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Author Topic: Questions about Sigma Photo Pro workflow  (Read 12583 times)
NigelC
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« on: June 06, 2013, 10:58:18 AM »
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Not sure this forum is a usual hunting ground for the adherents of the Merrill "cult", but try here first.

As I'm now going over to the DPMs from Canon FF, I'd prefer to use Sigma Photo Pro as far down the line as I can before converting to TIFF and transferring to LR/PS. However, I can't find a Crop action in the sigma software - is it there? Also, is there an equivalent of the highlight recovery slider in ACR/LR - isn't that just moving the white point further out? I know some peoples idea is just to set black and white points and then convert to TIFF, but then it isn't a raw file anymore.

Just wondered what people do to optimise output from these little beasts.
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tuthill
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« Reply #1 on: June 06, 2013, 01:57:47 PM »
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No crop tool.



You're more likely to get educated responses (unlike mine) over in the Dpreview Sigma forum.
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picturesfromthelow
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« Reply #2 on: June 11, 2013, 09:49:57 AM »
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Hi NigelC,
I would also love to get the most out of SPP but the software is so slow and unresponsive that I just do sharpening, CA / fringing controls, noise reduction, and set the exposure slider to normalize exposure.
Regarding highlight recovery I have the impression that it is built-in in the exposure slider; the proper highlight recovery slider, in my opinion, simply removes color casts in the brightest areas of the image, therefore I always leave it at "restore".

Cheers,
Luca
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pflower
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« Reply #3 on: June 13, 2013, 06:23:15 AM »
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The software is undoubtedly slow, clunky and very annoying.  If you are used to Lightroom or Camera Raw then you are going to be frustrated by it.  SPP is really no more than a basic developer for rendering your x3f files to Tiffs.  If you want something more sophisticated have a look at Irident Developer (only available for Mac) - there is a demo version which allows you to explore it.

As regards your initial questions there is no crop tool.  The exposure slider is the only way to recover blown highlights.  Some recommend exposing the DP2M at about +.7 and then reducing exposure in SPP to recover highlights.  there is quite a lot of headroom in this respect.  The fill light slider is strange.  In very small increments it will bring up shadows as you would expect but then it starts to compress the highlights and can look truly horrible.

Personally I try and get to a rendering that minimises or eliminates any blown highlights, sometimes reduce sharpness to -1 depending on subject matter and then render to 16 bit Tiff for proper developing in Lightroom.  Works fine for me.
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xpatUSA
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« Reply #4 on: July 07, 2013, 12:20:58 PM »
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Not sure this forum is a usual hunting ground for the adherents of the Merrill "cult", but try here first.

As I'm now going over to the DPMs from Canon FF, I'd prefer to use Sigma Photo Pro as far down the line as I can before converting to TIFF and transferring to LR/PS. However, I can't find a Crop action in the sigma software - is it there? Also, is there an equivalent of the highlight recovery slider in ACR/LR - isn't that just moving the white point further out? I know some peoples idea is just to set black and white points and then convert to TIFF, but then it isn't a raw file anymore.

As already said - no crop tool. Think of SPP as just a converter and do your post-processing elsewhere.

I'm not Merrill cult member. I use SPP 3.5.2 to convert X3F files from my SD9 & SD10 DSLRs. That version has a slider marked 'highlight' which, when slid to the left, does recover highlights that are not blown in the raw file.

Just wondered what people do to optimise output from these little beasts.

I find that the conversion is a little enthusiastic in the saturation and sharpness departments and sharpness -0.7 and saturation -0.3 are closer to neutral. I've read of Merrill owners who reduce the sharpness even more, around -1.8 or so.

Currently, I have SPP set to sRGB working space (for web shots and screen viewing, I don't print anything). I save as 16-bit sRGB TIFF and head to RawTherapee or PhotoShop Elements for post-processing.

SPP, a law unto itself, still the best I've found for conversion on a Windows machine.
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best regards,

Ted
JimAscher
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« Reply #5 on: July 08, 2013, 11:33:23 AM »
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I just pass my photos through SPP as quickly as possible to tiff and process in DxO before then working on them in Lightroom.  DxO in its default settings alone performs wonders in overcoming any SPP inadequacies.   
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Jim Ascher

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picturesfromthelow
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« Reply #6 on: July 09, 2013, 02:18:58 AM »
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Hi Jim,
your workflow is very similar to mine except for your additional passage through DxO. I'm curious: what are the advantages, in your opinion, of taking the Merrill files to DxO before going to LR? Is there something that you find DxO does better than LR?

Cheers,
Luca
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JimAscher
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« Reply #7 on: July 09, 2013, 09:35:12 AM »
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Hi Jim,
your workflow is very similar to mine except for your additional passage through DxO. I'm curious: what are the advantages, in your opinion, of taking the Merrill files to DxO before going to LR? Is there something that you find DxO does better than LR?

