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Request for Feedback: How Best to Partition my Publication Offerings? (updated with addendum and reader comments)

First off, let me thank every subscriber, particularly those that subscribe to the “everything” deal, a flat yearly fee of $200/year for any logged-in subscriber (or $250 for new subscribers). That level of support makes all partitioning issues moot.

I am looking for strictly well considered thoughtful feedback on what follows. Be sure to read the final section before sending feedback, as it captures my current thoughts on restructuring.

diglloyd publications, March 2019

For years I have partitioned my by-subscription publication offerings into categories. For a decade I have adhered to a logical framework which makes for a clear-cut organization for clarity on what to subscribe to.

This partitioning no longer suffices what with virtually everything going mirrorless even while interest in DSLR cameras and lenses drops to a barely perceptible heartbeat (from the standpoint of new subscribers). In the future, nearly all my work will be in mirrorless or medium format because the industry has almost completed that transition.

I would greatly prefer one flat fee as I do now ($200 for any subscriber, $250 initially), but that I have found is too high a price for those looking for only a few things about lenses or cameras. Nor can I see things remaining viable by cutting my prices drastically—years of feedback show that there this does not make up for the price reduction (quip: “we lose money on every sale, but we make it upon volume”).

To continue with the existing partitioning would mean (mostly) one giant publication (diglloyd Mirrorless) containing nearly all new gear (mirrorless) of all brands. That means inflexibility in pricing. It benefits no one to have a single price perceived as too high for a narrow area of interest (“I’m just interested in Sony”); it discourages new customers. A lower price means finding other employment, as years of experience tells me that a lower price does not drive sufficient volume for a boutique business like mine.

Summarizing the current partitioning of publication (by subscription) content

This is a summary, for details and the organizational logic involved see Which Content is in WHICH PUBLICATION for my logic on what goes where.

Ideas I am considering for new partitioning/organization

These are some of these ideas I am considering and not considering.

I am not considering a fine-grained a-la-carte approach, as this has serious organizational and confusional/frustrational drawbacks (cross-linking and similar, shopping cart, which to buy, brands of lenses for the same mount, etc). I am not considering mingling medium format with Sony mirrorless or similar.

The following publications make sense unchanged or largely so:

  • diglloydMedium Format — no change, all medium format as now.
  • diglloyd Zeiss DSLR Lenses — no change, all Zeiss DSLR lenses as now.
  • diglloyd Advanced DSLR — Move workflow and anything about post processing or shooting technique into Making Sharp Images. Retain existing DSLR camera and DSLR lens reviews (even if adapted to mirrorless). [In the case of Nikon and Canon, one could argue to merge DSLR stuff with the same-brand mirrorless stuff, but that would gut it and leave it severely weakened to the point where it doesn’t make sense. Nor do I see mirrorless shooters having much interest in DSLR cameras or lenses looking out a year or two. Better to retain its integrity.]
  • diglloyd Making Sharp Images —same, except incorporate workflow material from diglloyd Advanced DSLR.
  • diglloyd Leica — same, except remove the Leica SL content into diglloyd L-Mount Mirrorless.

A variant of the above given the manufacturer support of Canon and Nikon for their DSLR lenses is to lump together “clean path” transitions together, e.g., Canon DSLR and mirrorless, Nikon DSLR and mirrorless. But what to do with what is left in DAP like Pentax, which cannot stand on its own, or Voigtlander lenses, etc. The organizing principle of DSLR lenses makes more sense to me on the whole. OTOH, a Canon EOS R user with a stable of Canon EF lenses would likely disagree. I see that.

Possible restructuring

Partitioning would to the extent feasible preserve access for current subscribers to current content / brands, with the possible exception of the new area e.g., the L-mount consortium (but “everything” is always everything).

Pricing would be adjusted since each area would be more focused.

diglloyd Mirrorless Cameras

Partition existing content by brand(s) or mount type.

For example, {Sony mirrorless, Nikon mirrorless, Canon mirrorless, L-Mount consortium, Fujifilm mirrorless, Micro Four Thirds}. That would allow pricing flexibility of several kinds, and also provide valuable feedback on what to focus on. A simplified variant of this would be to group some brands together, e.g., Nikon + Canon, Sony + Fujifilm. That is somewhat arbitrary and I’m not sure it makes sense for that reason, but it would reduce the offerings from six to four.

Cross-brand comparisons would be organized at a separate area where, for example, a comparison of Nikon Z to Sony FE would require subscription to both.

diglloyd Leica

Retain existing focus so that Leica M and Leica Q and all M-mount lenses remain. The key and not very significant change would be to move the Leica SL coverage into diglloyd L-Mount Mirrorless.

Contact Lloyd with feedback.

Addendum

This side is surely a boutique and unique business. Do you want to see it continue? I like what I do and want to keep doing it. I gratefully thank everyone who subscribes, but particularly all those who subscribe for the fixed-rate everything deal.

This is a high stakes stressful decision for me. The wrong choice could spell the end of my business entirely e.g., not being able to pay my mortgage (literally). So I cannot take risks that have the potential to undercut revenue; I have no financial buffer at all. Thus I am not receptive to “everything for half the price” ideas.

Note to readers who dislike ads: without them, this site would cease to exist, so blocking them is understandable, but works against me, not with me.

Radical alternative #1: half price for one month

A radical and risky alternative might be to have all-or-none, offering one-time-one-month or yearly subscription. The issue there I see is timed/delayed subscribing, reading everything and coming back a year or two later and repeating. Very high risk: a low price might precipitate a revenue crisis without a corresponding bump up in subscribers—yikes.

