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Canon Gets Serious About Long Lenses for Canon EOS R5, Canon EOS R3

Key lenses for pro photography, now in native mount for the Canon EOS R5 and the upcoming Canon EOS R3.

Canon RF 400mm f/2.8L IS

Canon RF 600mm f/4L IS

Canon RF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS

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Sony A1: Settings and Customization Giude

In my review of the Sony A1, I’ve added a 17-page guide to configuring the Sony A1. I haven’t covered everything, but what is there should be helpful for anyone settings up the A1, and particularly those new to Sony. It’s part what to set, and part why to set things a certain way.

Sony A1 Setup and Configuration

Start with the overview: Overview of Customizing Sony A1

Quick start: Cheat Sheet Settings for Sony A1

UPDATE: I’ve added a downloadable settings file: Sony A1 downloadable settings file

Shooting => Image Quality => Image Quality Settings
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Sony Discounts, Fujifilm Discounts, Nikon Discounts

Sony and Fujifilm and Nikon all have appealing discounts right now.

While of course I’d rather have a Sony A7R IV, the Sony A7R II at $1298 is a heck of a deal for a full frame 42MP camera.

BTW, if you lust after a lens like the about $14295 Leica 75mm f/1.25 Noctilux-M ASPH, the Nikon Nikkor Z 58mm f/0.95 S Noct is half a stop faster and with more beautiful bokeh. You can but it and a Nikon Z7 II for a lot less than the Leica lens alone.

I’m hoping that the Fujifilm GF 23mm f/4 and Fujifilm GF 30mm f/3.5 go on discount soon.

I’m not a huge fan of the Fujifilm GF zooms, but the 45-100mm is the better of the two that are on sale (both are very good, I’d just rather have the primes). Grab the Fujifilm GF 110mm f/2 while you can—outstanding performer.

Reader Comments: Humor vs Reality  — Leica Class Airline Travel

I needed a little humor these days, slowly recovering from a nasty relapse of Long Haul COVID symptoms, if anyone has wondered about why my work has slowed down. It’s hard to work with brain fog and fatigue.

Anyway, it made me laugh!

Clearly, the airline industry is leaving significant money on the table. — Roy P

The best humor rings true. That is, the 64-megapixel Leica S3 body alone costs more than a 100-megapixel Fujifilm GFX100S system with six lenses and accessories. And we’re talking a DSLR (dinosaur) vs a mirrorless camera system here (Fujifilm).

Total cost for a robust Fujifilm medium format system

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Reader Comments: Fujifilm GFX100S

I am hoping to receive my own Fujifilm GFX100S soon. See also:

Lug Rings for Easily Connecting Any Camera Strap on Fujifilm GFX100S, Leica M10-R, Leica M10M, other cameras with small-hole lugs
3rd-Party Lenses for Nikon Z, Canon RF, Sony E, Fujifilm GF Mirrorless Cameras
Best Lenses for the Fujifilm GFX100S + Equivalent Focal Length and F-Stop vs 35mm Format
Fujifilm GFX100S...

Given some reader reactions to the first part of Roy P’s note below, I thought I would preface it as follows because it could be mistaken for disappointment—read all his comments as well as the other readers before judging. I think he makes some fair points on the negative side, but like him, on the whole I think the GFX100S is a major breakthrough for what it delivers at such a relatively low price point.


Comparing the facilities of cameras even if they are designed for different target audiences lends clarity for anyone who lacks firsthand knowledge or is just trying to approach the subject. To say that such comparisons are invalid would presuppose knowledge of both. But if you don’t know, you don’t know.

As just one of many potential examples: for portraits, choose the Sony A1 for high speed high-competence Eye AF and focus tracking, or choose the Fujifilm GFX100S for high resolution and a different 'look', but suffer the inferior AF performance? Nor is even landscape use clearcut—there are many considerations involved.

To understand the range of competences across cameras, I try to minimize my assumptions about the vague “target market”, or presumed camera competence. I like to look at the actual strengths and weaknesses because sometimes there are surprises, and sometimes a camera’s competence drops below an acceptable threshold (whatever the issue might be).

How else to choose the best tool for the job, or to understand whether a camera is poor/good/excellent at any particular task? Particularly when it means deciding on a single-camera system or dual system eg Sony + Fujifilm. To do that and to decide on lenses, it’s important to know where camera competence falls too short.

To use an analogy, I might compare my Sprinter van to an SUV— it’s a bit “ridiculous” from my perspective now that I have years of experience and knowledge. And yet it’s very useful for anyone who does not know what to expect. Same idea when comparing Sony A1 to the GFX100S.

CLICK TO VIEW: Fujifilm GFX100S Essentials

Roy P writes

Some of the oddities that Roy refers to here might be due to various settings that once changed make certain behaviors improve/change. His comments were never claimed to be a review on his part, only initial reactions/impressions. See my inline notes as well as comments that follow.

Written to me not necessarily written for publication but which I found interesting as “first impressions”... so please read as such. Also Roy is having concurrent experiences with the Sony A1 and Olympus E-M1X and I find that interesting to juxtapose, even if the cameras have very different target usages and customers.

Fujifilm GFX100S

First, let me cover the bad news: the Fujifilm GFX100S ergonomics really suck in every way you can think of. It’s almost like their design goal was to make it as frustrating as possible.

Compared to the Olympus E-M1X and the new Sony A1 menus, the Fujifilm menu system looks like the product of a class project in a JAVA programming course at a community college.

In the AF/MF menu, there’s an entire page of menu items that seems to be missing. You see pages 1/3 and 2/3, but there is no 3/3. You certainly get the sense that you’re not playing with a full deck of cards.

The grip and the shape of the camera are designed so it feels like you are wearing your left shoe on your right foot. It kinda, sorta has all the contours, but it puts pressure in the wrong places.

[diglloyd: of course hand fit can be a personal thing, and I have yet to handle the GFX100S. But it’s pretty darn important if your hands don’t fit a camera well, or the grip is poor]

The rear AF button would be too tiny on a Sony NEX camera. It is a pain to find it or know you’re pressing it even with bare hands, and it is very tough to use it with gloved hands unless you have a thumb opening in the glove.

