Category Archives: Experience

How to check a lens for decentering

There are many things that can be wrong with a photographic lens. Optics require tight manufacturing tolerances in order to produce high resolution images. Copy to copy variation is a serious issue, even (or especially?) nowadays. While most lenses leave the factory in good condition, a non-negligible percentage reaches the market with unacceptable optical flaws. One of the most common issues is decentering.
Since this happend to me a few times already, I decided to write a short article about it. I will first explain what decentering means and then continue with a simple procedure on how to test a lens.

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The 35mm curse on Sony E-mount

The first full frame E-mount camera was introduced in 2014 and Sony and Zeiss have been releasing new lenses ever since. Also other manufacturers have started to create lenses for the E-mount system. The lens lineup has reached a pretty good stage, but some obvious gaps still exist. First of all, there is currently only one true telephoto lens (the 100-400mm GM), and secondly, there is no 35mm F2 with autofocus. What? Seriously?!

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Materialism and GAS vs Simplicity

For me it’s like a never ending struggle: I don’t want to pile up things, but in the end it is exactly where I am heading. It’s hard to resist, say no to new shiny things. The social compulsion, the superficiality and all the aggressive commercials certainly contribute their part.
In case you are wondering: GAS stands for gear acquisition syndrome (not to be taken too seriously ;-)).

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High-Res mode comparison: Sony A7rIII vs Olympus E-M1 II

In the following I do a quick comparison of the high-res pixel shift modes in the Sony A7rIII and the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II.
Which one is better? Does a high-res shot from the Olympus outresolve a single shot from the Sony? Which of the two high-res modes is more effective? Let’s have a look.

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Noise reduction: Median stacking vs averaging

Over at petapixel I found an old but interesting article about median stacking. Even though I was aware that stacking several photos raises the signal-to-noise ratio and thus reduces noise, I was surprised by the simplicity and yet effectiveness of this method, so I had to try it out myself.

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WD RED harddisk fails after 5k hours

I am using six 3TB Western Digital RED harddisks in my Synology NAS servers, which are mainly used for file storage and media streaming. The RED series was specifically designed for NAS servers and are rated for 24/7 operation. With a MTBF (mean time between failures) of 1 million hours, one would assume those drives should be fairly reliable. Now, after 4 years and only 5000 hours of operation, one of the disks died.

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Lightweight, high quality telephoto for traveling

A couple of month ago I was looking for a compact and lightweight telephoto travel companion (camera+lens combo or compact cam) that still offers high image quality. Well, since I’m not a pro photographer, high quality means significantly better than the typical compact camera, but certainly not professional grade quality for big prints.
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