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Author Topic: Sigma Quattro DP2  (Read 8721 times)

dumainew

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Sigma Quattro DP2
« on: August 22, 2014, 03:02:02 pm »

Hello All,
Thought I'd start a new thread on the latest Sigma camera, hoping I've chosen the right forum.
Mine came two days ago and I've just begun to take fotos with it.
There's some confusion about the recent firmware update. The website instructs you to determine what version is in your camera and then update it if it's the old one. However, I called Sigma to ask about this and they told me to ignore updating the firmware since it's already in the camera. A bit confusing....
Other then the firmware confusion, I can already tell that it requires a high level of knowledge on the users part.
Please chime in to this thread if you're using this camera.
Richard
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Alan Smallbone

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Re: Sigma Quattro DP2
« Reply #1 on: August 26, 2014, 11:04:12 am »

Well you need to upgrade to the new firmware if your camera does not have it, the new version of SPP requires the new firmware, does not hurt to check.

I have one of the cameras. Still learning a lot about it, definitely a niche camera.

Alan
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Alan Smallbone
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dumainew

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Re: Sigma Quattro DP2
« Reply #2 on: August 27, 2014, 02:12:48 am »

Hi Alan,
It does seem quirky, but the first fotos it's made look pretty remarkable.
Went to your webite and read your review of it. Very informative. Thanks.
Richard
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Alan Smallbone

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Re: Sigma Quattro DP2
« Reply #3 on: August 27, 2014, 09:40:28 am »

Richard,

Thanks glad you found the article. The camera will deliver great images if you are careful. I also picked up a DP 3Merrill and will use them to supplement my other cameras. Black and white conversions from the Sigma cameras have really great tones and to me see a little richer than from other cameras. There is a lot of potential, too bad the software is not a little better to use.

Alan
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Alan Smallbone
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amilewide

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Re: Sigma Quattro DP2
« Reply #4 on: September 05, 2014, 11:31:00 pm »

Richard,

Thx for starting this thread, and Alan thx for your thorough review.  I have been a Foveon shooter for several years, while the IQ is amazing, a workflow that requires SPP is unacceptable.  To do something, I have teamed with a couple of imaging scientist.  We have formed a company, and hope to utilize advice and contacts that Kevin and Michael have provided, with the goal of providing Sigma users with an in-camera DNG output.

This is a complex problem - both a technically and politically.  Adobe's current DNG standard is built around Bayer imagers and does not support the Foveon case.  In it's current form, it would only yield a linear DNG file, which is little more than a TIFF with a .dng extension.  As the only vertical array imager on the market, Sigma must shoulder the cost and resources needed to expand the current DNG format to include extensions for metadata and computational instructions that are unique to the Foveon imager.  If Sigma is willing to finance this effort, it may be possible for Adobe to provide the engineering resources involved in expanding their "open" DNG format to DNG.fov - a standards-based RAW format that enables Foveon shooters a direct Adobe and CaptureOne workflow. 

We are 4 months into this project, and believe there is great potential in the Foveon imager as a landscape, product or studio camera.  A FF Foveon may provide MF image quality at 1/10th cost of existing MF systems, extending MF performance to the masses.  Further, if Sigma is willing to fund and implement DNG.fov standard RAW format with Adobe, they could begin licensing Foveon to Canon and Nikon, who have substantial ecosystems and established value chains.  A demanding imager could only help drive the sales of high-end Canon and Nikon lenses.  i.e. a mirrorless, FF Foveon, with F mount, and tilting LCD, and optimized pipeline.

Scott
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Alan Smallbone

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Re: Sigma Quattro DP2
« Reply #5 on: September 09, 2014, 12:26:23 pm »

Well that is certainly a pipe dream, in my opinion. Since DNG is not really supported by CaptureOne that is not really an option. I also think the chances of Sigma funding it would not be likely and also the concept of Canon buying into the sensor is pretty far fetched. Canon did their own patent on a foveon like sensor. Nikon also seem to be pretty locked in to Sony sensors, and with the sensor in the D800 why would they even look at the foveon type chip! While an interesting concept I think the chances are pretty slim, but nice that you are trying.

