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Author Topic: Considering Sigma DP 1 Merrill  (Read 1830 times)
wlemann
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« on: May 11, 2014, 06:13:07 PM »
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I am considering the DP1 Merrill.  I have read the specs and reviews so have some understanding of camera it is about.  Been around the block a bit with Leicas M4, M6, Hassie and Rollei and now Canon 1DsMkII and 5D with L lenses.  Using LR5 for processing Raw files now.  A couple questions:

1.  Could I collect some peoples' (pardon the expression) big picture thoughts on this camera.

2.  Can one use a non-dedicated flash on the hot shoe knowing that a true TTL functionality will not follow.

3.  Is an EVF available for this camera.

and, finally, most importantly,

4.  What is the best and easiest workflow to go from Raw Foveon file to LR5 workable file (presumably TIFF from what I read).  What are the best steps from  a.) camera settings.  to b.)  Sigma software to get optimum file to process in LR5?
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The Ute
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« Reply #1 on: May 12, 2014, 06:31:38 AM »
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Since your solicited opinions here's mine.

If you are willing to tolerate the quirks this camera is hard to beat.

The value for the money is off the charts.

Only cameras in it's class resolution-wise are the D800 and A7r.

There is not EVF option.

I'll let someone else answer your other questions.

By the way, I use it as a Landscape camera and rarely shoot in low light.

Happy shooting.

 Smiley
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wlemann
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« Reply #2 on: May 12, 2014, 08:52:07 AM »
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Thank very much for your comment.

Incorporated in my question about work flow from Foveon Raw file to TIF and into LR5, I would like an answer to whether this "work flow" into the DP 2 Merrill Photo Pro software, conversion to TIF file and then manipulation of the TIF file in LR5 significantly mitigates the primary reason to use this camera---excellent IQ.
Would someone take a shot at this, please.

Walter
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pflower
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« Reply #3 on: May 12, 2014, 10:34:55 AM »
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You have to use either SPP or Irident Developer on the Raw files since at the moment no other software can read the Raw files.  I prefer SPP but there is very little that you can or should do in it in my opinion.  Its best use is for highlight recovery and (possibly) some White Balance.  There is a quirky feature called XF3 Fill Light which produces curious results.  However I find that LR's shadows and exposure controls work better for bringing up shadow details.  So you have to export from SPP as a Tiff (16 or 8bit is your choice). 

Personally I don't mind the extra step but if your question is whether or not the conversion into a Tiff and its subsequent treatment in LR or Photoshop affects the quality of the files in any way then the answer depends upon how much work you do to the Tiff.  You can torture almost any file into a breakdown.  But the quality of the Tiffs is extraordinary and you can recover a significant amount of shadow detail in LR.  The one thing that SPP is better at is highlight recovery - obviously because if you export a Tiff with blown highlights then nothing is going to recover detail in it.

SPP is slow and clunky but it works.  I simply batch process with virtually no manipulation in SPP and do something else while waiting.  I then go through the files in LR - sometimes you have to go back and re-do a Raw file but I find that less of a pain than laboriously trying to tweak every file in SPP separately.  16 bit Tiffs take up about 88mb so storage might be a consideration (but then again 2TB disks are cheap).  However the quality of the output more than makes up for any inconvenience in processing the Raw files.  That, at least, is my firm view.

 
Thank very much for your comment.

Incorporated in my question about work flow from Foveon Raw file to TIF and into LR5, I would like an answer to whether this "work flow" into the DP 2 Merrill Photo Pro software, conversion to TIF file and then manipulation of the TIF file in LR5 significantly mitigates the primary reason to use this camera---excellent IQ.
Would someone take a shot at this, please.

Walter

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The Ute
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« Reply #4 on: May 12, 2014, 04:04:07 PM »
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You're welcome.

And welcome to the Sigma family.

As far as PP goes I batch process RAW files into TIF's in SPP.

And then I import them into Topaz for further processing and adjustment.

So I cannot comment on how they are affected in LR.

Within Topaz their no degradation from the converted RAW file.

They are beautiful and as detailed as I like.

Hope that helps.
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aduke
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« Reply #5 on: May 12, 2014, 04:34:53 PM »
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The process I use for my DP2 Merrill is that I create a new subfolder year's folder in my general images folder. Note, since I also use a Canon camera, it is possible that I just let LR create the folder named for the date of capture.

Then, the x3f files are examined in DPP and the interesting ones are processed by DPP into TIF's. In LR, I import, using ADD, the folder or synchonize the folder. During the import, LR detects the x3f files and recognizes that it will not import them and gives me a message, which I ignore. The TIF's are imported into the LR catalog and I am set to begin processing on them.

I use DPP to do as little as possible during the conversion. It is unusably slow on the netbook  Sad but not too bad on the core I7 desktop.

As noted in a previous entry, the Sigma sensor does not like to be underexposed at all, more light is much better. You need to be careful not to blow the highlights, but RawDigger will process the files and provide exposure information.javascript:void(0);

Alan
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Rand47
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« Reply #6 on: May 12, 2014, 05:56:17 PM »
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Thank very much for your comment.

Incorporated in my question about work flow from Foveon Raw file to TIF and into LR5, I would like an answer to whether this "work flow" into the DP 2 Merrill Photo Pro software, conversion to TIF file and then manipulation of the TIF file in LR5 significantly mitigates the primary reason to use this camera---excellent IQ.
Would someone take a shot at this, please.

