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Gear That’s coming soon for Review

A few days ago, I discussed the gear I am planning to review.

Camera gear shipments are like the rain here in California: dry then very wet.

Reviewing all this stuff so close together is never easy, and I’m eating $60 a day minivan rental while my 10-year-is finally fixed 250 miles away in Reno, so heading there tomorrow with Leica M10 and then will get Fujifilm GFX with 110/2 and 23/4 for some mountain shooting.

After M10 and GFX system in mountains, I may fall back onto good 'ol Pescadero Creek and local-area shooting for a few weeks, just to nail down a bunch of stuff efficiently, even if I’d rather be in the mountains.

My immediate priority is nailing down the M10/M240 work, then Fujifilm GFX 110/2 and 23/4, then the Nikon 28/1.4 and 8-15mm and then the Sony 12-24mm (the July 6 ship date gives me a little breathing room on the Sony). Other items will fit in as time allows.


REVIEWED: New Zeiss Milvus 35mm f/1.4

Get Zeiss Milvus at B&H Photo. Milvus 35/1.4 for Canon or Milvus 35/1.4 for Nikon.

The latest addition to the Milvus lineup for Nikon and Canon is the Zeiss Milvus 35mm f/1.4.

First Look at the Zeiss Milvus 35mm f/1.4 in my free articles section gives an overview of its performane and characteristics. See also all my Lenspire article here on this site or at Lenspire.Zeiss.com.

My in-depth review of the Zeiss Milvus 35mm f/1.4 is in diglloyd Zeiss DSLR Lenses.

The Milvus 35/1.4 is the 35mm DSLR lens Zeiss fans have been waiting for. As a major upgrade over its predecessor, its all-new optical design offers strict control of color aberrations wide open along with beautiful bokeh, and stopped down a bit, it delivers world-class sharpness far exceeding its ZE/ZF.2 predecessor.

The total rendering style of the Milvus 35/1.4 along with strictly controlled color aberrations makes it highly suitable for photography at dusk in blue light: shapes and colors remain free of color or shape distortions . This exceptionally natural look is seen in every image and it contributes to a strong separation of subject from background—a 3D effect.

By f/2.8 the Milvus 35/1.4 delivers outstanding world-class contrast which is eminently suitable for black and white conversions and I’d strongly recommend it for anyone doing 'street shooting' documentary work.

  • Aperture Range: f/1.4 to f/16
  • One Aspherical Element, Five Low Dispersion Elements, Zeiss T* Anti-Reflective Coating
  • Manual Focus Design
  • Anodized Metal Barrel, Rubber Focus Ring with Weather-Sealed Construction
  • Rounded 9-Blade Diaphragm
Zeiss Milvus 35mm f/1.4

See the entire aperture series for this scene in diglloyd Zeiss DSLR Lenses.

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ZEISS Milvus 1.4/35 Camera Lens for DSLR Cameras

The tenth lens in the ZEISS Milvus series for DSLR cameras already shows its many benefits at full aperture

Oberkochen, 21 June 2017

Zeiss Milvus 35mm f/1.4

ZEISS has launched a new lens for full-frame DSLR cameras from Canon1 and Nikon2 on the market: the ZEISS Milvus 1.4/35. Now the tenth lens in the Milvus family, the ZEISS Milvus 1.4/35 is particularly suitable for portrait photography thanks to its speed.

"The high maximum aperture enables the subject to stand out clearly against the background, and the photographer can achieve creative combinations of focus and blur," says Christophe Casenave, Product Manager at ZEISS. "The manual focus enables very exact focusing, and the creamy bokeh provides an excellent image look. And even at full aperture the image quality leaves nothing to be desired.”

The ZEISS Milvus 1.4/35 is also perfectly at home in landscape photography: "The 35- millimeter focal length is a genuine all-rounder." Like all lenses in the ZEISS Milvus family, it is protected against dust and splashes and, according to Casenave, even bad weather is no problem. The metal barrel gives the lens its robust and durable character.

Practically no chromatic aberrations thanks to a new optical design

With aspherical lens elements, special glass materials and advanced correction, ZEISS has given the lens a completely new optical design. “This means the photos are practically free from chromatic aberrations," says Casenave. Thanks to their excellent edge-to-edge imagery the ZEISS Milvus lenses are designed for high-performance digital cameras. "The resolutions of camera sensors are constantly becoming higher, and this also increases the demands made on the lenses. For ZEISS Milvus lenses this is no problem. They are a solid investment in the future."

Also suitable for filming

The ten lenses in the ZEISS Milvus family, ranging between 15 and 135 millimeters, are also suitable for film productions: the manual focus with a large rotation angle can be operated with the aid of a ZEISS Lens Gear with a follow-focus system. The de-click function allows the aperture to be set continuously in the version for Nikon cameras. A further benefit for filming: ZEISS has matched the color characteristics of the ten lenses. Filmmakers can therefore switch between the focal lengths and still have a uniform color look. "This facilitates editing enormously," says Casenave.

Price and availability

The ZEISS Milvus 1.4/35 will be available from specialist dealers and in the ZEISS Online Shop from July 2017. The recommended retail price is 1,999 euros.

Zeiss Milvus 35mm f/1.4 Specifications
Focal length 35mm (nominal)
Aperture range f/1.4 - ƒ/16
Number of lens elements/groups 14 elements in 11 groups
Entrance pupil position ( in front of image plane): 4.8 in / 122mm
Focusing range: 11.81 in / 30 cm - infinity
Rotation angle, focusing (inf - MOD): 227°
Free working distance at MOD: 5.43 in / 14 cm
Angular field (diag./horiz./vert.) 64.2° / 55° / 38°
Diameter of image field 43mm
Flange focal offset ZF.2: 46.50 mm / 1.83 in
  ZE: 44.00 mm / 1.73 in
Coverage at close range (MOD). 36 X 24mm frame 6.68 X 4.41 in / 169.7 X 112.1 mm
Image ratio at close range 1:4.6
Filter thread 72mm
Length without caps ZF.2: 4.94 in / 125.6 mm
  ZE: 4.91 in / 124.8 mm
Length with caps ZF.2: 5.57 in / 141.5 mm
  ZE: 5.66 in / 143.7 mm
Diameter max ZF.2: 84.8 mm / 3.34 in
  ZE: 84.8 mm / 3.34 in
Weight as weighed (ZF.2 model): TBD
Weight (nominal), ZF.2: ZF.2: 1131 g / 39.9 oz
  ZE: 1174 g / 41.4 oz
Mounts ZF.2 (F bayonet), ZE (EF bayonet)

See the entire aperture series for this scene in diglloyd Zeiss DSLR Lenses.

