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Voigtlander FE 35mm f/2 APO-Lanthar Aperture Series: Aspen Trunks, Early Morning Light

This aperture series from f/2 through f/1l looks at sharpness across the field and near to far with the Voigtlander 35mm f/2 APO-Lanthar Aspherical.

A practical must-read for any Voigtlander 35/2 APO user, a special assessment is done here: the sharpness-damaging effects of its rearward focus shift are shown, but a 2nd aperture series with refocusing to compensate for the shift shows that the lens is supremely sharp when focused optimally.

Voigtlander FE 35mm f/2 APO-Lanthar Aperture Series: Aspen Trunks, Early Morning Light

Includes a detailed discussion of why I am rejecting the Voigtlander FE 35mm f/2 APO-Lanthar for my own landscape photography use. But I also include three different approaches to mitigating the focus shift. Because the lens is a very strong performer with excellent build quality and haptics and compact form factor.

CLICK TO VIEW: 35mm lenses for Sony Mirrorless

Aspen Trunks, Early Morning Light
f5.6 @ 0.3 sec EFC shutter, ISO 100; 2021-06-11 06:26:10
Sony A7R IV + Voigtlander FE APO-Lanthar 35mm f/2 Aspherical
ENV: Lundy Canyon, altitude 8040 ft / 2451 m, 50°F / 10°C
RAW: vignetting corrected, pull 0.33 stops, +10 Contrast, +15 Clarity

[low-res image for bot]

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Sony FE 35/1.4 GM Aperture Series: Aspen Trunks, Early Morning Light

This aperture series from f/1.4 through f/11 evaluates the Sony FE 35mm f/1.4 GM on a complex 3D scene for overall rendering style, color correction, sharpness.

Sony FE 35/1.4 GM Aperture Series: Aspen Trunks, Early Morning Light

Includes images up to full camera resolution from f/1.4 to f/11, plus a monochrome rendition.

CLICK TO VIEW: 35mm lenses for Sony Mirrorless

Aspen Trunks, Early Morning Light
f2.8 @ 1/15 sec EFC shutter, ISO 100; 2021-06-11 06:28:48
Sony A7R IV + Sony FE 35mm f/1.4 GM
ENV: Lundy Canyon, altitude 8040 ft / 2451 m, 50°F / 10°C
RAW: LACA corrected, vignetting corrected, +10 Contrast, +15 Clarity

[low-res image for bot]
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Drones: Harassing Wildlife, Annoying Humans

I 'get' that drones have their uses in appropriate situations. But like any tool, they are all too often abused, as I can personally attest.

Out in the wilderness, it is now a regular occurrence every trip to have some ahole flying a giant mosquito in or near a wilderness area. That sound is extremely irritating, destroying the sense of tranquility. No longer enjoying the peace and beauty anymore, the drone commands attention by its whining sound up to a mile away in quiet areas. Along with the sense of being survived, blinking lights at dusk, etc.

The “no drone zone” signs are there but people keep on doing it.

Drones will never be compatible with enjoyment of a wilderness area. Not for the operator and not for anyone else within a 1-mile radius. Degrading someone else’s experience of the wilderness with a drone (or other nuisance) is unacceptable.

Wildlife

Harassing wildlife is already crime and rightly so, but IMO, the statute should be updated to assume that operating a drone in a natural area is implicitly wildlife harassment. And it should not be limited to game animals. Numerous animals (and fish) see anything airborne as a mortal threat. It should also be a legal requirement to cease operation upon request by anyone.

The operator cannot know what effects are at play with respect to wildlife. Here is an extreme example of severe consequences:

Drone Crash Caused Thousands of Elegant Terns to Abandon Their Nests

It’s not just drones.

On my recent trip I saw numerous people taking dogs into wilderness areas, some overnighting with them in highly-sensitive areas*. As I understand it, this is actually illegal, being in a wilderness area adjacent to Yosemite National Park. But there is zero enforcement. Often, the dogs are running loose (not on leash), but whether that is legal or not is hard to track down and can vary by each wilderness area. Many birds at high altitude nest on the ground—connect the dots. Dogs crap wherever they feel the need, which could infect animals like coyotes and foxes as the mess. Barking is troublesome and can be heard miles away. And like drones, they can cause disruption to wildlife—dogs will be dogs, sniffing out and chasing things. I like dogs and I understand that their owners love hiking with them, but I don’t like dogs in wilderness areas especially off-leash.

