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St Mary's Church in Handsworth, a district in the east of Sheffield, England, was founded in the 12th century.

The Normans were very enthusiastic church builders and St Mary's Church was constructed in order to satisfy the growing need of the local community for a permanent priest. It has remained the focal point enhancement for over eight centuries. (This church is not to be confused with St. Mary's Church, Handsworth in Birmingham UK).

St Mary's was built in about 1170. It was founded by the Norman lord, William de Lovetot, or his father Richard, and the foundations were planned by William Paynel. In the 1220s, St Katherine's Chapel was added, probably by Maud de Lovetot, so that prayers could be offered for the soul of her husband, Gerard de Furnival, and perhaps her son, Thomas de Furnival who died on a crusade to Jerusalem and the Holy Land. By 1472, Fabric Rolls of York reported that the Church was in a ruinous state, although in the process of being rebuilt. It was successive Earls of Shrewsbury who repaired much of the damage in the Tudor period.

Lightning struck the church spire in 1698, the new steeple subsequently built to replace it was much smaller and became known as "the Handsworth stump". In the 1820s the "stump" was demolished and a new tower erected. Lightning struck the tower again in January 1978, this time causing less damage. Major building work was undertaken in 2002 when extensive repairs were performed on the spire, and the clock and bell tower.

Standing in the shadow of St Mary's Church is the Cross Keys Inn. This too is a very old building, but it has not always been a public house. When it was originally built in the mid-13th century, it was used as a Church House for the chaplains and lay clerks attached to St. Mary's Church.

Simon Foliot, the first Rector, had two assistants and by 1535 there were five. During the reign of Henry VIII they lost their livings when the King broke away from the Church of Rome, its customs and traditions. After the Reformation, the old medieval Church House was converted into a school. In about 1823, it became licensed as a public house and has remained one ever since (now the Cross Keys).

The old Tudor Rectory was situated on the site now occupied by the Parish Centre. It was originally a timber framed building, both a section of the straw and daub wall (in the present day Museum) and an oak tree post (in the present Day reception hall) can still be seen as remnants of the Tudor Rectory.

At some point in the late 17th or early 18th centuries, the Rector of the day decided to build a larger and more modern house at the East End in the Georgian style. Shortly afterwards a wing complementary to the East wing was constructed. The old-fashioned Tudor timber framed buildings were demolished although parts of the Tudor Rectory became incorporated into the new building. In addition, all the pre-Georgian outhouses, except the coach house and stable block, were removed.

The coach house and stable block were modernised in Victorian times. Improvements and renovation work on these buildings, now all part of the parish centre, continues today.

  

Handsworth, Sheffield (looking East)

Not much of the Tudor Rectory remains today, but Handsworth Parish Registers, dating back as far as the reign of Queen Elizabeth I still exist.

From 1558, the year that Elizabeth I ascended the throne, there are written documents recording all the baptisms, marriages, and burials which have taken place in the Parish of St Mary's. Parish Registers were first ordered in England during the turbulent early years are of Henry VIII's reign, probably to compensate for the dissolution of the monasteries, which had previously kept some deaths registers. Parish Registers were continued until 1836, when a new system of registration began.

Sights/optic: FN Hawkeye™

 

Additional accessories: N/A

 

Availability: Open

 

Licensing: Limited

 

STANAG compliant: Yes

 

Special features: The FN Hawkeye™ long distance digital optic includes a wireless CUBACOM feed, allowing multiple FN Hawkeyes™ to label and track targets and relay this data to command centers. The system eliminates requirements for laser designators and adds an additional CUBACOM battlefield node.

 

Edited in gimp.

The palace is surrounded by a moat and fourteenth-century curtain wall with gatehouse. The main structure consists of two periods of 13th century domestic construction: the first floor suite of Bishop Jocelyn (1206-1242), now the bishop's residence; and the great hall of Bishop Burnell (1274-1292), a ruin in the palace gardens (Wood). The Palace's inner court consisted of the central domestic buildings, which were partially arranged around a 15th century courtyard. Outside this, but still inside the defences, would have been various functional buildings and areas: kitchens and gardens certainly and probably storehouses, stables, a bakehouse and a brewhouse. Outside the fortifications, were the bishop and his household's support system; the springs, the home farm, the mill and the park (Payne, 1999) The Bishop's Palace is located to the south of Saint Andrew's Cathedral and a number of the springs. Along with the 13th century buildings built by Bishop Jocelyn and Bishop Burnell there is also a later, 15th century range constructed by Bishop Bekynton. Although the earliest surviving part of the palace dates from Jocelyn's episcopate, there are references to an earlier site; possibly replaced by or supplemented by Jocelyn's construction (Payne and Hoggett) Ralph of Shrewsbury was appointed Bishop in 1329. With his arrival at Wells, the palace complex was embellished with a moat, walls, and a drawbridge; probably completed in honour of Edward III's visit during Christmas 1331 (Scrase). (Somerset HER)

 

Wall with corner towers and gatehouse, surrounded by moat. c1341 (date of license to Crenellate) by Bishop Ralph of Shrewsbury. Local stone rubble with ashlar copings and other dressings, average 5m high. PLAN: irregular, with 6 bastion towers, that to the NW, sometimes referred to as the prison, has a small but lofty room, with apsidal W end, and looks more like a small chapel; it has stone tablets with the decalogue set high on the walls. The gatehouse lies on the N side. The wall is boldly crenellated with some arrowslits. Part of the N side is incorporated in that part of the Bishop's Palace (qv) presently known as Bishop's House. The gatehouse in random rubble with Doulting stone dressings with lead flat roof behind crenellated parapets. EXTERIOR: 3 storeys, the gateway bay flanked by two rectangular towers with corners chamfered on north side. Towers have mostly arrowslits to ground and first floors, but east face of east tower has a 2-light mullioned window with square label (under which is the Swans' Bell), the N face has a circular cinquefoil window, and to the NE corner an angled oriel window at first floor level of 1+2+2+1 lights, with moulded base and reeded frieze to a lead flat roof. The centre gateway has a 4-centre arch in a rectangular recess with carved spandrels, part of the portcullis and the chains of the drawbridge (now connected to a modern fixed bridge) remain, arch has a pair of possibly C14 gates with an inserted wicket of c1600. Above this a single lancet with cusped window set deep inside. Inside the gateway is a quadripartite ribbed vault with short spring shafts, and carved head boss and corbels. In E wall of this space a small oriel window, presumably for the gatekeeper. Side doors in the projection of the towers south of the minor gate arch. INTERIOR: not inspected. The enclosing wall with its moat helps to provide what Pevsner calls an "...exquisite beauty of setting...". (Listed Building Report)

 

The exterior of the precinct wall was whitewashed and at it's height the gleaming white walls reflected in the surrounding moat would have created a remarkable impression.

  

sunrise on the shore of the coongie lake, coongie lakes national park, south australia

 

drowned coolabah tree - Eucalyptus coolabah

 

this lake is an oasis of permanent freshwater in the centre of australia (in fact, it's considerably fresher than the murray, australia's largest river)

 

bear in mind that this area gets 125mm average annual rainfall and 3.6 metres of annual evaporation - temperatures of 50C are common in summer!

 

see also coongie lakes and innamincka regional reserve on my unknownsa site

 

this area is currently under threat (sept 09)

 

the queensland government has proposed to issue irrigation licences on the cooper creek upstream from these magnificent wetlands

 

this will dramatically diminish flows to the ramsar listed coongie lakes system, and ultimately to lake eyre itself

 

this irresponsible proposal must be halted immediately!

 

 

 

Enjoy a richer visual experience when you View On Black

 

San Simeon Pier is a wooden structure with pristine ocean views. It is very near Hearst Castle, one of the most popular tourist attractions in all of California.

 

The small town of San Simeon is steeped in history, much of it relating to Hearst Castle. There is a state park and a state beach at San Simeon. They are located on the beach side of California Highway 1 directly below Hearst Castle, and, along with the castle, are operated by the California State Park system. The 1,000 foot-long fishing pier and crescent shaped beach of William R. Hearst Memorial State Beach offers a family picnic area with a grassy lawn on a hill above the beach. The facility measures only 2 acres but is a beautiful spot with a protected cove perfect for relaxing and swimming.

 

In 1878, Senator George Hearst (father of newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearst) had a new wharf constructed. The wharf extended 1000 feet into the water that was deep enough to handle the largest ships of the era. Rails were laid on the pier to allow flat cars to move cargo to and from the new warehouse on shore. The pier handled shipments for the quicksilver (mercury) mines in the area. This was necessary because there way no road that could sustain the area which was thus isolated and could be accessed only by boat. California scenic SR1 connecting San Luis Obispo with the Monterey Peninsula, which passes the beach, was not completed until the 1950s'. From 1919, all of the building materials for the Hearst Castle and other buildings on the Hearst estate were landed at the pier. William Randolph Hearst, built other warehouses near the pier to house material and goods, which were later taken to the castle.

 

Today the pier, located on William Randolph Hearst Memorial Beach, is used for fishing and is a tourist attraction in itself. Near the pier and within the San Simeon State Park are several large beach front homes belonging to the Hearst Family, a one room school-house built in the nineteenth century and an nature interpretive center.

 

Tamron 10-24 mm AF @ 10mm. Exposure 1/400 of a second, f10, ISO 200 SOOC. That is not an optical illusion at the ocean end of the pier, it is not leaning. The pier was built with a 30 degree angle turn to the left to make docking and offloading easier.

  

© Lawrence Goldman 2012, All Rights Reserved

This work may not be copied, reproduced, republished, edited, downloaded, displayed, modified, transmitted, licensed, transferred, sold, distributed or uploaded in any way without my prior written permission.

Now amazing Capture One 9 pro is out, and for Sony users the express version is free.

The Capture One 8.3 before it was simply outstanding RAWC, much better than anything from Adobe or Raw Therapy.

 

Unfortunately, the free version of C1 does not handle Canon, Nikon or Olympus RAW, only Sony or DNG(Pentax and Leica).

 

So I guess It is another big reason for many of us to choose Sony over anything else. If you use Sony, you can get a full copy of Capture One 9 pro for just 50 USD.

AS far as I am concerned, this is an incredible deal, great Christmas gift for us from Phase One.

 

I think both Capture One 9 and DXO 10 produce a bit better color than LR CC or ACR9X for Sony or Nikon.

 

I suspect that Adobe programs are optimized for Canon.

 

Seriously C1 pro for just 50 US is an amazing deal. nothing beats it for that price.

Capture One 9 is a much better more serious program than the LR crapware, and the biggest deal here is not need to deal with the Adobe subscription stuff. Many many Adobe users used the license and repaid it to re-activate it, it is really terribly unstable. I had one time could not use it when I was editing my images on site in a mountain area and they say my account is just trial although I paid it for full CC version.

So after coming back from the mountain, I decided to cancel all Adobe CC crap, and I just got Capture One express 8.32 for Sony free,then later in the same month (last April)I ungraded it to the pro version. I could not be happier.

Now, also DXO is offering me a copy FULL copy of DXO 10 Elite version for just 99 USD. I will get that too.

Honestly, there are still times we need Photoshop but I do have full copy of CS6, so I do not need CC anymore, and I've found life without Adobe CC crap is really much more relaxing and easier.

  

So in the long run, may Sony E mount be the most expensive system out side of the Leica SL and MFDBs arena?

 

Well it seems like that considering terribly expensive Sony service charge and repair price, and of course their lens prices.

 

As far as lenses are concerned, I can only compare the lenses that have been tested scientifically. Now please keep in mind that these tests were done with the A7R not version 2, but when Nikon introduces their higher resolution camera this will increase the final numbers for Nikon system as well, and Canon already have even higher resolution camera than both Nikon and Sony, but oddly enough DXO and most of others refuse to use the high resolution Canon body for testing their new gen lenses.

Sony 35 2.8, Nikon 35 1.8, Canon 35 2.0 tested with A7R, D810, 5DIII, oddly DXO refuses to test Canon lenses on the 5DS.

Anyway though,the Sony Costs $800, Nikon Costs $600, despite the Sony having less resolving power and a full stop slower than the Nikon. So we see how expensive Sony system actually is already here at the very first comparison below.

www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Compare/Side-by-side/Nikon-AF-S-NI...

To be fair to Sony, there is also the Loxia 35 mm f2,which I recently sold off for some new macro lens for my Olympus. The Loxia 35 is a fairly good lens but not an amazing lens, not exceptionally sharp, not extremely well corrected either. It has a bit of serious coma issue at f2 and on, though it is still a better lens than the Sony 35 mm f2.8 in the areas of center resolution and longitudinal CA and Vignetting. But the Loxia is worse than the Sony 35 mm f2.8 in some significant areas such as coma, edge/corner sharpness and focus accuracy at infinity.

So in Sony 35 mm Full frame world , there is no value 35 mm prime at all.

Now move on to value 28 mm primes: Sony 28 2.0, Nikon 28 1.8, Canon 28 2.8, they are close enough to say the difference is irrelevant in real life use.

www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Compare/Side-by-side/Sony-FE-28mm-...

 

So move on to 70-200 mm f4: Of Sony 70-200 f4, Nikon 70-200 f4, Canon 70-200 f4, the Sony again is the most expensive despite the Nikon having more resolving power if we are to trust DXO lens rating. I personally do not trust their lens tests although I trust their sensor tests and I think their sensor test results pretty much mirror my own findings quite often.

But in case of the 70-200 mm f4 lenses, many other sites like SLRgear, lenstip tested and came to the same or identical conclusion to the DXO comparison. I also tested them at my work place with my own copy of DXO analyzer and got the same results.

If I have to pick the winner here, I would pick the Nikon for its obviously better resolution at 200 mm f4 setting. But it is more complicated than just optical quality, since the latest generation body IS of Sony is much more effective than most of in-lens VR or IS I tested.

So, while the Nikon is a bit better lens optically, I doubt that in real life handheld photography we see the better resolving power of the Nikon. The Sony 70-200 mm f4 comes with an excellent tripod collar that would cost 120 US if we buy it separately. Canon and Nikon do not include a tripod collar in their respective 70-200 mm f4 shipping package.

So maybe, is the pricing of the Sony actually reasonable?

www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Compare/Side-by-side/Sony-FE-70-20...

 

Now move on to 35 mm f1.4 lenses comparison:Sony 35 1.4, Nikon 35 1.4. Interestingly in this test the Sony did a little better in resolution to the Nikon although its 22mm longer and 30 grams heavier than the Nikon and 26mm longer and 50 grams heavier than the Canon, so not so compact for a compact system any more.

What this fact tells us about is if you ask ultimate resolution in any current FF system, regardless of your camera body size, your lens must be big and heavy, thus your system won't be small or cheap or light at all.

 

www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Compare/Side-by-side/Sony-FE-Carl-...

But in case of this 35 mm f1.4, we have to consider the extremely bad copy to copy sample variation issue of the Sony. The biggest issue of the DXO and the other typical online lens test sites is that they test only one copy supplied by the company.

But there is a great man testing literally 10-100 of copies of each lens and reporting his results most of times.

www.lensrentals.com/blog/2015/10/sony-e-mount-lens-sharpn...

 

Personally, I take Roger's opinion much more seriously than any other lens test site's so-called review. I work at a mall which also sell cameras and I have tested many returned lenses before sending them back to the respective manufactures, we found that the copy to copy variation is much more significant than many people online think, it is sometimes even more pronounced than lens A to lens B difference.

So testing one copy of each lens is not enough, definitely in the case of any super complex modern optics such as this FE 35 mm f1.4.

I know the best copies of it is a fantastic lens, but about 75 percent of times you get a bad one or just an ok kind of one. It is really really deplorable, sad.

But no one so-called review site besides Roger's report it, and I smell something very fishy here.

 

Now move on to 50 mm -55 mm value primes: the Sony 55 1.8 vs the Nikon 50 1.8 vs the

Canon 50 1.8 STM

 

The Sony beats out the Nikon and obviously the Canon because of the limited megapixels, but the interesting thing is when you compare pricing...$1000 for the Sony, $219 for the Nikon. Weight was another thing with the Sony coming in at almost 100 grams heavier than the Nikon and the Canon. In terms of Absolute resolution, the Sony is quite a bit better, though if you care about the money, then the cheap Nikon gets you about 90 percent of the expensive Sony performance at 1/ 5th of the Sony price.

 

www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Compare/Side-by-side/Sony-FE-Carl-...

 

now finally move on to 90-105 mm macro lens:

The Sony 90 mm macro is reported to be a better lens by likes of DXOmark, but according to Roger Cicala's extensive optics bench testing with many many copies of it, it is not as good as we all once thought it must be because of the DXO result for it below.

www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Compare/Side-by-side/Sony-FE-90mm-...

But it is obvious if you get a good copy of the Sony FE 90 mm f2.8 G lens, it is sharper than anything else in the market, actually it even beats the over-sized over priced not much useful awkward brand lenses like the Zess Otus 85 mm f1.4 APO or the Zeiss 135 mm f2 APO Sonnar,which I sold as soon as I found it useless in real life application ,especially for travel photography and street work. I loved it for studio work, but for that use I do not need to actually own any lens, just rent it from my boss's studio.

Anyway, my point here is if you get a decent Sony Fe 90 or 55 mm then it even beats the super-heavy ,awkward no compromise in design kind of d-SLR lens that priced about 4 times more than the Sony lenses.

The 90 macro is a cheap lens for what it is, there is no comparison to that lens in that relatively modest range of it.

 

So while I agree that Sony has made some very positive moves in recent years,it has come at a cost in pricing, f/stop and in the compactness to the system.Even then, the Sony lenses are not necessarily the best, especially when you take the fact that the Nikon/Canon Lenses often out resolved the Sony equivalents with faster f/stops for less money into serious consideration. The Canon lenses were at a deficit due to megapixels, and even with the obvious sensor resolution disadvantage, quite a few Canon lenses actually still out-resolve Sony Nikon equivalents, it was,to me,quite amazing.

So, I think if you need the ultimate best for now or the absolute best, most promising tech into foreseeable future, then the Sony system makes real sense here, but if you just need 90 percent of what the A7RM2 can do at the 1/4 of the Sony system price, then Nikon still makes better sense(value).

In my area it is even more glaringly clear, the A7RM2 body alone costs about 378000 yen, the Nikon D810 kit with the AF-S24-120 mm f4 VR costs 321000 yen,the Sony does not seem to be a great value although it may well be the absolute best camera in current camera market.

And most of people just go with the almost 95 percent as good as the absolute best kind of system that costs much less than the absolute best.

I chose the Zeiss Batis 85 over the Zeiss Otus 85 although I knew the Otus would beat the Batis in resolution(at a lab)..........but for me the much more manageable size and the weight saving, and more importantly the better overall practicality/usability of the Batis beat the absolute tripod resolution of the Otus. I think the same logic applies for choosing the right camera system.

Although, IMO, Canon still has the edge in lens line, flash,etc, and as a company most stable and profitable with a lot of key-core patents in this ILC technology, I personally never consider any of current Canon cameras seriously. The 5DS is just simply too overpriced, the 6D is just too long in the tooth, the 5D3 is about to be replaced, so no current Canon cameras make great value.

The 5DS-R costs 2 times more than the D810 and I think it is just too crazy, and that makes it absolutely the worst value camera for me. The 5DS at least a bit cheaper than the A7R2 to really justify its market position since it does not have the IBIS of the Sony, the 4k capability of the Sony, the high ISO performance of the Sony.

In the end, after comparing the prices of the lenses I need for the 3 systems carefully, I kind of realize that it is most logical to just stay with my current Sony system, just because I already have it. I guess I will hold on to my A7, A7M2, A7R for as long as I can, and see if Canon, Fuji or Samsung will answer to the a7R2.

The above logic just works for me, but I think for more budget minded people the Nikon may still hold the value king title with the D750..

The D750 is really attractive for event photography on a tight budget, and it is very very cheap now in the many many areas of the world, especially in my area.The Nikon D750 or D810 based system is at least 30 percent cheaper than the A7M2 or the A7RM2 based system with a few primes and a couple of zooms. But if you are a kind of person always wanting to shoot with a Otus or similar IQ lens and always carefully manually focus it, then Sony would suddenly become a much more logical choice for you.

The FE 55 mm f1.8 is sharper than the Otus 55 mm f1.4 at 1/4 of the Otus weight.

I do not have problem paying the Otus price for a great lens but the weight is.

The Sony FE 90 mm f2.8 G (assuming you get a decent copy) beats the both Otus and Batis in resolution and a few more areas.

I know the greater resolution alone does not make it a better lens than the Otus since Otus beats in the areas of CA, distortion and coma at wide open,etc.

But to me the better resolution of the Sony at 1/3 or the weight of Otus is very attractive.

The Batis 85 mm f1.8 is a great lens, honestly it is a bit different kind of lens than the Otus is with a bit more CA, a bit more distortion,etc, but it has the unique Zeiss look as with the other great Zeiss primes, and it is definitely sharp enough for its obvious intended use.

For landscape type of corner to corner sharpness, it may not be able to match the best primes in that focal range such as the FE90 mm f2.8 G , the Otus 85 mm f1.4 and the Leica 90 mm f3.5 APO, but still it handily beats all zooms and most of primes ever made in that specific focal range.

Many people compare the Batis 85 mm to the Nikon AF-S85 mm f1.8 G just because they both share f1.8 f numbers, but are they really comparable in quality?

Actually, in terms of sheer resolution and optical quality the cheap plastic Nikon may be comparable to the Batis. But it is weaker in a few key areas compared to the Batis.

The Nikon has much worse Lo-CA, much worse weaker flare resistance, a bit more distorted.

But the Nikon is smaller, lighter comes with 62 mm filter thread rather than the big 67 mm one on the Batis, it has a bit lower distortion and seems to have a bit lower amount of light fall off.

So it is actually closer match than we once thought it would be, and I see many many people mostly shooting all AF prefer the Nikon over the Zeiss in this case.

But unfortunately for me, the Batis is a better looking lens for my type of shooting since I am a manual focus kind of person, seldom use AF and having good MF ring is very important to me. So as my old man always said when I was a kid, it is always horses for courses, there is no one absolutely better camera system for all of us.

 

Finally as a side note, many many people guessing a lot of the technology inside the Leica SL seems to be from Panasonic.

I think Leica/Panasonic are testing the waters, with their first FF CSC with modern design more sophisticated UI than that of the Sony A7X.

I wouldn't be surprised, if less than a year from now, Panasonic makes a shot directly at Sony A7 series with a cheaper and more practical version of the Leica SL.

If Canon and Nikon don't come up with competitors in the meantime, Sony-Panasonic will be pushing this market very hard very far so that the old leaders will find themselves 7 laps behind all of a sudden. It may be easy for Canon to come up with something similar since they have all the tech needed to make something similar to the Leica SL, but is Nikon still safe, some how able to manage it to survive?

I know many Japanese Mega camera dealers that think in a matter of a several years Nikon won't be around in this market.

If they are correct, I wonder if the new Tokyo Nikon camera museum was actually built by Nikon as their own camera indoor cemetery?

 

UPDATE: At the CP + show in Yokohama, I asked a few A mount related questions to a couple of Sony guys, and I got interesting answers to my questions.

Basically, Sony said the A7RMK2 is the ' the E mount' flagship, but not the real flagship for the Alpha system. The 2 different lines of Alpha systems will be merged but not the E takes over the A kind of merging. Sony says it will be very interesting to many and technologically shocking to the public. But it is really difficult to do that right, and Sony needs to improve or waiting for a few key techs for that. This is why Sony has had to cancel out the planned announcement of the A99VMK2 or whatever called(Sony guys said at least 2 times they canceled it).

A few new techs not available at the time of the planned announcement became available right after that and Sony thought that would surely improve it further. Sony thinks we should wait to see it before making any firm decision on buying into any existing camera system because it will be Sony's first true pro-grade, grand-breaking true game changer. I hope it will be true, but how long will we have to wait? Why not just release a temporal stop gap solution camera with current best technology available? This company is really odd.

 

Update 2 : now, we have detected 5 new Nikon FF mirrorless patents here in Japan and 2 of which use Nikon's legendary but very venerable F mount, it is interesting.

But the rest 3 are all use new different mount designs with about 18 mm - 24 mm flange back distance.

The mount diameter is a bit wider than the F and the E but not as wide as the EF.

 

I tried the SL last week at a local event, I actually love it wish I could buy it there. Now I will have to wait a long year to get it or I may just get the Leica Q?

  

UPDATE 3: The biggest problem with buying too many FE A7 glass is that we can never re-use it if or when we ditch our Sony FE mount bodies. Buying Nikon or Canon lenses are safer because, even if, we ditch their camera bodies, we will always able to re-use their lenses on our Sony or m43 or Fuji or Samsung.

Also, there are no third party native mount lenses for the FE system besides the overpriced Batis and Loxia line Zeiss.

It is a huge issue for some one actually needs a good set of really PRACTICAL f1.8 or f2 compact primes or f2.8 zooms at reasonable prices..With Canon and Nikon we have the luxury to choose some reasonably priced third party lenses such as the Tamron 35 mm f1.8 VC, the 45 mm f1.8 VC, the 24-70 mm f2.8 VC, the 15-35 mm f2.8 , the 90 mm f2.8 VC macro and the 70-200 mm f2.8 VC. But in the Sony FE mount there is no such a choice, just overpriced, overly pompous so-called Zeiss inanely named Batis that actually made by Tamron and selling for 3 times more than the usual Tamron prices.

 

Now, I think it is really wise to hold off all new Sony Zeiss lens purchase plans, at least until we are sure about Sony is actually winning the FF war over Canon and Nikon.

But hey, we've got be honest Sony is not winning anything over anyone, their market share has been the same 11 .2 percent since 2009.

That is clearly shown in the recent Flickr report of their users' preferred devices. Mirrorless cameras seem to account for just 3 percent and DSLR cameras seem to account for 33 percent of Flickr uploads in 2015 and 2016 Q1.

 

This was shocking to me. I wonder if Mirrorless ,especially the Sony A7 line is as successful in this business as many many forum fanatics say it is, then why is mirrorless so unpopular at Flickr?

Maybe the current form of tiny mirrorless cameras are really doomed? Maybe most of people actually do not care about the tiny form factor of the current poorly designed mirrorless systems from minor camera brands, but just sheer functionality?

 

I ,for one, much prefer a 6D or a D750 sized mirrorless with EF or F mount to anything Sony is now offering with the relatively poor Sony FE lens line, especially for a zoom lover.

 

I am sure I was one of the earliest mirrorless adapters with more than 23 mirrorless cameras(mostly Sony and Panasonic cameras), but now I really doubt any of the current form of mirrorless system actually replacing the EF and the F systems.

I honestly think Sony, Olympus , Panasonic Fuji,etc are actually barking up the wrong tree with the"mirrorless must be tiny" kind of silly design concept, and IMO, they will all fail in this business. A few days ago I was trying out the Fuji XT10 for casual walk and I was really strongly re-convinced that it would not be for me, it is just simply too awkward to hold and the ergonomics and UI are horrible.

The XT10 was not just much smaller than my D750 but much much smaller than my A7M2 and A7R2 ,which I have considered the best mirrorless body design in terms of ergonomics. Every time I think about the Fuji option and try it out for a short walk for a day, I end up hating it more.

 

Now,I actually suspect emerging trend of the Samsung Nikon rumor thing is something to do with Sony. Like our detectors used to say, we should think who will get that money coming from this move behind the thick curtain ? Asians are all about keeping their faces, so it is impossible Nikon or Samsung intentionally leaks it out to silly rumor sites like mirrorlessrumors. I think I respect Photorumors and Nikon rumors, but not the mirrorlessrumors or SAR.Their hit rate is very low and thus almost no credibility.

The guy made so many silly mistakes, in fact, he almost never got it right.

  

UPDATE4: Looks like Sony has actually done something right this year.

Sony was the only one of those 3 camera companies to break even this time, and was actually profitable for the year in Imaging, though it’s difficult to say how much of that is contributed by pro video gear. The Imaging Products group at Sony posted slightly lower sales (-1.7%) but a very healthy profit (up 30.4b yen and hitting about 10% of sales).

In terms of unit volume, digital cameras at Sony dropped from 8.5m units to 6.1m units year-to-year. That’s mostly compact camera sales that dried up. Sony won’t say exactly how that shift is working other than to say “improvement in the product mix of digital cameras.” In other words, they suggest that by getting rid of compact camera volume and focusing all its effort on high priced ILC units they are getting a better profit margin.

The other two camera companies still making some money out of their camera business are Fuji and Canon. We do not know Canon's result in detail yet.

I think it is fair to say Fujifilm has a hobby camera business as their Digital cameras are about 2.5% of the company’s overall revenue stream. That they give us any insight into how that business is working is actually a bit surprising. Sales for digital cameras were down 8.2% year-to-year, yet it is still quite profitable.Fujifilm Japan says the imaging business earned 9 percent more profit to them and it was the best of the last 9 years.

To me, the most surprising finding is that Casio's camera division is still profitable and they sell only compact cameras.

But how do they make any serious money out of that compact camera sells is a big mystery to me.

      

Now amazing Capture One 9 pro is out, and for Sony users the express version is free.

The Capture One 8.3 before it was simply outstanding RAWC, much better than anything from Adobe or Raw Therapy.

 

Unfortunately, the free version of C1 does not handle Canon, Nikon or Olympus RAW, only Sony or DNG(Pentax and Leica).

 

So I guess It is another big reason for many of us to choose Sony over anything else. If you use Sony, you can get a full copy of Capture One 9 pro for just 50 USD.

AS far as I am concerned, this is an incredible deal, great Christmas gift for us from Phase One.

 

I think both Capture One 9 and DXO 10 produce a bit better color than LR CC or ACR9X for Sony or Nikon.

 

I suspect that Adobe programs are optimized for Canon.

 

Seriously C1 pro for just 50 US is an amazing deal. nothing beats it for that price.

Capture One 9 is a much better more serious program than the LR crapware, and the biggest deal here is not need to deal with the Adobe subscription stuff. Many many Adobe users used the license and repaid it to re-activate it, it is really terribly unstable. I had one time could not use it when I was editing my images on site in a mountain area and they say my account is just trial although I paid it for full CC version.

So after coming back from the mountain, I decided to cancel all Adobe CC crap, and I just got Capture One express 8.32 for Sony free,then later in the same month (last April)I ungraded it to the pro version. I could not be happier.

Now, also DXO is offering me a copy FULL copy of DXO 10 Elite version for just 99 USD. I will get that too.

Honestly, there are still times we need Photoshop but I do have full copy of CS6, so I do not need CC anymore, and I've found life without Adobe CC crap is really much more relaxing and easier.

  

So in the long run, may Sony E mount be the most expensive system out side of the Leica SL and MFDBs arena?

 

Well it seems like that considering terribly expensive Sony service charge and repair price, and of course their lens prices.

 

As far as lenses are concerned, I can only compare the lenses that have been tested scientifically. Now please keep in mind that these tests were done with the A7R not version 2, but when Nikon introduces their higher resolution camera this will increase the final numbers for Nikon system as well, and Canon already have even higher resolution camera than both Nikon and Sony, but oddly enough DXO and most of others refuse to use the high resolution Canon body for testing their new gen lenses.

Sony 35 2.8, Nikon 35 1.8, Canon 35 2.0 tested with A7R, D810, 5DIII, oddly DXO refuses to test Canon lenses on the 5DS.

Anyway though,the Sony Costs $800, Nikon Costs $600, despite the Sony having less resolving power and a full stop slower than the Nikon. So we see how expensive Sony system actually is already here at the very first comparison below.

www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Compare/Side-by-side/Nikon-AF-S-NI...

To be fair to Sony, there is also the Loxia 35 mm f2,which I recently sold off for some new macro lens for my Olympus. The Loxia 35 is a fairly good lens but not an amazing lens, not exceptionally sharp, not extremely well corrected either. It has a bit of serious coma issue at f2 and on, though it is still a better lens than the Sony 35 mm f2.8 in the areas of center resolution and longitudinal CA and Vignetting. But the Loxia is worse than the Sony 35 mm f2.8 in some significant areas such as coma, edge/corner sharpness and focus accuracy at infinity.

So in Sony 35 mm Full frame world , there is no value 35 mm prime at all.

Now move on to value 28 mm primes: Sony 28 2.0, Nikon 28 1.8, Canon 28 2.8, they are close enough to say the difference is irrelevant in real life use.

www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Compare/Side-by-side/Sony-FE-28mm-...

 

So move on to 70-200 mm f4: Of Sony 70-200 f4, Nikon 70-200 f4, Canon 70-200 f4, the Sony again is the most expensive despite the Nikon having more resolving power if we are to trust DXO lens rating. I personally do not trust their lens tests although I trust their sensor tests and I think their sensor test results pretty much mirror my own findings quite often.

But in case of the 70-200 mm f4 lenses, many other sites like SLRgear, lenstip tested and came to the same or identical conclusion to the DXO comparison. I also tested them at my work place with my own copy of DXO analyzer and got the same results.

If I have to pick the winner here, I would pick the Nikon for its obviously better resolution at 200 mm f4 setting. But it is more complicated than just optical quality, since the latest generation body IS of Sony is much more effective than most of in-lens VR or IS I tested.

So, while the Nikon is a bit better lens optically, I doubt that in real life handheld photography we see the better resolving power of the Nikon. The Sony 70-200 mm f4 comes with an excellent tripod collar that would cost 120 US if we buy it separately. Canon and Nikon do not include a tripod collar in their respective 70-200 mm f4 shipping package.

So maybe, is the pricing of the Sony actually reasonable?

www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Compare/Side-by-side/Sony-FE-70-20...

 

Now move on to 35 mm f1.4 lenses comparison:Sony 35 1.4, Nikon 35 1.4. Interestingly in this test the Sony did a little better in resolution to the Nikon although its 22mm longer and 30 grams heavier than the Nikon and 26mm longer and 50 grams heavier than the Canon, so not so compact for a compact system any more.

What this fact tells us about is if you ask ultimate resolution in any current FF system, regardless of your camera body size, your lens must be big and heavy, thus your system won't be small or cheap or light at all.

 

www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Compare/Side-by-side/Sony-FE-Carl-...

But in case of this 35 mm f1.4, we have to consider the extremely bad copy to copy sample variation issue of the Sony. The biggest issue of the DXO and the other typical online lens test sites is that they test only one copy supplied by the company.

But there is a great man testing literally 10-100 of copies of each lens and reporting his results most of times.

www.lensrentals.com/blog/2015/10/sony-e-mount-lens-sharpn...

 

Personally, I take Roger's opinion much more seriously than any other lens test site's so-called review. I work at a mall which also sell cameras and I have tested many returned lenses before sending them back to the respective manufactures, we found that the copy to copy variation is much more significant than many people online think, it is sometimes even more pronounced than lens A to lens B difference.

So testing one copy of each lens is not enough, definitely in the case of any super complex modern optics such as this FE 35 mm f1.4.

I know the best copies of it is a fantastic lens, but about 75 percent of times you get a bad one or just an ok kind of one. It is really really deplorable, sad.

But no one so-called review site besides Roger's report it, and I smell something very fishy here.

 

Now move on to 50 mm -55 mm value primes: the Sony 55 1.8 vs the Nikon 50 1.8 vs the

Canon 50 1.8 STM

 

The Sony beats out the Nikon and obviously the Canon because of the limited megapixels, but the interesting thing is when you compare pricing...$1000 for the Sony, $219 for the Nikon. Weight was another thing with the Sony coming in at almost 100 grams heavier than the Nikon and the Canon. In terms of Absolute resolution, the Sony is quite a bit better, though if you care about the money, then the cheap Nikon gets you about 90 percent of the expensive Sony performance at 1/ 5th of the Sony price.

 

www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Compare/Side-by-side/Sony-FE-Carl-...

 

now finally move on to 90-105 mm macro lens:

The Sony 90 mm macro is reported to be a better lens by likes of DXOmark, but according to Roger Cicala's extensive optics bench testing with many many copies of it, it is not as good as we all once thought it must be because of the DXO result for it below.

www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Compare/Side-by-side/Sony-FE-90mm-...

But it is obvious if you get a good copy of the Sony FE 90 mm f2.8 G lens, it is sharper than anything else in the market, actually it even beats the over-sized over priced not much useful awkward brand lenses like the Zess Otus 85 mm f1.4 APO or the Zeiss 135 mm f2 APO Sonnar,which I sold as soon as I found it useless in real life application ,especially for travel photography and street work. I loved it for studio work, but for that use I do not need to actually own any lens, just rent it from my boss's studio.

Anyway, my point here is if you get a decent Sony Fe 90 or 55 mm then it even beats the super-heavy ,awkward no compromise in design kind of d-SLR lens that priced about 4 times more than the Sony lenses.

The 90 macro is a cheap lens for what it is, there is no comparison to that lens in that relatively modest range of it.

 

So while I agree that Sony has made some very positive moves in recent years,it has come at a cost in pricing, f/stop and in the compactness to the system.Even then, the Sony lenses are not necessarily the best, especially when you take the fact that the Nikon/Canon Lenses often out resolved the Sony equivalents with faster f/stops for less money into serious consideration. The Canon lenses were at a deficit due to megapixels, and even with the obvious sensor resolution disadvantage, quite a few Canon lenses actually still out-resolve Sony Nikon equivalents, it was,to me,quite amazing.

So, I think if you need the ultimate best for now or the absolute best, most promising tech into foreseeable future, then the Sony system makes real sense here, but if you just need 90 percent of what the A7RM2 can do at the 1/4 of the Sony system price, then Nikon still makes better sense(value).

In my area it is even more glaringly clear, the A7RM2 body alone costs about 378000 yen, the Nikon D810 kit with the AF-S24-120 mm f4 VR costs 321000 yen,the Sony does not seem to be a great value although it may well be the absolute best camera in current camera market.

And most of people just go with the almost 95 percent as good as the absolute best kind of system that costs much less than the absolute best.

