Why I choose Sigma..

I was talking to Bengt Werner today, a former Nikon user who switched to Sigma for his landscape photography. And we tried to put our finger on why we love the way Sigma images look and what it is that makes them different. It’s always been debated and I often stayed outside those discussions as it’s not been “my thing”. But today I will give you a list the top reasons why I love the way Sigma / Foveon images look and why you should be interested in the new Sigma SD1. :)

1. Nuances! With a three layer sensor you get even the tiniest shifts of colors.

2. Density! And this is what some people refere to as “3D”. Everything feels more massive, more dense, more slide photo. Often seen in images shot at very low ISO often at 50-100. This is also why Bokeh is rendered so beautifully with a foveon sensor!

3. Micro contrast! Due to the design of the sensor you capture everything. That includes dust and scratches which makes the picture seam more real and true. Sometimes annoying as you don’t really want that in some situations (beauty photography or jewelry photography).

4. True sharpness! This is one of the biggest reasons to go Sigma for many – and the trueness of it is seen when resized big, with only 4.6MP’s to go it’s a bit strange that images looks so good at larger sizes – it still looks crisp and clear and never really brakes. It resized in a similar manner as film.. (if you use a really good scanner that is). Jaggies can sometimes be a problem but not often.

5. Dynamic Range! Bengt has often received the question if he uses HDR for his photography – He never does but the amount of useful range between black and white in Sigma raw feels very wide. I never measured in comparisons to others, but I often felt let down by other sensors in this regard.

The Sigma SD15 has slightly less dynamic range (or at least highlights) than SD14. Same with DP1 compared to DP1x. SD15 and DP1x on the other hand has cleaner colors.

(6). Very little post production needed! Often it’s just open in SPP and then publish.

And now, some images from TODAY! All shot using the Sigma 50-500 OS. A bit crazy but it’s actually really useful and the glass quality is amazing! Such clarity!

Kingfisher Nol, Sweden - only one in reality.Cropped shot at 500mm hand held. OS is a gift from GOD! (or Ohsone)Above images of the kingfisher was shot with the same lens on approximately the same distance. The second one being zoomed in at the maximum 500mm the first at 167mm.

Nuances and dense air from fire..
Should be seen at 100%.. See it now!

Horse in the sun..Northern sunlightMonochrom white balance
Developed using Sigma Photo Pro and post processed using LR3 and PS in some cases. There is only one bird not two. The single bird is heavily cropped.

All images available at it’s maximum size over at my spring 2011 set.

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. :)
This entry was posted in 50-500 OS, Adobe Lightroom, Sigma Photo Pro, Sigma SD15 and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

46 Responses to Why I choose Sigma..

  1. Hello Carl,

    I was actualy writing the very same article for my new blog that im actualy building ^^. People really need to know what Sigma cameras can deliver.

    We will probably meet one day ^^ I love Sweden, especially Göteborg, because I want to see an enterprise from ur town (Mindark if u know it) :)

    Kind Regards.

    PS : a little photo taken with SIGMA DP2s ;)
    [img]http://www.rytterfalk.com/wp-content/lois lane.jpg[/img]

  2. Myga says:

    Superb images, colours are amazing.

  3. stranger says:

    maaan! those are amazing shots. vibrant!!! by the way, i think you should consider uploading some of your photos to interfacelift.com, a nice place for wallpapers (i bet you know). no, i’m not advertizing the site, it’s just your fine photos that more people should see, to convince themselves of Sigma power!! :)

  4. Bengt Werner says:

    Nice good looking shots from yesterdays photoadventure. I like the photo with two kingfishers, lucky guy who catched two of them in the same photo :-) I only got one. Six good reason to buy a Sigma camera and I will stick to it as long as Sigma is making this unique cameras.

  5. Dan says:

    Carl,
    Very well put! I think you should suggest Sigma to start a user testimony area on their main website.
    I don’t think they are doing enough in spreading the word-of-mouth of established users such as yourself.
    Your discussion here would make a great first post.
    Regards,
    Dan
    SD14 user

  6. Ricky says:

    A friend of me says to me “that’s HDR! damn admit it!” on many photos. I tried to convince him…

    However very beautiful shots!

  7. Hulyss Bowman says:

    Ricky: A friend of me says to me “that’s HDR! damn admit it!” on many photos. I tried to convince him…However very beautiful shots!  