[diglloyd: agree wholeheartedly—the Canon EOS R had this problem too. And since I prefer AF-ON to AF-with-shutter, it's a negative to be enjoyed frequently—bummer]

I have no idea what the rear control wheel does – either it changes the shutter speed (the front control wheel already does that) or it does nothing. The only way I can change the aperture is with the ring. Setting the ring to A or C does not let me change the f-stop from the camera. ===> Figured out the solution to this. I am used to lenses that have an aperture ring show the f-stops, then an A at the end. If you set the ring to A, then you can control the f-stop from the camera. The Fujifilm lenses have an A, which is used for programmed auto exposure, and also a C setting. You need to set the ring to C to adjust the f-stop from the camera. Otherwise, the rear wheel does not adjust the aperture.

The AF-C mode is shaky. The lens reasonably finds and focuses on the target, but then endlessly keeps stepping forward and backward, noisily, and the subject keeps falling into and going out of focus. When you click, you don’t know what you’re grabbing – in or out of focus.

The autofocus tracking is confusing, weak and slow. It’s a PITA to acquire focus or track subjects. After being used to my favorite AF-C modes in the Sony cameras and tested the Olympus E-M1X (e.g., use Center AF to initially acquire the focus, then recompose or track the subject as it moves, and the camera holds on to the subject like an crocodile’s jaw), the Fujifilm feels inept.

[diglloyd: fair comment, but Roy and the rest of us probably weren't expecting Sony A1 or even Sony A7R IV performance here]

There are some other goofy things, like the camera took some shots with alternating bright and dark stripes. I have no idea what it was doing. The battery power had gotten near zero, so I don’t know if that was the problem. After I charged the battery again, I did not see this problem again: <image001.png>

[diglloyd: prominent bands seen. I had thought that the bands referenced are caused by 120 Hz lighting interacting with the sensor transit time of the electronic shutter. Other cameras when used with electronic shutter variants will show the same issue. See Sensor Readout Transit Time for 16-bit vs 14-bit Capture. HOWEVER, Roy states that after charging the battery and redoing the image with no other changes and under INCANDESCENT lighting the bands then disappeared, raising the issue of a camera bug]

But setting aside those, there are some very impressive things about this camera. There is really superb potential here.

I initially got into the Fujifilm as my “street photography” camera, with just one lens, the 50/3.5 which I bought last year when B&H had that absurd $500 off sale on a $1000 lens. But when Fujifilm announced the 80/1.7, I thought this was the one lens I’d rather have, and I had second thoughts about the 50/3.5.

Now that I’ve used both lenses, I can tell you they are both keepers. The 50/3.5 is just amazing, and the 80/1.7, is also a fantastic lens, although it has both purple fringing (easily fixable in post) and some LOCA, harder to fix, but it does not look ugly. Otherwise, it’s razor sharp even wide open, and the details at the pixel level it reveals on a 100 MP sensor are very impressive. See attached actual pixels crop (that also shows some green streaks in the OOF background structures).

The IBIS is unexpectedly good and effective. After seeing the superb IBIS in the Olympus E-M1X and the somewhat less obvious IBIS in Sony cameras, I expected the IS to be even less obvious or effective in the Fuji, given its big sensor size. So I was pleasantly surprised at how well Fujifilm IBIS works. But it comes at a price: when you click the shutter, you hear one beep, but that is not the shutter release. It looks like the start of the IS process. You need to wait for a second beep, sometimes like a second later, for the shutter release. If you move the camera before then, this is what happens: <jello image>

[diglloyd: the funky “jello” results are due to sensor transit time and movement; see Blur and Image Deformation with Fully Electronic Shutter.]

Another problem with the IBIS is, from the time you click the shutter button to the time it actually captures the image, the screen blacks out (even with a fully ES shutter) and you don’t really know what the camera is capturing.

There are some IBIS modes (and a whole bunch of other focus and exposure related features) I still need to experiment with.

But what I have seen in just two days has made it very clear that this is a fantastic sensor and at least the two lenses I have are superb. I could never get any of the Schneider Kreuznach lenses on my Phase One XF with the IQ3 100 MP sensor deliver this level of sharpness when using autofocusing, even after burning many, many hours setting up focus trim for the lenses. I just don’t see how any DSLR can match the autofocusing a mirrorless camera can deliver. The camera turns on and is ready to go surprisingly fast. I love the digital split prism for manual focusing. The eye AF is pretty impressive, and I haven’t even fully figured out all the AF modes.

Net-net, even with a lot of warts, the GFX 100S is a very useable and impressive camera, and it might take a Mark II a couple of years down the road for Fujifilm to streamline the camera and iron out all the wrinkles. But in the meantime, the current 100S is more than an adequate placeholder and a very functional camera. Its price point makes it even more compelling – I’d have no qualms about using it for a couple of years and replacing it with a Mark II.

So I am rethinking my medium format strategy. I will likely end up selling most of my Schneider lenses that I would normally use with autofocusing. I am not sure if I will get out the XF altogether – I will probably still have a minimal XF system, but increasingly, an XT + just one or two Rodenstock lenses for landscapes, plus the Fujifilm GFX system for everything else, is becoming far more appealing!

So I’m thinking of a Fujifilm GFX as a system now. Below is my plan of action… If you have nothing better to do, you’re welcome to take a look and share any thoughts :)

...remainder omitted...

DIGLLOYD: the Fujifilm menu system can lead to some confusion, perhaps that blank page thing (page 3/3 not seen) is one of those cases I've seen before (I forget which cameras) where you have to scroll down one more time over a blank page in order to see the next page.

The bands referenced look like shose caused 120 Hz lighting (38 bands). Other cameras when used with electronic shutter variants will show the same issue. However, Roy states that he repeated the test with a fully charged battery and the bands disappeared—and the lighting was incandescent to begin with and no changes were made to settings. Maybe there is a bug with low battery, maybe he made a mistake, dunno.