I chose the Zeiss Batis 85 over the Zeiss Otus 85 although I knew the Otus would beat the Batis in resolution(at a lab)..........but for me the much more manageable size and the weight saving, and more importantly the better overall practicality/usability of the Batis beat the absolute tripod resolution of the Otus. I think the same logic applies for choosing the right camera system.

Although, IMO, Canon still has the edge in lens line, flash,etc, and as a company most stable and profitable with a lot of key-core patents in this ILC technology, I personally never consider any of current Canon cameras seriously. The 5DS is just simply too overpriced, the 6D is just too long in the tooth, the 5D3 is about to be replaced, so no current Canon cameras make great value.

The 5DS-R costs 2 times more than the D810 and I think it is just too crazy, and that makes it absolutely the worst value camera for me. The 5DS at least a bit cheaper than the A7R2 to really justify its market position since it does not have the IBIS of the Sony, the 4k capability of the Sony, the high ISO performance of the Sony.

In the end, after comparing the prices of the lenses I need for the 3 systems carefully, I kind of realize that it is most logical to just stay with my current Sony system, just because I already have it. I guess I will hold on to my A7, A7M2, A7R for as long as I can, and see if Canon, Fuji or Samsung will answer to the a7R2.

The above logic just works for me, but I think for more budget minded people the Nikon may still hold the value king title with the D750..

The D750 is really attractive for event photography on a tight budget, and it is very very cheap now in the many many areas of the world, especially in my area.The Nikon D750 or D810 based system is at least 30 percent cheaper than the A7M2 or the A7RM2 based system with a few primes and a couple of zooms. But if you are a kind of person always wanting to shoot with a Otus or similar IQ lens and always carefully manually focus it, then Sony would suddenly become a much more logical choice for you.

The FE 55 mm f1.8 is sharper than the Otus 55 mm f1.4 at 1/4 of the Otus weight.

I do not have problem paying the Otus price for a great lens but the weight is.

The Sony FE 90 mm f2.8 G (assuming you get a decent copy) beats the both Otus and Batis in resolution and a few more areas.

I know the greater resolution alone does not make it a better lens than the Otus since Otus beats in the areas of CA, distortion and coma at wide open,etc.

But to me the better resolution of the Sony at 1/3 or the weight of Otus is very attractive.

The Batis 85 mm f1.8 is a great lens, honestly it is a bit different kind of lens than the Otus is with a bit more CA, a bit more distortion,etc, but it has the unique Zeiss look as with the other great Zeiss primes, and it is definitely sharp enough for its obvious intended use.

For landscape type of corner to corner sharpness, it may not be able to match the best primes in that focal range such as the FE90 mm f2.8 G , the Otus 85 mm f1.4 and the Leica 90 mm f3.5 APO, but still it handily beats all zooms and most of primes ever made in that specific focal range.

Many people compare the Batis 85 mm to the Nikon AF-S85 mm f1.8 G just because they both share f1.8 f numbers, but are they really comparable in quality?

Actually, in terms of sheer resolution and optical quality the cheap plastic Nikon may be comparable to the Batis. But it is weaker in a few key areas compared to the Batis.

The Nikon has much worse Lo-CA, much worse weaker flare resistance, a bit more distorted.

But the Nikon is smaller, lighter comes with 62 mm filter thread rather than the big 67 mm one on the Batis, it has a bit lower distortion and seems to have a bit lower amount of light fall off.

So it is actually closer match than we once thought it would be, and I see many many people mostly shooting all AF prefer the Nikon over the Zeiss in this case.

But unfortunately for me, the Batis is a better looking lens for my type of shooting since I am a manual focus kind of person, seldom use AF and having good MF ring is very important to me. So as my old man always said when I was a kid, it is always horses for courses, there is no one absolutely better camera system for all of us.

 

Finally as a side note, many many people guessing a lot of the technology inside the Leica SL seems to be from Panasonic.

I think Leica/Panasonic are testing the waters, with their first FF CSC with modern design more sophisticated UI than that of the Sony A7X.

I wouldn't be surprised, if less than a year from now, Panasonic makes a shot directly at Sony A7 series with a cheaper and more practical version of the Leica SL.

If Canon and Nikon don't come up with competitors in the meantime, Sony-Panasonic will be pushing this market very hard very far so that the old leaders will find themselves 7 laps behind all of a sudden. It may be easy for Canon to come up with something similar since they have all the tech needed to make something similar to the Leica SL, but is Nikon still safe, some how able to manage it to survive?

I know many Japanese Mega camera dealers that think in a matter of a several years Nikon won't be around in this market.

If they are correct, I wonder if the new Tokyo Nikon camera museum was actually built by Nikon as their own camera indoor cemetery?

 

UPDATE: At the CP + show in Yokohama, I asked a few A mount related questions to a couple of Sony guys, and I got interesting answers to my questions.

Basically, Sony said the A7RMK2 is the ' the E mount' flagship, but not the real flagship for the Alpha system. The 2 different lines of Alpha systems will be merged but not the E takes over the A kind of merging. Sony says it will be very interesting to many and technologically shocking to the public. But it is really difficult to do that right, and Sony needs to improve or waiting for a few key techs for that. This is why Sony has had to cancel out the planned announcement of the A99VMK2 or whatever called(Sony guys said at least 2 times they canceled it).

A few new techs not available at the time of the planned announcement became available right after that and Sony thought that would surely improve it further. Sony thinks we should wait to see it before making any firm decision on buying into any existing camera system because it will be Sony's first true pro-grade, grand-breaking true game changer. I hope it will be true, but how long will we have to wait? Why not just release a temporal stop gap solution camera with current best technology available? This company is really odd.

 

Update 2 : now, we have detected 5 new Nikon FF mirrorless patents here in Japan and 2 of which use Nikon's legendary but very venerable F mount, it is interesting.

But the rest 3 are all use new different mount designs with about 18 mm - 24 mm flange back distance.

The mount diameter is a bit wider than the F and the E but not as wide as the EF.

 

I tried the SL last week at a local event, I actually love it wish I could buy it there. Now I will have to wait a long year to get it or I may just get the Leica Q?

  

UPDATE 3: The biggest problem with buying too many FE A7 glass is that we can never re-use it if or when we ditch our Sony FE mount bodies. Buying Nikon or Canon lenses are safer because, even if, we ditch their camera bodies, we will always able to re-use their lenses on our Sony or m43 or Fuji or Samsung.

Also, there are no third party native mount lenses for the FE system besides the overpriced Batis and Loxia line Zeiss.

It is a huge issue for some one actually needs a good set of really PRACTICAL f1.8 or f2 compact primes or f2.8 zooms at reasonable prices..With Canon and Nikon we have the luxury to choose some reasonably priced third party lenses such as the Tamron 35 mm f1.8 VC, the 45 mm f1.8 VC, the 24-70 mm f2.8 VC, the 15-35 mm f2.8 , the 90 mm f2.8 VC macro and the 70-200 mm f2.8 VC. But in the Sony FE mount there is no such a choice, just overpriced, overly pompous so-called Zeiss inanely named Batis that actually made by Tamron and selling for 3 times more than the usual Tamron prices.

 

Now, I think it is really wise to hold off all new Sony Zeiss lens purchase plans, at least until we are sure about Sony is actually winning the FF war over Canon and Nikon.

But hey, we've got be honest Sony is not winning anything over anyone, their market share has been the same 11 .2 percent since 2009.

That is clearly shown in the recent Flickr report of their users' preferred devices. Mirrorless cameras seem to account for just 3 percent and DSLR cameras seem to account for 33 percent of Flickr uploads in 2015 and 2016 Q1.

 

This was shocking to me. I wonder if Mirrorless ,especially the Sony A7 line is as successful in this business as many many forum fanatics say it is, then why is mirrorless so unpopular at Flickr?

Maybe the current form of tiny mirrorless cameras are really doomed? Maybe most of people actually do not care about the tiny form factor of the current poorly designed mirrorless systems from minor camera brands, but just sheer functionality?

 

I ,for one, much prefer a 6D or a D750 sized mirrorless with EF or F mount to anything Sony is now offering with the relatively poor Sony FE lens line, especially for a zoom lover.

 

I am sure I was one of the earliest mirrorless adapters with more than 23 mirrorless cameras(mostly Sony and Panasonic cameras), but now I really doubt any of the current form of mirrorless system actually replacing the EF and the F systems.

I honestly think Sony, Olympus , Panasonic Fuji,etc are actually barking up the wrong tree with the"mirrorless must be tiny" kind of silly design concept, and IMO, they will all fail in this business. A few days ago I was trying out the Fuji XT10 for casual walk and I was really strongly re-convinced that it would not be for me, it is just simply too awkward to hold and the ergonomics and UI are horrible.

The XT10 was not just much smaller than my D750 but much much smaller than my A7M2 and A7R2 ,which I have considered the best mirrorless body design in terms of ergonomics. Every time I think about the Fuji option and try it out for a short walk for a day, I end up hating it more.

 

Now,I actually suspect emerging trend of the Samsung Nikon rumor thing is something to do with Sony. Like our detectors used to say, we should think who will get that money coming from this move behind the thick curtain ? Asians are all about keeping their faces, so it is impossible Nikon or Samsung intentionally leaks it out to silly rumor sites like mirrorlessrumors. I think I respect Photorumors and Nikon rumors, but not the mirrorlessrumors or SAR.Their hit rate is very low and thus almost no credibility.

The guy made so many silly mistakes, in fact, he almost never got it right.

  

UPDATE4: Looks like Sony has actually done something right this year.

Sony was the only one of those 3 camera companies to break even this time, and was actually profitable for the year in Imaging, though it’s difficult to say how much of that is contributed by pro video gear. The Imaging Products group at Sony posted slightly lower sales (-1.7%) but a very healthy profit (up 30.4b yen and hitting about 10% of sales).

In terms of unit volume, digital cameras at Sony dropped from 8.5m units to 6.1m units year-to-year. That’s mostly compact camera sales that dried up. Sony won’t say exactly how that shift is working other than to say “improvement in the product mix of digital cameras.” In other words, they suggest that by getting rid of compact camera volume and focusing all its effort on high priced ILC units they are getting a better profit margin.

The other two camera companies still making some money out of their camera business are Fuji and Canon. We do not know Canon's result in detail yet.

I think it is fair to say Fujifilm has a hobby camera business as their Digital cameras are about 2.5% of the company’s overall revenue stream. That they give us any insight into how that business is working is actually a bit surprising. Sales for digital cameras were down 8.2% year-to-year, yet it is still quite profitable.Fujifilm Japan says the imaging business earned 9 percent more profit to them and it was the best of the last 9 years.

To me, the most surprising finding is that Casio's camera division is still profitable and they sell only compact cameras.

But how do they make any serious money out of that compact camera sells is a big mystery to me.

      

Now amazing Capture One 9 pro is out, and for Sony users the express version is free.

The Capture One 8.3 before it was simply outstanding RAWC, much better than anything from Adobe or Raw Therapy.

 

Unfortunately, the free version of C1 does not handle Canon, Nikon or Olympus RAW, only Sony or DNG(Pentax and Leica).

 

So I guess It is another big reason for many of us to choose Sony over anything else. If you use Sony, you can get a full copy of Capture One 9 pro for just 50 USD.

AS far as I am concerned, this is an incredible deal, great Christmas gift for us from Phase One.

 

I think both Capture One 9 and DXO 10 produce a bit better color than LR CC or ACR9X for Sony or Nikon.

 

I suspect that Adobe programs are optimized for Canon.

 

Seriously C1 pro for just 50 US is an amazing deal. nothing beats it for that price.

Capture One 9 is a much better more serious program than the LR crapware, and the biggest deal here is not need to deal with the Adobe subscription stuff. Many many Adobe users used the license and repaid it to re-activate it, it is really terribly unstable. I had one time could not use it when I was editing my images on site in a mountain area and they say my account is just trial although I paid it for full CC version.

So after coming back from the mountain, I decided to cancel all Adobe CC crap, and I just got Capture One express 8.32 for Sony free,then later in the same month (last April)I ungraded it to the pro version. I could not be happier.

Now, also DXO is offering me a copy FULL copy of DXO 10 Elite version for just 99 USD. I will get that too.

Honestly, there are still times we need Photoshop but I do have full copy of CS6, so I do not need CC anymore, and I've found life without Adobe CC crap is really much more relaxing and easier.

  

So in the long run, may Sony E mount be the most expensive system out side of the Leica SL and MFDBs arena?

 

Well it seems like that considering terribly expensive Sony service charge and repair price, and of course their lens prices.

 

As far as lenses are concerned, I can only compare the lenses that have been tested scientifically. Now please keep in mind that these tests were done with the A7R not version 2, but when Nikon introduces their higher resolution camera this will increase the final numbers for Nikon system as well, and Canon already have even higher resolution camera than both Nikon and Sony, but oddly enough DXO and most of others refuse to use the high resolution Canon body for testing their new gen lenses.

Sony 35 2.8, Nikon 35 1.8, Canon 35 2.0 tested with A7R, D810, 5DIII, oddly DXO refuses to test Canon lenses on the 5DS.

Anyway though,the Sony Costs $800, Nikon Costs $600, despite the Sony having less resolving power and a full stop slower than the Nikon. So we see how expensive Sony system actually is already here at the very first comparison below.

www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Compare/Side-by-side/Nikon-AF-S-NI...

To be fair to Sony, there is also the Loxia 35 mm f2,which I recently sold off for some new macro lens for my Olympus. The Loxia 35 is a fairly good lens but not an amazing lens, not exceptionally sharp, not extremely well corrected either. It has a bit of serious coma issue at f2 and on, though it is still a better lens than the Sony 35 mm f2.8 in the areas of center resolution and longitudinal CA and Vignetting. But the Loxia is worse than the Sony 35 mm f2.8 in some significant areas such as coma, edge/corner sharpness and focus accuracy at infinity.

So in Sony 35 mm Full frame world , there is no value 35 mm prime at all.

Now move on to value 28 mm primes: Sony 28 2.0, Nikon 28 1.8, Canon 28 2.8, they are close enough to say the difference is irrelevant in real life use.

www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Compare/Side-by-side/Sony-FE-28mm-...

 

So move on to 70-200 mm f4: Of Sony 70-200 f4, Nikon 70-200 f4, Canon 70-200 f4, the Sony again is the most expensive despite the Nikon having more resolving power if we are to trust DXO lens rating. I personally do not trust their lens tests although I trust their sensor tests and I think their sensor test results pretty much mirror my own findings quite often.

But in case of the 70-200 mm f4 lenses, many other sites like SLRgear, lenstip tested and came to the same or identical conclusion to the DXO comparison. I also tested them at my work place with my own copy of DXO analyzer and got the same results.

If I have to pick the winner here, I would pick the Nikon for its obviously better resolution at 200 mm f4 setting. But it is more complicated than just optical quality, since the latest generation body IS of Sony is much more effective than most of in-lens VR or IS I tested.

So, while the Nikon is a bit better lens optically, I doubt that in real life handheld photography we see the better resolving power of the Nikon. The Sony 70-200 mm f4 comes with an excellent tripod collar that would cost 120 US if we buy it separately. Canon and Nikon do not include a tripod collar in their respective 70-200 mm f4 shipping package.

So maybe, is the pricing of the Sony actually reasonable?

www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Compare/Side-by-side/Sony-FE-70-20...

 

Now move on to 35 mm f1.4 lenses comparison:Sony 35 1.4, Nikon 35 1.4. Interestingly in this test the Sony did a little better in resolution to the Nikon although its 22mm longer and 30 grams heavier than the Nikon and 26mm longer and 50 grams heavier than the Canon, so not so compact for a compact system any more.

What this fact tells us about is if you ask ultimate resolution in any current FF system, regardless of your camera body size, your lens must be big and heavy, thus your system won't be small or cheap or light at all.

 

www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Compare/Side-by-side/Sony-FE-Carl-...

But in case of this 35 mm f1.4, we have to consider the extremely bad copy to copy sample variation issue of the Sony. The biggest issue of the DXO and the other typical online lens test sites is that they test only one copy supplied by the company.

But there is a great man testing literally 10-100 of copies of each lens and reporting his results most of times.

www.lensrentals.com/blog/2015/10/sony-e-mount-lens-sharpn...

 

Personally, I take Roger's opinion much more seriously than any other lens test site's so-called review. I work at a mall which also sell cameras and I have tested many returned lenses before sending them back to the respective manufactures, we found that the copy to copy variation is much more significant than many people online think, it is sometimes even more pronounced than lens A to lens B difference.

So testing one copy of each lens is not enough, definitely in the case of any super complex modern optics such as this FE 35 mm f1.4.

I know the best copies of it is a fantastic lens, but about 75 percent of times you get a bad one or just an ok kind of one. It is really really deplorable, sad.

But no one so-called review site besides Roger's report it, and I smell something very fishy here.

 

Now move on to 50 mm -55 mm value primes: the Sony 55 1.8 vs the Nikon 50 1.8 vs the

Canon 50 1.8 STM

 

The Sony beats out the Nikon and obviously the Canon because of the limited megapixels, but the interesting thing is when you compare pricing...$1000 for the Sony, $219 for the Nikon. Weight was another thing with the Sony coming in at almost 100 grams heavier than the Nikon and the Canon. In terms of Absolute resolution, the Sony is quite a bit better, though if you care about the money, then the cheap Nikon gets you about 90 percent of the expensive Sony performance at 1/ 5th of the Sony price.

 

www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Compare/Side-by-side/Sony-FE-Carl-...

 

now finally move on to 90-105 mm macro lens:

The Sony 90 mm macro is reported to be a better lens by likes of DXOmark, but according to Roger Cicala's extensive optics bench testing with many many copies of it, it is not as good as we all once thought it must be because of the DXO result for it below.

www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Compare/Side-by-side/Sony-FE-90mm-...

But it is obvious if you get a good copy of the Sony FE 90 mm f2.8 G lens, it is sharper than anything else in the market, actually it even beats the over-sized over priced not much useful awkward brand lenses like the Zess Otus 85 mm f1.4 APO or the Zeiss 135 mm f2 APO Sonnar,which I sold as soon as I found it useless in real life application ,especially for travel photography and street work. I loved it for studio work, but for that use I do not need to actually own any lens, just rent it from my boss's studio.

Anyway, my point here is if you get a decent Sony Fe 90 or 55 mm then it even beats the super-heavy ,awkward no compromise in design kind of d-SLR lens that priced about 4 times more than the Sony lenses.

The 90 macro is a cheap lens for what it is, there is no comparison to that lens in that relatively modest range of it.

 

So while I agree that Sony has made some very positive moves in recent years,it has come at a cost in pricing, f/stop and in the compactness to the system.Even then, the Sony lenses are not necessarily the best, especially when you take the fact that the Nikon/Canon Lenses often out resolved the Sony equivalents with faster f/stops for less money into serious consideration. The Canon lenses were at a deficit due to megapixels, and even with the obvious sensor resolution disadvantage, quite a few Canon lenses actually still out-resolve Sony Nikon equivalents, it was,to me,quite amazing.

So, I think if you need the ultimate best for now or the absolute best, most promising tech into foreseeable future, then the Sony system makes real sense here, but if you just need 90 percent of what the A7RM2 can do at the 1/4 of the Sony system price, then Nikon still makes better sense(value).

In my area it is even more glaringly clear, the A7RM2 body alone costs about 378000 yen, the Nikon D810 kit with the AF-S24-120 mm f4 VR costs 321000 yen,the Sony does not seem to be a great value although it may well be the absolute best camera in current camera market.

And most of people just go with the almost 95 percent as good as the absolute best kind of system that costs much less than the absolute best.

I chose the Zeiss Batis 85 over the Zeiss Otus 85 although I knew the Otus would beat the Batis in resolution(at a lab)..........but for me the much more manageable size and the weight saving, and more importantly the better overall practicality/usability of the Batis beat the absolute tripod resolution of the Otus. I think the same logic applies for choosing the right camera system.

Although, IMO, Canon still has the edge in lens line, flash,etc, and as a company most stable and profitable with a lot of key-core patents in this ILC technology, I personally never consider any of current Canon cameras seriously. The 5DS is just simply too overpriced, the 6D is just too long in the tooth, the 5D3 is about to be replaced, so no current Canon cameras make great value.

The 5DS-R costs 2 times more than the D810 and I think it is just too crazy, and that makes it absolutely the worst value camera for me. The 5DS at least a bit cheaper than the A7R2 to really justify its market position since it does not have the IBIS of the Sony, the 4k capability of the Sony, the high ISO performance of the Sony.

In the end, after comparing the prices of the lenses I need for the 3 systems carefully, I kind of realize that it is most logical to just stay with my current Sony system, just because I already have it. I guess I will hold on to my A7, A7M2, A7R for as long as I can, and see if Canon, Fuji or Samsung will answer to the a7R2.

The above logic just works for me, but I think for more budget minded people the Nikon may still hold the value king title with the D750..

The D750 is really attractive for event photography on a tight budget, and it is very very cheap now in the many many areas of the world, especially in my area.The Nikon D750 or D810 based system is at least 30 percent cheaper than the A7M2 or the A7RM2 based system with a few primes and a couple of zooms. But if you are a kind of person always wanting to shoot with a Otus or similar IQ lens and always carefully manually focus it, then Sony would suddenly become a much more logical choice for you.

The FE 55 mm f1.8 is sharper than the Otus 55 mm f1.4 at 1/4 of the Otus weight.

I do not have problem paying the Otus price for a great lens but the weight is.

The Sony FE 90 mm f2.8 G (assuming you get a decent copy) beats the both Otus and Batis in resolution and a few more areas.

I know the greater resolution alone does not make it a better lens than the Otus since Otus beats in the areas of CA, distortion and coma at wide open,etc.

But to me the better resolution of the Sony at 1/3 or the weight of Otus is very attractive.

The Batis 85 mm f1.8 is a great lens, honestly it is a bit different kind of lens than the Otus is with a bit more CA, a bit more distortion,etc, but it has the unique Zeiss look as with the other great Zeiss primes, and it is definitely sharp enough for its obvious intended use.

For landscape type of corner to corner sharpness, it may not be able to match the best primes in that focal range such as the FE90 mm f2.8 G , the Otus 85 mm f1.4 and the Leica 90 mm f3.5 APO, but still it handily beats all zooms and most of primes ever made in that specific focal range.

Many people compare the Batis 85 mm to the Nikon AF-S85 mm f1.8 G just because they both share f1.8 f numbers, but are they really comparable in quality?

Actually, in terms of sheer resolution and optical quality the cheap plastic Nikon may be comparable to the Batis. But it is weaker in a few key areas compared to the Batis.

The Nikon has much worse Lo-CA, much worse weaker flare resistance, a bit more distorted.

But the Nikon is smaller, lighter comes with 62 mm filter thread rather than the big 67 mm one on the Batis, it has a bit lower distortion and seems to have a bit lower amount of light fall off.

So it is actually closer match than we once thought it would be, and I see many many people mostly shooting all AF prefer the Nikon over the Zeiss in this case.

But unfortunately for me, the Batis is a better looking lens for my type of shooting since I am a manual focus kind of person, seldom use AF and having good MF ring is very important to me. So as my old man always said when I was a kid, it is always horses for courses, there is no one absolutely better camera system for all of us.

 

Finally as a side note, many many people guessing a lot of the technology inside the Leica SL seems to be from Panasonic.

I think Leica/Panasonic are testing the waters, with their first FF CSC with modern design more sophisticated UI than that of the Sony A7X.

I wouldn't be surprised, if less than a year from now, Panasonic makes a shot directly at Sony A7 series with a cheaper and more practical version of the Leica SL.

If Canon and Nikon don't come up with competitors in the meantime, Sony-Panasonic will be pushing this market very hard very far so that the old leaders will find themselves 7 laps behind all of a sudden. It may be easy for Canon to come up with something similar since they have all the tech needed to make something similar to the Leica SL, but is Nikon still safe, some how able to manage it to survive?

I know many Japanese Mega camera dealers that think in a matter of a several years Nikon won't be around in this market.

If they are correct, I wonder if the new Tokyo Nikon camera museum was actually built by Nikon as their own camera indoor cemetery?

 

UPDATE: At the CP + show in Yokohama, I asked a few A mount related questions to a couple of Sony guys, and I got interesting answers to my questions.

Basically, Sony said the A7RMK2 is the ' the E mount' flagship, but not the real flagship for the Alpha system. The 2 different lines of Alpha systems will be merged but not the E takes over the A kind of merging. Sony says it will be very interesting to many and technologically shocking to the public. But it is really difficult to do that right, and Sony needs to improve or waiting for a few key techs for that. This is why Sony has had to cancel out the planned announcement of the A99VMK2 or whatever called(Sony guys said at least 2 times they canceled it).

A few new techs not available at the time of the planned announcement became available right after that and Sony thought that would surely improve it further. Sony thinks we should wait to see it before making any firm decision on buying into any existing camera system because it will be Sony's first true pro-grade, grand-breaking true game changer. I hope it will be true, but how long will we have to wait? Why not just release a temporal stop gap solution camera with current best technology available? This company is really odd.

 

Update 2 : now, we have detected 5 new Nikon FF mirrorless patents here in Japan and 2 of which use Nikon's legendary but very venerable F mount, it is interesting.

But the rest 3 are all use new different mount designs with about 18 mm - 24 mm flange back distance.

The mount diameter is a bit wider than the F and the E but not as wide as the EF.

 

I tried the SL last week at a local event, I actually love it wish I could buy it there. Now I will have to wait a long year to get it or I may just get the Leica Q?

  

UPDATE 3: The biggest problem with buying too many FE A7 glass is that we can never re-use it if or when we ditch our Sony FE mount bodies. Buying Nikon or Canon lenses are safer because, even if, we ditch their camera bodies, we will always able to re-use their lenses on our Sony or m43 or Fuji or Samsung.

Also, there are no third party native mount lenses for the FE system besides the overpriced Batis and Loxia line Zeiss.

It is a huge issue for some one actually needs a good set of really PRACTICAL f1.8 or f2 compact primes or f2.8 zooms at reasonable prices..With Canon and Nikon we have the luxury to choose some reasonably priced third party lenses such as the Tamron 35 mm f1.8 VC, the 45 mm f1.8 VC, the 24-70 mm f2.8 VC, the 15-35 mm f2.8 , the 90 mm f2.8 VC macro and the 70-200 mm f2.8 VC. But in the Sony FE mount there is no such a choice, just overpriced, overly pompous so-called Zeiss inanely named Batis that actually made by Tamron and selling for 3 times more than the usual Tamron prices.

 

Now, I think it is really wise to hold off all new Sony Zeiss lens purchase plans, at least until we are sure about Sony is actually winning the FF war over Canon and Nikon.

But hey, we've got be honest Sony is not winning anything over anyone, their market share has been the same 11 .2 percent since 2009.

That is clearly shown in the recent Flickr report of their users' preferred devices. Mirrorless cameras seem to account for just 3 percent and DSLR cameras seem to account for 33 percent of Flickr uploads in 2015 and 2016 Q1.

 

This was shocking to me. I wonder if Mirrorless ,especially the Sony A7 line is as successful in this business as many many forum fanatics say it is, then why is mirrorless so unpopular at Flickr?

Maybe the current form of tiny mirrorless cameras are really doomed? Maybe most of people actually do not care about the tiny form factor of the current poorly designed mirrorless systems from minor camera brands, but just sheer functionality?

 

I ,for one, much prefer a 6D or a D750 sized mirrorless with EF or F mount to anything Sony is now offering with the relatively poor Sony FE lens line, especially for a zoom lover.

 

I am sure I was one of the earliest mirrorless adapters with more than 23 mirrorless cameras(mostly Sony and Panasonic cameras), but now I really doubt any of the current form of mirrorless system actually replacing the EF and the F systems.

I honestly think Sony, Olympus , Panasonic Fuji,etc are actually barking up the wrong tree with the"mirrorless must be tiny" kind of silly design concept, and IMO, they will all fail in this business. A few days ago I was trying out the Fuji XT10 for casual walk and I was really strongly re-convinced that it would not be for me, it is just simply too awkward to hold and the ergonomics and UI are horrible.

The XT10 was not just much smaller than my D750 but much much smaller than my A7M2 and A7R2 ,which I have considered the best mirrorless body design in terms of ergonomics. Every time I think about the Fuji option and try it out for a short walk for a day, I end up hating it more.

 

Now,I actually suspect emerging trend of the Samsung Nikon rumor thing is something to do with Sony. Like our detectors used to say, we should think who will get that money coming from this move behind the thick curtain ? Asians are all about keeping their faces, so it is impossible Nikon or Samsung intentionally leaks it out to silly rumor sites like mirrorlessrumors. I think I respect Photorumors and Nikon rumors, but not the mirrorlessrumors or SAR.Their hit rate is very low and thus almost no credibility.

The guy made so many silly mistakes, in fact, he almost never got it right.

  

UPDATE4: Looks like Sony has actually done something right this year.

Sony was the only one of those 3 camera companies to break even this time, and was actually profitable for the year in Imaging, though it’s difficult to say how much of that is contributed by pro video gear. The Imaging Products group at Sony posted slightly lower sales (-1.7%) but a very healthy profit (up 30.4b yen and hitting about 10% of sales).

In terms of unit volume, digital cameras at Sony dropped from 8.5m units to 6.1m units year-to-year. That’s mostly compact camera sales that dried up. Sony won’t say exactly how that shift is working other than to say “improvement in the product mix of digital cameras.” In other words, they suggest that by getting rid of compact camera volume and focusing all its effort on high priced ILC units they are getting a better profit margin.

The other two camera companies still making some money out of their camera business are Fuji and Canon. We do not know Canon's result in detail yet.

I think it is fair to say Fujifilm has a hobby camera business as their Digital cameras are about 2.5% of the company’s overall revenue stream. That they give us any insight into how that business is working is actually a bit surprising. Sales for digital cameras were down 8.2% year-to-year, yet it is still quite profitable.Fujifilm Japan says the imaging business earned 9 percent more profit to them and it was the best of the last 9 years.

To me, the most surprising finding is that Casio's camera division is still profitable and they sell only compact cameras.

But how do they make any serious money out of that compact camera sells is a big mystery to me.

      

Now amazing Capture One 9 pro is out, and for Sony users the express version is free.

The Capture One 8.3 before it was simply outstanding RAWC, much better than anything from Adobe or Raw Therapy.

 

Unfortunately, the free version of C1 does not handle Canon, Nikon or Olympus RAW, only Sony or DNG(Pentax and Leica).

 

So I guess It is another big reason for many of us to choose Sony over anything else. If you use Sony, you can get a full copy of Capture One 9 pro for just 50 USD.

AS far as I am concerned, this is an incredible deal, great Christmas gift for us from Phase One.

 

I think both Capture One 9 and DXO 10 produce a bit better color than LR CC or ACR9X for Sony or Nikon.

 

I suspect that Adobe programs are optimized for Canon.

 

Seriously C1 pro for just 50 US is an amazing deal. nothing beats it for that price.

Capture One 9 is a much better more serious program than the LR crapware, and the biggest deal here is not need to deal with the Adobe subscription stuff. Many many Adobe users used the license and repaid it to re-activate it, it is really terribly unstable. I had one time could not use it when I was editing my images on site in a mountain area and they say my account is just trial although I paid it for full CC version.

So after coming back from the mountain, I decided to cancel all Adobe CC crap, and I just got Capture One express 8.32 for Sony free,then later in the same month (last April)I ungraded it to the pro version. I could not be happier.

Now, also DXO is offering me a copy FULL copy of DXO 10 Elite version for just 99 USD. I will get that too.

Honestly, there are still times we need Photoshop but I do have full copy of CS6, so I do not need CC anymore, and I've found life without Adobe CC crap is really much more relaxing and easier.

  

So in the long run, may Sony E mount be the most expensive system out side of the Leica SL and MFDBs arena?

 

Well it seems like that considering terribly expensive Sony service charge and repair price, and of course their lens prices.

 

As far as lenses are concerned, I can only compare the lenses that have been tested scientifically. Now please keep in mind that these tests were done with the A7R not version 2, but when Nikon introduces their higher resolution camera this will increase the final numbers for Nikon system as well, and Canon already have even higher resolution camera than both Nikon and Sony, but oddly enough DXO and most of others refuse to use the high resolution Canon body for testing their new gen lenses.

Sony 35 2.8, Nikon 35 1.8, Canon 35 2.0 tested with A7R, D810, 5DIII, oddly DXO refuses to test Canon lenses on the 5DS.

Anyway though,the Sony Costs $800, Nikon Costs $600, despite the Sony having less resolving power and a full stop slower than the Nikon. So we see how expensive Sony system actually is already here at the very first comparison below.

www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Compare/Side-by-side/Nikon-AF-S-NI...

To be fair to Sony, there is also the Loxia 35 mm f2,which I recently sold off for some new macro lens for my Olympus. The Loxia 35 is a fairly good lens but not an amazing lens, not exceptionally sharp, not extremely well corrected either. It has a bit of serious coma issue at f2 and on, though it is still a better lens than the Sony 35 mm f2.8 in the areas of center resolution and longitudinal CA and Vignetting. But the Loxia is worse than the Sony 35 mm f2.8 in some significant areas such as coma, edge/corner sharpness and focus accuracy at infinity.

So in Sony 35 mm Full frame world , there is no value 35 mm prime at all.

Now move on to value 28 mm primes: Sony 28 2.0, Nikon 28 1.8, Canon 28 2.8, they are close enough to say the difference is irrelevant in real life use.

www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Compare/Side-by-side/Sony-FE-28mm-...

 

So move on to 70-200 mm f4: Of Sony 70-200 f4, Nikon 70-200 f4, Canon 70-200 f4, the Sony again is the most expensive despite the Nikon having more resolving power if we are to trust DXO lens rating. I personally do not trust their lens tests although I trust their sensor tests and I think their sensor test results pretty much mirror my own findings quite often.

But in case of the 70-200 mm f4 lenses, many other sites like SLRgear, lenstip tested and came to the same or identical conclusion to the DXO comparison. I also tested them at my work place with my own copy of DXO analyzer and got the same results.

If I have to pick the winner here, I would pick the Nikon for its obviously better resolution at 200 mm f4 setting. But it is more complicated than just optical quality, since the latest generation body IS of Sony is much more effective than most of in-lens VR or IS I tested.

So, while the Nikon is a bit better lens optically, I doubt that in real life handheld photography we see the better resolving power of the Nikon. The Sony 70-200 mm f4 comes with an excellent tripod collar that would cost 120 US if we buy it separately. Canon and Nikon do not include a tripod collar in their respective 70-200 mm f4 shipping package.

So maybe, is the pricing of the Sony actually reasonable?

www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Compare/Side-by-side/Sony-FE-70-20...

 

Now move on to 35 mm f1.4 lenses comparison:Sony 35 1.4, Nikon 35 1.4. Interestingly in this test the Sony did a little better in resolution to the Nikon although its 22mm longer and 30 grams heavier than the Nikon and 26mm longer and 50 grams heavier than the Canon, so not so compact for a compact system any more.

What this fact tells us about is if you ask ultimate resolution in any current FF system, regardless of your camera body size, your lens must be big and heavy, thus your system won't be small or cheap or light at all.

 

www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Compare/Side-by-side/Sony-FE-Carl-...

But in case of this 35 mm f1.4, we have to consider the extremely bad copy to copy sample variation issue of the Sony. The biggest issue of the DXO and the other typical online lens test sites is that they test only one copy supplied by the company.

But there is a great man testing literally 10-100 of copies of each lens and reporting his results most of times.

www.lensrentals.com/blog/2015/10/sony-e-mount-lens-sharpn...

 

Personally, I take Roger's opinion much more seriously than any other lens test site's so-called review. I work at a mall which also sell cameras and I have tested many returned lenses before sending them back to the respective manufactures, we found that the copy to copy variation is much more significant than many people online think, it is sometimes even more pronounced than lens A to lens B difference.

So testing one copy of each lens is not enough, definitely in the case of any super complex modern optics such as this FE 35 mm f1.4.

I know the best copies of it is a fantastic lens, but about 75 percent of times you get a bad one or just an ok kind of one. It is really really deplorable, sad.

But no one so-called review site besides Roger's report it, and I smell something very fishy here.

 

Now move on to 50 mm -55 mm value primes: the Sony 55 1.8 vs the Nikon 50 1.8 vs the

Canon 50 1.8 STM

 

The Sony beats out the Nikon and obviously the Canon because of the limited megapixels, but the interesting thing is when you compare pricing...$1000 for the Sony, $219 for the Nikon. Weight was another thing with the Sony coming in at almost 100 grams heavier than the Nikon and the Canon. In terms of Absolute resolution, the Sony is quite a bit better, though if you care about the money, then the cheap Nikon gets you about 90 percent of the expensive Sony performance at 1/ 5th of the Sony price.

 

www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Compare/Side-by-side/Sony-FE-Carl-...

 

now finally move on to 90-105 mm macro lens:

The Sony 90 mm macro is reported to be a better lens by likes of DXOmark, but according to Roger Cicala's extensive optics bench testing with many many copies of it, it is not as good as we all once thought it must be because of the DXO result for it below.

www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Compare/Side-by-side/Sony-FE-90mm-...

But it is obvious if you get a good copy of the Sony FE 90 mm f2.8 G lens, it is sharper than anything else in the market, actually it even beats the over-sized over priced not much useful awkward brand lenses like the Zess Otus 85 mm f1.4 APO or the Zeiss 135 mm f2 APO Sonnar,which I sold as soon as I found it useless in real life application ,especially for travel photography and street work. I loved it for studio work, but for that use I do not need to actually own any lens, just rent it from my boss's studio.

Anyway, my point here is if you get a decent Sony Fe 90 or 55 mm then it even beats the super-heavy ,awkward no compromise in design kind of d-SLR lens that priced about 4 times more than the Sony lenses.

The 90 macro is a cheap lens for what it is, there is no comparison to that lens in that relatively modest range of it.

