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Sigma DP1 reviewed at LL

Discussion in 'The Lounge - Off Topic' started by neutralhills, Apr 18, 2008.

  1. neutralhills

    neutralhills Kilobyte Poster

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    Since the Sigma DP14 was mentioned last week, I thought I'd link to a good review of the Sigma DP1 hand-held over at Luminous Landscape:

    http://luminous-landscape.com/reviews/cameras/sigma-dp1.shtml

    It looks like a promising camera as it is the first in its class with an APS-C sized sensor. Unfortunately, it's one of the much-ballyhooed 4 MP Foveon sensors, which, in real-life are no better than a standard 8-10 MP Beyer mosaic sensor. The high ISO performance is also poor considering the sensor size, but, it produces astoundingly good images at lower ISOs. Best in its class, probably.

    Anyhow, this may interest the other camera geeks here.

    In other news, I've been busy playing with my new G9 instead of getting ready for the RFID+ exam that I'm allegedly studying for. Whoops.
     
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  2. Phoenix
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    Phoenix 53656e696f7220 4d6f64

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    Freddy will be scorned by your opinion of the Foveon :)
     
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  3. ffreeloader

    ffreeloader Terabyte Poster

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    Before you believe what you read in print, maybe it would be a good idea to look at real world results from the Sigma cameras.

    The following link was posted on the DPReview Sigma forum. It compares the DP1, the E-420, and the 5D. Somehow, despite the review you just read, the DP1 held its own.

    http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1027&message=27610046


    Here is a nighttime shot taken with the DP1 at ISO800 with an 8 second exposure.

    http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3123/2344457364_5c86fda49b_o.jpg
     
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  4. ffreeloader

    ffreeloader Terabyte Poster

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    LOL. Maybe it would be good if it was just accurate. Every digital camera has weaknesses and it takes getting used to to learn how to get the best results with them. Blanket statements made about how Sigma cameras just can't take low light shots, can't print over certain sizes, or are just too noisy, just aren't true.

    Take a look at the real world results before you accept what a magazine review says when the magazine itself is dependent for it's life on advertising from Canon, Nikon, Olympus, etc.... I'm not accusing them of outright bias or corruption, but money talks, and you know it.
     
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  5. neutralhills

    neutralhills Kilobyte Poster

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    One of the services I offer is custom printing for other photographers. I own large format printers. They don't. I have a couple of customers who have me make competition grade prints from files off their Sigmas. I can tell you that the deciding factor in the quality is the skill of the photographer.

    The Sigma images are good at lower ISOs, but noticeably more noisy than equivalent Canon, Nikon, or Olympus products. Because of the small size of the image files produced (they're extraordinarily sharp 4 MP files due to the lack of a AA filter on the sensor), they require uprezzing for large print sizes. At this point they start to lag behind the big boys with higher pixel counts as uprezzing drops the quality.

    Still, you can make a good oversized print from a Sigma file if you know what you're doing when you interpolate it.

    So, yes, I've looked at a lot of prints in the real world (I belong to and am active in a fair number of professional photography organizations).

    Can it do 8 minutes? 80 minutes? The night shooters I've talked to so far agree that it can't. You can easily push a Canon 1Ds over four hours for a single exposure. Same with a Nikon. Better yet, you're not stuck with a puny image file after all that effort.
     
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  6. ffreeloader

    ffreeloader Terabyte Poster

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    I've seen 30 second exposures with the SD14 that turned nighttime into daytime with incredible IQ and no noise. Not everyone needs, or wants to take 8 or 80 minute exposures. If a person's type of photography requires exposures of that length, well, then that's another story and maybe the huge increase in cost may be justified, but even then there are workarounds such as image stacking.

    I've seen way too many images to buy into all negative reviews of the Sigma cameras. It's a niche camera. It's made for specific types of photography and photographers who enjoy shooting manual, not having their camera do their choosing for them, and to whom image quality is their first objective....
     