    Hello Ricky

    This is often the cases. U should show him a real HDR photo made with Foveon, then he will see the difference :)

  8. Reminds me of recent HDR’s I made with the Dp1x where one of the three shots looked better then the three HDR stitched together. See comment section for the “one shot” HDR where I took the darkest shot of the three and simply lightened the shadow area to sort of match the HDR version.. gave a different and pretty likable look.

    http://www.rytterfalk.com/2010/12/08/another-dp1x-shot-hdr/

  9. Marc says:

    Darn it, i was just about to go out and get myself a new sony a55 when i just had to drop by and read this.
    I need image stability and i need it badly but i also love the foveon sharpness…

  10. Hulyss Bowman says:

    Marc: Darn it, i was just about to go out and get myself a new sony a55 when i just had to drop by and read this.
    I need image stability and i need it badly but i also love the foveon sharpness…  

    Dear Marc,

    Sony DSLR are sensor stabilized. This is a good feature (especially with fixed lenses) but not as good as optic stabilization. A wild range of Sigma lens are stabilized (named OS >> Optical Stabilizer) so u don’t need to worry about moved blur that much. Sigma camera are heavy too. That help the shooter to be perfectly stable.

    Kind Regards.

  11. Marc says:

    Hulyss,

    Thanks for the fast info. i am all into prime lens, that is also my problem now…i have a lot of situation whereby i need shots wider than my dp2. I got an old d50 which is crying out for upgrade…
    The SD1 seems interesting but that also means i need to buy it with the OS lens u mentioned and i am running out of budget fast…Over here its nearly impossible to find sigma cameras.

  12. Pingback: Why I choose Sigma… | X3 magazine

  13. Mrmut says:

    Unfortunately, I will disagree with you Carl. I spent a year a half with Foveon, and in my opinion it is unfinished product that is problematic for professional use. Foveon can produce stunning images, but RAWs require exhilarating amount of work in converters to get them right. The biggest problem I faced is color reproduction, which is significantly off by default, and profiling introduces a lot of noise. Than, there is banding issue on gradients, bad low ISO sensitivity, color casts, and many others. At one point Sigma will probably become really good tool, but currently they have problematic technology at their hands. Additional problem woith Foveon is upsampling – you can do it only sparingly. Big enlargements don’t look good, and the technology can’t compete with Bayer, tho it does produce fantastic 1:1 prints. A lot of more work is needed into Foveon. Foveons shine in specific conditions, but it is certainly not good for everything. Regarding dynamic range; highlights roll-off does look very nice, but it does not compensate for terrible shadow performance. Compared with old E-1 camera (2003), E-1 kicks current Foveon’s behinds when DR is in question, and to be honest, resolution advantage is not that big (plus, you can upsample as much you like). Sigma dies look better 1:1, but move away from that and you have problems.

  14. Mrmut, we clearly have a very different view. :) I wish you lived a bit closer so that we could have a little meeting and exchange knowledge.

  15. Dan says:

    Mrmut,
    To avoid noise and color blotches at high iso, you must meter on the darkest part of the scene. This way the sensor will get the light that it needs to properly penetrate all 3 layers of color. The results are amazing and one can’t tell the difference to low iso. The only problem which remains is the color shifting. For me red usually becomes orangey and some post processing is required to fix this.
    Regards,
    Dan

  16. Kosly Joseph says:

    Sigma SDXX is the leading cause of better photographers. I have personally experienced a tremendous amount of growth as an artist because of the simplicity, and ease of use of the device. My beautiful SD14 has less bells and whistles than the latest Nikon or Canon tool, but causes me to stretch my mind the limits of my understanding of photography… What i am trying to says is, I love my Sigma !!!!. and that’s that :)

  17. Jim Roelofs says:

    Image wise, I’m right there with you, Carl. DR, without having to reach for HDR, is to die for. So is the lack of bells and whistles.

    The one thing that has me on edge is QC in manufacturing. That is Sigma’s achilles heel, in my opinion and needs to be seriously addressed. In fact, as I have already mentioned, LM has declared that this is the case and we will soon see if he’s on the money.

    From what we have heard so far about the SD1’s performance, (both from you and LM), it deserves to be the turning point in Sigma’s market share prospects.

    Here in Australia, if the SD1 makes its mark, we then have a wonderful opportunity to see what the distributor for the brand can do with it. If CRK still fail to step up to the plate with a successful SD1, then Sigma should step in and take over, so that the users can leave their disillusion behind.

  18. Pierre says:

    I can’t wait … arg!