Radical alternative #2: all or nothing

All or nothing for $150/year. I don’t know how many first-timers I would lose due to the price; it would have to be offset by an increase in renewals. Risk unknown, makes me nervous.

Radical alternative #3: sponsorship with a twist

Free of charge, but $50 a year or something like that for access to high-res images (for revenue reasons and to reduce abuse and image theft). Major sponsorship required with multi-year contract, the downside being an ad presence on all pages. This is my most preferred alternative as I would love to have my work exposed to a far larger audience. It is also a low-risk path if a suitable agreement can be reached.

Reader feedback

I would summarize reader feedback in several ways. Please excuse me if I have misunderstood or mischaracterized anyone who took the time to write—thank you.

  • Area of usage/area of applicability seem to me (and some readers) most relevant. For example there is little relation between Fujifilm X and Fujifilm GFX other than F-u-j-i-f-i-l-m. I don’t see brand name as a viable organizing principle without additional factors; Fujifilm GFX is much more suited to Medium Format—totally different audience. Similarly, diglloyd Zeiss is only Zeiss DSLR lenses, which can be shot on just about anything, though initially only on CaNikon DSLRs—that area exists separately as a specialty area.
  • Some readers advise that brand is what matters which I think comes down to a speciously simple idea, the spelling: C-a-n-o-n or N-i-k-o-n or S-o-n-y means that that brand stuff goes with that brand partition. There is some validity to that for Canon and Nikon because of their excellent transition path (lens adapters). But it breaks down in several ways: Zeiss makes mirrorless, DSLR and rangefinder lenses. Zeiss Loxia (Sony only) falls only into Sony mirrorless interest, just as Zeiss ZM associates only to Leica M. What if Sony creates a medium format camera? Similarly, Fujifilm X is a radically different area than Fujifilm GFX which properly is part of Medium Format. Brand alone is not a good organizing principle.
  • For years I have seen that there is some degree of confusion on the current partitioning. I hesitate to do anything that makes it harder to understand. Easier or harder to understand does not a priori mean more or fewer offerings, only that clarity is needed on each. But I would say that at some point, too many offerings is hopelessly confusing. It also means that easily stated organizing principles are the only hope to make it understandable.
  • The fact that a lens can be adapted to another platform would lead a disorganized mess, since some lenses can go on just about any camera of any format size. This is why lenses have always associated with their native mount, or been placed in their own specialty area (e.g., Zeiss DSLR or Zeiss ZM in Leica). The weak area in this argument are Canon and Nikon DSLR lenses because of the excellent manufacturer transitional support.
  • Some readers are already annoyed at partitioning. Most solve that via the already-available flat yearly fee of $200/year for any logged-in subscriber (or $250 for new subscribers). My thanks. Some want more for the same price (e.g., DAP and Zeiss for the price of one), a sentiment I understand (value) but there is no value to anyone in going out of business. Thus as I see it, partitioning is not really the issue, it’s a comment on pricing.
  • One reader suggested a partition similar to diglloyd Zeiss for Sigma lenses, given that so many are now multi-platform rejiggered versions of the same design. Many more are coming and maybe they will also be the same opticla design for all mirrorless. I am pondering that, but it has issues, like DSLR vs native designs and who knows what else (medium format Sigma lenses?). I think the best albeit imperfect answer remains the same: a lens goes into the publication for its native mount. Just because a lens shares the same optical design is not IMO a strong argument e.g., Zeiss Loxia 35/2 vs Zeiss ZM 35/2 are the same optical design (Loxia tweaked slightly), but totally different platforms.

MacPerformanceGuide.com

Reprocessing Fujifilm GFX-50S Images with Moiré and Color Aliasing Issue using Adobe Camera Raw Enhance Details

See Adobe Camera Raw “Enhance Details” Feature: How it Works and How to Use It.

The biggest weakness in image quality with the Fujifilm GFX-50S (and Fujifilm GFX-50R) has been moiré and color aliasing, badly damaging the pixel quality with some images and in some cases polluting the color even over broad areas.

In the previous post, I wrote that “the Adobe Camera Raw Enhance Details Feature is the most significant feature introduced in Photoshop/Lightroom in a long time...”

This reprocessed page with Standard/Enhanced crops proves that out in a compelling way. In diglloyd Medium Format:

Fujifilm GFX-50S: Moiré and Color Aliasing (plus Adobe Camera Raw Enhance Details)

Includes half a dozen varied crops that tell a compelling story. If you’re not using this feature, it’s time to start using it!

Compatibility: macOS 10.13 or later or Windows 10 October 2018 update or later.

Adobe Camera Raw “Enhance Details” Feature: standard (left) vs Enhanced (right)
f4.5 @ 1/600 sec, ISO 100; 2017-03-31 17:52:03
[location “Cerro Gordo Mines”, altitude 8500 ft / 2591 m, 50°F / 10°C, LACA corrected]
GFX 50S + Fujifilm GF 63mm f/2.8 R WR @ 50mm equiv (63mm)

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Adobe Camera Raw “Enhance Details” Feature: Most Important Raw Converter Feature in Years, My Suggestion to Adobe for UI Fix

See Adobe Camera Raw “Enhance Details” Feature: How it Works and How to Use It.

Having used it for over a month now, my view is that the Adobe Camera Raw “Enhance Details” Feature is the most significant feature introduced in Photoshop/Lightroom in a long time, possibly ever if one excludes core features assumed present anyway. Which in my view means that Adobe Camera Raw is the only raw converter I would consider at this point in time for my work.