 

So while I agree that Sony has made some very positive moves in recent years,it has come at a cost in pricing, f/stop and in the compactness to the system.Even then, the Sony lenses are not necessarily the best, especially when you take the fact that the Nikon/Canon Lenses often out resolved the Sony equivalents with faster f/stops for less money into serious consideration. The Canon lenses were at a deficit due to megapixels, and even with the obvious sensor resolution disadvantage, quite a few Canon lenses actually still out-resolve Sony Nikon equivalents, it was,to me,quite amazing.

So, I think if you need the ultimate best for now or the absolute best, most promising tech into foreseeable future, then the Sony system makes real sense here, but if you just need 90 percent of what the A7RM2 can do at the 1/4 of the Sony system price, then Nikon still makes better sense(value).

In my area it is even more glaringly clear, the A7RM2 body alone costs about 378000 yen, the Nikon D810 kit with the AF-S24-120 mm f4 VR costs 321000 yen,the Sony does not seem to be a great value although it may well be the absolute best camera in current camera market.

And most of people just go with the almost 95 percent as good as the absolute best kind of system that costs much less than the absolute best.

I chose the Zeiss Batis 85 over the Zeiss Otus 85 although I knew the Otus would beat the Batis in resolution(at a lab)..........but for me the much more manageable size and the weight saving, and more importantly the better overall practicality/usability of the Batis beat the absolute tripod resolution of the Otus. I think the same logic applies for choosing the right camera system.

Although, IMO, Canon still has the edge in lens line, flash,etc, and as a company most stable and profitable with a lot of key-core patents in this ILC technology, I personally never consider any of current Canon cameras seriously. The 5DS is just simply too overpriced, the 6D is just too long in the tooth, the 5D3 is about to be replaced, so no current Canon cameras make great value.

The 5DS-R costs 2 times more than the D810 and I think it is just too crazy, and that makes it absolutely the worst value camera for me. The 5DS at least a bit cheaper than the A7R2 to really justify its market position since it does not have the IBIS of the Sony, the 4k capability of the Sony, the high ISO performance of the Sony.

In the end, after comparing the prices of the lenses I need for the 3 systems carefully, I kind of realize that it is most logical to just stay with my current Sony system, just because I already have it. I guess I will hold on to my A7, A7M2, A7R for as long as I can, and see if Canon, Fuji or Samsung will answer to the a7R2.

The above logic just works for me, but I think for more budget minded people the Nikon may still hold the value king title with the D750..

The D750 is really attractive for event photography on a tight budget, and it is very very cheap now in the many many areas of the world, especially in my area.The Nikon D750 or D810 based system is at least 30 percent cheaper than the A7M2 or the A7RM2 based system with a few primes and a couple of zooms. But if you are a kind of person always wanting to shoot with a Otus or similar IQ lens and always carefully manually focus it, then Sony would suddenly become a much more logical choice for you.

The FE 55 mm f1.8 is sharper than the Otus 55 mm f1.4 at 1/4 of the Otus weight.

I do not have problem paying the Otus price for a great lens but the weight is.

The Sony FE 90 mm f2.8 G (assuming you get a decent copy) beats the both Otus and Batis in resolution and a few more areas.

I know the greater resolution alone does not make it a better lens than the Otus since Otus beats in the areas of CA, distortion and coma at wide open,etc.

But to me the better resolution of the Sony at 1/3 or the weight of Otus is very attractive.

The Batis 85 mm f1.8 is a great lens, honestly it is a bit different kind of lens than the Otus is with a bit more CA, a bit more distortion,etc, but it has the unique Zeiss look as with the other great Zeiss primes, and it is definitely sharp enough for its obvious intended use.

For landscape type of corner to corner sharpness, it may not be able to match the best primes in that focal range such as the FE90 mm f2.8 G , the Otus 85 mm f1.4 and the Leica 90 mm f3.5 APO, but still it handily beats all zooms and most of primes ever made in that specific focal range.

Many people compare the Batis 85 mm to the Nikon AF-S85 mm f1.8 G just because they both share f1.8 f numbers, but are they really comparable in quality?

Actually, in terms of sheer resolution and optical quality the cheap plastic Nikon may be comparable to the Batis. But it is weaker in a few key areas compared to the Batis.

The Nikon has much worse Lo-CA, much worse weaker flare resistance, a bit more distorted.

But the Nikon is smaller, lighter comes with 62 mm filter thread rather than the big 67 mm one on the Batis, it has a bit lower distortion and seems to have a bit lower amount of light fall off.

So it is actually closer match than we once thought it would be, and I see many many people mostly shooting all AF prefer the Nikon over the Zeiss in this case.

But unfortunately for me, the Batis is a better looking lens for my type of shooting since I am a manual focus kind of person, seldom use AF and having good MF ring is very important to me. So as my old man always said when I was a kid, it is always horses for courses, there is no one absolutely better camera system for all of us.

 

Finally as a side note, many many people guessing a lot of the technology inside the Leica SL seems to be from Panasonic.

I think Leica/Panasonic are testing the waters, with their first FF CSC with modern design more sophisticated UI than that of the Sony A7X.

I wouldn't be surprised, if less than a year from now, Panasonic makes a shot directly at Sony A7 series with a cheaper and more practical version of the Leica SL.

If Canon and Nikon don't come up with competitors in the meantime, Sony-Panasonic will be pushing this market very hard very far so that the old leaders will find themselves 7 laps behind all of a sudden. It may be easy for Canon to come up with something similar since they have all the tech needed to make something similar to the Leica SL, but is Nikon still safe, some how able to manage it to survive?

I know many Japanese Mega camera dealers that think in a matter of a several years Nikon won't be around in this market.

If they are correct, I wonder if the new Tokyo Nikon camera museum was actually built by Nikon as their own camera indoor cemetery?

 

UPDATE: At the CP + show in Yokohama, I asked a few A mount related questions to a couple of Sony guys, and I got interesting answers to my questions.

Basically, Sony said the A7RMK2 is the ' the E mount' flagship, but not the real flagship for the Alpha system. The 2 different lines of Alpha systems will be merged but not the E takes over the A kind of merging. Sony says it will be very interesting to many and technologically shocking to the public. But it is really difficult to do that right, and Sony needs to improve or waiting for a few key techs for that. This is why Sony has had to cancel out the planned announcement of the A99VMK2 or whatever called(Sony guys said at least 2 times they canceled it).

A few new techs not available at the time of the planned announcement became available right after that and Sony thought that would surely improve it further. Sony thinks we should wait to see it before making any firm decision on buying into any existing camera system because it will be Sony's first true pro-grade, grand-breaking true game changer. I hope it will be true, but how long will we have to wait? Why not just release a temporal stop gap solution camera with current best technology available? This company is really odd.

 

Update 2 : now, we have detected 5 new Nikon FF mirrorless patents here in Japan and 2 of which use Nikon's legendary but very venerable F mount, it is interesting.

But the rest 3 are all use new different mount designs with about 18 mm - 24 mm flange back distance.

The mount diameter is a bit wider than the F and the E but not as wide as the EF.

 

I tried the SL last week at a local event, I actually love it wish I could buy it there. Now I will have to wait a long year to get it or I may just get the Leica Q?

  

UPDATE 3: The biggest problem with buying too many FE A7 glass is that we can never re-use it if or when we ditch our Sony FE mount bodies. Buying Nikon or Canon lenses are safer because, even if, we ditch their camera bodies, we will always able to re-use their lenses on our Sony or m43 or Fuji or Samsung.

Also, there are no third party native mount lenses for the FE system besides the overpriced Batis and Loxia line Zeiss.

It is a huge issue for some one actually needs a good set of really PRACTICAL f1.8 or f2 compact primes or f2.8 zooms at reasonable prices..With Canon and Nikon we have the luxury to choose some reasonably priced third party lenses such as the Tamron 35 mm f1.8 VC, the 45 mm f1.8 VC, the 24-70 mm f2.8 VC, the 15-35 mm f2.8 , the 90 mm f2.8 VC macro and the 70-200 mm f2.8 VC. But in the Sony FE mount there is no such a choice, just overpriced, overly pompous so-called Zeiss inanely named Batis that actually made by Tamron and selling for 3 times more than the usual Tamron prices.

 

Now, I think it is really wise to hold off all new Sony Zeiss lens purchase plans, at least until we are sure about Sony is actually winning the FF war over Canon and Nikon.

But hey, we've got be honest Sony is not winning anything over anyone, their market share has been the same 11 .2 percent since 2009.

That is clearly shown in the recent Flickr report of their users' preferred devices. Mirrorless cameras seem to account for just 3 percent and DSLR cameras seem to account for 33 percent of Flickr uploads in 2015 and 2016 Q1.

 

This was shocking to me. I wonder if Mirrorless ,especially the Sony A7 line is as successful in this business as many many forum fanatics say it is, then why is mirrorless so unpopular at Flickr?

Maybe the current form of tiny mirrorless cameras are really doomed? Maybe most of people actually do not care about the tiny form factor of the current poorly designed mirrorless systems from minor camera brands, but just sheer functionality?

 

I ,for one, much prefer a 6D or a D750 sized mirrorless with EF or F mount to anything Sony is now offering with the relatively poor Sony FE lens line, especially for a zoom lover.

 

I am sure I was one of the earliest mirrorless adapters with more than 23 mirrorless cameras(mostly Sony and Panasonic cameras), but now I really doubt any of the current form of mirrorless system actually replacing the EF and the F systems.

I honestly think Sony, Olympus , Panasonic Fuji,etc are actually barking up the wrong tree with the"mirrorless must be tiny" kind of silly design concept, and IMO, they will all fail in this business. A few days ago I was trying out the Fuji XT10 for casual walk and I was really strongly re-convinced that it would not be for me, it is just simply too awkward to hold and the ergonomics and UI are horrible.

The XT10 was not just much smaller than my D750 but much much smaller than my A7M2 and A7R2 ,which I have considered the best mirrorless body design in terms of ergonomics. Every time I think about the Fuji option and try it out for a short walk for a day, I end up hating it more.

 

Now,I actually suspect emerging trend of the Samsung Nikon rumor thing is something to do with Sony. Like our detectors used to say, we should think who will get that money coming from this move behind the thick curtain ? Asians are all about keeping their faces, so it is impossible Nikon or Samsung intentionally leaks it out to silly rumor sites like mirrorlessrumors. I think I respect Photorumors and Nikon rumors, but not the mirrorlessrumors or SAR.Their hit rate is very low and thus almost no credibility.

The guy made so many silly mistakes, in fact, he almost never got it right.

  

UPDATE4: Looks like Sony has actually done something right this year.

Sony was the only one of those 3 camera companies to break even this time, and was actually profitable for the year in Imaging, though it’s difficult to say how much of that is contributed by pro video gear. The Imaging Products group at Sony posted slightly lower sales (-1.7%) but a very healthy profit (up 30.4b yen and hitting about 10% of sales).

In terms of unit volume, digital cameras at Sony dropped from 8.5m units to 6.1m units year-to-year. That’s mostly compact camera sales that dried up. Sony won’t say exactly how that shift is working other than to say “improvement in the product mix of digital cameras.” In other words, they suggest that by getting rid of compact camera volume and focusing all its effort on high priced ILC units they are getting a better profit margin.

The other two camera companies still making some money out of their camera business are Fuji and Canon. We do not know Canon's result in detail yet.

I think it is fair to say Fujifilm has a hobby camera business as their Digital cameras are about 2.5% of the company’s overall revenue stream. That they give us any insight into how that business is working is actually a bit surprising. Sales for digital cameras were down 8.2% year-to-year, yet it is still quite profitable.Fujifilm Japan says the imaging business earned 9 percent more profit to them and it was the best of the last 9 years.

To me, the most surprising finding is that Casio's camera division is still profitable and they sell only compact cameras.

But how do they make any serious money out of that compact camera sells is a big mystery to me.

      

Lake Tekapo is nestled in the heart of New Zealand's South Island. The lake lies at the foot of the Southern Alps, which rise to a height of 3 kilometres. New Zealand's highest mountain, Mt Cook (Aoraki) is a short drive away and rises to 3,753m (12,313ft).

 

Getting to Lake Tekapo

There are no scheduled air or rail links to Lake Tekapo and so transport is limited to road only.

The closest international airport is in Christchurch, approximately 3 hours away.

A charter flight service is available with Tekapo's Air Safaris and can operate from most major airports in the South Island and southern North Island.

A number of coach, bus and mini bus services are available from major centres in the South Island.

 

Why is the water of Lake Tekapo turquoise?

The majority of water flowing into the headwaters of Lake Tekapo comes from large river systems that extend right back into the valleys of the Southern Alps. Feeding these rivers are large glaciers. Glaciers are slow moving rivers of ice.

Glaciers start as fallen snow high on the mountain plateaus of the Alps. As more and more snow falls, the weight of the new snow compresses the older layers until it becomes a thick, heavy layer of ice.

Gravity draws the ice from where it formed and down the slopes of the mountains.

Just like water, the ice collects in valleys and pushes its way down the valley, ripping loose rock from the valley walls and trapping it in the moving ice.

Any rock trapped against the sides of the ice flow is ground, with huge force, along the solid rock of the valley floor and walls. Such is the force, the grinding action of rock against rock results in a powder as fine as flour. It is often referred to as glacial flour.

The fine flour is carried with the ice down the valley until the warmth of the lower altitude reduces the ice to water.

In the case of Lake Tekapo, the glacial flour continues its journey in the river waters of the Godley, Cass and Macaulay rivers until it flows into the lake where the majority remains suspended within the water. This results in the turquoise colour.

 

Population.

At the 2001 census the usually resident population was 303.

The overnight population of Lake Tekapo can often double due to the number of visitors to the area. Lake Tekapo's population increases during weekends due to the number of holiday homes in the village.

 

Position

Lake Tekapo village's latitude, longitude and altitude is: S44°00.5' E170°28.7' and 720m above sea level.

The designed flood level of the lake is 713m above sea level, but as a hydro lake it is often less than this.

 

Approximate Sunrise/sunset times for Lake Tekapo

NZ standard time (daylight saving time)

New Zealand Daylight Saving, or Summer Time, now operates from the last Sunday in September until the first Sunday in April.

 

Temperature

The highest temperature recorded in Tekapo is 33.3°C (91.9°F)

The lowest temperature recorded in Tekapo is -15.6°C (3.92°F)

On average Tekapo experiences 149 ground frosts a year.

Lake Tekapo experiences warm summers and very cold winters.

 

Opening hours for the Church of the Good Shepherd

The Church of the Good Shepherd is operated by a team of local volunteers.

Indicative opening hours vary between summer and winter and can occasionally be dictated by weather conditions. Heavy snow may prevent opening during winter.

Summer.

9:00am-5:00pm October-April

Winter

10:00am-4:00pm May-September

 

Dog Statue

The statue of the dog on the shores of Lake Tekapo is dedicated to the working collie dogs of the Mackenzie and was commissioned on the 7th of March, 1968.

 

Text from www.tekapotourism.co.nz

 

Lake Tekapo

South Island

New Zealand

 

This artwork is under a creative commons licence.

 

Esta obra está bajo una licencia de creative commons

Now amazing Capture One 9 pro is out, and for Sony users the express version is free.

The Capture One 8.3 before it was simply outstanding RAWC, much better than anything from Adobe or Raw Therapy.

 

Unfortunately, the free version of C1 does not handle Canon, Nikon or Olympus RAW, only Sony or DNG(Pentax and Leica).

 

So I guess It is another big reason for many of us to choose Sony over anything else. If you use Sony, you can get a full copy of Capture One 9 pro for just 50 USD.

AS far as I am concerned, this is an incredible deal, great Christmas gift for us from Phase One.

 

I think both Capture One 9 and DXO 10 produce a bit better color than LR CC or ACR9X for Sony or Nikon.

 

I suspect that Adobe programs are optimized for Canon.

 

Seriously C1 pro for just 50 US is an amazing deal. nothing beats it for that price.

Capture One 9 is a much better more serious program than the LR crapware, and the biggest deal here is not need to deal with the Adobe subscription stuff. Many many Adobe users used the license and repaid it to re-activate it, it is really terribly unstable. I had one time could not use it when I was editing my images on site in a mountain area and they say my account is just trial although I paid it for full CC version.

So after coming back from the mountain, I decided to cancel all Adobe CC crap, and I just got Capture One express 8.32 for Sony free,then later in the same month (last April)I ungraded it to the pro version. I could not be happier.

Now, also DXO is offering me a copy FULL copy of DXO 10 Elite version for just 99 USD. I will get that too.

Honestly, there are still times we need Photoshop but I do have full copy of CS6, so I do not need CC anymore, and I've found life without Adobe CC crap is really much more relaxing and easier.

  

So in the long run, may Sony E mount be the most expensive system out side of the Leica SL and MFDBs arena?

 

Well it seems like that considering terribly expensive Sony service charge and repair price, and of course their lens prices.

 

As far as lenses are concerned, I can only compare the lenses that have been tested scientifically. Now please keep in mind that these tests were done with the A7R not version 2, but when Nikon introduces their higher resolution camera this will increase the final numbers for Nikon system as well, and Canon already have even higher resolution camera than both Nikon and Sony, but oddly enough DXO and most of others refuse to use the high resolution Canon body for testing their new gen lenses.

Sony 35 2.8, Nikon 35 1.8, Canon 35 2.0 tested with A7R, D810, 5DIII, oddly DXO refuses to test Canon lenses on the 5DS.

Anyway though,the Sony Costs $800, Nikon Costs $600, despite the Sony having less resolving power and a full stop slower than the Nikon. So we see how expensive Sony system actually is already here at the very first comparison below.

www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Compare/Side-by-side/Nikon-AF-S-NI...

To be fair to Sony, there is also the Loxia 35 mm f2,which I recently sold off for some new macro lens for my Olympus. The Loxia 35 is a fairly good lens but not an amazing lens, not exceptionally sharp, not extremely well corrected either. It has a bit of serious coma issue at f2 and on, though it is still a better lens than the Sony 35 mm f2.8 in the areas of center resolution and longitudinal CA and Vignetting. But the Loxia is worse than the Sony 35 mm f2.8 in some significant areas such as coma, edge/corner sharpness and focus accuracy at infinity.

So in Sony 35 mm Full frame world , there is no value 35 mm prime at all.

Now move on to value 28 mm primes: Sony 28 2.0, Nikon 28 1.8, Canon 28 2.8, they are close enough to say the difference is irrelevant in real life use.

www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Compare/Side-by-side/Sony-FE-28mm-...

 

So move on to 70-200 mm f4: Of Sony 70-200 f4, Nikon 70-200 f4, Canon 70-200 f4, the Sony again is the most expensive despite the Nikon having more resolving power if we are to trust DXO lens rating. I personally do not trust their lens tests although I trust their sensor tests and I think their sensor test results pretty much mirror my own findings quite often.

But in case of the 70-200 mm f4 lenses, many other sites like SLRgear, lenstip tested and came to the same or identical conclusion to the DXO comparison. I also tested them at my work place with my own copy of DXO analyzer and got the same results.

If I have to pick the winner here, I would pick the Nikon for its obviously better resolution at 200 mm f4 setting. But it is more complicated than just optical quality, since the latest generation body IS of Sony is much more effective than most of in-lens VR or IS I tested.

So, while the Nikon is a bit better lens optically, I doubt that in real life handheld photography we see the better resolving power of the Nikon. The Sony 70-200 mm f4 comes with an excellent tripod collar that would cost 120 US if we buy it separately. Canon and Nikon do not include a tripod collar in their respective 70-200 mm f4 shipping package.

So maybe, is the pricing of the Sony actually reasonable?

www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Compare/Side-by-side/Sony-FE-70-20...

 

Now move on to 35 mm f1.4 lenses comparison:Sony 35 1.4, Nikon 35 1.4. Interestingly in this test the Sony did a little better in resolution to the Nikon although its 22mm longer and 30 grams heavier than the Nikon and 26mm longer and 50 grams heavier than the Canon, so not so compact for a compact system any more.

What this fact tells us about is if you ask ultimate resolution in any current FF system, regardless of your camera body size, your lens must be big and heavy, thus your system won't be small or cheap or light at all.

 

www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Compare/Side-by-side/Sony-FE-Carl-...

But in case of this 35 mm f1.4, we have to consider the extremely bad copy to copy sample variation issue of the Sony. The biggest issue of the DXO and the other typical online lens test sites is that they test only one copy supplied by the company.

But there is a great man testing literally 10-100 of copies of each lens and reporting his results most of times.

www.lensrentals.com/blog/2015/10/sony-e-mount-lens-sharpn...

 

Personally, I take Roger's opinion much more seriously than any other lens test site's so-called review. I work at a mall which also sell cameras and I have tested many returned lenses before sending them back to the respective manufactures, we found that the copy to copy variation is much more significant than many people online think, it is sometimes even more pronounced than lens A to lens B difference.

So testing one copy of each lens is not enough, definitely in the case of any super complex modern optics such as this FE 35 mm f1.4.

I know the best copies of it is a fantastic lens, but about 75 percent of times you get a bad one or just an ok kind of one. It is really really deplorable, sad.

But no one so-called review site besides Roger's report it, and I smell something very fishy here.

 

Now move on to 50 mm -55 mm value primes: the Sony 55 1.8 vs the Nikon 50 1.8 vs the

Canon 50 1.8 STM

 

The Sony beats out the Nikon and obviously the Canon because of the limited megapixels, but the interesting thing is when you compare pricing...$1000 for the Sony, $219 for the Nikon. Weight was another thing with the Sony coming in at almost 100 grams heavier than the Nikon and the Canon. In terms of Absolute resolution, the Sony is quite a bit better, though if you care about the money, then the cheap Nikon gets you about 90 percent of the expensive Sony performance at 1/ 5th of the Sony price.

 

www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Compare/Side-by-side/Sony-FE-Carl-...

 

now finally move on to 90-105 mm macro lens:

The Sony 90 mm macro is reported to be a better lens by likes of DXOmark, but according to Roger Cicala's extensive optics bench testing with many many copies of it, it is not as good as we all once thought it must be because of the DXO result for it below.

www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Compare/Side-by-side/Sony-FE-90mm-...

But it is obvious if you get a good copy of the Sony FE 90 mm f2.8 G lens, it is sharper than anything else in the market, actually it even beats the over-sized over priced not much useful awkward brand lenses like the Zess Otus 85 mm f1.4 APO or the Zeiss 135 mm f2 APO Sonnar,which I sold as soon as I found it useless in real life application ,especially for travel photography and street work. I loved it for studio work, but for that use I do not need to actually own any lens, just rent it from my boss's studio.

Anyway, my point here is if you get a decent Sony Fe 90 or 55 mm then it even beats the super-heavy ,awkward no compromise in design kind of d-SLR lens that priced about 4 times more than the Sony lenses.

The 90 macro is a cheap lens for what it is, there is no comparison to that lens in that relatively modest range of it.

 

So while I agree that Sony has made some very positive moves in recent years,it has come at a cost in pricing, f/stop and in the compactness to the system.Even then, the Sony lenses are not necessarily the best, especially when you take the fact that the Nikon/Canon Lenses often out resolved the Sony equivalents with faster f/stops for less money into serious consideration. The Canon lenses were at a deficit due to megapixels, and even with the obvious sensor resolution disadvantage, quite a few Canon lenses actually still out-resolve Sony Nikon equivalents, it was,to me,quite amazing.

So, I think if you need the ultimate best for now or the absolute best, most promising tech into foreseeable future, then the Sony system makes real sense here, but if you just need 90 percent of what the A7RM2 can do at the 1/4 of the Sony system price, then Nikon still makes better sense(value).

In my area it is even more glaringly clear, the A7RM2 body alone costs about 378000 yen, the Nikon D810 kit with the AF-S24-120 mm f4 VR costs 321000 yen,the Sony does not seem to be a great value although it may well be the absolute best camera in current camera market.

And most of people just go with the almost 95 percent as good as the absolute best kind of system that costs much less than the absolute best.

I chose the Zeiss Batis 85 over the Zeiss Otus 85 although I knew the Otus would beat the Batis in resolution(at a lab)..........but for me the much more manageable size and the weight saving, and more importantly the better overall practicality/usability of the Batis beat the absolute tripod resolution of the Otus. I think the same logic applies for choosing the right camera system.

Although, IMO, Canon still has the edge in lens line, flash,etc, and as a company most stable and profitable with a lot of key-core patents in this ILC technology, I personally never consider any of current Canon cameras seriously. The 5DS is just simply too overpriced, the 6D is just too long in the tooth, the 5D3 is about to be replaced, so no current Canon cameras make great value.

The 5DS-R costs 2 times more than the D810 and I think it is just too crazy, and that makes it absolutely the worst value camera for me. The 5DS at least a bit cheaper than the A7R2 to really justify its market position since it does not have the IBIS of the Sony, the 4k capability of the Sony, the high ISO performance of the Sony.

In the end, after comparing the prices of the lenses I need for the 3 systems carefully, I kind of realize that it is most logical to just stay with my current Sony system, just because I already have it. I guess I will hold on to my A7, A7M2, A7R for as long as I can, and see if Canon, Fuji or Samsung will answer to the a7R2.

The above logic just works for me, but I think for more budget minded people the Nikon may still hold the value king title with the D750..

The D750 is really attractive for event photography on a tight budget, and it is very very cheap now in the many many areas of the world, especially in my area.The Nikon D750 or D810 based system is at least 30 percent cheaper than the A7M2 or the A7RM2 based system with a few primes and a couple of zooms. But if you are a kind of person always wanting to shoot with a Otus or similar IQ lens and always carefully manually focus it, then Sony would suddenly become a much more logical choice for you.

The FE 55 mm f1.8 is sharper than the Otus 55 mm f1.4 at 1/4 of the Otus weight.

I do not have problem paying the Otus price for a great lens but the weight is.

The Sony FE 90 mm f2.8 G (assuming you get a decent copy) beats the both Otus and Batis in resolution and a few more areas.

I know the greater resolution alone does not make it a better lens than the Otus since Otus beats in the areas of CA, distortion and coma at wide open,etc.

But to me the better resolution of the Sony at 1/3 or the weight of Otus is very attractive.

The Batis 85 mm f1.8 is a great lens, honestly it is a bit different kind of lens than the Otus is with a bit more CA, a bit more distortion,etc, but it has the unique Zeiss look as with the other great Zeiss primes, and it is definitely sharp enough for its obvious intended use.

For landscape type of corner to corner sharpness, it may not be able to match the best primes in that focal range such as the FE90 mm f2.8 G , the Otus 85 mm f1.4 and the Leica 90 mm f3.5 APO, but still it handily beats all zooms and most of primes ever made in that specific focal range.

Many people compare the Batis 85 mm to the Nikon AF-S85 mm f1.8 G just because they both share f1.8 f numbers, but are they really comparable in quality?

Actually, in terms of sheer resolution and optical quality the cheap plastic Nikon may be comparable to the Batis. But it is weaker in a few key areas compared to the Batis.

The Nikon has much worse Lo-CA, much worse weaker flare resistance, a bit more distorted.

But the Nikon is smaller, lighter comes with 62 mm filter thread rather than the big 67 mm one on the Batis, it has a bit lower distortion and seems to have a bit lower amount of light fall off.

So it is actually closer match than we once thought it would be, and I see many many people mostly shooting all AF prefer the Nikon over the Zeiss in this case.

But unfortunately for me, the Batis is a better looking lens for my type of shooting since I am a manual focus kind of person, seldom use AF and having good MF ring is very important to me. So as my old man always said when I was a kid, it is always horses for courses, there is no one absolutely better camera system for all of us.

 

Finally as a side note, many many people guessing a lot of the technology inside the Leica SL seems to be from Panasonic.

I think Leica/Panasonic are testing the waters, with their first FF CSC with modern design more sophisticated UI than that of the Sony A7X.

I wouldn't be surprised, if less than a year from now, Panasonic makes a shot directly at Sony A7 series with a cheaper and more practical version of the Leica SL.

If Canon and Nikon don't come up with competitors in the meantime, Sony-Panasonic will be pushing this market very hard very far so that the old leaders will find themselves 7 laps behind all of a sudden. It may be easy for Canon to come up with something similar since they have all the tech needed to make something similar to the Leica SL, but is Nikon still safe, some how able to manage it to survive?

I know many Japanese Mega camera dealers that think in a matter of a several years Nikon won't be around in this market.

If they are correct, I wonder if the new Tokyo Nikon camera museum was actually built by Nikon as their own camera indoor cemetery?

 

UPDATE: At the CP + show in Yokohama, I asked a few A mount related questions to a couple of Sony guys, and I got interesting answers to my questions.

Basically, Sony said the A7RMK2 is the ' the E mount' flagship, but not the real flagship for the Alpha system. The 2 different lines of Alpha systems will be merged but not the E takes over the A kind of merging. Sony says it will be very interesting to many and technologically shocking to the public. But it is really difficult to do that right, and Sony needs to improve or waiting for a few key techs for that. This is why Sony has had to cancel out the planned announcement of the A99VMK2 or whatever called(Sony guys said at least 2 times they canceled it).

A few new techs not available at the time of the planned announcement became available right after that and Sony thought that would surely improve it further. Sony thinks we should wait to see it before making any firm decision on buying into any existing camera system because it will be Sony's first true pro-grade, grand-breaking true game changer. I hope it will be true, but how long will we have to wait? Why not just release a temporal stop gap solution camera with current best technology available? This company is really odd.

 

Update 2 : now, we have detected 5 new Nikon FF mirrorless patents here in Japan and 2 of which use Nikon's legendary but very venerable F mount, it is interesting.

But the rest 3 are all use new different mount designs with about 18 mm - 24 mm flange back distance.

The mount diameter is a bit wider than the F and the E but not as wide as the EF.

 

I tried the SL last week at a local event, I actually love it wish I could buy it there. Now I will have to wait a long year to get it or I may just get the Leica Q?

  

UPDATE 3: The biggest problem with buying too many FE A7 glass is that we can never re-use it if or when we ditch our Sony FE mount bodies. Buying Nikon or Canon lenses are safer because, even if, we ditch their camera bodies, we will always able to re-use their lenses on our Sony or m43 or Fuji or Samsung.

Also, there are no third party native mount lenses for the FE system besides the overpriced Batis and Loxia line Zeiss.

It is a huge issue for some one actually needs a good set of really PRACTICAL f1.8 or f2 compact primes or f2.8 zooms at reasonable prices..With Canon and Nikon we have the luxury to choose some reasonably priced third party lenses such as the Tamron 35 mm f1.8 VC, the 45 mm f1.8 VC, the 24-70 mm f2.8 VC, the 15-35 mm f2.8 , the 90 mm f2.8 VC macro and the 70-200 mm f2.8 VC. But in the Sony FE mount there is no such a choice, just overpriced, overly pompous so-called Zeiss inanely named Batis that actually made by Tamron and selling for 3 times more than the usual Tamron prices.

 

Now, I think it is really wise to hold off all new Sony Zeiss lens purchase plans, at least until we are sure about Sony is actually winning the FF war over Canon and Nikon.

But hey, we've got be honest Sony is not winning anything over anyone, their market share has been the same 11 .2 percent since 2009.

That is clearly shown in the recent Flickr report of their users' preferred devices. Mirrorless cameras seem to account for just 3 percent and DSLR cameras seem to account for 33 percent of Flickr uploads in 2015 and 2016 Q1.

 

This was shocking to me. I wonder if Mirrorless ,especially the Sony A7 line is as successful in this business as many many forum fanatics say it is, then why is mirrorless so unpopular at Flickr?

Maybe the current form of tiny mirrorless cameras are really doomed? Maybe most of people actually do not care about the tiny form factor of the current poorly designed mirrorless systems from minor camera brands, but just sheer functionality?

 

I ,for one, much prefer a 6D or a D750 sized mirrorless with EF or F mount to anything Sony is now offering with the relatively poor Sony FE lens line, especially for a zoom lover.

 

I am sure I was one of the earliest mirrorless adapters with more than 23 mirrorless cameras(mostly Sony and Panasonic cameras), but now I really doubt any of the current form of mirrorless system actually replacing the EF and the F systems.

I honestly think Sony, Olympus , Panasonic Fuji,etc are actually barking up the wrong tree with the"mirrorless must be tiny" kind of silly design concept, and IMO, they will all fail in this business. A few days ago I was trying out the Fuji XT10 for casual walk and I was really strongly re-convinced that it would not be for me, it is just simply too awkward to hold and the ergonomics and UI are horrible.

The XT10 was not just much smaller than my D750 but much much smaller than my A7M2 and A7R2 ,which I have considered the best mirrorless body design in terms of ergonomics. Every time I think about the Fuji option and try it out for a short walk for a day, I end up hating it more.

 

Now,I actually suspect emerging trend of the Samsung Nikon rumor thing is something to do with Sony. Like our detectors used to say, we should think who will get that money coming from this move behind the thick curtain ? Asians are all about keeping their faces, so it is impossible Nikon or Samsung intentionally leaks it out to silly rumor sites like mirrorlessrumors. I think I respect Photorumors and Nikon rumors, but not the mirrorlessrumors or SAR.Their hit rate is very low and thus almost no credibility.

The guy made so many silly mistakes, in fact, he almost never got it right.

  

UPDATE4: Looks like Sony has actually done something right this year.

Sony was the only one of those 3 camera companies to break even this time, and was actually profitable for the year in Imaging, though it’s difficult to say how much of that is contributed by pro video gear. The Imaging Products group at Sony posted slightly lower sales (-1.7%) but a very healthy profit (up 30.4b yen and hitting about 10% of sales).

In terms of unit volume, digital cameras at Sony dropped from 8.5m units to 6.1m units year-to-year. That’s mostly compact camera sales that dried up. Sony won’t say exactly how that shift is working other than to say “improvement in the product mix of digital cameras.” In other words, they suggest that by getting rid of compact camera volume and focusing all its effort on high priced ILC units they are getting a better profit margin.

The other two camera companies still making some money out of their camera business are Fuji and Canon. We do not know Canon's result in detail yet.

I think it is fair to say Fujifilm has a hobby camera business as their Digital cameras are about 2.5% of the company’s overall revenue stream. That they give us any insight into how that business is working is actually a bit surprising. Sales for digital cameras were down 8.2% year-to-year, yet it is still quite profitable.Fujifilm Japan says the imaging business earned 9 percent more profit to them and it was the best of the last 9 years.

To me, the most surprising finding is that Casio's camera division is still profitable and they sell only compact cameras.

But how do they make any serious money out of that compact camera sells is a big mystery to me.

      

Shelbourne Hotel Dublin, Republic of Ireland:

 

The Shelbourne Hotel is a famous hotel situated in a landmark building on the north side of St Stephen's Green, in Dublin, Ireland. Currently operated by Marriott International's Renaissance Hotel brand, the hotel has 265 rooms in total and reopened in March 2006 after undergoing an eighteen-month refurbishment.

 

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John McCurdy designed the hotel and the studio of M. M. Barbezet of Paris cast the four external statues, two Nubian Princesses and their shackled slave girls.

 

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The Shelbourne Hotel was founded in 1824 by Tipperaryman Martin Burke, when he acquired three adjoining townhouses overlooking Dublin's St Stephen's Green - Europe's largest garden square. Burke named his grand new hotel The Shelbourne, after William Petty, 2nd Earl of Shelburne.

 

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In the early 1900s, Alois Hitler, Jr, the half brother of Adolf Hitler, worked in the hotel while in Dublin.

 

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In 1922, the hotel played a very important part in the founding of the Irish nation when the Irish Constitution was drafted in room 112, now known as The Constitution Room.

 

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More about the world-famous Shelbourne Hotel can be found at the following link:

 

WIKIPEDIA = The Shelbourne, A Renaissance Hotel Dublin = AN IRISH ICON

 

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About the Renaissance Hotel brand by Marriott International:

 

Renaissance Hotels is a worldwide brand of hotels and resorts. The brand is owned by Marriott International and many Renaissance Hotels are managed by Marriott, however some are operated under a franchise license.

 

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Renaissance Hotels, Resorts and Suites cater to an upmarket segment of the traveling public. While initially acquired by Marriott as a secondary-brand, in recent years Renaissance has established itself as a boutique-like hotel chain.

 

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Renaissance Hotels was founded in 1982 as Ramada Renaissance Hotels, the upscale division of Ramada Inns, Inc.

 

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In 1989 the bulk of the Ramada hospitality and franchise system was acquired by New World Development Company of Hong Kong (the U.S. rights to the Ramada name were sold to Prime Hospitality), and the former Ramada Corp. was renamed Aztar Corp. New World established Renaissance as a stand-alone brand.

 

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In 1993, New World acquired Stouffer Hotels from Nestle and folded the Stouffer hotels into the Renaissance chain. New World took their management and franchising company public, while retaining ownership of many of the individual hotels through its CTF Holdings subsidiary.

 

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In 1997 Marriott acquired the Netherlands-incorporated Renaissance Hotel Group N.V., and retained the Renaissance brand, while eventually shedding the Ramada International business in phases to Cendant Corp. In 2005 Marriott acquired most of the remaining New World/CTF owned Renaissance Hotels in North America and Europe, with the intent of selling them under long-term management and/or franchise contracts.

 

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More information about the Renaissance Hotel brand by Marriott can be found at the following link:

 

WIKIPEDIA = Renaissance Hotels and Resorts = A whole world AWAITS

 

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A wise man makes his own decisions, an ignorant man follows public opinion.

 

--- Chinese Proverb

 

© Ben Heine || Facebook || Twitter || www.benheine.com

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A picture I took in Fira (Santorini, Greece), last summer. It is a long exposure shot and I've repainted some parts of it.

 

Fira is the modern capital of the Greek Aegean island, Santorini. It is a traditional settlement.

 

The view from Fira is magnificent, with a unique panorama showing the 18 km long caldera from southern Cape Akrotiri to northern Cape Ag. Nikolaos, plus the volcanic island Nea Kameni at the center with Thirassia Island in the distant west on blue Aegean water.