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See the entire aperture series for this scene vs the ZE 35/1.4 Distagon in diglloyd Zeiss DSLR Lenses.

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See the entire aperture series for this scene in diglloyd Zeiss DSLR Lenses.

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See the entire aperture series for this scene in diglloyd Zeiss DSLR Lenses.

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See the entire aperture series for this scene in diglloyd Zeiss DSLR Lenses.

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See the entire aperture series for this scene in diglloyd Zeiss DSLR Lenses.

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See the entire aperture series for this scene in diglloyd Zeiss DSLR Lenses.

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See the entire aperture series for this scene in diglloyd Zeiss DSLR Lenses.

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See the entire aperture series for this scene vs the ZE 35/1.4 Distagon in diglloyd Zeiss DSLR Lenses.

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See the entire aperture series for this scene in diglloyd Zeiss DSLR Lenses.

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See the entire aperture series for this scene in diglloyd Zeiss DSLR Lenses.

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See the entire aperture series for this scene in diglloyd Zeiss DSLR Lenses.

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See the entire aperture series for this scene in diglloyd Zeiss DSLR Lenses.

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Related articles

I’ve published a number of articles over the past year on the Zeiss Lenspire site.

These articles are also available here on this site, with higher quality image presentation.

Leica M10 Coming This Week

Read about Leica M cameras and Zeiss ZM and Leica M and R lenses in diglloyd Leica.

Leica M10 With Really Right Stuff L-bracket

Many thanks to the folks at PopFlash.Photo as I now have a Leica M10 coming for testing this Friday.

The about $6895 M10 offers a slim design (vs the M240) with a sensor specifically for the M10 with optimized sensor cover glass and micro lenses, according to Leica. It is NOT the same as the Leica SL sensor. And it is a different sensor from the M240 sensor.

The M10 is difficult to get ahold of (in very short supply) and they went out of their way to get me the M10 for testing by lucky happenstance. I look forward to the higher-resolution Leica Visoflex (Type 020) EVF as well.

I’ll also be trying the Thumbs Up EP-MX for Leica M10. Really Right Stuff is sending me the Really Right Stuff M10 L-plate and grip.

Image quality has varied with each generate of Leica M, both in terms of technical quality and subjective look and feel. I still think that I prefer the original M9 look and feel over the M240, but the M10 will have its chance to persuade me that I prefer it, or not.

Leica M10 with ThumbsUp

Beyond the haptics and feel, I am interested in these aspects:

  • Image quality over the ISO range, particularly whether the M10 suffers from ISO 100 pattern noise and hot pixels as seen with the SL (since its sensor is the same as or at least derived from the SL sensor).
  • Whether its sharpness is as good as the M240.
  • In general, the look and feel of M10 images and whether I prefer them to the M240.
Leica M10, front view
Leica M10, top view

Leica M10

Embracing their filmic heritage without losing sight of contemporary needs, the Leica M10 blends a pared-down physical design with enhanced imaging capabilities to produce an elegant and intuitive tool for still photography.

Utilizing a redeveloped 24MP full-frame CMOS sensor and Maestro II image processor, the M10 yields high-resolution imagery with an extended dynamic range, high sensitivity to ISO 50000, and a continuous shooting rate of 5 fps.

Separating itself from previous digital M rangefinders, the M10 features a slim body profile reminiscent of M film cameras, and the optical viewfinder's magnification has been increased to 0.73x for greater composition and focusing accuracy. The body design also incorporates a dedicated ISO dial for quick adjustment, even when the camera is turned off, and the rear 3.0" 1.04m-dot LCD features a Gorilla Glass cover to guard against scratching and light impacts. Also contributing to durability, the top and bottom plates are constructed from brass and the chassis is built from magnesium alloy to realize a robust physical construction for long-lasting use. Additionally, unique among M cameras, the M10 also sports an integrated Wi-Fi module for wireless sharing and remote camera control from a linked mobile device.

Leica M10

Refocusing their attention on the basics, the M10 pares down its feature-set to reveal a more simplified and direct method for working. Taking cues from Leica's film camera legacy, the M10 has the slimmest body of any digital M camera, and also distinguishes itself with a physical ISO dial, higher magnification optical viewfinder than previous digital Ms, and the omission of video recording in order to focus purely on still photography.

24MP CMOS Sensor and Maestro II Processor

A redeveloped full-frame 24MP CMOS sensor pairs with the Maestro II image processor to deliver a wide dynamic range with notable color rendering, as well as enhanced sensitivity from ISO 100-50000 to suit working in a variety of lighting conditions. The image processor also incorporates a 2GB buffer to afford fast continuous shooting at 5 fps for up to 40 consecutive frames in a burst.

Optical Viewfinder and Rangefinder

The optical viewfinder is a large, bright-line 0.73x-magnification rangefinder with automatic parallax compensation and bright-line frame lines, which are set to match the image sensor size at a focusing distance of 6.6'. On the front of the camera, a viewfinder frame selector can also be used to manually change the apparent image field to help visualize the scene with varying focal lengths; options are available in 35mm/135mm, 28mm/90mm, and 50mm/75mm focal length pairs.

The rangefinder mechanism displays split or superimposed bright field images within the center of the viewfinder to benefit accurate manual focusing control. The effective rangefinder metering basis is 50.6mm (mechanical metering basis 69.31 mm x viewfinder magnification of 0.73x).

Body Design and Built-In Wi-Fi

  • Slim body profile is reminiscent of Leica's film cameras for easier handling and manipulation.
  • Integrated ISO dial is featured on the top plate to permit simple and direct adjustment of sensitivity values, even when the camera is turned off.
  • The rear of the camera features just three buttons—live view, playback, and menu—for more simplified and intuitive navigation of the camera's control-set.
  • A programmable Favorites menu can be used, which allows you to define your most oft-used settings and select them for easy, one-touch access.
  • 3.0" 1.04m-dot LCD monitor provides a high-resolution means for image playback as well as live view shooting.
  • Rear LCD monitor has a Corning Gorilla Glass cover to protect it against scratching and impacts.
  • Top and bottom plates are machined from solid blocks of brass and the chassis is built from magnesium alloy for a truly durable, hard-wearing physical construction.
  • Rubber seals are used to prevent the entrance of light rain and dust to enable working in inclement conditions.
  • Built-in Wi-Fi permits sharing imagery directly to a linked smartphone and also enables remote control over the M10 to adjust select shooting parameters or to release the shutter via the Leica M app.

