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03-23-2013, 12:05 PM   #46
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That DP2 surely does look tempting... but ugh, it seems to be very slow and really just a niche photographic tool. Not for low light shots for sure.

I handled a DP1 a while ago and focusing with it was quite terrible. I suppose the DP2 has no proper manual focus, right?

03-23-2013, 02:54 PM   #47
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As for the difference in mere sharpness, which has been repeated here several times, I think comparing and measurebating on the "sharpness" alone is a bit pointless.
Yes, the AA filter of the Bayer sensor has a significant impact on the perceived sharpness but, there's more to the Foveon sensor than just sharpness. There's a different look between the two, and which one is 'better' is a matter of taste.

The thing in the Foveon look is not in the sharpness alone, which is usually a result of several different variables, the lens being one of them. They say god is in the details, and that's true for the Foveon look, too. Certain details just look better when rendered by the Foveon sensor and SPP software, even though there was not much difference in the sheer sharpness of similar images. On the other hand, when there's less light and the ISO level needs to go up, the Bayer sensor works better. Like said, horses for courses, and apples and oranges can both taste good.

I remember seeing a nice comparison made by shooting a piece of clothing, and that particular photo told the difference much better than a long and verbose post in this thread. I'll add a link to it later, if I can remember where exactly I saw it. Anyway, it was quite visible that the difference was not about sharpness alone.

I've got both an AA-less Bayer sensor camera (Ricoh GXR) and a Foveon sensor camera, albeit a one using the older, slighlty smaller resolution version, and I've seen pretty similar results. Whilst the difference in sharpness is slightly less obvious, and the older Foveon sensor has slightly less dynamic range and resoluiton, there is still a similar looking difference. But I don't think that measurebating between the two is particularly interesting.

Suffice to say that there is a slight difference, and which one is better is a matter of taste. There really is no need to rank these two different systems in any order, unless measurebating is something one prefers over taking actual photos. I for one would like to have it both ways, which is probably why I ended up having both. Then there's still the third option, (for now), the reshuffled Bayer sensor á la Fujifilm. Something for (almost) everyone.

BTW, I've also seen a comparison made with the same kind of Sony sensor with and without AA-filter, using the exact same lens. In that comparison, the 12mp AA-less Sony sensor of the GXR Mount made sharper/better looking images than the 16MP sensor of the Sony NEX 5n, both using the same Voigtländer lens. But here again, there was probably more to the end result than just the AA filter, or lack thereof.

Even though they are both Bayer type sensors made by Sony, there are more differences than just the AA-filter. The image processor after the actual sensor is one of the differences. Besides that, the lower megapixel sensor, as well as the GXR mount itself have been optimised for the classic rangefinder lenses, unlike the NEX system. It has clearly thinner IR filter as well, very much like in the Leica M8, for example, and the module uses a native M bayonet, and doesn't need any third party adapters between the lens and the mount.
All these details result to an optimised, and in this case, better looking result than that given by a seemingly superior (in megapixels) sensor. I think it was a good reminder that it's not just about megapixel count. There's much more to nice looking photos.

Besides, if we happen to get pleasing photos with any camera, lens and sensor combination, be it a Bayer or Foveon or X-Trans based, perhaps we should just embrace it, then go out and take some more great photos, instead of pixel-peeping the differences inside, and online.

Last edited by EchoOscar; 03-23-2013 at 03:00 PM.
03-23-2013, 03:37 PM   #48
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QuoteOriginally posted by scratchpaddy Quote
With the DP series, no one really has any reason to buy the SD1.
There's no reason to buy the SD1 when the DP series already has the best lens pairings you can get with the Foveon sensor, and for much cheaper, in a much smaller package.
"No one?" So you know everybody?

Saying there's no reason to buy a DSLR model of any given brand because there is a compact camera using the same sensor and a fixed focal lenght lens sounds a bit strange to me. But then again, we all have been wired a bit differently from inside, and our needs and preference are different.

Whilst I do find the idea of owning one (or more) of the DP models as a "pocket" camera quite interesting, I don't think such a fixed lens pocket camera is a perfect substitute for a DSLR with interchangeable lenses and other accessories. Not for everyone, anyway. If it was, we'd all be shooting with p&s cameras, and all the DSLR models had gone extinct years ago. The DP series in particular happens to be rather eccentric in many ways, rather than a typical glorified p&s.