I also think with cameras like the 645z becoming more reasonable and the technology on larger sensors becoming more economical it would be a lot more likely that market will expand. The Sigmas are really interesting cameras, and I enjoy mine, they are very niche oriented. I really wonder how fast a multilayer foveon sensor can be read, and going to FF would need quite a bit more data. Faster read rates can be higher noise, which the Sigmas seem to get a lot of noise quickly. Dynamic range on the foveon does not seem as great as on some of the current cmos sensors, but the is just me being opinionated and not having tested it scientifically. The foveon sensor does not seem to respond to higher gains, high ISO as well as CMOS chips. Especially compared to the 645z and even with other smaller cmos sensors.

Also as I have mentioned in other posts there is an alternative to SPP at least on Windows and that is Helicon Filter. I am hoping the Sigma will improve SPP and make it faster and easier to use. But once you have converted the raw files it is better edited in other platforms.

Alan
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Alan Smallbone
Orange County, CA

amilewide

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Re: Sigma Quattro DP2
« Reply #6 on: September 09, 2014, 03:35:53 pm »

Thx for sharing you valuable insights and experiences!

I'm certainly out of the mainstream, and have a love affair with my under-pixeled Sigma DP1x and DP2S, which are both ACR supported.  But, without Adobe support, they are paper weights IMO.  But with LR/PS support, Sigma's DP series could deliver MF-like experience to the masses.  While there's room for more pixels in Bayer imagers, especially with larger formats, big chips can do not have an economic play.  And even my D800 is diffraction limited between F5.6 and F8.  What happens when pixels shrink to 3u or smaller?  The Airy disk will limit many apertures, should resolution be the objective.  This is where the vertical array could offer more with fewer, larger pixels, but can not win  without RAW file compatability.

I enjoyed LuLa's "The Mirrorless Revolution" video.  Right or wrong, the old western middle class is fading.  Projections for the new global middle class (who will fund the industry and shape it's direction) is in diapers as we speak.  Turning 53 next week, and my vote will not count much longer.  Across 20 years, the Asia Pac middle class is projected to grow 540%.  What will be?  Film, LF, MF, FF will all survive, but to what extent?  "Good Enough" may be the new perfect.  Will print output matter?  What purpose will resolution provide beyond, cropping latitude?  What kind of incredible detail will future displays support?  For that matter, will cameras, as we know them, vanish like audio turn tables and cassette decks. How much longer before the sensor is embedded into a contact lens, which is happening now in DoD research.

Thanks again for your thoughts.  Our hoped for outcome is simple - to enable a direct X3 file workflow with Adobe.

Have fun, and keep up the great work.

Scott

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Quentin

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Quentin Bargate, ARPS, Author, Arbitrato

amilewide

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Re: Sigma Quattro DP2
« Reply #8 on: September 10, 2014, 04:57:28 pm »

Hi Quentin,

New to LuLa, learning my way around, so thx for directing me to the DPQ2 thread - quite thorough, no stones left unturned.  Enjoyed contributions around 1:4:1, 4:2:1 and other geometries.  As you and others mentioned, it's healthy to have alternatives to Sony's imagers.  One thing I truly enjoy about Sigma's offering (beyond IQ) is the choice of exquisite color and monochrome rendering options. 

With great fortune, I met Kevin Raber last year, who has been kind enough to assist in our efforts toward the development of an Adobe workflow for X3 RAWs.  He is meeting directly with Kazuto-san next week in Cologne, and as both he and Michael have suggested, will emphasize the importance of a DNG or ACR support for Sigma's future.  Kevin is aware of Kalpanika, our team is steeped in expertise across physics/optics, computer science, colorimetry, and digital imaging domains.  We are in conversation with Eric Chan and Sharad Mangalick at Adobe, and have offered our assistance should VCF array extensions be considered for inclusion in their upcoming revision of the DNG spec.  As you likely know, Adobe's current roadmap does not include Sigma or support for VCF arrays.


