Kolari thin-stack mod on a7II vs M240 — Zeiss 35/2 Biogon-M

This is part 13 in a series of posts on a prototype of the Kolari Vision thin-stack sensor modification for the Sony a7II. The series starts here.

The Zeiss 35mm f/2 Biogon-M, being a symmetric design, doesn’t do too well in the corners on the a7II.  How does the Kolari thin stack on the a7II compare with the Leica M240 with that lens attached to each? Both cameras have 24 MP. Neither camera has an AA filter. The Leica has special angled micro lenses, and camera firmware that reads a 6 bit code off the lens and performs optimization based on the lens model number. I’ve manually coded the lens as a Leica 35mm f/2 Summicron-M ASPH.

The scene at f/8 with both cameras. I focused on the center with live view with both cameras. With the  Leica M240, that’s the only option. Maybe I’m stacking the deck against the a7II, but I figured it would be cheating to use the put-the-focus-point-anywhere feature of the Sony to focus in the corner.

Leica

Leica

Jolari

Jolari

Both images were developed in Lightroom with the default settings, except that the white balance was set to daylight. Lens profiles were turned off. Lightroom does some lens-dependent sharpening that is not defeatable, however.  Lr knows what lens it thinks is on the Leica, and it has no idea what lens is on the a7II because the adapter doesn’t provide it with that information. Let’s look at the center at 3:1 enlargement to make sure that Lr is not stacking the deck in favor of one of the cameras.

Leica

Leica

_DSC1004-2

Except for the white balance difference, they look the same to me.

Now let’s look at the lower left corner at all the whole apertures that the lens can use. I brightened the corners to compensate for lens falloff.

 

Leica f/2

Leica f/2

Kolari f/2

Kolari f/2

The Kolari has more smearing.

Leica f/2.8

Leica f/2.8

Kolari f/2.8

Kolari f/2.8

The Leica is pretty good by now. The Kolari has a ways to go.

Leica f/4

Leica f/4

Kolari f/4

Kolari f/4

The Kolari still lags. The CA is not going away.

Leica f/5.6

Leica f/5.6

Kolari f/5.6

Kolari f/5.6

Still some smearing with the Kolari.

Leica f/8

Leica f/8

Kolari f/8

Kolari f/8

The Kolari is almost there.

Leica f/11

Leica f/11

Kolari f/11

Kolari f/11

Leica by a nose.

Leica f/16

Leica f/16

Kolari f/16

Kolari f/16

Diffraction takes over and sharpness is a dead heat.

Leica f/22

Leica f/22

Kolari f/22

Kolari f/22

Diffraction wins.

 

 

Kolari thin-stack mod on a7II vs M240 — Leica 50/1.4 Summilux

This is part 12 in a series of posts on a prototype of the Kolari Vision thin-stack sensor modification for the Sony a7II. The series starts here.

The Leica 50mm f/1.4 Summilux-M ASPH doesn’t do well in the corners on the a7II, and, although it does somewhat better on the Kolari-modified camera, it’s not a good match. How does the Kolari thin stack on the a7II compare with the Leica M240 with that lens attached to each? Both cameras have 24 MP. Neither camera has an AA filter. The Leica has special angled micro lenses, and camera firmware that reads a 6 bit code off the lens and performs optimization based on the lens model number. That should give the Leica camera an advantage. How does that play out in the real world?

The scene at f/8 with both cameras. I focused on the center with live view with both cameras. With the  Leica M240, that’s the only option. Maybe I’m stacking the deck against the a7II, but I figured it would be cheating to use the put-the-focus-point-anywhere feature of the Sony to focus in the corner.

 

Leica

Leica

Kolari

Kolari

Both images were developed in Lightroom with the default settings, except that the white balance was set to daylight. Lens profiles were turned off. Lightroom does some lens-dependent sharpening that is not defeatable, however.  Lr knows what lens is on the Leica, and it has no idea what lens is on the a7II because the adapter doesn’t provide it with that information. Let’s look at the center at 3:1 enlargement to make sure that Lr is not stacking the deck in favor of one of the cameras.

