Sigma DP2Q vs DP2M Part 1: Noise Performance


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Like I promised a few days ago, I’m now posting the noise performance comparison of the DP2 Quattro and the DP2 Merrill. Before I proceed to analyse the results, I would first like to say some things about in-camera settings as well as SPP and Lightroom settings. I haven’t taken any photos at ISO6400, because neither of the cameras/sensors delivers usable image quality at this sensitivity setting. The photos were made with both cameras set to M mode, in order to eliminate mistakes due to different exposure metering systems and to determine whether one of the cameras/sensor is cheating ISO-wise. I’ve covered the ISO100-3200 sensitivity range with both cameras, the ISO3200 X3Fs however were developed once in color, once in BW with standard settings and once by using the blue channel workflow. Merrill as well as Quattro X3Fs were developed in SPP 6.0.5 and exported as 16bit TIFFs, the setting were all set to 0, except for sharpness (-2) and noise reduction (all sliders set to far left = NR off). Because all Merrill photos had a green color cast, I used Lightroom to correct white balance and to make the colors orange and yellow a bit more reddish. I’ve uploaded the photos in full resolution (Merrill 15MP; Quattro 20MP) to Flickr. Just click on the photos in order to view them large or download them. Let us now turn to the photos:

Sigma DP2 Quattro VS Merrill Continue reading

Sigma News & Rumors: discontinued lenses and possible replacements


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A few days ago Sigma-Rumors posted a list of recently discontinued lenses and their possible replacements. Unlike the list posted at the beginning of July, this one doesn’t seem to be based on rumors and insider information, but rather on speculation by the SR admin. Some of the mentioned lenses (50-150/2.8 Sports, 70-200/2.8 Sports, 70-300/4-5.6 C, etc.) have, at least to my knowledge, never been mentioned by other rumor sites before. The many question marks and excessive use of subjunctive come therefore as no surprise. ;)

Sigma-24-70-f2-DG-OS-HSM Continue reading

Do you still shoot film?


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I haven’t thought about analog photography in a very long time. Only after it was reported four weeks ago, that some large Hollywood studios want to rescue Kodak’s motion picture film business by committing to buy fixed quantities of film in the following years, did I begin to ponder about the good old medium again. Nevertheless I was surprised by the announcement that Italian film manufacturer Ferrania is intending to resume production. I’m aware that film is by no means dead. Relatively new companies like Lomo and Impossible Project appear to be making good money by selling analog cameras and film, those are however small companies that have specialized in a market niche. I’m dying to know, who the people are who buy film nowadays, and who keep Fuji’s film division alive and give Ferrania hope for a profitable future? Does one of you still shoot film?

Film

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Additional DP2Q insights and many cat photos


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After my last blog post regarding the Quattro I’ve had time to investigate the noise reduction, sharpening and to Sigma users well-known BW blue channel workflow in SPP 6.0.5. As of yet I have no presentable test samples. By the end of this week I will do a noise performance comparison of the DP2Q and DP2M and use that opportunity to upload some photos, which will reinforce my following statements.

The BW workflow, in which one could use only the blue channel information in order to reduce noise, is definitely a thing of the past. By converting Merrill X3Fs in BW in such a manner, noise could be reduced by 1-2 stops. Applied to Quattro X3Fs, the workflow shows no effect whatsoever.

The chroma noise reduction in SPP 6.0.5 seems to be working completely differently than in 5.5.3. At least up to the middle value – I would advise against bumping NR any further, since it could lead to photos looking completely desaturated. Chroma NR no longer has the effect known from the clarity slider in Lightroom.

In my last blog post, I said that the sharpness slider in SPP 6.0.5, applied to Quattro X3Fs, appeared to be much more sensitive. Now I can confirm this. If you set sharpness to -2 Quattro X3Fs appear considerably less sharp than those of Merrills set to the same sharpness value in SPP 5.5.3. In order for Quattro X3Fs to appear as sharp as Merrill X3Fs with sharpness set to -2 in 5.5.3, one has to set sharpness in 6.0.5 to a value between -1 and -1.3.