  19. Bob van Ooik says:

    mmm, true sharpness as in real separation. The separation of objects which results in the 3D feeling. This might be the reason I started shooting more and more tele (and shallow depth of field) since using Bayer based cameras. I can’t get the right feeling in wide angle as I can with Foveon. Might be something to write a longer article about :)

  20. Carl Rytterfalk says:

    Jim, well you almost started another list – what Sigma need to address in order to succeed.. Or something.. Mrmut also brought some pointers up to that list and I think and hope that the SD1 is everything we hoped for.

    And Jim, I’m with you about QC.. Hopefully they’re working hard to become better!

    If anyone have pointers toward Sigma – please feel free to bring them up here as I know they read your comments.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Bob van Ooik: … I can’t get the right feeling in wide angle as I can with Foveon. Might be something to write a longer article about :)  

    I’m looking forward to read that article – with examples! Over at the X3 magazine?

  22. Raouf says:

    Hello,

    As an amateur photographer who try to expand his knowledge, i am a little bit disappointed with colour rendition and high iso quality. But I think i will learn more and improve the image quality according to the different pictures I have seen.

    Hylyss magnifique image.

    I am a current user of a Sigma DP1 and a future user of a Sigma DP2.
    According to my little experience those cameras are in my opinion leaders in the competition , their prices and their lens qualities make them really usefull because I do not want to carry my big DSLR every where.

    SPP 4.2 lacks two things :
    – the possibility to interpolate directly to more or less 10 Mpx
    – the possibility to control colours (or explain me how).

    I will enjoy that Sigma will produce Sigma DPs with this new Foveon Sensor.

    For an amateur photographer the beautiful 30mm f1.4 and 50mm f1.4 are a little bit expensive for me.
    Why do not produce amateur f1.8 cheap lenses making the Sigma SD15 more affordable?

    2 cents from a new Foveon Fan

  23. Kendall Helmstetter Gelner says:

    I thought these are all really great points.

    I also disagree with Mrmut, in a recent studio shoot with strobes I shot every now and then with a ColorChecker passport (color chart). I ended up not using those for calibration because when I went to adjust the WB based on the neutral grey setting (it has warmer and colder grey settings as well) there was no change to the image. I also generally don’t do any color adjustments to images from the camera, just tonal changes (like lightening shadows).

    In fact from seeing the work that other photographers produced from the same studio photo shoot, I’ve been finding not many of them really look that accurate.

    Perhaps he was using an earlier Sigma camera than the SD-15?

  24. Chris(ThePanda) says:

    My thoughts exactly Carl! Other cameras are faster and better in difficult situation but Foveon pictures have something I see that none of them have out the box.

    My DP1 is still my baby. And the SD14 needs an SD1!

  25. Dan says:

    I would add to the points mentioned by Carl the lack of moire artifacts thanks to the superior Foveon sensor technology. All Bayer sensors have this problem which is sometimes quite obvious in some textural patterns that can’t really be removed in post processing. It is nice that Foveon doesn’t even have to worry about it.

  26. Raouf/Rallf says:

    I want to share this link, it is about a wish list for a future DP3.
    (edit: Raoulf, I embedded the link as it was SOOOO HUGE!)

  27. adrian says:

    i just don’t agree with some people taking Foveon lightly..
    if they experienced and liked film, then they would love Foveon. It is film except that there’s no need to scan it digitally. i did not worked with film but shot with it. The SD9 images really looked film like with all their grain and color blotches.
    i am an engineer and loves tech, but was never impressed with Bayer type of cameras that never improved image quality despite increase in resolution and using less compression in JPEG files. I started young with Bayer cameras, and don’t notice any improvement when employing bigger file sizes (that’s my belief back then and that MP count matters).

    i don’t print images, and the current resolution of Foveon is more than enough. they look great to look at even on a 1024×768 CRT monitor. i’m pretty sure the competition is cooking a similar type of sensor and sell them when the masses starts noticing and looking for a similar type of Foveon image capture.

  28. Richard says:

    I remember when I bought my first (and only one so far) Sigma camera (SD14). I ordered it through the Internet (there is no local reseller where I live) and while waiting to receive it, I was eaten away by doubts, because of all the negative comments one can read on the Web. The sample images I had seen on some sites nevertheless convinced me to buy, but while waiting, I could not stop wondering if I had made the right decision: should I had sticked with the big names (Canon, Nikon, etc), what if Sigma is as bad as people say, I will lose my money…

    Man, am I glad today that I took the decision to buy! The images that sometimes come out of this body are just breathtaking. There’s a local store where I live that prints large copy (around 97 x 61 cm) of people’s photos. I now have a few hung on my walls. Splendid!