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  7. ffreeloader

    ffreeloader Terabyte Poster

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  8. Phoenix
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    Phoenix 53656e696f7220 4d6f64

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    Oh ffs Freddy, its THAT kind of comment that people object to
    anyone spending money on a dSLR, of ANY brand, is likely to shoot manual if they are a keen photographer
    I dont mind you supporting a product, i dont know enough about this one to object anyhow
    I do object to the wording that makes it sound like anyone not buying the camera your talking about just runs around in auto mode and doesnt care too much about image quality, I think every keen photographer cares about image quality, every keen photographer wants to get the best out of their camera they can
     
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  9. ffreeloader

    ffreeloader Terabyte Poster

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    You misunderstood my point, Phoenix. If you read the reviews that pan the Sigma's they say it's too slow saving pictures, it's autofocus isn't fast enough to do action sports, it can't do low light photography, etc.... Well, it wasn't designed to do actions sports, if it was it would have a much faster processor and it would focus faster, but it can do low light photography, and prints can be made well in excess of anything neutralhills thinks, etc.... It's "weaknesses" are because of what Sigma decided were priorities when they built the camera.

    Sigma didn't go for bells and whistles, they went for one thing: image quality. And, their image quality stacks up very well against cameras that cost anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars more. If a person does macro and landscape photography it's as about good as any pro cameras out there that are anywhere within the price reach of 90% of dedicated amateur photographers. The fact that pros use it and compete successfully says a lot about it.

    I'm not knocking anyone who owns a Canon, Nikon, Olympus, etc... I'm saying if you put the Sigma in its element its as good as any others, and better than most.
     
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  10. neutralhills

    neutralhills Kilobyte Poster

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    Hey, nice six second exposures. And look at that blooming around the highlights in the original-sized images. Thats some amazing sensor design.
     
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  11. neutralhills

    neutralhills Kilobyte Poster

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    You don't say.
     
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  12. Mitzs
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    Mitzs Ducktape Goddess

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    Thats a pretty neat slide show!:)
     
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  13. ffreeloader

    ffreeloader Terabyte Poster

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    LOL. I've seen worse light bloom than that in pictures taken with expensive Canons and Nikons. Light bloom is just an effect of some area of the picture having much greater intensity of light than the rest, and it blows out the highlights right there. That's all it is. You get the same thing in film and bayer sensors. All film and all sensors are susceptible to it. No photography technology today is capable of infinite dynamic range. All exposures with great differences of intensity between light sources are judgment calls on the part of the photographer and what it is he is wanting to capture.

    Are you really ignorant enough to blame the sensor for the photographer's choice of how he exposed the picture, or do you just think I am dumb enough to accept such a weak argument? :rolleyes:
     
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  14. neutralhills

    neutralhills Kilobyte Poster

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    That's incorrect. Print film doesn't "bloom", which is why it's so popular for shooting weddings (those white dresses make life hell for digital photographers). Print film has a characteristic S-curve response with a shoulder at the top that preserves highlights with extreme prejudice. Some specialty films, like TMAX, have a "straight line" response curve, but these are the exception rather than the rule.

    Shooting digital is more like shooting colour reversal film, where you have to be careful to expose for the highlights. Except that with colour reversal film, the silver halide grains being saturated do not automatically spread to neighboring grains, thus, no bloom. Blooming was a real problem with CCD sensors, but has largely been eliminated since the move to CMOS. About the only time you'll really see "blooming" with CMOS is when you're shooting the sun directly (sunballs).

    I see this type of blooming on my pocket digicams with the smaller CCD sensors, but it doesn't appear on my Canon 300D, 20D, or 5D.

    Now, to be fair to the Foveon, bloom and CA can be very easy to confuse. The pro grade lenses available to Canon, Nikon, and Olympus owners pretty much eliminate this. When you see bloom in an image from these cameras, it's probably the lens that is the issue. Since Sigma dSLRs limit you to their proprietary lens mount and wildly variable lenses, it's feasible to say that the nasty fringing in the 40 or so night shots I looked at could have been caused by Sigma's lenses. So it's entirely possible that the Foveon sensor is blameless here. Except, having seen strange halos in previous versions of the sensor that couldn't have possibly been explained by CA, I'm inclined to lay the blame at Foveon's doorstep.

    The Foveon sensor is a wonderful concept and I'd love for it to work as advertised, except that every time I hold a Foveon print in my hands I can see it's not even close. :-(
     
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  15. neutralhills

    neutralhills Kilobyte Poster

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    I'd like to revisit this comment. Serious digital photographers are quickly learning that bodies are not forever, but the lens system you invest in, is. More importantly, no matter how good the sensor is in the camera, it's no better or worse than the piece of glass that you hang in front of it. So photographers for "whom image quality is their first objective" tend to gravitate towards the lens system first.