Especially liked your automotive exposures - outstanding compositional and WB craftsmanship.  As with Alan, I would value your thoughts around solutions for Adobe compatibility. What do you think it would mean to Sigma?  Would it change their product adoption significantly, or not?  Many don't seem to mind SPP for casual landscape work, but if one shoots prolifically, the SPP > TIFF >Adobe workflow becomes a deal breaker, and why I sold my SD1M, and replaced it with a D800.

Lastly, Departing for Iceland next week - hoping my Q is delivered soon!  Spending Sep 18 & 19 in London prior to departing for Reykjavik, noticed you are ~ 60 km north. Should you wish to meet for a colonist for lunch or a pint, I could hop a Northbound rail.

Regards,

Scott
   
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Alan Smallbone

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Re: Sigma Quattro DP2
« Reply #9 on: September 11, 2014, 09:32:05 am »

Scott,

Well it does sound promising about getting future support. I guess it will come down to whether or not Adobe decides to dedicate the resources. I do hope it works out, I would prefer just raw development and not necessarily having the camera generate a DNG. That aspect may be more viable, than having the specs changed, the camera firmware modified and the additional raw support. Just raw conversion support would be seemingly simpler and less complicated path, but I might missing something.

Please keep us updated with what information you can provide.

Alan
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Alan Smallbone
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amilewide

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Re: Sigma Quattro DP2
« Reply #10 on: September 11, 2014, 10:43:39 am »

Alan,

Thank your for your additional thoughts!  I would like to encourage this type of exchange, as I have been obsessing about this stuff for 2+ years now, and I am not alone.  Sigma has the opportunity to do something amazing - Unleash MF image quality to the masses, at 1/10th cost of existing MF systems.

We are keen to hear from experienced photographers - to better understand your "user experience" expectations, AND get your views on the expectation of photographers who might comprise the next wave of Sigma camera adopters.  While I can only guess, I would think that many experienced photographers and enthusiasts will remain on the fence and will wait for ACR support.  Some of these may be more willing now that the Merrill series has been discounted, and a DPQ is only the price of a single decent lens.  The "disruptive workflow" can be a deal breaker, as enthusiasts have full time jobs - in this regard, they too are like professionals, with limited time and resources for shooting, and pp-ing.  The "Two Step Tango" (SPP> TIFF>LR) can easily devalue what would otherwise be a wonderful artistic and photographic experience.  And let's not discount the additional DAM burden, as having a replicate set of large X3F and TIFF files effectively doubles asset management complexity and storage requirements - we do live in a world that is moving toward the Cloud, right?  This translates into addition telecom and Cloud storage costs.  Ah, the convenience of digital electronic photography :)

Admittedly, our hoped-for outcome is a long shot - so I must set expectations low.  Sigma seems to view that Adobe should included their offerings as ACR supported cameras; Adobe's view is the VCF array is a completely different computational transformation with complexities requiring additional Adobe resources, coupled with the market data that suggests Sigma's marketshare is but a thin line on the industry's pie chart.  Further, while Sigma has much to gain IMHO, what's in it for Adobe?   

Adobe has their hands full with revenue concerns of their own, tying up precious resources, as shifting to SaaS and CC subscriptions.  Have you read many positive reviews around CC?  While $10 USD/mo. is a reasonable price, many seem to whine - perhaps it is just a matter of adjusting to change.  Not sure how the SaaS approach will fly in AsiaPac, where the hope-for future revenues will originate, as outside of Enterprise SW, these cultures have been pirating SW for years.  I am not attacking this from a value perspective, as I grew up in a wealth country, with two well-educated parents, and plenty of resources.  But my friends from China and India mention it will take a generation or so for attitudes to shift.