 

Fira is a town of white-washed houses built on the edge of the 400 m high caldera on the western edge of the semi-circular island of Thera. The two main museums of interest are the Santorini Archeological Museum, 30 m east of the cable car entrance, and the Museum of Prehistoric Thera at the southeast corner of the White Orthodox Cathedral (with the Greek name meaning Metamorphosis), built on the site of the Ypapanti Church, destroyed in the 1956 earthquake.

 

Access to Fira is mainly by roads on its eastern side, climbing from its port via the Z-shaped footpath on foot or on donkeys, or by riding the steep cable car from its lower terminal by the port.

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For more information about my art: info@benheine.com

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Candles of The Past

 

A poem by Peter S. Quinn

 

Candles of the past

In shadows corner cast

Like paintings on a wall

Or tinting blanching fall

Precious moments going

Special people knowing

Of lives so many ways

In vanished yesterdays

 

Somewhere in my heart

Where memories start

I have again found

Incidents once around

All the music ways

In the magic of the days

Candle lights I’ve crossed

Those now today are lost

Now amazing Capture One 9 pro is out, and for Sony users the express version is free.

The Capture One 8.3 before it was simply outstanding RAWC, much better than anything from Adobe or Raw Therapy.

 

Unfortunately, the free version of C1 does not handle Canon, Nikon or Olympus RAW, only Sony or DNG(Pentax and Leica).

 

So I guess It is another big reason for many of us to choose Sony over anything else. If you use Sony, you can get a full copy of Capture One 9 pro for just 50 USD.

AS far as I am concerned, this is an incredible deal, great Christmas gift for us from Phase One.

 

I think both Capture One 9 and DXO 10 produce a bit better color than LR CC or ACR9X for Sony or Nikon.

 

I suspect that Adobe programs are optimized for Canon.

 

Seriously C1 pro for just 50 US is an amazing deal. nothing beats it for that price.

Capture One 9 is a much better more serious program than the LR crapware, and the biggest deal here is not need to deal with the Adobe subscription stuff. Many many Adobe users used the license and repaid it to re-activate it, it is really terribly unstable. I had one time could not use it when I was editing my images on site in a mountain area and they say my account is just trial although I paid it for full CC version.

So after coming back from the mountain, I decided to cancel all Adobe CC crap, and I just got Capture One express 8.32 for Sony free,then later in the same month (last April)I ungraded it to the pro version. I could not be happier.

Now, also DXO is offering me a copy FULL copy of DXO 10 Elite version for just 99 USD. I will get that too.

Honestly, there are still times we need Photoshop but I do have full copy of CS6, so I do not need CC anymore, and I've found life without Adobe CC crap is really much more relaxing and easier.

  

So in the long run, may Sony E mount be the most expensive system out side of the Leica SL and MFDBs arena?

 

Well it seems like that considering terribly expensive Sony service charge and repair price, and of course their lens prices.

 

As far as lenses are concerned, I can only compare the lenses that have been tested scientifically. Now please keep in mind that these tests were done with the A7R not version 2, but when Nikon introduces their higher resolution camera this will increase the final numbers for Nikon system as well, and Canon already have even higher resolution camera than both Nikon and Sony, but oddly enough DXO and most of others refuse to use the high resolution Canon body for testing their new gen lenses.

Sony 35 2.8, Nikon 35 1.8, Canon 35 2.0 tested with A7R, D810, 5DIII, oddly DXO refuses to test Canon lenses on the 5DS.

Anyway though,the Sony Costs $800, Nikon Costs $600, despite the Sony having less resolving power and a full stop slower than the Nikon. So we see how expensive Sony system actually is already here at the very first comparison below.

www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Compare/Side-by-side/Nikon-AF-S-NI...

To be fair to Sony, there is also the Loxia 35 mm f2,which I recently sold off for some new macro lens for my Olympus. The Loxia 35 is a fairly good lens but not an amazing lens, not exceptionally sharp, not extremely well corrected either. It has a bit of serious coma issue at f2 and on, though it is still a better lens than the Sony 35 mm f2.8 in the areas of center resolution and longitudinal CA and Vignetting. But the Loxia is worse than the Sony 35 mm f2.8 in some significant areas such as coma, edge/corner sharpness and focus accuracy at infinity.

So in Sony 35 mm Full frame world , there is no value 35 mm prime at all.

Now move on to value 28 mm primes: Sony 28 2.0, Nikon 28 1.8, Canon 28 2.8, they are close enough to say the difference is irrelevant in real life use.

www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Compare/Side-by-side/Sony-FE-28mm-...

 

So move on to 70-200 mm f4: Of Sony 70-200 f4, Nikon 70-200 f4, Canon 70-200 f4, the Sony again is the most expensive despite the Nikon having more resolving power if we are to trust DXO lens rating. I personally do not trust their lens tests although I trust their sensor tests and I think their sensor test results pretty much mirror my own findings quite often.

But in case of the 70-200 mm f4 lenses, many other sites like SLRgear, lenstip tested and came to the same or identical conclusion to the DXO comparison. I also tested them at my work place with my own copy of DXO analyzer and got the same results.

If I have to pick the winner here, I would pick the Nikon for its obviously better resolution at 200 mm f4 setting. But it is more complicated than just optical quality, since the latest generation body IS of Sony is much more effective than most of in-lens VR or IS I tested.

So, while the Nikon is a bit better lens optically, I doubt that in real life handheld photography we see the better resolving power of the Nikon. The Sony 70-200 mm f4 comes with an excellent tripod collar that would cost 120 US if we buy it separately. Canon and Nikon do not include a tripod collar in their respective 70-200 mm f4 shipping package.

So maybe, is the pricing of the Sony actually reasonable?

www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Compare/Side-by-side/Sony-FE-70-20...

 

Now move on to 35 mm f1.4 lenses comparison:Sony 35 1.4, Nikon 35 1.4. Interestingly in this test the Sony did a little better in resolution to the Nikon although its 22mm longer and 30 grams heavier than the Nikon and 26mm longer and 50 grams heavier than the Canon, so not so compact for a compact system any more.

What this fact tells us about is if you ask ultimate resolution in any current FF system, regardless of your camera body size, your lens must be big and heavy, thus your system won't be small or cheap or light at all.

 

www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Compare/Side-by-side/Sony-FE-Carl-...

But in case of this 35 mm f1.4, we have to consider the extremely bad copy to copy sample variation issue of the Sony. The biggest issue of the DXO and the other typical online lens test sites is that they test only one copy supplied by the company.

But there is a great man testing literally 10-100 of copies of each lens and reporting his results most of times.

www.lensrentals.com/blog/2015/10/sony-e-mount-lens-sharpn...

 

Personally, I take Roger's opinion much more seriously than any other lens test site's so-called review. I work at a mall which also sell cameras and I have tested many returned lenses before sending them back to the respective manufactures, we found that the copy to copy variation is much more significant than many people online think, it is sometimes even more pronounced than lens A to lens B difference.

So testing one copy of each lens is not enough, definitely in the case of any super complex modern optics such as this FE 35 mm f1.4.

I know the best copies of it is a fantastic lens, but about 75 percent of times you get a bad one or just an ok kind of one. It is really really deplorable, sad.

But no one so-called review site besides Roger's report it, and I smell something very fishy here.

 

Now move on to 50 mm -55 mm value primes: the Sony 55 1.8 vs the Nikon 50 1.8 vs the

Canon 50 1.8 STM

 

The Sony beats out the Nikon and obviously the Canon because of the limited megapixels, but the interesting thing is when you compare pricing...$1000 for the Sony, $219 for the Nikon. Weight was another thing with the Sony coming in at almost 100 grams heavier than the Nikon and the Canon. In terms of Absolute resolution, the Sony is quite a bit better, though if you care about the money, then the cheap Nikon gets you about 90 percent of the expensive Sony performance at 1/ 5th of the Sony price.

 

www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Compare/Side-by-side/Sony-FE-Carl-...

 

now finally move on to 90-105 mm macro lens:

The Sony 90 mm macro is reported to be a better lens by likes of DXOmark, but according to Roger Cicala's extensive optics bench testing with many many copies of it, it is not as good as we all once thought it must be because of the DXO result for it below.

www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Compare/Side-by-side/Sony-FE-90mm-...

But it is obvious if you get a good copy of the Sony FE 90 mm f2.8 G lens, it is sharper than anything else in the market, actually it even beats the over-sized over priced not much useful awkward brand lenses like the Zess Otus 85 mm f1.4 APO or the Zeiss 135 mm f2 APO Sonnar,which I sold as soon as I found it useless in real life application ,especially for travel photography and street work. I loved it for studio work, but for that use I do not need to actually own any lens, just rent it from my boss's studio.

Anyway, my point here is if you get a decent Sony Fe 90 or 55 mm then it even beats the super-heavy ,awkward no compromise in design kind of d-SLR lens that priced about 4 times more than the Sony lenses.

The 90 macro is a cheap lens for what it is, there is no comparison to that lens in that relatively modest range of it.

 

So while I agree that Sony has made some very positive moves in recent years,it has come at a cost in pricing, f/stop and in the compactness to the system.Even then, the Sony lenses are not necessarily the best, especially when you take the fact that the Nikon/Canon Lenses often out resolved the Sony equivalents with faster f/stops for less money into serious consideration. The Canon lenses were at a deficit due to megapixels, and even with the obvious sensor resolution disadvantage, quite a few Canon lenses actually still out-resolve Sony Nikon equivalents, it was,to me,quite amazing.

So, I think if you need the ultimate best for now or the absolute best, most promising tech into foreseeable future, then the Sony system makes real sense here, but if you just need 90 percent of what the A7RM2 can do at the 1/4 of the Sony system price, then Nikon still makes better sense(value).

In my area it is even more glaringly clear, the A7RM2 body alone costs about 378000 yen, the Nikon D810 kit with the AF-S24-120 mm f4 VR costs 321000 yen,the Sony does not seem to be a great value although it may well be the absolute best camera in current camera market.

And most of people just go with the almost 95 percent as good as the absolute best kind of system that costs much less than the absolute best.

I chose the Zeiss Batis 85 over the Zeiss Otus 85 although I knew the Otus would beat the Batis in resolution(at a lab)..........but for me the much more manageable size and the weight saving, and more importantly the better overall practicality/usability of the Batis beat the absolute tripod resolution of the Otus. I think the same logic applies for choosing the right camera system.

Although, IMO, Canon still has the edge in lens line, flash,etc, and as a company most stable and profitable with a lot of key-core patents in this ILC technology, I personally never consider any of current Canon cameras seriously. The 5DS is just simply too overpriced, the 6D is just too long in the tooth, the 5D3 is about to be replaced, so no current Canon cameras make great value.

The 5DS-R costs 2 times more than the D810 and I think it is just too crazy, and that makes it absolutely the worst value camera for me. The 5DS at least a bit cheaper than the A7R2 to really justify its market position since it does not have the IBIS of the Sony, the 4k capability of the Sony, the high ISO performance of the Sony.

In the end, after comparing the prices of the lenses I need for the 3 systems carefully, I kind of realize that it is most logical to just stay with my current Sony system, just because I already have it. I guess I will hold on to my A7, A7M2, A7R for as long as I can, and see if Canon, Fuji or Samsung will answer to the a7R2.

The above logic just works for me, but I think for more budget minded people the Nikon may still hold the value king title with the D750..

The D750 is really attractive for event photography on a tight budget, and it is very very cheap now in the many many areas of the world, especially in my area.The Nikon D750 or D810 based system is at least 30 percent cheaper than the A7M2 or the A7RM2 based system with a few primes and a couple of zooms. But if you are a kind of person always wanting to shoot with a Otus or similar IQ lens and always carefully manually focus it, then Sony would suddenly become a much more logical choice for you.

The FE 55 mm f1.8 is sharper than the Otus 55 mm f1.4 at 1/4 of the Otus weight.

I do not have problem paying the Otus price for a great lens but the weight is.

The Sony FE 90 mm f2.8 G (assuming you get a decent copy) beats the both Otus and Batis in resolution and a few more areas.

I know the greater resolution alone does not make it a better lens than the Otus since Otus beats in the areas of CA, distortion and coma at wide open,etc.

But to me the better resolution of the Sony at 1/3 or the weight of Otus is very attractive.

The Batis 85 mm f1.8 is a great lens, honestly it is a bit different kind of lens than the Otus is with a bit more CA, a bit more distortion,etc, but it has the unique Zeiss look as with the other great Zeiss primes, and it is definitely sharp enough for its obvious intended use.

For landscape type of corner to corner sharpness, it may not be able to match the best primes in that focal range such as the FE90 mm f2.8 G , the Otus 85 mm f1.4 and the Leica 90 mm f3.5 APO, but still it handily beats all zooms and most of primes ever made in that specific focal range.

Many people compare the Batis 85 mm to the Nikon AF-S85 mm f1.8 G just because they both share f1.8 f numbers, but are they really comparable in quality?

Actually, in terms of sheer resolution and optical quality the cheap plastic Nikon may be comparable to the Batis. But it is weaker in a few key areas compared to the Batis.

The Nikon has much worse Lo-CA, much worse weaker flare resistance, a bit more distorted.

But the Nikon is smaller, lighter comes with 62 mm filter thread rather than the big 67 mm one on the Batis, it has a bit lower distortion and seems to have a bit lower amount of light fall off.

So it is actually closer match than we once thought it would be, and I see many many people mostly shooting all AF prefer the Nikon over the Zeiss in this case.

But unfortunately for me, the Batis is a better looking lens for my type of shooting since I am a manual focus kind of person, seldom use AF and having good MF ring is very important to me. So as my old man always said when I was a kid, it is always horses for courses, there is no one absolutely better camera system for all of us.

 

Finally as a side note, many many people guessing a lot of the technology inside the Leica SL seems to be from Panasonic.

I think Leica/Panasonic are testing the waters, with their first FF CSC with modern design more sophisticated UI than that of the Sony A7X.

I wouldn't be surprised, if less than a year from now, Panasonic makes a shot directly at Sony A7 series with a cheaper and more practical version of the Leica SL.

If Canon and Nikon don't come up with competitors in the meantime, Sony-Panasonic will be pushing this market very hard very far so that the old leaders will find themselves 7 laps behind all of a sudden. It may be easy for Canon to come up with something similar since they have all the tech needed to make something similar to the Leica SL, but is Nikon still safe, some how able to manage it to survive?

I know many Japanese Mega camera dealers that think in a matter of a several years Nikon won't be around in this market.

If they are correct, I wonder if the new Tokyo Nikon camera museum was actually built by Nikon as their own camera indoor cemetery?

 

UPDATE: At the CP + show in Yokohama, I asked a few A mount related questions to a couple of Sony guys, and I got interesting answers to my questions.

Basically, Sony said the A7RMK2 is the ' the E mount' flagship, but not the real flagship for the Alpha system. The 2 different lines of Alpha systems will be merged but not the E takes over the A kind of merging. Sony says it will be very interesting to many and technologically shocking to the public. But it is really difficult to do that right, and Sony needs to improve or waiting for a few key techs for that. This is why Sony has had to cancel out the planned announcement of the A99VMK2 or whatever called(Sony guys said at least 2 times they canceled it).

A few new techs not available at the time of the planned announcement became available right after that and Sony thought that would surely improve it further. Sony thinks we should wait to see it before making any firm decision on buying into any existing camera system because it will be Sony's first true pro-grade, grand-breaking true game changer. I hope it will be true, but how long will we have to wait? Why not just release a temporal stop gap solution camera with current best technology available? This company is really odd.

 

Update 2 : now, we have detected 5 new Nikon FF mirrorless patents here in Japan and 2 of which use Nikon's legendary but very venerable F mount, it is interesting.

But the rest 3 are all use new different mount designs with about 18 mm - 24 mm flange back distance.

The mount diameter is a bit wider than the F and the E but not as wide as the EF.

 

I tried the SL last week at a local event, I actually love it wish I could buy it there. Now I will have to wait a long year to get it or I may just get the Leica Q?

  

UPDATE 3: The biggest problem with buying too many FE A7 glass is that we can never re-use it if or when we ditch our Sony FE mount bodies. Buying Nikon or Canon lenses are safer because, even if, we ditch their camera bodies, we will always able to re-use their lenses on our Sony or m43 or Fuji or Samsung.

Also, there are no third party native mount lenses for the FE system besides the overpriced Batis and Loxia line Zeiss.

It is a huge issue for some one actually needs a good set of really PRACTICAL f1.8 or f2 compact primes or f2.8 zooms at reasonable prices..With Canon and Nikon we have the luxury to choose some reasonably priced third party lenses such as the Tamron 35 mm f1.8 VC, the 45 mm f1.8 VC, the 24-70 mm f2.8 VC, the 15-35 mm f2.8 , the 90 mm f2.8 VC macro and the 70-200 mm f2.8 VC. But in the Sony FE mount there is no such a choice, just overpriced, overly pompous so-called Zeiss inanely named Batis that actually made by Tamron and selling for 3 times more than the usual Tamron prices.

 

Now, I think it is really wise to hold off all new Sony Zeiss lens purchase plans, at least until we are sure about Sony is actually winning the FF war over Canon and Nikon.

But hey, we've got be honest Sony is not winning anything over anyone, their market share has been the same 11 .2 percent since 2009.

That is clearly shown in the recent Flickr report of their users' preferred devices. Mirrorless cameras seem to account for just 3 percent and DSLR cameras seem to account for 33 percent of Flickr uploads in 2015 and 2016 Q1.

 

This was shocking to me. I wonder if Mirrorless ,especially the Sony A7 line is as successful in this business as many many forum fanatics say it is, then why is mirrorless so unpopular at Flickr?

Maybe the current form of tiny mirrorless cameras are really doomed? Maybe most of people actually do not care about the tiny form factor of the current poorly designed mirrorless systems from minor camera brands, but just sheer functionality?

 

I ,for one, much prefer a 6D or a D750 sized mirrorless with EF or F mount to anything Sony is now offering with the relatively poor Sony FE lens line, especially for a zoom lover.

 

I am sure I was one of the earliest mirrorless adapters with more than 23 mirrorless cameras(mostly Sony and Panasonic cameras), but now I really doubt any of the current form of mirrorless system actually replacing the EF and the F systems.

I honestly think Sony, Olympus , Panasonic Fuji,etc are actually barking up the wrong tree with the"mirrorless must be tiny" kind of silly design concept, and IMO, they will all fail in this business. A few days ago I was trying out the Fuji XT10 for casual walk and I was really strongly re-convinced that it would not be for me, it is just simply too awkward to hold and the ergonomics and UI are horrible.

The XT10 was not just much smaller than my D750 but much much smaller than my A7M2 and A7R2 ,which I have considered the best mirrorless body design in terms of ergonomics. Every time I think about the Fuji option and try it out for a short walk for a day, I end up hating it more.

 

Now,I actually suspect emerging trend of the Samsung Nikon rumor thing is something to do with Sony. Like our detectors used to say, we should think who will get that money coming from this move behind the thick curtain ? Asians are all about keeping their faces, so it is impossible Nikon or Samsung intentionally leaks it out to silly rumor sites like mirrorlessrumors. I think I respect Photorumors and Nikon rumors, but not the mirrorlessrumors or SAR.Their hit rate is very low and thus almost no credibility.

The guy made so many silly mistakes, in fact, he almost never got it right.

  

UPDATE4: Looks like Sony has actually done something right this year.

Sony was the only one of those 3 camera companies to break even this time, and was actually profitable for the year in Imaging, though it’s difficult to say how much of that is contributed by pro video gear. The Imaging Products group at Sony posted slightly lower sales (-1.7%) but a very healthy profit (up 30.4b yen and hitting about 10% of sales).

In terms of unit volume, digital cameras at Sony dropped from 8.5m units to 6.1m units year-to-year. That’s mostly compact camera sales that dried up. Sony won’t say exactly how that shift is working other than to say “improvement in the product mix of digital cameras.” In other words, they suggest that by getting rid of compact camera volume and focusing all its effort on high priced ILC units they are getting a better profit margin.

The other two camera companies still making some money out of their camera business are Fuji and Canon. We do not know Canon's result in detail yet.

I think it is fair to say Fujifilm has a hobby camera business as their Digital cameras are about 2.5% of the company’s overall revenue stream. That they give us any insight into how that business is working is actually a bit surprising. Sales for digital cameras were down 8.2% year-to-year, yet it is still quite profitable.Fujifilm Japan says the imaging business earned 9 percent more profit to them and it was the best of the last 9 years.

To me, the most surprising finding is that Casio's camera division is still profitable and they sell only compact cameras.

But how do they make any serious money out of that compact camera sells is a big mystery to me.

      

Now amazing Capture One 9 pro is out, and for Sony users the express version is free.

The Capture One 8.3 before it was simply outstanding RAWC, much better than anything from Adobe or Raw Therapy.

 

Unfortunately, the free version of C1 does not handle Canon, Nikon or Olympus RAW, only Sony or DNG(Pentax and Leica).

 

So I guess It is another big reason for many of us to choose Sony over anything else. If you use Sony, you can get a full copy of Capture One 9 pro for just 50 USD.

AS far as I am concerned, this is an incredible deal, great Christmas gift for us from Phase One.

 

I think both Capture One 9 and DXO 10 produce a bit better color than LR CC or ACR9X for Sony or Nikon.

 

I suspect that Adobe programs are optimized for Canon.

 

Seriously C1 pro for just 50 US is an amazing deal. nothing beats it for that price.

Capture One 9 is a much better more serious program than the LR crapware, and the biggest deal here is not need to deal with the Adobe subscription stuff. Many many Adobe users used the license and repaid it to re-activate it, it is really terribly unstable. I had one time could not use it when I was editing my images on site in a mountain area and they say my account is just trial although I paid it for full CC version.

So after coming back from the mountain, I decided to cancel all Adobe CC crap, and I just got Capture One express 8.32 for Sony free,then later in the same month (last April)I ungraded it to the pro version. I could not be happier.

Now, also DXO is offering me a copy FULL copy of DXO 10 Elite version for just 99 USD. I will get that too.

Honestly, there are still times we need Photoshop but I do have full copy of CS6, so I do not need CC anymore, and I've found life without Adobe CC crap is really much more relaxing and easier.

  

So in the long run, may Sony E mount be the most expensive system out side of the Leica SL and MFDBs arena?

 

Well it seems like that considering terribly expensive Sony service charge and repair price, and of course their lens prices.

 

As far as lenses are concerned, I can only compare the lenses that have been tested scientifically. Now please keep in mind that these tests were done with the A7R not version 2, but when Nikon introduces their higher resolution camera this will increase the final numbers for Nikon system as well, and Canon already have even higher resolution camera than both Nikon and Sony, but oddly enough DXO and most of others refuse to use the high resolution Canon body for testing their new gen lenses.

Sony 35 2.8, Nikon 35 1.8, Canon 35 2.0 tested with A7R, D810, 5DIII, oddly DXO refuses to test Canon lenses on the 5DS.

Anyway though,the Sony Costs $800, Nikon Costs $600, despite the Sony having less resolving power and a full stop slower than the Nikon. So we see how expensive Sony system actually is already here at the very first comparison below.

www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Compare/Side-by-side/Nikon-AF-S-NI...

To be fair to Sony, there is also the Loxia 35 mm f2,which I recently sold off for some new macro lens for my Olympus. The Loxia 35 is a fairly good lens but not an amazing lens, not exceptionally sharp, not extremely well corrected either. It has a bit of serious coma issue at f2 and on, though it is still a better lens than the Sony 35 mm f2.8 in the areas of center resolution and longitudinal CA and Vignetting. But the Loxia is worse than the Sony 35 mm f2.8 in some significant areas such as coma, edge/corner sharpness and focus accuracy at infinity.

So in Sony 35 mm Full frame world , there is no value 35 mm prime at all.

Now move on to value 28 mm primes: Sony 28 2.0, Nikon 28 1.8, Canon 28 2.8, they are close enough to say the difference is irrelevant in real life use.

www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Compare/Side-by-side/Sony-FE-28mm-...

 

So move on to 70-200 mm f4: Of Sony 70-200 f4, Nikon 70-200 f4, Canon 70-200 f4, the Sony again is the most expensive despite the Nikon having more resolving power if we are to trust DXO lens rating. I personally do not trust their lens tests although I trust their sensor tests and I think their sensor test results pretty much mirror my own findings quite often.

But in case of the 70-200 mm f4 lenses, many other sites like SLRgear, lenstip tested and came to the same or identical conclusion to the DXO comparison. I also tested them at my work place with my own copy of DXO analyzer and got the same results.

If I have to pick the winner here, I would pick the Nikon for its obviously better resolution at 200 mm f4 setting. But it is more complicated than just optical quality, since the latest generation body IS of Sony is much more effective than most of in-lens VR or IS I tested.

So, while the Nikon is a bit better lens optically, I doubt that in real life handheld photography we see the better resolving power of the Nikon. The Sony 70-200 mm f4 comes with an excellent tripod collar that would cost 120 US if we buy it separately. Canon and Nikon do not include a tripod collar in their respective 70-200 mm f4 shipping package.

So maybe, is the pricing of the Sony actually reasonable?

www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Compare/Side-by-side/Sony-FE-70-20...

 

Now move on to 35 mm f1.4 lenses comparison:Sony 35 1.4, Nikon 35 1.4. Interestingly in this test the Sony did a little better in resolution to the Nikon although its 22mm longer and 30 grams heavier than the Nikon and 26mm longer and 50 grams heavier than the Canon, so not so compact for a compact system any more.

What this fact tells us about is if you ask ultimate resolution in any current FF system, regardless of your camera body size, your lens must be big and heavy, thus your system won't be small or cheap or light at all.

 

www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Compare/Side-by-side/Sony-FE-Carl-...

But in case of this 35 mm f1.4, we have to consider the extremely bad copy to copy sample variation issue of the Sony. The biggest issue of the DXO and the other typical online lens test sites is that they test only one copy supplied by the company.

But there is a great man testing literally 10-100 of copies of each lens and reporting his results most of times.

www.lensrentals.com/blog/2015/10/sony-e-mount-lens-sharpn...

 

Personally, I take Roger's opinion much more seriously than any other lens test site's so-called review. I work at a mall which also sell cameras and I have tested many returned lenses before sending them back to the respective manufactures, we found that the copy to copy variation is much more significant than many people online think, it is sometimes even more pronounced than lens A to lens B difference.

So testing one copy of each lens is not enough, definitely in the case of any super complex modern optics such as this FE 35 mm f1.4.

I know the best copies of it is a fantastic lens, but about 75 percent of times you get a bad one or just an ok kind of one. It is really really deplorable, sad.

But no one so-called review site besides Roger's report it, and I smell something very fishy here.

 

Now move on to 50 mm -55 mm value primes: the Sony 55 1.8 vs the Nikon 50 1.8 vs the

Canon 50 1.8 STM

 

The Sony beats out the Nikon and obviously the Canon because of the limited megapixels, but the interesting thing is when you compare pricing...$1000 for the Sony, $219 for the Nikon. Weight was another thing with the Sony coming in at almost 100 grams heavier than the Nikon and the Canon. In terms of Absolute resolution, the Sony is quite a bit better, though if you care about the money, then the cheap Nikon gets you about 90 percent of the expensive Sony performance at 1/ 5th of the Sony price.

 

www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Compare/Side-by-side/Sony-FE-Carl-...

 

now finally move on to 90-105 mm macro lens:

The Sony 90 mm macro is reported to be a better lens by likes of DXOmark, but according to Roger Cicala's extensive optics bench testing with many many copies of it, it is not as good as we all once thought it must be because of the DXO result for it below.

www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Compare/Side-by-side/Sony-FE-90mm-...

But it is obvious if you get a good copy of the Sony FE 90 mm f2.8 G lens, it is sharper than anything else in the market, actually it even beats the over-sized over priced not much useful awkward brand lenses like the Zess Otus 85 mm f1.4 APO or the Zeiss 135 mm f2 APO Sonnar,which I sold as soon as I found it useless in real life application ,especially for travel photography and street work. I loved it for studio work, but for that use I do not need to actually own any lens, just rent it from my boss's studio.

Anyway, my point here is if you get a decent Sony Fe 90 or 55 mm then it even beats the super-heavy ,awkward no compromise in design kind of d-SLR lens that priced about 4 times more than the Sony lenses.

The 90 macro is a cheap lens for what it is, there is no comparison to that lens in that relatively modest range of it.

 

So while I agree that Sony has made some very positive moves in recent years,it has come at a cost in pricing, f/stop and in the compactness to the system.Even then, the Sony lenses are not necessarily the best, especially when you take the fact that the Nikon/Canon Lenses often out resolved the Sony equivalents with faster f/stops for less money into serious consideration. The Canon lenses were at a deficit due to megapixels, and even with the obvious sensor resolution disadvantage, quite a few Canon lenses actually still out-resolve Sony Nikon equivalents, it was,to me,quite amazing.

So, I think if you need the ultimate best for now or the absolute best, most promising tech into foreseeable future, then the Sony system makes real sense here, but if you just need 90 percent of what the A7RM2 can do at the 1/4 of the Sony system price, then Nikon still makes better sense(value).

In my area it is even more glaringly clear, the A7RM2 body alone costs about 378000 yen, the Nikon D810 kit with the AF-S24-120 mm f4 VR costs 321000 yen,the Sony does not seem to be a great value although it may well be the absolute best camera in current camera market.

And most of people just go with the almost 95 percent as good as the absolute best kind of system that costs much less than the absolute best.

I chose the Zeiss Batis 85 over the Zeiss Otus 85 although I knew the Otus would beat the Batis in resolution(at a lab)..........but for me the much more manageable size and the weight saving, and more importantly the better overall practicality/usability of the Batis beat the absolute tripod resolution of the Otus. I think the same logic applies for choosing the right camera system.

Although, IMO, Canon still has the edge in lens line, flash,etc, and as a company most stable and profitable with a lot of key-core patents in this ILC technology, I personally never consider any of current Canon cameras seriously. The 5DS is just simply too overpriced, the 6D is just too long in the tooth, the 5D3 is about to be replaced, so no current Canon cameras make great value.

The 5DS-R costs 2 times more than the D810 and I think it is just too crazy, and that makes it absolutely the worst value camera for me. The 5DS at least a bit cheaper than the A7R2 to really justify its market position since it does not have the IBIS of the Sony, the 4k capability of the Sony, the high ISO performance of the Sony.

In the end, after comparing the prices of the lenses I need for the 3 systems carefully, I kind of realize that it is most logical to just stay with my current Sony system, just because I already have it. I guess I will hold on to my A7, A7M2, A7R for as long as I can, and see if Canon, Fuji or Samsung will answer to the a7R2.

The above logic just works for me, but I think for more budget minded people the Nikon may still hold the value king title with the D750..

The D750 is really attractive for event photography on a tight budget, and it is very very cheap now in the many many areas of the world, especially in my area.The Nikon D750 or D810 based system is at least 30 percent cheaper than the A7M2 or the A7RM2 based system with a few primes and a couple of zooms. But if you are a kind of person always wanting to shoot with a Otus or similar IQ lens and always carefully manually focus it, then Sony would suddenly become a much more logical choice for you.

The FE 55 mm f1.8 is sharper than the Otus 55 mm f1.4 at 1/4 of the Otus weight.

I do not have problem paying the Otus price for a great lens but the weight is.

The Sony FE 90 mm f2.8 G (assuming you get a decent copy) beats the both Otus and Batis in resolution and a few more areas.

I know the greater resolution alone does not make it a better lens than the Otus since Otus beats in the areas of CA, distortion and coma at wide open,etc.

But to me the better resolution of the Sony at 1/3 or the weight of Otus is very attractive.

The Batis 85 mm f1.8 is a great lens, honestly it is a bit different kind of lens than the Otus is with a bit more CA, a bit more distortion,etc, but it has the unique Zeiss look as with the other great Zeiss primes, and it is definitely sharp enough for its obvious intended use.

For landscape type of corner to corner sharpness, it may not be able to match the best primes in that focal range such as the FE90 mm f2.8 G , the Otus 85 mm f1.4 and the Leica 90 mm f3.5 APO, but still it handily beats all zooms and most of primes ever made in that specific focal range.

Many people compare the Batis 85 mm to the Nikon AF-S85 mm f1.8 G just because they both share f1.8 f numbers, but are they really comparable in quality?

Actually, in terms of sheer resolution and optical quality the cheap plastic Nikon may be comparable to the Batis. But it is weaker in a few key areas compared to the Batis.

The Nikon has much worse Lo-CA, much worse weaker flare resistance, a bit more distorted.

But the Nikon is smaller, lighter comes with 62 mm filter thread rather than the big 67 mm one on the Batis, it has a bit lower distortion and seems to have a bit lower amount of light fall off.

So it is actually closer match than we once thought it would be, and I see many many people mostly shooting all AF prefer the Nikon over the Zeiss in this case.

But unfortunately for me, the Batis is a better looking lens for my type of shooting since I am a manual focus kind of person, seldom use AF and having good MF ring is very important to me. So as my old man always said when I was a kid, it is always horses for courses, there is no one absolutely better camera system for all of us.

 

Finally as a side note, many many people guessing a lot of the technology inside the Leica SL seems to be from Panasonic.

I think Leica/Panasonic are testing the waters, with their first FF CSC with modern design more sophisticated UI than that of the Sony A7X.

I wouldn't be surprised, if less than a year from now, Panasonic makes a shot directly at Sony A7 series with a cheaper and more practical version of the Leica SL.

If Canon and Nikon don't come up with competitors in the meantime, Sony-Panasonic will be pushing this market very hard very far so that the old leaders will find themselves 7 laps behind all of a sudden. It may be easy for Canon to come up with something similar since they have all the tech needed to make something similar to the Leica SL, but is Nikon still safe, some how able to manage it to survive?

I know many Japanese Mega camera dealers that think in a matter of a several years Nikon won't be around in this market.

If they are correct, I wonder if the new Tokyo Nikon camera museum was actually built by Nikon as their own camera indoor cemetery?

 

UPDATE: At the CP + show in Yokohama, I asked a few A mount related questions to a couple of Sony guys, and I got interesting answers to my questions.

Basically, Sony said the A7RMK2 is the ' the E mount' flagship, but not the real flagship for the Alpha system. The 2 different lines of Alpha systems will be merged but not the E takes over the A kind of merging. Sony says it will be very interesting to many and technologically shocking to the public. But it is really difficult to do that right, and Sony needs to improve or waiting for a few key techs for that. This is why Sony has had to cancel out the planned announcement of the A99VMK2 or whatever called(Sony guys said at least 2 times they canceled it).

A few new techs not available at the time of the planned announcement became available right after that and Sony thought that would surely improve it further. Sony thinks we should wait to see it before making any firm decision on buying into any existing camera system because it will be Sony's first true pro-grade, grand-breaking true game changer. I hope it will be true, but how long will we have to wait? Why not just release a temporal stop gap solution camera with current best technology available? This company is really odd.

 

Update 2 : now, we have detected 5 new Nikon FF mirrorless patents here in Japan and 2 of which use Nikon's legendary but very venerable F mount, it is interesting.

But the rest 3 are all use new different mount designs with about 18 mm - 24 mm flange back distance.

The mount diameter is a bit wider than the F and the E but not as wide as the EF.

 

I tried the SL last week at a local event, I actually love it wish I could buy it there. Now I will have to wait a long year to get it or I may just get the Leica Q?

  

UPDATE 3: The biggest problem with buying too many FE A7 glass is that we can never re-use it if or when we ditch our Sony FE mount bodies. Buying Nikon or Canon lenses are safer because, even if, we ditch their camera bodies, we will always able to re-use their lenses on our Sony or m43 or Fuji or Samsung.

Also, there are no third party native mount lenses for the FE system besides the overpriced Batis and Loxia line Zeiss.

It is a huge issue for some one actually needs a good set of really PRACTICAL f1.8 or f2 compact primes or f2.8 zooms at reasonable prices..With Canon and Nikon we have the luxury to choose some reasonably priced third party lenses such as the Tamron 35 mm f1.8 VC, the 45 mm f1.8 VC, the 24-70 mm f2.8 VC, the 15-35 mm f2.8 , the 90 mm f2.8 VC macro and the 70-200 mm f2.8 VC. But in the Sony FE mount there is no such a choice, just overpriced, overly pompous so-called Zeiss inanely named Batis that actually made by Tamron and selling for 3 times more than the usual Tamron prices.

 

Now, I think it is really wise to hold off all new Sony Zeiss lens purchase plans, at least until we are sure about Sony is actually winning the FF war over Canon and Nikon.

But hey, we've got be honest Sony is not winning anything over anyone, their market share has been the same 11 .2 percent since 2009.

That is clearly shown in the recent Flickr report of their users' preferred devices. Mirrorless cameras seem to account for just 3 percent and DSLR cameras seem to account for 33 percent of Flickr uploads in 2015 and 2016 Q1.

 

This was shocking to me. I wonder if Mirrorless ,especially the Sony A7 line is as successful in this business as many many forum fanatics say it is, then why is mirrorless so unpopular at Flickr?

Maybe the current form of tiny mirrorless cameras are really doomed? Maybe most of people actually do not care about the tiny form factor of the current poorly designed mirrorless systems from minor camera brands, but just sheer functionality?

 

I ,for one, much prefer a 6D or a D750 sized mirrorless with EF or F mount to anything Sony is now offering with the relatively poor Sony FE lens line, especially for a zoom lover.

 

I am sure I was one of the earliest mirrorless adapters with more than 23 mirrorless cameras(mostly Sony and Panasonic cameras), but now I really doubt any of the current form of mirrorless system actually replacing the EF and the F systems.

I honestly think Sony, Olympus , Panasonic Fuji,etc are actually barking up the wrong tree with the"mirrorless must be tiny" kind of silly design concept, and IMO, they will all fail in this business. A few days ago I was trying out the Fuji XT10 for casual walk and I was really strongly re-convinced that it would not be for me, it is just simply too awkward to hold and the ergonomics and UI are horrible.

