color Nikon D850 misleads also. Virtually every camera vendor is incompetent when it comes to presenting actual exposure for raw files, instead delivering a baked-cake-for-JPEG histogram, which is usually pretty close, but sometimes way off.

As if everyone buys a $3500 camera to shoot JPEG with gross underexposure. Well, maybe I’m the fool, and that’s the market reality—dilettantes unwilling or unable to improve their competence mean that Sony need not bother. Such shitty camera design is surely one incentive to say “f' it”, and just go with an iPhone.

Grossly misleading Sony histogram

While shooting this scene, when I added just 1/3 stop more exposure, the A7R IV went nuts with blinkies, claiming I was blowing-out the exposure, when I could have added. 2.5 stops more as per RawDigger, below. In other words I could have shot just 2 frames with more exposure than the 9 frames I shot for frame averaging. All due to moronic camera design.

I don’t yet know how to work around such a grossly misleading histogram. Moreoever, the image is 100% in gamut in Adobe RGB, and I had long ago configured the A7R IV for the Adobe RGB color space. I will have to look into whether a Picture Profile can mitigate this severe anti-functional behavior, but trying it, the camera malfunctions so I am not hopeful.

Below, I wished to maintain full color detail in the sunset, and so I adjusted exposure until the camera histogram showed (falsely) that there were no blown-out details in the red channel. By all objective measures, this is an optimal ETTR exposure. But it’s not, as per RawDigger, below.

Histogram on Sony A7R IV showing erroneous maxed-out histogram

Below, the exposure reality is far different; RawDigger shows 2.5 stops underexposure. That is, maximum ETTR exposure should approach value 16000 for 14-bit files, as this one is.

Histogram on Sony A7R IV showing erroneous maxed-out histogram

RawDigger info shows 0% over exposure, and 80% underexposure. All due to the grossly misleading Sony histogram.

The scene for the above histograms

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Voigtlander 65mm f/2 APO Macro-Lanthar Aperture Series: View to Mt Conness Past Granite Dome, Late Dusk

This series from f/2 through f/8 evaluates the Voigtlander 65mm f/2 Macro APO-Lanthar on an finely detailed subject at medium-far range. A black and white rendition at f/8 is shown for context vs the Nikon D850 monochrome.

Voigtlander 65mm f/2 APO Macro-Lanthar Aperture Series: View to Mt Conness, Late Dusk (Sony A7R IV)

Includes images up to full camera resolution.

CLICK TO VIEW: Outstanding Three-Lens Kit for Sony A7R IV

The stray boulders on top of the nearby dome are an elegant testimony to glaciers a mile thick 10000 years ago, dropped in place as the ice melted. How could early geologists think of any other theory? It’s worth a laugh to see the stray mess sitting on top of this massive granite dome—a cosmic joke.

View to Mt Conness past granite dome, late dusk
f5.6 @ 1.0 sec, ISO 100; 2019-10-28 18:19:56
Sony A7R IV + Voigtlander FE Macro APO-Lanthar 65mm f/2 Aspherical

[low-res image for bot]

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Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 APO-Distagon Aperture Series: Surviving Aspen (Nikon D850 monochrome)

The Nikon D850 monochrome is a Nikon D850 with its color filter array (CFA) removed by maxmax.com. The NEF files are converted to monochrome DNG via LibRaw Monochrome2DNG and “Method B”, then processed using Adobe Camera Raw. Doing so avoids any demosaicing and thus retains full spatial resolution.

This aperture series shows the Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 APO-Distagon from f/1.4 through f/11 on the Nikon D850 monochrome using a B+W Dark Red 091 filter.

In diglloyd Zeiss DSLR Lenses:

Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 APO-Distagon Aperture Series: Surviving Aspen (Nikon D850 monochrome)

Images at up to full camera resolution.

f2.8 @ 1/50 sec electronic shutter, ISO 31; 2019-10-29 13:54:35
NIKON D850 monochrome + Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 APO-Distagon + polarizer Zeiss + filter B+W Dark Red 091
ENV: Lundy Canyon, altitude 8300 ft / 2530 m, 40°F / 4°C
RAW: pull 0.75 stops, -100 Shadows, +40 Whites

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Power Outages Continue

I live in 3rd-world country which can’t keep feces off the streets or maintain public health or keep the power on or create a viable policy to incentivize housing, but has billions for a bullet train to nowhere. Also known as California.