QuoteQuote:
A comparison between the K-5 and SD1 would be more accurate, but far less meaningful, IMHO.
I agree at least on the less meaningful part.
Comparisons between two distinctly different technologies like these are indeed mere nerdy-nam-nam, aren't they.
03-23-2013, 04:03 PM   #49
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QuoteOriginally posted by audiobomber Quote
Foveon has a long way to go to catch up in the high ISO race.
Actually it doesn't. It is what it is. It's not, nor will it ever become another Bayer sensor. If you need high ISO, get a Bayer sensor camera. If you can settle for low ISO shooting, then you may enjoy the rich colours and details rendered by the Foveon sensor camera. There is no need for apples to become oranges, or vice versa. We can choose either system, or both. I for one own both. I don't expect, nor do I wish them to be similar. Quite the contrary.

03-23-2013, 05:58 PM   #50
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QuoteOriginally posted by EchoOscar Quote
"No one?" So you know everybody?
Guilty! You caught me generalizing again. On second thought, I'm sure one or two people have bought the SD1.

QuoteOriginally posted by EchoOscar Quote
I don't think such a fixed lens pocket camera is a perfect substitute for a DSLR with interchangeable lenses and other accessories.
I don't think that either. Sorry, I wasn't very clear.What I meant was that someone's serious photography needs would best be met some other company's SLR system, and that the DP series is the best way to scratch the Foveon itch as a secondary, pocketable, carry-everywhere camera. The Sigma DP series is clearly not suited to support a professional's livelyhood.

QuoteOriginally posted by EchoOscar Quote
Besides, if we happen to get pleasing photos with any camera, lens and sensor combination, be it a Bayer or Foveon or X-Trans based, perhaps we should just embrace it, then go out and take some more great photos, instead of pixel-peeping the differences inside, and online.
You're absoultely right. Any camera is capable of great pictures, and any camera can be enjoyable.

Here's the problem: people have money to spend, and many choices on what to spend it on. They need some way to compare these choices. Numbers are so much easier to compare than intangibles like "pixie dust" and "pop." You can throw numbers on a graph and quantifiably say, "camera/lens X is better than Y." People want graphs to prove that their money is well spent. The statement "I get a warm and fuzzy feeling when I take pictures with this camera" doesn't sound as convincing as "This camera has a higher MTF than the competition." You can't put "happy" on a graph, and your "happy" is not my "happy." Numbers are universal. Hence the measurbator trend.

I say it's fine as long as you recognize that the numbers don't tell the whole story, and when the chips are down, the person behind the camera matters far more than the camera itself.
03-23-2013, 06:16 PM   #51
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QuoteOriginally posted by EchoOscar Quote
The DP series in particular happens to be rather eccentric in many ways, rather than a typical glorified p&s
Yes the same could also be said though about the Canon G series of cameras.


But let me add a bit more fuel to the fire... I own the filterless K-5lls and also the Sigma Merrill SD1 and have compared both with a variety of lenses. Yet even with a dxo score inferior lens on the Sigma as compared to the Pentax, the results sow the exact same item which is appearing on this page - that the Sigma wins most of the time; and to a variety of people - professional photographers (from a distance all the way to pixel peeping), to publishers, to most casual observers.

The areas where the Sigma excels: Especially when portraits and/or weddings are subjects, but also when greens or blues are in the pic. Plus as one can clearly also see in this posting, the contrast in the Sigma is exceptional.

Outside of lens and accessory selection; the Sigma is considered as one of the top five best presently marketed non full frame cameras. But it gets better. People from Sigma were admitting that the SD1 will be followed this year by another model using a similar sensor, but with more mp. Sigma is also in a race to get to market with at least two full frame bodies; and knowing Sigma's history - I'll bet we see both f those well before Pentax comes out with any digital full frame
03-23-2013, 06:30 PM   #52
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QuoteOriginally posted by scratchpaddy Quote
the DP series is the best way to scratch the Foveon itch as a secondary, pocketable, carry-everywhere camera.
I think this hits the nail on the head, for me at least. I've wondered about a Foveon-sensored camera for a long time, but a $2k body plus SA-mount lenses isn't an investment I'm likely to make "just to find out." Like you say, the DP-series scratches that itch for me, and is quite impressive in the right circumstances! This comparison to the K-5 is basically because that's what I have on hand to compare to (unless you count the Q as well), and I think I said multiple times that I think the Pentax K-5 is a much better overall camera and system. I certainly won't replacing it with an SD1 any time soon! (Or even with a D800E, but that's whole 'nother can of worms!)