The XT10 was not just much smaller than my D750 but much much smaller than my A7M2 and A7R2 ,which I have considered the best mirrorless body design in terms of ergonomics. Every time I think about the Fuji option and try it out for a short walk for a day, I end up hating it more.

 

Now,I actually suspect emerging trend of the Samsung Nikon rumor thing is something to do with Sony. Like our detectors used to say, we should think who will get that money coming from this move behind the thick curtain ? Asians are all about keeping their faces, so it is impossible Nikon or Samsung intentionally leaks it out to silly rumor sites like mirrorlessrumors. I think I respect Photorumors and Nikon rumors, but not the mirrorlessrumors or SAR.Their hit rate is very low and thus almost no credibility.

The guy made so many silly mistakes, in fact, he almost never got it right.

  

UPDATE4: Looks like Sony has actually done something right this year.

Sony was the only one of those 3 camera companies to break even this time, and was actually profitable for the year in Imaging, though it’s difficult to say how much of that is contributed by pro video gear. The Imaging Products group at Sony posted slightly lower sales (-1.7%) but a very healthy profit (up 30.4b yen and hitting about 10% of sales).

In terms of unit volume, digital cameras at Sony dropped from 8.5m units to 6.1m units year-to-year. That’s mostly compact camera sales that dried up. Sony won’t say exactly how that shift is working other than to say “improvement in the product mix of digital cameras.” In other words, they suggest that by getting rid of compact camera volume and focusing all its effort on high priced ILC units they are getting a better profit margin.

The other two camera companies still making some money out of their camera business are Fuji and Canon. We do not know Canon's result in detail yet.

I think it is fair to say Fujifilm has a hobby camera business as their Digital cameras are about 2.5% of the company’s overall revenue stream. That they give us any insight into how that business is working is actually a bit surprising. Sales for digital cameras were down 8.2% year-to-year, yet it is still quite profitable.Fujifilm Japan says the imaging business earned 9 percent more profit to them and it was the best of the last 9 years.

To me, the most surprising finding is that Casio's camera division is still profitable and they sell only compact cameras.

But how do they make any serious money out of that compact camera sells is a big mystery to me.

      

Now amazing Capture One 9 pro is out, and for Sony users the express version is free.

The Capture One 8.3 before it was simply outstanding RAWC, much better than anything from Adobe or Raw Therapy.

 

Unfortunately, the free version of C1 does not handle Canon, Nikon or Olympus RAW, only Sony or DNG(Pentax and Leica).

 

So I guess It is another big reason for many of us to choose Sony over anything else. If you use Sony, you can get a full copy of Capture One 9 pro for just 50 USD.

AS far as I am concerned, this is an incredible deal, great Christmas gift for us from Phase One.

 

I think both Capture One 9 and DXO 10 produce a bit better color than LR CC or ACR9X for Sony or Nikon.

 

I suspect that Adobe programs are optimized for Canon.

 

Seriously C1 pro for just 50 US is an amazing deal. nothing beats it for that price.

Capture One 9 is a much better more serious program than the LR crapware, and the biggest deal here is not need to deal with the Adobe subscription stuff. Many many Adobe users used the license and repaid it to re-activate it, it is really terribly unstable. I had one time could not use it when I was editing my images on site in a mountain area and they say my account is just trial although I paid it for full CC version.

So after coming back from the mountain, I decided to cancel all Adobe CC crap, and I just got Capture One express 8.32 for Sony free,then later in the same month (last April)I ungraded it to the pro version. I could not be happier.

Now, also DXO is offering me a copy FULL copy of DXO 10 Elite version for just 99 USD. I will get that too.

Honestly, there are still times we need Photoshop but I do have full copy of CS6, so I do not need CC anymore, and I've found life without Adobe CC crap is really much more relaxing and easier.

  

So in the long run, may Sony E mount be the most expensive system out side of the Leica SL and MFDBs arena?

 

Well it seems like that considering terribly expensive Sony service charge and repair price, and of course their lens prices.

 

As far as lenses are concerned, I can only compare the lenses that have been tested scientifically. Now please keep in mind that these tests were done with the A7R not version 2, but when Nikon introduces their higher resolution camera this will increase the final numbers for Nikon system as well, and Canon already have even higher resolution camera than both Nikon and Sony, but oddly enough DXO and most of others refuse to use the high resolution Canon body for testing their new gen lenses.

Sony 35 2.8, Nikon 35 1.8, Canon 35 2.0 tested with A7R, D810, 5DIII, oddly DXO refuses to test Canon lenses on the 5DS.

Anyway though,the Sony Costs $800, Nikon Costs $600, despite the Sony having less resolving power and a full stop slower than the Nikon. So we see how expensive Sony system actually is already here at the very first comparison below.

www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Compare/Side-by-side/Nikon-AF-S-NI...

To be fair to Sony, there is also the Loxia 35 mm f2,which I recently sold off for some new macro lens for my Olympus. The Loxia 35 is a fairly good lens but not an amazing lens, not exceptionally sharp, not extremely well corrected either. It has a bit of serious coma issue at f2 and on, though it is still a better lens than the Sony 35 mm f2.8 in the areas of center resolution and longitudinal CA and Vignetting. But the Loxia is worse than the Sony 35 mm f2.8 in some significant areas such as coma, edge/corner sharpness and focus accuracy at infinity.

So in Sony 35 mm Full frame world , there is no value 35 mm prime at all.

Now move on to value 28 mm primes: Sony 28 2.0, Nikon 28 1.8, Canon 28 2.8, they are close enough to say the difference is irrelevant in real life use.

www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Compare/Side-by-side/Sony-FE-28mm-...

 

So move on to 70-200 mm f4: Of Sony 70-200 f4, Nikon 70-200 f4, Canon 70-200 f4, the Sony again is the most expensive despite the Nikon having more resolving power if we are to trust DXO lens rating. I personally do not trust their lens tests although I trust their sensor tests and I think their sensor test results pretty much mirror my own findings quite often.

But in case of the 70-200 mm f4 lenses, many other sites like SLRgear, lenstip tested and came to the same or identical conclusion to the DXO comparison. I also tested them at my work place with my own copy of DXO analyzer and got the same results.

If I have to pick the winner here, I would pick the Nikon for its obviously better resolution at 200 mm f4 setting. But it is more complicated than just optical quality, since the latest generation body IS of Sony is much more effective than most of in-lens VR or IS I tested.

So, while the Nikon is a bit better lens optically, I doubt that in real life handheld photography we see the better resolving power of the Nikon. The Sony 70-200 mm f4 comes with an excellent tripod collar that would cost 120 US if we buy it separately. Canon and Nikon do not include a tripod collar in their respective 70-200 mm f4 shipping package.

So maybe, is the pricing of the Sony actually reasonable?

www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Compare/Side-by-side/Sony-FE-70-20...

 

Now move on to 35 mm f1.4 lenses comparison:Sony 35 1.4, Nikon 35 1.4. Interestingly in this test the Sony did a little better in resolution to the Nikon although its 22mm longer and 30 grams heavier than the Nikon and 26mm longer and 50 grams heavier than the Canon, so not so compact for a compact system any more.

What this fact tells us about is if you ask ultimate resolution in any current FF system, regardless of your camera body size, your lens must be big and heavy, thus your system won't be small or cheap or light at all.

 

www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Compare/Side-by-side/Sony-FE-Carl-...

But in case of this 35 mm f1.4, we have to consider the extremely bad copy to copy sample variation issue of the Sony. The biggest issue of the DXO and the other typical online lens test sites is that they test only one copy supplied by the company.

But there is a great man testing literally 10-100 of copies of each lens and reporting his results most of times.

www.lensrentals.com/blog/2015/10/sony-e-mount-lens-sharpn...

 

Personally, I take Roger's opinion much more seriously than any other lens test site's so-called review. I work at a mall which also sell cameras and I have tested many returned lenses before sending them back to the respective manufactures, we found that the copy to copy variation is much more significant than many people online think, it is sometimes even more pronounced than lens A to lens B difference.

So testing one copy of each lens is not enough, definitely in the case of any super complex modern optics such as this FE 35 mm f1.4.

I know the best copies of it is a fantastic lens, but about 75 percent of times you get a bad one or just an ok kind of one. It is really really deplorable, sad.

But no one so-called review site besides Roger's report it, and I smell something very fishy here.

 

Now move on to 50 mm -55 mm value primes: the Sony 55 1.8 vs the Nikon 50 1.8 vs the

Canon 50 1.8 STM

 

The Sony beats out the Nikon and obviously the Canon because of the limited megapixels, but the interesting thing is when you compare pricing...$1000 for the Sony, $219 for the Nikon. Weight was another thing with the Sony coming in at almost 100 grams heavier than the Nikon and the Canon. In terms of Absolute resolution, the Sony is quite a bit better, though if you care about the money, then the cheap Nikon gets you about 90 percent of the expensive Sony performance at 1/ 5th of the Sony price.

 

www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Compare/Side-by-side/Sony-FE-Carl-...

 

now finally move on to 90-105 mm macro lens:

The Sony 90 mm macro is reported to be a better lens by likes of DXOmark, but according to Roger Cicala's extensive optics bench testing with many many copies of it, it is not as good as we all once thought it must be because of the DXO result for it below.

www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Compare/Side-by-side/Sony-FE-90mm-...

But it is obvious if you get a good copy of the Sony FE 90 mm f2.8 G lens, it is sharper than anything else in the market, actually it even beats the over-sized over priced not much useful awkward brand lenses like the Zess Otus 85 mm f1.4 APO or the Zeiss 135 mm f2 APO Sonnar,which I sold as soon as I found it useless in real life application ,especially for travel photography and street work. I loved it for studio work, but for that use I do not need to actually own any lens, just rent it from my boss's studio.

Anyway, my point here is if you get a decent Sony Fe 90 or 55 mm then it even beats the super-heavy ,awkward no compromise in design kind of d-SLR lens that priced about 4 times more than the Sony lenses.

The 90 macro is a cheap lens for what it is, there is no comparison to that lens in that relatively modest range of it.

 

So while I agree that Sony has made some very positive moves in recent years,it has come at a cost in pricing, f/stop and in the compactness to the system.Even then, the Sony lenses are not necessarily the best, especially when you take the fact that the Nikon/Canon Lenses often out resolved the Sony equivalents with faster f/stops for less money into serious consideration. The Canon lenses were at a deficit due to megapixels, and even with the obvious sensor resolution disadvantage, quite a few Canon lenses actually still out-resolve Sony Nikon equivalents, it was,to me,quite amazing.

So, I think if you need the ultimate best for now or the absolute best, most promising tech into foreseeable future, then the Sony system makes real sense here, but if you just need 90 percent of what the A7RM2 can do at the 1/4 of the Sony system price, then Nikon still makes better sense(value).

In my area it is even more glaringly clear, the A7RM2 body alone costs about 378000 yen, the Nikon D810 kit with the AF-S24-120 mm f4 VR costs 321000 yen,the Sony does not seem to be a great value although it may well be the absolute best camera in current camera market.

And most of people just go with the almost 95 percent as good as the absolute best kind of system that costs much less than the absolute best.

I chose the Zeiss Batis 85 over the Zeiss Otus 85 although I knew the Otus would beat the Batis in resolution(at a lab)..........but for me the much more manageable size and the weight saving, and more importantly the better overall practicality/usability of the Batis beat the absolute tripod resolution of the Otus. I think the same logic applies for choosing the right camera system.

Although, IMO, Canon still has the edge in lens line, flash,etc, and as a company most stable and profitable with a lot of key-core patents in this ILC technology, I personally never consider any of current Canon cameras seriously. The 5DS is just simply too overpriced, the 6D is just too long in the tooth, the 5D3 is about to be replaced, so no current Canon cameras make great value.

The 5DS-R costs 2 times more than the D810 and I think it is just too crazy, and that makes it absolutely the worst value camera for me. The 5DS at least a bit cheaper than the A7R2 to really justify its market position since it does not have the IBIS of the Sony, the 4k capability of the Sony, the high ISO performance of the Sony.

In the end, after comparing the prices of the lenses I need for the 3 systems carefully, I kind of realize that it is most logical to just stay with my current Sony system, just because I already have it. I guess I will hold on to my A7, A7M2, A7R for as long as I can, and see if Canon, Fuji or Samsung will answer to the a7R2.

The above logic just works for me, but I think for more budget minded people the Nikon may still hold the value king title with the D750..

The D750 is really attractive for event photography on a tight budget, and it is very very cheap now in the many many areas of the world, especially in my area.The Nikon D750 or D810 based system is at least 30 percent cheaper than the A7M2 or the A7RM2 based system with a few primes and a couple of zooms. But if you are a kind of person always wanting to shoot with a Otus or similar IQ lens and always carefully manually focus it, then Sony would suddenly become a much more logical choice for you.

The FE 55 mm f1.8 is sharper than the Otus 55 mm f1.4 at 1/4 of the Otus weight.

I do not have problem paying the Otus price for a great lens but the weight is.

The Sony FE 90 mm f2.8 G (assuming you get a decent copy) beats the both Otus and Batis in resolution and a few more areas.

I know the greater resolution alone does not make it a better lens than the Otus since Otus beats in the areas of CA, distortion and coma at wide open,etc.

But to me the better resolution of the Sony at 1/3 or the weight of Otus is very attractive.

The Batis 85 mm f1.8 is a great lens, honestly it is a bit different kind of lens than the Otus is with a bit more CA, a bit more distortion,etc, but it has the unique Zeiss look as with the other great Zeiss primes, and it is definitely sharp enough for its obvious intended use.

For landscape type of corner to corner sharpness, it may not be able to match the best primes in that focal range such as the FE90 mm f2.8 G , the Otus 85 mm f1.4 and the Leica 90 mm f3.5 APO, but still it handily beats all zooms and most of primes ever made in that specific focal range.

Many people compare the Batis 85 mm to the Nikon AF-S85 mm f1.8 G just because they both share f1.8 f numbers, but are they really comparable in quality?

Actually, in terms of sheer resolution and optical quality the cheap plastic Nikon may be comparable to the Batis. But it is weaker in a few key areas compared to the Batis.

The Nikon has much worse Lo-CA, much worse weaker flare resistance, a bit more distorted.

But the Nikon is smaller, lighter comes with 62 mm filter thread rather than the big 67 mm one on the Batis, it has a bit lower distortion and seems to have a bit lower amount of light fall off.

So it is actually closer match than we once thought it would be, and I see many many people mostly shooting all AF prefer the Nikon over the Zeiss in this case.

But unfortunately for me, the Batis is a better looking lens for my type of shooting since I am a manual focus kind of person, seldom use AF and having good MF ring is very important to me. So as my old man always said when I was a kid, it is always horses for courses, there is no one absolutely better camera system for all of us.

 

Finally as a side note, many many people guessing a lot of the technology inside the Leica SL seems to be from Panasonic.

I think Leica/Panasonic are testing the waters, with their first FF CSC with modern design more sophisticated UI than that of the Sony A7X.

I wouldn't be surprised, if less than a year from now, Panasonic makes a shot directly at Sony A7 series with a cheaper and more practical version of the Leica SL.

If Canon and Nikon don't come up with competitors in the meantime, Sony-Panasonic will be pushing this market very hard very far so that the old leaders will find themselves 7 laps behind all of a sudden. It may be easy for Canon to come up with something similar since they have all the tech needed to make something similar to the Leica SL, but is Nikon still safe, some how able to manage it to survive?

I know many Japanese Mega camera dealers that think in a matter of a several years Nikon won't be around in this market.

If they are correct, I wonder if the new Tokyo Nikon camera museum was actually built by Nikon as their own camera indoor cemetery?

 

UPDATE: At the CP + show in Yokohama, I asked a few A mount related questions to a couple of Sony guys, and I got interesting answers to my questions.

Basically, Sony said the A7RMK2 is the ' the E mount' flagship, but not the real flagship for the Alpha system. The 2 different lines of Alpha systems will be merged but not the E takes over the A kind of merging. Sony says it will be very interesting to many and technologically shocking to the public. But it is really difficult to do that right, and Sony needs to improve or waiting for a few key techs for that. This is why Sony has had to cancel out the planned announcement of the A99VMK2 or whatever called(Sony guys said at least 2 times they canceled it).

A few new techs not available at the time of the planned announcement became available right after that and Sony thought that would surely improve it further. Sony thinks we should wait to see it before making any firm decision on buying into any existing camera system because it will be Sony's first true pro-grade, grand-breaking true game changer. I hope it will be true, but how long will we have to wait? Why not just release a temporal stop gap solution camera with current best technology available? This company is really odd.

 

Update 2 : now, we have detected 5 new Nikon FF mirrorless patents here in Japan and 2 of which use Nikon's legendary but very venerable F mount, it is interesting.

But the rest 3 are all use new different mount designs with about 18 mm - 24 mm flange back distance.

The mount diameter is a bit wider than the F and the E but not as wide as the EF.

 

I tried the SL last week at a local event, I actually love it wish I could buy it there. Now I will have to wait a long year to get it or I may just get the Leica Q?

  

UPDATE 3: The biggest problem with buying too many FE A7 glass is that we can never re-use it if or when we ditch our Sony FE mount bodies. Buying Nikon or Canon lenses are safer because, even if, we ditch their camera bodies, we will always able to re-use their lenses on our Sony or m43 or Fuji or Samsung.

Also, there are no third party native mount lenses for the FE system besides the overpriced Batis and Loxia line Zeiss.

It is a huge issue for some one actually needs a good set of really PRACTICAL f1.8 or f2 compact primes or f2.8 zooms at reasonable prices..With Canon and Nikon we have the luxury to choose some reasonably priced third party lenses such as the Tamron 35 mm f1.8 VC, the 45 mm f1.8 VC, the 24-70 mm f2.8 VC, the 15-35 mm f2.8 , the 90 mm f2.8 VC macro and the 70-200 mm f2.8 VC. But in the Sony FE mount there is no such a choice, just overpriced, overly pompous so-called Zeiss inanely named Batis that actually made by Tamron and selling for 3 times more than the usual Tamron prices.

 

Now, I think it is really wise to hold off all new Sony Zeiss lens purchase plans, at least until we are sure about Sony is actually winning the FF war over Canon and Nikon.

But hey, we've got be honest Sony is not winning anything over anyone, their market share has been the same 11 .2 percent since 2009.

That is clearly shown in the recent Flickr report of their users' preferred devices. Mirrorless cameras seem to account for just 3 percent and DSLR cameras seem to account for 33 percent of Flickr uploads in 2015 and 2016 Q1.

 

This was shocking to me. I wonder if Mirrorless ,especially the Sony A7 line is as successful in this business as many many forum fanatics say it is, then why is mirrorless so unpopular at Flickr?

Maybe the current form of tiny mirrorless cameras are really doomed? Maybe most of people actually do not care about the tiny form factor of the current poorly designed mirrorless systems from minor camera brands, but just sheer functionality?

 

I ,for one, much prefer a 6D or a D750 sized mirrorless with EF or F mount to anything Sony is now offering with the relatively poor Sony FE lens line, especially for a zoom lover.

 

I am sure I was one of the earliest mirrorless adapters with more than 23 mirrorless cameras(mostly Sony and Panasonic cameras), but now I really doubt any of the current form of mirrorless system actually replacing the EF and the F systems.

I honestly think Sony, Olympus , Panasonic Fuji,etc are actually barking up the wrong tree with the"mirrorless must be tiny" kind of silly design concept, and IMO, they will all fail in this business. A few days ago I was trying out the Fuji XT10 for casual walk and I was really strongly re-convinced that it would not be for me, it is just simply too awkward to hold and the ergonomics and UI are horrible.

The XT10 was not just much smaller than my D750 but much much smaller than my A7M2 and A7R2 ,which I have considered the best mirrorless body design in terms of ergonomics. Every time I think about the Fuji option and try it out for a short walk for a day, I end up hating it more.

 

Now,I actually suspect emerging trend of the Samsung Nikon rumor thing is something to do with Sony. Like our detectors used to say, we should think who will get that money coming from this move behind the thick curtain ? Asians are all about keeping their faces, so it is impossible Nikon or Samsung intentionally leaks it out to silly rumor sites like mirrorlessrumors. I think I respect Photorumors and Nikon rumors, but not the mirrorlessrumors or SAR.Their hit rate is very low and thus almost no credibility.

The guy made so many silly mistakes, in fact, he almost never got it right.

  

UPDATE4: Looks like Sony has actually done something right this year.

Sony was the only one of those 3 camera companies to break even this time, and was actually profitable for the year in Imaging, though it’s difficult to say how much of that is contributed by pro video gear. The Imaging Products group at Sony posted slightly lower sales (-1.7%) but a very healthy profit (up 30.4b yen and hitting about 10% of sales).

In terms of unit volume, digital cameras at Sony dropped from 8.5m units to 6.1m units year-to-year. That’s mostly compact camera sales that dried up. Sony won’t say exactly how that shift is working other than to say “improvement in the product mix of digital cameras.” In other words, they suggest that by getting rid of compact camera volume and focusing all its effort on high priced ILC units they are getting a better profit margin.

The other two camera companies still making some money out of their camera business are Fuji and Canon. We do not know Canon's result in detail yet.

I think it is fair to say Fujifilm has a hobby camera business as their Digital cameras are about 2.5% of the company’s overall revenue stream. That they give us any insight into how that business is working is actually a bit surprising. Sales for digital cameras were down 8.2% year-to-year, yet it is still quite profitable.Fujifilm Japan says the imaging business earned 9 percent more profit to them and it was the best of the last 9 years.

To me, the most surprising finding is that Casio's camera division is still profitable and they sell only compact cameras.

But how do they make any serious money out of that compact camera sells is a big mystery to me.

      

My new Online Star Photography Post Processing Workshop Page is up and running. I will be holding these every few weeks so grab a spot that fits your schedule:)

 

Here are the dates for my summer star photography workshops! If you wanna learn to shoot the stars here is your chance:) | Under the Stars Night Photography Workshops |

 

| www.DaveMorrowPhotography.com | Photography Portfolio | Google+ | 500PX | Facebook |

 

I have included all of the software/hardware and different cameras, lenses, and tools that I use for photography in the About Me section. It also includes some awesome websites that will help you find great places to shoot.

 

Currently I am putting together a set of 50 great photography destinations in the Pacific Northwest. All locations are geo-tagged, so you can check them out yourself-----> PACNW Top 50

 

All photos are free to download in high resolution from my website for your desktop wallpaper or other fun & personal stuff like that. They are Creative Commons noncommercial so just give credit and link back to www.DaveMorrowPhotography.com. Please contact me for any commercial usage or licensing info

 

I was sitting in the living room last night processing pics from the weekend, when I noticed a huge moon rising over Seattle. Grabbed my camera and ran up to Kerry Park to get this picture.

 

If you would like to try taking a picture like this yourself, here are the steps I followed:

First I took (9) exposures of the city (-4EV - 4EV) converted to TIFF and blended them in Photomatix.

 

Save Photomatix file in JPEG and exported 5 of the 9 exposures to JPEG. I would really like to use TIFF here but due to the file size of the D800 it really isn't necessary and becomes a huge memory issue.

 

Using Adobe Bridge I opened all 6 files as Layers in Adobe CS5 and blended them together to get the desired Seattle skyline results I wanted.

 

Next I brought in the 6 moon shots that I had taken over an elapsed time as layers as well.

 

I set each of these layers to "lighten" mode, you can also use "screen" mode, the results may slightly vary. Mess around to find your best choice:)

 

My final steps are selective sharpen and saturation of certain colors. In this picture, orange and blue.

 

Hopefully you find this helpful and can make something of your own.

 

Enjoy...

 

Details/Equipment:

Camera: Nikon D800

Lens: Nikkor 28-300 f/3.5-5.6G

Tripod: Oben AC-1310 Tripod w/ Ball Head

Computer: 27" iMac i7 3.1GHz 16GB Ram

Programs: Photomatix, Photoshop, and Lightroom for final adjustments

Although Mars is a very alien planet, some aspects of its geology are surprisingly familiar. This Mars Express image shows a snippet of a region of Mars filled with cliffs, trenches, faults, giant plateaus and volcanoes.

 

The flowing cracks and fault-like lines in this image form part of the Claritas Rupes escarpment, a 950 km-long network of steep cliffs and sloping outcrops. This escarpment lies within a larger geological system named Claritas Fossae, a weaving network of ‘grabens’ (a German term meaning ditch or trench) that stretches for some 2000 km.

 

The many chasms, fractures and cracks in this area are thought to have been caused by stress in the planet’s crust as it stretched and pulled apart, triggered by the formation of a nearby raised mound known as the Tharsis Bulge.

 

This bulge, located within the volcanic Tharsis region, extends to a height of about 10 km at its peak. Its violent formation caused parts of the crust to crack and shift, sliding into depressions and gaps, forming a distinctive pattern of geological features such as sunken grabens and raised blocks known as ‘horsts’. These two features can be very roughly imagined as an ‘M’ shape – grabens form the bottom of the central dip, while horsts form the two uppermost tips.

 

Similar patterns can be found on Earth around the Upper Rhine Valley between Basel in Switzerland, and Karlsruhe in Germany, or the Eger Graben in the Czech Republic, near the Ore Mountains.

 

Prominent examples of terrestrial grabens include California’s Death Valley, and the Dead Sea depression in the Jordan Rift Valley. Examples of horsts include France’s Vosges Mountains, and the Palestine Plateau.

 

Claritas Rupes forms the eastern boundary of the Tharsis region. This region contains some of the largest volcanoes in the Solar System, including the famous Olympus Mons, which stands some three times the height of Earth’s Mount Everest.

 

This image was acquired by the High Resolution Stereo Camera of Mars Express on 30 November 2013 at a resolution of about 14 m per pixel. It was first published on 13 February 2014 on the DLR German Aerospace Center and Freie Universität Berlin websites.

 

Credit: ESA/DLR/FU Berlin, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO

 

Copyright Notice:

 

This work is licenced under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 IGO (CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO) licence. The user is allowed to reproduce, distribute, adapt, translate and publicly perform this publication, without explicit permission, provided that the content is accompanied by an acknowledgement that the source is credited as 'ESA/DLR/FU Berlin’, a direct link to the licence text is provided and that it is clearly indicated if changes were made to the original content. Adaptation/translation/derivatives must be distributed under the same licence terms as this publication. To view a copy of this license, please visit creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/igo/

Now amazing Capture One 9 pro is out, and for Sony users the express version is free.

The Capture One 8.3 before it was simply outstanding RAWC, much better than anything from Adobe or Raw Therapy.

 

Unfortunately, the free version of C1 does not handle Canon, Nikon or Olympus RAW, only Sony or DNG(Pentax and Leica).

 

So I guess It is another big reason for many of us to choose Sony over anything else. If you use Sony, you can get a full copy of Capture One 9 pro for just 50 USD.

AS far as I am concerned, this is an incredible deal, great Christmas gift for us from Phase One.

 

I think both Capture One 9 and DXO 10 produce a bit better color than LR CC or ACR9X for Sony or Nikon.

 

I suspect that Adobe programs are optimized for Canon.

 

Seriously C1 pro for just 50 US is an amazing deal. nothing beats it for that price.

Capture One 9 is a much better more serious program than the LR crapware, and the biggest deal here is not need to deal with the Adobe subscription stuff. Many many Adobe users used the license and repaid it to re-activate it, it is really terribly unstable. I had one time could not use it when I was editing my images on site in a mountain area and they say my account is just trial although I paid it for full CC version.

So after coming back from the mountain, I decided to cancel all Adobe CC crap, and I just got Capture One express 8.32 for Sony free,then later in the same month (last April)I ungraded it to the pro version. I could not be happier.

Now, also DXO is offering me a copy FULL copy of DXO 10 Elite version for just 99 USD. I will get that too.

Honestly, there are still times we need Photoshop but I do have full copy of CS6, so I do not need CC anymore, and I've found life without Adobe CC crap is really much more relaxing and easier.

  

So in the long run, may Sony E mount be the most expensive system out side of the Leica SL and MFDBs arena?

 

Well it seems like that considering terribly expensive Sony service charge and repair price, and of course their lens prices.

 

As far as lenses are concerned, I can only compare the lenses that have been tested scientifically. Now please keep in mind that these tests were done with the A7R not version 2, but when Nikon introduces their higher resolution camera this will increase the final numbers for Nikon system as well, and Canon already have even higher resolution camera than both Nikon and Sony, but oddly enough DXO and most of others refuse to use the high resolution Canon body for testing their new gen lenses.

Sony 35 2.8, Nikon 35 1.8, Canon 35 2.0 tested with A7R, D810, 5DIII, oddly DXO refuses to test Canon lenses on the 5DS.

Anyway though,the Sony Costs $800, Nikon Costs $600, despite the Sony having less resolving power and a full stop slower than the Nikon. So we see how expensive Sony system actually is already here at the very first comparison below.

www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Compare/Side-by-side/Nikon-AF-S-NI...

To be fair to Sony, there is also the Loxia 35 mm f2,which I recently sold off for some new macro lens for my Olympus. The Loxia 35 is a fairly good lens but not an amazing lens, not exceptionally sharp, not extremely well corrected either. It has a bit of serious coma issue at f2 and on, though it is still a better lens than the Sony 35 mm f2.8 in the areas of center resolution and longitudinal CA and Vignetting. But the Loxia is worse than the Sony 35 mm f2.8 in some significant areas such as coma, edge/corner sharpness and focus accuracy at infinity.

So in Sony 35 mm Full frame world , there is no value 35 mm prime at all.

Now move on to value 28 mm primes: Sony 28 2.0, Nikon 28 1.8, Canon 28 2.8, they are close enough to say the difference is irrelevant in real life use.

www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Compare/Side-by-side/Sony-FE-28mm-...

 

So move on to 70-200 mm f4: Of Sony 70-200 f4, Nikon 70-200 f4, Canon 70-200 f4, the Sony again is the most expensive despite the Nikon having more resolving power if we are to trust DXO lens rating. I personally do not trust their lens tests although I trust their sensor tests and I think their sensor test results pretty much mirror my own findings quite often.

But in case of the 70-200 mm f4 lenses, many other sites like SLRgear, lenstip tested and came to the same or identical conclusion to the DXO comparison. I also tested them at my work place with my own copy of DXO analyzer and got the same results.

If I have to pick the winner here, I would pick the Nikon for its obviously better resolution at 200 mm f4 setting. But it is more complicated than just optical quality, since the latest generation body IS of Sony is much more effective than most of in-lens VR or IS I tested.

So, while the Nikon is a bit better lens optically, I doubt that in real life handheld photography we see the better resolving power of the Nikon. The Sony 70-200 mm f4 comes with an excellent tripod collar that would cost 120 US if we buy it separately. Canon and Nikon do not include a tripod collar in their respective 70-200 mm f4 shipping package.

So maybe, is the pricing of the Sony actually reasonable?

www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Compare/Side-by-side/Sony-FE-70-20...

 

Now move on to 35 mm f1.4 lenses comparison:Sony 35 1.4, Nikon 35 1.4. Interestingly in this test the Sony did a little better in resolution to the Nikon although its 22mm longer and 30 grams heavier than the Nikon and 26mm longer and 50 grams heavier than the Canon, so not so compact for a compact system any more.

What this fact tells us about is if you ask ultimate resolution in any current FF system, regardless of your camera body size, your lens must be big and heavy, thus your system won't be small or cheap or light at all.

 

www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Compare/Side-by-side/Sony-FE-Carl-...

But in case of this 35 mm f1.4, we have to consider the extremely bad copy to copy sample variation issue of the Sony. The biggest issue of the DXO and the other typical online lens test sites is that they test only one copy supplied by the company.

But there is a great man testing literally 10-100 of copies of each lens and reporting his results most of times.

www.lensrentals.com/blog/2015/10/sony-e-mount-lens-sharpn...

 

Personally, I take Roger's opinion much more seriously than any other lens test site's so-called review. I work at a mall which also sell cameras and I have tested many returned lenses before sending them back to the respective manufactures, we found that the copy to copy variation is much more significant than many people online think, it is sometimes even more pronounced than lens A to lens B difference.

So testing one copy of each lens is not enough, definitely in the case of any super complex modern optics such as this FE 35 mm f1.4.

I know the best copies of it is a fantastic lens, but about 75 percent of times you get a bad one or just an ok kind of one. It is really really deplorable, sad.

But no one so-called review site besides Roger's report it, and I smell something very fishy here.

 

Now move on to 50 mm -55 mm value primes: the Sony 55 1.8 vs the Nikon 50 1.8 vs the

Canon 50 1.8 STM

 

The Sony beats out the Nikon and obviously the Canon because of the limited megapixels, but the interesting thing is when you compare pricing...$1000 for the Sony, $219 for the Nikon. Weight was another thing with the Sony coming in at almost 100 grams heavier than the Nikon and the Canon. In terms of Absolute resolution, the Sony is quite a bit better, though if you care about the money, then the cheap Nikon gets you about 90 percent of the expensive Sony performance at 1/ 5th of the Sony price.

 

www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Compare/Side-by-side/Sony-FE-Carl-...

 

now finally move on to 90-105 mm macro lens:

The Sony 90 mm macro is reported to be a better lens by likes of DXOmark, but according to Roger Cicala's extensive optics bench testing with many many copies of it, it is not as good as we all once thought it must be because of the DXO result for it below.

www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Compare/Side-by-side/Sony-FE-90mm-...

But it is obvious if you get a good copy of the Sony FE 90 mm f2.8 G lens, it is sharper than anything else in the market, actually it even beats the over-sized over priced not much useful awkward brand lenses like the Zess Otus 85 mm f1.4 APO or the Zeiss 135 mm f2 APO Sonnar,which I sold as soon as I found it useless in real life application ,especially for travel photography and street work. I loved it for studio work, but for that use I do not need to actually own any lens, just rent it from my boss's studio.

Anyway, my point here is if you get a decent Sony Fe 90 or 55 mm then it even beats the super-heavy ,awkward no compromise in design kind of d-SLR lens that priced about 4 times more than the Sony lenses.

The 90 macro is a cheap lens for what it is, there is no comparison to that lens in that relatively modest range of it.

 

So while I agree that Sony has made some very positive moves in recent years,it has come at a cost in pricing, f/stop and in the compactness to the system.Even then, the Sony lenses are not necessarily the best, especially when you take the fact that the Nikon/Canon Lenses often out resolved the Sony equivalents with faster f/stops for less money into serious consideration. The Canon lenses were at a deficit due to megapixels, and even with the obvious sensor resolution disadvantage, quite a few Canon lenses actually still out-resolve Sony Nikon equivalents, it was,to me,quite amazing.

So, I think if you need the ultimate best for now or the absolute best, most promising tech into foreseeable future, then the Sony system makes real sense here, but if you just need 90 percent of what the A7RM2 can do at the 1/4 of the Sony system price, then Nikon still makes better sense(value).

In my area it is even more glaringly clear, the A7RM2 body alone costs about 378000 yen, the Nikon D810 kit with the AF-S24-120 mm f4 VR costs 321000 yen,the Sony does not seem to be a great value although it may well be the absolute best camera in current camera market.

And most of people just go with the almost 95 percent as good as the absolute best kind of system that costs much less than the absolute best.

I chose the Zeiss Batis 85 over the Zeiss Otus 85 although I knew the Otus would beat the Batis in resolution(at a lab)..........but for me the much more manageable size and the weight saving, and more importantly the better overall practicality/usability of the Batis beat the absolute tripod resolution of the Otus. I think the same logic applies for choosing the right camera system.

Although, IMO, Canon still has the edge in lens line, flash,etc, and as a company most stable and profitable with a lot of key-core patents in this ILC technology, I personally never consider any of current Canon cameras seriously. The 5DS is just simply too overpriced, the 6D is just too long in the tooth, the 5D3 is about to be replaced, so no current Canon cameras make great value.

The 5DS-R costs 2 times more than the D810 and I think it is just too crazy, and that makes it absolutely the worst value camera for me. The 5DS at least a bit cheaper than the A7R2 to really justify its market position since it does not have the IBIS of the Sony, the 4k capability of the Sony, the high ISO performance of the Sony.

In the end, after comparing the prices of the lenses I need for the 3 systems carefully, I kind of realize that it is most logical to just stay with my current Sony system, just because I already have it. I guess I will hold on to my A7, A7M2, A7R for as long as I can, and see if Canon, Fuji or Samsung will answer to the a7R2.

The above logic just works for me, but I think for more budget minded people the Nikon may still hold the value king title with the D750..

The D750 is really attractive for event photography on a tight budget, and it is very very cheap now in the many many areas of the world, especially in my area.The Nikon D750 or D810 based system is at least 30 percent cheaper than the A7M2 or the A7RM2 based system with a few primes and a couple of zooms. But if you are a kind of person always wanting to shoot with a Otus or similar IQ lens and always carefully manually focus it, then Sony would suddenly become a much more logical choice for you.

The FE 55 mm f1.8 is sharper than the Otus 55 mm f1.4 at 1/4 of the Otus weight.

I do not have problem paying the Otus price for a great lens but the weight is.

The Sony FE 90 mm f2.8 G (assuming you get a decent copy) beats the both Otus and Batis in resolution and a few more areas.

I know the greater resolution alone does not make it a better lens than the Otus since Otus beats in the areas of CA, distortion and coma at wide open,etc.

But to me the better resolution of the Sony at 1/3 or the weight of Otus is very attractive.

The Batis 85 mm f1.8 is a great lens, honestly it is a bit different kind of lens than the Otus is with a bit more CA, a bit more distortion,etc, but it has the unique Zeiss look as with the other great Zeiss primes, and it is definitely sharp enough for its obvious intended use.

For landscape type of corner to corner sharpness, it may not be able to match the best primes in that focal range such as the FE90 mm f2.8 G , the Otus 85 mm f1.4 and the Leica 90 mm f3.5 APO, but still it handily beats all zooms and most of primes ever made in that specific focal range.

Many people compare the Batis 85 mm to the Nikon AF-S85 mm f1.8 G just because they both share f1.8 f numbers, but are they really comparable in quality?

