Fujifilm announced the new standard zoom lens – the GF45-100 F4 R LM OIS WR.

Fujifilm announced the new standard zoom lens – the GF45-100 F4 R LM OIS WR.

The GF45-100mmF4 R LM OIS WR lens has a 35mm equivalent focal length range of 36mm and 79mm. One of the most important features of this newly announced lens is “powerful 5-axis image stabilization, one super ED lens element, and a near-silent, high-speed autofocus motor.”

Here are the key features of this lens (quoting as per Fujifilm announcement): 

The GF45-100mmF4 R LM OIS WR lens consists of 16 elements in 12 groups, including three aspherical elements, one Super ED element and one ED element to effectively control spherical aberration, field curvature and chromatic aberration. This minimizes the negative effects of various forms of aberration, such as luminance shift and color bleeding, to deliver astonishing image sharpness.

Compact and lightweight large format standard zoom Weighing 2.2lb (1,005g), measuring 5.69in (144.5mm) long, and having a diameter of 3.66in (93mm), the lens is extremely portable and compact despite being a 2.2x zoomfor a large format camera system.

Fast, quiet and highly accurate AF. The use of an Internal Focusing system has minimized the size and weight of the focusing group, which is driven by a linear motor to achieve fast, quiet and highly accurate AF.

The lens is equipped with five stop image stabilization (CIPA guidelines), allowing photographers to make the most of the high-resolution sensors found in GFX System cameras, especially when making images hand-held. Highly robust design that withstands various shooting conditions.

The GF45-100mmF4 R LM OIS WR lens will be available in late February 2020, at a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $2,299.95 USD and $2,999.99 CAD. 

For more information, please visit https://fujifilm-x.com/en-us/products/lenses/gf45-100mmf4-r-lm-ois-wr/

Fujifilm has announced development of new lenses for the GFX medium format system, including the fastest lens ever: the GF 80mm F/1.7 R.

Fujifilm has announced development of new lenses for the GFX medium format system, including the fastest lens ever: the GF 80mm F/1.7 R.

Fujifilm has announced development of two new lenses for the GFX medium format system.

FUJINON GF 30mm F3.5 R WR: A wide-angle, prime lens. This wide angle 30mm lens is an equivalent 24mm focal length in the 35mm film format.

Of course, the FUJINON GF 80mm F1.7 creates the most excitement among photographers. Fujifilm in its official statement says about the GF 80mm F1.7, “A unique, wide-aperture, standard lens. A standard 80mm lens with an equivalent focal length of 63mm in the 35mm film format, which is incredibly suitable for portraiture and making images in low-light conditions. This will be the lens with the widest aperture among GF lenses and be an incredible solution for portrait photographers who want beautiful, creamy bokeh with their GFX System Cameras. This compact and lightweight lens will have a wider angle of view than the highly popular GF110mmF2 R LM WR and deliver the same level of incredible image quality.”

The team at MediumFormat.com is in touch with Fujifilm and as soon as this lens become available, we will bring you more information.

The importance of the brand-new Hasselblad XCD 45P lens

The importance of the brand-new Hasselblad XCD 45P lens

The original Hasselblad X1D was the first mirrorless medium format camera on the market. But that wasn’t the only first. The X1D was also the first medium format system which was small and light enough to take outside the studio and be comfortable to travel with. Of course, the accompanying XCD lenses were also relativity compact, matching the X1D and enhancing its portability.

In fact, I remember when I had the original X1D, and now its successor the X1DII, in my hands I couldn’t believe it was medium format. As someone who travels and teaches photography around the world, portability and image quality are of great importance. I usually travel with one camera and one lens combo. 

Therefore, I believe that the latest lens release from Hasselblad—the XCD 45P—is an important and exciting development for Hasselblad users. 

This is why: 

First, the X1DII paired with the brand-new XCD 45P creates a small, light and portable combo, allowing those who seek medium format quality to travel and shoot medium format with a combo even smaller than some of the smallest full frame cameras. 

Second, the XCD 45P lens offers a 35 mm full frame equivalent, which is a perfect focal length for most types of photography and certainly for travel, urban, street and even environmental portrait photography. For years I have travelled and shot with the one camera, one lens combo (35 mm focal length) and I never felt the need for more. This combination is not only highly liberating, but it has improved my photography drastically. 

Third, in short, the image quality. Although there is plenty of grumbling online, especially in the context of medium format vs. full frame, those who appreciate the subtleties of medium format never look back. The tonal transitions, depth, flexibility of the files and so on are simply unmatched. Now with this new lens, Hasselblad shooters have it all in a small and portable package. 