The Enhance Details feature practically eliminates moiré and always improves the image at least subtly, and sometimes handsomely. A feature that “just works” is a huge win.

Compatibility: macOS 10.13 or later or Windows 10 October 2018 update or later.

Continues below...

 
Adobe Camera Raw “Enhance Details” Feature

My Suggestion to Adobe

As far as I can tell, the Enhance Details feature has only one downside: the workflow hassle of extra steps and unwanted huge intermediary files. But that flaw be fixed with a simple interface change (a single checkbox).

I’ve written to my contact at Adobe twice now requesting this change, who has promised to forward my view to the developer of the feature:

First, kudos on a GREAT feature. Enhance Details seems to have no downsides! Awesome!

Not so good: inserting hassle into workflow: constant hassle of having to take the time to generate enhanced DNG files and later delete them. Make it a checkbox that is a part of the normal workflow. I don't care if it slows down the conversion and I most definitely do not want the huge files.

I encourage anyone of like mind to contact Adobe, citing this blog post and affirming its suggestion.

Suggested change to user interface for Adobe Camera Raw “Enhance Details” Feature
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Sigma 28mm f/1.4 DG HSM Aperture Series: Orange Poppies (Nikon D850)

See my Sigma SLR lenses wishlist at B&H Photo.

This pair of aperture series near MOD (Minimum Object Distance) evaluates sharpness and bokeh and secondary color.

Sigma 28mm f/1.4 DG HSM Aperture Series: Orange Poppies (Nikon D850)

Includes images up to full camera resolution from f/1.4 through f/4 and f/1.4 through f/6.3.

Orange Poppies
f1.4 @ 1/200 sec, ISO 100; 2019-03-18 17:55:23
[altitude 500 ft / 152 m, 58°F / 14°C, LACA corrected, Enhance Details]
NIKON D850 + Sigma 28mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art

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Orange Poppies
f1.4 @ 1/125 sec, ISO 100; 2019-03-18 18:02:22
[altitude 500 ft / 152 m, 58°F / 14°C, LACA corrected, Enhance Details]
NIKON D850 + Sigma 28mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art

[low-res image for bot]

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Sigma 28mm f/1.4 DG HSM Aperture Series: Road Grader, Alabama Hills (Nikon D850)

See my Sigma SLR lenses wishlist at B&H Photo.

This close-medium range series evaluates lens performance from f/1.4 through f/13, including sharpness, color correction, focus shift, bokeh.

Sigma 28mm f/1.4 DG HSM Aperture Series: Road Grader (Nikon D850)

Includes images up to full camera resolution from f/1.4 through f/13.

Grader, Alabama Hills
f1.4 @ 1/3200 sec, ISO 31; 2019-03-04 12:38:01
[location “Alabama Hills”, altitude 4600 ft / 1402 m, 55°F / 12°C, Enhance Details, LACA corrected]
NIKON D850 + Sigma 28mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art

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Pentax HD FA 50mm f/1.4 SDM Examples: Night Shooting (Pentax K1 II)

See my Pentax K wishlist at B&H Photo.

These examples shot in the White Mountains of California, Laws Railroad Museum, and also near Reno, NV.

Pentax HD FA 50mm f/1.4 SDM AW Examples: Night Shooting

Includes images up to full camera resolution.

f8 @ 8.0 sec, ISO 100; 2018-11-27 17:10:44
[location “Laws Railroad Museum”, altitude 4000 ft / 1219 m, 45°F / 7°C, LACA corrected]
PENTAX K-1 Mark II + Pentax HD FA 50mm f/1.4 SDM AW

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Pentax HD FA 50mm f/1.4 SDM Examples: White Mountains (Pentax K1 II)

See my Pentax K wishlist at B&H Photo.

These examples shot in the White Mountains of California late in the day to night. Some examples use pixel shift and some do not. Includes some astrophotography and dusk shots as well as daylight.

Pentax HD FA 50mm f/1.4 SDM AW Examples: White Mountains

Includes images up to full camera resolution.

Pixel shift mode on the Pentax K-1 Mark II can be a godsend for images like the one below, which required considerable contrast control. While it often has issues from subject motion and is thus inapplicable, when it works, it halves the noise level, which makes for ultra low noise even with aggressive contrast control where deep shadows are opened up. The noise is far superior to the Nikon D850 or Nikon Z7, including a freedom from hot pixels.

Ancient Bristlecone Pine just after sunset
f9 @ 3.0 sec PixelShift, ISO 100; 2018-11-25 16:54:38
[location “White Mountain Road”, altitude 10600 ft / 3231 m, 35°F / 1°C, USM{8,50,0}, LACA corrected]
PENTAX K-1 Mark II + Pentax HD FA 50mm f/1.4 SDM AW

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It can be a challenge to capture the rising earth shadow due to contrast. Here, the use of pixel shift provided the ultimate in detail along with ultra noise.

