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04-01-2013, 10:25 PM - 1 Like   #1
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The Foveon Club: Life Unfiltered

Sigma's been making (small) waves with their introduction of a line of compacts and DSLRs with the unique Foveon sensor, which lack both the ubiquitous Bayer filter and any sort of antialiasing filter.

The 46MP figure Sigma touts on the latest sensors is a little misleading; the pictures it produces are 16MP, but each pixel in the picture has it's own red, green, and blue pixel on the sensor. This is what makes the Foveon different.

The list includes:
  • DP1: 18mm fixed-lens compact with 14MP sensor
  • DP2: 30mm fixed-lens compact with 14MP sensor
  • DP1 Merrill: 18mm fixed-lens compact with 46MP sensor
  • DP2 Merrill: 30mm fixed-lens compact with 46MP sensor
  • DP3 Merrill: 50mm macro fixed-lens compact with 46MP sensor

edit: Sigma's entire line of DSLRs, which began in 2002, feature Foveon sensors. The most recent ones are:
  • SD14: DSLR with 1st-gen 14MP sensor, using Sigma's own SA lens mount.
  • SD15: Same as SD14, but with updated image processing engine
  • SD1: DSLR with 46MP sensor, using Sigma's own SA lens mount.
  • SD1 Merrill: Re-launch of SD1 with reduced price. Identical to SD1.

Along with the filters, Sigma has also left out decent batteries, HD video, low-light capabilities, stabilization of any kind, decent JPEGS, and RAW files which can be processed by something besides Sigma's PITA software, but all we care about is the pictures, right? Right! So let's post them!

Mine is a DP2 Merrill, with the 30mm lens and the second-generation Foveon sensor.

Because it's an APS-C sensor, shallow DOF is no problem:




Careful, it's kinda sharp!







The 30mm lens doesn't distort the picture; that fence post on the left really is bent.




To really show you what this sensor can do, here's a 100% crop of that last picture, which was already somewhat cropped. No, I did not sharpen it.



So, I'm hoping a few others have bought one of these awesome cameras, and have a few pictures to share. Anyone?


Last edited by scratchpaddy; 04-07-2013 at 02:07 PM.
04-02-2013, 03:03 AM - 1 Like   #2
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Mine (DP1) is on the top in your list. Does it mean it is the best?
This little camera produces amazing photos under right light conditions. Unfortunately mine does not get much use these days.





04-02-2013, 03:06 AM   #3
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B&W




04-02-2013, 05:06 AM   #4
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I own a Sigma SD-1. It is by far one of my favorite non full frame cameras.

And although none of the above presented pics are mine; it does give a slight hint of just how good those sensors are capable of; both in color and b&w. Naturally the foveon is great at separating colors, but also one of the best digital cameras ever made for b&w; and comes quite close to even the sensor results of the Leica Monochrom.

Although also noting the SD-1 does take some getting used to. Some will claim that the jpegs aren't the best and that the raw images require some above average computer hardware resources and also editing through software. The SD-1 definitely not a beginners camera.

04-02-2013, 05:31 PM   #5
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Props to ddhytz for being an early adopter of this technology. I must confess I was only vaguely aware that Sigma even made cameras until Panoguy started making a stir here by comparing a DP1M to the K-5 (and a Q). I happened to be looking for an adequate substitute for the K-5 for the times when I couldn't bring something as big and conspicuous as a DSLR, so here we are.

Nice pics, too. I especially like the sunset beach and pier shots. I'll miss being able to take depth perspective shots like the one of the pier with my 30mm lens, but I like the "normal" focal length better for just about everything else, even landscapes. The DP3M would be even more interesting. I've been honestly shocked by the amount of detail the DP2M brings out in close-focus shots. With the 50mm macro lens... geez. I really hope someone gets one and posts some amazing close-ups here. I saw Unsinkable II wants one, but he already has a good compact (RX100). I'm looking forward to seeing what you come up with, too, David.
04-02-2013, 05:37 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Medium FormatPro Quote
I own a Sigma SD-1. It is by far one of my favorite non full frame cameras.