Cheers,
Luca
[/quote

Luca:  I first process ALL my photos through DXO, no matter which of my cameras I use (i.e., even my non-Sigma cameras).  I find it to be a quick, virtually automatic way of correcting/improving my photos (even my panoramas) which I can then further work on, if necessary, with Lightroom or Photoshop.  You can download a free trial version if you'd care to explore DxO further.  Good luck.  Jim
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Jim Ascher

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jfwfoto
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« Reply #8 on: July 10, 2013, 12:01:12 PM »
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The X3 fill light slider at the bottom of the corrections panel is a very interesting feature. As you move it to open up shadows it pulls down highlights proportionally. In a landscape shot where the trees want to go dark and the clouds go white the results are quite amazing. Detail in trees and clouds appear at the same time. It is like a compensating developer. Photo Ninja has a similar tool. If you are over exposing as many Sigma shooters do the tool may not be as useful but for many of mine it works great.
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chichornio
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« Reply #9 on: July 11, 2013, 10:41:47 AM »
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The X3 fill light slider at the bottom of the corrections panel is a very interesting feature. As you move it to open up shadows it pulls down highlights proportionally. In a landscape shot where the trees want to go dark and the clouds go white the results are quite amazing. Detail in trees and clouds appear at the same time. It is like a compensating developer. Photo Ninja has a similar tool. If you are over exposing as many Sigma shooters do the tool may not be as useful but for many of mine it works great.

I agree. At first I was overexposing +0.7, but then I realize that exposing just +0.3 or not overexposing, and using just the fill light in SPP works great. It`s like a dinamic shadows/highlights correction tool. Great feature.
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uvl
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« Reply #10 on: July 11, 2013, 12:22:46 PM »
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I do almost all basic corrections in SPP. There are several methods of highlight recovery. My preferred one is to add the same amount of contrast and fill light (e.g. 0.4 and 0.4 ) and reduce exposure by the same amount. You can recover highlights with the highlights slider alone but this is usually just enough to avoid clipping. The shadow slider lifts or darkens the shadows. This can add more contrast to an otherwise pale image or you can lighten the dark parts of your image up to a hazy/dull look. The main use for me is to adjust black clipping for print.
There are more or less contrasty color modes in SPP. If you choose neutral or portrait for instance you get a moderate result thereas vivid or landscape push the contrast (and saturation). Nethertheless you shouldn't adjust the contrast through color mode but take into consideration the effect while adjusting your images. Using  fill light alone is quite challenging. At values over 0.3 it gives strange halos and faces apear somehow dirty. I don't use it on skintones therefore (only with the same amount of contrast). Landscapes apear HDR-ish with halos and the sky darker than the foliage if the fill light slider is overused.
Of course you can recover highlights by reducing the contrast of the image. The problem is that by this you loose contrast. You can add more black with the shadows slider and adjust exposure accordingly to compensate.

To make the most out of your x3f-files you need to adjust the noise reduction settings. Chroma noise reduction can add some serious oomph to clouds or portraits of elderly. Don't use it for beauty shots. Luminance softens a little bit. Use it for more flattering portraits. Turn it down for perfect detail and sharpness.

Uwe 8-)
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chichornio
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« Reply #11 on: July 11, 2013, 06:46:22 PM »
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How do your export the tiffs from SPP for printing big? I usually print the Dp2m files on my z3200ps 44" at 300ppi up to 36" on the longest size (native or upsized on LR using the print module). Looking at the tif files exported from SPP I have 3 choices:

- Half size: 13,067x8,711 inches at 180ppi (7,84x5,227 inches at 300ppi)
- Same size:26,133x17,422 inches at 180ppi (15,68x10,453 inches at 300ppi)
- Double size: 52,267x34,844 inches at 180ppi (31,36x20,907 inches at 300ppi)

My guess is that getting more pixels directly from the SPP will be better that upsing later on LR. Am I right? If I want to make a print a of 24"x36", which will be the best workflow? Exporting double size (31,36x20,907 inches at 300ppi) and let LR to upscale the image at 24"x36"?

Any feedback will be very welcome.
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uvl
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« Reply #12 on: July 12, 2013, 12:36:17 AM »
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I'd let the printer driver do the work. There seems to be no visible difference compared to double sized output in SPP.
Sounds heretic, but I send JPGs (highest quality) to the printing service.
Uwe 8-)
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chichornio
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« Reply #13 on: July 12, 2013, 07:22:04 AM »
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I'd let the printer driver do the work. There seems to be no visible difference compared to double sized output in SPP.
Sounds heretic, but I send JPGs (highest quality) to the printing service.
Uwe 8-)

The z3200ps has an interesting feature, that I use sometimes when I want to print bigger than 24" on the short side: I work the file in LR, softprofing the file with my custom paper profile, then I export a full quality 16 bits tiff (that will become my master print file for future printing). In the z3200ps (postscript version) you can send the file for printing using the embewed web server (EWB) and print the file in 16 bits (the printing will be finally in 8 bits, but the 16/8 bits conversion occurs on the printer driver not in the soft). Ive noticed better gradients and transitions printing this way, especially in those very contrasted files. This only can happen if a send a 16 bits file, so jpeg does not work for me in this case.
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