Earth shadow rising, view down Wyman Canyon
f6.3 @ 0.5 sec PixelShift, ISO 100; 2018-11-25 16:46:48
[location “White Mountain Road”, altitude 10300 ft / 3139 m, 30°F / -1°C, LACA corrected, USM{8,50,0}, "Earth shadow rising, view down Wyman Canyon"]
PENTAX K-1 Mark II + Pentax HD FA 50mm f/1.4 SDM AW

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Orange sunset light on ancient bristlecone pine stump
f13 @ 1/40 sec PixelShift, ISO 100; 2018-11-25 16:12:24
[location “Whit Mountain Road”, altitude 10650 ft / 3246 m, 38°F / 3°C, diffraction mitigating sharpening, LACA corrected, USM{8,50,0}]
PENTAX K-1 Mark II + Pentax HD FA 50mm f/1.4 SDM AW

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Extreme blue after sunset, looking south along the White Mountains
f2 @ 1/80 sec handheld, ISO 100; 2018-11-29 16:34:47
[location “White Mountains”, altitude 8000 ft / 2438 m, 25°F / -3°C, LACA corrected]
PENTAX K-1 Mark II + Pentax HD FA 50mm f/1.4 SDM AW

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Donald S writes:

I know that you are very busy and I value your blog for all of it’s first rate information!!! I hope that you have just a moment for a compliment. I now live in Indianapolis but grew up in SoCal and made many trips to Mammoth for skiing, fishing, etc.. Your excellent pictures bring back many memories of those trips. I especially like your recent one titled: “View from White Mountain Road to Deep Springs after fresh snowfall”. I’ve always been on the other side looking at the White Mountains, and they don’t look quite like that!

I hope you can continue your work. Many items are a little expensive for me now, but I like to know what is possible.

DIGLLOYD: the image is unusual in that I think hardly anyone would shoot it, and yet it captures two places closely related at once under wildly different conditions and ecosystems and with a rare quilt of snow covering it just right. The White Mountains look barren from a distance, but there is a lot there to see. Pity not more water though.

View from White Mountain Road to Deep Springs after fresh snowfall
f1.4 @ 1/5000 sec, ISO 100; 2018-11-29 14:05:36
[location “White Mountain Road”, altitude 8000 ft / 2438 m, Enhance Details]
PENTAX K-1 Mark II + Pentax HD FA 50mm f/1.4 SDM AW

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Pentax HD FA 50mm f/1.4 SDM AW Aperture Series: View to Silver Peak from White Mountain Road (Pentax K1 II)

See my Pentax K wishlist at B&H Photo.

This demanding scene at far distance is a challenge for any lens. It is an excellent demonstration of the optical performance of the Pentax HD FA 50mm f/1.4 SDM AW, which is really good on this scene but with a slight symmetry problem, which was also seen in View South Over Fresh Snow to Deep Springs.

Includes images up to full camera resolution from f/1.4 through f/11. Shot with pixel shift for maximum detail, which is indeed maximal.

Pentax HD FA 50mm f/1.4 SDM AW Aperture Series: View to Silver Peak from White Mountain Road

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

View to Silver Peak communications towers from White Mountain Road
f1.4 @ 1/2000 sec PixelShift, ISO 100; 2018-11-25 15:59:07
[location “White Mountain Road”, altitude 10500 ft / 3200 m, 32°F / 0°C, LACA corrected]
PENTAX K-1 Mark II + Pentax HD FA 50mm f/1.4 SDM AW

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Pentax K-1 Mark II: Using Pixel Shift with Focus Stacking

See my Pentax K wishlist at B&H Photo.

In my review of the Pentax K-1 Mark II, I’ve added a focus stacking example in both color and black and white with the frames using pixel shift. When there is no motion, pixel shift is just tremendous: no detectable noise along with incredible per-pixel detail free of aliasing and moiré.

Pentax K-1 Mark II: Overview/Comparison of Resolving Power with Pixel Shift

Includes images up to full camera resolution.

One of the most selective colleges in the country lies in the valley yonder—Deep Springs College.

Old bed springs
f11 @ 15.0 sec PixelShift, ISO 100; 2018-11-26 15:22:44
[location “Cottonwood Canyon, old ranching cabin”, altitude 8500 ft / 2591 m, 35°F / 1°C, LACA corrected, diffraction mitigating sharpening, USM{12,50,0}, focus stack 5 frames]
PENTAX K-1 Mark II + Pentax HD FA 50mm f/1.4 SDM AW

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Pentax HD FA 50mm f/1.4 SDM AW Aperture Series: View South Over Fresh Snow on White Mountains to Deep Springs (Pentax K1 II)

See my Pentax K wishlist at B&H Photo.

This demanding scene at far distance is a challenge for any lens. It is an excellent demonstration of the optical performance of the Pentax HD FA 50mm f/1.4 SDM AW.

Pentax HD FA 50mm f/1.4 SDM AW Aperture Series: View South Over Fresh Snow on White Mountains to Deep Springs

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

One of the most selective colleges in the country lies in the valley yonder—Deep Springs College.

View from White Mountain Road to Deep Springs after fresh snowfalls
f1.4 @ 1/5000 sec, ISO 100; 2018-11-29 14:05:36
[location “White Mountain Road”, altitude 8000 ft / 2438 m, Enhance Details]
PENTAX K-1 Mark II + Pentax HD FA 50mm f/1.4 SDM AW

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Pentax HD FA 50mm f/1.4 SDM AW Aperture Series: Backlit Bristlecone at Sunset (Pentax K1 II)

See my Pentax K wishlist at B&H Photo.

This aperture series shows from f/1.4 through f/13 puts the Pentax HD FA 50mm f/1.4 SDM AW into a tough shooting situation, taxing its flare control and contrast, and color correction. Observations are made on why a really highly corrected lens is preferred versus just “good” correction as in the Pentax 50/1.4.

Pentax HD FA 50mm f/1.4 SDM AW Aperture Series: Backlit Bristlecone at Sunset

Includes images up to full camera resolution from f/1.4 through f/13.

