1. Reminder: Please user our affiliate links to get to your favorite stores for holiday shopping!

Sigma Photo Pro -whats wrong with it or more to the point whats right with it

Discussion in 'Sigma DP Forum' started by peterlee10, Oct 3, 2013.

  1. peterlee10

    peterlee10 New to SC

    3
    Oct 3, 2013
    Orange NSW Australia
    I have recently joined Serious Compacts and am enjoying reading the comments of other Sigma Merrill users.Not much is said about Sigma Photo Pro and to my mind nothing has changed much since Michael Reichmann of Luminous Landscape wrote to the Sigma CEO begging him to work in with another 3rd party software developer to provide decent raw support.To my mind the easiest option would be to allow files to be exported in DNG format. The Merrills have been around for some time now and I suspect that the window of opportunity for 3rd party raw support has passed, especially as sales of Sigma cameras have stalled .This is a huge disappointment to me as I wonder how much better the images would be with raw support from Adobe , DxO or Capture One.I have adopted Michael R's approach is SPP - do the basics only and reprocess in Photoshop.The future I believe of Sigma cameras is not good which is said because my most valued material possession is my DP2 Merrill.

    So whats wrong with SPP ? Their website states "Lets you craft masterpieces of photo ...... the result, we believe is the finest digital darkroom available today". They carried on with the same crappy marketing hype with the Sigma SD1 which originally sold for over $9,000.00 - what a disaster.

    Back to SPP -
    (1) no way to set meaningful black and white points (vital to ensuring the images is exported from the raw developer with a good tonal range).(2) The Highlight Correction slider , if moved to the left it actually desaturates the image - if trying to tone down a sky it bleaches it out.
    (2) Colour correction wheel - a hit and miss affair at the best of times - slider as in all other mainstream software would be far better.I often use a grey card in my initial images and fix the colour balance in PS.
    (3) Noise reduction filter - at 100 ISO it simply doesn't work ( I have examined images @ 100% and 200% and can see no difference on or off).The Foveon sensor oftens leaves some noise and artifacts in the sky which I remove in PS.
    (4) CA correction - it is possible to induce CA with the Merrills especially when shooting backlit subjects and SPP does nothing to remove it - easily fixed in PS.
    (5) No curves panel – this is a simple editing feature available in all most other imaging software and again integral to setting up a good tonal range and balance. I do this in PS as well.
    (6) No selective tools whatsoever – how do you "craft masterpieces" without these basic tools.

    I wont even talk about the new Black and White feature in SPP. Few serious black and white enthusiast would be happy with this "feature" - even with PS it is harder to produce exhibition B & W images than with a traditional darkroom.My own feelings are that SPP is suited to "happy snappers" or people that just shoot JPEGs ( in saying that I acknowledge that not all people who shoot JPEGs are "happy snappers" otherwise they won't be reading these forums.
    I have voiced my complaints to Sigma Support and their Engineers and they have taken the approach that their software is world class and refused to accept its shortcomings.I am taking a leaf out of Michael R's book and will forward my concerns to the Sigma CEO ( Michihiro Yamaki) .It took some finding but his e-mail address is intl@sigma-phot.co.jp. ( I have yet to test this but will also back it up with a letter (Company address on website).
    On another issue I have had problems with the latest firmware updates for the DP2 and DP3 Merrills.If using manual white balance ( essential for stitching images) it muddies up the images , with a heavy warm bias and they are not as crisp as before.I have asked Sigma Support for the former firmware downloads but they refused.
    If anyone does have them could they let me know - is should have kept mine.
     
  2. RT Panther

    RT Panther SC All-Pro

    Dec 25, 2012
    Nothing - I like it...

    Personally,
    I don't think there's anything wrong with it at all. It's the only software that I use to post-process my DP2 RAW files...
     
  3. pdh

    pdh SC Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    It's a little difficult to know how to respond other than to acknowledge that you seem to want to let off steam.

    But welcome to SC anyway
     
  4. Luke

    Luke Super Moderator

    Nov 11, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI USA
    Luke
    my ONLY issue with it is how agonizingly slow it is. Granted I'm using an el Cheapo laptop, but it run Photoshop and Lightroom fast enough. But the Sigma software runs so slow sometimes that I change a setting based on what I see on the screen, but the problem is the screen is showing me the results of my settings from 20 seconds ago.

    So my only suggestion would be to make it work more efficiently and quicker.
     