    I agree with Dan, Sigma should start a user testimony area on their main website.

  29. Garrit says:

    What I miss for my Sigma SD14 is the support of some 3rd party software developers like DxO Optics. In my opinion Sigma should invest more to develop an Sigma ecosystem and to integrate such complementors.

  30. People say Sigma needs a full frame camera or Sigma needs HD Video. I see things differently. Sigma has something that almost every other camera is missing.

    Years ago I worked in a studio shooting a Leaf DCB medium format camera. It was one of the first medium format digital camera backs.

    To use a Leaf DCB you also needed a big motorized filter wheel in front of the lens. You hit the shutter release the camera fired three exposures capturing red, green, and blue raw files. Those files were combined inside proprietary software where you had a huge amount of control and creative latitude. Once you adjusted things to your liking you exported a TIFF or JPG. The image quality was amazing!

    It was exciting when Leaf released it’s first “one shot” camera that could capture full color in a single exposure. We could shoot people and moving things again. We also noticed right away that the old DCB had some special qualities that were missing in the new one shot sensor. (and all other cameras using this new array style sensor)

    Imagine my surprise a few years later when I’m reading a magazine and stumble across an article about a new studio camera from Foveon. One that captures red, green, and blue data at every pixel location in a single exposure. Brilliant!

    Fast forward a few more years and Sigma announces the SD9, with a Foveon sensor. The sample images were beautiful and it was the first time in a very long time that I was seeing the depth and richness that I had been missing.

    Sold all my Nikon gear to a friend and I’ve been shooting Sigma ever since. Thank you Sigma.

  31. Don Cox says:

    “The separation of objects which results in the 3D feeling.”

    I think the main reason for the 3D look is the way resolution holds as textures get finer. Think of something like the cloth texture on a sleeve. As you move away from the part that is facing you and go around the curve toward the part you can’t see, the texture gets finer and finer.

    The Foveon chip holds this diminishing detail where a Bayer chip breaks up into artefacts. So the edges of solid objects look more real in a Foveon image.

  32. Jacques says:

    Very good summary, I’m agree with your thoughts. Thanks for your work!

    Regards,

    Jacques

  33. Mark V says:

    “Foveon chip holds this diminishing detail where a Bayer chip breaks up into artefacts.” – Is this true because there is no AA filter on the Foveon? Bayer type chips can produce lovely 3d’ish images with the correct glass. Typically, the best 3d’ish images come from those bayer chips with the weakest or non-existant AA filter.

  34. @Garrit, But you can enjoy what we have today! Silkypix, Raw Developer, Adobe’s all packages, Darkroom (to some extent and does a really spectacular job with SD14 files) and there is plenty of open source developers for different platforms – Also, you can convert all Sigma files using the DNG Converter from Adobe to fit lots more players on the market. Perhaps even DxO Optics?!

    I’m not sure Sigma is to blame – but these companies they look at the market share for each supported brand, and I’m not sure they see sigma as worthy just yet.

  35. Jon Winters (@obscura), Thanks for your story – it’s uplifting to hear! :)

  36. Yanko Kitanov says:

    HI Carl,

    I am quite new to shooting SIGMA myself – just several months, still my observations absolutely overlap with your statements above! If you allow me I would like to add one more thing that really puts a smile on my face when I review my sigma RAW files.

    Many of the things mentioned above are mostly due to the wonderful X3 sensor and probably be a bit less due to the lenses, of course most of them would be spoiled by using a poor lens. Now what I would like to add is equally due to the X3 sensor and to the excellent SIGMA lenses – both SIGMA’s DSLR and DP fixed lenses.

    Talking about lens-sensor combination there are things about a lens that can be measured and evaluated and things that can’t be measured and evaluated, still you can clearly see and feel them. Resolution, sharpness, contrast, micro-contrast, flare resistance, CA/PF, sphere aberrations, geometrical distortion, vignetting/falloff, etc can be either measured, or evaluated. The lenses OOF rendering, or bokeh can also be evaluated, though these are a bit more a matter of personal preferences and taste.