* I’ve observed some of my favorite areas degrade more in the past 2-3 years than in the previous 2-3 decades. People camp in high-usage areas, trampling the ground cover, building fire pits in violation of multiple regulations, etc. But mainly, it’s just the steady trampling and crushing of plants (always step on rocks instead of plants whenever feasible).

Robert H writes:

I couldn’t agree more about the use of drones, Lloyd. On a photographic workshop to the Faroe Islands, a few years ago, the workshop organiser and leader decided to fly his drone when the workshop participants, who had each paid serious money to go on the trip, were taking photographs by the shore.

The beautiful sounds of the crashing waves and the calls of the seabirds were immediately drowned out by the sudden intrusion of the extremely loud, high pitched whine of the drone and "the moment” was shattered, making concentration and image making impossible, with the loss of immersion in every aspect of the scene.

Despite requests from the participants, he chose to fly his drone on several more occasions, until it crashed into a sea stack, causing huge elation among the participants…and relief that it wouldn’t again invade their privacy. In my humble opinion, they should be banned, unless used for genuine commercial purposes, such as surveying.

DIGLLOYD: stunningly bad judgment including the fact that the irritation generated by the drone should pay 'dividends' for that workshop organizer for a long time to come. Who would want to ever work with such an inconsiderate person again?

Louis F writes:

Could not agree more!!!

I recall when one of the first drones came out some years ago -the DJI. I was in the Arches NP in the Windows parking lot. As soon as I got out of the car I heard and then saw a kid maybe 7 years old flying a drone with his father nearby and then the kid crashed it on some plant species the Rangers were trying to protect as it cut off several new growth leaves. As I tried to control myself I reminded the father that drone flying in NPs was not allowed. He said he had no idea. The park brochures are clear on this matter as are all the signs posted around the NPs. Few give a d—n anymore as long as they get their selfish fun.

DIGLLOYD: great role model for kids—law breaking and lying. But anyone thinking that a National Park is a place to disengage from the world via electronics gadgets instead of engaging the natural world has incredibly bad judgment to begin with.

Anon writes:

I know of someone going on a 2 week photo workshop to Alaska soon and the instructor requested each participant to bring along a drone. There will be around 8 in total. They will take helicopters to remove locations and camp out 10 of the 14 days. To keep oneself within the flying weight limits participants will have to leave behind camera lenses to make up for their drones weight.

So can you imagine if you have planned the trip of your life to Alaska only to have this crowd buzzing their drones over your tranquility. It is still fairly wild out there in Alaska so I am sure some local who has had enough of drones breaking his or her solitude might use a drone as target practice since most walk around with a rifle in case of a wild animal attack. This might be the only way to give 'droners' a message. I would never go on a workshop encouraging drone activity and especially I would not pay over $10k to be on that workshop.

DIGLLOYD: with any luck, the novelty will wear off.


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Reader Comment: “pick the lens we like the rendering from and then buy the body?”

re: Sony GM Lenses: World-Class Performance, Why Look Elsewhere?
re: Sony FE 50mm f/1.2 GM Examples: Strikingly Beautiful Image Rendition with Outstanding Sharpness

Michael K writes:

We are all mainly focused on which bodies to buy and then buy the lens we can afford. Maybe that's the wrong way round?

Surely we should pick the lens we like the rendering from and then buy the body? Just a thought. It's an exciting time with all this new camera tech coming to the market.

DIGLLOYD: setting aside usage scenarios and existing gear, yes it can be a very good way to go for those having a specific capture style. Very much a 'feel' thing to the images. Add in the design trends with a particular brand and that can seal the deal.

We are in the golden age of photography.