  5. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs SC Legend

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    you should be able to figure it out...
    I didn't particularly like it when I used it, but only because I'd almost always just use it as a front end to create a TIFF and then do further editing in Lightroom. So, at that point, it seemed like a pain in the butt extra step. I didn't think it worked badly for what it was, but since I couldn't get all the way to a finished product with it, it became an extra step I'd have rather avoided... But I didn't find it particularly difficult to work with when I used it...

    -Ray
     
  6. Will

    Will SC All-Pro

    Aug 30, 2010
    England
    I like it.
    Sorry.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  7. Lawrence A.

    Lawrence A. SC All-Pro

    Nov 8, 2012
    New Mexico
    Larry
    I just got my first Sigma, a DP2S, but the only thing about SPP I don't really like is the little "move the dot in circle" for color correction. I always follow up raw development with further work in Photoshop, so doing it from SPP is no different than doing it from LR, and the Sigma software leaves the wonderful Foven colors. At default in both software, LR seems to yield a file with less color depth and less saturation.

    Like Luke said, it's slow on my i3 machine with 8gigs of memory and a 7200rpm hardrive, hardly state of the art, I know. But it's not so slow I get frustrated, as I always did using Olympus raw developers.

    So there are a few things, notably the CC method, that I'd like to see implemented otherwise, but I grew up in the era of, "You'll eat what's on your plate and you'll like it," so that's what I try to do.
     
  8. Luke

    Luke Super Moderator

    Nov 11, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI USA
    Luke
    OMG. I think I was born about 10 years late in general, but my parents were old fashioned so this really rings true. I watch my nieces and nephews explain all these feeds that they don't eat because they don't like them. I was SHOCKED! I ate all sorts of things I didn't like when I was younger. AND I STILL DO! There's a few things that I just find totally gross that I skip, but I eat everything. Out of respect for whomever prepared it and because that's what I was taught.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  9. Lawrence A.

    Lawrence A. SC All-Pro

    Nov 8, 2012
    New Mexico
    Larry
    Understand. I don't even want my pizza in the same oven as one that has anchovies on it!!
     
  10. Luke

    Luke Super Moderator

    Nov 11, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI USA
    Luke
    I used to be that way with anchovies, but I'm not anymore. Did you know you grow new taste buds every seven years? Often we just think we don't like a certain food, but years later with different taste buds, we actually may like them. It's true. Give those anchovies a try in 7 years.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  11. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs SC Legend

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    you should be able to figure it out...
    My parents were far more progressive and permissive. They said, "You'll eat what's on your plate whether you like it or not!" See, I didn't have to pretend to like it. I got to have my own feelings. Which didn't make the food taste any better.

    The good news is that now I like almost everything I didn't like then. And tons of stuff they'd have never thought to try in their mid-20th century American world. Except purple beats. I still HATE beats. Reminds me of old Jewish ladies with smeared lipstick. Usually I had to kiss one of them (an aunt or grandma) when I cam in the door and then I had to eat BEATS! YUCK! The very memory is almost too much to deal with, about half a century later...

    When George Bush (the first one) was president, I was generally not a fan. But when he said, "I've never liked broccoli but I used to have to eat it. Well, dammit, now I'm the PRESIDENT and if I don't want to eat broccoli, I'm not gonna eat broccoli!" And he didn't. And I always liked that about him. And the way he puked right there at the table at some Japanese state dinner.... I like that in a politician!

    -Ray
     
    • Like Like x 1
  12. Lawrence A.

    Lawrence A. SC All-Pro

    Nov 8, 2012
    New Mexico
    Larry
    "And the way he puked right there at the table at some Japanese state dinner.... I like that in a politician!"

    LOL!
     
  13. krugorg

    krugorg SC All-Pro

    Sep 26, 2011
    Minnesota USA
    Kyle Krug
    The only major thing wrong with it for me is that I am required to use it for Sigma files!
     
  14. krugorg

    krugorg SC All-Pro

    Sep 26, 2011
    Minnesota USA
    Kyle Krug
    Seriously, what is the X number of cameras you need to forecast justify paying 1 or 2 of the top third-party processing tools to support your files properly, rather than developing your own, proprietary software?
     
  15. Lawrence A.

    Lawrence A. SC All-Pro

    Nov 8, 2012
    New Mexico
    Larry
    I processed the file below in SPP & Photoshop, Lightroom 4.1 & Photoshop, and Topaz BW Effects (as a LR plugin) and Photoshop.