Roy P follow up:

BTW, the first time around, the camera had gotten into some mode that the Fujifilm technician couldn’t figure out after some 10-12 minutes of trying to change some settings. So he had me reset the camera and start from scratch. That eliminated whatever twilight zone mode the camera had fallen into

That’s when the tech told me it’s possible to make conflicting settings that confuses the camera, and if that happens again, I should simply reset the shooting mode. This is done via the Wrench => User Settings => Reset

DIGLLOYD: I myself rememember running into some GFX50S and GFX100 bugs. Looks like there are still a few issues. Having to do a reset is a huge time-waster—yuck.

Roy P continues:

Wow, the IBIS impresses. Attached is an actual pixels crop from a shot at 1/40 s and 800 ISO with the 50/3.5 – I actually slipped while taking this shot and the camera was actually moving ever so slightly as I was clicking, with the camera held just by my hands in free air, with no support from my face.  I had expected nothing but a blur!  Not only I got a decent image, the camera even nailed eye AF.

There is a lot of programmability built into the camera, and with six custom modes, two fully programmable buttons, a semi-programmable front control dial, dedicated buttons for drive mode select, S/C/M focusing mode, exposure comp, and a quick access button that is very similar to the Fn button on the Sony, I now have the GFX 100S more or less mirror my Sony A1 configuration, except for the physical locations of the controls.  That’s not too bad, I could get used to it.

The autofocus acquisition and tracking is not as nimble as it is in the Sony A1, but nothing else is (the Oly E-M1X comes close, and the Canon R5 probably is there somewhere in the same zip code as well).  But I won’t be using the GFX 100S for BIF photography anyway, although with some practice, I think I will get a lot more mileage out of it for action photography.

As much as I hate reading manuals, I think I have to plough through the 100S book.  It’s 368 half-pages, so it will take some time, but to get the most out of the camera, it’s worth a read, just to figure out what things mean in Fuji’s lingo.  For instance, you need to read the manual to learn that “Focus Lever” means the frigging joystick on the back!

For me the biggest irritant is going to be the tiny AF ON button in the back.  So this is something I will need to get used to.  Also, instead of the L bracket, I’m getting the $149 Fujifilm “metal handgrip” for the 100S:


 One dumb thing they did in this was to prevent access to the battery compartment, which means I’d have to take off this plate to change batteries (hmm, where have I run into this problem before?!). But the positives are, it has a nice finish and I expect it will address one of my gripes about the 100S (handling).  It also has an ARCA bottom plate.  That’s all I need, I don’t need an L bracket.

So net-net, I’m making the GFX a big part of my photography.  The GFX 100S is finally giving me more than anything I could have ever dreamed with my Leica S system.  Having suffered through the Leica S for 5+ years, it’s really exciting to use the Fujifilm and get so much more for one third the price of a Leica S3!


The first thing you must remember to do if you ever reset the settings: change the recording format to RAW (unless JPEG is what you want).  I have no idea why camera manufacturers default the recording format JPEG.  I think this is really nuts.

This is a nice feature: the front dial defaults to S.S. (shutter speed, not very readable here), but the dial itself is clickable, and if you click it, you can set a second function (which I have set to ISO), and if you click it again, you can set it to aperture setting (which is redundant).  This is not a totally programmable function, so I can’t set it to say, WB.  Too bad.  But SS / ISO is nice.

The rear dial is also clickable, but I can’t seem to get other options I can set with it, so it’s set to aperture.

Exposure compensation works nicely – there’s a dedicated button next to the shutter release, and if you press it, while you have it pressed, you can use your thumb to turn the rear dial to change exposure comp. That is very handy.

What’s going to drive you crazy on cold days, especially at the places where you routinely go: both the AF ON button on the rear and the exposure comp button in the front are really, really tiny.  It’s very tough to operate them with gloved hands.

Staale S writes:

I got the Fujifilm GFX100S the other day, but it seems that one of your subscribers “Roy P” has gotten an all together different camera then mine, though I NEVER use anything else than “M”.

But apart from the UI, which I think sucks on all cameras, except from the A7S III, that shows a slight improvement, this is all around a fantastic camera and the IQ is just mind boggling. Even handheld one is able to make fantastic landscape shots. The step up, from my 50R is unbelievable, at least to my eyes.

DIGLLOYD: the context here is having the Fujifilm GFX100S, Sony A1, Olympus E-M1X all together at the same time. Given that, I can understand that the GFX100S operational and ergonomics suffers by comparison.

Based on using the Fujifilm GFX100 for a few months over the past three years, I expect that used for what it’s best at (landscape and some other things), the GFX100S is a major breakthrough. It will be very welcome for outdoor activities.

Joseph C writes:

It sounds like Roy has encountered some firmware bugs or function interactions of some kind. I don’t doubt that there is instability at this point in the product cycle. I’ve run into it with every new camera model I’ve purchased in the past 5-10 years (since the initial Sony A7R). Hasselblad was the worst. Fujifilm has a habit (with their X-system) of launching a product and coming along soon thereafter with a firmware update to fix bugs and improve stability. The early adopters like me and Roy are therefore beta testers. I’m a self-confessed early adopter.

Some things I’d point you to with the 100S:

  • The menu tree is too deep and convoluted. The Sony a1, from what I’ve read and seen online, has done a far better job of menu organization than most of the other camera makers.
  • The AF On button is too small and almost flush with the back of the camera. I use back-button AF most of the time, so this is something I’ll have to norm to.
  • The joystick seems “skippy”, meaning that an upward, downward or sideways press doesn’t always result in the expected action.
  • IBIS is amazing, in a good way. I’m shooting at shutter speeds I never imagined I could use with a 102MP camera.
  • The EVF is underwhelming. Fujifilm could have done waaaay better than using the old 3.69M dot EVF.
  • Eye and Face AF works OK for me. I used it successfully to photography my granddaughter last week and the results were quite acceptable.
  • Fuji’s support team is accessible by email or phone, something I can’t say about the others. I know because I’ve had to contact them about the camera.
  • Since I shoot primarily landscapes, I’m not bothered by not having Animal AF or super-teles.