I wrote this back in 2010 in Choosing a Camera:

A digital camera is an accessory whose value plummets over time. A year or two or three later, you might be shooting a different model camera with more megapixels, better dynamic range, faster focus, etc. But the lenses need not change. Lenses not only hold their value, but some actually increase in price over time. Also, digital cameras keep improving each year, so take the long view, investing in lenses first.

Since I wrote the above, little has changed (the idea still rings true), and everything has changed (major advances in camera and lens technology).

But while certain lenses will never go out of rendering style, it is a heck of a lot friendlier to tote around on Sony FE 50mm f/1.2 GM on an Sony A1/A7R IV with autofocus, instead of a 'big brick' Nikon D850 + Zeiss 50mm f/1.4 APO-Distagon.

Tigger in fig tree
f1.2 @ 1/1250 sec handheld IBIS=on electronic shutter, ISO 800; 2021-05-11 19:40:32
Sony A1 + Sony FE 50mm f/1.2 GM
RAW: LACA corrected, pull 0.66 stops, +30 Whites, +10 Clarity

[low-res image for bot]

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Spring is for the Birds

It pays to look around for different vantage points.

Funny how in Lundy Canyon, rarely does anyone show up before 9 AM. and I have all my shooting done by 7:30 AM. And finally on the last day of my trip the weather gods smiled, gifting me a windless morning, the first in weeks.

Nesting Robin in Aspen tree
f4 @ 1/110 sec handheld IBIS=on electronic shutter, ISO 100; 2021-06-12 07:15:40
Fujifilm GFX100S + Fujifilm GF 80mm f/1.7 R WR @ 65.5mm equiv (80mm)
ENV: Lundy Canyon, altitude 8050 ft / 2454 m, 50°F / 10°C
RAW: push 0.65 stops, +100 Shadows, +20 Whites, +15 Clarity, USM {50,150,0}

[low-res image for bot]
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Rendering Style of the Sony FE 50mm f/1.2 GM: Best Ever in a 50mm Lens?

I’ll be home in less than a week when I can properly present the material I’ve been shooting.

But what a frustrating trip—worst ever in productivity, because 8 of 10 days have been so windy that photography ranged from challenging to a total waste of time (camera vibration). Yesterday it was 30 mph gusting to 50 mph and cold too—constant buffetting very unpleasant and very drying at 10% humidity. But even a 20-30 mph steady wind is a severe problem for image sharpness. A week in the White Mountains yielded 2 useful shoots and that's it.

Anyway, the Sony FE 50mm f/1.2 GM continues to impress in having the best rendering style I’ve ever seen in a 50mm lens (can anything top it at any focal length?), and it’s a stunning performer wide open for landscape too. It deserves legendary status at its debut, IMO.

CLICK TO VIEW: World Class Lenses for Sony Mirrorless

Aspen trunks in shade, sunrise
f1.2 @ 1/80 sec EFC shutter, ISO 100; 2021-06-10 06:31:08
Sony A7R IV + Sony FE 50mm f/1.2 GM
ENV: Lundy Canyon, altitude 8050 ft / 2454 m, 33°F / 0°C
RAW: +15 Whites, +15 Clarity

[low-res image for bot]
Mountainside reflection amid grassy pond
f1.2 @ 1/500 sec EFC shutter, ISO 100; 2021-06-10 06:54:40
Sony A7R IV + Sony FE 50mm f/1.2 GM
ENV: Lundy Canyon, altitude 8050 ft / 2454 m, 33°F / 0°C
RAW: +15 Whites, +15 Clarity

[low-res image for bot]
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Juvenile Marmot

On an overcast day, I spent an hour or so photographing marmots, which are pretty tough to approach in wide open spaces. Had I been willing to sit and be patient for day, I’m sure I could have gotten much closer. However, the juveniles are much less suspicious of things and are easier to approach.

The Sony FE 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 G OSS worked well for the task, but something up to 1000mm would be a lot more useful. The Sony FE 600mm f/4 GM OSS would have been ideal, with 1.4X and 2X teleconverters, but I don’t have one.