Leica

Leica

Kolari

Kolari

Except for the white balance difference, they look the same to me, although there seems to be a bit more contrast in the Kolari image.

Now let’s look at the lower left corner at all the whole apertures that the lens can use. I brightened the corners by one stop to compensate for lens falloff.

Leica f/1.4

Leica f/1.4

Kolari f/1.4

Kolari f/1.4

Here’s a surprise. In distinction from the 28mm Elmarit, the sharpness is about the same for the Kolari and the Leica images.

Leica f/2

Leica f/2

Kolari f/2

Kolari f/2

About the same here, too.

Leica f/2.8

Leica f/2.8

Kolari f/2.8

Kolari f/2.8

Same.

Leica f/4

Leica f/4

Kolari f/4

Kolari f/4

Same.

Leica f/5.6

Leica f/5.6

Kolari f/5.6

Kolari f/5.6

Same.

Leica f/8

Leica f/8

Kolari f/8

Kolari f/8

Same.

Leica f/11

Leica f/11

Kolari f/11

Kolari f/11

Same.

Leica f/16

Leica f/16

Kolari f/16

Kolari f/16

Same.

In the case of the 50mm ‘lux. the Kolari mod provides Leica-level corner sharpness.

Kolari thin-stack mod on a7II vs M240 — Leica 28/2.8 Elmarit

This is part 11 in a series of posts on a prototype of the Kolari Vision thin-stack sensor modification for the Sony a7II. The series starts here.

The Leica 28mm f/2.8 Elmarit-M ASPH doesn’t do well in the corners on the a7II, and, although it does somewhat better on the Kolari-modified camera, it’s not a good match. How does the Kolari thin stack on the a7II compare with the Leica M240 with that lens attached to each. Both cameras have 24 MP? Neither camera has an AA filter. The Leica has special angled micro lenses, and camera firmware that reads a 6 bit code off the lens and performs optimization based on the lens model number. That should give the Leica camera an advantage. How does that play out in the real world?

The scene at f/8 with both cameras. I focused on the center with live view with both cameras. With the  Leica M240, that’s the only option. Maybe I’m stacking the deck against the a7II, but I figured it would be cheating to use the put-the-focus-point-anywhere feature of the Sony to focus in the corner.

Leica

Leica

Kolari

Kolari

Both images were developed in Lightroom with the default settings, except that the white balance was set to daylight. Lens profiles were turned off. Lightroom does some lens-dependent sharpening that is not defeatable, however.  Lr knows what lens is on the Leica, and it has no idea what lens is on the a7II because the adapter doesn’t provide it with that information. Let’s look at the center at 3:1 enlargement to make sure that Lr is not stacking the deck in favor of one of the cameras.

Leica

Leica

Kolari

Kolari

Except for the white balance difference, they look the same to me. By the way, I’m not correcting the white balance error in the Kolari images because I don’t want to add additional processing, and also — full disclosure here — because it provides me with a visual clue as to which are which and lessens the probability that I’ll mix something up.

Now let’s look at the lower left corner at all the whole apertures that the lens can use. I brightened the corners by one stop to compensate for lens falloff.

Leica f/2.8

Leica f/2.8

Kolari f/2.8

Kolari f/2.8

The Leica is substantially better. It’s not great, but the Kolari image is unusable if corner sharpness is necessary.

Leica f/4

Leica f/4

Kolari f/4

Kolari f/4

The Leica image is quite good. The Kolari is still soft.

Leica f/5.6

Leica f/5.6

Kolari f/5.6

Kolari f/5.6

Now the Kolari is close to the Leica, but still not there.

Leica f/8

Leica f/8

Kolari f/8

Kolari f/8

Now the Kolari is almost the equal of the Leica.

Leica f/11

Leica f/11

Kolari f/11

Kolari f/11

We’re starting to see a bit of diffraction. The two images are very similar.

Leica f/16

Leica f/16

Kolari f/16

Kolari f/16

The Kolari image is a little sharper. I have no idea why.