    What I am talking about are things hard to evaluate, but definitely huge Pros for SIGMA. Namely these are the feeling of 3D rendering, the volume of the image, the airiness of the image, the plasticity of the objects. I agree that if objected these are hardly possible to be measured and defined, so many people miss these and others see the mentioned above advantages of SIGMA, but don’t discuss them quite much as it they are hard to be scientifically justified. Still I believe they should be noted as very often these are far more important for an impressive image than any of the measurable parts of it and quite often they are a big part of the SIGMA WOW factor.

    My Best Regards,
    Yanko Kitanov

  37. NewbieSD9 says:

    Jon Winters (@obscura): People say Sigma needs a full frame camera or Sigma needs HD Video. I see things differently. Sigma has something that almost every other camera is missing.
    Years ago I worked in a studio shooting a Leaf DCB medium format camera. It was one of the first medium format digital camera backs.
    To use a Leaf DCB you also needed a big motorized filter wheel in front of the lens.You hit the shutter release the camera fired three exposures capturing red, green, and blue raw files.Those files were combined inside proprietary software where you had a huge amount of control and creative latitude. Once you adjusted things to your liking you exported a TIFF or JPG. The image quality was amazing!It was exciting when Leaf released it’s first “one shot” camera that could capture full color in a single exposure. We could shoot people and moving things again. We also noticed right away that the old DCB had some special qualities that were missing in the new one shot sensor. (and all other cameras using this new array style sensor)
    Imagine my surprise a few years later when I’m reading a magazine and stumble across an article about a new studio camera from Foveon. One that captures red, green, and blue data at every pixel location in a single exposure. Brilliant!Fast forward a few more years and Sigma announces the SD9, with a Foveon sensor. The sample images were beautiful and it was the first time in a very long time that I was seeing the depth and richness that I had been missing.
    Sold all my Nikon gear to a friend and I’ve been shooting Sigma ever since. Thank you Sigma.  

    Hi Jon

    This is the reason why i keep my SD9.
    Even though i every now and then i want a MF they still have a 1 layer Bayer.
    I have very simple photos from SD9 just fields, meadows … the joy i feel from seeing them is like being there.

  38. Richard Corbett says:

    Hello fellow Sigma fans!

    I decided that I needed a point & shoot camera to use when I didn’t want to lug all my gear around with me. As is typical for me, I spent absolutely ages checking out all the possible camera options and reading all the reviews. I went around and around in circles, not being able to find anything that fitted my requirements. I wanted something that was portable but with the sort of quality I had become used to with my DSLR.

    Initially, I dismissed the Sigma cameras because I had read reviews suggesting they were slow and lacking in functions – positively antique. Then I started to realise that this was actually exactly what I was looking for. I looked harder at the Sigma cameras and the Foveon sensor and suddenly it all made sense.

    Here was a small yet stunning camera with quality which was quoted as being better than some DSLR’s and having seen the shots for myself I can readily concur. There are no flashy functions, just the controls you need to take pictures. No video – if you want to take film buy a video camera! No zoom, simply a fabulous quality prime lens.

    I bought a DP1s and you know, it’s taught me a whole lot about my photography. Mostly, it’s taught me to slow down and think about what and how I shoot. If you look at my photostream on Flickr (Rich3591) you will be able to see the point at which my camera arrived and how my photography changed and improved. More than that though, the colour and depth that everyone keeps talking about is really there. It is amazing how much colour has actually been captured sometimes and the SPP software is astounding in the way it pulls this colour out, right in front of your eyes – my shots have become sumptuous!

    Sadly, I cannot afford the SD1 at this moment in time but I can tell you, I am so impressed with Sigma that I would change my DSLR set-up in a flash if I could.

    Here are some of my latest shots to illustrate my findings…
    [img]http://www.rytterfalk.com/wp-content/Anchored in a sunrise.jpg[/img]
    [img]http://www.rytterfalk.com/wp-content/Ferry road.jpg[/img]
    [img]http://www.rytterfalk.com/wp-content/Fishbourne beach.jpg[/img]
    [img]http://www.rytterfalk.com/wp-content/Tranquility.jpg[/img]
    [img]http://www.rytterfalk.com/wp-content/Portsmouth sunrise.jpg[/img]
    [img]http://www.rytterfalk.com/wp-content/Sunset.jpg[/img]
    [img]http://www.rytterfalk.com/wp-content/Reflections.jpg[/img]

  39. Rickard – I’m sorry that my spam filter treated you badly – but now it’s all here. Thanks a lot for the story – And for giving us a glimpse into your photography which I LOVE! Beautiful images, all of them!