Google, MS/Nokia, and Apple are in a very different position - what if Apple, with the release of Yosemite, releases a decent alternative with "Photo" - which I understand will offer a combination of iPhoto and Aperture capabilities (presumed RAW support), and doing so in the "new normal" fashion - giving it away for free with their HW?  MS/Nokia's 1020 is the first smartphone to offer RAW output.  What if this trend develops into the norm?  One simple way to improve the already amazing quality of smartphone imaging is to extend pp-ing latitude via RAW support.

One thing I am learning from Eric and Sharad, is that the ACR process is a PITA, as each vendor want their own particular requirements to be reflected in the RAW conversion.  Hasselblad has unique requirements, just as Foveon, Fuji X-Trans, and likely many others that are introducing innovations outside of the std Bayer approach.  This may explain why Sharad mentioned Adobe is revving the DNG spec, with these specialty requests, and the possible wave of smartphones moving to RAW capture, the existing ACR conversion model is likely soon to become unsustainable.  Personally, I guess Adobe would like to get out of the whole RAW conversion business, as it's a PITA they might soon prefer to outsource the whole shebang.

I am no scientist, or economist, but do see the obvious trends, and think RAW is here to stay, as it extends the capabilities of amateurs such as myself, enabling me a for forgiving experience.  All I have to do is my part - open my wallet to sw tools, or Apple hw, telecom, and Cloud storage service providers! 

As Quentin's firm mentions "Business Matters"  ..the driving force behind all of this.

My $0.02,

SR
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Alan Smallbone

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Re: Sigma Quattro DP2
« Reply #11 on: September 11, 2014, 12:23:48 pm »

Thanks Scott. My opinion is that the Sigma foveon cameras will always be a niche product. It is not just the raw conversion issues. Certainly there is a lot of squawk about that but to appeal to mainstream photographers would require other changes on the Sigma front. The cameras are slow, very slow, battery life is poor. In the Quattro, the ergonomics are not great and that was a risk they took. Having interchangeable lenses and a faster body and longer battery life are all things people seem to want. A lot of people complain about not focusing fast enough, I started with film cameras and manual focus, I think most the younger generation is far too impatient and want instant everything. Maybe my view is based on my age, I am a few years older than you. Society today is enamored with instant gratification and disposable products.  A smaller group is more interested in quality rather than performance. That is where the Sigma's currently sit, at least in my viewpoint.

The camera world has not really warmed up to DNG, I personally do not use it. I am content to use the raw files. If I need to use different pieces of software then so be it. All in one is nice and it would be nice if everyone played with the same field.  The cc move by Adobe I understand but it is not something I want to deal with, for a lot of different reasons. So I choose not to do it. I do use the Adobe products I have but I also use others, and I use what works best for me.

Alan
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Alan Smallbone
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Misirlou

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Re: Sigma Quattro DP2
« Reply #12 on: September 11, 2014, 04:06:11 pm »

There are plenty of us who use a Sigma along with some other camera. I would much prefer to just dump all my raw files into the same folder(s), and open them all with one application, preferably Lightroom. So from that standpoint, DNG would be very convenient.

But, I wonder if the unique qualities of Foveon capture layers might make it difficult or impossible to turn them into DNGs? You would know better than I.

I would also be willing to accept a Lightroom plug-in for handling the X3Fs. Then at least I could manage everything in one place. For me, half the value of Lightroom is the workflow it allows, from import from CF and SD cards, to print.
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Alan Smallbone

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Re: Sigma Quattro DP2
« Reply #13 on: September 11, 2014, 04:44:32 pm »

Well that could be possible if Lightroom just recognized the files and allowed them to be put into the database, whether or not it could convert them. Use the embedded jpg as the preview, then you could use the "Open directly" plugin to open the raw file in SPP, generate a tif and then continue on in Lightroom. All it would need then would the ability for lightroom to read the exif and the embedded jpg and add the file to the database..... Just thinking out loud.

