SD1 highlights..

[singlepic id=193 w=500 h= float=]
[singlepic id=194 w=500 h= float=]
As noted before, the in-camera jpeg created by the SD1 often has blown highlights when it’s not even close – see above example. Above shot was taken using ISO200 – ISO100 would likely had been blown for real.

Here hoping for Sigma to add some to that jpeg so I can trust what I see on the LCD a bit better. And no, the above shot isn’t finished like that. :) It needs a bit of contrast etc.. But still, works as an example.

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 18-50, Sigma Photo Pro, Sigma SD1. Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to SD1 highlights..

  1. Dan says:

    It is good to see that detail is not lost in the overexposed areas.

  2. nicolas says:

    Hi
    I find rather ridiculous that Sigma dare releasing on the market a camera with such kind of problem when the price tag is 10kUSD
    I could understand that for a 2 000 USD camera like the SD15 but for the SD1…

  3. Andy says:

    The text at the top of the SPP5 screengrab includes …. P(+1,0) …..

    Does that mean the camera was in Program exposure mode with Exposure Compensation set to +1.0 ?
    I would expect that setting to give an overexposed JPEG for the tone distribution in the subject shown.

    • Has nothing really to do with anything – it’s in this case an indication on how the scene was metered – as the background was so light, I had to go plus in order to restore some brightness in those shadows. If I selected another metering method you wouldn’t see +1.0 (perhaps another number or even 0) fact remains. The built in jpeg engine blows highlights easier than any of my other SD cameras. (I’m pretty sure about this).

  4. Don Cox says:

    Burned out highlights have been the biggest problem in digital photography since day one. Both of your examples have burned out highlights – but the JPG is worse.

    I think the problem is that the camera makers forget the rule for positive photography, which is “meter for the highlights and let the shadows take care of themselves”. It looks to me as though they meter for the mid tones, which is no use for either positive or negative images.

    (For negative film you meter for the shadows and let the highlights take care of themselves. Of course there is no negative digital.)

    If the sensors had as wide a dynamic range as negative film, the problem would be less, but they act more like positive film, with quite a limited range.

    • Andy says:

      Confirmation of your idea Don:

      Recently I built a “black-hole” to test, and try to understand, how a Sigma DP2s measures exposure. (And I assume Sigma cameras all share common principles of exposure metering?)

      The “black hole” as shown is a tall metal bucket lined with black paper, and with some black priests’ socks at the bottom (I made sure they were really black ones, not the very very very dark blue type).

      The opening at the top is then half covered with a sheet of plain white paper. That creates the test subject. An area of uniform blackest black, and an area of uniform white, ready to do some tests.

      Sigma DP2s camera set to Program shooting mode, Centre Weighted Average metering and ExpComp 0.0.
      Camera moved over the top of the “black hole” and exposures chosen by the camera’s metering are read off screen and noted as:

      1) Camera screen filled with white paper —> 1/160s at F5.6
      2) Camera screen filled with “black hole” —> 1.6s at F2.8
      That’s an interval of ten stops. So, my black hole is actually ten stops darker than the white paper. All good so far :)

      Now the critical test:
      3) Camera moved until screen is exactly half white and half black, with fuzzy out of focus boundary running vertically through the central AF area. —> 1/15s at F2.8

      What!!!? That’s an interval of FIVE stops above the exposure given in test 1. And all I did was halve the “light” area seen by the camera!

      I was expecting that halving the area of light in the scene would cause the camera to give double the exposure (one stop), because that is what a hand-held lightmeter would do. (Half the total light energy causing meter to indicate one extra stop exposure needed.)

      But what the Sigma DP2s appears to be doing is actually averaging the light values as measured in stops. (Half of ten stops is indeed five stops!) There is a sort of logic to it. (????)

      For the camera model and metering mode that I tested, what this means is that if any scene contains reasonably large areas of darkness then Sigma in-camera metering can give many many stops of extra exposure. The darker the dark areas are then the more extra exposure the camera gives – regardless of what that’s going to do to the highlights.

      Do all modern camera’s meter like this? It seems a bit crazy to me! But what do I know? I learnt my photography using manual only film cameras and a Weston Master V light meter with Invercone!

  5. Barrie Grieve says:

    +1 on meter for the highlights, fill light does a decent job of brining out the shadows. I am going to have another look at he Zone system and see if it can be adapted for working with the X3 sensor since it seems to act like positive film.

  6. Person says:

    Well, the flip side is that foveon shadows are not that clean, but highlight range is good. So, I think in many cases it does make sense to meter for the shadows!

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