And although none of the above presented pics are mine...
Don't be shy! I'm interested to see what the 2nd-gen Foveon can do when given a wider variety of lenses. How long have you had it, and what sort of lenses do you have? Oh, and pics please.
04-02-2013, 06:50 PM   #7
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You know, this camera isn't nearly as bad in low light as I was led to believe. It's far from typical DSLR quality, but it's far better than a point & shoot. The last point & shoot I had (Canon PowerShot S2 IS) had a max ISO of 400, it looked a lot worse than this quick pick I took at work yesterday, at double the ISO.

DP2M, f/2.8, 1/50s, ISO 800:


I applied no noise reduction for demonstration purposes. The biggest issue seems to be color noise, which Lightroom is actually pretty good at suppressing. Large magenta and green zones appear all over, especially in dark zones.

Here is a 100% crop of the above pic, in an area with really bad color noise. Poor Jesse looks ill:



Processing in black and white sidesteps the issue of color noise entirely. I've never been much of a fan of B&W, but I think Medium FormatPro may have a point about this camera being darn good at it. In this picture, the remaining luminance noise really goes well with the B&W in this setting.

Here's a 100% crop of what I got when I bumped the contrast and "clarity" up a bit in Lightroom. Again, no sharpening, no noise reduction:
04-03-2013, 01:03 AM   #8
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The new gen sensor has certainly improved in high iso area. I have had my DP1 for 4 years and hardly shot anything higher than iso of 400, mainly used outdoors.
a couple of "old" photos and 100% crop

100% crop


Color test

100% crop


04-03-2013, 03:46 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by scratchpaddy Quote
Don't be shy! I'm interested to see what the 2nd-gen Foveon can do when given a wider variety of lenses. How long have you had it, and what sort of lenses do you have
Oopps' let me first recorrect myself… I own the Sigma SD-1 Merrill and not the non-merrill version that costed about 4k++more. I got it during the initial release day and have only about 20k pics on the count. During any type of non casual use (because of the typical need for editing); it remains as one of my favorite non full frame cameras. Literally the only feature missing is the lack of weather resistance


As for lenses…

The biggest stand-out lens is one that is borrowed; the massive cannon of a Sigma - the 200-500mm f2.8; with a minor modification, most of the exterior of the lens is no longer green.

The Sigma 180mm f2.8 is by far one of my best macro lenses; and allows to get (or keep) quite a distance from the subject. It's also interesting how well this lens does even with a teleconverter (or perhaps worse) additional close up filters

As for the remainder of my current Sigma mount lens collection; I have literally over one half of the current marketed line-up.

Want to know more about a specific lens; please be sure to ask as I probably either presently own it or have used it.


Updated from earlier...

A few more of my favorite Sigma mount lenses...

Sigma 35mm f1.4, Sigma 12-24mm f4.5-5.6 (the only single item I wish were better is the aperature range), Sigma 17-70 f2.8-4.0 (still use it, but I more frequently use the Sigma (constant starting aperature) 24-70mm f2.8

Last edited by Medium FormatPro; 04-03-2013 at 06:17 AM. Reason: updated...
04-03-2013, 08:23 AM   #10
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Great pictures. I can provide only this one :)
04-03-2013, 08:34 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by bvg Quote
Great pictures. I can provide only this one
Still waiting on that lens, eh? You know, if you're desperate, you could turn that body cap into a pinhole lens!
04-03-2013, 09:35 PM - 1 Like   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Medium FormatPro Quote

The biggest stand-out lens is one that is borrowed; the massive cannon of a Sigma - the 200-500mm f2.8; with a minor modification, most of the exterior of the lens is no longer green.
Yikes

04-04-2013, 04:54 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Unsinkable II Quote
Yikes
...And I cannot seem to comprehend why the built in flash doesn't work well with the green monster from Sigma. Could be two things - the buit in doesn't reach the lens minimum focusing distance - or even reach over top of the lens.

Oops
04-04-2013, 07:28 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Unsinkable II Quote
Yikes
If we were in the regular area of the forum, this would be the place for the obligatory "Perfect for my Q" comment.

You know, I think I'll pick one of those up. They're only...

$26,000!?!?

*drops dead of shock*
04-04-2013, 07:59 AM   #15
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One could be able to almost make a manual focus version; basically a t-mount with a few downgrades in optics (and a greatly reduced aperature) for about 10k.

Also noting that even most consumer telescopes are less expensive than this lens.
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