A few shots and..

Får i StarrkärrOriginal size
I have not left the planet. ;) But my SD15 is currently in the hands of a friend and the SD1 just arrived back from Bengt Werner who wanted to try it out.. Now, seeing that the new Firmware is out (1.03) I upgraded and went out a couple of times this week, these shots are all from yesterday and they’re all low ISO (max 200) but I did take a few ISO800 a couple of days ago that looked stunning. It feels like the SD1 has grown a lot since the first firmware and it’s now more quick in respons and I also feel that exposures ends up much more controlled than before. A lot better. The sunny shot below was well balanced but the strong evening sun was problematic for ISO100, but to my big surprised it wasn’t a ruined shot as it would have been in the past but it was all nice looking in SPP 5.1. See screen of what it looked like before processing! 

Btw, the PhotoScala wooden shell for the SD1 isn’t my cup of tea. Perhaps if they made something that fits truly tight and made out of beautiful leather. :D That would be super awesome.

Another note, these shots are all hand held using the super great 120-300 OS and luminance is turned to the lowest setting in SPP so that no detail would be left out. Some has been slightly sharpened after and some has not. I’m not sure how the new SPP 5.1 does sharpening so I feel a bit unsure about it yet.

Får i StarrkärrOriginal sizeFår i StarrkärrOriginal sizeFår i StarrkärrOriginal sizeFår i StarrkärrOriginal size



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 120-300, Sigma Photo Pro, Sigma SD1 and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

28 Responses to A few shots and..

  1. Daniel Larsson says:

    Even if you did not sharpen the photos, Flicker always sharpens the resized images quite a lot (not the original though, I think).

  2. And judging sharpness from a tiny resize could never get you anywhere. :) and that’s why those originals so often are available – and yes, those are left untouched. (as far as I know).

    But sharpness isn’t all..

  3. LionelB says:

    The last one is good enough to eat :-)

    The wool feels like lambswool and the grass feels like grass.

    The top one with its mother has wool on its face which seems more coarse and suggesting wire. Some hints of the metallic/plastic texture seen with the early SPP on SD1 ?

    The camera can produce beautiful shots though. That is clear. Maybe it will be adapted into an SD16 that we can afford …

    Very good to see you back Carl.

    • Well, the coarseness of the first shot is perhaps due to two things, one being shutter speed not enough and or, OS not working 100% at this very moment. Two, it’s sharpened using SPP, and perhaps I should have taking it that extra mile and saved it as “sharpness -2″ and sharpened it later using whatever tool. :)

      Ah well.. if we look beyond sharpness I think it’s fair to say that those subtle tones look real enough. :)

      • LionelB says:

        There is a lot of brown colour in the first, the last is just white. Maybe that is a difference too. I have seen some *horrible* browns from the SD1. Maybe it is about the way micro-contrast is working. The definition slider (= micro contrast adjustment) in Aperture versus edge sharpening (if it is that) in SPP might be an interesting test.
        Tones great, yes indeed.

      • Whisky says:

        Visiting your site years ago resulted in my buying an SD14 which has now been currently superceded by an SD15.
        Having a run through some of your articles and I noted you were asking for any suggestions on ‘Sharpening’ apps. One by FixerLabs.com is called ‘FocusFixer’ which I have used occasionally and it seems to do something. It does support SD15 etc. and is a PS plugin.
        Since I do not have the understanding of how good this plugin performance really is at the level you are working to, it would be interesting to know what your thoughts were ?
        I have BenVista PhotoZoom Pro 2 and would be interested in your comments about this also.
        Nice to see you are back in circulation although no doubt very busy.

  4. Carl is Back!
    I am seriously looking at adding Aperture to my workflow. The latest version of iPhoto has been “dumbed down” and leaves me wanting more. Especially now that the App store sells it for such a reasonable price.
    SD1 seems to be evolving well. But processing in SPP is still slower than *#&*.