Leica f/22

Leica f/22

Kolari f/22

Kolari f/22

There is serious diffraction softening both images. The Kolari sharper. I don’t know why.

 

 

 

Kolari Vision thin-stack mod on a7II — Leica WATE at 21mm

This is part 10 in a series of posts on a prototype of the Kolari Vision thin-stack sensor modification for the Sony a7II. The series starts here.

The Leica 16-18-21mm f/4 Tri-Elmar (WATE)  is an excellent performer on the Sony a7x cameras considering that it’s a zoom lens, though it does not perform as well at 21mm as at 16mm.. Its exit pupil is far enough from the sensor plane that the corners are generally sharp. How is it on the Kolari-modified a7II?

The scene wide open at f/4 and 21mm with both the standard and thin-stack cameras. I focused on the lower left corner:

 

Standard

Standard

Kolari

Kolari

Same color shift we saw in the earlier pictures.

In the lower left corner, wide open and stopping down at whole apertures, enlarged 3:1, processed in Lightroom with daylight white balance, a one-stop boost to compensate for lens falloff, and otherwise default settings:

 

Standard f/4

Standard f/4

Kolari f/4

Kolari f/4

There is definitely less smearing with the Kolari. You can especially see it in the isolated branches. The standard stack does quite well for a zoom lens wide open, and the Kolari version is a big step up from even that.

Standard f/5.6

Standard f/5.6

Kolari f/5.6

Kolari f/5.6

The standard stack is looking very good. The Kolari-modded unit is looking great.

Standard f/8

Standard f/8

Kolari f/8

Kolari f/8

The best f-stop for the corners for both cameras. Kolari a tad ahead.

Standard f/11

Standard f/11

Kolari f/11

Kolari f/11

In both cases, almost as good as f/8.

Standard f/16

Standard f/16

Kolari f/16

Kolari f/16

We can see definite diffraction effects. Kolari is better, probably because of the lack of an AA filter.

Standard f/22

Standard f/22

Kolari f/4\22

Kolari f/22

Serious diffraction in both cases.

I had thought that this lenses was unaffected by sensor stack thickness. I now know I was wrong.

 

Kolari Vision thin-stack mod on a7II — Leica WATE at 16mm

This is part 9 in a series of posts on a prototype of the Kolari Vision thin-stack sensor modification for the Sony a7II. The series starts here.

The Leica 16-18-21mm f/4 Tri-Elmar (WATE)  is an excellent performer on the Sony a7x cameras. considering that it’s a zoom lens. Its exit pupil is far enough from the sensor plane that the corners are generally sharp. How is it on the Kolari-modified a7II?

The scene wide open at f/4 and 16mm with both the standard and thin-stack cameras. I focused on the lower left corner:

Standard

Standard

Kolari

Kolari

Same color shift we saw in the earlier pictures.

In the lower left corner, wide open and stopping down at whole apertures, enlarged 3:1, processed in Lightroom with daylight white balance, a one-stop boost to compensate for lens falloff, and otherwise default settings:

Standard f/4

Standard f/4

Kolari f/4

Kolari f/4

Pretty similar, with the nod going to the thin-stack sensor. This is good performance for a zoom lens.

Standard f/5.6

Standard f/5.6

Kolari f/5,6

Kolari f/5,6

The Kolari is definitely better. In both cases, this is exceptional performance for a zoom lens.

Standard f/8

Standard f/8

Kolari f/8

Kolari f/8

Both are very good. The best f-stop for both in the corners.

Standard f/11

Standard f/11

Kolari f/11

Kolari f/11

Also both very good, with the Kolari ahead by a nose, probably because of the lack of an AA filter. Diffraction is beginning to set in.

Standard f/16

Standard f/16

Kolari f/16

Kolari f/16

Diffraction is damaging both images, with the Kolari ahead.

Standard f/22

Standard f/22

Kolari f/22

Kolari f/22

Serious diffraction blur here.

 

 

Kolari Vision thin-stack mod on a7II — Leica 90/2 Apo-Summicron-M

This is part 8 in a series of posts on a prototype of the Kolari Vision thin-stack sensor modification for the Sony a7II. The series starts here.

