Alright, I guess this will be the first in at least two reviews of SPP4 and I want to concentrate on differences between this version and the old 3.3 image wise (will come back to selective noise reduction a bit more later on). Most things with this new version is good. It’s faster, has better colors and you can adjust amount of noise reduction. But, and there is a big but! Sigma forgot about all of us that loves BW conversions. :´(
Now you might wanna try out different WB´s instead of just fooling around with the color wheel. Each pre-white balance has been altered some and correct WB can sometimes make your day, more so with this version than with old 3.3.
If you have lots of ISO50 images around then you can go ahead and redevelop them because they will most likely look much better in this version, especially if some of that highlight was burnt. Higher ISO shots now has a much more vibrant look, greens are more green, reds are less yellow and less saturated at the same time but in this case this is all good. Also, you can now select white balance for a big bunch of images instead of having to select them one by one. Nice!
First, SPP manage to squeeze much more colors and life out of old high ISO images. Also, have a close look at that fire!!
SPP3.3 on the left and SPP4 on the right. ISO400. You can see how fire has lots more dynamic range and the reflection in his face looks much improved. Also notice how the green trees behind looks more saturated and less dull. Both images has been treated the same, same settings, same WB (shade) and white balance picked from eye.
SPP3.3 on the left and SPP4 on the right. ISO1600. Sigma worked hard to improve image quality in bad indoor light. Be careful with your WB selection as this one looked terrible with the wrong one selected. Also play around with that new noise reduction. Some images don’t need so much and you gain some nice saturation to leave it at lower levels.
SPP3.3 on the left and SPP4 on the right. ISO50. What’s really amazing is how they improved ISO50’s dynamic range! Take a look at the sky, and remember this image has lots of fill light applied. I think 0.8 on both SPP3.3 and 4. Colors, especially reds looks better too. Less orange.
But after I pulled the exposure compensation slider back -2.0 you clearly see how much more dynamic range you get in this new version. Looks like a full stop or perhaps even more! ISO50 will certainly be more useful in the future especially with all these OS lenses coming! :)
SPP3.3 on the left and SPP4 on the right. ISO200. Green has been more separated and it feels like you have more tones of green to play with. a very welcome addition! Not sure if Sigma beats Silkypix though, I think they’re still is ahead in the green departement. I know someone over at Dpreview complained about SPP4s green and I tried to find issues with it with many different shots from various cameras but without luck (or should I say, with luck?!) – and couldn’t really find any bad or flawed situations. Help me! :)
SPP3.3 on the left and SPP4 on the right. ISO400. Inside a shop, mixed light. And as you see red has been mighty improved! Now contains much less yellow and has a more realistic tone – also lots more tones and detail inside the red. Nice! (same settings on both images, DP2)
SPP3.3 on the left and SPP4 on the right. ISO1600. Now to the BAD. As you know I’m a monochrome junkie and I love how SPP deals with black and white high ISO images. But that’s now history and we now have something that looks terribly bad.
I’m sure Sigma will do something about this and I hope that they at the same time realize the need of monochrome white balance in RAW mode so that we can enjoy high ISO shooting for real!
Please Sigma, have an option to turn this strange massacre off!
Alright.. This was a first look. Comments?