Like you, I wonder why Fujifilm hasn’t put more horsepower into the camera or lenses. It’s definitely a game changer in the 44x33mm segment, but doesn’t match the Sony A7R IV or Sony A1 in terms of functionality. The native lenses are not a concern for me due to my subject matter. Your reviews have given me enough information to know how to use each one. The GF 80mm f/1.7, while being a stellar lens in terms of IQ, tends to hunt and is slower to focus than the GF 110mm. I prefer the latter.

Finally, in full disclosure, I had to return my first copy of the 100S to B&H because it developed a bug. The battery indicator disappeared from both the rear LCD and the top LCD. I had several exchanges with Fujifilm support and decided to get a new copy. Fortunately, I was able to get a new one via Camera West. So to support Roy, he may have a buggy copy or may have run into some instability that will eventually be fixed by Fujifilm. I hope that your experience is positive and rewarding.

...I’m using the 3 Legged Thing “Ellie” L-bracket until RRS or Kirk introduce one specifically for the 100S. The Ellie allows access to the battery without removing the plate, the latter being a disadvantage of using the Fujifilm Metal Handgrip.

The 100S works well with the Fuji iOS app, allowing me to automatically geotag my photos while carrying my iPhone. I can also use the app as a remote.

There is no charger included with the 100S, so I’d recommend buying the dual battery charger to avoid having to charge the battery in-camera.

DIGLLOYD: sounds about right.

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Sony A1 Image Quality: ISO Invariance — Which ISO to Use, When a Push is Just Fine, Noise and Hot Pixels

ISO invariance means that a raw file capture at some reference ISO along with a push delivers the same image quality as setting that ISO in the camera.

This page evaluates image quality in terms of noise and hot pixels at native ISO versus pushing a lower-ISO exposure during raw conversion. Equivalent results for the two approaches are termed ISO invariance.

Examples of ISO invariance and ISO variance are shown with the Sony A1, together with guidelines on setting camera ISO for the best results.

  • Examples of ISO invariance and variance with the Sony A1.
  • Best ISO to use, and why.
  • Falsifying the myth of highlight loss at high ISO.

Sony A1 Image Quality: Push vs Higher ISO (ISO Invariance)

Includes images for comparison from ISO 100 to ISO 3200.

f6.3 @ 1/250 sec, ISO 3200; 2021-04-05 18:02:14
Sony A1 + Voigtlander FE APO-Lanthar 50mm f/2 Aspherical @ 75mm equiv (50mm)
RAW: LACA corrected, push 0.1 stops, +10 Clarity, scaled 200% linearly

[low-res image for bot]
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Shootout: Sony A1 vs Sony A7R IV from ISO 100 to ISO 102400, Noise, Hot Pixels, Sharpness, Color

This page looks at noise and hot pixels from ISO 100 to ISO 102400 with the Sony A1 against the Sony A7R IV.

Sony A1 ISO Series vs Sony A7R IV: Fruit Platter

Includes images from ISO 100 through ISO 102400.

Two key findings are made, and one may be of interest even for landscape photographers.

CLICK TO VIEW: Sony Mirrorless with Extreme-Performance Lenses

f6.3 @ 1/125 sec, ISO 6400; 2021-04-04 10:19:12
Sony A1 + Voigtlander FE APO-Lanthar 50mm f/2 Aspherical @ 75mm equiv (50mm) RAW: LACA corrected, +15 Clarity

[low-res image for bot]

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Voigtlander FE 65mm f/2 APO-Lanthar Aspherical Defocuses Itself When Angled Up or Down (UPDATED)

Every user of the Voigtlander FE 65mm f/2 APO-Lanthar Aspherical should be aware of just how damaging this issue is. It repeatedly ruined quite a few series of mine before I figured it out.

Voigtlander FE 65mm f/2 Macro APO-Lanthar Aspherical

Lubricant in the Voigtlander 65/2 APO focusing helicoid has too little friction, allowing gravity to slowly “walk” lens focus when the lens is at any inclination.

I detail the issue and how to diagnose it, along with potential mitgations:

Voigtlander 65mm f/2 APO-Lanthar Defocusing when Angled Up/Down

I ran into this problem when shooting the fruit platter evaluations. Once I finally figured out that I hadn’t screwed up and that there was no good solution, I ended up switching to the Voigtlander FE 50mm f/2 APO-Lanthar Aspherical, which looks to be free of the issue.

Probably the heavier internal lens elements in the 65/2 overwhelms the friction of the lubricant. IMO this is an obvious design/build defect. But worse, it’s clear that Voigtlander failed to do adequate and IMO rudimentary testing to detect what should be an obvious consideration with any macro lens, which almost by definition means tripod use at an inclination.

I don’t know if Voigtlander will service the lenses to fix this issue and I don’t know if currently for-sale lenses also have it (I got mine a few years ago).

Composite image showing defocus
f2 @ 1/30 sec, ISO 100; 2021-04-04 13:22:24
Sony A1 + Voigtlander FE Macro APO-Lanthar 65mm f/2 Aspherical @ 97mm equiv (65mm) RAW: LACA corrected

[low-res image for bot]

Michal J writes (wrote):

I’m very curious about your mention of Voigtlander 65 defocusing itself. I have that lens and I love it. I literally shoot like 95% of my stuff with it these days. Yet, every once in a while I have a lot of ruined shots from unexplained defocusing.

I usually am nailing focus on it no problem and then suddenly I have shots that are completely ruined. We are not talking about missing a focus by a meter or two. We are talking focus is nowhere to be found on the photo, or I’m shooting something 15 meters away from mm and focus is 50 meters behind it.

And this is with carefully focusing wide open in magnified view and all that. Could never figure it out, though I have a feeling it might have something to do with temperature. I’ve recently took a walk on a snowy day in the woods and all the shots from the beginning of the walk are ruined and then suddenly they are all good in the later part.