Backlit bristlecone at sunset, White Mountain Road
f4.5 @ 1/160 sec, ISO 100; 2018-11-25 16:35:22
[location “White Mountain Road, big hump”, altitude 10600 ft / 3231 m, 35°F / 1°C, LACA corrected]
PENTAX K-1 Mark II + Pentax HD FA 50mm f/1.4 SDM AW

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See also OWC ThunderBlade Gen 2: up to 8TB SSD, Runs Cooler and Faster at Lower Cost and Banishing the Drone of Spinning Hard Drives: and Fans: Moving to 8TB OWC Thunderblade SSD.

I value both speed and silent operation when I work and finally the product has come along that gets both done for me with no compromise.

I now use the internal SSD plus the 8TB OWC Thunderblade SSD while I work, not having to listen to any fan noise or spinning hard drives. A nice bonus is that I save power (electricity) as well. More units can be daisy-chained for more capacity.

I still use hard drives extensively but they are now relegated to overflow storage for years-old work, and backups. See my discussion of tiered storage in Banishing the Drone of Spinning Hard Drives: and Fans: Moving to 8TB OWC Thunderblade SSD.

High speed over 8TB

Below, this is about as fast as a Thunderbolt 3 SSD can go (2.7 GB/sec). The speed is jaw-dropping across the entire 8TB of capacity for both reads and writes.

OWC Thunderblade Thunderbolt 3 SSD: Sustained Transfer Speed

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OWC Thunderblade Thunderbolt 3 SSD: Speed vs Transfer Size

OWC Thunderblade 8TB Thunderbolt 3 SSD: speed across the full 8TB of capacity

Pentax HD D FA 24-70mm f/2.8 SDM ED Aperture Series @ 29mm: Backlit Sprinter on White Mountain Road (Pentax K-1 II)

See my Pentax K wishlist at B&H Photo. Deep discounts are seen on Pentax K-1 Mark II and lenses today.

This medium range aperture series at 29mm shows why it is important to account for the field curvature at 24mm and at 40mm, namely, that the usual assumptions about focus placement need to be substantially modified to obtain full sharpness. A discussion is included of how to to do and thus reliably obtain higher total sharpness for any obliquely-shot scene like this.

Pentax HD DFA 24-70mm f/2.8 SDM ED Aperture Series @ 29mm: Backlit Sprinter on White Mountain Road

Includes images up to full camera resolution from f/2.8 through f/9.

f2.8 @ 1/4000 sec, ISO 100; 2018-11-29 12:29:42
[location “White Mountain Road”, altitude 7500 ft / 2286 m, 35°F / 1°C, Enhance Details, LACA corrected, USM{20,50,0}]
PENTAX K-1 Mark II + HD PENTAX-D FA 24-70mm F2.8ED SDM WR @ 29mm

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Pentax HD FA 50mm f/1.4 SDM AW Examples: Late Day and Night, White Mountains (Pentax K1 II)

See my Pentax K wishlist at B&H Photo.

I’ve added some examples for the Pentax HD FA 50mm f/1.4 SDM AW, shot in the White Mountains of California.

Pentax HD FA 50mm f/1.4 SDM AW Examples: White Mountains

Includes images up to full camera resolution.

f2 @ 1/80 sec handheld, ISO 100; 2018-11-29 16:34:47
[location “White Mountains”, altitude 8000 ft / 2438 m, 25°F / -3°C, LACA corrected]
PENTAX K-1 Mark II + Pentax HD FA 50mm f/1.4 SDM AW

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Pentax HD D FA 24-70mm f/2.8 SDM ED Aperture Series @ 24mm: Sunset over Snowy Landscape, White Mountains View to Sierra Nevada (Pentax K-1 II)

See my Pentax K wishlist at B&H Photo. Deep discounts are seen on Pentax K-1 Mark II and lenses today.

This medium to far distance aperture series shows the performance range of the Pentax HD D FA 24-70mm f/2.8 SDM ED WR at 24mm from f/2.8 through f/13 on the Pentax K-1 II.

The issues here are field curvature and peripheral forward focus shift. Guidance is given on how to use the lens to its best given those behaviors.

Pentax HD DFA 24-70mm f/2.8 SDM ED Aperture Series @ 24mm: Sunset over Snowy Landscape, White Mountains View to Sierra Nevada

Includes images up to full camera resolution from f/2.8 through f/13.

f9 @ 1/400 sec, ISO 100; 2018-11-29 15:48:06
[location “White Mountains”, altitude 8800 ft / 2682 m, 25°F / -3°C, Enhance Details, LACA corrected]
PENTAX K-1 Mark II + HD PENTAX-D FA 24-70mm F2.8ED SDM WR @ 24mm

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Pentax HD D FA 24-70mm f/2.8 SDM ED Aperture Series @ 40mm: Snowy Landscape at Dusk, View Towards Big Pine (Pentax K-1 II)

See my Pentax K wishlist at B&H Photo. Deep discounts are seen on Pentax K-1 Mark II and lenses today.

This medium to far distance aperture series shows the performance range of the Pentax HD D FA 24-70mm f/2.8 SDM ED WR at 40mm from f/2.8 through f/11 on the Pentax K-1 II. A pixel shift series was shot but not used due to too many checkerboarding issues.

The issues here are field curvature and peripheral forward focus shift.

Pentax HD DFA 24-70mm f/2.8 SDM ED Aperture Series @ 40mm: Snowy Landscape at Dusk, View Towards Big Pine

Includes images up to full camera resolution from f/2.8 through f/11.

f9 @ 1/8 sec, ISO 100; 2018-11-29 16:24:41
[location “White Mountain Road”, altitude 8000 ft / 2438 m, 25°F / -3°C, diffraction mitigating sharpening, LACA corrected]
PENTAX K-1 Mark II + HD PENTAX-D FA 24-70mm F2.8ED SDM WR @ 40mm

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Up to 1527MB/s sustained performance

Pentax HD D FA 24-70mm f/2.8 SDM ED Aperture Series @ 63mm: Snowy Landscape at Dusk, White Mountain Road (Pentax K-1 II)

See my Pentax K wishlist at B&H Photo. Deep discounts are seen on Pentax K-1 Mark II and lenses today.

