SD14 + Jpeg studio experience. Part 3

Continuing from Part 2.

So the time has come for the final post in this series of my forced jpeg experience. I do feel silly about the whole thing really – User of Foveon equipped Sigmas since 2002 and still haven’t learned anything about modern modes such as the JPEG mode. :) Remember though that the very first Sigma was the SD9 and it didn’t even produce any JPG’s, only RAW. Perhaps that says something about my old fashioned work flow?

Back to the session. I selected a small number of shots using the following settings, actually I never changed once settled.

SD14, studio JPEG only workflow in camera settings: Contrast: +0.8, Sharpness +0.4, Saturation +0.1, Color space: sRGB. And Fluorescent white balance.

I might add that if you wanna be cool and take nice shots of someone in a Studio and show the person what he / she looks like on the LCD then this work flow works nicely – even if you shoot RAW – BUT be prepared to change back to some other WB, like flash or daylight. Perhaps with one of the shots using a grey card visual in a shot and color pick wb for the rest of the shots. Perhaps Bob has something to say about this? I know you use Fluorescent WB a lot!

Now, first I think you wanna see something from the day:

Some collected shots from day 2.

Some collected shots from day 2.

50% magnification.

50% magnification.

100% magnification.

100% magnification.

200% magnification. Do you see me?

200% magnification. Do you see me?

It’s no RAW but it’s really nice to see how well the JPEG engine is working. I can’t let you have these are full sized downloads mostly because they’re not aware of their sudden fame but these crops still shows what I’m talking about. I’m sure they will resize and print nicely large.

The second day I had some time before the first customer arrived and I had a slight different light setup. I wouldn’t cry if I had these as RAW, would sure be nice too see how good I could make them look. Still, for a normal person, these looks nice enough.

Some others jpgs, straight out with no adjustments made.

Some others jpgs, straight out with no adjustments made.

All in all I now know that my SD14 can do jpegs and they will be perfectly usable if there is a studio occasion where speed as a must. And yes, light areas will clip much sooner then with a RAW, so you need to lighten your subject more carefully. Or agree that blown out areas can be cool if in the right spot. :) I’m totally not used to that but will live.

Oh and the 18-50 2.8 ex did a magnificent job. It’s no prime but delivered nice, crisp contrasty shots. Also, I never really had any problems with batteries, I brought way to many with me. Good as backup but not really needed. I used six batteries in 8h of shooting using battery pack. Perhaps the smaller file size gave some extra juice?

Please feel free to comment and share your own images and experience. Or just ask a question or two.

About Carl Rytterfalk

Welcome to my blog! I'm Carl Rytterfalk, a swedish photographer who loves everything that is interesting in the world of photography. In 2002 I fell in love with the three layered Foveon sensor and has since then been an addicted user of Sigma cameras. Though I use Canon and Nikon as well. :)
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26 Responses to SD14 + Jpeg studio experience. Part 3

  1. Hi,

    Great posts these Jpeg studio series. What about shooting Jpegs outside, or outside of a studio with natural light. Has anyone tried that? What WB to select then?

  2. A addition to the last part three: The SD14 is not perfect for this type of shooting, even if it survived the test. Mainly because of the pretty small buffer and also because there is no black and white mode. A monochrome WB would be VERY welcome, or even some color modes that has more of an artistic side to them.

    Also some sort of setting where you can set temperature, perhaps even vignetting with a slider? :D Or even better, a mode where you save three different versions of the same shot. Coool.

    So let’s hope that the SD15 has a HUGE buffer so no more waiting or slowing down – just snappy snap all day long. Please Sigma?

    Frame rate has nothing to do with the studio as strobes can’t recharge as fast. (Profoto has some that can right?)

  3. john says:

    Hi Carl, i foloow your work, and bought a DP-2 after seeing all your beautifull pictures, a friend of mine, also buy a DP-1 and a SD-14. I now use also a 5D MkII and, I’m really happy with this camera working in studio and for my personnal photos. I have a question ? why you use JPG for this job really ? When i’m on studio, i’ve got my computer (macbook laptop) and transfert all shoot directly on light room, just modidy them quickly is not doing the same job ? It is just for a challeng ? just to test as quick as you can make really good shots ? or for an other reason ? sorry i’m french and my english is not so good :)

  4. Bob van Ooik says:

    now i see why you were so interested in my light set-up for shooting Anastasia ;)

  5. Pingback: SD14 + Jpeg studio experience. Part 2 at Carl Rytterfalk Fotografi

  6. Frankg says:

    Hi Carl,

    impressive pics.
    What resoulution did you choose for this job. As it looks very sharp and crisp I think you didn’t use the internal interpolation.