The next day I have even caught it doing something weird. I was focusing at f2 closing down to shoot to 5.6, but then when I wanted to verify something and went back to f2 the focus was not there anymore.

I could repeat that same behaviour a few times, but then it stopped and everything was fine again. I’ve only noticed this behaviour outside in cold weather, so I figured maybe something with the barrel of the lens adjusting to conditions or something of the sort.

It is troublesome to me, I’ve lost some great shots to that and you never really know when, cause most of the time it’s either perfect or I can blame it on myself. I do hope that you’ll post more about your mishap, maybe it’ll inform my situation as well.

DIGLLOYD: Michal wrote the above in reference to yesterday’s note and today I wrote the post and page above.

At distance, a very small change in focus does in fact mean the difference between 15m and 50m focus. At close range it might mean 1cm. This is trivially easy to learn/see in magnified Live View.

Samuel Chia writes:

rubber band solution for
angled-down defocusing
Voigtlander 65/2 APO

I saw your report about the CV65/2 focus creep. I have experienced the same problem myself, and the rotating-aperture-ring-changes-focus problem is indeed what I've experienced too, even when the lens is pointing straight and forward, not only when angled up or down.

I think I learned about this solution from Joseph Holmes who learnt it from a friend. Or maybe not. One places a wide-band rubber band overlapping the focus ring and the lens barrel to increase the rotational resistance. Cheap, and it works. I don't know what sizes of rubber bands are convenient for you to find, so a bit of experimenting is probably in order to find the optimal resistance to your hand. I happened to have this blue one in a box of knick-knacks lying around that fits. No idea where it came from! Here's what it looks like, hope this helps (picture at right).

DIGLLOYD: the rubber band seems likely to do the trick, though possibly it could allow allow micro changes via just a bit of “sag” into the resistance.

Stephen Gandy of Cameraquest.com writes:

From your description the lens is not broken, but does need maintenance.

Contact your dealer. Voigtlander servicing is done thru the USA dealer that sold the lens.

DIGLLOYD: this is a mint-condition lens about 3 years old with silky smooth focusing. It’s news to me that lenses just sitting in a drawer 99% of the time need “maintenance” for lubricant that feels identical to the day I bought it.

I’ve contacted Cosina in Japan directly (via “Importers wanted Contact us” email*) for clarification on the lubricant issue. But whether the issue is even recognized is an open question, and therefore it might be that Voigtlander has no alternative lubricant and therefore the rubber-band fix as per Samuel Chia is the only realistic option.

Stephen Gandy runs CameraQuest.com, one of two offical Voigtlander USA Distributors in the USA. I’ve responded by asking him to clarify if he is a "dealer" (since his site sells the full range of Voigtlander lenses) and whether therefore a lens could be serviced if it had been bought from CameraQuest (answer appears to be yes).

UPDATE: Stephen Gandy of CameraQuest.com says that B&H-sold Voigtlander lenses are via The Photo Village and that they can be serviced there. But take a look at Cameraquest.com for Voigtlander lens purchases also.

* note says “Please note that we might not reply to any inquiries from free email service account, and/or any inquiries not related to distributing Voigtlander products. Please contact near-by stores/distributors for products information and after service.”

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Voigtlander 65mm f/2 Macro APO-Lanthar Aperture Series: Fruit Platter (Sony A1, pixel shift)

As a prelude to a very interesting study of the Sony A1 vs the Sony A7R IV, I show this series...

This series from f/2 through f/11 evaluates the Voigtlander 65mm f/2 Macro APO-Lanthar at close range for overall rendition, sharpness, etc.

It is also an evaluation of the Sony A1. Shot with 4-shot pixel shift, it shows the peak quality achievable on the Sony A1 at base ISO using one of the very best lenses available.

Voigtlander 65mm f/2 Macro APO-Lanthar Aperture Series: Fruit Platter (Sony A1)

Includes images up to full camera resolution from f/2 through f/11 along with a 4-frame focus stack at f/6.3, for a stunningly detailed capture.

As far as I can tell, my eyes says that it doesn’t get any better than this with any camera or lens on the market today. Color, non-existent noise, superb detail, etc. What a disappointment that Fujifilm has screwed the pooch with the Fujifilm GFX100S with the inexplicable absence of a 4-shot pixel shift—this Sony A1 quality beats any single-shot medium format capture.

CLICK TO VIEW: Sony Mirrorless with Extreme-Performance Lenses

f6.3 @ 1.0 sec focus stack 4 frames pixel shift, ISO 100; 2021-04-03 11:23:59
Sony A1 + Voigtlander FE Macro APO-Lanthar 65mm f/2 Aspherical RAW: LACA corrected, SmartSharpen{40,0.7,20,0}

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Shutter Modes for Sony A1, Sony A7R IV Could be Better Done (Less Confusing)

It took me a while diddling around in menus and manuals to figure out that Sony has dropped an Electronic First Curtain Shutter option from the Sony A1.

And Sony hasn’t exactly made things easy to understand in the menu system: shutter behavior is split into two menus: electronic shutter is conflated with silent shutter, and on the A7R IV mechanical shutter is confusingly obtained via Electronic First Curtain Shutter = OFF but only when SS is also off.

This confusing arrangement should have been simplified into a single menu:

But... that’s not what we got.

And apparently we won’t be getting a firmware update to reconcile the menu system of the A7R IV to match the A1, which really sucks when using them together.

Shutter modes on Sony A7R IV, Sony A1
  Sony A7R IV Sony A1
electronic shutter, silent Silent Shutter = ON Silent Shutter = ON
electronic shutter + shutter sound* --- Shutter = Electronic
electronic first curtain shutter Electronic First Curtain Shutter = ON ---
mechanical shutter Electronic First Curtain Shutter = OFF Shutter = Mechanical

Sony A7R IV shutter modes

  • Silent Shutter = ON overrides everything—full electronic shutter with no artificial shutter sounds. No option exists to use an all-electronic shutter along with a shutter sound.
  • Electronic First Curtain Shutter = ON (and SS off) means Electronic First Curtain Shutter.
  • Electronic First Curtain Shutter = OFF (and SS off) means mechanical shutter.