    First from SPP:
    SDIM0732-L.

    Now from Lightroom
    LR%20my%20default-0732%20-L.

    Now a Black and White conversion from Topaz inside LR
    SDIM0732-c-Edit-L.

    I always finish up in Photoshop, no matter what raw converter I use; I can just do the fine tuning I want faster in Photoshop than anything else.

    I like the SPP colors better; the reds are redder, which is not surprising. But I think saying other raw development software doesn't work with the files is going too far. And if I have a noisy, high iso file (I know it's not the Foveon's thing, but I tried anyway) I like the chroma noise reduction better in LR. The controversy continues, I guess, but I don't find the DP2s raw conversion a problem, and I will use SPP mostly to retain the color advantage. When I get my Merrill (and I WILL get a Merrill!) maybe the SPP sluggishness will be more problematic with bigger files.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  16. ReD

    ReD SC Hall of Famer

    Mar 27, 2013
    ^ prefer the SPP too (but the BW is also lovely)
     
    • Like Like x 1
  17. peterlee10

    peterlee10 New to SC

    3
    Oct 3, 2013
    Orange NSW Australia
    I guess I am pretty hard on SPP as I know what a good generic raw converter can do. When I purchased my first digital camera (Nikon D7000) I also purchased Nikon Capture Nx2 with the Nik CEP3 plug in .
    Now the Nikon camera is long gone (4 attempts by Nikon to correct the auto focus issues and sensor alignment failed) but I still use Nx2 every day to do most of my fundamental edits ex SPP only taking images into PS if there is something I can’t do in NX2 or if I need to print. Nx2 is much misunderstood with many features people may not even be aware of and I believe the algorithms with CPP and SCP are far superior to that in Nik products.Nx2 was originally developed by Nik, Intel and Nikon but unfortunately the relationship between Nik and Nikon was severed some time ago.Apart from adding raw support for new Nikon cameras there has been no meaningful development of Capture Nx2 for several years and I suspect that it will disappear, swallowed up by the Adobe juggernaught .However, unlike SPP , NEF files can be still be processed by almost every other 3rd party raw software so the NEF format won’t be made obsolete.This is the main thrust of my concern with SPP – Sigma has boxed themselves and DP Merrill owners into a corner.
    Adobe has advised me that there are NO plans to provide raw support for Sigma Merrills as have DxO and Capture One. To be honest with falling sales figures this is highly unlikely in the future and this could mean the end of SPP development and unfortunately these wonderful cameras.
    There is one good thing about SPP and thats the ability to double size the image in the raw converter. I have found on a number of occasions this process is better that interpolating the images with something like Perfect Resize at the end of the edit. In saying this ,it seems to depend on the edit – if not much work is required to finalise the image it seems to work better .
    On another issue - Just as the Foveon sensor doesn’t like the IR filter , it also does’nt seem to respond well to a circular polarising filter – I bought the actual sigma CP filter as an accessory and have found it polarises. Has anyone else had any experiences with this filter ?
     
  18. Lawrence A.

    Lawrence A. SC All-Pro

    Nov 8, 2012
    New Mexico
    Larry
    I haven't tried a polarizer on my DP2s, and if I do it will be the trusty 49mm Canon CP that I bought over 30 years ago and used on tons of my Zuiko lenses. (still not a scratch on it!)

    I wouldn't say SPP is my favorite program, but I've certainly met worse and just like Olympus' Viewer with .orf files, it has certain advantages with the SD raw files. (I never use the Olympus software, though, as I find it unbearable to work with. Other people don't. So.... as always ... different strokes for different strokes.
     
  19. Lawrence A.

    Lawrence A. SC All-Pro

    Nov 8, 2012
    New Mexico
    Larry
    OK. To update my views of SPP now that I have the Merrill: I can't use it with the Merrill to make adjustment on a batch of files. It is just too damned slow with the bigger raw files. So export everything unchanged to 16 bit Tiff and do my "development" in Lightroom. A faster computer might make SPP usable with Merrill files, but my i3 with 8 gigs of RAM just doesn't work that program fast enough. It's almost enough to persuade me to get a Mac so I can use Iridient.
     
  20. ivoire

    ivoire SC All-Pro

    Dec 3, 2011
    chicago burbs
    mike
    I managed tp speed up SPP by running it from a external SSD on my i7 pc with 12gb of ram. Its almost as fast as using some of the nik plugins in CS6
     
    • Like Like x 1