Turns out that the Sony A7R IV is grossly inferior to the Sony A1 for Eye AF. After a lot frustration (inability to find the eye, ears are eyes, nose is an eye, etc), I gave up and used standard focusing in magnified Live View instead—much faster and more reliable. I plan on getting the A1 soon because the A7R IV, fine as it is, just feels outdated, its responsiveness in every way inferior to the A1, which irritated me daily now that I am/was spoiled by the A1.

This juvenile marmot was scavenging the dirt road for some particular kind of grit (nothing growing at all and the soil can be seen on its noise). I’ve seen this behavior before and I presume it was after some kind of mineral content in certain I am glad these guys aren’t around my garden. They’s like supersized ground squirrel, quite a bit larger than a house cat as adults (up to 23 pounds!).

CLICK TO VIEW: World Class Lenses for Sony Mirrorless

Juvenile Marmot
f8 @ 1/200 sec EFC shutter, ISO 200; 2021-06-04 13:30:23
Sony A7R IV + Sony FE 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 G OSS @ 600mm
ENV: White Mountain Rd, altitude 11600 ft / 3536 m, 60°F / 15°C
RAW: LACA corrected

[low-res image for bot]
Juvenile Marmot scavenging for gravel
f8 @ 1/250 sec EFC shutter, ISO 200; 2021-06-04 13:27:36
Sony A7R IV + Sony FE 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 G OSS @ 600mm
ENV: White Mountain Rd, altitude 11600 ft / 3536 m, 60°F / 15°C
RAW: LACA corrected

[low-res image for bot]
Juvenile Marmot scavenging for gravel
f8 @ 1/250 sec EFC shutter, ISO 200; 2021-06-04 13:25:53
Sony A7R IV + Sony FE 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 G OSS @ 600mm
ENV: White Mountain Rd, altitude 11600 ft / 3536 m, 60°F / 15°C
RAW: LACA corrected

[low-res image for bot]
Adult Marmot feeling cautious
f8 @ 1/160 sec EFC shutter, ISO 200; 2021-06-04 13:35:07
Sony A7R IV + Sony FE 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 G OSS @ 600mm
ENV: White Mountain Rd, altitude 11600 ft / 3536 m, 60°F / 15°C
RAW: LACA corrected

[low-res image for bot]

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A Taste of Home: Tigger and Garden Flowers

My focus for a few more days is making images, so I won’t be publishing much until I return.

The Long Haul COVID thing

I feel thankful that with sleep and naps, I actually was able to do some moderate hikes the past few days—something out of range for some months now. Sore muscles as I am massively deconditioned, and carrying a 20 pound spare tire and 20 pounds of camera gear is like carrying a 40 pound backpack—that ain’t helping!

I still can’t go far or hard exertion but it’s a definite trend up. Maybe it’s the attention to nutrition, including very large doses of Vitamin C and various other nutrients including magnesium. And maybe not. But now I only feel 10 years older than I am!

Tigger

Meanwhile, I know there are Tigger fans out there, and Tigger says if you have no duck fat or a dried fishy, maybe a dirt roll or a nap is in order.

Tigger Napping
f1.8 @ 1/120 sec, ISO 50; 2021-06-07 16:42:30
iPhone XR + iPhone XR 4.2 mm f/2.8 @ 26mm equiv (4.2mm) ENV: altitude 496 ft / 151 m

[low-res image for bot]
Tigger preferring to nap
f1.8 @ 1/60 sec, ISO 100; 2021-06-01 15:52:08
iPhone XR + iPhone XR 4.2 mm f/2.8 @ 26mm equiv (4.2mm) ENV: altitude 498 ft / 152 m

[low-res image for bot]
Garden Flowers, Oblivious Tigger
f1.8 @ 1/120 sec, ISO 64; 2021-06-01 09:21:50
iPhone 11 Pro + iPhone 11 Pro 4.2 mm f/2.8 @ 26mm equiv (4.2mm) ENV: altitude 502 ft / 153 m

[low-res image for bot]
Tigger 'out', dreaming of rodents
f1.8 @ 1/60 sec, ISO 125; 2021-06-01 15:51:53
iPhone XR + iPhone XR 4.2 mm f/2.8 @ 26mm equiv (4.2mm) ENV: altitude 498 ft / 152 m