This far distance aperture series shows the full performance range of the Pentax HD D FA 24-70mm f/2.8 SDM ED WR at 63mm from f/2.8 through f/11 using pixel shift on the Pentax K-1 II. Detail rendition is just stunning with a little stopping down.

A scene like this is extremely demanding for any lens revealing the slightest weakness or asymmetry. When a lens delivers under these conditions, it’s a keeper.

Pentax HD DFA 24-70mm f/2.8 SDM ED Aperture Series @ 63mm: Snowy Landscape at Dusk, White Mountain Road

Includes images up to full camera resolution from f/2.8 through f/11.

At about $997 after $300 rebate, the Pentax HD D FA 24-70mm f/2.8ED SDM WR is steal. Ditto for the Pentax K-1 Mark II which delivers incredible detail with ultra low noise when using pixel shift.

f2.8 @ 1/125 sec PixelShift, ISO 100; 2018-11-29 16:19:52
[location “White Mountain Road”, altitude 8300 ft / 2530 m, 25°F / -3°C, LACA corrected]
PENTAX K-1 Mark II + HD PENTAX-D FA 24-70mm F2.8ED SDM WR @ 63mm

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OWC Mercury Elite Pro Dual 16TB
Up to 24TB

FAST USB 3.1 gen 1 interface +
eSATA + RAID stripe or mirror or independent drives.

Pentax HD FA 50mm f/1.4 SDM AW Aperture Series: Moots Mooto X YBB MTB (Pentax K1 II)

See my Pentax K wishlist at B&H Photo.

This close range aperture series shows the full performance range of the Pentax HD FA 50mm f/1.4 SDM AW from f/1.4 through f/16 using pixel shift. In spite of the exceptionally flat lighting, textural rendition is stunningly good.

This series is also an outstanding demonstration of the dulling effects of diffraction: dulling starts subtly at f/8 and the dulling accelerates from the.

Pentax HD FA 50mm f/1.4 SDM AW Aperture Series: Moots Mooto X YBB MTB

Includes images up to full camera resolution from f/1.4 through f/16.

f5.6 @ 1/20 sec, ISO 100; 2018-11-26 16:05:27
PENTAX K-1 Mark II + Pentax HD FA 50mm f/1.4 SDM AW

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World of Panasonic

Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 DG HSM Sports Panorama: Clouds at Sunrise, Alabama Hills and Mt Whitney Range

See my Sigma SLR lenses wishlist at B&H Photo.

I’ve added twp 240 megapixel 9/10-frame stitched panoramas to the examples posted about 10 days ago in Mt Whitney and Alabama Hills, Pre-Dawn to Early Sun.

Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 DG HSM Sports Examples: Mt Whitney and Alabama Hills, Pre-Dawn to Early Sun

These panoramas are spectactular, but really need an 8K display at the minimum or a 15 X 5 foot print where it would still be 153 dpi. At the least, view it on an Apple iMac 5K. I have no space for such an image as a print, but it would be awfully nice to see it at that size. Check out the climbing anchors on top of the spike at center in the full-res version!

My thoughts with such results is that there is no need for medium format; dynamic range of the Nikon D850 is just about as good, and it’s faster and asier to operate a 70-200 on 35mm than on medium format.

Clouds and light on the Alabama Hills and Mt Whitney range north
f9 @ 1/25 sec, ISO 64; 2019-03-08 06:24:59
[location “Alabama Hills”, altitude 4600 ft / 1402 m, 40°F / 4°C, USM{10,50,0}, LACA corrected, "looking northwest", diffraction mitigating sharpening, panorama 9 frames]
NIKON D850 + Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 DG OS HSM Sports @ 200mm

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First light on Mt Whitney Range from Alabama Hills
f8 @ 8.0 sec, ISO 64; 2019-03-08 05:49:47
[location “Alabama Hills”, altitude 4600 ft / 1402 m, 40°F / 4°C, panorama 10 frames, LACA corrected]
NIKON D850 + Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 DG OS HSM Sports @ 135mm

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Sony FE 400mm f/2.8 GM OSS
Only 6.4 lb / 2.9 kg! 3 Fluorite Elements, 1 ED Element, nano coating, 11 blade diaphragm, weather sealed

Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 DG HSM Art Aperture Series @ 24mm: Alabama Hills Rainstorm Creek (Nikon D850)

See my Sigma SLR lenses wishlist at B&H Photo.

This aperture series at distance shows the performance the Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 DG HSM Art at 70mm from f2.8 through f/11.

This series is shown reluctantly, mainly for confirmation of the very poor performance seen at the other focal lengths: badly blurred edges. Here at 70mm it is at its worst.

Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 DG HSM Art Aperture Series @ 70mm: Alabama Hills Alabama Hills View to Snow-Covered White Mountains

Includes images from f/2.8 through f/11 along at up to full camera resolution.

Companies that allow seriously out of whack lenses to ship to customers deserve scorn as it does serious damage to a photographer’s work: my reward for all the hours spent in non-repeatable rare conditions is crap-grade images. There is no recovery from that. I cannot go back and repeat a once-a-year storm conditions, the snow way down the mountains slopes, water in the dry creekbed, etc. All of the material I shot is damaged by this poor performance. Shame on Sigma for letting a sample like this ship to customers.