  5. John Driggers says:

    Carl-Uh…welcome back from wherever you were. I was getting a little worried about you.

    Paul-Why aperture? I have Aperture 3 & Lightroom 3 and have made concentrated efforts to incorporate A3 into my workflow, but always end up returning to LR3 for ease of use. I really want to like A3, but I need some help.

    Cheers JD

  6. JD, I have LR2 but have never been super happy with it and figured if Carl and a few others like Aperture so much maybe I would like it better. Plus I don’t want to loose integration with iLife.

  7. LionelB says:

    I prefer to hit Delete rather than spend years studying advanced surgery in Photoshop. Layers are to me intimidating and too technical. The brushes in Aperture 3 are nice because they are like splashing [a very unusual type of] paint on a wall. Using layers is more like putting up wallpaper — lots of measuring, cutting and matching.
    For fans of the radical makeover Aperture may not always deliver sufficient punch but for general tidying up it is easy and flexible.

  8. John Driggers says:

    I guess my biggest challenge with Aperture is proofing and then editing large numbers of files quickly. A typical day sees about 2-300 exposures, with a delivery requirement for about 60-90 the following morning. I can sort and select fairly quickly in bothLR3 and A3, but have not figured out how to efficiently edit my picks in A3. The synch and make-like-previous-photo editing tools in L3 really save me time.

    I appreciate the comments about Photoshop and layers, but I really asked about Aperture vs Lightroom. I do like the easy round trip to Photoshop from LR3 for perspective correction ( I don’t like the tools in LR3 for that and A3 really requires third party plugins for that)-but that’s about all I use Photoshop for.

    Cheers JD

    If I am just working a few photos from my personal work, aperture is fine.

  9. LionelB says:

    With a busy professional schedule the choice might well be different. I am just an enthusiast. I am far from expert but ‘split view’ looks like a good way to flick through images quickly, selecting some for later development.
    I don’t know Lightroom at all but ‘make-like-previous’ sounds like the Lift and Stamp HUD in Aperture, which replicates settings from one image across dozens of images in seconds.
    Digging deep into the Aperture menus and figuring out the real potential of ‘simple’ tools is a bit bewildering for sure.
    Split-toning is elegant but not called ‘split-toning’ and not even mentioned in the manual.

  10. LionelB says:

    Incidentally, Perspective Transform in Acorn is something that even I find incredibly simple to use for straightening buildings.

  11. Claus says:

    Lovely pics. I am really intrigued by this camera, but somewhat the purchase impulse is not triggered. I shoot on professional assignments and between SD1’s 8-9k USD price tag and say a Hasselblad H4D-40 18-20k … in these price ranges it’s anyhow about taking out a loan. I then wonder if not more interesting to switch to Medium Format :
    – You can obtain huge DOF at ‘quality safe’ aperture settings, so you’re not obliged to crank down to f2.8 where the lens doesn’t resolve so well.
    – The system is modular, point and shoot but also true studio camera systems with bellow movements for perspective correction and so on.
    – Live view, plus great reliable software.
    – True 16 bit color capture, large photo sites.
    – 5-star Service
    – Stellar optics with great corner to corner sharpness.
    All in all these points, plus the fact that it’s a long term serious investment, the expandability of the system … My gut feeling is that taking the plunge for a MF system will in the end pay out more. It’s a hefty price-tag but that’s like with all things that are called ‘investment’ in life.

  12. Claus says:

    Or even Hasselblad’s H4D 31 entry level system which ‘just’ goes for 13k, documenting yourself about the advantages of large sensor photography and lenses, the affiliated professional-grade studio accessories, perspective control and so on, this really starts to make sense. It will obviously appeal more to product / landscape shooters than reportage shooters.

  13. John Driggers says:

    Yeah, I’ve just been experimenting with lift and stamp. Looks promising. Acorn tool next. Thanks. JD

  14. Mark Alan Thomas says:

    Aperture’s ability to have multiple instances of each adjustment — for instance, more than one curves adjustment on a single image — plus the ability to change how those curves affect the underlying color channels — luminance only or RGB — are really tremendously cool features.