Other Camera Features

  • When working in live view, focus peaking is available to highlight edges of contrast for easier, more precise manual focus adjustment.
  • Designed to accept all M-mount lenses, Leica R-mount lenses are also compatible through the use of an optional R to M adapter.
  • Compatible with the optional Visoflex accessory electronic viewfinder for manually focusing adapted lenses.
  • Images can be recorded in either the DNG or JPEG file format.
  • A top hot shoe permits working with an external flash and the top sync speed is 1/180 sec.

Mark S writes:

I look forward to hearing what you have to say about the M10. I have one and really like it. I use a "thumbie" which attaches with an industrial adhesive strip for a thumb rest and works great. you can look it up on EBay. I've used one on an M9, M240 and now M10 for 5-6 years and not have had any issues. Rock solid and hasn't come off. The nice thing is it does not use the flash shoe so you can still use the Visoflex.

The Thumbs Up uses the flash shoe and therefore you cannot use the Visoflex at the same time. The "thumbie" is a smaller thumb rest that does not use the flash shoe so you can use the Visoflex anytime. It is smaller and attaches to the camera with an industrial adhesive strip which I am told can be removed without damaging the camera finish. Like I said, I have used one for several years and have been very happy. Not sure why Leica did not just put a larger thumb rest on the camera to begin with. Just though I would pass this along since it is the only solution I have found that allow the Visoflex.

DIGLLOYD: that’s a bummer for Thumbs Up—use of the Visoflex EVF is mandatory for my work; I need magnified Live View and the rear LCD is not viable for any handheld shooting, nor do I want to use a loupe on an M camera.

Things I Plan on Reviewing

Sony has the 12-24mm f/4 G coming in early July and the FE 16-35mm f/2.8 GM coming in late August.

Nikon has the Nikon AF-S 8-15mm f/3.5-4.5E ED and Nikon AF-S 28mm f/1.4E ED coming in late June.

Hasselblad will hopefully provide me an X1D with updated firmware in July so I can revisit the focusing bug I reported and which was confirmed.

I’ll be reviewing the Apple 2017 iMac 5K and the 2017 MacBook Pro (see my existing review of the 2016 MacBook Pro), with an eye towards photographic use. I hope also to review a few new cool Thunderbolt 3 peripherals at the same time. As always, I am available for computer or photographic consulting.

Fujifilm will be releasing the 23mm f/4 and 110mm f/2 lenses next week, so those will be a top priority for early July review coverage to add to my in-depth review of the Fujifilm GFX system. I do worry that Fujifilm has not made any mention of addressing the very serious focusing accuracy and focus stability issues that I reported on back in April.

Sigma has their new 24-70mm f/2.8 DG HSM Art and also the new 14mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art (I’m much more interested in the 14mm, but if the 24-70 is really really good then it interests me more, so far no 24-70mm really piques my interest). Pre-orders start in two days, but availability is unclear as yet—perhaps July.

The Leica M10 with its new EVF has severe availability constraints (I think I know the reason but it is unconfirmed as yet) that makes it hard to get ahold of, but one arrives for testing June 23. A key question I want to answer is just how it compares to the M240 (form factor aside)—is its image quality better than the Leica M240, or just different—and is different-better in all ways?

I’m disappointed at being stuck at 24 megapixels, even if the extra resolution were only to avoid moiré and color aliasing and other digital artifacts. Leica has made the classic mistake of assuming that its existing user base is the only viewpoint—if Apple had done this we’d all still be using flip phones instead of smart phones. It takes vision and leadership to move a product category forward, and so far Leica’s vision has been a disappointing failure. I see the M10 as a nice improvement over the M240 (an assumption at this point, based on specs), but it offers nothing really new except form factor. It is incrementalism costing $6600 on top of an $8000 investment in the M240. Hard to swallow, for me at least—that Leica does nothing to improve the M240 experience after 3+ years.


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Canon 35mm f/1.4L II Aperture Series: Welding Rig View to Tailings Piles

Get Canon 35mm f/1.4L II at B&H Photo.

For reasons which will become clear soon enough, I was shooting the Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L II on my last trip.

In my review of the Canon 35mm f/1.4L II Aperture in Advanced DSLR:

Canon 35mm f/1.4L II Aperture Series: Welding Rig (Canon 5Ds R)

Includes images up to full resolution from f/1.4 through f/11.

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Google Chrome Color Management is Still Broken at least on macOS, but Fix Coming

Back in October 2016, I reported on broken Chrome color display in Advisory: Google Chrome Color Management is Broken, at least on macOS.

Jonathan N writes:

After recently upgrading to a iMac 5K, with a wide gamut monitor, I discovered that the Chrome browser’s color accuracy is broken, as described in your blog post.

As you describe, untagged images and CSS colours are incorrectly rendered in the monitor’s color profile, instead of sRGB.

After much digging through Chromium bug reports I was happy to discover that this has been fixed in Chrome Canary (the bleeding edge version of Chrome). You may already be aware of this, but I am writing to let you know, in case you want to test for yourself.

The relevant fix is described here. To get it working you need to set Chrome’s --enable-color-correct-rendering flag to “enabled”. In Canary visit chrome://flags to access the flag. This flag is only included in Canary, not the stable branch of Chrome.

After enabling the flag untagged and tagged images on your color rendering test page now match! CSS colours, which were previously horribly oversaturated now also appear to render correctly.

Many thanks for the information you provided about this bug on your blog.

DIGLLOYD: I got to great lengths to deliver just the color I want when I present my images, so I am glad to hear this bug will likely be fixed in the regular release at some point. I do not like my work to be seen incorrectly. Heck, I don’t even like it to be seen on inferior displays—it just looks so much better when viewed properly.

I urge all of my macOS readers to use Apple Safari. Safari is not bug free, but it is the fastest browser for displaying large images (particularly my aperture series toggles), and it has the fewest color display bugs. Particularly if using an iMac 5K (the best display for viewing images at any price as of mid 2017).

Sigma 135mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art Aperture Series: Pescadero Creek Downstream (Nikon D810)

Get Sigma 135mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art at B&H Photo.

This series looks at sharpness across the field, along with foreground and background color correction in out of focus areas.

In my review of the Sigma 135mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art in Advanced DSLR:

Sigma 135mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art Aperture Series: Pescadero Creek Downstream (Nikon D810)

Includes images up to full resolution from f/1.8 through f/13.

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David C writes:

That shot of pescadero creek is amazing. please don’t tell me it was handheld

DIGLLOYD: it’s not possible to handhold an aperture series, and I would never evaluate sharpness handheld at 1/13 second.