The Leica 90mm f/2 Apo-Summicron-M  ASPH is a great performer on the Sony a7x cameras. Its exit pupil is far enough from the sensor plane that the corners are generally sharp. How is it on the Kolari-modified a7II?

The scene, at f/2, with both a stock and a Kolari-modified a7II:

Standard

Standard

Kolari

Kolari

Same color shift we saw in the earlier pictures.

In the lower left corner, wide open and stopping down at whole apertures, enlarged 3:1, processed in Lightroom with daylight white balance and otherwise default settings:

 

Standard f/2

Standard f/2

Kolari f/2 center focused

Kolari f/2

Both sensors are doing a good job.

Standard f/2.8

Standard f/2.8

Kolari f/2.8 center focused

Kolari f/2.8

The Kolari is slightly sharper, probably the result of its lack of an AA filter.

Standard f/4

Standard f/4

Kolari f/4

Kolari f/4

Again. the Kolari is slightly sharper, probably the result of its lack of an AA filter.

Bored yet? I can tell you that the difference between the modified and standard sensor images as the lens is stopped down to f/16 remains the same. The Kolari mod doesn’t hurt anything with this lens, and helps a bit in this test — which has no obvious aliasing — because it omits the AA filter.

The f/16 images, showing a lot of diffraction, but still looking darned good:

Standard f/16

Standard f/16

Kolari f/16

Kolari f/16

A can’t resist emphasizing what a nice lens the 90 ‘cron Apo is on the a7II. I should also mention how difficult is is to get critical focus wide open with so little DOF available. I had to do focus bracketing to get this series.

Kolari Vision thin-stack mod on a7II — Leica 24/2 Elmarit-M

This is part 7 in a series of posts on a prototype of the Kolari Vision thin-stack sensor modification for the Sony a7II. The series starts here.

The Leica 24mm f/2 Super Elmarit-M ASPH is a fair-at-best performer on the Sony a7x cameras. How is it on the Kolari-modified a7II?

The scene, at f/2, with both a stock and a Kolari-modified a7II:

 

Standard

Standard

Kolari

Kolari

Same color shift we saw in the earlier pictures.

In the lower left corner, at all whole apertures, enlarged 3:1, processed in Lightroom with daylight white balance and otherwise default settings:

 

Standard f/2

Standard f/2

Kolari f/2

Kolari f/2

The Kolari is better, but neither is acceptable.

Standard f/2.8

Standard f/2.8

Kolari f/2.8

Kolari f/2.8

Kolari is better; both are soft.

Standard f/4

Standard f/4

Kolari f/4

Kolari f/4

The Kolari is now pretty good. The standard stack is still soft.

Standard f/5.6

Standard f/5.6

Kolari f/5.6

Kolari f/5.6

Both are pretty good, with the Kolari getting the nod.

Standard f/8

Standard f/8

Kolari f/8

Kolari f/8

Both are good. Kolari is better.

Standard f/11

Standard f/11

Kolari f/11

Kolari f/11

Diffraction is setting in. Kolari is slightly better, probably because of the lack of an AA filter.

Kolari Vision thin-stack mod on a7II — Leica 18/3.8 Super Elmar-M

This is part 6 in a series of posts on a prototype of the Kolari Vision thin-stack sensor modification for the Sony a7II. The series starts here.

The Leica 18mm f/3.8 Super Elmar-M ASPH is a darned good lens on the Sony a7x cameras, though it likes a little stopping down. How is it on the Kolari-modified a7II?

The scene, at f/5.6, with both a stock and a Kolari-modified a7II:

Standard

Standard

Kolari

Kolari

 

Same color shift we saw in the earlier pictures.

In the lower left corner, at all whole apertures, enlarged 3:1, processed in Lightroom with daylight white balance and otherwise default settings:

Standard f/4

Standard f/4

Kolari f/4

Kolari f/4

A huge difference in favor of the Kolari mod.

Standard f/5.6

Standard f/5.6

Kolari f/5.6

Kolari f/5.6

Darned good performance from the Kolari, and smeared from the standard sensor.