Sony A1 shutter modes

  • Silent Shutter = ON overrides everything— full electronic shutter with no sound.
  • Shutter = Electronic (and SS off) means full electronic shutter with artificial shutter sound.
  • Shutter = Mechanical (and SS off) means mechanical shutter.
  • Electronic First Curtain Shutter = unavailable

* Reader Rory H notes that “you can eliminate the artificial sound with electronic shutter by going to audio signals as per page 49/52 of the menu”.

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LibRaw PixelShift2DNG Now Supports Sony A1 Pixel Shift 4-shot and 16-shot, FF and APS-C

re: FastRawViewer: Saving me a Lot of Time Organizing My Shoots Into Subfolders
re: LibRaw Monochrome2DNG and PixelShift2DNG Are Indispensible for my Current Tasks

LibRaw makes RawDigger (indispensible for image evaluation) and FastRawViewer (try it in instead of Adobe Bridge!). Both are superb and some of the best supported software out there.

LibRaw PixelShift2DNG Now Supports Sony A1 pixel shift series, both 4-shot and 16-shot in both FF and APS-C and can be downloaded here:

LibRaw PixelShift2DNG

LibRaw PixelShift2DNG

The screen show below shows FastRawViewer in a simplified setup; it highly customizable as to what it displays, what is shown or not shown, etc. Further below, I show a common task I do with it.

libRaw FastRawViewer image display with dozens of powerful organizing features
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Sony A1 Image Quality: Bumps it Up over Sony A7R IV

There looks to a one behavior I am seeing with the Sony A1 that makes it a very significant step up from the Sony A7R IV, at least for shooting at higher ISO, and possibly for long exposures (TBD). And you’re not going to see it in “lab test” numbers.

I’ve said a few times now that the A1 files just look better to me. This may be the reason.

I am being non-specific because I want to reproduce it again under better-controlled conditions before I show it. That means waiting until tomorrow afternoon for just the right late-day warm sunlight I want (and to get the darn cat hair off my black fabric background).

Anyway, an ISO 3200 frame is shown below.

UPDATE: I have confirmed exactly what I saw yesterday. But along with variable lighting (fluctuations in intensity and color due to clouds), and the unexpected ruination of some work by a the Voigtlander 65mm f/2 APO-Lanthar (the 65/2 defocusing itself) means I’ll have to finalize the comparison series tomorrow.

CLICK TO VIEW: Sony Mirrorless with Extreme-Performance Lenses

f6.3 @ 1/250 sec, ISO 3200; 2021-04-02 18:20:50
Sony A1 + Voigtlander FE Macro APO-Lanthar 65mm f/2 Aspherical
RAW: LACA corrected, +10 Clarity, Luminance NR {0,50,0}, Chroma NR {0}

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Reader Comment: Zeiss Milvus 25mm f/1.4 or 18/2.8 or 21/2.8 for Astrophotography?

Brian M writes:

Zeiss Milvus 25mm f/1.4 Distagon

Part of my desire to get a subscription to diglloyd Zeiss is I have a couple changes on how I do photography, and I want to make an informed decision...

1) I want to consolidate my lenses, and

2) I have started doing IR photography.

I have the Zeiss ZE 25mm f/2 Distagon and the Zeiss ZE 18mm f/3.5 Distagon, and I was considering selling both to buy the 21mm 2.8 to replace them (thinking a "happy median")... Either in the classic or the Milvus version.

I take photos of landscapes, cityscapes, and occasionally Milky Way out in my area. From your experience, would you have any recommendations?

DIGLLOYD: the new Milvus designs are all optically excellent. The Milvus 21/2.8 is not a new design but it has improved lens coatings.

Illumination over the frame (vignetting) is a major consideration for astrophotography.

Zeiss Milvus 25mm f/1.4 illumination at corners vs center should be about 50% (excellent for a 25mm at f/2.8).

Zeiss Milvus 21mm f/2.8 illumination at corners vs center is only 22%—more than a stop darker. Zeiss Milvus 18mm f/2.8 illumination at corners vs center is also 22%.

Losing a stop can mean a lot more noise in a night sky., more than one might think because exposure needs to rise out of the baseline noise. A good example of how f/2.8 varies with an f/1.4, f/2, f/2.8 lens is found in Shaded Boulder Field, North-East Escarpment.

But it’s actually about a lot more than the illumination/vignetting considerations: the actual light transmission is not given by f-stop. It is given by T-stop and is generally 1/3 to 1/2 stop greater at f/2.8 for an f/1.4 lens than an f/2.8 lens. No big deal for regular photography, but for astrophotography it is a very big deal.

All of these Milvus lenses have enough mid-zone field curvature that care should be taken with the balance of focus across the frame—center vs mid zones and edges. And all of them offer superior performance to the older Zeiss 18mm f/3.5 Distagon.

Of course, 25mm is not 18mm, and the choice might be drive by field of view first.

CLICK TO VIEW: Zeiss Milvus Lenses For Canon EF or Nikon F

The Zeiss Milvus 25/1.4 should be right around 50% illuminance at f/2.8.

Relative illuminance for Zeiss Milvus 25mm f/1.4 Distagon

The Zeiss Milvus 21/2.8 is around 20% illuminance at the corners at f/2.8.

Relative illuminance for Zeiss Milvus 21mm f/2.8Distagon

The Zeiss Milvus 18/2.8 is just under 20% illuminance at the corners at f/2.8.

Relative illuminance for Zeiss Milvus 18mm f/2.8 Distagon

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Sony A1 Pixel Shift: Inexplicably Writes Uncompressed RAW —  Fails to Respect Lossless-Compressed RAW Setting

In pixel shift mode, the A1 insists on writing uncompressed raw files, ignoring user settings to save as lossless-compressed raw.

Lossless-compressed raw is bit-for-bit identical to uncompressed raw. That distinguishes it in a critical respect from Sony 8-bit-per-pixel lossy compressed format (lossless most of the time, but not with ultra high contrast edges).