Now we come to the images, the cat pics. Those of you who can’t stomach cat photos any longer, should not scroll down. I’ve warned you. ;)
Sigma DP2 Quattro (volle Auflösung - full resolution) Continue reading

Can humans see infrared? With a special diet they can!


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A typical human eye can detect light in a wavelength range of 380 to 700nm. As is well known freshwater fish are able to see in the near infrared range (NIR), by transforming Vitamin A2 into the visual pigment porphyropsin (or something along those lines). Science for the Masses, a group of individuals dedicated to open source science, wanted to conduct an experiment to prove that humans can also obtain NIR vision, by limiting Vitamin A1 consumption and instead supplementing their diet with Vitamin A2. In October last year the group applied on Experiment, a crowd-funding platform for scientists and researchers, to obtain the necessary financial resources. The experiment began two weeks ago and is already delivering its first results.

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U.S.Copyright Office: Monkey Selfies Can’t Be Copyrighted


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Hardly three weeks after the monkey business revolving around the monkey selfie ensued, the US Copyright Office made a comment on the issue in its 1,222-page long document “Compendium of US Copyright Office Practices, Third Edition“. Just as a quick reminder: 2011 a crested black macaque took the said monkey selfie, which you can view below, with a camera belonging to the British nature photographer David Slater. Since the photo wasn’t captured by a human and since not a single copyright law in the world recognizes animals as creators/authors, Wikimedia declared it public domain, added it to its commons library and subsequently refused Slater’s take-down request. According to latest interviews Slater was intent of taking legal action against Wikipedia, but before this could take place, the US Copyright Office released the above-mentioned document.

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 Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

© nameless crested black macaque (taken with David Slater‘s camera)

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5 Features that as a Photographer I would like to have


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Whether it’s WiFi, ever higher ISOs or 4k, lately I get the feeling that the photo industry is increasingly promoting features that are out of touch with photographers. Instead of these features, which are centered around trendy mobile devices and ever higher numbers, I would like to propose five features, which would bring real benefits to photographers in a number of situations. The following features are the ones I have in mind.

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Several differences between DP2Q & SPP 6.0.5 and DP2M & SPP 5.5.3


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Before you take a look at the cute motifs and possibly get diabetes as a result, I would like to share my insights with you, gained through comparing the DP2Q and SPP 6.0.5 with the DP2M and SPP 5.5.3. ;) While post processing these most recent photos, I’ve stumbled across the following differences.

Sharpness

I don’t know if it’s due to the new Foveon sensor or SPP 6.0.5, but the impression of sharpness is completely different, when you pull the sharpness slider all the way to the left (-2). I’ve never applied USM to Merrill X3Fs, I used to leave the sharpness slider on the far left position. If you do the same thing with DP2Q X3Fs in SPP 6.0.5, they appear considerably less sharp. I’m going to have to take photos of the same motif with both cameras, in order to find a sharpness value at which DP2Q X3Fs will appear as sharp as Merrill X3Fs when no sharpening is applied in SPP 5.5.3.

Sigma DP2 Quattro (volle Auflösung - full resolution) Continue reading

Super batteries made of Hemp


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For the longest time graphene was considered the material of the future, with the potential to revolutionize battery technology, among other things. By now it should be clear to everyone that in regards to progress and development, battery technology is lagging behind almost any other technology. Every day we are reminded of that, whether when charging our smartphones or taking a look into our photo bags, with several spare batteries hiding inside. Unfortunately Graphene manufacturing is still very complex and expensive, which forces researchers to be on a look-out for other promising materials. One of these alternative raw materials is hemp.

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UV recordings of the skin: Tom Leveritt’s “How The Sun Sees You”


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Whether in form of photos or videos, UV recordings always show us an aspect of reality invisible to our eyes. Shooting his latest video, which is embedded below, the videographer Tom Leveritt has made use of the said recording method in order to make passersby aware of the condition of their skin and the importance of sunscreen and care. The fascinating thing about How The Sun Sees You are not the photographic nor artistic aspects of the video, since the video is not about equipment or the recording process, but rather the unique property of skin to age and sustain damage, without it being immediately visible. Only UV recordings can show us whether our skin is going to remain beautiful in the long run or whether it will become wrinkled and littered with freckles in a few years.

© Tom Leveritt

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