Standard f/8

Standard f/8

Kolari f/8

Kolari f/8

The standard sensor is doing a fair to middling job. The Kolari is excellent.

Standard f/11

Standard f/11

Kolari f/11

Kolari f/11

The standard sensor is good. The Kolari is excellent.

Standard f/16

Standard f/16

Kolari f/16

Kolari f/16

Both are softening up because of diffraction. The Kolari is ahead by a nose.

Kolari Vision thin-stack mod on a7II — Leica 50/1.4 Summilux

This is part 5 in a series of posts on a prototype of the Kolari Vision thin-stack sensor modification for the Sony a7II. The series starts here.

The Leica 50mm f/1.4 Summilux-M ASPH is problematic in the corners on all stock a7x cameras, although it has great on-axis sharpness. It doesn’t work too well on the Leica M240, either. How will it do on the Kolari Vision modified a7II?

Here’s the scene with both the modified and unmodified a7II at f/5.6:

Standard

Standard

Kolari modified

Kolari modified

Same color shift we saw in the earlier pictures.

In the lower left corner, at all whole apertures, enlarged 3:1, processed in Lightroom with daylight white balance and otherwise default settings:

 

Standard f/1.4

Standard f/1.4

Kolari f/1.4

Kolari f/1.4

Both are pretty awful.

Standard f/2

Standard f/2

Kolari f/2

Kolari f/2

Better, but still bad.

Standard f/2.8

Standard f/2.8

Kolari f/2.8

Kolari f/2.8

The Kolari is looking better than the stock camera.

Standard f/4

Standard f/4

Kolari f/4

Kolari f/4

Both are coming along nicely. The Kolari is better.

Standard f/5.6

Standard f/5.6

Kolari f/5.6

Kolari f/5.6

The standard stack is better. The Kolari is too, and is actually quite good here.

Standard f/8

Standard f/8

Kolari f/8

Kolari f/8

The Kolari is excellent. The Leica is very good.

Standard f/11

Standard f/11

Kolari f/11

Kolari f/11

Both are very good.

Standard f/16

Standard f/16

Kolari f/16

Kolari f/16

Diffraction has clearly set in. The Kolari image is somewhat sharper, probably because of the lack of an AA filter.

 

Kolari Vision thin-stack mod on a7II — Zeiss 35/2 Biogon-M

This is part 4 in a series of posts on a prototype of the Kolari Vision thin-stack sensor modification for the Sony a7II. The series starts here.

The Zeiss 35mm f/2 Biogon-M is a close-but-no-cigar lens on the a7x cameras. How does it do after the sensor stack has gone on the Kolari diet?

The scene, at f/2:

Standard

Standard

Kolari

Kolari

An aperture series like the ones in the last few posts, ISO 100, Lightroom defaults except for Daylight white balance, enlarged 3:1, upper right corner:

 

Standard f/2

Standard f/2

Kolari f/2

Kolari f/2

Neither one is great, but the Kolari one is better.

Standard f/2.8

Standard f/2.8

Kolari f/2.8

Kolari f/2.8

The Kolari performance might be acceptable for some uses.

Standard f/4

Standard f/4

Kolari f/4

Kolari f/4

Now the Kolari is not looking bad at all. The standard sensor stack has a long ways to go.

Standard f/5.6

Standard f/5.6

Kolari f/5.6

Kolari f/5.6

The Kolari is looking good here, good enough for darned near anything.

Standard f/8

Standard f/8

Kolari f/8

Kolari f/8

The standard stack make a big step at f/8, but still trails by a lot.

Standard f/11

Standard f/11

Kolari f/11

Kolari f/11

Kolari is still ahead, and still looking good.

Standard f/16

Standard f/16

Kolari f/16

Kolari f/16

The Kolari still looks better at f/16. Should we credit the lack of an AA filter?

Standard f/22

Standard f/22

Kolari f/22

Kolari f/22

The Kolari is a tiny bit better at f/22. That has to be the AA filter difference.

Photography meets digital computer technology. Photography wins — most of the time.

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