This image is not my favorite at all, but it shows the poor performance well.

Alabama Hills view to Snow-Covered White Mountains
f8 @ 1/80 sec, ISO 64; 2019-03-06 13:06:20
NIKON D850 + Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 DG HSM Art @ 70mm

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James K writes:

Your Sigma 24-70mm shot is not even iPhone quality. What a piece of junk. What a waste of your valuable time. I just returned 3 copies of their 16mm f/1.4 MFT lenses because they couldn’t auto focus accurately. One of the copies was sent to me directly from Sigma and that lens had such poor quality at f/1.4 and f/2 that I could’t believe my eyes. Pure crap, worse than your 24-70mm by a mile.

Sigma quality control is terrible. I will not buy any of their products again.

DIGLLOYD: well, I won’t go that far (“iPhone quality”). But shooting raw on the iPhone delivers hugely better results than the garbage that Apple’s JPEGs provide.

I wonder what is going on with Sigma quality control. I had not had such troubles with many Sigma DG HSM Art lenses. James K has had a lot of trouble recently.

Jason W writes:

So the 24-70 2.8 DG HSM sample here is clearly atrocious, but how would you characterize Sigma's general quality control versus Nikon, Canon or Fuji?

With the Fujifilm GFX, you had a 110mm sample that was even worse than what we're seeing here and I rarely hear complaints about their lenses. I worry some might throw the baby out with the bathwater, as Sigma has loads of word class glass.

DIGLLOYD: I’ve had very good luck with Sigma DG HSM Art lenses to date. I actually went and shot some test series with the Zeiss Milvus 25mm f/1.4 to rule out some kind of Nikon D850 camera sensor alignment issue, because the Sigma 28m f/1.4 DG HSM Art was also off a bit and the Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 DG HSM Sports needs a lot of stopping down. I could find no issue at all with the Milvus 25/1.4, which establishes the camera as OK. I don’t know what to think at this point.

Zeiss Batis Autofocus Lenses for Sony Mirrorless
$1169 SAVE $130 = 10.0% ZEISS 25mm f/2 Batis in Lenses: Mirrorless
$1079 SAVE $120 = 10.0% ZEISS 85mm f/1.8 Batis in Lenses: Mirrorless
$1529 SAVE $170 = 10.0% ZEISS 135mm f/2.8 Batis in Lenses: Mirrorless

B&H Photo Deals of the Week

A few notes:

  • The upcoming Panasonic S1R and Panasonic S1 are being promoted with a battery and battery grip included free (claimed $435 value).
  • 31% off a 2017 MacBook Pro is about a deep a discount as I’ve ever seen on a Mac. The 2018 MacBook Pro is a notably better machine, so if you need the best, stick with the 2018 model.
  • I tried the Sony Digital Paper System and the screen is great. If you want a big highly readable tablet for this sort of stuff, it’s excellent.

Looking for more deals? Bookmark my Top Deals pages, so you can scan quickly by brand name for top deals for that brand.

B&H Photos Deals of the Week March 11-18
$998 SAVE $400 = 28.0% Sony a7 II Mirrorless in Cameras: Mirrorless
$2798 SAVE $400 = 12.0% Sony a7R III Mirrorless in Cameras: Mirrorless
$3998 SAVE $500 = 11.0% Sony a9 Mirrorless in Cameras: Mirrorless
$1169 SAVE $130 = 10.0% ZEISS 25mm f/2 Batis in Lenses: Mirrorless
Upgrade Your Mac Memory
At much lower cost than Apple, with more options.
Lloyd recommends 64GB for iMac or Mac Pro for photography/videography.

Reader Comments: Just How Does the 2018 Mac mini Pan Out When Deploying for Professional Use?

See my Mac wishlist.

Consult with Lloyd on computing performance issues or choice of Mac and its setup, backup strategy and more!

My post Moving from a 2010 Mac Pro to Newer Mac such as 2018 Mac mini generated additional reader comments, all positive.

Peter A writes:

How do the older Mac Pro's compare to the 2018 Mac Mini in tests like this? I've been using the following 2 machines. 2010 cMP 3.46GHz 6-core, 64GB ram, 1TB SSBUX SSD (1000MB/s from MacBook Pro) 2013 nMP 3.5GHz 6-core, 64GB ram, 1TB internal SSD

I mainly have huge photoshop files, 6GB-30GB 8bit with hundreds of layers. Converting the document to 16bit is my biggest headache as I have to do this every time I save a flat. Working in 16bit is just too slow. I need to add another machine and was wondering if a 2018 Mac Mini would be up to the task.

DIGLLOYD: how do... not well. For starters, the Mac mini SSD is about 3X (or at least 2X) faster than the SSD in the 2013 Mac Pro (depends on build version).

Peter A says “I read this on your blog when you first posted it several years ago. Unfortunately my file ended up 270GB!”.

Why 64GB Memory Matters, and Why It Might Not Be Enough

For files that greatly exceed what 64GB can handle, any machine that can take 128GB memory will easily outpace any machine that can take only 64GB. The iMac Pro is the right choice for that need as of March 2019.

It amazes me that Photoshop users still cripple performance via the wrong settings, but I blame Adobe for poorly executed interface, as it is not at all obvious, and not even offered as an option in the Save As dialog:

Optimization for Photoshop Users: Speed up Save/Open by up to 20X

Below, for 64GB memory, you can save about $200 by using slighty slower 2400 MHz DDR4 SO-DIMM PC4-19200 memory instead of 2666MHZ DDR4 SO-DIMM PC4-21300. It’s not likely to make more than a 5% speed difference, and usually much less.