    Best regards


  7. John, for this job I was more or less forced to do the way they always done it. It’s a stressful job where people get pro make up and pro photographed one after another without a brake. I have about 15min per person including a clothes change. After each person I switch my CF-card with someone in the staff and continue shooting the next customer.

    It’s no time for anything than just shooting and explaining pose etc. Shooting RAW is so out of the question, but would work if someone skilled sat with them and fixed a little before showing customers. I actually think they would gain lots of sell that way but I’m too new in this type of business to really have a say.

  8. Bob, yeah.. My light setup for these are much more simple though. I tried hard to get a “nice” light and I think I got the best out of what I had. It’s a 120cm octa-softbox as main light, a 80cm square softbox from the left and a naked strobe in the back – sometimes with a grid and sometimes with colored plastics to make background cool. (see second shot below).

    Basic setup:

    Here used colored filter for the gray backdrop:

    And here, my favorite light so far, octasoft at low power + small grid from high angle aimed at face.

  9. Frankg, just HI and jpeg set at fine. No internal interpolation, size is standard 2640×1760.

  10. Hi Gary, well, my grey card has three parts – black, grey and white. But no, I used the 18% grey part as it’s what I always done. hehe. :D You think picking the white would help? Problem with white is that it’s possible that one or more colors are clipped in that area and therefor not giving a very precise result..

    Also I shot at full-size (meaning native size) and buffer is filled after six continues shots. But it wasn’t really a problem perhaps because of Elinchrom strobes – not extremely fast – and jpeg takes less time to save so no bad hick-ups. But it would be nice to have a tripple buffer or more..

    I guess this is similar to the Mall-thingi you have – But slight different. Here we have companies like this located in expensive areas in nice floors with really nice all around piff puffs – it’s ok paid hard work.. And no added skin smoothing is done – but customer get what they pick on a CD / DVD untouched.

    I’m happy you like my blog. :)

  11. Mike Earussi says:

    Hi Carl, love your work. You mentioned you shot with a 18-50 f2.8 macro II. Never heard of the II. Is this a new lens we don’t have yet in the U.S.?

  12. Hi Mike, hmm.. It’s only EX Macro. But there was the old none Macro version and I somehow thought it would have a II on it. My mistake. Wanted to look extra cool too. ;)

  13. spalbird says:

    What are normal people? And what else than JPEG will need unnormal people? I didn’t expect so much difficulties in Studio, because light and shadows are completely under control… With daylight strobes the flourescent thingie is an surprise, too.

    Hope this fun payed you the 18-50 macro… Finally, everything turned out well :) For the missing JPEG modes Lightroom could have done the job, LR presets, I like split toning in some situations.

  14. Clive says:

    Hi Carl —

    I confess this whole stream has had me a bit sad, as somehow in the current economic climate you have needed to work with the ‘productivists’.

    This is a part of life it is very useful to learn about, of course, and we all have been in the situation. But I hope that it will also help you to realize how valuable your own strength of talent and development is, and that this will lead you to better situations once again to give others the benefit.

    Perhaps the secret to that is in what you say. It takes just a little more time to do it right, even at this level of photography. Technology may well be able to help you return to it. Independence is an answer you can build to, but so is a partnership where your ‘extra’ can be appreciated and appropriately paid for, in a balance where customers get the value and are happy to pay it.

    Ah well ;). I do read your items on my RSS reader, just don’t have time to comment much as I am working my way out of a moment caused by my own independence :). Another lesson, and an interesting one. Reading Solzhenitsyn on Lenin in Z├╝rich this weekend somehow added to the context for understanding, and another smile this morning.


  15. Clive says:

    Should just have said ‘productivist orientation’, rather than ‘productivists’. We should always give people their due, their chance to grow….

  16. Pedro says:

    Hi carl,

    Well I may ask you a question as a noob i may be…

    Is the jpeg output format mandatory of the contract you’ve made with the photo studio ? or you can shoot in raw too ? what does the jpeg output adds more ? (or less?) it is only for a matter of buffering and then being able to shoot more than on raw before being locked with the buffer clearing ?

    well just asking you because as you first mentioned I always thought that raw was always to be prefered as it includes a lot more dynamic range to gives us the ability to make final adjustments…

    Cheers and thanks for the time spent on reading my message

    Pedro Afonso

  17. guest says:

    Hi Carl,

    how would you go about in-camera JPEGs from the DP2?
    What you you recommend as standard settings (which color mode
    and which settings for saturation, contrast etc) that are
    suitable for people shots?

    Thanks for any advice!