28 Oct @ 20:35 : Power was restored today enabling me to make things current, but likely will be cut again, so mail delays may recur, as described below.

29 Oct @ 11:00 : power went off 4 hours ago, running on batteries again, power due for restoration tomorrow.

29 Oct @ 19:00: I have replied to all email and subscriptions that came in as of tonight. Power will be shut off at 10 PM maybe back on tomorrow. My wife says some neighbors had an outdoor fire going with flames high in the air... she called the fire department which shut those jackasses down ASAP. All it takes is one moron to kill people. Or one mentally ill person. Reckless acts like that under these conditions should carry a very unpleasant penalty.


Pacific Gas & Electric may cut power in my home area for up to 48 hours starting today. TBD—the warnings are vague and non-specific but have been happening in California.

While this web site is not affected (housed in tier 1 server room elsewhere), the diglloyd.com mail server and git servers may go offline after exhausing their battery backups.

That means that contact emails may be undeliverable for a day or two. I might manually check for subscriptions at PayPal, but I will be forced to do manual responses using some other mail account.

Nor will I be able to update my web sites, with the git server also down.

On my to-do list is re-architecting where/how I do my mail and git servers.

I was going to head home by Monday, but hell, if I cannot have electricity, I might as well stay in the field in my van, where I have a 10 kilowatt battery system in my Sprinter van.

Sony A7R IV: Horrible Dust Problems

I am going nuts with dust on the sensor of the Sony A7R IV.

Just as I reported back in 2015 with the Sony A7R II, the Sony A7R IV has an anti-dust feature that is worthless. I mean worthless. As in I have never seen it remove a single particle of dust of any size.

Today, I used Sony’s clean sensor feature, which vibrates like heck for a second or so, then requires you to turn off the camera. Of all the visible dust, not a single speck budged in spite of doing so 10 times. This is not stuck-on dust as dabbing with a micro fiber cloth proves.

Other camera vendors use ultrasonic cleaning, and that works pretty well. Not Sony—it’s a total joke, a placebo checklist useless feature. Shame on Sony for such worthless tech.

I ended up using a clean micro fiber cloth to gently dab at dust on the sensor. Often that has worked for me to eliminate a large speck or two that were problems, and that was true today too, but today in exchange I got more and tinier particles, a WTF nightmare.

The Sony sensor seems to have a static charge that gloms onto dust and won’t let it go.

Anyone know how to unf*ck a Sony sensor with dust, out in the field?

James P writes:

This seems like a bit of a trite answer but it wasn't listed on your post so I'll mention it anyway - have you tried just using a dust blower? I've rarely had to do much to maintain my Sony sensors other than use a blower on them. It seems to solve the issue for me 90% of the time. The one I use is a filtered silicone blower which I find more effective and portable than the usual Giottos rocket blower you see everywhere:


Perhaps where you are you get more sticky dust than me, but it seems to do the job, and I occasionally inspect my sensors under magnification too. I've owned all the A7R range including the latest IV and don't seem to have had the problems I've heard about from others like yourself. Then again, I avoid changing lenses in bad outdoor conditions when I can, and when I do change lenses it's always with the camera pointed down, quickest possible change, etc.

DIGLLOYD: silly me, I had a blower along with me and I forgot about it! Though I don’t carry it when out and about shooting, I did try the blower and it helps a great deal. Even so, one larger spec would not respond, but touching it lightly with a micro fiber cloth dislodged it, and the blower then blew it away. The blower seems like the best possible solution, since it is portable, free of risk of freezing, there is no contact with the sensor, etc. Just keep it clean in a ziploc bag.

The blower I have is the Giottos dust blower (larger is better for stronger air movement), but it sounds like it is worth trying the Hurrican Dust Blower that James mentions.

Jason W writes:

I identify with your struggle with Sony mirrorless sensor dust. It was a huge pain in the ass for the short time I owned my A7R, a problem never encountered with Nikon, Canon or Fuji.

While I didn't try all options for mirrorless sensor cleaning (such as some of the gel based dust wands) I can state that the VisibleDust swabs combined with a couple drops of their cleaning fluid eliminated dust on the sensor. You can easily take these with you in the field and is a far safer operation than a microfiber cloth and fingernails. The downside is they are very pricey and if you're maniacal about eliminating dust you will go through a lot of them.