    Right now the lens fanatics are all making a beeline for Olympus -- their Zuiko lenses really are that good. The rest are divided between Nikon and Canon. I'm firmly in the Canon camp with many thousands of dollars of L grade pro glass parked in my bag. Some of these lenses are now on their fifth Canon body and they'll see a few more. I'm more invested in the lenses than the camera bodies and sensors at this point.

    Now, looking at it from this angle, Sigma's lenses are highly mediocre. Yes, they get good reviews, but in the real world a lot of people have to take three or four lenses back to the store before getting a "good" one. Even the "good" ones have some highly irritating quirks and require lots of tinkering to keep them in one piece. Someone who puts image quality first generally doesn't put Sigma lenses in their bag.

    So even if the Foveon sensor was the greatest thing since sliced bread, what serious photographer is going to lock themselves into a camera system that only accepts lenses from one manufacturer, and mediocre lenses at that? The Sigma DP14 is a non-starter for this reason.

    The sensor in the DP14 (same sensor that is in the DP1) is about on par with Canon's 30D, albeit it doesn't handle night shooting as gracefully. That's not the problem. The problem is that it comes stuck in a body that is even more of an ergonomic nightmare than Canon's 5D (which takes some doing, believe me), and that is restricted to using one particularly, very mediocre lens system. If you're an image quality fanatic, the Sigma SD14 should be near the bottom of the list, and this would remain the case even if I thought the sensor was a gift bestowed directly upon mankind from God Himself.

    Now.

    The DP1 is a different beast. The Foveon sensor for all of its warts has a significant size advantage over the miniscule sensor in every other pocket camera. Bigger photosites means a bigger bucket for pixels, cleaner images, the whole nine yards. If you want a high quality pocket cam, Sigma has just upped the ante by finally putting an APS-C sized sensor into a portable package. The DP1 is a very compelling choice that anyone buying a pocket cam should consider.

    My 2 cents.
     
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  16. Phoenix
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    Phoenix 53656e696f7220 4d6f64

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    I must say this thread has turned out to be really interesting
    I know it can get a little heated, two very smart people disagreeing on things, but the output is incredible, lots of things to understand and consider :)

    Good job chaps :)
     
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  17. ffreeloader

    ffreeloader Terabyte Poster

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    Once again, I will just show examples to offset the dogma of ignorance.

    Here is a Miami photographer's work that shoots with the Sigma SD14 and Sigma glass. The print in question is 27x35 inches, and he has even larger ones. Some are as large as 40x60. This print sells for $500, but he has others in the $2500 range. Anyone that says pro's aren't using Sigma's and can't use them because of their limitations simply doesn't understand how to to use the Sigma.

    The digital workflow for the Sigma is much different than for cameras using the bayer sensors, and if you try to use the bayer workflow with the Foveon sensor you will not get the same results. Many people blame the camera or sensor when it's their workflow that's the problem. Now, I'm not the expert in workflow, I've just read enough on the Sigma forums to know that in the right hands the Sigmas will product world class results, and time after time people who are complaining about the results they are getting with their new Sigma are advised on how to approach the workflow. If they listen, they become Sigma enthusiasts. If they don't, they sell their Sigma's convinced the camera is no good.

    It's a matter of knowing your tools and how to use them.
     
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  18. fortch

    fortch Kilobyte Poster

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    I can't believe the debate of image quality, that neutral readily explained, is again centered much too strongly on image sensors, and not glass. While I've read the Foveon stuff over and over, the weaknesses of Sigma's bodies overrule the benefits. In relation, I have Sigma glass too, even stuff that gets good reviews, and it doesn't compare to L glass (or its' equivalent). When you rate the overall PQ from a camera system, I'd go out on a limb and say you'd want quality glass over anything else -- at least the pros I know say so.

    Add to that, neutral has a unique experience seeing the differences in RL. Now, I love DPReview, and I study the web as well, but that kind of experience is hard to debate against.

    However, although I own a 20D, I will be looking at the DP1 for a small P.A.S. Man, is it ugly though :biggrin
     
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  19. ffreeloader

    ffreeloader Terabyte Poster

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    Sorry, Fortch, but I just have to laugh. I point you guys right at a pro who obviously sells his images for far more than either neutralhills or you do. He uses Sigma cameras and Sigma glass. He has prints for sale, taken with his Sigma cameras and glass that are as large as 5'x7' with many in the 2'x3' range which according you guys is simply impossible with his equipment, and what do you guys do? Ignore the evidence right in front of your eyes.

    There is none so blind as he who will not see.
     
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