    Peter Studla

  18. Spalbird, normal people are most people ‘in front’ of the camera, un normal in this case is us, the photographers. We behave silly in front of the camera and therefor are not considered normal. Not real. Been there, done that. Acting different from someone new. :)

    They don’t use LR. I asked them about it – in case they used then we could have done everything RAW too.

  19. Clive, I’m first of all against the whole concept of posing. I have a hard time to make people look better by telling them how to stand, how to look, and how to smile. They do that much better themselves if you give them time. In a situation like this, there is total lack of time.

    I really do hope I don’t have to do this much more. I’m not even sure I will say yes next time they call. But my economy right now says I need the money. mm. China looks more and more like a warm and welcoming place where I can play and prosper and be myself. :P

    Perhaps someone kind could click my new support me button. :D

  20. Pedro, yes, the jpeg mode is mandatory in studios such as this one. Also, in-camera, many adjustments can normally be made that takes a little bit of effort to do in a RAW software. You can add contrast, sharpness and colors – so straight out of camera, jpgs can look better then RAW. But RAW has a greater potential – with more time and love. (raw gives as you say, better dynamic range, better colors, better everything really)

    Also, with other camera brands such as Nikon / Canon then you have lots more pictures that can be taken before buffer fills with JPG mode. With Sigma it’s different. I have a buffer that fills up after six shots (in jpg and in RAW) – and the only real difference here is how long it takes for those six shots to clear from buffer, to be saved to the CF-card. JPG saves faster because they’re much smaller.

  21. Peter Studla, I will have to come back to that one. :) I’m new to jpg with SD14 and have yet to try the jpg on DP2 but my initial impression is that it’s more mature and better handled than with the SD14. (I have tried some but not often)

  22. gary mercer says:

    I did some tests in the studio yesterday as your post sparked my interest, making me wonder if I could also shoot with the SD14, using .jpegs and had similar results. I recall shooting flourescent setting with monolights a long time ago for a photographer friend who wanted me to shoot his portrait and also wanted to edit the pictures out of the camera. His pictures turned out fine. The SD14 tends to really be warm in color with monolights, so it makes sense that cooling things down using the flourescent setting with jpegs would work. Here is a thought—why not use a cooling filter like in our old film days? I’m going to do a test in th studio tomorow with a 80 cooling filter on the camera and see how it works out with digital and I’ll let you know. Take care.

    • Sorry Gary, my spam filter has caught all your latest comments. Now it should work. :) I also got your email and it’s interesting reading indeed. I wonder if perhaps you could cut’n’paste as it is including those images in a comment – or I could. :) But I need your approval.

  23. Gary Mercer says:

    You can cut and paste the images and information I sent you in the email with my tests with the mannequin I borrowed from another photographer whom I’m mentoring. Its for educational purposes to help others. Also the same technique with the manilla folder works for 5500K flourescent daylight studio lights as well which run very warm in color with the SD14. I’m going to try to color match the manilla folder with pantone color strips so we can communicate exactly what color you would use to remove yellowish skin tones from shooting in mid-range 5500k lights which seems to be what alot of manufacturers are putting out. Remembering that 5000k monolights put out a cooler light. You have to know what the light temperature of the strobes or flourescent daylight bulbs you are working with in order to do proper compenation for skin tones. I’ve found my manilla folder works the best!—and it cost less than a dollar! LOL

  24. gary mercer says:

    Below is a simple method that can be used when shooting with .jpegs with the SD14 to whiten the skin tones which in 5500K color temperature lights can make the photograph appear too warm for many tastes. Remembering that daylight color temperature varies in range from 5000k to 6000k, with the light becoming warmer ( more yellow) towards the 6000k range. Cheaper studio lighting oftentimes uses the midrange 5500k temperature strobes. This method works for flourescent and monolights and cools the skin tones very well. See example below.

    For those that want to shoot under monolight strobe lighting and are finding that it creates too warm of images, you can opt when shooting with the SD14 to set it on Flourescent White Balance setting but it will drastically cool the image and the skin tones will become too warm. You might consider something from our old film days—adding a Tiffen 812 warming filter to the lens and continue to shoot. Here is an example below of the effect of adding a warming filter to a SD14 when shooting under monolights with a Flourescent WB setting selected as the Camera’s WB setting:

    The luxury of having your own studio is that you can customize your camera’s WB EXACTLY to match the color temperature of your lights using different pale shades of yellow–in my case, I found the manilla envelope works perfectly for my setup. Your milleage may vary. The concept is simple–to reduce the color that you have too much of expose the camera to it when you do a custom white balance and the camera will automatically remove this color from the custome white balance color profile—or something like this as I’m not a technician!–just the photographer!

  25. Thanks Gary for your useful and interesting post. My Spam Karma ate you, if you register it wont. :)

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