  15. LionelB says:

    Sadly though, Sigma raw files *still* not supported …
    A bridge other than .tiff from SPP would be a step forward.

  16. Danni Coy says:

    Hmmm – looks very similar to what I am getting out of the SD14 + 70mm f2.8 only with a lot more pixels. That’s good, Hopefully the price will come down before my camera wears out.

  17. Claus says:


    Checked some of the RAW files from previous. I’m just on a shoot and the photographer is working with the new H4D31 Hasselblad (which comes in at a ‘low’ 13.000 USD pricetag) … quite honestly the H4D’s 31 MP files blow the Sigma SD1’s fake 41MP files out of the water. I suspect the primary reason for this is sheer sensor size, the size of the photobuckets, and how much easier it is for the optics to resolve properly on that larger sensor-size. Sigma glass can in no way compete with this standard on a APS-C sensor … now matter how good the Sensor is, or even the glass (which in case of Sigma I somewhat doubt about ) … these are plain and simply physical limits.

    Oh, you get also true 16 bit color.

    So, contemplating Sigma’s insane price-tag for it’s ‘toy on steroids’ SD1, and if you already have the funds to buy in this price-bracket my recommendation would be to upgrade to one of the Medium-format entry-level models (Hassy, Pentax, Leaf etc.) and stear clear of ‘middle of the road high-end solutions’ like the SD1, which to me is definitely not a true high-end player, there’s to much trickery behind the scenes, the upsampling, the weird, boosted steroid-like colors, doubtfull quality of glass … nothing looks ‘true’, and to me that’s what high-end should be about.

  18. LionelB says:

    That makes the H4D31 quite a lot more expensive than the SD1 but of course anyone serious about spending that sort of money on a camera would go for the Hasselblad. There is no contest. Whether they would dare to take either of them out onto the street or up a mountain is a different matter.
    We are all agreed that the proper price point for a camera like the SD1 is around 2,000 USD — and then the comparison falls flat.
    The colours are not “steroid-like”, not pumped up. They have been messy and strange, as opposed to exaggerated. Of course if I was fortunate enough to have the Hasselblad I would not put Sigma glass on it but that really isn’t the point.
    As for “trickery behind the scenes” surely that is what all digital cameras do ? It is called in camera processing. Show me a digital camera which doesn’t have electronic trickery …

  19. Claus says:

    Sure, there’s processing everywhere. But I think if you have really solid base-assets like a true large format sensor, the glass less of that is needed. At least looking at the H4D’s files it just looked ‘truly photographic’ to me, strangely I don’t get that from the SD1’s output, can’t really relate to the colors which do not seem natural to me … and there’s still some color blotching, and even on pixel level it doesn’t look that crazy handsome. The H4D’s output just looks ‘true’ and not pixel-ish and digital.

  20. LionelB says:

    The tiny sensor on the very pocketable Ricoh GR D III is wonderfully filmic in black and white and adequate in density for 90% of enthusiast prints. Again, an illustration of what can be done at any size when the technology is developed by people who really care about it and who are not chasing after the mass market. With all formats what serious photographers need is passionate engineers at the controls, rather than advertising copy-writers. Competence wins over hype, any day.

  21. John Driggers says:

    Acorn was a disaster–way too slow on a current 2.7 /i7 macbook pro with 8 gig ram.

    Aperture stills feels and works for me like a single photo at a time editor, dispute lift and stamp.

    I’v settled on LR3. Thanks for all the suggestions.

    On a related note, Carl has visited and left the planet again. Not a criticism, just an observation.

    It seems that, absent a high-quality and realistically priced Foveon camera, that the DP series and the few SD14/15’s out there are the end of the line for normal users.

    Other than a few very specialised sites like this one (and this one is becoming dormant), there’s virtually no real interest in the SD1 it is likely the last of the Foveon DSLRs. Sad, but probably true.