Fourth, the light and portable X1DII plus the XCD 45P combo matched with the Phocus Mobile 2 gives a window into a very portable workflow solution. Although I haven’t had a chance to test it just yet, I will certainly report on my findings. 

 

Fifth, this may not appeal to the tech crowd but, personally, I find it is important. The X1DII paired with the XCD 45P lens is one of the most beautiful combos on the market. The camera feel, buttons and materials are among the best I have seen and the matching grey-titanium-like colour of the lens and the body proves an attractive match.  

Sixth, one of the most common misconceptions is that medium format is very expensive. I also used to think so. As I work with many photographers, we often take a look at all the money spent on cameras and lenses. We found most photographers use only one or two lenses and leave all the rest gathering dust. For many, especially those shooting with higher-end full frame or even APS-C systems, total spend on such hoarding could easily purchase the Hasselblad X1DII with the XCD 45P. In fact, the new lens cost just US$1099, less than some full frame counterparts. That brings the total for all you need to craft great photography in stunning medium format quality to $6,849. It is cheaper than some full frame Leica offerings without the lens. Keep in mind that the replacement cycle for medium format cameras is much, much longer than for other formats. Or in other words, how much did you spend on all the gear sitting on your shelves? This equation becomes even more appealing once you consider investing in a medium format camera on the second-hand market with the ability to add an excellent lens for just US$1,099.

In sum, the addition of the new Hasselblad XCD 45P lens has made the X1D system even more appealing to those who seek medium format image quality and portability. We are currently testing the X1DII and will give you some comprehensive imagery and a review of this new lens. 

If you are considering or are already shooting with medium format, make sure to join other medium formatters and subscribe to the Medium Format Magazine, the #1 publication dedicated to medium format photography. Subscribe now and gain access to the January edition and all previous issues. 

Choosing a Computer for Photography

Choosing a Computer for Photography

In Computer Storage for Photographers in the August 2019 issue of Medium Format Magazine, I covered storage. Here in December 2019, I cover choosing a computer for photography.

There are some pretty awesome computing options that have emerged in late 2019. While I use Apple Macs exclusively, this article discusses the various choices of CPU/GPU/etc in a way that will also be useful to non-Mac users.

The size of my images has been increasing, what with cameras up to 100 megapixels, but it boils down to simple math: pushing around 100 megapixels instead of 50 takes twice the time. What once was reasonably speedy starts to feel sluggish. Compounding the issue, with focus stacking (Sept 2019 issue) and image scaling (Oct 2019 issue), routine tasks can take 5 minutes to an hour.

I have done consulting for nearly a thousand clients over the past years about choosing and configuring a system for photography, I’ve honed my skills at getting them the best possible solution for their actual workflow, sometimes saving my clients thousands of dollars they would have thrown at the problem, and yet been of little or no benefit, or even been worse. The gist of that is captured here, but I advise throwing away assumptions when it comes to one’s own work—don’t assume, but measure/test if possible—that’s what I do in order to advise my clients properly.

Desktop or laptop, or laptop as a desktop?

My judgment is that Apple’s latest 2019 MacBook Pro 16-inch model with 8-core CPU and 64GB memory can be a full-fledged desktop computer replacement, even for demanding users. That’s assuming for desktop usage the addition of a keyboard and mouse and external display (you can even close the lid and just use the external keyboard and display, pretending it really is a desktop computer). See my 2019-11-18 blog post at diglloyd.com for details: 2019 Apple MacBook Pro with 16″ Display: the Single Computer Solution At Last.

While desktop computers like the 2019 iMac 5K, iMac Pro and Mac Pro will outperform the 2019 MacBook Pro, meaningful differences will not be seen in real-world usage for 90% of the photographers out there (exceptions being when memory is a limiting factor).

Moreover, the convenience of a blazing fast 4TB or 8TB internal SSD is something no Apple desktop computer can match internally. An 8TB internal SSD along with 64GB memory and top-end GPU and 8-core CPU make the 2019 MacBook Pro 16-inch a worthy desktop replacement and an outlandishly strong travel computer—and it has dual Thunderbolt 3 busses with four TB3 ports too! Plus its thermal management is greatly improved, so it can run under load without thermal throttling longer than any previous Apple laptop.