It cannot be a frame rate thing since the A1 is still puzzlingly slow for pixel shift shooting, at roughly 2 fps, which is 10 times slower than burst shooting lossless-compressed raw (20 fps). So it cannot be a processing power consideration for the compression aspect.

Two bummers remain with Sony pixel shift, no progress made since the A7R IV:

  • Pixel shift is still relatively slow to take all the frames, perhaps 2 fps. That increases the risk of lighting or subject matter changes. Maybe this relates to how fast the sensor can be precisely positioned?
  • Huge waste of space in uncompressed raw format.

Could Sony add lossless-compressed raw for pixel shift via firmware update?

And while we’re on the topic, it seems to me that Sony cameras could have an "auto" setting such that regular compressed raw (always 8 bits per pixel) could be used when the subject matter allows fully lossless capture, and lossless-compressed raw when the subject matter is out of range.

BTW, 16-shot pixel shift is always less sharp than 4-shot and far more prone to quality issues from lighting or subject changes, so I never use it.

CLICK TO VIEW: Sony Mirrorless with Extreme-Performance Lenses

File sizes for Sony A1 pixel shift — uncompressed raw only
(camera configured for lossless-compressed raw)

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Sony A1 vs Diffraction: Siemens Star

This page looks at how diffraction affects the 50-megapixel Sony A1 from f/2 through f22 using the ZEISS Siemens Star Test Chart.

Sony A1 vs Diffraction: Siemens Star

CLICK TO VIEW: Sony Mirrorless with Extreme-Performance Lenses

Which aperture would you use?

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Sony A1 vs Sony A7R IV: Looking at Resolving Power with Siemens Star

This page looks at the 50-megapixel Sony A1 vs the 60-megapixel Sony A7R IV resolving power using the ZEISS Siemens Star Test Chart.

Sony A1 vs Sony A7R IV: Siemens Star

Images compared at normal resolution and also using Adobe Camera Raw Super-Res mode.

CLICK TO VIEW: Sony Mirrorless with Extreme-Performance Lenses

f4 @ 1/25 sec, ISO 100; 2021-04-01 17:14:25
Sony A1 + Voigtlander FE Macro APO-Lanthar 65mm f/2 Aspherical @ 97mm equiv (65mm) RAW: LACA corrected

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Sony FE 24mm f/2.8G Aperture Series: Fenceline

See also the newly-added distortion page for Sony FE 24mm f/1.4 GM.

I don’t want to shoot any more distortion-related stuff for the Sony FE 24mm f/2.8G, but I felt that this series would solidify coverage on its behavior for planar subject matter, which includes all distance scenes.

This aperture series with the Sony FE 24mm f/2.8G shows the best-case expectations for sharpness across the field with and without distortion correction. Focus shift, and field curvature behaviors are discussed.

The scene was chosen for its consistent and symmetric detail across the frame, particularly the detail in the wooden fence. In particular, to decide whether the lens is capable of capturing sharpness across the frame, at any aperture.

Sony FE 24mm f/2.8G Aperture Series: Fenceline

Includes images from f/2.8 through f/11, plus crops with both uncorrected and distortion-corrected images.

CLICK TO VIEW: 24/25mm lenses for Sony mirrorless

f2.8 @ 1/40 sec, ISO 100; 2021-03-30 19:03:17
Sony A1 + Sony FE 24mm f/2.8 G
RAW: LACA corrected, pull 0.17 stops, +20 Whites, +15 Clarity

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Reader Question: Camera Profile in Adobe Camera Raw

re: White Balance and Tint in Adobe Camera Raw using Datacolor SpyderCHECKER (Mid-Morning Sunlight)
re: Every Photographer Should Have a Color Checker Card to Establish Neutral White Balance and Tint for Each Camera and Lens Brand Combo.

Eric B writes:

I notice that in your published images you use the Adobe Color profile.

Could you comment on the use of either other profiles from Adobe and the ones made from such devices as the X-Rite Color Checker Passport, which are made for a specific camera and lighting?

Camera Profile + WB/Tint
Adobe Camera Raw

I have been using one of these for some time with a number of different cameras, currently a Sony A7R IV. I am not a color expert and would appreciate your opinion.

DIGLLOYD: let me first clarify for some readers: a camera profile in Adobe Camera Raw is an entirely different thing from the color profile (color space) the image is rendered into. The camera profile controls color rendition, contrast, saturation, even monochrome vs color. Thus the camera profile controls the look and feel of the image, whereas the color profile is in essence only a mapping function defining what the numeric pixel values mean once the image is created.

CLICK TO VIEW: Color Management Tools, Displays

Some camera profiles are IMO over-the-top and so I rarely if ever use them, such as Adobe Vivid and Adobe Landscape. They might have sporadic uses for really dull scenes, but mainly as a shortcut to increasing contrast/saturation—a bad plan most of the time since that is better done after raw conversion. But like many things, they can have their uses in some contexts.

Adobe raw camera profiles

I typically use the Adobe Color camera profile, opening into a 16-bit TIF in the ProPhotoRGB color space (a wide gamut color space sure to not clip any colors). However, since the Fujifilm profiles are excellent, I occassionally use them for Fujifilm captures (manufacturer camera profiles are found under Camera Matching).

I typically publish images in the AdobeRGB color space most of the time, unless the colors would be clipped by AdobeRGB. Small color spaces like sRGB are OK so long as you first open in a wide-gamut color space and check for gamut clipping prior to conversion into sRGB. I used to bother with that, but now unless there is clipping I just publish everything in AdobeRGB, being sure to embed the color profile.

Camera calibration software

My general advice: use what pleases you; don’t get stuck worrying about accuracy, which isn’t really a thing.  Some people like lower or higher contrast, more or less color saturation, or a warmer or cooler look. With classic celluloid film there were huge differences and all were "accurate" yet obviously different— which means there is no true "correct".