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Reader Question: Camera/Lens Focus Calibration

Eric B writes:

Michael Tapes LensAlign Tool

You are often testing new autofocus lenses, and often on the D810 DSLR. Do you focus tune these lenses before you shoot them and if not, why not.

I am now a mirrorless user but tried to focus tune my autofocus lenses when I used my D800E. I found it challenging to say the least. I’d appreciate hearing your comments about focus tuning and how you choose to focus manual focus lenses when you test those.

DIGLLOYD: See the lens align articles I’ve written over the years. Michael Tapes LensAlign Tool comes in various flavors from about $125 to about $85. If you’re going to focus tune your camera, it’s the best tool I know of.

I do not focus calibrate my lenses for two reasons: (1) I have had little trouble, and (2) I cannot present work on sharpness assuming that autofocus worked optimally: even very small errors would invalidate conclusions and gyrate areas away from the point of focus into total confusion as to peak performance (think field curvature and focus shift, which vary across the frame).

Therefore I do all my focusing in magnified Live View anytime I am evaluating image sharpness or making a comparison. Anyone relying on autofocus when assessing lens sharpness is incompetent, unless the goal is to assess sharpness of the system as a whole (what one gets on average using AF with any given lens, which often leaves out the lighting and subject matter thus making it even more lacking in rigor). Given variations in cameras and lenses and thus AF errors, nothing else has any rigor at all. I assess the peak optical quality, and that is hard enough to get right even in magnified Live View.

Alignment, precision and accuracy

To understand alignment, one must understand the what precision and accuracy mean, along with the damage from to sharpness from focus shift and that’s for starters.

If a camera does not compensate for focus shift and a lens has significant focus shift, then autofocus is hopeless for optimal results, since compensation is for only one aperture. So I’m going to ignore that here—just know it can be a huge factor for lenses with focus shift.

My understanding is that the D810 and recent cameras compensate for focus shift (D800/D800E I don’t know); see Nikon Appears to be Doing Focus Shift Compensation, at Least with the Nikon D810 and 70-200/2.8E.

DSLR autofocus uses a separate optical path for the AF system versus the optical path to the sensor. This is a key reason why alignment may be needed—those two paths are highly unlikely to be much better than 40 microns in agreement, which is the difference between tack-sharp and visibly unsharp. Worse, the AF sensors as seen by the user are generally coarse in size and not always where they are shown to be! Let’s set that whole can of worms aside too.

The key issues with fine focus calibration are accuracy and precision:

  • Suppose the target is at 3 meters... if the camera always focuses at 2 meters half of the time and 4 meters half of the time, it is thus deadly accurate—and every picture will be blurred and useless. Accuracy is an average deviation from the true value.
  • Precision is critical: think of it as how tight the grouping. Ten shots fired into the bullseye are highly precise and highly accurate (our ideal scenario). 10 shots hitting the target but randomly spaced over the target is not very precise but is highly accurate—and that is pretty much what DSLRs do a lot of the time (in near/far deviation from actual target distance).

If precision is high, then the grouping is tight and fine focus adjust feature can be used to re-center that grouping for high accuracy in a tight grouping. But my years of experience with DSLRs prove over and over that DSLR autofocus tends to not be precise at all, and precision is terrible for lenses with less than outstanding contrast (like most of Nikon’s f/1.4 lenses), particularly at medium-far distance. Hence fine focus adjustment is worthwhile, but it cannot address a fundamental failure—lack of precision. All it can do is center the loose (imprecise) grouping somewhat better. Lenses with very high micro contrast generally do much better, f/2.8 lenses do better than f/1.4 lenses, etc.

As for mirrorless, Sony has a serious bug in focusing stopped down. One can see the magnitude of the error by initiating AF at f/8, then opening up to full aperture—there can be a great deal of error, plenty enough to blur the image badly at full aperture. It is a fundamental problem with Sony, which is why when I use Sony AF, I never focus at f/8 or f/11 (one can usually get away with f/5.6 for an f/2.8 lens but it’s no guarantee of optimal). Trying to focus stack at f/8 or f/11 with Sony is a time-wasting annoyance since the lens has to be opened up for every frame in order to focus properly. It’s a particular nuisance for wide angles.

All these nuances have taken me years to nail down. See Making Sharp Images and/or hire me for a day on a photo tour and I can go through it all in the field with you.

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Sigma 135mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art Aperture Series: Mid-Creek Boulder (Nikon D810)

Get Sigma 135mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art at B&H Photo.

This series looks at brilliance and contrast from f/1.8 through f/11.

In my review of the Sigma 135mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art in Advanced DSLR:

Sigma 135mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art Aperture Series: Mid-Creek Boulder (Nikon D810)

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

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Sigma 135mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art Aperture Series: Grass Stems in Blue Boulder (Nikon D810)

Get Sigma 135mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art at B&H Photo.

This series looks at rendering style for the first few apertures.

In my review of the Sigma 135mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art in Advanced DSLR:

Sigma 135mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art Aperture Series: Grass Stems in Blue Boulder (Nikon D810)

Includes images up to full resolution from f/1.8 through f/4.5 plus f/13.

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Sigma 135mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art Aperture Series: Pescadero Creek(Nikon D810)

Get Sigma 135mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art at B&H Photo.

This series looks at the entire aperture range from f/1.8 through f/16. Of interest are peak micro contrast at f/1.8 as well as how well f/11 and f/16 hold up with diffraction mitigating sharpening.

In my review of the Sigma 135mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art in Advanced DSLR:

Sigma 135mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art Aperture Series: Pescadero Creek (Nikon D810)

Includes images up to full resolution from f/1.8 through f/16. Diffraction effects are evaluated and shown with/without diffraction mitigating sharpening.

This series and the American Hotel wail in protest for a 72 megapixel Nikon D900. I speak not of just resolution per se (surely a shortcoming of the D810), but also of sidestepping color aliasing and spurious resolution and color purity and similar digital limitations of a Bayer sensor that result when using extremely high quality lenses (presuming that resolution is only resolution is an fundamental conceptual error—see oversampling).

The about $1399 price for the Sigma 135mm f/1.8 is a screaming deal that awaits a higher-resolution Nikon camera body. Were Leica to ship this lens, Leica fanboys would rave about it and it would cost $8000. The performance here is better than any Leica M APO lens in resolving power and vastly better in terms of color correction. How Sigma can give make a lens this good at this price is surely intimidating to other companies.

Together with the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8E FL ED VR (the zoom that looks like medium format in its rendering), we seem to be in a golden age for DSLR lenses, so much so that I question my Sony mirrorless inclinations, particularly if Nikon delivers a D820 or whatever it will be with higher resolution and at least as good dynamic range and per-pixel quality—and an EVF option in the hot shoe would seal the deal.