Actually, in terms of sheer resolution and optical quality the cheap plastic Nikon may be comparable to the Batis. But it is weaker in a few key areas compared to the Batis.

The Nikon has much worse Lo-CA, much worse weaker flare resistance, a bit more distorted.

But the Nikon is smaller, lighter comes with 62 mm filter thread rather than the big 67 mm one on the Batis, it has a bit lower distortion and seems to have a bit lower amount of light fall off.

So it is actually closer match than we once thought it would be, and I see many many people mostly shooting all AF prefer the Nikon over the Zeiss in this case.

But unfortunately for me, the Batis is a better looking lens for my type of shooting since I am a manual focus kind of person, seldom use AF and having good MF ring is very important to me. So as my old man always said when I was a kid, it is always horses for courses, there is no one absolutely better camera system for all of us.

 

Finally as a side note, many many people guessing a lot of the technology inside the Leica SL seems to be from Panasonic.

I think Leica/Panasonic are testing the waters, with their first FF CSC with modern design more sophisticated UI than that of the Sony A7X.

I wouldn't be surprised, if less than a year from now, Panasonic makes a shot directly at Sony A7 series with a cheaper and more practical version of the Leica SL.

If Canon and Nikon don't come up with competitors in the meantime, Sony-Panasonic will be pushing this market very hard very far so that the old leaders will find themselves 7 laps behind all of a sudden. It may be easy for Canon to come up with something similar since they have all the tech needed to make something similar to the Leica SL, but is Nikon still safe, some how able to manage it to survive?

I know many Japanese Mega camera dealers that think in a matter of a several years Nikon won't be around in this market.

If they are correct, I wonder if the new Tokyo Nikon camera museum was actually built by Nikon as their own camera indoor cemetery?

 

UPDATE: At the CP + show in Yokohama, I asked a few A mount related questions to a couple of Sony guys, and I got interesting answers to my questions.

Basically, Sony said the A7RMK2 is the ' the E mount' flagship, but not the real flagship for the Alpha system. The 2 different lines of Alpha systems will be merged but not the E takes over the A kind of merging. Sony says it will be very interesting to many and technologically shocking to the public. But it is really difficult to do that right, and Sony needs to improve or waiting for a few key techs for that. This is why Sony has had to cancel out the planned announcement of the A99VMK2 or whatever called(Sony guys said at least 2 times they canceled it).

A few new techs not available at the time of the planned announcement became available right after that and Sony thought that would surely improve it further. Sony thinks we should wait to see it before making any firm decision on buying into any existing camera system because it will be Sony's first true pro-grade, grand-breaking true game changer. I hope it will be true, but how long will we have to wait? Why not just release a temporal stop gap solution camera with current best technology available? This company is really odd.

 

Update 2 : now, we have detected 5 new Nikon FF mirrorless patents here in Japan and 2 of which use Nikon's legendary but very venerable F mount, it is interesting.

But the rest 3 are all use new different mount designs with about 18 mm - 24 mm flange back distance.

The mount diameter is a bit wider than the F and the E but not as wide as the EF.

 

I tried the SL last week at a local event, I actually love it wish I could buy it there. Now I will have to wait a long year to get it or I may just get the Leica Q?

  

UPDATE 3: The biggest problem with buying too many FE A7 glass is that we can never re-use it if or when we ditch our Sony FE mount bodies. Buying Nikon or Canon lenses are safer because, even if, we ditch their camera bodies, we will always able to re-use their lenses on our Sony or m43 or Fuji or Samsung.

Also, there are no third party native mount lenses for the FE system besides the overpriced Batis and Loxia line Zeiss.

It is a huge issue for some one actually needs a good set of really PRACTICAL f1.8 or f2 compact primes or f2.8 zooms at reasonable prices..With Canon and Nikon we have the luxury to choose some reasonably priced third party lenses such as the Tamron 35 mm f1.8 VC, the 45 mm f1.8 VC, the 24-70 mm f2.8 VC, the 15-35 mm f2.8 , the 90 mm f2.8 VC macro and the 70-200 mm f2.8 VC. But in the Sony FE mount there is no such a choice, just overpriced, overly pompous so-called Zeiss inanely named Batis that actually made by Tamron and selling for 3 times more than the usual Tamron prices.

 

Now, I think it is really wise to hold off all new Sony Zeiss lens purchase plans, at least until we are sure about Sony is actually winning the FF war over Canon and Nikon.

But hey, we've got be honest Sony is not winning anything over anyone, their market share has been the same 11 .2 percent since 2009.

That is clearly shown in the recent Flickr report of their users' preferred devices. Mirrorless cameras seem to account for just 3 percent and DSLR cameras seem to account for 33 percent of Flickr uploads in 2015 and 2016 Q1.

 

This was shocking to me. I wonder if Mirrorless ,especially the Sony A7 line is as successful in this business as many many forum fanatics say it is, then why is mirrorless so unpopular at Flickr?

Maybe the current form of tiny mirrorless cameras are really doomed? Maybe most of people actually do not care about the tiny form factor of the current poorly designed mirrorless systems from minor camera brands, but just sheer functionality?

 

I ,for one, much prefer a 6D or a D750 sized mirrorless with EF or F mount to anything Sony is now offering with the relatively poor Sony FE lens line, especially for a zoom lover.

 

I am sure I was one of the earliest mirrorless adapters with more than 23 mirrorless cameras(mostly Sony and Panasonic cameras), but now I really doubt any of the current form of mirrorless system actually replacing the EF and the F systems.

I honestly think Sony, Olympus , Panasonic Fuji,etc are actually barking up the wrong tree with the"mirrorless must be tiny" kind of silly design concept, and IMO, they will all fail in this business. A few days ago I was trying out the Fuji XT10 for casual walk and I was really strongly re-convinced that it would not be for me, it is just simply too awkward to hold and the ergonomics and UI are horrible.

The XT10 was not just much smaller than my D750 but much much smaller than my A7M2 and A7R2 ,which I have considered the best mirrorless body design in terms of ergonomics. Every time I think about the Fuji option and try it out for a short walk for a day, I end up hating it more.

 

Now,I actually suspect emerging trend of the Samsung Nikon rumor thing is something to do with Sony. Like our detectors used to say, we should think who will get that money coming from this move behind the thick curtain ? Asians are all about keeping their faces, so it is impossible Nikon or Samsung intentionally leaks it out to silly rumor sites like mirrorlessrumors. I think I respect Photorumors and Nikon rumors, but not the mirrorlessrumors or SAR.Their hit rate is very low and thus almost no credibility.

The guy made so many silly mistakes, in fact, he almost never got it right.

  

UPDATE4: Looks like Sony has actually done something right this year.

Sony was the only one of those 3 camera companies to break even this time, and was actually profitable for the year in Imaging, though it’s difficult to say how much of that is contributed by pro video gear. The Imaging Products group at Sony posted slightly lower sales (-1.7%) but a very healthy profit (up 30.4b yen and hitting about 10% of sales).

In terms of unit volume, digital cameras at Sony dropped from 8.5m units to 6.1m units year-to-year. That’s mostly compact camera sales that dried up. Sony won’t say exactly how that shift is working other than to say “improvement in the product mix of digital cameras.” In other words, they suggest that by getting rid of compact camera volume and focusing all its effort on high priced ILC units they are getting a better profit margin.

The other two camera companies still making some money out of their camera business are Fuji and Canon. We do not know Canon's result in detail yet.

I think it is fair to say Fujifilm has a hobby camera business as their Digital cameras are about 2.5% of the company’s overall revenue stream. That they give us any insight into how that business is working is actually a bit surprising. Sales for digital cameras were down 8.2% year-to-year, yet it is still quite profitable.Fujifilm Japan says the imaging business earned 9 percent more profit to them and it was the best of the last 9 years.

To me, the most surprising finding is that Casio's camera division is still profitable and they sell only compact cameras.

But how do they make any serious money out of that compact camera sells is a big mystery to me.

      

Now amazing Capture One 9 pro is out, and for Sony users the express version is free.

The Capture One 8.3 before it was simply outstanding RAWC, much better than anything from Adobe or Raw Therapy.

 

Unfortunately, the free version of C1 does not handle Canon, Nikon or Olympus RAW, only Sony or DNG(Pentax and Leica).

 

So I guess It is another big reason for many of us to choose Sony over anything else. If you use Sony, you can get a full copy of Capture One 9 pro for just 50 USD.

AS far as I am concerned, this is an incredible deal, great Christmas gift for us from Phase One.

 

I think both Capture One 9 and DXO 10 produce a bit better color than LR CC or ACR9X for Sony or Nikon.

 

I suspect that Adobe programs are optimized for Canon.

 

Seriously C1 pro for just 50 US is an amazing deal. nothing beats it for that price.

Capture One 9 is a much better more serious program than the LR crapware, and the biggest deal here is not need to deal with the Adobe subscription stuff. Many many Adobe users used the license and repaid it to re-activate it, it is really terribly unstable. I had one time could not use it when I was editing my images on site in a mountain area and they say my account is just trial although I paid it for full CC version.

So after coming back from the mountain, I decided to cancel all Adobe CC crap, and I just got Capture One express 8.32 for Sony free,then later in the same month (last April)I ungraded it to the pro version. I could not be happier.

Now, also DXO is offering me a copy FULL copy of DXO 10 Elite version for just 99 USD. I will get that too.

Honestly, there are still times we need Photoshop but I do have full copy of CS6, so I do not need CC anymore, and I've found life without Adobe CC crap is really much more relaxing and easier.

  

So in the long run, may Sony E mount be the most expensive system out side of the Leica SL and MFDBs arena?

 

Well it seems like that considering terribly expensive Sony service charge and repair price, and of course their lens prices.

 

As far as lenses are concerned, I can only compare the lenses that have been tested scientifically. Now please keep in mind that these tests were done with the A7R not version 2, but when Nikon introduces their higher resolution camera this will increase the final numbers for Nikon system as well, and Canon already have even higher resolution camera than both Nikon and Sony, but oddly enough DXO and most of others refuse to use the high resolution Canon body for testing their new gen lenses.

Sony 35 2.8, Nikon 35 1.8, Canon 35 2.0 tested with A7R, D810, 5DIII, oddly DXO refuses to test Canon lenses on the 5DS.

Anyway though,the Sony Costs $800, Nikon Costs $600, despite the Sony having less resolving power and a full stop slower than the Nikon. So we see how expensive Sony system actually is already here at the very first comparison below.

www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Compare/Side-by-side/Nikon-AF-S-NI...

To be fair to Sony, there is also the Loxia 35 mm f2,which I recently sold off for some new macro lens for my Olympus. The Loxia 35 is a fairly good lens but not an amazing lens, not exceptionally sharp, not extremely well corrected either. It has a bit of serious coma issue at f2 and on, though it is still a better lens than the Sony 35 mm f2.8 in the areas of center resolution and longitudinal CA and Vignetting. But the Loxia is worse than the Sony 35 mm f2.8 in some significant areas such as coma, edge/corner sharpness and focus accuracy at infinity.

So in Sony 35 mm Full frame world , there is no value 35 mm prime at all.

Now move on to value 28 mm primes: Sony 28 2.0, Nikon 28 1.8, Canon 28 2.8, they are close enough to say the difference is irrelevant in real life use.

www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Compare/Side-by-side/Sony-FE-28mm-...

 

So move on to 70-200 mm f4: Of Sony 70-200 f4, Nikon 70-200 f4, Canon 70-200 f4, the Sony again is the most expensive despite the Nikon having more resolving power if we are to trust DXO lens rating. I personally do not trust their lens tests although I trust their sensor tests and I think their sensor test results pretty much mirror my own findings quite often.

But in case of the 70-200 mm f4 lenses, many other sites like SLRgear, lenstip tested and came to the same or identical conclusion to the DXO comparison. I also tested them at my work place with my own copy of DXO analyzer and got the same results.

If I have to pick the winner here, I would pick the Nikon for its obviously better resolution at 200 mm f4 setting. But it is more complicated than just optical quality, since the latest generation body IS of Sony is much more effective than most of in-lens VR or IS I tested.

So, while the Nikon is a bit better lens optically, I doubt that in real life handheld photography we see the better resolving power of the Nikon. The Sony 70-200 mm f4 comes with an excellent tripod collar that would cost 120 US if we buy it separately. Canon and Nikon do not include a tripod collar in their respective 70-200 mm f4 shipping package.

So maybe, is the pricing of the Sony actually reasonable?

www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Compare/Side-by-side/Sony-FE-70-20...

 

Now move on to 35 mm f1.4 lenses comparison:Sony 35 1.4, Nikon 35 1.4. Interestingly in this test the Sony did a little better in resolution to the Nikon although its 22mm longer and 30 grams heavier than the Nikon and 26mm longer and 50 grams heavier than the Canon, so not so compact for a compact system any more.

What this fact tells us about is if you ask ultimate resolution in any current FF system, regardless of your camera body size, your lens must be big and heavy, thus your system won't be small or cheap or light at all.

 

www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Compare/Side-by-side/Sony-FE-Carl-...

But in case of this 35 mm f1.4, we have to consider the extremely bad copy to copy sample variation issue of the Sony. The biggest issue of the DXO and the other typical online lens test sites is that they test only one copy supplied by the company.

But there is a great man testing literally 10-100 of copies of each lens and reporting his results most of times.

www.lensrentals.com/blog/2015/10/sony-e-mount-lens-sharpn...

 

Personally, I take Roger's opinion much more seriously than any other lens test site's so-called review. I work at a mall which also sell cameras and I have tested many returned lenses before sending them back to the respective manufactures, we found that the copy to copy variation is much more significant than many people online think, it is sometimes even more pronounced than lens A to lens B difference.

So testing one copy of each lens is not enough, definitely in the case of any super complex modern optics such as this FE 35 mm f1.4.

I know the best copies of it is a fantastic lens, but about 75 percent of times you get a bad one or just an ok kind of one. It is really really deplorable, sad.

But no one so-called review site besides Roger's report it, and I smell something very fishy here.

 

Now move on to 50 mm -55 mm value primes: the Sony 55 1.8 vs the Nikon 50 1.8 vs the

Canon 50 1.8 STM

 

The Sony beats out the Nikon and obviously the Canon because of the limited megapixels, but the interesting thing is when you compare pricing...$1000 for the Sony, $219 for the Nikon. Weight was another thing with the Sony coming in at almost 100 grams heavier than the Nikon and the Canon. In terms of Absolute resolution, the Sony is quite a bit better, though if you care about the money, then the cheap Nikon gets you about 90 percent of the expensive Sony performance at 1/ 5th of the Sony price.

 

www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Compare/Side-by-side/Sony-FE-Carl-...

 

now finally move on to 90-105 mm macro lens:

The Sony 90 mm macro is reported to be a better lens by likes of DXOmark, but according to Roger Cicala's extensive optics bench testing with many many copies of it, it is not as good as we all once thought it must be because of the DXO result for it below.

www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Compare/Side-by-side/Sony-FE-90mm-...

But it is obvious if you get a good copy of the Sony FE 90 mm f2.8 G lens, it is sharper than anything else in the market, actually it even beats the over-sized over priced not much useful awkward brand lenses like the Zess Otus 85 mm f1.4 APO or the Zeiss 135 mm f2 APO Sonnar,which I sold as soon as I found it useless in real life application ,especially for travel photography and street work. I loved it for studio work, but for that use I do not need to actually own any lens, just rent it from my boss's studio.

Anyway, my point here is if you get a decent Sony Fe 90 or 55 mm then it even beats the super-heavy ,awkward no compromise in design kind of d-SLR lens that priced about 4 times more than the Sony lenses.

The 90 macro is a cheap lens for what it is, there is no comparison to that lens in that relatively modest range of it.

 

So while I agree that Sony has made some very positive moves in recent years,it has come at a cost in pricing, f/stop and in the compactness to the system.Even then, the Sony lenses are not necessarily the best, especially when you take the fact that the Nikon/Canon Lenses often out resolved the Sony equivalents with faster f/stops for less money into serious consideration. The Canon lenses were at a deficit due to megapixels, and even with the obvious sensor resolution disadvantage, quite a few Canon lenses actually still out-resolve Sony Nikon equivalents, it was,to me,quite amazing.

So, I think if you need the ultimate best for now or the absolute best, most promising tech into foreseeable future, then the Sony system makes real sense here, but if you just need 90 percent of what the A7RM2 can do at the 1/4 of the Sony system price, then Nikon still makes better sense(value).

In my area it is even more glaringly clear, the A7RM2 body alone costs about 378000 yen, the Nikon D810 kit with the AF-S24-120 mm f4 VR costs 321000 yen,the Sony does not seem to be a great value although it may well be the absolute best camera in current camera market.

And most of people just go with the almost 95 percent as good as the absolute best kind of system that costs much less than the absolute best.

I chose the Zeiss Batis 85 over the Zeiss Otus 85 although I knew the Otus would beat the Batis in resolution(at a lab)..........but for me the much more manageable size and the weight saving, and more importantly the better overall practicality/usability of the Batis beat the absolute tripod resolution of the Otus. I think the same logic applies for choosing the right camera system.

Although, IMO, Canon still has the edge in lens line, flash,etc, and as a company most stable and profitable with a lot of key-core patents in this ILC technology, I personally never consider any of current Canon cameras seriously. The 5DS is just simply too overpriced, the 6D is just too long in the tooth, the 5D3 is about to be replaced, so no current Canon cameras make great value.

The 5DS-R costs 2 times more than the D810 and I think it is just too crazy, and that makes it absolutely the worst value camera for me. The 5DS at least a bit cheaper than the A7R2 to really justify its market position since it does not have the IBIS of the Sony, the 4k capability of the Sony, the high ISO performance of the Sony.

In the end, after comparing the prices of the lenses I need for the 3 systems carefully, I kind of realize that it is most logical to just stay with my current Sony system, just because I already have it. I guess I will hold on to my A7, A7M2, A7R for as long as I can, and see if Canon, Fuji or Samsung will answer to the a7R2.

The above logic just works for me, but I think for more budget minded people the Nikon may still hold the value king title with the D750..

The D750 is really attractive for event photography on a tight budget, and it is very very cheap now in the many many areas of the world, especially in my area.The Nikon D750 or D810 based system is at least 30 percent cheaper than the A7M2 or the A7RM2 based system with a few primes and a couple of zooms. But if you are a kind of person always wanting to shoot with a Otus or similar IQ lens and always carefully manually focus it, then Sony would suddenly become a much more logical choice for you.

The FE 55 mm f1.8 is sharper than the Otus 55 mm f1.4 at 1/4 of the Otus weight.

I do not have problem paying the Otus price for a great lens but the weight is.

The Sony FE 90 mm f2.8 G (assuming you get a decent copy) beats the both Otus and Batis in resolution and a few more areas.

I know the greater resolution alone does not make it a better lens than the Otus since Otus beats in the areas of CA, distortion and coma at wide open,etc.

But to me the better resolution of the Sony at 1/3 or the weight of Otus is very attractive.

The Batis 85 mm f1.8 is a great lens, honestly it is a bit different kind of lens than the Otus is with a bit more CA, a bit more distortion,etc, but it has the unique Zeiss look as with the other great Zeiss primes, and it is definitely sharp enough for its obvious intended use.

For landscape type of corner to corner sharpness, it may not be able to match the best primes in that focal range such as the FE90 mm f2.8 G , the Otus 85 mm f1.4 and the Leica 90 mm f3.5 APO, but still it handily beats all zooms and most of primes ever made in that specific focal range.

Many people compare the Batis 85 mm to the Nikon AF-S85 mm f1.8 G just because they both share f1.8 f numbers, but are they really comparable in quality?

Actually, in terms of sheer resolution and optical quality the cheap plastic Nikon may be comparable to the Batis. But it is weaker in a few key areas compared to the Batis.

The Nikon has much worse Lo-CA, much worse weaker flare resistance, a bit more distorted.

But the Nikon is smaller, lighter comes with 62 mm filter thread rather than the big 67 mm one on the Batis, it has a bit lower distortion and seems to have a bit lower amount of light fall off.

So it is actually closer match than we once thought it would be, and I see many many people mostly shooting all AF prefer the Nikon over the Zeiss in this case.

But unfortunately for me, the Batis is a better looking lens for my type of shooting since I am a manual focus kind of person, seldom use AF and having good MF ring is very important to me. So as my old man always said when I was a kid, it is always horses for courses, there is no one absolutely better camera system for all of us.

 

Finally as a side note, many many people guessing a lot of the technology inside the Leica SL seems to be from Panasonic.

I think Leica/Panasonic are testing the waters, with their first FF CSC with modern design more sophisticated UI than that of the Sony A7X.

I wouldn't be surprised, if less than a year from now, Panasonic makes a shot directly at Sony A7 series with a cheaper and more practical version of the Leica SL.

If Canon and Nikon don't come up with competitors in the meantime, Sony-Panasonic will be pushing this market very hard very far so that the old leaders will find themselves 7 laps behind all of a sudden. It may be easy for Canon to come up with something similar since they have all the tech needed to make something similar to the Leica SL, but is Nikon still safe, some how able to manage it to survive?

I know many Japanese Mega camera dealers that think in a matter of a several years Nikon won't be around in this market.

If they are correct, I wonder if the new Tokyo Nikon camera museum was actually built by Nikon as their own camera indoor cemetery?

 

UPDATE: At the CP + show in Yokohama, I asked a few A mount related questions to a couple of Sony guys, and I got interesting answers to my questions.

Basically, Sony said the A7RMK2 is the ' the E mount' flagship, but not the real flagship for the Alpha system. The 2 different lines of Alpha systems will be merged but not the E takes over the A kind of merging. Sony says it will be very interesting to many and technologically shocking to the public. But it is really difficult to do that right, and Sony needs to improve or waiting for a few key techs for that. This is why Sony has had to cancel out the planned announcement of the A99VMK2 or whatever called(Sony guys said at least 2 times they canceled it).

A few new techs not available at the time of the planned announcement became available right after that and Sony thought that would surely improve it further. Sony thinks we should wait to see it before making any firm decision on buying into any existing camera system because it will be Sony's first true pro-grade, grand-breaking true game changer. I hope it will be true, but how long will we have to wait? Why not just release a temporal stop gap solution camera with current best technology available? This company is really odd.

 

Update 2 : now, we have detected 5 new Nikon FF mirrorless patents here in Japan and 2 of which use Nikon's legendary but very venerable F mount, it is interesting.

But the rest 3 are all use new different mount designs with about 18 mm - 24 mm flange back distance.

The mount diameter is a bit wider than the F and the E but not as wide as the EF.

 

I tried the SL last week at a local event, I actually love it wish I could buy it there. Now I will have to wait a long year to get it or I may just get the Leica Q?

  

UPDATE 3: The biggest problem with buying too many FE A7 glass is that we can never re-use it if or when we ditch our Sony FE mount bodies. Buying Nikon or Canon lenses are safer because, even if, we ditch their camera bodies, we will always able to re-use their lenses on our Sony or m43 or Fuji or Samsung.

Also, there are no third party native mount lenses for the FE system besides the overpriced Batis and Loxia line Zeiss.

It is a huge issue for some one actually needs a good set of really PRACTICAL f1.8 or f2 compact primes or f2.8 zooms at reasonable prices..With Canon and Nikon we have the luxury to choose some reasonably priced third party lenses such as the Tamron 35 mm f1.8 VC, the 45 mm f1.8 VC, the 24-70 mm f2.8 VC, the 15-35 mm f2.8 , the 90 mm f2.8 VC macro and the 70-200 mm f2.8 VC. But in the Sony FE mount there is no such a choice, just overpriced, overly pompous so-called Zeiss inanely named Batis that actually made by Tamron and selling for 3 times more than the usual Tamron prices.

 

Now, I think it is really wise to hold off all new Sony Zeiss lens purchase plans, at least until we are sure about Sony is actually winning the FF war over Canon and Nikon.

But hey, we've got be honest Sony is not winning anything over anyone, their market share has been the same 11 .2 percent since 2009.

That is clearly shown in the recent Flickr report of their users' preferred devices. Mirrorless cameras seem to account for just 3 percent and DSLR cameras seem to account for 33 percent of Flickr uploads in 2015 and 2016 Q1.

 

This was shocking to me. I wonder if Mirrorless ,especially the Sony A7 line is as successful in this business as many many forum fanatics say it is, then why is mirrorless so unpopular at Flickr?

Maybe the current form of tiny mirrorless cameras are really doomed? Maybe most of people actually do not care about the tiny form factor of the current poorly designed mirrorless systems from minor camera brands, but just sheer functionality?

 

I ,for one, much prefer a 6D or a D750 sized mirrorless with EF or F mount to anything Sony is now offering with the relatively poor Sony FE lens line, especially for a zoom lover.

 

I am sure I was one of the earliest mirrorless adapters with more than 23 mirrorless cameras(mostly Sony and Panasonic cameras), but now I really doubt any of the current form of mirrorless system actually replacing the EF and the F systems.

I honestly think Sony, Olympus , Panasonic Fuji,etc are actually barking up the wrong tree with the"mirrorless must be tiny" kind of silly design concept, and IMO, they will all fail in this business. A few days ago I was trying out the Fuji XT10 for casual walk and I was really strongly re-convinced that it would not be for me, it is just simply too awkward to hold and the ergonomics and UI are horrible.

The XT10 was not just much smaller than my D750 but much much smaller than my A7M2 and A7R2 ,which I have considered the best mirrorless body design in terms of ergonomics. Every time I think about the Fuji option and try it out for a short walk for a day, I end up hating it more.

 

Now,I actually suspect emerging trend of the Samsung Nikon rumor thing is something to do with Sony. Like our detectors used to say, we should think who will get that money coming from this move behind the thick curtain ? Asians are all about keeping their faces, so it is impossible Nikon or Samsung intentionally leaks it out to silly rumor sites like mirrorlessrumors. I think I respect Photorumors and Nikon rumors, but not the mirrorlessrumors or SAR.Their hit rate is very low and thus almost no credibility.

The guy made so many silly mistakes, in fact, he almost never got it right.

  

UPDATE4: Looks like Sony has actually done something right this year.

Sony was the only one of those 3 camera companies to break even this time, and was actually profitable for the year in Imaging, though it’s difficult to say how much of that is contributed by pro video gear. The Imaging Products group at Sony posted slightly lower sales (-1.7%) but a very healthy profit (up 30.4b yen and hitting about 10% of sales).

In terms of unit volume, digital cameras at Sony dropped from 8.5m units to 6.1m units year-to-year. That’s mostly compact camera sales that dried up. Sony won’t say exactly how that shift is working other than to say “improvement in the product mix of digital cameras.” In other words, they suggest that by getting rid of compact camera volume and focusing all its effort on high priced ILC units they are getting a better profit margin.

The other two camera companies still making some money out of their camera business are Fuji and Canon. We do not know Canon's result in detail yet.

I think it is fair to say Fujifilm has a hobby camera business as their Digital cameras are about 2.5% of the company’s overall revenue stream. That they give us any insight into how that business is working is actually a bit surprising. Sales for digital cameras were down 8.2% year-to-year, yet it is still quite profitable.Fujifilm Japan says the imaging business earned 9 percent more profit to them and it was the best of the last 9 years.

To me, the most surprising finding is that Casio's camera division is still profitable and they sell only compact cameras.

But how do they make any serious money out of that compact camera sells is a big mystery to me.

      

View On Black

 

Please view "Goldstone DSN Tracking Station -- Mojave Desert" set

(#11 of 16 images)

 

Each DSN facility Goldstone, Canberra and Madrid, is situated in semi-mountainous, bowl-shaped terrain to help shield against radio frequency interference. The strategic 120-degree placement permits constant observation of spacecraft as the Earth rotates, and helps to make the DSN the largest and most sensitive scientific telecommunications system in the world.

 

The antennas at all three DSN Complexes communicate directly with the Deep Space Operations Center (DSOC) located at the JPL facilities in Pasadena, California. Images of DS operations center can be found in my Flickr photostream and set "NASA/JPL Open House Highlights 2010" and the following images : www.flickr.com/photos/10455329@N08/4618188144/in/set-7215...

www.flickr.com/photos/10455329@N08/4617571907/in/set-7215... www.flickr.com/photos/10455329@N08/4618179128/in/set-7215...

 

DSOC personnel monitor and direct operations, and oversee the quality of spacecraft telemetry and navigation data delivered to network users. In addition to the DSN complexes and the operations center, a ground communications facility provides communications that link the three complexes to the operations center at JPL, to space flight control centers in the United States and overseas, and to scientists around the world.

 

This is a single RAW image taken with a Nikon d90 camera and Tamron 10-24 lens (3.5-4.5) .Focal length 19mm. Exposed 1/400 of a second @f11. ISO 200 0 EV. Processed in Adobe Camera RAW, Adobe Photoshop CS4 and tone mapped with Dynamic - Photo HDR 4. Uploaded in Picnik.

 

© Lawrence Goldman 2010, All Rights Reserved

This work may not be copied, reproduced, republished, edited, downloaded, displayed, modified, transmitted, licensed, transferred, sold, distributed or uploaded in any way without my prior written permission.

 

(Color pencils on paper, enhanced with ArcSoft PhotoImpressions software)

 

("For the first time, the General Social Survey--a large, national survey conducted every two years and widely considered to represent the gold standard for public opinion research--shows a majority of Americans favoring the legalization of marijuana."

 

---Christopher Ingraham, the Washington Post, 3.4. 2015.)

 

("Forty-four percent of Americans say they have tried cannabis, according to a new Gallup poll.

 

The American research-based consulting company, which is best known for its opinion polls, says this is the highest percentage to admit to having tried the soft drug since it first started asking the question in 1969 — when only 4 percent said they had sampled it."

 

---Michael Walsh, Yahoo News, 7.22. 2015.)

  

(“...good people don’t smoke marijuana."

 

---Jeff Sessions, a republican U.S. Senator from Alabama, speaking at a Senate caucus convened by anti-marijuana Senators Dianne Feinstein and Chuck Grassley. Reported by Christopher Ingraham, The Washington Post, 4.5. 2016.

 

WTF? Apparently Jeff Sessions is frankly psychotic!!!)

  

(During the course of my career in non-profit quality control, I smoked marijuana every day for 29 of the past 42 years. Marijuana can be a good medicine, and I found that it often inspired me.

 

My favorite imported kinds of marijuana were Punta Roja Colombian, "Thai sticks", and Mexican from Oaxaca.

 

I also enjoyed some of the hashish that came from Lebanon, Afghanistan, and Nepal. The hashoil I smoked that came from Morocco greatly lifted my spirits and provided unique insight. "Bubble Hash" made in Berkeley gave me wonderful visions.

 

[Willie Nelson won 10 Grammy awards, and has appeared in 37 movies and TV shows. More than 40 million copies of his more than 100 albums have been sold. He has smoked marijuana for MANY years. Nelson is an outspoken advocate for the drug and has been arrested several times for possession of marijuana. He was arrested in 2006 for possessing marijuana and hallucinogenic mushrooms. His latest song is titled "Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die".

 

---from an Associated Press news report, 4.21. 2012.]

  

Here is a list of some of the kinds of cannabis I have smoked that were obtained from "medical marijuana" stores in the San Francisco bay area. [I saved the labels.]

  

Blueberry

Tsunami

Outdoor Rom

Trainwreck

Red Widow

Smoothelove

Dutch Passionkush

Northern Green

Spice

Nor Kali Black Spice

Sensi Star

Organic Main Wreck

Sour Diesel

Ice Ice

Fruity Bliss

Organic Remedy

NYC Diesel

S1-5

Organic Super Silver Haze

Morning Star

Snow Cap

Jedi

Sweet Nightmare

Dirty Little Pig

Durbin Poison

Oracle

Bubble Haze

White Widow

Mountain Kick

Snow White

Yumbolt

Co-op

Organic Flo

Silvercratic

Organic Purple Haze

Goo-5

Nor Kali Kaui Kola

Dynomite

Nor Kali Buddha's Haze

Old Grand Huck

Grape Ape

Buddha's Sister

Super Jack

Organic Rom Thai

Third Eye

World Wide Widow

Afgootiva

Greased Lightening

Outdoor Organic Humboldt

Balance

Peak 19

Organic Mazar

Outdoor Train Crossing

Organic Shaman

Super Star

Rhino

Burmese

Jelly

Caramel

Kahuna

Shiva's Tears

Organic A-10

Purple Burmese

Lemon Skunk x Royal Orange

Mendo Blendo

The Sativa

Organic Hawaiian Snow

Purple Kush Domina

Organic Ultra Skunk

Sage 'n' Sour

Outdoor Organic Kam

Tree-W

Da Kind

Jack Frost

Pot O' Gold

Shiva Afghani

Gorilla's Mist

Strawberry Cough

Sativa 2

Organic Jane

Organic Purple Way

Outdoor Organic Bonkers

Organic Purps

Outdoor Organic Goo

Juicy Fruit

Mind Eraser

Pearly Baker

White Russian

Sonoma Coma

Organic Sticky Nurple

MK Ultra

Outdoor Organic Trainwreck x White Widow

Organic Sweetleaf

Organic Purple Ice

Jack Herer

God's Gift

Outdoor Organic Purple Mendo

Organic Ogre

Organic Trance

William's Wonder x Northern Lights

Blue Ogre

Organic Lamb's Bread

Champagne

Black Bunanna

Super Chunk

Organic Rom Cross

Rom Hottie

Organic Slider

El Bueno

Jakki

Organic Time Warp

Organic Mist

Mantanuska TF

Pineapple Trainwreck

Organic Mantanuska Mist

Organic Mothership

Traincrash

Swazi Haze

Golden Goo

Organic Trance

Jack'l Berry

Outdoor Mysty

Purple Peak 19

Sage

Motor City

Purple Erkel

Crazy Hazy

Bright Star

Power Plant

Organic Cindy 99

Skunk #2

Organic Bonana

Outdoor Organic Hash Plant

Baby Blues

Cat Piss

African Sativa

Romadelic

AK-47

Outdoor Organic Madness

Outdoor Organic Blue Dot

Sour Daze

Spicy Jack

Outdoor Organic Pure Rezin

Old Mother Sativa

Mountain Girl

Super Wreck

Sapphire Star

Bombshell

Also Known As

Pea Soup

Pirate's Kush

Leda Una

Northern Lights x Big Bud

All Star Organic Oaktown Wreck

"Shiva Crystals" hashish

  

I have also eaten a variety of cannabis preparations sold at "medical marijuana" stores in Berkeley, including:

 

"Butter Brothers" brand Brownies, Phat Mints, Blackberry Streusel, Ginger Snaps, and Peanut Butter Cookies.

"Ganja Candy" brand Caramel, Blackberry, and Dr. Pepper.

"Tainted" brand Thin Mints

"Dank" candy

"420 Grand" candy

"Double-Strength Medi Pills" [cannabis oil capsules]

"Shiva Candy" [hashish candy]

"Rhino Pellet" [tiny cookie]

"Evil Aunt Emily's Seriously Psychotic Suckers" [cannabis oil candy])

 

IMPORTANT NOTE ABOUT SALES OF SO-CALLED "MEDICAL MARIJUANA" AT STORES IN BERKELEY:

 

I have seen marijuana contaminated by toxic insecticides that was purchased from (city-approved) so-called "medical marijuana" stores in Berkeley. I have seen marijuana contaminated with other toxic chemicals that was purchased from so-called "medical marijuana" stores in Berkeley. I have seen marijuana contaminated with toxic mold that was purchased at so-called "medical marijuana" stores in Berkeley. There are no enforced standards that designate who may or may not be so-called "medical marijuana" grower-sellers in the city of Berkeley. These for-profit privately-owned stores charge an obscenely high price for their questionable products. THERE IS NO DOUBT THAT MARIJUANA CAN BE ONE OF THE VERY BEST MEDICINES IN THE WORLD!!!!!!!! (Depending upon the type and dose of marijuana, the route of administration, and the set and setting in which it is used.) BUT BEWARE: Greedy and/or stupid capitalists selling untested products grown by greedy and/or stupid amateurs ARE NOT GOOD PEOPLE!

  

("...marijuana is not legal."

 

---Ed Rosenthal, interviewed by Paul Kilduff, The Monthly, December 2014.)

  

("Indeed, positive hits for pathogenic mold are already changing grower operations. 'You smoke ten random samples of cannabis and you've most likely smoked aspergillus [mold],' said Dave, one of the lab's two founders. 'It's in there, often at unacceptable levels. Now it's up to the industry to respond. We also are not in a position where we want to make enemies and piss people off. We want to see it happen in the best way for the movement and the industry to kind of just naturally evolve.'

While the distributed nature of California's cannabis supply network obviously benefits mom-and-pop growers, it doesn't encourage quality assurance. Consequently, Dave and his peers believe that some pot consumers are in danger.

'It's expensive to test every single thing that comes through the door — that's the price you pay with a decentralized supply system,' Dave said. 'But that's what you've got. You've got five pounds coming from here and two from there and one individual. I mean, a dog walks in the grow room, and wags its tail — anything can be coming off that dog's tail. It's gross. Fertilizers with E. coli. Compost teas that they don't make right, anaerobic tea that has elevated levels of E. coli and salmonella...There's no way that this is sustainable. All it takes is one story of immune-compromised people dying from aspergillus infection. The myth that cannabis hasn't killed a single person in 3,000 years is allowed to go on. Well, it's not cannabis that kills people, it's all the shit that's in it.'

 

[From "The Manhattan Project of Marijuana", David Downs, the East Bay Express, 3.4. 2009.])

 

(Steep Hill Lab says eighty-five percent of the medical marijuana samples it tests "show traces of mold".

 

---Peter Hecht, "Pot Lab Fills Need for Oversight", the Sacramento Bee, 4.6. 2010. The owners of Steep Hill Lab in Oakland California [which is NOT a Federally-certified laboratory] are extremely in favor of medical marijuana...)

 

("We find e.coli in hash. We're seeing pseudomonas aeruginosa, a bacteria that's found in filth."

 

---Robert Martin, of the Association of California Cannabis Labs. Martin was quoted by David Downs in the East Bay Express, 4.11. 2012.)