Alan
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Misirlou

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Re: Sigma Quattro DP2
« Reply #14 on: September 11, 2014, 05:02:04 pm »

Yes, I was thinking along those same lines, but I don't know what's technically possible.
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amilewide

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Re: Sigma Quattro DP2
« Reply #15 on: September 11, 2014, 05:42:14 pm »

Hi Misirlou,

I'm with you - I shoot Sigma and Nikon, and other, and keep the entire "end-to-end" workflow in perspective.  From recording in the field, to RAW conversion (or Two Step Tango, SPP->TIFF), file import, renaming, folder structure, post-processing, profiling, stacking, outputting to print or web, and backup).

Our first thought was to implement, as Alan and you suggested, a LR to SPP dance and just call-up SPP as a plugin or spawn as an executable.  Our opinion was this solution was destined to be a kludge - dependent upon the stability of SPP, which architecturally is just not there. The real limitations are provisioning the Adobe plug-in architecture to do something that is not specified within the SDK, which is fairly limited.

The current DNG spec does allow for a "Linear DNG" conversion, which would not be a true, native X3 RAW conversion (compared to doing the same with a Canon 5DMIII). A linear DNG, would in essence, yield nothing more than a baked-in TIFF with a .dng file extension.  Maybe a step in the right direction?  

Since DNG is an "open" standard, it might be possible to extend the spec to include capabilities for Vertical Color Filter (VCF) array sensors, like Foveon, maybe a DNG.fov spec, but the computational approach is completely different, and not currently supported.  Further, being an "open" standard would expose Sigma's IP around Foveon color correction transforms, which is the difficult part, (beyond the imager design, geometries, circuitry, epitaxy, etc.).  This is why Foveon obfuscates and encodes their meta data, as they have the right to protect their secret recipe.  It took the genius of Dr. Dick Lyon and others to pull it off, and the fact that they did so (successfully producing high IQ images) was something that I believe even held Dr. Eric Fossum in amazement at some point.

Reverse engineering is another approach, but it is my understanding that after the Merrill series, the computational investment to do so is becoming mathematically more and more challenging.  Perhaps analogous to public key encryption techniques, as each Foveon is sensor produces an image file is not only encrypted, but also uses different meta data obfuscation which is needed to direct the computation applied to transform a heap of bits into a final image.  Brian Griffith, who had rev-eng the Merrill, and mentioned the 4:1:1 Quattro would be quite a challenge - perhaps for another life.

So with all of that said, we are hoping to navigate the complex technical and political realities here, and develop a solution that enables a win for all stakeholders - Sigma shooter, Sigma and Adobe.  As you mentioned, it is wonderful to have a single, seamless workflow - from CF and SD card import - all the way to print (and LR does offer a wonderful print module IMHO).  And then, for the masters, there is still more work to be done.. in Photoshop and other tools, but I am not one of them..  yet:)

As Alan mentioned, Sigma has their niche, and maybe it could expand with ACR support.

Curious, what other tools do you use?  What have you heard from other Sigma shooters regarding their workflow.  What other cameras do you enjoy?  How do you shoot your Sigma's HH or tripod?  DPs or SDs?  Swiss plates and RSS or lightweight and convenient?

Scott




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Misirlou

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Re: Sigma Quattro DP2
« Reply #16 on: September 11, 2014, 06:15:45 pm »

I was in an interesting situation about this time last year. My Canon 40D wasn't producing files that matched the capabilities of my printer, and I knew I would have a substantial chunk of money available to upgrade. So I rented some cameras and lenses that interested me from lensrentals.com. I ended up being amazed by the files that came out of the DP2M, and I liked the handling of the Canon 6D better than its competitors, so those were the two I bought.