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Sigma 135mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art Aperture Series: American Hotel, Cerro Gordo (Nikon D810)

Get Sigma 135mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art at B&H Photo.

This series tests for extremely fine detail rendering along with the control of secondary color errors on out of focus background. If this series does not impress you, I don’t know of anything that could.

Added to my review of the Sigma 135mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art in Advanced DSLR:

Sigma 135mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art Aperture Series: American Hotel, Cerro Gordo (Nikon D810)

Includes images up to full resolution from f/1.8 through f/11. Diffraction effects are evaluated and shown with/without diffraction mitigating sharpening.

The D810 sensor resolution leaves much to be desired in terms of resolving power—if it had 72 or 100 megapixels, the color aliasing would be greatly reduced and quite a lot more detail should be possible. Alas.

The about $1399 price for the Sigma 135mm f/1.8 is a screaming deal that awaits a higher-resolution Nikon camera body. Were Leica to ship this lens, Leica fanboys would rave about it and it would cost $8000.

Together with the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8E FL ED VR (the zoom that looks like medium format in its rendering), we seem to be in a golden age for DSLR lenses, so much so that I question my Sony mirrorless inclinations, particularly if Nikon delivers a D820 or whatever it will be with higher resolution and at least as good dynamic range and per-pixel quality—and an EVF option in the hot shoe would seal the deal.

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Sigma 135mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art Aperture Series: Pescadero Creek Downstream (Nikon D810)

Get Sigma 135mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art at B&H Photo.

This series looks at sharpness across the field, along with foreground and background color correction in out of focus areas from f/1.8 through f/13.

In my review of the Sigma 135mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art in Advanced DSLR:

Sigma 135mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art Aperture Series: Pescadero Creek Downstream (Nikon D810)

Includes images up to full resolution from f/1.8 through f/13.

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Deals Show Which Brands Are Under Pressure

Why waste time laboriously searching for deals when I’ve written all the code to go through 180,000 items for you? Updated daily, several times a day.

Bookmark my deals pages and my top deals pages and my wishlist pages, which can show deals by brand or deals by category and with search features too, filterable by how much discounted (updated daily via live feed).

I get credit from B&H when any ad or link from this site is used—thank you.

The brands under pressure are all but self-evident in the number/variety of items discounted, and the aggressiveness of the discounts. Some of the deals are even better than shown in that a BYO kit with a lens adds further and even deeper savings.

Deep discounts on Olympus

 

MacPerformanceGuide.com

FOR SALE Lloyd’s Own Lenses: Zeiss, Leica, Voigtlander, Nikon, Canon, Olympus, Rodenstock, Schneider (price drop and additions)

I’d rather just keep a growing collection, but that’s just not feasible, for both space and financial reasons—I constantly have to be working with the newest lenses for my publications. There is no ROI (return on investment) for lenses that I rarely or ever need for my publications. Plus the ongoing insurance costs are negative ROI, plus I have to buy certain new gear each year. It’s time to clean house on some very good lenses.

  • All lenses here are “good samples” as far as my testing has determined; I never keep bad samples.
  • Nearly all are with original box and packaging (all that stuff up in the attic, I never throw away boxes).
  • My reputation is more important to me than any sale. I would never knowingly sell any gear with an issue. It’s that simple—just not worth it. Local buyers welcome to inspect firsthand.
  • All my glass tends to be pristine. If I see any kind of optical marring, I will note it prior to final sale.
  • Please note that new lenses have dust inside! Used lenses always have some dust, even after a week or two of use. NONE of my gear has ever gone to Burning Man or anything 1/10 that extreme.
  • Overseas is just too much of a hassle, but if payment is made I can hold a lens until buyer visits my area.

LNIB = Like New in Box

Payment as agreed upon. Buyer pays FedEx 3 day shipping and buyer is responsible for California sales tax, if applicable. Local inspection/pickup if you are close to Palo Alto, CA.

Nikon mount

All Nikon lenses are original USA models—no gray market. Zeiss sales are because I have the Milvus replacements for the lenses I’m selling. These are all excellent samples, some particularly so.

  • Nikon 45mm f/2.8 ED PC-E Micro Nikkor $1199. Shows some wear, but perfect glass and mechanical.
  • Nikon AF 105mm f/2D DC-Nikkor $925 LNIB
  • Nikon 50-300mm f/4.5 ED AIS, excellent glass $650
  • Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art $600
  • Hartblei 80mm f/2.8 SuperRotator (Zeiss multicoated optics) — king of bokeh, hand picked sample with lens hood like new in Pelican case $2500.
  • Zeiss ZF.2 18mm f/3.5 Distagon $840
  • Zeiss ZF.2 21mm f/2.8 Distagon $1150
  • Zeiss ZF.2 35mm f/1.4 Distagon $1100
  • Zeiss ZF.2 35mm f/2 Distagon $799
  • Zeiss ZF.2 50mm f/2 Makro-Planar $850
  • Zeiss ZF.2 100mm f/2 Makro-Planar $1399 (particularly outstanding copy with superb symmetry at distance)
  • Voigtlander Color-Skopar 28mm f2.8 SL II with lens hood LNIB $450.
  • Voigtlander Ultron 40mm f/2 SL II with lens hood LNIB $325.

Canon mount

All Canon lenses are original USA models—no gray market.

  • Canon EF 15mm f/2.8 fisheye $525
  • Canon EF 24mm f/2.8 IS USM $400 LNIB
  • Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II $1300 excellent (lens hood has scratches, but lens body is clean, glass perfect).
  • Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L $560
  • Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM, very lightly used, in box $1350.
  • Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L II USM, LNIB, in box $1450
  • Zeiss ZE 21mm f/2.8 Distagon: $1225 LNIB
  • Zeiss ZF.2 35mm f/1.4 Distagon $1100 LNIB
  • Zeiss ZE 50mm f/2 Makro-Planar: $975 LNIB
  • Zeiss ZE 100mm f/2 Makro-Planar: $1375 LNIB

Olympus

  • Olympus E-M1 with Really Right Stuff L bracket + Panasonic DMC-GF3 $899.
  • Olympus Super HIgh Grade (SHG) lenses (set of three, mint): 7-14mm f/2, 14-35mm f/2, 35-100mm f/2 with two MMF-3 lens adapters for Micro Four Thirds: $3900 Great choice for videographers. These are the most highly corrected lenses that Olympus makes.

Sigma

Sigma dp Merrill set of 3 (28/45/75 equivalent) with 7 batteries and fits-all case. $1200.