 

("It's a nasty little secret in the medical marijuana world that many growers spray their plants liberally with pesticides..."

 

---Robert Gammon, the East Bay Express, 7.28. 2010.)

  

("...the true danger in untested cannabis comes from the potential pathogens--pseudomonas, aspergillis, and E. coli are routinely found by our laboratory [CW Analytical]."

 

---David Egerton, in a letter to the editor of the East Bay Express, 7.18. 2012.)

  

("While I am grateful for access to the pot clubs...I am at a bit of a loss to understand why, given the virtual absence of risk in producing and distributing pot, it is still so expensive."

"What we have...are facilities charging the high end of street prices to people who are already ostensibly facing hardship."

 

["An ounce for $300 to $400..."]

 

"...besides basic capitalist greed, why does it still cost so much? Most of the truly disabled and terminally ill are on a fixed income, rendering the cost of pot not at all that compassionate."

 

--- Quotes from a letter written by Steve Stevens to the editor of the San Francisco Weekly, 1.20. 2010.)

 

("According to Rand Corporation estimates...legalized...high-grade pot would cost just $20 per pound to produce. And low-grade weed would cost only $5 per pound."

 

---David Downs, East Bay Express, 10.9. 2013.)

  

(Since May 2011, four marijuana stores in Richmond, California [near Berkeley and Oakland] "...have paid $486,390 in police fees."

 

"To some, the situation evokes...the protection racket."

 

---David Downs, East Bay Express, 8.28. 2013)

 

("I've never met so many greedy slugs in my whole life."

 

---Michelle LaMay, chairwoman of the Teapot Party in Colorado, describing having to deal with the more than 3,000 people who have contacted her because they want to start their own cannabis business. [Willie Nelson was arrested in Texas for possessing marijuana on November 26, 2010. Following his arrest, Nelson founded the Teapot Party.] The quote is from an article by Eric Spitznagel, Bloomberg Businessweek, that was published in the San Francisco Chronicle, 11.20. 2011)

 

("We did $20 million in sales last year."

 

---Steve DeAngelo, executive director of Harborside Health Collective, a marijuana store in Oakland. DeAngelo was quoted by Kathleen Pender in an article, "Push to Protect Banks on Legal Pot Business". The San Francisco Chronicle, 5.25. 2010.)

 

("California's medical marijuana dispensaries now generate as much as $1.3 billion in sales and $105 million in state sales taxes each year, according to new---and dramatically increased---state sales estimates by California's Board of Equalization."

 

"The Board of Equalization earlier this year estimated medical marijuana sales at only $98 million annually..."

 

--- the Sacramento Bee, 5.8. 2010.)

 

(The Berkeley Patients Group is "a dispensary with about 10,000 patients in the Bay Area". In 2007 the DEA "pounced on a Southern California offshoot of the Berkeley nonprofit for distributing a federally controlled substance. Agents seized nearly everything on-site as well as $100,000 in funds in a bank account."

 

"The Berkeley dispensary actually got the money back after the City of Berkeley stood up for it. The city stated in a 2008 resolution 'seizures of assets of medical marijuana dispensaries and collectives have blocked payments of taxes to the state of California and the City of Berkeley.' The city asked federal authorities to back off and they did."

 

"Berkeley Patients Group, along with two other Berkeley clubs, net about $18.5 million per year."

 

---David Downs, the East Bay Express, 9.15. 2010.)

  

("The city of Berkeley filed a legal claim Wednesday in a federal asset forfeiture case against the landlord of a medical marijuana dispensary here, saying it would lose tax money from pot sales if the dispensary is forced to close."

 

---Doug Oakley, West County Times, 7.4. 2013.)

  

("Oakland's lawsuit said the closure would damage the city, which expects to collect more than $1.4 million this year in business taxes from Harborside and three other city-licensed dispensaries."

 

---Bob Egelko, San Francisco Chronicle, 10.14. 2012. Seeking to prevent the forced closure of Harborside Health Center, a "medical marijuana" dispensary, the City of Oakland filed a lawsuit against the federal government.)

  

Years ago there was a legitimate drug testing laboratory in California where a user could anonymously have a sample of their "dope" tested. Unfortunately, such drug-testing laboratories were declared illegal by Federal law enforcement officials and were forced to cease operation. The public no longer has access to any Federally-certified drug testing laboratories.

 

Many of the anti-drug police say they believe that "harm reduction" strategies increase drug use and are thus unacceptable. Some anti-drug police believe that the world would be a better place if users of illegal drugs died...

 

("Casual drug users should be taken out and shot. Smoke a joint, lose your life."

 

---Darryl Gates,

Head of Los Angeles Police Department, speaking to a

United States Senate Judiciary Committee on September 5, 1990.

[Gates said the above because he felt casual drug users were guilty of "treason", according to author Martin Torgoff, writing in his book "CAN'T FIND MY WAY HOME--America in the Great Stoned Age, 1945-2000" (Simon & Schuster, 2004.)])

 

("In 1996, Newt Gingrich introduced a bill mandating the death penalty for bringing two ounces of marijuana into the country!"

 

[quote from a document published by Unitarian Universalists for Drug Policy Reform].)

  

("William Bennett, federal drug policy coordinator, said Thursday night he had no moral qualms about beheading convicted drug dealers.

 

'Morally, I don't have any problem with that at all,' Bennett said when asked on the CNN program 'Larry King Live' call-in television show..."

 

---Los Angeles Times, 6.16. 1989.)

  

("Quinlivan told the judges that nobody has a right to use marijuana... "

 

"Judge Harry Pregerson asked Quinlivan whether it was OK for Raich to die or succumb to 'unbearable suffering.'

'So go ahead and die. That would be all right?' he asked.

'Congress has made that value judgement,' Quinlivan replied."

 

---David Kravets, the Oakland Tribune, 3.28. 2006, in an article about a hearing before a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Angel McClary Raich is a very seriously ill patient that multiple doctors say must use marijuana as a medicine or she will likely die. Mark T. Quinlivan is an Assistant U.S. Attorney.)

  

("I'm a firm believer that drugs are the root of all evil."

 

---Conta Costa County [California] deputy sheriff Andy VanZelf,

quoted 10.4. 2009 in the Conta Costa Times by columnist Tom Barnidge. "VanZelf [a police officer for 23 years] ...was born to the job--his mother, father, and brother were cops--but that's not why he stuck with it. 'Putting bad guys in jail is very satisfying,' he said.")

 

("According to the FBI's annual Uniform Crime Report, in 2007 there were 872,721 arrests in the U.S. for marijuana violations."

 

---Adam Tschorn, the Los Angeles Times, 9.3. 2009.)

 

("It was downtown San Jose and another police officer had made a stop on three kids who were touring San Jose on a Saturday night. You know, driving around in circles like American Graffitti. And the officer pulled three kids out of the car and he didn't know but one kid panicked and tried to swallow a small bag of marijuana---and I pulled up just to watch and assist if needed and didn't realize what was going on either. And this kid died in front of us choking on a bag of marijuana. He didn't die because of marijuana, he died because he panicked over these stupid laws we have."

 

---former San Jose, California undercover narcotics detective Russ Jones, quoted by David Downs, the East Bay Express, 5.12. 2010. Russ Jones is a spokesman for the "Law Enforcement Against Prohibition" organization.)

 

(Because I am a disabled homeless person who has VERY little money, I cannot afford the fee that doctors charge to issue a recommendation that I be allowed to use "medical marijuana". Nor can I afford the administrative fee charged for the issuance of a "medical marijuana" card. Even if I had the proper paperwork, I am too poor to be able to pay the high prices the local "medical marijuana" stores charge. I have never grown marijuana. Because I am homeless I have no place where I can grow marijuana.)

 

A randomly-edited selection of approximately 700 of my pictures may be viewed by clicking on the link below:

www.flickr.com/groups/psychedelicart/pool/43237970@N00/

 

Please click here to read my "autobiography":

thewordsofjdyf333.blogspot.com/

 

And my "profile" page may be viewed by clicking on this link:

www.flickr.com/people/jdyf333/

 

My telephone number is: 510-260-9695

  

Please note: DEPICTION IS NOT ADVOCACY!!!

Now amazing Capture One 9 pro is out, and for Sony users the express version is free.

The Capture One 8.3 before it was simply outstanding RAWC, much better than anything from Adobe or Raw Therapy.

 

Unfortunately, the free version of C1 does not handle Canon, Nikon or Olympus RAW, only Sony or DNG(Pentax and Leica).

 

So I guess It is another big reason for many of us to choose Sony over anything else. If you use Sony, you can get a full copy of Capture One 9 pro for just 50 USD.

AS far as I am concerned, this is an incredible deal, great Christmas gift for us from Phase One.

 

I think both Capture One 9 and DXO 10 produce a bit better color than LR CC or ACR9X for Sony or Nikon.

 

I suspect that Adobe programs are optimized for Canon.

 

Seriously C1 pro for just 50 US is an amazing deal. nothing beats it for that price.

Capture One 9 is a much better more serious program than the LR crapware, and the biggest deal here is not need to deal with the Adobe subscription stuff. Many many Adobe users used the license and repaid it to re-activate it, it is really terribly unstable. I had one time could not use it when I was editing my images on site in a mountain area and they say my account is just trial although I paid it for full CC version.

So after coming back from the mountain, I decided to cancel all Adobe CC crap, and I just got Capture One express 8.32 for Sony free,then later in the same month (last April)I ungraded it to the pro version. I could not be happier.

Now, also DXO is offering me a copy FULL copy of DXO 10 Elite version for just 99 USD. I will get that too.

Honestly, there are still times we need Photoshop but I do have full copy of CS6, so I do not need CC anymore, and I've found life without Adobe CC crap is really much more relaxing and easier.

  

So in the long run, may Sony E mount be the most expensive system out side of the Leica SL and MFDBs arena?

 

Well it seems like that considering terribly expensive Sony service charge and repair price, and of course their lens prices.

 

As far as lenses are concerned, I can only compare the lenses that have been tested scientifically. Now please keep in mind that these tests were done with the A7R not version 2, but when Nikon introduces their higher resolution camera this will increase the final numbers for Nikon system as well, and Canon already have even higher resolution camera than both Nikon and Sony, but oddly enough DXO and most of others refuse to use the high resolution Canon body for testing their new gen lenses.

Sony 35 2.8, Nikon 35 1.8, Canon 35 2.0 tested with A7R, D810, 5DIII, oddly DXO refuses to test Canon lenses on the 5DS.

Anyway though,the Sony Costs $800, Nikon Costs $600, despite the Sony having less resolving power and a full stop slower than the Nikon. So we see how expensive Sony system actually is already here at the very first comparison below.

www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Compare/Side-by-side/Nikon-AF-S-NI...

To be fair to Sony, there is also the Loxia 35 mm f2,which I recently sold off for some new macro lens for my Olympus. The Loxia 35 is a fairly good lens but not an amazing lens, not exceptionally sharp, not extremely well corrected either. It has a bit of serious coma issue at f2 and on, though it is still a better lens than the Sony 35 mm f2.8 in the areas of center resolution and longitudinal CA and Vignetting. But the Loxia is worse than the Sony 35 mm f2.8 in some significant areas such as coma, edge/corner sharpness and focus accuracy at infinity.

So in Sony 35 mm Full frame world , there is no value 35 mm prime at all.

Now move on to value 28 mm primes: Sony 28 2.0, Nikon 28 1.8, Canon 28 2.8, they are close enough to say the difference is irrelevant in real life use.

www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Compare/Side-by-side/Sony-FE-28mm-...

 

So move on to 70-200 mm f4: Of Sony 70-200 f4, Nikon 70-200 f4, Canon 70-200 f4, the Sony again is the most expensive despite the Nikon having more resolving power if we are to trust DXO lens rating. I personally do not trust their lens tests although I trust their sensor tests and I think their sensor test results pretty much mirror my own findings quite often.

But in case of the 70-200 mm f4 lenses, many other sites like SLRgear, lenstip tested and came to the same or identical conclusion to the DXO comparison. I also tested them at my work place with my own copy of DXO analyzer and got the same results.

If I have to pick the winner here, I would pick the Nikon for its obviously better resolution at 200 mm f4 setting. But it is more complicated than just optical quality, since the latest generation body IS of Sony is much more effective than most of in-lens VR or IS I tested.

So, while the Nikon is a bit better lens optically, I doubt that in real life handheld photography we see the better resolving power of the Nikon. The Sony 70-200 mm f4 comes with an excellent tripod collar that would cost 120 US if we buy it separately. Canon and Nikon do not include a tripod collar in their respective 70-200 mm f4 shipping package.

So maybe, is the pricing of the Sony actually reasonable?

www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Compare/Side-by-side/Sony-FE-70-20...

 

Now move on to 35 mm f1.4 lenses comparison:Sony 35 1.4, Nikon 35 1.4. Interestingly in this test the Sony did a little better in resolution to the Nikon although its 22mm longer and 30 grams heavier than the Nikon and 26mm longer and 50 grams heavier than the Canon, so not so compact for a compact system any more.

What this fact tells us about is if you ask ultimate resolution in any current FF system, regardless of your camera body size, your lens must be big and heavy, thus your system won't be small or cheap or light at all.

 

www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Compare/Side-by-side/Sony-FE-Carl-...

But in case of this 35 mm f1.4, we have to consider the extremely bad copy to copy sample variation issue of the Sony. The biggest issue of the DXO and the other typical online lens test sites is that they test only one copy supplied by the company.

But there is a great man testing literally 10-100 of copies of each lens and reporting his results most of times.

www.lensrentals.com/blog/2015/10/sony-e-mount-lens-sharpn...

 

Personally, I take Roger's opinion much more seriously than any other lens test site's so-called review. I work at a mall which also sell cameras and I have tested many returned lenses before sending them back to the respective manufactures, we found that the copy to copy variation is much more significant than many people online think, it is sometimes even more pronounced than lens A to lens B difference.

So testing one copy of each lens is not enough, definitely in the case of any super complex modern optics such as this FE 35 mm f1.4.

I know the best copies of it is a fantastic lens, but about 75 percent of times you get a bad one or just an ok kind of one. It is really really deplorable, sad.

But no one so-called review site besides Roger's report it, and I smell something very fishy here.

 

Now move on to 50 mm -55 mm value primes: the Sony 55 1.8 vs the Nikon 50 1.8 vs the

Canon 50 1.8 STM

 

The Sony beats out the Nikon and obviously the Canon because of the limited megapixels, but the interesting thing is when you compare pricing...$1000 for the Sony, $219 for the Nikon. Weight was another thing with the Sony coming in at almost 100 grams heavier than the Nikon and the Canon. In terms of Absolute resolution, the Sony is quite a bit better, though if you care about the money, then the cheap Nikon gets you about 90 percent of the expensive Sony performance at 1/ 5th of the Sony price.

 

www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Compare/Side-by-side/Sony-FE-Carl-...

 

now finally move on to 90-105 mm macro lens:

The Sony 90 mm macro is reported to be a better lens by likes of DXOmark, but according to Roger Cicala's extensive optics bench testing with many many copies of it, it is not as good as we all once thought it must be because of the DXO result for it below.

www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Compare/Side-by-side/Sony-FE-90mm-...

But it is obvious if you get a good copy of the Sony FE 90 mm f2.8 G lens, it is sharper than anything else in the market, actually it even beats the over-sized over priced not much useful awkward brand lenses like the Zess Otus 85 mm f1.4 APO or the Zeiss 135 mm f2 APO Sonnar,which I sold as soon as I found it useless in real life application ,especially for travel photography and street work. I loved it for studio work, but for that use I do not need to actually own any lens, just rent it from my boss's studio.

Anyway, my point here is if you get a decent Sony Fe 90 or 55 mm then it even beats the super-heavy ,awkward no compromise in design kind of d-SLR lens that priced about 4 times more than the Sony lenses.

The 90 macro is a cheap lens for what it is, there is no comparison to that lens in that relatively modest range of it.

 

So while I agree that Sony has made some very positive moves in recent years,it has come at a cost in pricing, f/stop and in the compactness to the system.Even then, the Sony lenses are not necessarily the best, especially when you take the fact that the Nikon/Canon Lenses often out resolved the Sony equivalents with faster f/stops for less money into serious consideration. The Canon lenses were at a deficit due to megapixels, and even with the obvious sensor resolution disadvantage, quite a few Canon lenses actually still out-resolve Sony Nikon equivalents, it was,to me,quite amazing.

So, I think if you need the ultimate best for now or the absolute best, most promising tech into foreseeable future, then the Sony system makes real sense here, but if you just need 90 percent of what the A7RM2 can do at the 1/4 of the Sony system price, then Nikon still makes better sense(value).

In my area it is even more glaringly clear, the A7RM2 body alone costs about 378000 yen, the Nikon D810 kit with the AF-S24-120 mm f4 VR costs 321000 yen,the Sony does not seem to be a great value although it may well be the absolute best camera in current camera market.

And most of people just go with the almost 95 percent as good as the absolute best kind of system that costs much less than the absolute best.

I chose the Zeiss Batis 85 over the Zeiss Otus 85 although I knew the Otus would beat the Batis in resolution(at a lab)..........but for me the much more manageable size and the weight saving, and more importantly the better overall practicality/usability of the Batis beat the absolute tripod resolution of the Otus. I think the same logic applies for choosing the right camera system.

Although, IMO, Canon still has the edge in lens line, flash,etc, and as a company most stable and profitable with a lot of key-core patents in this ILC technology, I personally never consider any of current Canon cameras seriously. The 5DS is just simply too overpriced, the 6D is just too long in the tooth, the 5D3 is about to be replaced, so no current Canon cameras make great value.

The 5DS-R costs 2 times more than the D810 and I think it is just too crazy, and that makes it absolutely the worst value camera for me. The 5DS at least a bit cheaper than the A7R2 to really justify its market position since it does not have the IBIS of the Sony, the 4k capability of the Sony, the high ISO performance of the Sony.

In the end, after comparing the prices of the lenses I need for the 3 systems carefully, I kind of realize that it is most logical to just stay with my current Sony system, just because I already have it. I guess I will hold on to my A7, A7M2, A7R for as long as I can, and see if Canon, Fuji or Samsung will answer to the a7R2.

The above logic just works for me, but I think for more budget minded people the Nikon may still hold the value king title with the D750..

The D750 is really attractive for event photography on a tight budget, and it is very very cheap now in the many many areas of the world, especially in my area.The Nikon D750 or D810 based system is at least 30 percent cheaper than the A7M2 or the A7RM2 based system with a few primes and a couple of zooms. But if you are a kind of person always wanting to shoot with a Otus or similar IQ lens and always carefully manually focus it, then Sony would suddenly become a much more logical choice for you.

The FE 55 mm f1.8 is sharper than the Otus 55 mm f1.4 at 1/4 of the Otus weight.

I do not have problem paying the Otus price for a great lens but the weight is.

The Sony FE 90 mm f2.8 G (assuming you get a decent copy) beats the both Otus and Batis in resolution and a few more areas.

I know the greater resolution alone does not make it a better lens than the Otus since Otus beats in the areas of CA, distortion and coma at wide open,etc.

But to me the better resolution of the Sony at 1/3 or the weight of Otus is very attractive.

The Batis 85 mm f1.8 is a great lens, honestly it is a bit different kind of lens than the Otus is with a bit more CA, a bit more distortion,etc, but it has the unique Zeiss look as with the other great Zeiss primes, and it is definitely sharp enough for its obvious intended use.

For landscape type of corner to corner sharpness, it may not be able to match the best primes in that focal range such as the FE90 mm f2.8 G , the Otus 85 mm f1.4 and the Leica 90 mm f3.5 APO, but still it handily beats all zooms and most of primes ever made in that specific focal range.

Many people compare the Batis 85 mm to the Nikon AF-S85 mm f1.8 G just because they both share f1.8 f numbers, but are they really comparable in quality?

Actually, in terms of sheer resolution and optical quality the cheap plastic Nikon may be comparable to the Batis. But it is weaker in a few key areas compared to the Batis.

The Nikon has much worse Lo-CA, much worse weaker flare resistance, a bit more distorted.

But the Nikon is smaller, lighter comes with 62 mm filter thread rather than the big 67 mm one on the Batis, it has a bit lower distortion and seems to have a bit lower amount of light fall off.

So it is actually closer match than we once thought it would be, and I see many many people mostly shooting all AF prefer the Nikon over the Zeiss in this case.

But unfortunately for me, the Batis is a better looking lens for my type of shooting since I am a manual focus kind of person, seldom use AF and having good MF ring is very important to me. So as my old man always said when I was a kid, it is always horses for courses, there is no one absolutely better camera system for all of us.

 

Finally as a side note, many many people guessing a lot of the technology inside the Leica SL seems to be from Panasonic.

I think Leica/Panasonic are testing the waters, with their first FF CSC with modern design more sophisticated UI than that of the Sony A7X.

I wouldn't be surprised, if less than a year from now, Panasonic makes a shot directly at Sony A7 series with a cheaper and more practical version of the Leica SL.

If Canon and Nikon don't come up with competitors in the meantime, Sony-Panasonic will be pushing this market very hard very far so that the old leaders will find themselves 7 laps behind all of a sudden. It may be easy for Canon to come up with something similar since they have all the tech needed to make something similar to the Leica SL, but is Nikon still safe, some how able to manage it to survive?

I know many Japanese Mega camera dealers that think in a matter of a several years Nikon won't be around in this market.

If they are correct, I wonder if the new Tokyo Nikon camera museum was actually built by Nikon as their own camera indoor cemetery?

 

UPDATE: At the CP + show in Yokohama, I asked a few A mount related questions to a couple of Sony guys, and I got interesting answers to my questions.

Basically, Sony said the A7RMK2 is the ' the E mount' flagship, but not the real flagship for the Alpha system. The 2 different lines of Alpha systems will be merged but not the E takes over the A kind of merging. Sony says it will be very interesting to many and technologically shocking to the public. But it is really difficult to do that right, and Sony needs to improve or waiting for a few key techs for that. This is why Sony has had to cancel out the planned announcement of the A99VMK2 or whatever called(Sony guys said at least 2 times they canceled it).

A few new techs not available at the time of the planned announcement became available right after that and Sony thought that would surely improve it further. Sony thinks we should wait to see it before making any firm decision on buying into any existing camera system because it will be Sony's first true pro-grade, grand-breaking true game changer. I hope it will be true, but how long will we have to wait? Why not just release a temporal stop gap solution camera with current best technology available? This company is really odd.

 

Update 2 : now, we have detected 5 new Nikon FF mirrorless patents here in Japan and 2 of which use Nikon's legendary but very venerable F mount, it is interesting.

But the rest 3 are all use new different mount designs with about 18 mm - 24 mm flange back distance.

The mount diameter is a bit wider than the F and the E but not as wide as the EF.

 

I tried the SL last week at a local event, I actually love it wish I could buy it there. Now I will have to wait a long year to get it or I may just get the Leica Q?

  

UPDATE 3: The biggest problem with buying too many FE A7 glass is that we can never re-use it if or when we ditch our Sony FE mount bodies. Buying Nikon or Canon lenses are safer because, even if, we ditch their camera bodies, we will always able to re-use their lenses on our Sony or m43 or Fuji or Samsung.

Also, there are no third party native mount lenses for the FE system besides the overpriced Batis and Loxia line Zeiss.

It is a huge issue for some one actually needs a good set of really PRACTICAL f1.8 or f2 compact primes or f2.8 zooms at reasonable prices..With Canon and Nikon we have the luxury to choose some reasonably priced third party lenses such as the Tamron 35 mm f1.8 VC, the 45 mm f1.8 VC, the 24-70 mm f2.8 VC, the 15-35 mm f2.8 , the 90 mm f2.8 VC macro and the 70-200 mm f2.8 VC. But in the Sony FE mount there is no such a choice, just overpriced, overly pompous so-called Zeiss inanely named Batis that actually made by Tamron and selling for 3 times more than the usual Tamron prices.

 

Now, I think it is really wise to hold off all new Sony Zeiss lens purchase plans, at least until we are sure about Sony is actually winning the FF war over Canon and Nikon.

But hey, we've got be honest Sony is not winning anything over anyone, their market share has been the same 11 .2 percent since 2009.

That is clearly shown in the recent Flickr report of their users' preferred devices. Mirrorless cameras seem to account for just 3 percent and DSLR cameras seem to account for 33 percent of Flickr uploads in 2015 and 2016 Q1.

 

This was shocking to me. I wonder if Mirrorless ,especially the Sony A7 line is as successful in this business as many many forum fanatics say it is, then why is mirrorless so unpopular at Flickr?

Maybe the current form of tiny mirrorless cameras are really doomed? Maybe most of people actually do not care about the tiny form factor of the current poorly designed mirrorless systems from minor camera brands, but just sheer functionality?

 

I ,for one, much prefer a 6D or a D750 sized mirrorless with EF or F mount to anything Sony is now offering with the relatively poor Sony FE lens line, especially for a zoom lover.

 

I am sure I was one of the earliest mirrorless adapters with more than 23 mirrorless cameras(mostly Sony and Panasonic cameras), but now I really doubt any of the current form of mirrorless system actually replacing the EF and the F systems.

I honestly think Sony, Olympus , Panasonic Fuji,etc are actually barking up the wrong tree with the"mirrorless must be tiny" kind of silly design concept, and IMO, they will all fail in this business. A few days ago I was trying out the Fuji XT10 for casual walk and I was really strongly re-convinced that it would not be for me, it is just simply too awkward to hold and the ergonomics and UI are horrible.

The XT10 was not just much smaller than my D750 but much much smaller than my A7M2 and A7R2 ,which I have considered the best mirrorless body design in terms of ergonomics. Every time I think about the Fuji option and try it out for a short walk for a day, I end up hating it more.

 

Now,I actually suspect emerging trend of the Samsung Nikon rumor thing is something to do with Sony. Like our detectors used to say, we should think who will get that money coming from this move behind the thick curtain ? Asians are all about keeping their faces, so it is impossible Nikon or Samsung intentionally leaks it out to silly rumor sites like mirrorlessrumors. I think I respect Photorumors and Nikon rumors, but not the mirrorlessrumors or SAR.Their hit rate is very low and thus almost no credibility.

The guy made so many silly mistakes, in fact, he almost never got it right.

  

UPDATE4: Looks like Sony has actually done something right this year.

Sony was the only one of those 3 camera companies to break even this time, and was actually profitable for the year in Imaging, though it’s difficult to say how much of that is contributed by pro video gear. The Imaging Products group at Sony posted slightly lower sales (-1.7%) but a very healthy profit (up 30.4b yen and hitting about 10% of sales).

In terms of unit volume, digital cameras at Sony dropped from 8.5m units to 6.1m units year-to-year. That’s mostly compact camera sales that dried up. Sony won’t say exactly how that shift is working other than to say “improvement in the product mix of digital cameras.” In other words, they suggest that by getting rid of compact camera volume and focusing all its effort on high priced ILC units they are getting a better profit margin.

The other two camera companies still making some money out of their camera business are Fuji and Canon. We do not know Canon's result in detail yet.

I think it is fair to say Fujifilm has a hobby camera business as their Digital cameras are about 2.5% of the company’s overall revenue stream. That they give us any insight into how that business is working is actually a bit surprising. Sales for digital cameras were down 8.2% year-to-year, yet it is still quite profitable.Fujifilm Japan says the imaging business earned 9 percent more profit to them and it was the best of the last 9 years.

To me, the most surprising finding is that Casio's camera division is still profitable and they sell only compact cameras.

But how do they make any serious money out of that compact camera sells is a big mystery to me.

      

Super brief history of Asahikawa history or I have to say modern Asahikawa history..

 

Asahikawa was populated by mainland Japanese in the Meiji period (1868 – July 1912) as a tondenhei, or state-sponsored farmer-militia settlement.

 

Kamikawa District set up under Ishikari Province with the villages of Asahikawa, Nagayama and Kamui in 1890.

1900 Asahikawa Village becomes Asahikawa Town

1914 Asahikawa Town becomes Asahikawa-ku

 

Asahikawa was elevated to city status in 1922, some believed it was in 1924, though.

 

Asahikawa thrived as a military city before World War II, when the IJA 7th Division was posted there. Today, the 2nd Division of the Northern Army of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force is headquartered in Asahikawa.

1955 Kamui Village and Etanbetsu Village merge with Asahikawa

1961 Nagayama Town merged

1963 Higashi-Asahikawa Town merged

1967 Asahiyama Zoo opened

1968 Kagura Town merged, which is my favorite part of Asahikawa city.

1971 Higashi-Takasu Town merged

1972 Japan's first permanent pedestrian mall Heiwadori Shopping Park opened, it is now called"Kaimono dori", meaning shopping street.

April 1, 2000 Asahikawa becomes a Core city of Hokkaido, and it is the second largest city in Hokkaido only next to Sapporo.

 

On August 1, 1922, Asahikawa was founded as Asahikawa City. As the central city in northern Hokkaido, Asahikawa has been influential in industry and commerce. There are about 130 rivers and streams including the Ishikari River and Chubetsu River, and over 740 bridges in the city*this is why I call Asahikawa as a city of bridges).

Asahibashi, a bridge over Ishikari River, has been one of the symbols of Asahikawa since its completion in 1932, and it was also registered as one of the Hokkaido Heritage sites on October 22, 2001.

 

Heiwa Street in Asahikawa

Every winter, the Asahikawa Winter Festival is held on the bank of the Ishikari River, making use of Asahikawa's cold climate and snow. On January 25, 1902, a weather station recorded −41 °C (−41.8 °F), the lowest temperature in Japanese history(although I think the real coldest place in Japan is probably Nakashibetsu or Rikubetsu in North East). Due to its climate and location surrounded by mountains, there are some ski resorts in the outskirts of the city

 

Asahidake Ski resort is one of the best ski resorts in Japan if not the best.

  

Now amazing Capture One 9 pro is out, and for Sony users the express version is free.

The Capture One 8.3 before it was simply outstanding RAWC, much better than anything from Adobe or Raw Therapy.

 

Unfortunately, the free version of C1 does not handle Canon, Nikon or Olympus RAW, only Sony or DNG(Pentax and Leica).

 

So I guess It is another big reason for many of us to choose Sony over anything else. If you use Sony, you can get a full copy of Capture One 9 pro for just 50 USD.

AS far as I am concerned, this is an incredible deal, great Christmas gift for us from Phase One.

 

I think both Capture One 9 and DXO 10 produce a bit better IQ than LR CC or ACR9X for Sony or Nikon.

 

I suspect that Adobe programs are optimized for Canon.

 

Seriously C1 pro for just 50 US is an amazing deal. nothing can beat it for that price.

Capture One 9 is a much better more serious program than the LR junkware, and the biggest deal here is not need to deal with the Adobe subscription stuff. Many many Adobe users used the license and repaid it to re-activate it, it is really terrible. I had one time could not use it when I was editing my images on site in a mountain area and they say my account is just trial although I paid it for full CC version.

So after coming back from the mountain, I decided to cancel all Adobe CC crap, and I just got Capture One express 8.32 for Sony free,then later in the same month (last April)I ungraded it to the pro version. I could not be happier.

Now, also DXO is offering me a copy FULL copy of DXO 10 Elite version for just 99 USD. I will get that too.

Honestly, there are still times we need Photoshop but I do have full copy of CS6, so I do not need CC anymore, and I've found life without Adobe CC crap is really much more relaxing and easier.

 

As soon as some one offer something actually does what my CS6 does ,I will just go full time Capture One or DXO.

Thank you Phase One and DXO and goodbye Adobe.

  

After briefly stopping at Biei Shin-Ei hill, I had a plan to go to sunset park in Furano, but it was already too dark when I got back to JR station.

So I just took a train back to Asahikawa city area and ate a noodle dish near the station.

 

After that, I just walked back to my hotel.....and took a short shower and took a nap.

 

At 10 PM, I went out of my hotel with a tripod and shot a series of night view of the JR station.

In the end of my shooting session there my second A7R died on me and I had to send it to Sony Kawasaki via Japan Post delivery service since there was no repair service for my Sony in Hokkaido.

Next day, I went back to Biei,which is probably the coldest "village" in Japan and visited Tokachi-dake Onsen(hot spring complex) and Biei blue pond.

In Biei my second and third A7 cameras died on me.

 

So by the end of this Hokkaido trip, I got 5 died A7X bodies and I had to sent them in for service via Japan Post delivery service and that costed me a lot of money.

  

So in the long run, may Sony E mount be the most expensive system out side of the Leica SL and MFDBs arena?

 

Well it seems like that.

 

As far as lenses are concerned, I can only compare the lenses that have been tested scientifically. Now please keep in mind that these tests were done with the A7R not version 2, but when Nikon introduces their higher resolution camera this will increase the final numbers for Nikon system as well, and Canon already have even higher resolution camera than both Nikon and Sony, but oddly enough DXO and most of others refuse to use the high resolution Canon body for testing their new gen lenses.

Sony 35 2.8, Nikon 35 1.8, Canon 35 2.0 tested with A7R, D810, 5DIII, oddly DXO refuses to test Canon lenses on the 5DS.

Anyway though,the Sony Costs $800, Nikon Costs $600, despite the Sony having less resolving power and a full stop slower than the Nikon. So we see how expensive Sony system actually is already here at the very first comparison below.

www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Compare/Side-by-side/Nikon-AF-S-NI...

To be fair to Sony, there is also the Loxia 35 mm f2,which I recently sold off for some new macro lens for my Olympus. The Loxia 35 is a fairly good lens but not an amazing lens, not exceptionally sharp, not extremely well corrected either. It has a bit of serious coma issue at f2 and on, though it is still a better lens than the Sony 35 mm f2.8 in the areas of center resolution and longitudinal CA and Vignetting. But the Loxia is worse than the Sony 35 mm f2.8 in some significant areas such as coma, edge/corner sharpness and focus accuracy at infinity.

So in Sony 35 mm Full frame world , there is no value 35 mm prime at all.

Now move on to value 28 mm primes: Sony 28 2.0, Nikon 28 1.8, Canon 28 2.8, they are close enough to say the difference is irrelevant in real life use.

www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Compare/Side-by-side/Sony-FE-28mm-...

 

So move on to 70-200 mm f4: Of Sony 70-200 f4, Nikon 70-200 f4, Canon 70-200 f4, the Sony again is the most expensive despite the Nikon having more resolving power if we are to trust DXO lens rating. I personally do not trust their lens tests although I trust their sensor tests and I think their sensor test results pretty much mirror my own findings quite often.

But in case of the 70-200 mm f4 lenses, many other sites like SLRgear, lenstip tested and came to the same or identical conclusion to the DXO comparison. I also tested them at my work place with my own copy of DXO analyzer and got the same results.

If I have to pick the winner here, I would pick the Nikon for its obviously better resolution at 200 mm f4 setting. But it is more complicated than just optical quality, since the latest generation body IS of Sony is much more effective than most of in-lens VR or IS I tested.

So, while the Nikon is a bit better lens optically, I doubt that in real life handheld photography we see the better resolving power of the Nikon. The Sony 70-200 mm f4 comes with an excellent tripod collar that would cost 120 US if we buy it separately. Canon and Nikon do not include a tripod collar in their respective 70-200 mm f4 shipping package.

So maybe, is the pricing of the Sony actually reasonable?

www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Compare/Side-by-side/Sony-FE-70-20...

 

Now move on to 35 mm f1.4 lenses comparison:Sony 35 1.4, Nikon 35 1.4. Interestingly in this test the Sony did a little better in resolution to the Nikon although its 22mm longer and 30 grams heavier than the Nikon and 26mm longer and 50 grams heavier than the Canon, so not so compact for a compact system any more.

What this fact tells us about is if you ask ultimate resolution in any current FF system, regardless of your camera body size, your lens must be big and heavy, thus your system won't be small or cheap or light at all.

 

www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Compare/Side-by-side/Sony-FE-Carl-...

But in case of this 35 mm f1.4, we have to consider the extremely bad copy to copy sample variation issue of the Sony. The biggest issue of the DXO and the other typical online lens test sites is that they test only one copy supplied by the company.

But there is a great man testing literally 10-100 of copies of each lens and reporting his results most of times.

www.lensrentals.com/blog/2015/10/sony-e-mount-lens-sharpn...

 

Personally, I take Roger's opinion much more seriously than any other lens test site's so-called review. I work at a mall which also sell cameras and I have tested many returned lenses before sending them back to the respective manufactures, we found that the copy to copy variation is much more significant than many people online think, it is sometimes even more pronounced than lens A to lens B difference.

So testing one copy of each lens is not enough, definitely in the case of any super complex modern optics such as this FE 35 mm f1.4.

I know the best copies of it is a fantastic lens, but about 75 percent of times you get a bad one or just an ok kind of one. It is really really deplorable, sad.

But no one so-called review site besides Roger's report it, and I smell something very fishy here.

 

Now move on to 50 mm -55 mm value primes: the Sony 55 1.8 vs the Nikon 50 1.8 vs the

Canon 50 1.8 STM

 

The Sony beats out the Nikon and obviously the Canon because of the limited megapixels, but the interesting thing is when you compare pricing...$1000 for the Sony, $219 for the Nikon. Weight was another thing with the Sony coming in at almost 100 grams heavier than the Nikon and the Canon. In terms of Absolute resolution, the Sony is quite a bit better, though if you care about the money, then the cheap Nikon gets you about 90 percent of the expensive Sony performance at 1/ 5th of the Sony price.

 

www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Compare/Side-by-side/Sony-FE-Carl-...

 

now finally move on to 90-105 mm macro lens:

The Sony 90 mm macro is reported to be a better lens by likes of DXOmark, but according to Roger Cicala's extensive optics bench testing with many many copies of it, it is not as good as we all once thought it must be because of the DXO result for it below.

www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Compare/Side-by-side/Sony-FE-90mm-...