Walter


Hi Walter,

DP2 and 3 here.  I do absolute minimum processing in SPP.  Check out the thread here for some good advice on RAW conversion in SPP for use in LR and other programs.  

I export as 16 bit tiff in ProPhoto RGB.  Import to LR.  The tiffs are enormously malleable in most circumstances.  IQ is mind-boggling.  Printing out of LR, and I have VERY large prints that are better than my FF gear.  Actually makes me a little ill considering all the money I have invested in other gear.  As others have said, this isn't a spray and pray camera.  Mine is almost always on a tripod, or hand held in good light.  Underexposure is your enemy more than with other sensors.  And there is a consensus that the DP2 needs a "permanent" +.7 exp. comp. for most situations.  My DP 3, not so much.

Best regards,
Rand

DP3  8 shot stack using the workflow mentioned above.  A 20x30 print of this looks like it was shot with a 4x5.   This photo was selected, unsolicited, as "photo of the week" on one web site - had they known it was shot with a humble little brick like the DP3, I'm guessing it would have been given a pass for "BS" reasons.  LOL

« Last Edit: May 12, 2014, 06:01:44 PM by Rand47 » Logged
Misirlou
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« Reply #7 on: May 12, 2014, 06:01:25 PM »
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I've just started shooting HDR sequences with my DP2 - took a while to come to terms with the idiosyncrasies of the camera and its workflow. Dealing with SPP is a huge pain, but I can't imagine how much money I'd have to spend to get better image quality (of things that aren't moving, of course). More than the price of about 5 Merrills for sure.
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Adam L
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« Reply #8 on: May 12, 2014, 06:32:52 PM »
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Here's my workflow:

I set the exposure slider first and usually find I need to darken my pictures.   If I can get the highlights in range and the rest of the image looks well exposed I move on to a few other tweaks.   If the darks are too dark I use the fill slider to open them up.   Exposure and Fill seem to be related to each other and has some influence on the tone mapping.  My experience is to use the fill only as needed, and sparingly.   I find that there is an inflection point between these two sliders where the exposure gets reintroduced as you +- in each direction.  When that happens I dial each back, trying to minimize the use of the fill.   I feel there is quality degradation when these two sliders are used to extremes.   In general all of the other sliders in this section are left in neutral position and adjusted in LR.  

I set the white balance, usually selecting the appropriate default based on light conditions and set the type of rendering, usually going for standard or Landscape on the DP2M.  I add Vivid on the DP3M.   That's about it for SPP, save as TIFF.

I don't use the batch feature but I also don't shoot in controlled situations.

For LR I start all over as if it were new but I find I rarely have to sharpen.

Disclaimer, I'm in no way a pro and my eyes are old.
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"That's a lot of money to move a few pixels around"
uvl
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« Reply #9 on: May 14, 2014, 05:45:50 AM »
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On flash and DP Merrill:

You can use every flash in manual mode or the dedicated Sigma TTL devices. The same is true of several wireless triggers although they limit the exposure time to 1/250s due to the lag involved with the wireless protocol.

My TIFF strategy:

To achieve best results with PS I only save a 16-Bit Tiff from SPP for some rare special images. Normally a JPG is more than enough (and much smaller).
Some rules/presets for this are:

  • don't use positive fill light or any chroma noise reduction on portraits of women/girls
  • avoid clipping by lowering contrast and adjusting highlights/shadows/exposure
  • avoid clipping by lowering saturation
  • avoid clipping by using neutral or portrait color mode
  • turn down all noise reduction
  • find an acceptable color balance (using custom white balance before each set of shots helps)
  • use the eyedropper tool for adjusting neutral grey if possible

Additionally I shoot RAW + JPG. This way you always have another quite neutral JPG for using as a "comparison" layer in PS.

Uwe 8-)
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Deardorff
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« Reply #10 on: May 14, 2014, 05:48:35 PM »
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So how DO the sigmas work in low light conditions? Tripod mounted and used as one would a view camera with longer exposures?

Not raising ISO settings but keeping  them at 100 like we do with film.

No reciprocity to worry about, is there? Do the images fall apart some other way or is it just a case of inconvenience for some in low light?
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rayken
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« Reply #11 on: May 14, 2014, 06:26:25 PM »
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So how DO the sigmas work in low light conditions? Tripod mounted and used as one would a view camera with longer exposures?

Not raising ISO settings but keeping  them at 100 like we do with film.

No reciprocity to worry about, is there? Do the images fall apart some other way or is it just a case of inconvenience for some in low light?

Test shot the other night of local street.
DP2m 100ISO on tripod
20 sec @f2.8
SPP export to Lightroom 16bit TIFF for PP.
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NancyP
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« Reply #12 on: May 15, 2014, 10:37:59 AM »
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If you use LR for keeping track of files, you can produce a low-res jpg output file from SPP to serve as a place-holder in LR. LR doesn't care who produced the jpg because jpgs are standard format files. Due to the idiosyncracies of SPP, I keep the actual RAW files in an entirely different folder tree, organized by date, as I organize my LR by date.

All global adjustments are done in SPP, which has a perfectly good RAW converter. Use the feature in SPP that is equivalent to "snapshot" in LR, to record your adjustments.  File is exported as 16 bit tiff to Your Favorite Program for further local adjustment, panoramic stitching, focus stacking/blending, etc. Save however you like.
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