Leica

All Leica lenses are original USA models—no gray market.

  • Leica 28mm f/2 Summicron-M ASPH (prior version but 6-bit coded) $2900. My testing showed no meaningful difference vs the 2016 version.
  • Leica 28mm f/2.8 Elmarit-M ASPH (6-bit coded) $1750.
  • Leica 50mm f/2 APO-Summicron-M ASPH black $6800 like new in original box with paper wrap. I was told by Leica that this was a hand-picked best of batch sample (chosen for me as replacement from original problem run of the 50/2 APO).
  • Leica 180mm f/2.8 APO-Elmarit-R like new in box original owner. $MAKE_OFFER

Rodenstock and Schneider view camera lenses

All on Linhof Technikardan lens boards, copal shutters.

  • Rodenstock 135mm f/5.6 APO-Sironar-S Copal shutter + Linhof Technikardan lens board $MAKE_OFFER PRISTINE
  • Schneider 400mm f/5.6 APO-TELE-XENAR Copal shutter+ Linhof Technikardan lens board $MAKE_OFFER PRISTINE
  • Fujifilm Fujinon A 240mm f/9
  • Linhof Tecknikdan 4 X 5 View camera with quickload holders and various mounting boards.
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New Apple MacBook Pro, iMac 5K

High-end photo or video users? See Comparing the 2017 iMac 5K to the iMac Pro.

...

I’ll be reviewing the 2017 MacBook Pro and reviewing the 2017 iMac 5K soon in part because these are useful and important machines for photographers to consider. The newly announced iMac Pro won’t be out until December 2017 and the new Mac Pro a year or more after that.

Recent related posts:

OWC Thunderbolt 2 Dock
Review of Thunderbolt 2 Dock

Shootout: Sigma 135mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art vs Nikon  70-200mm f/2.8E FL ED VR: Cerro Gordo Bunkhouse (Nikon D810)

Get Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8E FL ED VR and Sigma 135mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art B&H Photo.

This series puts the Sigma 135mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art against the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8E FL ED VR. As of mid 2017 these are two of the finest lenses available in the 135mm range. So how does a high-grade prime lens stack up against Nikon’s finest zoom?

A key expectation of a prime lens is a low level of field curvature. Similarly, a zoom can be expected to have more field curvature at least over much of its range. This comparison is an ideal showing of how a top-grade prime fares versus a top grade zoom in terms of field curvature, and why “quick tests” equate to ignorance of real lens performance: one has to understand what is actually going on with a lens, not shoot flat test targets. This scene shows just how tricky it is to compare lenses fairly.

The scene may not be exciting, but the results are instructive. Added to my review of the Sigma 135mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art in Advanced DSLR:

Sigma 135mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art vs Nikon 70-200/2.8E FL ED VR: Cerro Gordo Bunkhouse

Includes images up to full resolution from f/1.8 through f/8.

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Nikon Celebrates 100th Anniversary = Useless Diversion of Resources

Time for this WTF and no EVF option for my DSLR?
From a company reportedly in financial trouble?

Get Nikon 100th anniversary items at B&H Photo.

Where is the D810, their best and most emblematic DSLR? Or the Nikon 105/1.4E, their best-ever prime?

In the category of vacuous time-wasting diversions of corporate resources, Nikon’s best way of celebrating 100 years ought to instead be the following:

  • Nikon should realize it isn’t Leica. Leica gets away with camel-scrotum yesterdays-yawn stuff that is irrelevant to 99.999% of camera users. Feeding off past glory is acknowledging no vision for the future.
  • Stay financially viable and relevant by delivering products customers want, e.g., not giving away the farm to Sony mirrorless, starting by taking the best DSLR ever (Nikon D810) and doing something already about a worthy successor that breaks new ground and excites loyal customers (like me).
  • Get new blood into a creaking consensus-driven broken-culture-nail-stands-up-gets-hammered-down planning system which invariably produces one more laughable increment over the last dinosaur design. At the least, study Sigma Photo, which is willing to take risks with new products (and of course Sony and Fujifilm medium format).
  • Show some sense of not living in the past!!! At the least, deliver a Nikon D900 which bridges part of the gap to mirrorless (an EVF option along with Pentax K1 style pixel shift and image stabilization)—compatible with F-mount lenses but also taking a new mirrorless lens line. Kill off the entire APS-C DSLR line and focus on full frame and medium format—APS-C is a dead category, to be relegated to the dust bin of history.
  • Give me something I can love as an adjunct, like a 72-megapixel monochrome D900m that will make me drool over detail.
OMG I just cannot wait for this stuff!

I want to see a relentless single-minded focus on innovation, quality, usability. What Nikon did in past years has ZERO benefit for me TODAY. It is company-centric, not customer-centric to waste resources on 100th year celebrations.... the celebration ought to be every day of the year by moving forward and relentlessly improving and impressing. Celebrate today and tomorrow, not the past.

.
Where is my EVF option for my Nikon D900?

Hmmm... 100 years in the destroying? Because if Nikon doesn’t get its act together, there won’t be a 105th anniversary. See reader comments that follow.

Nikon: 100 Years in the Making

Reader comments

Lawrence F writes:

Lloyd, you are being too hard on Nikon. They are merely manufacturing grave markers (hence the granite gray?). I unloaded my Nikon D810 and other gear last winter. Fond memories. Now I’m enjoying my Sony equipment.

DIGLLOYD: Nikon qualifies for greatness, but if they dead-end themselves by strategic stupidity then all is for naught.

SSD Upgrade for MacBook Pro Retina
Internal SSD Wishlist…

Deals on Apple Macs

Recently:

With Apple having upgraded its MacBook, MacBook Pro, iMac and iPad lineup, all of the existing models are available with with nice discounts. Recommended configurations for photographers:

Not sure what will work best for your own needs? I offer consulting.

Don’t forget AppleCare—important for an all-in-one laptop with everything soldered on. Ditto for Applecare for iMac 5K.

The iMac Pro is not due out until December, but its sky-high price and 6 month lead time make it a non-solution for most of us.

Deals and links:

One of the diglloyd deals pages showing deals on Apple laptops
Thunderbolt 3 Dock
Must-have expansion for 2016 MacBook Pro
Thunderbolt 3 • USB 3 • Gigabit Ethernet • 4K Support • Firewire 800 • Sound Ports

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8E FL ED VR Aperture Series @ 75mm: American Hotel, Cerro Gordo (Nikon D810)

Get Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8E FL ED VR at B&H Photo.

See my comments on just how good the Nikon 70-200/2.8E is in the 70mm post.