But it is obvious if you get a good copy of the Sony FE 90 mm f2.8 G lens, it is sharper than anything else in the market, actually it even beats the over-sized over priced not much useful awkward brand lenses like the Zess Otus 85 mm f1.4 APO or the Zeiss 135 mm f2 APO Sonnar,which I sold as soon as I found it useless in real life application ,especially for travel photography and street work. I loved it for studio work, but for that use I do not need to actually own any lens, just rent it from my boss's studio.

Anyway, my point here is if you get a decent Sony Fe 90 or 55 mm then it even beats the super-heavy ,awkward no compromise in design kind of d-SLR lens that priced about 4 times more than the Sony lenses.

The 90 macro is a cheap lens for what it is, there is no comparison to that lens in that relatively modest range of it.

 

So while I agree that Sony has made some very positive moves in recent years,it has come at a cost in pricing, f/stop and in the compactness to the system.Even then, the Sony lenses are not necessarily the best, especially when you take the fact that the Nikon/Canon Lenses often out resolved the Sony equivalents with faster f/stops for less money into serious consideration. The Canon lenses were at a deficit due to megapixels, and even with the obvious sensor resolution disadvantage, quite a few Canon lenses actually still out-resolve Sony Nikon equivalents, it was,to me,quite amazing.

So, I think if you need the ultimate best for now or the absolute best, most promising tech into foreseeable future, then the Sony system makes real sense here, but if you just need 90 percent of what the A7RM2 can do at the 1/4 of the Sony system price, then Nikon still makes better sense(value).

In my area it is even more glaringly clear, the A7RM2 body alone costs about 378000 yen, the Nikon D810 kit with the AF-S24-120 mm f4 VR costs 321000 yen,the Sony does not seem to be a great value although it may well be the absolute best camera in current camera market.

And most of people just go with the almost 95 percent as good as the absolute best kind of system that costs much less than the absolute best.

I chose the Zeiss Batis 85 over the Zeiss Otus 85 although I knew the Otus would beat the Batis in resolution(at a lab)..........but for me the much more manageable size and the weight saving, and more importantly the better overall practicality/usability of the Batis beat the absolute tripod resolution of the Otus. I think the same logic applies for choosing the right camera system.

Although, IMO, Canon still has the edge in lens line, flash,etc, and as a company most stable and profitable with a lot of key-core patents in this ILC technology, I personally never consider any of current Canon cameras seriously. The 5DS is just simply too overpriced, the 6D is just too long in the tooth, the 5D3 is about to be replaced, so no current Canon cameras make great value.

The 5DS-R costs 2 times more than the D810 and I think it is just too crazy, and that makes it absolutely the worst value camera for me. The 5DS at least a bit cheaper than the A7R2 to really justify its market position since it does not have the IBIS of the Sony, the 4k capability of the Sony, the high ISO performance of the Sony.

In the end, after comparing the prices of the lenses I need for the 3 systems carefully, I kind of realize that it is most logical to just stay with my current Sony system, just because I already have it. I guess I will hold on to my A7, A7M2, A7R for as long as I can, and see if Canon, Fuji or Samsung will answer to the a7R2.

The above logic just works for me, but I think for more budget minded people the Nikon may still hold the value king title with the D750..

The D750 is really attractive for event photography on a tight budget, and it is very very cheap now in the many many areas of the world, especially in my area.The Nikon D750 or D810 based system is at least 30 percent cheaper than the A7M2 or the A7RM2 based system with a few primes and a couple of zooms. But if you are a kind of person always wanting to shoot with a Otus or similar IQ lens and always carefully manually focus it, then Sony would suddenly become a much more logical choice for you.

The FE 55 mm f1.8 is sharper than the Otus 55 mm f1.4 at 1/4 of the Otus weight.

I do not have problem paying the Otus price for a great lens but the weight is.

The Sony FE 90 mm f2.8 G (assuming you get a decent copy) beats the both Otus and Batis in resolution and a few more areas.

I know the greater resolution alone does not make it a better lens than the Otus since Otus beats in the areas of CA, distortion and coma at wide open,etc.

But to me the better resolution of the Sony at 1/3 or the weight of Otus is very attractive.

The Batis 85 mm f1.8 is a great lens, honestly it is a bit different kind of lens than the Otus is with a bit more CA, a bit more distortion,etc, but it has the unique Zeiss look as with the other great Zeiss primes, and it is definitely sharp enough for its obvious intended use.

For landscape type of corner to corner sharpness, it may not be able to match the best primes in that focal range such as the FE90 mm f2.8 G , the Otus 85 mm f1.4 and the Leica 90 mm f3.5 APO, but still it handily beats all zooms and most of primes ever made in that specific focal range.

Many people compare the Batis 85 mm to the Nikon AF-S85 mm f1.8 G just because they both share f1.8 f numbers, but are they really comparable in quality?

Actually, in terms of sheer resolution and optical quality the cheap plastic Nikon may be comparable to the Batis. But it is weaker in a few key areas compared to the Batis.

The Nikon has much worse Lo-CA, much worse weaker flare resistance, a bit more distorted.

But the Nikon is smaller, lighter comes with 62 mm filter thread rather than the big 67 mm one on the Batis, it has a bit lower distortion and seems to have a bit lower amount of light fall off.

So it is actually closer match than we once thought it would be, and I see many many people mostly shooting all AF prefer the Nikon over the Zeiss in this case.

But unfortunately for me, the Batis is a better looking lens for my type of shooting since I am a manual focus kind of person, seldom use AF and having good MF ring is very important to me. So as my old man always said when I was a kid, it is always horses for courses, there is no one absolutely better camera system for all of us.

 

Finally as a side note, many many people guessing a lot of the technology inside the Leica SL seems to be from Panasonic.

I think Leica/Panasonic are testing the waters, with their first FF CSC with modern design more sophisticated UI than that of the Sony A7X.

I wouldn't be surprised, if less than a year from now, Panasonic makes a shot directly at Sony A7 series with a cheaper and more practical version of the Leica SL.

If Canon and Nikon don't come up with competitors in the meantime, Sony-Panasonic will be pushing this market very hard very far so that the old leaders will find themselves 7 laps behind all of a sudden. It may be easy for Canon to come up with something similar since they have all the tech needed to make something similar to the Leica SL, but is Nikon still safe, some how able to manage it to survive?

I know many Japanese Mega camera dealers that think in a matter of a several years Nikon won't be around in this market.

If they are correct, I wonder if the new Tokyo Nikon camera museum was actually built by Nikon as their own camera indoor cemetery?

 

Update : now, we have detected 5 new Nikon FF mirrorless patents here in Japan and 2 of which use Nikon's legendary but very venerable F mount, it is interesting.

But the rest 3 are all use new different mount designs with about 18 mm - 24 mm flange back distance.

The mount diameter is a bit wider than the F and the E but not as wide as the EF.

    

Super brief history of Asahikawa history or I have to say modern Asahikawa history..

 

Asahikawa was populated by mainland Japanese in the Meiji period (1868 – July 1912) as a tondenhei, or state-sponsored farmer-militia settlement.

 

Kamikawa District set up under Ishikari Province with the villages of Asahikawa, Nagayama and Kamui in 1890.

1900 Asahikawa Village becomes Asahikawa Town

1914 Asahikawa Town becomes Asahikawa-ku

 

Asahikawa was elevated to city status in 1922, some believed it was in 1924, though.

 

Asahikawa thrived as a military city before World War II, when the IJA 7th Division was posted there. Today, the 2nd Division of the Northern Army of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force is headquartered in Asahikawa.

1955 Kamui Village and Etanbetsu Village merge with Asahikawa

1961 Nagayama Town merged

1963 Higashi-Asahikawa Town merged

1967 Asahiyama Zoo opened

1968 Kagura Town merged, which is my favorite part of Asahikawa city.

1971 Higashi-Takasu Town merged

1972 Japan's first permanent pedestrian mall Heiwadori Shopping Park opened, it is now called"Kaimono dori", meaning shopping street.

April 1, 2000 Asahikawa becomes a Core city of Hokkaido, and it is the second largest city in Hokkaido only next to Sapporo.

 

On August 1, 1922, Asahikawa was founded as Asahikawa City. As the central city in northern Hokkaido, Asahikawa has been influential in industry and commerce. There are about 130 rivers and streams including the Ishikari River and Chubetsu River, and over 740 bridges in the city*this is why I call Asahikawa as a city of bridges).

Asahibashi, a bridge over Ishikari River, has been one of the symbols of Asahikawa since its completion in 1932, and it was also registered as one of the Hokkaido Heritage sites on October 22, 2001.

 

Heiwa Street in Asahikawa

Every winter, the Asahikawa Winter Festival is held on the bank of the Ishikari River, making use of Asahikawa's cold climate and snow. On January 25, 1902, a weather station recorded −41 °C (−41.8 °F), the lowest temperature in Japanese history(although I think the real coldest place in Japan is probably Nakashibetsu or Rikubetsu in North East). Due to its climate and location surrounded by mountains, there are some ski resorts in the outskirts of the city

 

Asahidake Ski resort is one of the best ski resorts in Japan if not the best.

  

Now amazing Capture One 9 pro is out, and for Sony users the express version is free.

The Capture One 8.3 before it was simply outstanding RAWC, much better than anything from Adobe or Raw Therapy.

 

Unfortunately, the free version of C1 does not handle Canon, Nikon or Olympus RAW, only Sony or DNG(Pentax and Leica).

 

So I guess It is another big reason for many of us to choose Sony over anything else. If you use Sony, you can get a full copy of Capture One 9 pro for just 50 USD.

AS far as I am concerned, this is an incredible deal, great Christmas gift for us from Phase One.

 

I think both Capture One 9 and DXO 10 produce a bit better IQ than LR CC or ACR9X for Sony or Nikon.

 

I suspect that Adobe programs are optimized for Canon.

 

Seriously C1 pro for just 50 US is an amazing deal. nothing can beat it for that price.

Capture One 9 is a much better more serious program than the LR junkware, and the biggest deal here is not need to deal with the Adobe subscription stuff. Many many Adobe users used the license and repaid it to re-activate it, it is really terrible. I had one time could not use it when I was editing my images on site in a mountain area and they say my account is just trial although I paid it for full CC version.

So after coming back from the mountain, I decided to cancel all Adobe CC crap, and I just got Capture One express 8.32 for Sony free,then later in the same month (last April)I ungraded it to the pro version. I could not be happier.

Now, also DXO is offering me a copy FULL copy of DXO 10 Elite version for just 99 USD. I will get that too.

Honestly, there are still times we need Photoshop but I do have full copy of CS6, so I do not need CC anymore, and I've found life without Adobe CC crap is really much more relaxing and easier.

 

As soon as some one offer something actually does what my CS6 does ,I will just go full time Capture One or DXO.

Thank you Phase One and DXO and goodbye Adobe.

  

After briefly stopping at Biei Shin-Ei hill, I had a plan to go to sunset park in Furano, but it was already too dark when I got back to JR station.

So I just took a train back to Asahikawa city area and ate a noodle dish near the station.

 

After that, I just walked back to my hotel.....and took a short shower and took a nap.

 

At 10 PM, I went out of my hotel with a tripod and shot a series of night view of the JR station.

In the end of my shooting session there my second A7R died on me and I had to send it to Sony Kawasaki via Japan Post delivery service since there was no repair service for my Sony in Hokkaido.

Next day, I went back to Biei,which is probably the coldest "village" in Japan and visited Tokachi-dake Onsen(hot spring complex) and Biei blue pond.

In Biei my second and third A7 cameras died on me.

 

So by the end of this Hokkaido trip, I got 5 died A7X bodies and I had to sent them in for service via Japan Post delivery service and that costed me a lot of money.

  

So in the long run, may Sony E mount be the most expensive system out side of the Leica SL and MFDBs arena?

 

Well it seems like that.

 

As far as lenses are concerned, I can only compare the lenses that have been tested scientifically. Now please keep in mind that these tests were done with the A7R not version 2, but when Nikon introduces their higher resolution camera this will increase the final numbers for Nikon system as well, and Canon already have even higher resolution camera than both Nikon and Sony, but oddly enough DXO and most of others refuse to use the high resolution Canon body for testing their new gen lenses.

Sony 35 2.8, Nikon 35 1.8, Canon 35 2.0 tested with A7R, D810, 5DIII, oddly DXO refuses to test Canon lenses on the 5DS.

Anyway though,the Sony Costs $800, Nikon Costs $600, despite the Sony having less resolving power and a full stop slower than the Nikon. So we see how expensive Sony system actually is already here at the very first comparison below.

www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Compare/Side-by-side/Nikon-AF-S-NI...

To be fair to Sony, there is also the Loxia 35 mm f2,which I recently sold off for some new macro lens for my Olympus. The Loxia 35 is a fairly good lens but not an amazing lens, not exceptionally sharp, not extremely well corrected either. It has a bit of serious coma issue at f2 and on, though it is still a better lens than the Sony 35 mm f2.8 in the areas of center resolution and longitudinal CA and Vignetting. But the Loxia is worse than the Sony 35 mm f2.8 in some significant areas such as coma, edge/corner sharpness and focus accuracy at infinity.

So in Sony 35 mm Full frame world , there is no value 35 mm prime at all.

Now move on to value 28 mm primes: Sony 28 2.0, Nikon 28 1.8, Canon 28 2.8, they are close enough to say the difference is irrelevant in real life use.

www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Compare/Side-by-side/Sony-FE-28mm-...

 

So move on to 70-200 mm f4: Of Sony 70-200 f4, Nikon 70-200 f4, Canon 70-200 f4, the Sony again is the most expensive despite the Nikon having more resolving power if we are to trust DXO lens rating. I personally do not trust their lens tests although I trust their sensor tests and I think their sensor test results pretty much mirror my own findings quite often.

But in case of the 70-200 mm f4 lenses, many other sites like SLRgear, lenstip tested and came to the same or identical conclusion to the DXO comparison. I also tested them at my work place with my own copy of DXO analyzer and got the same results.

If I have to pick the winner here, I would pick the Nikon for its obviously better resolution at 200 mm f4 setting. But it is more complicated than just optical quality, since the latest generation body IS of Sony is much more effective than most of in-lens VR or IS I tested.

So, while the Nikon is a bit better lens optically, I doubt that in real life handheld photography we see the better resolving power of the Nikon. The Sony 70-200 mm f4 comes with an excellent tripod collar that would cost 120 US if we buy it separately. Canon and Nikon do not include a tripod collar in their respective 70-200 mm f4 shipping package.

So maybe, is the pricing of the Sony actually reasonable?

www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Compare/Side-by-side/Sony-FE-70-20...

 

Now move on to 35 mm f1.4 lenses comparison:Sony 35 1.4, Nikon 35 1.4. Interestingly in this test the Sony did a little better in resolution to the Nikon although its 22mm longer and 30 grams heavier than the Nikon and 26mm longer and 50 grams heavier than the Canon, so not so compact for a compact system any more.

What this fact tells us about is if you ask ultimate resolution in any current FF system, regardless of your camera body size, your lens must be big and heavy, thus your system won't be small or cheap or light at all.

 

www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Compare/Side-by-side/Sony-FE-Carl-...

But in case of this 35 mm f1.4, we have to consider the extremely bad copy to copy sample variation issue of the Sony. The biggest issue of the DXO and the other typical online lens test sites is that they test only one copy supplied by the company.

But there is a great man testing literally 10-100 of copies of each lens and reporting his results most of times.

www.lensrentals.com/blog/2015/10/sony-e-mount-lens-sharpn...

 

Personally, I take Roger's opinion much more seriously than any other lens test site's so-called review. I work at a mall which also sell cameras and I have tested many returned lenses before sending them back to the respective manufactures, we found that the copy to copy variation is much more significant than many people online think, it is sometimes even more pronounced than lens A to lens B difference.

So testing one copy of each lens is not enough, definitely in the case of any super complex modern optics such as this FE 35 mm f1.4.

I know the best copies of it is a fantastic lens, but about 75 percent of times you get a bad one or just an ok kind of one. It is really really deplorable, sad.

But no one so-called review site besides Roger's report it, and I smell something very fishy here.

 

Now move on to 50 mm -55 mm value primes: the Sony 55 1.8 vs the Nikon 50 1.8 vs the

Canon 50 1.8 STM

 

The Sony beats out the Nikon and obviously the Canon because of the limited megapixels, but the interesting thing is when you compare pricing...$1000 for the Sony, $219 for the Nikon. Weight was another thing with the Sony coming in at almost 100 grams heavier than the Nikon and the Canon. In terms of Absolute resolution, the Sony is quite a bit better, though if you care about the money, then the cheap Nikon gets you about 90 percent of the expensive Sony performance at 1/ 5th of the Sony price.

 

www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Compare/Side-by-side/Sony-FE-Carl-...

 

now finally move on to 90-105 mm macro lens:

The Sony 90 mm macro is reported to be a better lens by likes of DXOmark, but according to Roger Cicala's extensive optics bench testing with many many copies of it, it is not as good as we all once thought it must be because of the DXO result for it below.

www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Compare/Side-by-side/Sony-FE-90mm-...

But it is obvious if you get a good copy of the Sony FE 90 mm f2.8 G lens, it is sharper than anything else in the market, actually it even beats the over-sized over priced not much useful awkward brand lenses like the Zess Otus 85 mm f1.4 APO or the Zeiss 135 mm f2 APO Sonnar,which I sold as soon as I found it useless in real life application ,especially for travel photography and street work. I loved it for studio work, but for that use I do not need to actually own any lens, just rent it from my boss's studio.

Anyway, my point here is if you get a decent Sony Fe 90 or 55 mm then it even beats the super-heavy ,awkward no compromise in design kind of d-SLR lens that priced about 4 times more than the Sony lenses.

The 90 macro is a cheap lens for what it is, there is no comparison to that lens in that relatively modest range of it.

 

So while I agree that Sony has made some very positive moves in recent years,it has come at a cost in pricing, f/stop and in the compactness to the system.Even then, the Sony lenses are not necessarily the best, especially when you take the fact that the Nikon/Canon Lenses often out resolved the Sony equivalents with faster f/stops for less money into serious consideration. The Canon lenses were at a deficit due to megapixels, and even with the obvious sensor resolution disadvantage, quite a few Canon lenses actually still out-resolve Sony Nikon equivalents, it was,to me,quite amazing.

So, I think if you need the ultimate best for now or the absolute best, most promising tech into foreseeable future, then the Sony system makes real sense here, but if you just need 90 percent of what the A7RM2 can do at the 1/4 of the Sony system price, then Nikon still makes better sense(value).

In my area it is even more glaringly clear, the A7RM2 body alone costs about 378000 yen, the Nikon D810 kit with the AF-S24-120 mm f4 VR costs 321000 yen,the Sony does not seem to be a great value although it may well be the absolute best camera in current camera market.

And most of people just go with the almost 95 percent as good as the absolute best kind of system that costs much less than the absolute best.

I chose the Zeiss Batis 85 over the Zeiss Otus 85 although I knew the Otus would beat the Batis in resolution(at a lab)..........but for me the much more manageable size and the weight saving, and more importantly the better overall practicality/usability of the Batis beat the absolute tripod resolution of the Otus. I think the same logic applies for choosing the right camera system.

Although, IMO, Canon still has the edge in lens line, flash,etc, and as a company most stable and profitable with a lot of key-core patents in this ILC technology, I personally never consider any of current Canon cameras seriously. The 5DS is just simply too overpriced, the 6D is just too long in the tooth, the 5D3 is about to be replaced, so no current Canon cameras make great value.

The 5DS-R costs 2 times more than the D810 and I think it is just too crazy, and that makes it absolutely the worst value camera for me. The 5DS at least a bit cheaper than the A7R2 to really justify its market position since it does not have the IBIS of the Sony, the 4k capability of the Sony, the high ISO performance of the Sony.

In the end, after comparing the prices of the lenses I need for the 3 systems carefully, I kind of realize that it is most logical to just stay with my current Sony system, just because I already have it. I guess I will hold on to my A7, A7M2, A7R for as long as I can, and see if Canon, Fuji or Samsung will answer to the a7R2.

The above logic just works for me, but I think for more budget minded people the Nikon may still hold the value king title with the D750..

The D750 is really attractive for event photography on a tight budget, and it is very very cheap now in the many many areas of the world, especially in my area.The Nikon D750 or D810 based system is at least 30 percent cheaper than the A7M2 or the A7RM2 based system with a few primes and a couple of zooms. But if you are a kind of person always wanting to shoot with a Otus or similar IQ lens and always carefully manually focus it, then Sony would suddenly become a much more logical choice for you.

The FE 55 mm f1.8 is sharper than the Otus 55 mm f1.4 at 1/4 of the Otus weight.

I do not have problem paying the Otus price for a great lens but the weight is.

The Sony FE 90 mm f2.8 G (assuming you get a decent copy) beats the both Otus and Batis in resolution and a few more areas.

I know the greater resolution alone does not make it a better lens than the Otus since Otus beats in the areas of CA, distortion and coma at wide open,etc.

But to me the better resolution of the Sony at 1/3 or the weight of Otus is very attractive.

The Batis 85 mm f1.8 is a great lens, honestly it is a bit different kind of lens than the Otus is with a bit more CA, a bit more distortion,etc, but it has the unique Zeiss look as with the other great Zeiss primes, and it is definitely sharp enough for its obvious intended use.

For landscape type of corner to corner sharpness, it may not be able to match the best primes in that focal range such as the FE90 mm f2.8 G , the Otus 85 mm f1.4 and the Leica 90 mm f3.5 APO, but still it handily beats all zooms and most of primes ever made in that specific focal range.

Many people compare the Batis 85 mm to the Nikon AF-S85 mm f1.8 G just because they both share f1.8 f numbers, but are they really comparable in quality?

Actually, in terms of sheer resolution and optical quality the cheap plastic Nikon may be comparable to the Batis. But it is weaker in a few key areas compared to the Batis.

The Nikon has much worse Lo-CA, much worse weaker flare resistance, a bit more distorted.

But the Nikon is smaller, lighter comes with 62 mm filter thread rather than the big 67 mm one on the Batis, it has a bit lower distortion and seems to have a bit lower amount of light fall off.

So it is actually closer match than we once thought it would be, and I see many many people mostly shooting all AF prefer the Nikon over the Zeiss in this case.

But unfortunately for me, the Batis is a better looking lens for my type of shooting since I am a manual focus kind of person, seldom use AF and having good MF ring is very important to me. So as my old man always said when I was a kid, it is always horses for courses, there is no one absolutely better camera system for all of us.

 

Finally as a side note, many many people guessing a lot of the technology inside the Leica SL seems to be from Panasonic.

I think Leica/Panasonic are testing the waters, with their first FF CSC with modern design more sophisticated UI than that of the Sony A7X.

I wouldn't be surprised, if less than a year from now, Panasonic makes a shot directly at Sony A7 series with a cheaper and more practical version of the Leica SL.

If Canon and Nikon don't come up with competitors in the meantime, Sony-Panasonic will be pushing this market very hard very far so that the old leaders will find themselves 7 laps behind all of a sudden. It may be easy for Canon to come up with something similar since they have all the tech needed to make something similar to the Leica SL, but is Nikon still safe, some how able to manage it to survive?

I know many Japanese Mega camera dealers that think in a matter of a several years Nikon won't be around in this market.

If they are correct, I wonder if the new Tokyo Nikon camera museum was actually built by Nikon as their own camera indoor cemetery?

 

Update : now, we have detected 5 new Nikon FF mirrorless patents here in Japan and 2 of which use Nikon's legendary but very venerable F mount, it is interesting.

But the rest 3 are all use new different mount designs with about 18 mm - 24 mm flange back distance.

The mount diameter is a bit wider than the F and the E but not as wide as the EF.

    

Now amazing Capture One 9 pro is out, and for Sony users the express version is free.

The Capture One 8.3 before it was simply outstanding RAWC, much better than anything from Adobe or Raw Therapy.

 

Unfortunately, the free version of C1 does not handle Canon, Nikon or Olympus RAW, only Sony or DNG(Pentax and Leica).

 

So I guess It is another big reason for many of us to choose Sony over anything else. If you use Sony, you can get a full copy of Capture One 9 pro for just 50 USD.

AS far as I am concerned, this is an incredible deal, great Christmas gift for us from Phase One.

 

I think both Capture One 9 and DXO 10 produce a bit better color than LR CC or ACR9X for Sony or Nikon.

 

I suspect that Adobe programs are optimized for Canon.

 

Seriously C1 pro for just 50 US is an amazing deal. nothing beats it for that price.

Capture One 9 is a much better more serious program than the LR crapware, and the biggest deal here is not need to deal with the Adobe subscription stuff. Many many Adobe users used the license and repaid it to re-activate it, it is really terribly unstable. I had one time could not use it when I was editing my images on site in a mountain area and they say my account is just trial although I paid it for full CC version.

So after coming back from the mountain, I decided to cancel all Adobe CC crap, and I just got Capture One express 8.32 for Sony free,then later in the same month (last April)I ungraded it to the pro version. I could not be happier.

Now, also DXO is offering me a copy FULL copy of DXO 10 Elite version for just 99 USD. I will get that too.

Honestly, there are still times we need Photoshop but I do have full copy of CS6, so I do not need CC anymore, and I've found life without Adobe CC crap is really much more relaxing and easier.

  

So in the long run, may Sony E mount be the most expensive system out side of the Leica SL and MFDBs arena?

 

Well it seems like that considering terribly expensive Sony service charge and repair price, and of course their lens prices.

 

As far as lenses are concerned, I can only compare the lenses that have been tested scientifically. Now please keep in mind that these tests were done with the A7R not version 2, but when Nikon introduces their higher resolution camera this will increase the final numbers for Nikon system as well, and Canon already have even higher resolution camera than both Nikon and Sony, but oddly enough DXO and most of others refuse to use the high resolution Canon body for testing their new gen lenses.

Sony 35 2.8, Nikon 35 1.8, Canon 35 2.0 tested with A7R, D810, 5DIII, oddly DXO refuses to test Canon lenses on the 5DS.

Anyway though,the Sony Costs $800, Nikon Costs $600, despite the Sony having less resolving power and a full stop slower than the Nikon. So we see how expensive Sony system actually is already here at the very first comparison below.

www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Compare/Side-by-side/Nikon-AF-S-NI...

To be fair to Sony, there is also the Loxia 35 mm f2,which I recently sold off for some new macro lens for my Olympus. The Loxia 35 is a fairly good lens but not an amazing lens, not exceptionally sharp, not extremely well corrected either. It has a bit of serious coma issue at f2 and on, though it is still a better lens than the Sony 35 mm f2.8 in the areas of center resolution and longitudinal CA and Vignetting. But the Loxia is worse than the Sony 35 mm f2.8 in some significant areas such as coma, edge/corner sharpness and focus accuracy at infinity.

So in Sony 35 mm Full frame world , there is no value 35 mm prime at all.

Now move on to value 28 mm primes: Sony 28 2.0, Nikon 28 1.8, Canon 28 2.8, they are close enough to say the difference is irrelevant in real life use.

www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Compare/Side-by-side/Sony-FE-28mm-...

 

So move on to 70-200 mm f4: Of Sony 70-200 f4, Nikon 70-200 f4, Canon 70-200 f4, the Sony again is the most expensive despite the Nikon having more resolving power if we are to trust DXO lens rating. I personally do not trust their lens tests although I trust their sensor tests and I think their sensor test results pretty much mirror my own findings quite often.

But in case of the 70-200 mm f4 lenses, many other sites like SLRgear, lenstip tested and came to the same or identical conclusion to the DXO comparison. I also tested them at my work place with my own copy of DXO analyzer and got the same results.

If I have to pick the winner here, I would pick the Nikon for its obviously better resolution at 200 mm f4 setting. But it is more complicated than just optical quality, since the latest generation body IS of Sony is much more effective than most of in-lens VR or IS I tested.

So, while the Nikon is a bit better lens optically, I doubt that in real life handheld photography we see the better resolving power of the Nikon. The Sony 70-200 mm f4 comes with an excellent tripod collar that would cost 120 US if we buy it separately. Canon and Nikon do not include a tripod collar in their respective 70-200 mm f4 shipping package.

So maybe, is the pricing of the Sony actually reasonable?

www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Compare/Side-by-side/Sony-FE-70-20...

 

Now move on to 35 mm f1.4 lenses comparison:Sony 35 1.4, Nikon 35 1.4. Interestingly in this test the Sony did a little better in resolution to the Nikon although its 22mm longer and 30 grams heavier than the Nikon and 26mm longer and 50 grams heavier than the Canon, so not so compact for a compact system any more.

What this fact tells us about is if you ask ultimate resolution in any current FF system, regardless of your camera body size, your lens must be big and heavy, thus your system won't be small or cheap or light at all.

 

www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Compare/Side-by-side/Sony-FE-Carl-...

But in case of this 35 mm f1.4, we have to consider the extremely bad copy to copy sample variation issue of the Sony. The biggest issue of the DXO and the other typical online lens test sites is that they test only one copy supplied by the company.

But there is a great man testing literally 10-100 of copies of each lens and reporting his results most of times.

www.lensrentals.com/blog/2015/10/sony-e-mount-lens-sharpn...

 

Personally, I take Roger's opinion much more seriously than any other lens test site's so-called review. I work at a mall which also sell cameras and I have tested many returned lenses before sending them back to the respective manufactures, we found that the copy to copy variation is much more significant than many people online think, it is sometimes even more pronounced than lens A to lens B difference.

So testing one copy of each lens is not enough, definitely in the case of any super complex modern optics such as this FE 35 mm f1.4.

I know the best copies of it is a fantastic lens, but about 75 percent of times you get a bad one or just an ok kind of one. It is really really deplorable, sad.

But no one so-called review site besides Roger's report it, and I smell something very fishy here.

 

Now move on to 50 mm -55 mm value primes: the Sony 55 1.8 vs the Nikon 50 1.8 vs the

Canon 50 1.8 STM

 

The Sony beats out the Nikon and obviously the Canon because of the limited megapixels, but the interesting thing is when you compare pricing...$1000 for the Sony, $219 for the Nikon. Weight was another thing with the Sony coming in at almost 100 grams heavier than the Nikon and the Canon. In terms of Absolute resolution, the Sony is quite a bit better, though if you care about the money, then the cheap Nikon gets you about 90 percent of the expensive Sony performance at 1/ 5th of the Sony price.

 

www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Compare/Side-by-side/Sony-FE-Carl-...

 

now finally move on to 90-105 mm macro lens:

The Sony 90 mm macro is reported to be a better lens by likes of DXOmark, but according to Roger Cicala's extensive optics bench testing with many many copies of it, it is not as good as we all once thought it must be because of the DXO result for it below.

www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Compare/Side-by-side/Sony-FE-90mm-...

But it is obvious if you get a good copy of the Sony FE 90 mm f2.8 G lens, it is sharper than anything else in the market, actually it even beats the over-sized over priced not much useful awkward brand lenses like the Zess Otus 85 mm f1.4 APO or the Zeiss 135 mm f2 APO Sonnar,which I sold as soon as I found it useless in real life application ,especially for travel photography and street work. I loved it for studio work, but for that use I do not need to actually own any lens, just rent it from my boss's studio.

Anyway, my point here is if you get a decent Sony Fe 90 or 55 mm then it even beats the super-heavy ,awkward no compromise in design kind of d-SLR lens that priced about 4 times more than the Sony lenses.

The 90 macro is a cheap lens for what it is, there is no comparison to that lens in that relatively modest range of it.

 

So while I agree that Sony has made some very positive moves in recent years,it has come at a cost in pricing, f/stop and in the compactness to the system.Even then, the Sony lenses are not necessarily the best, especially when you take the fact that the Nikon/Canon Lenses often out resolved the Sony equivalents with faster f/stops for less money into serious consideration. The Canon lenses were at a deficit due to megapixels, and even with the obvious sensor resolution disadvantage, quite a few Canon lenses actually still out-resolve Sony Nikon equivalents, it was,to me,quite amazing.

So, I think if you need the ultimate best for now or the absolute best, most promising tech into foreseeable future, then the Sony system makes real sense here, but if you just need 90 percent of what the A7RM2 can do at the 1/4 of the Sony system price, then Nikon still makes better sense(value).

In my area it is even more glaringly clear, the A7RM2 body alone costs about 378000 yen, the Nikon D810 kit with the AF-S24-120 mm f4 VR costs 321000 yen,the Sony does not seem to be a great value although it may well be the absolute best camera in current camera market.

And most of people just go with the almost 95 percent as good as the absolute best kind of system that costs much less than the absolute best.

I chose the Zeiss Batis 85 over the Zeiss Otus 85 although I knew the Otus would beat the Batis in resolution(at a lab)..........but for me the much more manageable size and the weight saving, and more importantly the better overall practicality/usability of the Batis beat the absolute tripod resolution of the Otus. I think the same logic applies for choosing the right camera system.

Although, IMO, Canon still has the edge in lens line, flash,etc, and as a company most stable and profitable with a lot of key-core patents in this ILC technology, I personally never consider any of current Canon cameras seriously. The 5DS is just simply too overpriced, the 6D is just too long in the tooth, the 5D3 is about to be replaced, so no current Canon cameras make great value.

The 5DS-R costs 2 times more than the D810 and I think it is just too crazy, and that makes it absolutely the worst value camera for me. The 5DS at least a bit cheaper than the A7R2 to really justify its market position since it does not have the IBIS of the Sony, the 4k capability of the Sony, the high ISO performance of the Sony.

In the end, after comparing the prices of the lenses I need for the 3 systems carefully, I kind of realize that it is most logical to just stay with my current Sony system, just because I already have it. I guess I will hold on to my A7, A7M2, A7R for as long as I can, and see if Canon, Fuji or Samsung will answer to the a7R2.

The above logic just works for me, but I think for more budget minded people the Nikon may still hold the value king title with the D750..

The D750 is really attractive for event photography on a tight budget, and it is very very cheap now in the many many areas of the world, especially in my area.The Nikon D750 or D810 based system is at least 30 percent cheaper than the A7M2 or the A7RM2 based system with a few primes and a couple of zooms. But if you are a kind of person always wanting to shoot with a Otus or similar IQ lens and always carefully manually focus it, then Sony would suddenly become a much more logical choice for you.

The FE 55 mm f1.8 is sharper than the Otus 55 mm f1.4 at 1/4 of the Otus weight.

I do not have problem paying the Otus price for a great lens but the weight is.

The Sony FE 90 mm f2.8 G (assuming you get a decent copy) beats the both Otus and Batis in resolution and a few more areas.

I know the greater resolution alone does not make it a better lens than the Otus since Otus beats in the areas of CA, distortion and coma at wide open,etc.

But to me the better resolution of the Sony at 1/3 or the weight of Otus is very attractive.

The Batis 85 mm f1.8 is a great lens, honestly it is a bit different kind of lens than the Otus is with a bit more CA, a bit more distortion,etc, but it has the unique Zeiss look as with the other great Zeiss primes, and it is definitely sharp enough for its obvious intended use.

For landscape type of corner to corner sharpness, it may not be able to match the best primes in that focal range such as the FE90 mm f2.8 G , the Otus 85 mm f1.4 and the Leica 90 mm f3.5 APO, but still it handily beats all zooms and most of primes ever made in that specific focal range.

Many people compare the Batis 85 mm to the Nikon AF-S85 mm f1.8 G just because they both share f1.8 f numbers, but are they really comparable in quality?

Actually, in terms of sheer resolution and optical quality the cheap plastic Nikon may be comparable to the Batis. But it is weaker in a few key areas compared to the Batis.

The Nikon has much worse Lo-CA, much worse weaker flare resistance, a bit more distorted.

But the Nikon is smaller, lighter comes with 62 mm filter thread rather than the big 67 mm one on the Batis, it has a bit lower distortion and seems to have a bit lower amount of light fall off.

So it is actually closer match than we once thought it would be, and I see many many people mostly shooting all AF prefer the Nikon over the Zeiss in this case.

But unfortunately for me, the Batis is a better looking lens for my type of shooting since I am a manual focus kind of person, seldom use AF and having good MF ring is very important to me. So as my old man always said when I was a kid, it is always horses for courses, there is no one absolutely better camera system for all of us.

 

Finally as a side note, many many people guessing a lot of the technology inside the Leica SL seems to be from Panasonic.

I think Leica/Panasonic are testing the waters, with their first FF CSC with modern design more sophisticated UI than that of the Sony A7X.

I wouldn't be surprised, if less than a year from now, Panasonic makes a shot directly at Sony A7 series with a cheaper and more practical version of the Leica SL.

If Canon and Nikon don't come up with competitors in the meantime, Sony-Panasonic will be pushing this market very hard very far so that the old leaders will find themselves 7 laps behind all of a sudden. It may be easy for Canon to come up with something similar since they have all the tech needed to make something similar to the Leica SL, but is Nikon still safe, some how able to manage it to survive?

I know many Japanese Mega camera dealers that think in a matter of a several years Nikon won't be around in this market.

If they are correct, I wonder if the new Tokyo Nikon camera museum was actually built by Nikon as their own camera indoor cemetery?

 

UPDATE: At the CP + show in Yokohama, I asked a few A mount related questions to a couple of Sony guys, and I got interesting answers to my questions.

Basically, Sony said the A7RMK2 is the ' the E mount' flagship, but not the real flagship for the Alpha system. The 2 different lines of Alpha systems will be merged but not the E takes over the A kind of merging. Sony says it will be very interesting to many and technologically shocking to the public. But it is really difficult to do that right, and Sony needs to improve or waiting for a few key techs for that. This is why Sony has had to cancel out the planned announcement of the A99VMK2 or whatever called(Sony guys said at least 2 times they canceled it).

A few new techs not available at the time of the planned announcement became available right after that and Sony thought that would surely improve it further. Sony thinks we should wait to see it before making any firm decision on buying into any existing camera system because it will be Sony's first true pro-grade, grand-breaking true game changer. I hope it will be true, but how long will we have to wait? Why not just release a temporal stop gap solution camera with current best technology available? This company is really odd.

 

Update 2 : now, we have detected 5 new Nikon FF mirrorless patents here in J