[low-res image for bot]
Tigger anticipating his duck fat dried fishy sushi roll
;
unknown camera, unknown lens

[low-res image for bot]

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Patriarch Grove, Sunrise

Five days of wind making it very difficult to shoot and some rain. And it’s really difficult for me to get up at 5 AM (sleep requirements still demanding from LHC), but I made the effort this morning. June is my least favorite month for sunrise and sunsets— the sun shoots straight up, turning the light not so great very quickly. And there is that 5 AM thing (predawn glow is around 4:15!). Early and late in the year is much better.

The Sony FE 50mm f/1.2 GM continues to impress me. Can you believe this image is at f/1.2?!

The 50/1.2GM can definitely be put into service as a landscape lens. And it does everything else well too, including handling flare. It is surely one of the finest 50mm lenses ever made. I’ll show this scene as an aperture series soon.

CLICK TO VIEW: World Class Lenses for Sony Mirrorless

Patriarch Grove, Sunrise
f1.2 @ 1/1250 sec EFC shutter, ISO 100; 2021-06-05 05:27:57
Sony A7R IV + Sony FE 50mm f/1.2 GM
ENV: PatriarchGrove, altitude 11300 ft / 3444 m, 45°F / 7°C
RAW: LACA corrected, vignetting corrected, push 1 stops, +100 Shadows, -59 Highlights, +20 Whites, +30 Dehaze, +15 Clarity

[low-res image for bot]

Jon M writes:

Truly one of your best Lloyd. Beautiful!

DIGLLOYD: I love shooting up here at dawn.

Ashish V writes:

Amazing image quality. Can I check is this image a crop or full image area? Just surprised by the front to back sharpness in the image…assuming this wasn’t a focus stacked image?

DIGLLOYD: see the caption. Single frame @ f/1.2, entire sensor (not a crop). There are some weanesses at f/1.2, which I’ll detail in the full aperture series when I publish it in a few days.

Voigtlander FE 35/2 APO-Lanthar Aperture Series: Pine Creek Mining Buildings

This aperture series from f/2 through f/8 looks at sharpness across the field and near to far with the Voigtlander 35mm f/2 APO-Lanthar, as well as its central rearward focus shift.

Shootout: Voigtlander FE 35/2 APO-Lanthar vs Sony FE 35/1.4 GM: Pine Creek Cliffs

Includes images up to full camera resolution from f/1.4 to f/8, plus crops.

CLICK TO VIEW: 35mm lenses for Sony Mirrorless

Pine Creek Mining Buildings
f2 @ 1/1250 sec EFC shutter, ISO 100; 2021-05-21 12:38:21
Sony A7R IV + Voigtlander FE APO-Lanthar 35mm f/2 Aspherical
ENV: Pine Creek Tungsten Mine, altitude 7450 ft / 2271 m, 40°F / 4°C
RAW: vignetting corrected, push 0.2 stops, +30 Whites, +15 Clarity

[low-res image for bot]

Fujifilm GF 80mm f/1.7 R WR Aperture Series: 9050 Pine Creek Road (GFX100S)

This series looks at overall rendering quality of the Fujifilm GF 80mm f/1.7 R WR on a medium distance scene, including how its field curvature works out for this near-far subject.

Fujifilm GF 80mm f/1.7 R WR Aperture Series: 9050 Pine Creek Road

Includes images from f/1.7 through f/11 at up to full camera resolution, plus crops.

CLICK TO VIEW: Fujifilm Medium Format System

9050 Pine Creek Road
f1.7 @ 1/1900 sec electronic shutter, ISO 100; 2021-05-21 13:51:40
Fujifilm GFX100S + Fujifilm GF 80mm f/1.7 R WR @ 65.5mm equiv (80mm)
ENV: Pine Creek Tungsten Mine, altitude 7400 ft / 2256 m, 40°F / 4°C
RAW: vignetting corrected, pull 0.27 stops, +30 Whites, +20 Dehaze, +15 Clarity

[low-res image for bot]
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Fujifilm GFX100S Card Read Errors

re: Fast and Reliable SDXC Camera Card Storage for Fujfilm GFX100S, Batteries/Charger, Tripod Mounting

I’m starting to get annoyed as this is happening about every 2 of 3 days I shoot. The solution is to turn the GFX100S off, remove the card, then reinsert it. But today I had to do that 3 times in a row.