This straight-on shot demands a flat field to work well, along with very high resolving power for the lace curtains and wood grain.

Added to my review of the Nikon  70-200mm f/2.8E FL ED VR in Advanced DSLR:

Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8E FL ED VR Aperture Series @ 75mm: American Hotel, Cerro Gordo

Includes images up to full resolution from f/2.8 through f/8 along with Adobe Camera Raw conversion settings and the Photoshop black and white conversion layer settings.

Dang it! I need a higher resolution Nikon camera.

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Michael J writes:

Do you have any tests planned using the Sony A7R II with this lens?

DIGLLOYD: a heavy DSLR lens hanging off an adapter is not something I’d want to subject the lens mount on my Sony A7R II to, plus I know of no *good* solutions for Nikon E lenses (if any even exist). Plus it would be awkward and very front heavy. I don't see it as an appropriate mating. Rumor has it that Sony is introducing a 135mm lens soon, and the Zeiss Batis is smaller and lighter and native mount.

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Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8E FL ED VR Aperture Series @ 180mm: Rush Creek Waterfall (Nikon D810)

Get Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8E FL ED VR at B&H Photo.

See my comments on just how good the Nikon 70-200/2.8E is in the 70mm post.

This extreme distance places a premium on field flatness (minimal field curvature), gives us a good look at corner performance, and also shows off any propensity to color fringing.

Added to my review of the Nikon  70-200mm f/2.8E FL ED VR in Advanced DSLR:

Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8E FL ED VR Aperture Series @ 180mm: Rush Creek Waterfall

Includes images up to full resolution from f/2.8 through f/8.

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NuGard KX Case for iPhones and iPads
Outstanding protection against drops and impact!
Excellent grip for wet hands, cycling, etc!

Sigma 135mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art Aperture Series: Hotel Cerro Gordo, Deep Dusk (Nikon D810)

Get Sigma 135mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art at B&H Photo.

Added to my review of the Sigma 135mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art in Advanced DSLR:

Sigma 135mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art Aperture Series: Hotel Cerro Gordo, Deep Dusk

Includes images up to full resolution at f/1.8 and f/2.8 and f/5.6 (345 seconds). I wanted f/8 but it was just getting too dark.

Together with the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8E FL ED VR (the zoom that looks like medium format in its rendering), we seem to be in a golden age for DSLR lenses, so much so that I question my Sony mirrorless inclinations, particularly if Nikon delivers a D820 or whatever it will be with higher resolution and at least as good dynamic range and per-pixel quality—and an EVF option in the hot shoe would seal the deal.

The about $1399 price for the Sigma 135mm f/1.8 is a screaming deal that awaits a higher-resolution Nikon camera body. Were Leica to ship this lens, Leica fanboys would rave about it and it would cost $8000.

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Sigma 135mm f/1.8 DG HSM ArtAperture Series: Glass Sculpture (Nikon D810)

Get Sigma 135mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art at B&H Photo.

Added to my review of the Sigma 135mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art in Advanced DSLR:

Sigma 135mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art Aperture Series: Glass Sculpture: Glass Sculpture

Includes images up to full resolution from f/1.8 through f/11. Includes comments on how I think it compares to the Zeiss 135/2 APO-Sonnar.

Together with the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8E FL ED VR (the zoom that looks like medium format in its rendering), we seem to be in a golden age for DSLR lenses, so much so that I question my Sony mirrorless inclinations, particularly if Nikon delivers a D820 or whatever it will be with higher resolution and at least as good dynamic range and per-pixel quality.

The about $1399 price for the Sigma 135mm f/1.8 is a screaming deal that awaits a higher-resolution Nikon camera body. Were Leica to ship this lens, Leica fanboys would rave about it and it would cost $8000.

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Father’s Day Specials at B&H, OWC/MacSales.com, LensRentals.com

Three excellent vendors:

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Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8E FL ED VR Aperture Series @ 95mm: Tailings Piles (Nikon D810)

Get Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8E FL ED VR at B&H Photo.

See my comments on just how good the Nikon 70-200/2.8E is in the 70mm post.

Added to my review of the Nikon  70-200mm f/2.8E FL ED VR in Advanced DSLR:

Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8E FL ED VR Aperture Series @ 95mm: Tailings Piles

Includes images up to full resolution from f/2.8 through f/8, with the crops in color.

This image comes alive on an iMac 5K and all but jumps off the screen. It is fascinating at full screen resolution on the iMac 5K, and I really would love to see it on an 8K display this year.

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OWC Thunderbolt 2 Dock
Review of Thunderbolt 2 Dock

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8E FL ED VR Aperture Series @ 70mm: Tailings Piles (Nikon D810)

Get Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8E FL ED VR at B&H Photo.

The more I shoot the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 FL ED VR the more it impresses me.

Surely it is the finest zoom Nikon has ever produced, and one that kicks the crap out of many a prime lens (and makes lenses like the Sony 70-200 look positively second rate). I have no doubt this is the finest 70-200 zoom on the market today. And the way the D810 nails focus with this thing is very impressive.

Added to my review of the Nikon  70-200mm f/2.8E FL ED VR in Advanced DSLR:

Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8E FL ED VR Aperture Series @ 70mm: Tailings Piles

Includes images up to full resolution from f/2.8 through f/8, with the crops in color.

The 70-200/2.8E is so good that I really had to resort to nitpicking. Accordingly, the series also shows corrected and uncorrected lateral chromatic aberration.

One might say that the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8E FL ED VR is expensive and indeed it is in absolute terms. But rivalling most primes and covering the 70-200mm range, it offers huge value. I am loathe to shoot most zooms, but the 70-200/2.8E just might have to be the first exception.

This image comes alive on an iMac 5K and all but jumps off the screen. It is fascinating at full screen resolution on the iMac 5K, and I really would love to see it on an 8K display this year.

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Blazing-fast PCIe storage for Mac Pro Tower

Reviewed: Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS

I took the Sony 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS with me on a trip to the mountains recently. I shot it exclusively on the Sony A7R II since I wanted to see the limits of its resolving power. Before leaving, I updated the lens firmware to the just-released version (late May 2017).

Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS

I am not happy with the results. Sony has a lot of work to do before it can be considered a suitable 'pro' system.

Includes images up to full resolution.

As for focusing problems (severe), I do not know if Sony A7R II firmware version 4.00 helps with the 70-200; it was released the day after I returned from my trip.

I am so disgusted with the results that I do not intend to pursue the Sony 70-200 any further. The two pages above show an ample amount of material that should give even diehard Sony fanboys pause.