If you do settle on an Apple laptop, note that CPU, GPU, SSD and memory are all soldered-on, and thus cannot be upgraded. It is thus unwise to down-spec such a machine. If it is to be the sole computer with a 3+ year lifespan, the smart move is to max it out, with the only choice worth debating is a 4TB or 8TB internal SSD. But even that seems a dubious debate, as the hassle of having to add external SSD storage is not worth it, and will be slower no matter what.

For perspective, what drives my decision

Everyone has their own particulars. Here I discuss how my own workflow and habits rule out seemingly better solutions.

First, I do not plan on getting the extremely capable 2019 Mac Pro, because for travel in my Sprinter van it is just not a good fit: power hungry, requires a separate display, bulk. Because I do a lot on the road, the all-in-one form factor of the Apple iMac 5K is ideal, with fast setup and teardown a mandatory feature (I can set it up and have it booted up in under two minutes). That, and the Mac Pro is insanely expensive even without a display.

While it might at first thought seem appropriate for travel, I also do not plan on getting the very capable Apple 2019 MacBook Pro 16-inch for travel. Its ergonomics are awful when used by itself, e.g., hunching over the built-in keyboard and screen. The screen is also too small for my work and my eyes too (presbyopia), so it still requires an external display, and that’s more setup/teardown hassle and desk space.

Thus for myself for those reasons and more, the only form factor that is viable for home and on the road in my van is the Apple iMac 5K form factor, which means the iMac 5K or iMac Pro. Were money not an issue, I’d have an Apple Mac Pro with Apple Pro Display XDR at home, plus the iMac 5K for van usage, using the OWC Thunderblade 8TB SSD for all my data between the two, but that total cost is prohibitive, and is a case of diminishing returns.

Components: the display, where pixel density is a tiny problem

Here I refer readers to two of my blog posts which cover this matter in detail. The key issue is pixel density and its ramifications for image assessment. Please see the articles Too-High Pixel Density on 5K and 8K Displays Impedes Image Assessment and 2.5K or 4K or 5K Display for Image Editing and Viewing?, referenced on this page: https://diglloyd.com/computer+display

To cover it in a nutshell: when pixel density it very high (e.g., 220 dpi with Apple iMac 5K), it becomes difficult to assess image sharpness, how much sharpening to apply, etc. Accordingly, I still evaluate images on a 2560 X 1600 display with pixel density of 110 dpi. Viewing pleasure may drive the desire for a 5K or 6K display, but that is a distinctly different goal than image processing and assessment, or from choosing a display for its color accuracy and color management capabilities.

Components: CPU Cores

The 2019 MacBook Pro and the 2019 iMac 5K have all the performance in their 8-core CPUs that most photographers need. It is enough for me too, even though I’d like faster this and that now and again. Eight CPU cores should be considered a starting point—do not even consider 4-core or 6-core CPUs if performance is a key goal.

If you regularly do focus stacking as I do, the one thing I’d really like is a 16 core CPU (12 cores would suffice, and 24/28 would be fantastic). For image scaling with 16 CPU cores, even the fastest GPU might be put to shame with Gigapixel AI.

It is almost always the smart move to choose more CPU cores over some fancy GPU because CPU cores get used a lot more by imaging software these days and are far more general purpose.

Only the 2019 Mac Pro or iMac Pro qualify for the 10+ core CPUs, but you’ll pay a steep premium for high-core-count CPUs from Intel. So most of us will have to be content with 8 CPU cores.

Components: GPU

The GPU is increasingly used by imaging software, and it is a big help for things like image upscaling with Gigapixel AIAdobe Camera Raw Enhance Details, though most other Photoshopand Lightroom features hardly use the GPU. Capture One Pro also uses it. Video processing is a special case—I’m discussing still photography here. But if you get spendy on a fancy high-end external GPU expecting Photoshop to run batshit fast, you’ll be sorely disappointed— excepting a few special cases, Photoshop won’t run faster in any meaningful way. If those special cases are your thing then it might make sense, but few of us will be in that boat.

The 2019 iMac 5K and 2019 MacBook Pro both have solid GPU options that are plenty fast for the vast majority of photographers. The iMac Pro and Mac Pro move it up further. When buying, do move up from the base GPU to the next level, but if the cost escalates, spend your money on more CPU cores first unless you have a proven workflow case for the GPU.

Beware of external GPU (eGPU), which DO NOT WORK with some Macs (an Apple/Adobe API problem). While eGPUs are hyped, they are NOT a solution for most computing problems because they either do not get used at all, or their is marginal in the context of total task runtime. Indeed, if the Mac has a discrete GPU, then an eGPU is NEVER used by Photoshop (at least as I write this and until Apple and Adobe fix that).