  40. Rich3591 says:

    Thanks Carl – that’s a real accolade coming from someone as skilled as you.

  41. Pingback: Why Sigma? « A Lens a Week Blog

  42. Russ says:

    I dont own any Sigma products yet. I have tried out some lenses inthe store (and I like their warmer tone vs Nikon coolness) and ‘may’ buy a DP2 M next month.

    Do you have any thoughts on the latest Sigma imaging processing software?

  43. I have some thoughts Russ. I use SPP on a MacBook Air with 4 GB of RAM (and of course, a SSHD – solid state hard drive). It works quite well. I also use Sony’s Image Data Converter 4 and Nikon’s ViewNX 2.3 (64 bit). I find the SPP works at about the same speed on Sigma SD1 raw images as ViewNX 2.3 does on Nikon D800 raw files. Both are faster than Sony’s Image Data Converter 4, even when only working with 16 MP raw files from my Sony A55. As you can imagine, this is saying a lot, since the Sigma SD1 collects (and stores) about 45 MP worth of raw data in its raw files, while the other cameras hold less information, so their files should process faster. I think that says a lot about Sigma’s SPP software. As far as usability goes, they all seem about at the same level. I also use Apple’s Aperture software, which is of course, better in many ways, as is Adobe’s Lightroom software. For example, none of the programs I have mentioned seem to give the ability to straighten an image, but it is easy to crop and straighten images in Aperture and Lightroom.

  44. Max says:

    Hi,

    I’ve just bought a DP1x for fun. I know it is ‘special’ but I don’t mind. I however saw a trange ‘banding’ red/green on some of my RAW shots (just testing, high iso, checking the limits of the camera, just shooting around) in LR4.

    So I google for this ‘problem’. And I noticed more ppl have this ‘banding’.

    So, my question is: Is it a real problem which some but not all DP1x have? (and I should return the camera) OR is it a ‘normal’ phenomenon of the sensor (DP1x) and I should learn to get around it (e.g. low ISO 50-200, etc)

    Your advice is very welcome

    Because I am impressed by the quality of the output. Just a test shot here http://maxqubit.wordpress.com/2013/05/11/test-shot-with-my-new-sigma-dp1x/

    Brgds,
    Max

  45. Hi Max, I have a Sigma SD14 and have not experienced any “banding” issues. Maybe your camera is faulty? I do not shoot at ISO 400 or above. There is color blotching at high ISO settings with Foveon sensor cameras. Apparently the newer higher resolution cameras, like the SD1 do not have these blotching issues until ISO 800 (and it is minimal at that setting). I normally shoot at low ISO settings anyway. Normally I shoot at ISO 100, but sometimes I step up to ISO 200. I do find this limiting on rare occasions, when I would like to step up to ISO 400 or 800 (usually when shooting close-up shots of fast-moving insects in the wild, because I want to use high shutter speeds with small apertures), so I plan to get an SD1 (and I look forward to the benefit of sharper images as a result). If you are setting your camera to high ISO for color shots you will have weird issues, like color blotching (or maybe banding). I am guessing this has not solved your problem, but good luck figuring out what is wrong anyway.

    :)

  46. Tom Rose says:

    I just finished my first serious outing with a sigma SD1 Merrill (the one with big Foveon chip delivering 15 Mp images from 45 million photosites) and a Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4 OS lens. The images are as wonderful as described. Some people say they look oversharpened – but they are not sharpened at all. Most folk are just not used to seeing a genuinely sharp and artefact-free image with so much micro-detail. Perhaps they spend too much looking through a viewfinder, at a 3″ LCD, at a computer screen, or at phtotographic prints, and not enough looking at reality!

    It is true that Sigma Photo Pro is mandatory (for now) and slow but it does not matter because, unlike the Bayer matrix images I get from my other cameras, they do not need extensive tweaking, sharpening and noise reduction in Lightroom, and that saves a lot of time. So long as you get the exposure right. (My SD1 meter tends to overexpose by about 2/3 stop, whatever mode it is in. As it is best to slightly underexpose I have my exposure compensation set pernmanently to -1). They are pretty much usable as TIFFS or JPGs generated directly from the unmodified X3F files. The only thing I have to do at all aften is select a suitable white balance in Lightroom.

    But what really surprised me was that in Lightroom even the small thumbnails stand out clearly from those of all the other images, including some from CR2 files with much higher pixel counts. This remionds me of the way that filom photographers uised to claim that slides shot with a Leica-M and Leica lenses stood out from others on the light table.

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