I use the DP2M for things I know I'll be printing large; generally static subjects. I use the Canon for things that might move. If I really need to shoot something that is moving quickly, I might still pull out the 40D. For my needs, there is no single camera or system that will cover everything. And I tried a lot of alternatives.

I do the overwhelming majority of my processing with Lightroom. I'll got to Photoshop from time to time, but I'm finding less need as time goes on.

If I need to print something from the 6D, I'll usually run it through DxO. I know a lot of people don't like DxO due to their perception of what it might do to color. I find that it's so good with noise, sharpness and lens corrections that it's a tradeoff I'm willing to make.

The DP2M files need none of that. I export TIFFs from SPP, and process from there in Lightroom. The Foveon files work fantastically with HDR. I use several HDR packages, but lately I've been getting my best results from Photomatx.

Alan put me onto Helicon Filter for extracting TIFFs from the X3F files. I'm still experimenting with it, but it looks very promising so far. Inexpensive too. I also shoot from time to time with a Fuji 3D camera, and Helicon Filter handles those MPO files as well.
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amilewide

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Re: Sigma Quattro DP2
« Reply #17 on: September 11, 2014, 08:55:48 pm »

The right tools, for the right job.  Shooting a family wedding tomorrow with my DSLR.  Like you, I pull out my (legacy) Sigma DPs for static and landscape compositions.  Despite their DR limitations, the look, depth and overall feel of the old F17 imager remains my favorite digital "film"   And in monochrome.. tonal gradation is gorgeous!  Hoping the Q takes it to another level, and hoping she arrives before my trip.

Like your strategy with the DP2M - indeed, a powerful recording device.  Personally, while the D800 is nearly idiot proof, I like the effort required to shoot with my old DPs.  Maybe I'm nostalgic, as it's like shooting a minimalist film camera, but with the convenience of digital, and direct LR workflow to boot!  At $100-150 used, they've got to be the best value in digital photography (for static subjects).

Now that you and Alan have been playing with Helicon Filter, I might have to give it a go after I return.  Many of my friends HDR, but honestly I've never tried - always some wind moving things about.  But, perhaps it's the perfect Winter project living here in Green Bay, WI.  On still, clear days with snow cover, low sun angles, dramatically long shadows - HDR could offer open up some new creative possibilities.  Probably need 16+ stops - ha!  I love shooting backlit shots, so HDR and/or grads are tools I need to embrace.

Not familiar with the Fuji 3D, another thing I've got to look into - you guys take it to another level!  This is what draws me to photography - beyond the gear, the artistic and compositional challenges and even beyond the results - it's the terrific community.  And why I want my second "accidental" career to land somewhere in the digital imaging industry.  So many interesting things happening, so many innovations, market shifts, bright minds and ideas worth pursuing..  very stimulating.

Are you in SoCal with Alan?

SR

 


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Misirlou

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Re: Sigma Quattro DP2
« Reply #18 on: September 11, 2014, 10:53:34 pm »

Now that you and Alan have been playing with Helicon Filter, I might have to give it a go after I return.  Many of my friends HDR, but honestly I've never tried - always some wind moving things about.  But, perhaps it's the perfect Winter project living here in Green Bay, WI.  On still, clear days with snow cover, low sun angles, dramatically long shadows - HDR could offer open up some new creative possibilities.  Probably need 16+ stops - ha!  I love shooting backlit shots, so HDR and/or grads are tools I need to embrace.

Are you in SoCal with Alan?

SR

Movement of subject between shots is why I've gone back to Photomatx. Their newest version has some tools for taking care of ghosting that work really well. I don't worry so much about movement now, within reason.

Actually I'm in New Mexico.
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amilewide

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Re: Sigma Quattro DP2
« Reply #19 on: September 12, 2014, 08:42:59 am »

Hi Misirlou,

Thx for mentioning Photomatx and it's "subject stabilization" capabilities - something I wasn't aware of..

Scott
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