DIGLOYD: every solvent I've used leaves streaks.

Dan Llewlyn of maxmax.com writes:

Cleaning glass is something I am quite familiar with! And it is really hard to do past a certain point. I think there is a book just on cleaning glass.

The Sony 'dust cleaning' really won't do much because they just use the image stabilization method to shake the sensor. How exactly is that supposed to remove dust? When the weather is dry and static filed, the problem will be worse.

The dust cleaning mechanism in most sensors works via a piezo strip bonded to the front piece of glass over the sensor. Usually, the glass is part of the ICF/AA and the glass has an IR cut coating. Sometimes the glass has a hydrophobic coating that helps keep the dust from sticking. The piezo strip vibrates the glass directly at a high frequency. The hope is that the vibration is enough to loosen the dust but that will only work on the larger particles.

With image sensors, the glass is very close to the sensor pixels so it doesn't take much dust to become noticeable in a picture versus a spec of dust on an external camera lens filter. While you can remove large particles of dust pretty easily, the small one get bound by electrostatic forces and get 'glued' to the glass. When I have a piece of glass on my workbench, I can see the tiny particles and using a clean room swab usually just moves the dust slightly, and tiny particles come off the swap in the process.

When I am cleaning glass, I use a sequence of procedures which end up with the glass in a custom built vacuum plasma chamber (not for publication) that burns off any organic contaminants, a thin layer of the glass and modifies the glass surface. BTW, when I put in a Class 100 clean bench in 2005, the next week Lifepixel said they had one too. I have seen people get into trouble trying to rid their cameras of dust.

If you search hard enough, even with a brand new unused camera, you can find specs of dust if you start shooting a F22 and pixel peeping. I have seen ruined ICF/AA glass where someone became obsessive and ended up scratching the glass.

That's why I recommend:

- If the camera has some specs of dust that can't be seen at the sharpest aperture (typically F8-F10), don't bother cleaning.

- If the specs aren't really noticeable, don't bother.

- Next step would be to use canned air but you have to be careful not to tip the can too much lest you spray liquid on the sensor which will leave a mark. I use something called a Sno-Gun which is mostly used in the semiconductor industry for cleaning wafers. The Sno-Gun is a simple device that hooks to a CO2 tank with a siphon tube. The Sno-Gun sprays CO2 ice crystals which are pretty good at knocking off particles and then turning in a gas. You have to use the Sno-Gun sparingly else you start freezing the substrate and getting moisture condensation. Once in a while, a used Sno-Gun turns up on Ebay. If you see one, it is probably worth getting.

- After that, I would use clean room swabs brushing in one direction. But, once you touch the sensor, you will *always* be leaving something behind. That's why I recommend to not touch the sensor unless you really have to.

- Lastly, wet cleaning. Even with lab grade 99.999% pure solvents, I will see an evaporation line. And you might wash off oils from other parts onto the sensor. I really don't like wet cleaning.

DIGLLOYD: for years I have not touched my sensors and done well enough, but when chunkies 20 pixels across start ruining all my skies, with diffuse 50-pixel faint ones too, it becomes severe headache. with skies and such. And sometimes such things overlay important detail and are very difficult to retouch or fix.

I'm not happy with wet cleaning as I’ve never been able to do so without leaving streaks.

Walter B writes:

I have found only one solution and it seems to work for all sensors, Eyelead Sensor Cleaner kit made in Germany. I have seen Leica videos showing how they manufacture their digital cameras. In the last phase prior to packing the camera, the technicians use this tool to make one final sensor cleaning. It appears to be available through Amazon, at roughly $50.00.

The sensor cleaner kit consists of a plastic stick with a slightly sticky gel pad attached at one end and a small pad of stickier disposable papers. You simply gently press the gel on the sensor and it grabs the dirt. Then transfer the dirt onto the sticky paper by pressing the gel on the paper as you would the sensor. Presto, the gel is clean again and then you repeat the process.

There are two types of sensor cleaning kits, one with a blue gel and another with an orange gel. The Orange gel is for the Sony and Leica cameras. The Blue is for all others as I read the instructions. I have thrown out all other sensor cleaners, period.

DIGLLOYD: sounds interesting.

James K writes:

Try Zerostat 3 Milty on Amazon.

DIGLLOYD: will look at.