On the same trip, I took along the Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8E FL ED VR, which I shot on the Nikon D810. My goal was not direct comparison, but just to get a sense of both as a byproduct of shooting both for different goals. Yet the comparative results were striking: the Nikon 70-200 delivered imagery in line with the best prime lenses I have used, and the D810 nailed the focus reliably, every time. So impressive, so reliable, the Real Deal as to what any pro could wish for, whether with conventional autofocus or magnified Live View.

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✓ Get the best system for your needs the first time: diglloyd photographic consulting.

Reader Question: Display Calibration vis a vis Apple iMac 5K

Get NEC PA302W-BK-SV at B&H Photo.

The quick summary: I prefer viewing images on the iMac 5K, but for evaluation and color correction and post processing, I use my workhorse NEC PA302W.

Note: if purchasing an iMac 5K, I recommend buying the 8GB iMac 5K configuration and then adding 64GB memory—this saves about $820.

David M writes:

I am very keen to purchase the new 2017 iMac 5K (not the Pro version) especially on the purpose to replace my old NEC 24" display which I purchased base on your recommendation sometimes ago.

But after reading one of your latest post on MPG an alarm turn on my head and after a bit research I have learnt that several brands claim their displays support over one billion colors albeit the the color tech behind the display is a sort of 8-bit plus 10 dithering (AFRC) and not 10-bit TRUE color as of NEC and Eizo for instance.

Hence my question, and probably of many readers of the blogs, is whether a photographer can make do with the 8-bit plus the 10-bit dithering of brands like LG, ViewSonic and recently Apple, or shall s/he inspires for the 10-bit true color versions ? Many thank in advance for answering the question whether return mail or as a subject of one of your blogs.

NEC PA302W wide gamut display

DIGLLOYD: I hadn't heard of this dithering, but I don't pay attention to consumer solutions. I think when Apple says 'billions of colors' it is probably real 10 bit especially when claiming "smoother gradations" and similar. The 10 bits (or 8 bits) refer to the values per color channel (R/G/B) for the fineness of gradation: 256 values per color for 8 bit, 1024 values per color for 10 bit, so 8^3 combinations for 8 bit (24 bit) color and 1024^3 combinations for 10-bit (30 bit) color.

Photographers have "made do" with 8 bit until very recently (24 bits for RGB, 16.7 millon color). an that includes the NEC PA series professional displays, and Eizo; this was due to the lack (until recently) of driver support for 10 bit (30 bit) color.

While I now use 10 bit support (30 bits for RGB, a billion color combinations) on my NEC PA302W and NEC PA322UHD, I'vd have a hard time saying it matters versus 8 bit. The changeover happened in late 2015, perhaps driven by the late 2015 iMac 5K. However, I did not notice any difference in my daily work. Still, 10-bit delivers an ultra-smooth tonal range free of stepping, which one can see just by doing a grayscale ramp, so it does matter for any such gradient, such as a sunset sky of varying hue and density.

What really matters in a display, particularly over time and for calibrating to a desired target, is the internal 14-bit true calibration available on a professional display that can keep the consistency year over year. And for some users, different calibration targets for different output media.

The real issue for professional color management is that there is no way to calibrate the iMac 5K display. So-called calibration which rounds 8-bit video card values is what I call faux calibration. When I asked an XRite representative whether 10 bit values were used for calibration, I the answer as I understood it is “no, no API”.

It is not possible to “calibrate” in quarter tones and mid tones when there is no precision to do so (e.g., 4 or 5 but no 4.7). With the internal calibration of the NEC PA series in 14 bit precision, the display itself is brought within one delta-E of the target, which is a vastly different than rounding-off integral values in the video card*. This is why I GAVE UP on faux calibration years ago and why I use the NEC PA302W to evaluate and prepare my images.

While I am very happy with the Apple profile for the iMac 5K for viewing enjoyment purposes, it could stray over time and as far as I know, it is generic to millions of iMac 5K machines (not custom for each). Moreover the iMac 5K display (late 2015 or mid 2017) is truly exceptional in its contrast range (deep blacks to very bright whites) and thus gorgeous for viewing and thus dramatically different in look and feel than what I see on my NEC PA302W. Perceptually this makes it very difficult for print matching—no print can match the contrast range or color saturation of the transmissive medium that is the iMac 5K display. One of these days I’ll just say the hell with prints though—a 32" 8K display will be too gorgeous too care much about print display.

* One reader recently wrote to complain of banding (stepping) after calibrating his iMac 5K with a popular vendor’s solution. I advised him to abandon it and use the built-in profile—the banding/stepping disappeared.

See also:

NEC PA302W wide gamut display

 

Blazing-fast PCIe storage for Mac Pro Tower

Dell UltraSharp 32 Ultra HD 8K Display is Shipping, Dec 2017 iMac Pro Already Behind the Curve

Over at MacPerformanceGuide.com I discuss the arrival of 8K, its context and possibilities:

Dell UltraSharp 32 Ultra HD 8K Display is Shipping, Dec 2017 Mac Pro Already Behind the Curve

I’m very excited about using a 7680 X 4320 8K display: a full resolution Nikon D810 image is 7360 X 4912, so that its entire width fits with room to spare on an 8K display, although an image height of 4912 pixels is too tall to fit vertically.

At 280 ppi the 32" Dell 8K pixel density exceeds the 220 ppi of the 27" iMac 5K, so a 'chrome'-like viewing experience should be incredible, showing more detail than film could ever capture with far superior contrast to any print. In effect, one will be viewing a 32" (diagonal) 'chrome'.

Which is all the more reason the Apple iMac Pro disappoints, showing no technical leadership where it really counts (8K). Rather, it is a souped-up iMac 5K with a gray finish at a price likely to hit $14K fully loaded—without 8K support built-in—very nice in total but now a wow.

Right now, 8K is too expensive at about $4999 although by year end I suspect that we will see prices head significantly lower. Plus it’s not clear that even Multi Stream Transport (MST) would work until and unless Apple supports it on the 2016/20-17 MacBook Pro and iMac Pro, both of which have two Thunderbolt 3 busses (the 2017 iMac 5K has only one Thunderbolt 3 bus, so it cannot possibly support 8K). Still, I am hopeful that late this year Apple will support 8K via MST when the iMac Pro ships, which might be enough to prod me into an iMac Pro assuming that 8K display pricing comes down to $3K or so.

Simulated relative resolution of 8K, 4K, 2K
Simulated relative resolution of 8K, 5K, 4K, 2K

See also:

OWC Thunderbolt 2 Dock
Review of Thunderbolt 2 Dock
Blazing-fast PCIe storage for Mac Pro Tower

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