The card in question is a Sony TOUGH card, one that has been bulletproof in Sony cameras and others. I think it is a Fujifilm problem as the card has shown zero issues in any other camera.

I have not experimented with Slot 1 vs Slot 2, but I might do that, and also swap cards between cameras and see.

UPDATE: I swapped my 2nd Sony TOUGH card into the Fujifilm GFX100S. No issues since then. And no issues with the 1st Sony TOUGH card in the Sony A7R IV. I just don’t believe it is a card issue.

Note that buying some other brand card and seeing it work is an error in logic unless also testing another Sony TOUGH card (and even then, it remains statistically invalid). Sometimes little things like dirty contacts could explain. Or random camera bugs. What I know frm experience is that all my SanDisk cards have literally started falling apart (two halves cracking and wanting to separate) and that the Sony TOUGH cards are like little solid metal plates—vastly superior in build quality—I’m sticking with Sony,

Fujifilm GFX100S with Sony TOUGH 128GB card — intermittent card read errors
f1.8 @ 1/100 sec, ISO 20; 2021-06-02 10:29:48
iPhone 7 Plus + iPhone 7 Plus 4.0 mm f/2.8 @ 28mm equiv (4mm) ENV: altitude 11868 ft / 3617 m

[low-res image for bot]


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Fujifilm GF 80mm f/1.7 R WR: Is It Prone to AF Motor Failures?

With the loaner Fujifilm GF 80mm f/1.7 R WR that I have from a reader, I let him know today that the lens focusing motor is making a lot of noise, and feeling clunky (not sure how to describe it exactly). Which makes me wonder if the 80/1.7 is prone to problems.

I recalled from several weeks ago that Roy P had similar sounding issues he had mentioned to me, and I inquired today as to what had happened with his 80/1.7. He responds:

It started with making motorboat-like grumbling sounds when trying to focus.  This was not the same as the rattling you hear from the 110/2 when power is off - the 80/1.7 did not make that rattling sound.  This was when the camera was powered and I was using it.  At first, I thought it was a noisy AF drive and I was surprised it made so much sound, since AF tends to be pretty quiet in most cameras.  And all my other GF lenses were very quiet, so I started wondering if there might be an issue with my copy of the 80/1.7.

As I continued to take some test shots, the condition got worse.  The lens started to continue hunting for focus even after first acquiring focus. So I used to see the target come into focus, but then the lens take it out of focus and keep hunting, as it kept making the noise.  It got to the point that if I clicked at precisely when I saw the subject come into focus, I could grab a shot in good focus, but even that got to a 50-50 proposition.

I was getting ready to send it back anyway, but I had a lens that was very sharp and based on a bunch of photos from a distance of about 200-300 feet, it seemed very symmetrical.  So I was reluctant to ship it back, and I spoke to the Fuji tech support people to see if there was any firmware update that might fix it.  They told me it sounded like a hardware problem, so I finally sent it back.

I am seeing excess noise while using the lens, including weird activations of the AF motor in manual focus mode as well as some hunting that seems strained in some way. It is still good enough to use and the focus is stable once acquired, but it’s really disturbing, making me think it’s going to wreck the focus.



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Fujifilm GF 80mm f/1.7 R WR Aperture Series: View over Patriarch Grove to Southwest (GFX100S)

This study evaluates the Fujifilm GF 80mm f/1.7 R WR on a distant landscape scene, showing and confirming the findings in Pine Creek Valley view to Freshly-Dusted High Peaks. Sharpness across the field is the focus, as well as which aperture is required for maximum performance over the frame given the very troublesome field curvature.

Fujifilm GF 80mm f/1.7 R WR Aperture Series: View over Patriarch Grove to Southwest

Includes images from f/1.7 through f/8 at up to full camera resolution, plus crops.