Gerry K writes:

I don't have a Sony A7RIV so can't speak to that particular model's dust issues. I can say that sensor dust is universal headache and there doesn't seem to be any really useful cleaning technologies that involve liquids, brushes, and cloths.

I switched to Sony mirrorless a few years back. As an architectural photographer shooting on location - often at dirty construction sites - I found dust to be a nightmare problem that I was finally able to resolve by buying three A7RII bodies: One is permanently dedicated to a Canon 17mm TS/E, one permanently is dedicated to a Canon 24mm TS/E, and the third is mainly dedicated to a great sample of the Sony/Zeiss f4 24-70mm zoom. (I have dedicated Metabones adapters and Rogeti frames [http://www.northlight-images.co.uk/rogeti-tse-frame-update/] for each of the Canon lenses.) With this setup I do 90% of my work and only rarely have to change lenses, usually for longer teles for detail shots. The camera that is open, even briefly, inevitably accumulates dust. I find that a couple of judicious puffs of filtered compressed air (from an actual air compressor, not canned air) does trick. I haven't 'cleaned' a sensor any other way for several years now.

DIGLLOYD: in my experience canned air is partially effective. It must be oil-free and it carries risks to the sensor (freezing it). A very high grade air compressor might be a lot better if oil-free.

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Why I use ISO 31 on the Nikon D850 / Nikon D850 monochrome

Reader Brian K wrote to ask why I was shooting ISO 31 on the Nikon D850 monochrome, since ISO 31 is a fake ISO and no different than ISO 64 (raw file is the same).

The answer is shown below: by shooting at ISO 64, the histogram get jammed over to the right, which at a glance is much harder for me to evaluate for fine tuning that last 1/3 to 1/2 stop of exposure out in the field. The camera will also blink highlights a bit prematurely.

So bottom line is that since the raw file is the same, I want the easiest to grok histogram.

In color, this may be less of a good idea, since Adobe Camera Raw might behave slightly differently (not sure) even though the raw data is identical for the same exposure. But in monochrome, it is exactly what I want.

Nikon D850 monochrome: histogram display for identical exposure at ISO 31 vs ISO 64
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Found a new Top-Flight Shooting Location in Yosemite

I try to find at least one new shooting location each trip... and this one’s a wowie, my favorite so far in all of the Yosemite high country, for its 360° views of all sorts of cool stuff, with hardly a trace of human impact, unlike Pothole Dome not far away, where jackasses have gone and re-arranged all the rocks in unnatural ways.

Up here at this spot, the rocks, fist-sized to very large, sit just like they melted-out 10000 years ago—really lovely stuff to my eyes—the people who go rearrange such stuff ought to be banned from the park (and my understanding is that it is illegal but people do it anyway).

But dang... it was 10°F outside as I camped at only 6500', down to 26°F inside my van. But my new diet has my metabolism ramped up and last night was a once-a-week binge-eating night good for a 2500 calorie dinner (good way to lose fat, seriously!)—it made me roasting hot even in those temps, and I have dropped 5 pounds of fat on this trip.

The 7 one-gallon waters I bought last last night went from room temperature to almost solid overnight (left outside the van.).. they went into the cooler—free ice!

I drove into Yosemite and it got warmer but it was still only 18°F at 8 AM when I started my hike. It warmed up to perhaps 40°F in full sun by mid-day and that felt nice, but at dusk when the big heater in the sky goes away the temperature plummets 20°F within 20 minutes, or so it feels.

This time of year, I just love the way everything remains free and clear for hiking if snow has not yet come to stay, but everything is icing over—it’s a whole different feel to the place and hardly anyone here except for sporadic through-traffic and a few intrepids like me.

Here, I am wearing my Western Mountaineering Flash XR down jacket over a lighter-weight down jacket over a wool hoody over a base layer, plus wool cap. I carry wind and water proof outer layers too (top and bottom), but hiking up 1200 vertical feet I was too darn hot even stripping off layers even in sub-freezing temps. Hands are the biggest issue in such weather with gloves working OK with the Sony A7R IV, but clumsy. The Zeiss Milvus lenses get quite stiff to focus too (shooting Nikon D850 monochrome).

The weather is holding—if you like late-season high-country shooting as I do, now is the time to go!

f1.8 @ 1/2000 sec panorama, ISO 20; 2019-10-28 16:57:40
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ENV: granite dome Tuolumne Meadows environs, altitude 9900 ft / 3018 m, 32°F / 0°C

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