I tried the X-Rite calibration software some years back. I was not satisfied with the results versus the stock Adobe profiles, or I should say: I found some downsides and no clear benefits. Maybe I should try again, but there are so many variables that it is a workload I just don’t want to take on. Plus it is better for my work to present a consistent look by using the same camera profile across camera systems.

Studio photographers with controlled lighting are a good use case for making their own profiles to nail-down accuracy and the desired look and feel (contrast, saturation). This makes a lot of sense when consistently shooting similar subject matter and wanting a raw conversion that has just the right feel for contrast and color. Some photographers have dozens of camera profiles, each “accurate” but giving a range of look-and-feel, very handy for quickly picking out the desired starting look-and-feel.

There are a myriad of issues with making one’s own profiles:

  • What contrast and color saturation do you go with? There is a continuum, and they interact.
  • Tint and white balance are linked, so outdoors I frequently have to adjust tint as the WB changes. For example, the more blue the light, the more magenta is needed due to an increasingly green tint. I might need 5100°K +10M in sunlight, but 7300°K +23M in blue shade. This is a general digital capture behavior I see with all cameras.
  • Tint and white balance can vary within the same image, for example outdoor distance scenes with foregrounds, or Tigger in a tree over rich green grass. That this is not perceptual is proven by measuring things in Lab mode. The distance-scene tint variation can be seen even with the best cameras (eg PhaseOne IQ4 150). Increasingly bluish lighting at distance shifts green while the foreground does not. Pick your “poison” of too-green distance or too-magenta foreground. When this occurs, I usually end up allowing a bit of green in the sky/distance areas to avoid too much magenta at closer range.
  • Once you choose a camera profile, there is often a need for contrast control. That in itself changes both contrast and color saturation, rendering the look and feel of the camera profile substantially or even radically different.
  • It’s a continuum. I’d need a lot of profiles to cover the range (and for each camera) and that requires a lot of care, because neutralizing color balance for outdoors scenes looks wrong in so many cases. So it then comes down to a lot of judgment calls.
  • Outdoors, the difficulty of getting accurate lighting is often difficult. Just try getting “clean” sunlight in my backyard right now (massive influx of green light from trees and grass thrown everywhere). Or in the mountains with tints altered by nearby canyon walls, cloud banks, etc. Or, change the orientation of the test card a few degrees, and suddenly it is picking up more blue from the sky, or yellow or green or whatever from things even a good distance away.

Bottom line: I’m sticking with the Adobe Color camera profile for most work.

Photoshop Color Settings dialog

Michael S writes:

Just a quick note to say thanks for the great article on camera profiles within Adobe Camera Raw and Lightroom. It simply states that which I have been trying to explain to photo friends for years; that color accuracy is a difficult thing to achieve and isn’t always doable. My only wish is that I could apply Fujifilm profiles to my Nikon NEFs.

DIGLLOYD: Fujifilm has done some nice work with their profiles.

I do wish that ACR provided some direct means of producing an image more or less identical to the JPEG rendition that the camera provides. Fujifilm gets closest to this but it never matches.

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Sony FE 40mm f/2.5G Aperture Series: Three Oaks

This aperture series evaluates the Sony FE 40mm f/2.5G for overall look and feel on a subject at moderate distance set against a more distant background. Sharpness and depth of field behavior and especially bokeh are discussed., as well as focus breathing.

Sony FE 40mm f/2.5G Aperture Series: Three Oaks

Includes images from f/2.5 through f/11, plus crops.

CLICK TO VIEW: 35/40 mm lenses for Sony mirrorless

Three Oaks
f2.5 @ 1/25 sec, ISO 100; 2021-03-30 19:10:28
Sony A1 + Sony FE 40mm f/2.5 G RAW: LACA corrected

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Sony FE 40mm f/2.5G Aperture Series: Peach Tree Blossoms

This aperture series evaluates the Sony FE 40mm f/2.5G for overall look and feel, particularly out-of-focus bokeh. As well as depth of field gains with stopping down.

Sony FE 40mm f/2.5G Aperture Series: Peach Tree Blossoms

Includes images from f/2.5 through f/11, plus crops.

CLICK TO VIEW: 35/40 mm lenses for Sony mirrorless

Peach Tree Blossoms
f4 @ 1/40 sec, ISO 100; 2021-03-30 18:58:00
Sony A1 + Sony FE 40mm f/2.5 G RAW: LACA corrected

[low-res image for bot]

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Zeiss Loxia 25mm f/2.4: Aperture Ring Malfunctions, Making Magnified Live View Impossible, Exposure Impossible

UPDATE: I think I might have prematurely blamed the Loxia. Turns out that the Voigtlander 65mm f/2 APO-Lanthar is also showing a flaky aperture ring problem, and that the Loxia is working OK on the Sony A7R IV. In other words, the blame looks to lie with the Sony A1. That said I have had sporadic trouble with the Loxia on the A7R IV in the past.


Over the years I’ve had a few sporadic reports from Zeiss lens users of aperture rings going bad.

Now I’m seeing it firsthand with the Zeiss Loxia 25mm f/2.4.

Zeiss Loxia 25mm f/2.4

Symptoms on the Sony A1, which I’d seen intermittently before on the Sony A7R IV:

  • Entering magnified Live View immediately exits; the camera senses that the aperture is being changed.
  • Taking an exposure won’t work;. The aperture readout in the camera flickers, as if the camera is continually seeing an aperture change.

I conclude that the aperture-sensing mechanism inside the lens is flaky.

These symptoms were happening intermittently but now they are more or less constant, so a lens comparison I shot just a few days ago was viable with several efforts. But I was unable to get the lens to work yesterday.

I suppose the contacts could be masked over for temporary use so that the lens acts like a "dumb" lens, but this needs to be fixed.

Classic all-mechanical lenses like the original Zeiss ZF series were pretty awesome in having essentially zero points of electronic failure, unlike “chipped” lenses (all current Zeiss offerings, Sony, Sigma, almost everything). Modern cameras systems have failure designed-in, since elecronics never last for decades; sooner or later parts go bad.

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