What surprised me from the comparisons was just how much more resolution the Foveon sensor is capable of, in the right situation (nb: far more than I'm seeing in K-5 to K-5IIs examples and comparisons), but also how sometimes there seems to be little difference at all. I think that's the point that measurebators miss; sometimes "the right tool to make the image you want" isn't the one that wins in every category on some spec sheet. That's as true about sensors as it is about lenses and everything else. Also, the old trope about "the best camera is the one you have with you" misses the fact that we frequently have a choice of what camera to bring. For $800 (or $900 if you include the grip, hood, and extra batteries), the DP2 Merrill is a great alternative when I need what it provides.

Last edited by panoguy; 03-23-2013 at 06:45 PM.
03-23-2013, 07:27 PM   #53
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QuoteOriginally posted by audiobomber Quote
Foveon has a long way to go to catch up in the high ISO race.
QuoteOriginally posted by EchoOscar Quote
Actually it doesn't. It is what it is. It's not, nor will it ever become another Bayer sensor. If you need high ISO, get a Bayer sensor camera.
You've missed the point. We were discussing the market impact of a new and improved Foveon sensor. I know Foveons are amazing at what they do well, but they are far behind Bayer at high ISO. Foveon cameras will not capture much market share as long as they can't compete in low light, because ISO is a major area of competition. The Sigmas are landscape cameras, not general purpose cameras, therefore not of interest to most buyers.

03-23-2013, 10:14 PM   #54
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I agree with audiobomber. The SD1M and SD2M strike me as very useful [and quite affordable] landscape cameras.
Sigma should make them WR next time they do a product update.
03-23-2013, 10:33 PM   #55
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QuoteOriginally posted by Na Horuk Quote
That's odd, I expected the 31mm to fare better than that. The full size sample photo looks almost like it was taken with the kit lens. I seem to remember some other Pentax vs. Foveon thread and the results weren't as dramatic. But thanks for posting
I agree. Looks like the FA31 is either out of focus or is suffering from some misalignment. I get way sharper image from wide open w/o any sharpening in LR.

For reference, FA31 is suppose to be very sharp from wide open and razor sharp from f2.8. It is typically shaprer than both FA43 and FA77 at all time.

OP, have you done the shake test? Does your lens hood wobble? Does your focus ring turn without any feel of good friction (like it's just running through the gear)? I would recommend you get your FA31 check out.

Last edited by chesebert; 03-23-2013 at 10:48 PM.
03-24-2013, 04:19 AM   #56
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QuoteOriginally posted by panoguy Quote
I think this hits the nail on the head, for me at least. I've wondered about a Foveon-sensored camera for a long time, but a $2k body plus SA-mount lenses isn't an investment I'm likely to make "just to find out." Like you say, the DP-series scratches that itch for me, and is quite impressive in the right circumstances! This comparison to the K-5 is basically because that's what I have on hand to compare to (unless you count the Q as well), and I think I said multiple times that I think the Pentax K-5 is a much better overall camera and system. I certainly won't replacing it with an SD1 any time soon! (Or even with a D800E, but that's whole 'nother can of worms!)

What surprised me from the comparisons was just how much more resolution the Foveon sensor is capable of, in the right situation (nb: far more than I'm seeing in K-5 to K-5IIs examples and comparisons), but also how sometimes there seems to be little difference at all. I think that's the point that measurebators miss; sometimes "the right tool to make the image you want" isn't the one that wins in every category on some spec sheet. That's as true about sensors as it is about lenses and everything else. Also, the old trope about "the best camera is the one you have with you" misses the fact that we frequently have a choice of what camera to bring. For $800 (or $900 if you include the grip, hood, and extra batteries), the DP2 Merrill is a great alternative when I need what it provides.
Thanks for the thread. I have a K5, 4 DA Limiteds and the DA 18-135. I don't plan to get a K5II or s. However, the DP1M is on my lust list for times when you would like high res for a large print. Prints are where *I* think the DP would excel. I don't want to try to recall the number of times when 'the light was right' and the K5 was at home.
03-24-2013, 05:04 AM   #57
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QuoteOriginally posted by chesebert Quote
I agree. Looks like the FA31 is either out of focus or is suffering from some misalignment. I get way sharper image from wide open w/o any sharpening in LR.