This analysis should be very helpful when using the 80/1.7 for landscape.

CLICK TO VIEW: Fujifilm Medium Format System

View over Patriarch Grove to Southwest
f5.6 @ 1/55 sec electronic shutter, ISO 100; 2021-05-31 19:15:27
Fujifilm GFX100S + Fujifilm GF 80mm f/1.7 R WR @ 65.5mm equiv (80mm) + polarizer Breakthrough Photography X4
ENV: White Mountains, altitude 11800 ft / 3597 m, 55°F / 12°C
RAW: vignetting corrected, +81 Shadows, -100 Highlights, +40 Whites, +20 Contrast, +20 Dehaze, +15 Clarity, USM {9,50,0}

[low-res image for bot]

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Don’t even Think about Using the Fujifilm GFX100S for Monochrome Landscape Images — Horizontal White Stripes Make Images Unusable

re: Reader Comment: Fujifilm GFX100S and Captures for Monochrome
re: PDAF banding and striping pattern noise
re: Fujifilm GFX100: those PDAF Pixels Make Me Wish I Could have a GFX100 Without Them
re: Fujifilm GFX100S: Unacceptable Image Quality for Monochrome Images  — Horizontal White Stripes
re: Fujifilm GFX100S Image Quality Defect: PDAF Pimples

At least for making monochrome landscape images, the Fujifilm GFX100S is a total 'FAIL'. No one in their right mind should consider using it for monochrome imagery for landscapes.

Below, the entire image as shown is an unusable disaster because of prominent white stripes everywhere (plain to see at at a bit larger size than shown).

In diglloyd Medium Format:

Fujifilm GFX100S: Horizontal White Stripes — the Futility of Using GFX100S for Monochrome Landscape Images

Includes images up to full resolution, plus crops and ACR settings used.

I feel like a sucker, having purchased the Fujifilm GFX100S. Instead of versatility, I have a $6000 camera with apparently an inherent defect that offers strictly limited post processing options. Which is a shame, because without the striping problems the GFX100S would be the best overall camera on the market for monochrome image making, due to its incredible detail capture. The Fujifilm GFX100 shares this problem as per my findings in 2019.

Below, looks nice, eh? Not so much—fine for Instagram but I can do that with an iPhone. The image is unusable for any larger reproduction—marred by horizontal stripes in sky and land, which I show in the crops per the link above.

More below...

View southwest over Patriarch Grove
f8 @ 1/25 sec electronic shutter, ISO 100; 2021-05-31 19:15:34
Fujifilm GFX100S + Fujifilm GF 80mm f/1.7 R WR @ 65.5mm equiv (80mm) + polarizer Breakthrough Photography X4
ENV: White Mountains, altitude 11800 ft / 3597 m, 55°F / 12°C
RAW: vignetting corrected, +81 Shadows, -100 Highlights, +40 Whites, +20 Contrast, +50 Dehaze, +15 Clarity, diffraction mitigating sharpening

[low-res image for bot]

Prognosis

Can Fujifilm fix these horizontal white stripes with a firmware update? Doubtful.

The striping issue has existed since the release of the GFX100 as per my findings in 2019, yet it has not been fixed. Worse, IMO, Fujfilm has not been forthright about the issue, leaving me to suppose that it is an attempt to ignore the issue and hope it will not gain traction.

I do not have any Fujifilm contacts, nor has anyone from Fujifilm contacted me. I am stunned at how a camera company can ignore blogs like mine, which function essentially as a free outside quality control and R&D resource!

Joseph C writes:

Have you seen the PDAF pimples or horizontal stripes when using EFCS or mechanical shutter? I’m asking because I haven’t been able to duplicate your results with the GFS 100S (and LR/ACR).

DIGLLOYD: on my to do list are the 6 combinations of 14/16 bit X ES/EFC/MS X polarizer/none. The trick is finding a situation like the one above, verifying that the issue occurs (requires the computer), then taking all 12 combinations to see if any of those factors have an influence.