  22. “We are all agreed that the proper price point for a camera like the SD1 is around 2,000 USD” . . . wrong. We are not agreed. I believe the SD1 is actually UNDER-PRICED. That’s right . . . the Sigma SD1 is underpriced. It should cost MORE than the Nikon D3x, because it resolves more detail and it does it with a 1.5 crop sensor, giving the SD1 the ability to do things that NOTHING else can do, including ALL other APS-C sensor cameras, such as the new Sony A77, the Canon 7 D, and the latest and greatest APS-C sensor camera from Nikon, the D7000. The Sigma SD1 shoots noise-free images at ISO 100. No conventional APS-C sensor camera I have ever seen can do that. The SD1 actually captures with noise levels of the best full-frame cameras, but with the size and telephoto advantages of a camera with an APS-C size sensor.

    With that said, if you don’t believe me, just look how the old Foveon sensor compared to a 12.8 megapixel full-frame Canon:


    . . . and compare the center of these two resolution charts:

    Nikon D3x –

    Sigma SD1 –

    And if that doesn’t convince you, then look at Kendall’s gallery here:


    You can see the full-size images by clicking the thumbnails, and then clicking original below the larger image.

    As far as comparing the Hasselblad H4D31 to the Sigma SD1, I have not done that. I am also surprised that there is a big difference between that camera and the Nikon D3x, since it is only 7 megapixels more than the Nikon (only about 30% more pixels). Does the Hassy have moire issues? One note about medium format cameras . . . what do their lenses cost? What do they weigh? How fast do they shoot? Is there an 800mm f5.6 lens for a Hassy? Is there a super-wide-angle zoom for the Hassy (or any medium format camera), which gives the equivalent angle of view that the Sigma 8-16mm gives? Are there lenses with image stabilization available for medium format cameras? How carryable is a medium format kit with a camera and five lenses?

    I’ve done lots of research, but I have not been comparing the SD1 against medium format cameras, not only because a medium format camera weighs more and costs more, but because of the limited lens selection of the medium format world. I also don’t want a camera that shoots at only 2 fps. I would consider the Leica S2, but it too has the disadvantage of a very limited lens selection and only 3 fps shooting speed (though that is much more reasonable than just 1 or 2 fps). Then there is the price of the S2 body and lenses.

  23. I forgot to mention . . . the medium format cameras with 22, 31, and 40 megapixel sensors only capture 10 megapixels of red (or less). They are the same in the blue range (as long as there is not much green component of the blue). How are those cameras supposed to compete with the 14.6 megapixels of red and 14.6 megapixels of blue that the Sigma SD1 captures, when shooting a red-haired girl, wearing a red dress, against a deep blue sky? I would like to see that test. I would like to see how much better the SD1 performs in that situation, when being compared against the new Sony A77 too. The thing is, there are certain situations, where the Foveon sensors really shine. Shooting red is one of those situations. Take a look at these three photos:

    The first is a photo from an SD1, the second is from a Nikon D3x, and the third is from a Sony A77. If you look at the red badge on the label on the Samuel Smith beer bottle in the bottom right, you will see there is NO COMPARISON. The SD1 blows away the 24 megapixel cameras at ISO 100 in situations where there is pure red against black. I suspect the same is true for pure blue. The photos are all from the image compare tool at Imaging-resource.com, and I thank them for their testing. Please take a look at their site, because they deserve the extra traffic, because of all their hard work. Please urge them to do a full review of the Sigma SD1 (using a Sigma 70mm f2.8 macro lens, rather than the 17-50mm f2.8 OS).

  24. Ricky says:

    While King Carl is working so hard, I’m writing: “…still, I can’t believe all the effort for the new sensor will be always bound only to the SD1 price – where prosumer are completely out. The SD16 should be now in some plans… next year announcement… I hope. Otherwise… it’s the SA-suicide. DPs are still fine.”

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