For reference, FA31 is suppose to be very sharp from wide open and razor sharp from f2.8. It is typically shaprer than both FA43 and FA77 at all time.

OP, have you done the shake test? Does your lens hood wobble? Does your focus ring turn without any feel of good friction (like it's just running through the gear)? I would recommend you get your FA31 check out.

I disagree; most likely not a problem in the FA lens.

Let me reiterate... I've already tried this with a number of lenses on both the Pentax K5lls and also the Sigma Merrill SD1; both in lenses that literally match (except for lens mount) and even trying any and all Sigma lenses against the Pentax flagship models.

A majority of the time (but not all) the Sigma Merrill SD1 wins, and it's an obvious win, not an isolated example. If one were to somehow rent both cameras and then also try the same exact lenses on both, one would also notice the results.

Might I also add in...

The Pentax K5lls does have better build quality, especially given the price. The Sigma is a bit expensive given the "claimed" megapixels versus the reality numbers - the file sizes, but... That's nothing compared to all of the people in the last generation of the Sigma slr, whom paid well above 5k++, also for a non full frame. Pentax also has their niche lenses that will most likely never see the light of day on the Sigma mounts; such as the more compact lenses and also the FA's. But then again, most of the Sigma "line of" glass is much superior optically and also in aperature.

...And currently there is more glass on the market for PK versus Sigma, but I fully expect that will change quite soon.

It will get even more interesting when eventually both Sigma and Pentax do reach full frame
03-24-2013, 06:14 AM   #58
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QuoteOriginally posted by scratchpaddy Quote
Here's the problem: people have money to spend, and many choices on what to spend it on. They need some way to compare these choices. Numbers are so much easier to compare than intangibles like "pixie dust" and "pop." You can throw numbers on a graph and quantifiably say, "camera/lens X is better than Y." People want graphs to prove that their money is well spent. The statement "I get a warm and fuzzy feeling when I take pictures with this camera" doesn't sound as convincing as "This camera has a higher MTF than the competition." You can't put "happy" on a graph, and your "happy" is not my "happy." Numbers are universal. Hence the measurbator trend.
Yet there are some things that the measurebators never seem to get - some things just don't translate well into graphs and spreadsheets. Some things are just different in nature than universally "better" for anyone. Think of all the different vehicle and engine types, for example. I think the tendendy for hardcore measurebating has more to do with psychology, group behaviour and some sort of social pressure, something that goes beyond the need to justify the use of one's money.
After all, over 90% or our buying decisions are emotional, and people spend lots of money for all sorts of experiences, rather than sheer measurable items. Those who deny they do are deluding themselves. So I still kinda wonder why something cannot just be different, rater than better or worse. Oh well, whatever. I'm just glad we do have some variety and choice.

QuoteQuote:
I say it's fine as long as you recognize that the numbers don't tell the whole story, and when the chips are down, the person behind the camera matters far more than the camera itself.
Well, there ya go. But apparently the main issue is that people don't recognize that fact. Suppose we're going a bit OT, anyway.
03-24-2013, 06:47 AM   #59
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QuoteOriginally posted by Na Horuk Quote
That's odd, I expected the 31mm to fare better than that. The full size sample photo looks almost like it was taken with the kit lens. I seem to remember some other Pentax vs. Foveon thread and the results weren't as dramatic. But thanks for posting
QuoteOriginally posted by chesebert Quote
I agree. Looks like the FA31 is either out of focus or is suffering from some misalignment. I get way sharper image from wide open w/o any sharpening in LR.

For reference, FA31 is suppose to be very sharp from wide open and razor sharp from f2.8. It is typically shaprer than both FA43 and FA77 at all time.