Components: Memory

128GB Memory in my 2019 iMac 5K is Still Not Enough

A key boost for me when I got the 2019 iMac 5K was/is 128GB memory. That extra memory (vs 64GB) has really helped with multi-frame stitching, saving me gobs of time in some cases. The big speed win comes from Photoshop not having to swap things to and from disk.

While 128GB is a sweet spot for my needs, for most users 64GB is ample, so the 2019 MacBook Pro 16-inch with 64GB is a strong solution for those who want the simplicity of a single machine for both home and travel. See my 2019-11-18 blog post at diglloyd.com: 2019 Apple MacBook Pro with 16″ Display: the Single Computer Solution At Last.

Components: internal SSD

A high performance system must have a very high speed SSD internally. That kind of speed lets CPUs and GPU have data when needed with minimum delay, lets the OS run a peak speed, etc. While Thunderbolt 3 can deliver about 2700 MB/sec, an internal SSD might hit 3400 MB/sec.

The smart move is to go with nothing less than a 2TB internal SSD, with 4TB strongly preferred given an assumed 3+ year lifespan of the computer—both capacity and resilience to wear.

In the Apple Mac lineup, the 2019 MacBook Pro can have up to a whopping 8TB internal SSD, whereas other models are limited to 2TB or 4TB. Consider carefully your storage capacity needs over a 3+ year timeframe; for example, were I going with the 2019 MacBook Pro as my sole computer, I would absolutely go with the 8TB SSD (all capacities are soldered onto the logic board, so there is no upgrading of any component, including the SSD).

Components: External I/O Speed and bandwidth

With adequate memory, I/O speed largely drops out of the picture when working in Photoshop or Lightroom, because images sit in memory and thus I/O is a blip in the overall context. For example, if it takes 0.4 seconds to read a Fujifilm GFX100 raw file off a fast hard drive (and much less on an SSD), it may still take 3-5 seconds for Photoshop or Lightroom to convert the raw file to usable form.

That said, Lightroom users will find it essential to store catalog on the fastest SSD on the system because Lightroom uses the drive for a lot more than just read raw files into memory. Ditto if the scratch drive(s) in Photoshop actually get used, or any use case where there is a lot of disk I/O.

Understanding Thunderbolt 3 bandwidth
About that Dual 6K Display Support on the Apple 2019 MacBook Pro 16″

Favor machines with at least two Thunderbolt 3 busses, all else being similar. This is critical if you intend to use an external 5K or 6K display—a 6K display will eat up 30 Gpbs of the write bandwidth available on the 40 Gbps Thunderbolt 3 bus. The other bus to which the display is not connected can thus run at full speed for high-speed I/O.

The 2019 Mac Pro rocks for Thunderbolt 3 busses and ports (with options). The 2019 MacBook Pro rocks in having dual Thunderbolt 3 busses with four ports. Ditto for the 2018 Mac mini, but its GPU is so slow that it is a very poor choice overall. The single Thunderbolt 3 bus of the 2019 iMac 5K (two ports) is a disappointing design, but for most photographic uses it will be of no concern.

Specific Macs

I’ve selected several Apple Mac products here to illustrate the foregoing points.

High performance desktop machine — 2019 iMac 5K

This beautiful display includes a powerful computer with it. Get the 8-core CPU, Radeon Pro Vega 48, 8GB memory configuration, then add 128GB from OWC to double the max RAM and save a ton of money (see my website), and the 2TB SSD (no larger option available).

The 2019 iMac 5K is my workhorse machine as I write this, and has been for 6 months. By far the fastest and most powerful Mac I have ever used. Its only real drawback is its single Thunderbolt 3 bus, which makes it undesirable for connecting an external 5K or 6K display, or lots of Thunderbolt 3 peripherals.

More info: https://macperformanceguide.com/2019+iMac+5K


2019 iMac 5K

High performance computer for travel and desktop — 2019 MacBook Pro 16-inch

Get the 2.4 GHz 8-core CPU, Radeon Pro 5500M, 64GB memory and 4TB or 8TB SSD.

Add a keyboard and mouse and external display for desktop use, because the ergonomics of a laptop are otherwise awful.


More info: https://macperformanceguide.com/2019+MacBook+Pro

2019 MacBook Pro 16-inch

2017 iMac Pro

A very fine machine with up to an 18-core CPU, but at the end of its lifecycle. For desktop users, I advise the Mac Pro instead, or waiting for a revised model.