Thing is, EFC and MS are not viable for guaranteed full sharpness due to shutter shake, as Jim Kasson has shown—always a little less sharp than ES (electronic shutter). Might not matter at 30mm or 50mm, but surely matters at 110mm on up. So ES is the only way to go for fully sharp images, guaranteed, at least at some shutter speeds and more so with longer lenses, particularly the Fujifilm GF 250mm f/4.

I reproduced the horizontal lines at home at 500' elevation as the original proof. The recent findings on PDAF pimples and the example above were both at higher elevation (7600' and 11800' respectively), where there is considerably more UV/violet/blue light. In particular the shadow areas in the image above were getting a lot of skylight. However, use of a polarizer makes no difference, and since it cuts down blue light substantially, the blue light hypothesis seems dubious.

Proving and disproving

Speaking in general, absence of proof is not proof of absence. If you are not seeing an issue on your camera, that is at best only proof of absence in the specific shooting environment you used. it is not proof of absence—don’t fall fall for a logical fallacy.

The existence of the problem is proven by my examples, and I could show dozens more. The only thing that remains is to determine what provokes it. Possibilities (items struck-through have been ruled out by testing):

  • Camera specific eg "bad camera"? Ideally I’d have two GFX100S camera bodies I could shoot side-by-side. If both showed exactly the same results or conversely if one did and one did not, that would be very useful information.
  • Lighting: UV/violet/blue, etc. Blue light seems involved given the sky, but maybe that is just because the sky makes it more obvious and it is such a pure hue.
  • Subject matter and its colors, like blue sky. But even the land is affected at times, as per my example and that was true two years ago with the GFX100 also.
  • Polarizer.
  • 14/16 bit captures because the choice directly affects sensor transit time as well as different A/D conversion.
  • Shutter mode: ES/EFCS/MS.
  • Shutter speed.

UPDATES

On June 2, I systematically looked into some of the above potential variables.

  • Shutter (ES, EFCS, MS) makes no difference.
  • 14-bit and 16-bit lossless make no difference.
  • Polarizer makes no difference.
  • Tentatively, shutter speed does not appear to make any difference. I tested {1/110, 1/45, 1/25, 1/10, 1/6, 0.3} seconds with no difference seen.

For those who want to try to reproduce:

Find a patch of blue sky with a gradient, because visibility of the striping varies with density. Clear solid blue, no haze, because haze tends to mask the stripes.


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Site Security Upgraded to TLSv1.2

Thanks to readers Tom W and James K for reporting a browser warning for this site, which was using TLSv1.1, which is now deprecated.

This cropped up because companies like Apple have updated their web browsers to issue a warning for TLSv1.1. That’s confusing to users and not important for this site, but that’s how it is.

As of this morning, I’ve hardened the site to use TLSv1.2 with TLSv1.3 optional. Wasn’t planning on it here at 11800' elevation in the White Mountains my van... such a lovely morning lost but it was worth doing.

Also, supported cipher suites have been hardened to only the following:

TLS_ECDHE_RSA_WITH_AES_256_GCM_SHA384
TLS_ECDHE_RSA_WITH_AES_128_GCM_SHA256
TLS_DHE_RSA_WITH_AES_128_GCM_SHA256
TLS_DHE_RSA_WITH_AES_256_GCM_SHA384
TLS_AES_256_GCM_SHA384
TLS_AES_128_GCM_SHA256
TLS_ECDHE_RSA_WITH_3DES_EDE_CBC_SHA
TLS_ECDHE_ECDSA_WITH_AES_128_GCM_SHA256
TLS_ECDHE_ECDSA_WITH_AES_256_GCM_SHA384
TLS_ECDHE_ECDSA_WITH_AES_128_CBC_SHA256
TLS_ECDHE_ECDSA_WITH_AES_256_CBC_SHA384

Very old web browsers might no longer be able to access this site as a result. There is no way to fix that (in general) without degrading site security and getting a 'B' rating. While a few cipher suites could be added and still get an 'A', those suites are ranked as 'weak', and I have chosen to exclude them for now.

SSLLabs.com report for diglloyd.com as of 2021-06-01

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