OP, have you done the shake test? Does your lens hood wobble? Does your focus ring turn without any feel of good friction (like it's just running through the gear)? I would recommend you get your FA31 check out.
(Deep breath... deep breath...) I can understand your concern or confusion, especially given that you are not doing the comparison yourself. However, I see absolutely nothing wrong with my FA 31mm in any of the posted images, or in any other images I've shot with this lens in the past years. It is a "very good copy" as some folks like to say!

Naturally, I know this statement alone will not be enough to counter the FUD (or just disbelief) that a sensor design or lack of sharpening can make that much of a difference. (Also, please note that both ACR and Lightroom apply "default sharpening" to all raw files - you need to actively find and reduce this setting if you don't want it!) So is the reason there's such a dramatic difference not that the Foveon sensor can out-resolve a Bayer sensor of the same size/res (as most of the internet thinks), but either that I'm using a K-5 and not a K-5IIs (8% difference?), or that my 31mm lens is defective (see below), or that I misfocused on every example image, or that I'm excluding the EXIF to properly know the images are comparable? This isn't a retort to anyone in particular, but the quotes above represent most of what I've read when "dramatic comparisons" want to be questioned.
Ugh.

So, to get rid of the lens/focus issue straw man, I've made attachments (for the dropdown EXIF) of four 100% crops from this very morning, doing my "backyard test" of, in order, the DP2M, my FA31, my DA35 Macro, and my FA43. Four very sharp lenses, all focused on the distant trees, and processed without default sharpening! What are the odds that all of my (LensAligned) Pentax Limited lenses in that focal length range are defective? (Oh dear, I might also have offended with the truth that the DA35mm Macro is a little better at infinity than the FA's... Michael Johnston save me!)

Of course, I also understand the nature of the "internet photographer," so here is a link to download the 180 megs of raw files (and my ACR .xmp files) to allow lots of up-close-and-personal time with the files if there still be doubts (sigh, which there will be). For those who don't want to go the extra mile and download Sigma's processing software, I've included the converted tiff file from the DP2 as well...

Great gravy boats!
Attached Images
View Picture EXIF
SIGMA DP2 Merrill  Photo 
View Picture EXIF
PENTAX K-5  Photo 
View Picture EXIF
PENTAX K-5  Photo 
View Picture EXIF
PENTAX K-5  Photo 

Last edited by panoguy; 03-24-2013 at 08:25 AM.
03-24-2013, 08:07 AM   #60
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QuoteOriginally posted by audiobomber Quote
You've missed the point.
Maybe, or maybe you did. After all, looks like you are just repeating your previous talking points.
So your argument was that the Sigma/Foveon sensor is somehow flawed because it's not like the mainstream Bayer type sensors in every measurable way, and doesn't sell nowhere near as much. I for one don't quite agree with that. I think there's more to it than that, and the merits of a given technology have little to do with its popularity or market share on the mainstream market.


QuoteQuote:
We were discussing the market impact of a new and improved Foveon sensor. I know Foveons are amazing at what they do well, but they are far behind Bayer at high ISO. Foveon cameras will not capture much market share as long as they can't compete in low light, because ISO is a major area of competition. The Sigmas are landscape cameras, not general purpose cameras, therefore not of interest to most buyers.
Who's to decide the Foveon sensor even needs to compete in the high-ISO game? What if the Foveon sensor didn't even need to have super high-ISO, and what if world domination wasn't even in their plans? What if they have just chosen to do their own thing their own way, and remain as a specialist manufacturer, rather than trying to rule the entire camera industry?

According to your logic, the new Porsche 911 with its sporty chassis, boxer-type rear engine and rear wheel drive will not capture much market share as long as Porsche can't compete in high seat count, because the family car with a transverse i4 diesel engine, front wheel drive and proper seats for up to five adults is a major area of competition. Indeed, Porsche 911 is "far behind" Ford, and Renault, not to mention the Toyota-Nissans which rule the market, and some of which can take up to seven people. I'm sure Porsche do feel the pressure now, and are busy redesigning the 911 to conform with the family car buyers as soon as possible.
Or not.
Well, at least they should, shouldn't they.

Or maybe not.
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