Marco R writes:

Hi, I’m a freelance consultant and in my work I usually try to suggest the most powerful configuration my customers can afford considering workloads and budget limitations. I have many clients that in the near future will have to transition from old fashion Mac Pros to something new but sooner than the next Mac Pro will materialize. I rarely consider the iMac Pro because of the hefty price tag and also tend to offer iMacs (always rigorously maxed out) only where color precision is not mandatory. That means that I mostly work with 2013 Mac Pros with OWC enhancements and EIZO monitors.

Well, this scenario changed when Apple finally released the new 2018 Mac mini. As soon as you wrote your assessment of the new 2018 Mac mini I knew I had a valid alternative for the situations where 64 Gb RAM is enough and an Apple monitor is no good. When MacWorld UK published their review I decided to give the new machine a try and suggested an advertising agency to change 4 of their battered cheese graters with 4 maxed out Mac minis.

I’m talking of a workgroup that I had in the years continuously kept in shape with additions of RAM, SSDs and RAID HD configurations (following your advice…) In the end they all had 32 Gb RAM and Accelsior boot SSDs, but always more complex Adobe CC and Microsoft Powerpoint files started to reduce efficiency, plus video cards kept on failing and a complete replacement was in order.

With a bit of apprehension I personally migrated the accounts of the 4 old Mac pros to the brand new minis, the configuration I sold was i7 6 core, 64 Gb RAM and 2 TB SSD and comparing to 4 new 2013 Mac Pros with 6-core Xeon, 64 Gb RAM and 2 Tb OWC SSD allowed to save about 1,000 euros per each machine (ca 3,500 euros each Mac mini vs ca 4,500 each 2013 Mac pro).

I only had some doubts about performance in comparison with the substituted machines and a very small fear for excessive heat, but the first disappeared when I heard the first words from the senior illustrator: “Wow, this Mac rocks !!!”.

And for the heat concern, as of this moment nobody called me from that agency and those 4 minis have been running 8 hours five days a week since January. Of course that might change as climate [diglloyd: weather] gets warmer in the months ahead, but we’ll see and for the moment my client is so happy with their new 4 Mac minis that they have just ordered 5 new MacBook Air to replace 5 Windows laptops and upgrade from PowerPoint to Keynote.

I will monitor closely the situation in that agency, as I want to be sure the new Mac minis are capable of substituting both old and 2013 model Mac pros in all cases where 64 GB RAM and a 2 TB SSD are enough, plus I have great expectations for eGPUs and Thunderbolt 3 peripherals in the price tier below the iMac Pro.

DIGLLOYD: the 2018 Mac mini is a mature and seemingly robust product resulting from years of half-assed versions—after a decade Apple seems to have nailed it. It now measures up to most all usage scenarios that area reasonable versus its core capabilities.

Ron K writes:

The new 2018 Mac mini arrived, and it is an awesome machine. I love the small footprint! My 2010 Mac Pro sold quickly, and the 2012 Mini auction ends tonight.

I also received the pair of OWC 32GB memory chips, though OWC sent the wrong TORX (T-6) wrench kit. I called to let them know, and they sent out the replacement kit immediately, with postage paid and a full refund for the wrong kit, which I’ve returned via their RMA. As an aside, the 2018 Mini screws have security fittings that require a TR-6 wrench (apparently it has a small indentation in the driver tip that matches a small bump in the center of the screws’ head, causing the T-6 to not engage the screw). Live and learn! OWC now has a kit specifically for the 2018 mini. What a great company; excellent customer service!

The dual display port adapter is also working perfectly for my pair of NEC MultiSync monitors, though the NEC 24” didn’t have a mini display port connection (my fault for not checking), so it’s temporarily hooked in via HDMI.

I’m curious to know how you would connect my pair of Elite Pro Dual enclosures, running standard 7200 3.5” HDs. Both enclosures have USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports, which I believe will be faster than either Firewire 800 or eSATA, and I'll likely connect both to the Mini with a Sabrent USB 3.0 hub. Following your workflow, I’ll import into LR and complete my initial processing on the partitioned SSD master, then move the RAW files and prepared prints to the HD’s. One last question: after moving files to the HD, would you clone your backups (HD to HD)or use a simple RAID mirror. I’ve a pair of 4TB drives for the RAW files, and 2TB drives for finished work, and that should hold up for a while longer. Thanks again for your great advice.

DIGLLOYD: as to the OWC Mercury Elite Pro Dual enclosures, Iam not a fan of using USB through a hub, but it will probably work fine. Just remember that the bandwidth is rather limited, so if 4 drives are going at once through the hub and/or other stuff also needs that bandwidth, it’s going to hit bandwidth limitations. A better solution is the OWC Thunderbay 4, but it’s more costly. Or put each enclosure on its own USB bus, which means another form of expansion, like the OWC Thunderbolt 3 Dock.

As to backup, it is better (at least with a limited number of backups), to clone to drives individually and not use a RAID-1 mirror. A mirror protects against drive failure, but other types of issues (e.g., files corrupted or deleted by accident) it faithfully replicates. Better to have two independent backups, preferably not in the same enclosure. For this reason, I recommend single-drive backups such as the OWC Mercury Elite Pro, as shown below. I currently use 14TB hard drives for both primary storage and backups, some in OWC Mercury Elite Pro enclosures (easily portable) and some in the OWC Thunderbay 4.


Upgrade the memory of your 2018 Mac mini up to 64GB

Data transfer speeds up to 2800MB/s

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