More info: https://macperformanceguide.com/2017+iMac+Pro


2017 iMac Pro

2019 Mac Pro

Debuting in December 2019 or so as I write this. Total overkill for most photographers. Suitable for long-term aggressive usage with gobs of expansion possibility supported by its 1.4 kW power supply.
More info: https://macperformanceguide.com/2019+Mac+Pro

Conclusions

Computing power on the Apple side is really outstanding with four excellent choices even for those shooting at 100 megapixels. On the PC side, similar if not the same considerations apply.

Lloyd’s photography blog is found at diglloyd.com. You will find Lloyd’s monthly column “Metapixel” in the Medium Format Magazine where he writes about technical issues related to medium format photography.  

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Medium Format Magazine – November 2019

Medium Format Magazine – November 2019

From a fascinating opening piece from Denis Hocking to an exclusive and engaging interview with Victor Hamke, the November edition of Medium Format Magazine offers 140 pages of ad-free, highly curated content you won’t find anywhere else.

Denis Hocking opens the November issue with his account of an incredible voyage into the deep Arctic. In his reportage-style piece, “The High Arctic: The best photographic experience of my life,” Denis takes us on a true adventure which he describes this way: “It was very difficult for me but, in retrospect, my life is substantially richer for the experience.” I have to say the same after reading this captivating piece. I am confident you will enjoy it as much as I did. 

© Denis Hocking

Every month we bring you an interview with captivating medium format photographers and thinkers. This month we are so thrilled to share with you an exclusive interview with Victor Hamke, who in his own words “likes to drink a lot of coffee, loves to sleep and who always enjoys good conversation. A pretty normal dude.” We beg to disagree. Victor’s classy, intimate and powerful wedding imagery is anything but normal. Victor shares with us his beginnings, processes and his approach to this fascinating genre of photography. Whether you shoot wedding photography or not, you will love it. 

© Victor Hamke

Next, Steven Friedman in his series “Shoot to Print” presents his image titled “Zebra Aspens” and shares his story and philosophy behind this image. Steven also explores a variety of printing papers and the differences between them, including his own favourites. I cannot emphasis enough the importance of the subject of printing. Valuable and powerful advice! 

In the following article, “In the Moment,” Paul Sanders continues his series about contemplative photography. He writes, “Reflecting on an image is a valuable exercise in itself. Ask yourself how you felt about the original moment. How you saw things is very powerful. I often journal about my images, reflecting on the way I felt at the time and how I feel looking back at the way I collected the moment.” I don’t know about you, but this thought alone opened my mind and senses to a totally different way of thinking about my own photography. Paul’s text is accompanied by a tranquil photograph you can’t stop looking at. A must-read for everyone! 

@ Paul Sanders

Chris Knight, whom we interviewed last month, has agreed to write this month’s column “How it Was Shot.” Chris presents one of his stunning images, “Queen of the North” and explains in great detail the story behind the image, including the mechanics of shooting it from inspiration to styling and from lighting to post-processing. You will see the entire process of creation. It cannot get better than that. 

In his column “Metapixel,” Lloyd Chambers tackles the issue of “Multi-Frame Stitching and Panoramas.” Lloyd explains the technique and the process and provides multiple examples. He also recommends the gear which could help you achieve the best results. I wouldn’t be surprised if you started experimenting with these techniques for yourself. 

In his article, “Sky is the Limit” Vieri Bottazzini makes a fascinating case for sky in landscape photography. Vieri shows us examples when the use of sky makes the images powerful and different. He also shares his thoughts about the use of different ratios in landscape photography and the power of medium format to achieve your own goals or, as Vieri describes it, when “the sky is the limit.” We definitely agree. 

In the following article, Ludwig Hagelstein continues his series about medium format analogue photography. In Part 2 he writes about “choosing the right film for your project.” He counters a popular notion that there are not many types of film to choose from and gives us some signposts how to look for the film that you would like to pick up for yourself.

The topic of film doesn’t end with Ludwig’s piece. Alex Burke continues the subject “exploring the dynamic range of colour negative film.” He shares his experience of shooting film and makes a compelling technical case for it. As usual, his stunning landscape photography might make you pick up film again, if you are not already shooting with it. 

Finally, the Readers’ Exhibition section makes a comeback so please make sure to see the great work submitted by our readers.

© Hermin Jouan

And if you are not subscribed to the Medium Format Magazine yet, join thousands of medium formatters from around the world and gain an immediate access to the November issue, all previous editions and MF Exclusives . It would be wonderful to have you with us.

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