Martin Krzywinski / Canada's Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre / Martin Krzywinski / Canada's Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre / - contact me Martin Krzywinski / Canada's Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre / on Twitter Martin Krzywinski / Canada's Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre / - Lumondo Photography Martin Krzywinski / Canada's Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre / - Pi Art Martin Krzywinski / Canada's Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre / - Hilbertonians - Creatures on the Hilbert CurveMartin Krzywinski / Canada's Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre / - Pi Day 2020 - Piku
Trance opera—Spente le Stellebe dramaticmore quotes

science: worthwhile

Scientific graphical abstracts — design guidelines

fun + amusement

Canon EF Lenses - f/ vs focal length chart mkweb :: on flickr :: contact

Canon EF Lenses

the chart

Each prime lens on the chart is represented by a point given by the lens' focal length (mm) and maximum aperture. Zoom lenses are shown as curves whose end points correspond to the lens' maximum aperature at its lowest and highest focal lengths. The path of the curve does not reflect the relationship between focal length and maximum aperture - the curve is routed to minimize, where possible, the number of intersection with other curves. Prices are based on listings at

lens information

Don't be surprised if the information in the pages below isn't updated frequently. Lens technology is improved incrementally and new lens launches are infrequent.

  • Canon offers a lot of information about their lenses. A lot of it is very readable, regardless of level and knowledge of the Canon line up. An EF Lens 101 covers the basics. Canon offers an individual summary for each of its EF lenses, which includes sample images and MTF. A complete EF lens spec sheet is also available (local copy).
  • Canon publishes the modulation transfer function profiles (wtf is mtf?) for all EF lenses. This is a good thing. The MTF profiles are computed, however, not based on real performance. To compare two MTF functions try Andrew's Magnificent MTF Comparometer.
  • An excellent EF Lens Beginner's FAQ is provided by NK Guy. This section of the FAQ is part of a larger EOS Beginner's FAQ. Even if you are a seasoned pro, I highly recommend this resource.
  • Finally, if you want to know everything about EF lenses from the horse's mouth, pick up a copy of Canon EF Lens Works III. It's a Canon publication, thus shamelessly self-contratulatory and at times extremely poorly written and downright cheesy, but it does provide (a) description of every lens, (b) sample images for each lens, some breathtaking, (c) MTF functions, including with 1.4x and 2x extenders, (d) description of Canon technology and (e) pretty comprehensive optical glossary. At $20 is a very good buy.

lens reviews

  • publishes user reviews of Canon, as well as other, lenses. Good reading if you want to know what a lot of people who use the lenses actually think.
  • Reviews by William L Castleman of a large number of L lenses. The reviews are well written, and of a technical nature, making use of images of mannequins to illustrate lens characteristics and resolution plots.
  • Bob Atkins reviews not only Canon but also some Tamron lenses.
  • A large number of reviews at The Digital Picture. A lot of the reviews of similar lenses use the same text and are heavy on describing features more than performance.


news + thoughts

Music for the Moon: Flunk's 'Down Here / Moon Above'

Sat 29-05-2021

The Sanctuary Project is a Lunar vault of science and art. It includes two fully sequenced human genomes, sequenced and assembled by us at Canada's Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre.

The first disc includes a song composed by Flunk for the (eventual) trip to the Moon.

But how do you send sound to space? I describe the inspiration, process and art behind the work.

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski
The song 'Down Here / Moon Above' from Flunk's new album History of Everything Ever is our song for space. It appears on the Sanctuary genome discs, which aim to send two fully sequenced human genomes to the Moon. (more)

Browse the genome discs.

Happy 2021 `\pi` Day—
A forest of digits

Sun 14-03-2021

Celebrate `\pi` Day (March 14th) and finally see the digits through the forest.

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski
The 26th tree in the digit forest of `\pi`. Why is there a flower on the ground?. (details)

This year is full of botanical whimsy. A Lindenmayer system forest – deterministic but always changing. Feel free to stop and pick the flowers from the ground.

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski
The first 46 digits of `\pi` in 8 trees. There are so many more. (details)

And things can get crazy in the forest.

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski
A forest of the digits of '\pi`, by ecosystem. (details)

Check out art from previous years: 2013 `\pi` Day and 2014 `\pi` Day, 2015 `\pi` Day, 2016 `\pi` Day, 2017 `\pi` Day, 2018 `\pi` Day and 2019 `\pi` Day.

Testing for rare conditions

Sun 30-05-2021

All that glitters is not gold. —W. Shakespeare

The sensitivity and specificity of a test do not necessarily correspond to its error rate. This becomes critically important when testing for a rare condition — a test with 99% sensitivity and specificity has an even chance of being wrong when the condition prevalence is 1%.

We discuss the positive predictive value (PPV) and how practices such as screen can increase it.

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski
Nature Methods Points of Significance column: Testing for rare conditions. (read)

Altman, N. & Krzywinski, M. (2021) Points of significance: Testing for rare conditions. Nature Methods 18:224–225.

Standardization fallacy

Tue 09-02-2021

We demand rigidly defined areas of doubt and uncertainty! —D. Adams

A popular notion about experiments is that it's good to keep variability in subjects low to limit the influence of confounding factors. This is called standardization.

Unfortunately, although standardization increases power, it can induce unrealistically low variability and lead to results that do not generalize to the population of interest. And, in fact, may be irreproducible.

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski
Nature Methods Points of Significance column: Standardization fallacy. (read)

Not paying attention to these details and thinking (or hoping) that standardization is always good is the "standardization fallacy". In this column, we look at how standardization can be balanced with heterogenization to avoid this thorny issue.

Voelkl, B., Würbel, H., Krzywinski, M. & Altman, N. (2021) Points of significance: Standardization fallacy. Nature Methods 18:5–6.

Graphical Abstract Design Guidelines

Fri 13-11-2020

Clear, concise, legible and compelling.

Making a scientific graphical abstract? Refer to my practical design guidelines and redesign examples to improve organization, design and clarity of your graphical abstracts.

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski
Graphical Abstract Design Guidelines — Clear, concise, legible and compelling.

"This data might give you a migrane"

Tue 06-10-2020

An in-depth look at my process of reacting to a bad figure — how I design a poster and tell data stories.

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski
A poster of high BMI and obesity prevalence for 185 countries.

me as a keyword list

aikido | analogies | animals | astronomy | comfortable silence | cosmology | dorothy parker | drumming | espresso | fundamental forces | good kerning | graphic design | humanism | humour | jean michel jarre | kayaking | latin | little fluffy clouds | lord of the rings | mathematics | negative space | nuance | perceptual color palettes | philosophy of science | photography | physical constants | physics | poetry | pon farr | reason | rhythm | richard feynman | science | secularism | swing | symmetry and its breaking | technology | things that make me go hmmm | typography | unix | victoria arduino | wine | words