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Sigma's secret weapon - SD Quattro review, an incredible filmic 8K timelapse tool with infrared capabilities


Andrew Reid
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1 hour ago, Ed_David said:

Seems like dynamic range or low light capabilities haven't gone up much - might be better to get the older cameras - really interesting review.

I can recomend the DP1 and DP2 classics. Not very high res but very nice look from the sensor imo.

You can also go for the DSLRs.

Just make sure you get one accepted by Lightroom. Only the Quattro line shoots DNG and the Sigma raw from the Merrills aren't accepted. The DP1, DP2, DP1s and a few others work.

On the others you need Sigmas editor.

ISO 200 is ok. 400 is stretching it.

I made videos about rhe DP1 and DP2 as well. With a video sample from the DP1 ;)

 

 

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7 minutes ago, Tim Sewell said:

Heh - your video must have had an effect on the market as - right now - I can't find a DP1 for less than GBP220 on ebay UK!

I know, that's often the case, sorry about that. But if you look outside of the obvious places you can still find one.
Since making the video Ive seen one on ebay with zero bids on starting bid of $80.
Also I bought one on a regular classified since then for $80.

And it will go down again.

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16 hours ago, Ed_David said:

where can I see some dynamic range charts or tests?  I can't find any.  Also want to see what it looks like at 200 ISO and 400.  More curious about the APS-H model, since a larger sensor, maybe better in low light (at least to get to 400 ISO, that's all I need)

Seems like dynamic range or low light capabilities haven't gone up much - might be better to get the older cameras - really interesting review.

There is a 10 page argument about it (without a single photograph) here if you've got the patience for it.

https://***URL removed***/forums/thread/3650127

Meanwhile....

I took a couple of shots for you at ISO400 on my DP0 which is the fixed 14mm version of the SD sensor.

The DR issue (as hotly debated in parts of the DPR thread) is one that partly comes down to what can be measured and what you can use based on what you can do with it in Sigma's RAW editor.

The RAW editor gets a lot of abuse (and not without foundation it has to be said when compared to stuff like Lightroom and Aperture) but its not dramatically worse than Hasselblad's Phocus app for example but at least you can open their files in something else, unlike Sigma's. Well, you have the DNG option now in the Quattro range and there is a freeware app who's name escapes me that can open the .X3F files but Sigma's open app is the key to getting the absolute best out of the files as they're the gatekeepers of the Foveon voodoo! Yes, its slow, but so is the pace of photography you will largely do with these cameras so its no big deal to me. Its not like I'm dealing with a DSLR where I've been machine gunning my way round a sports field and its more akin to film photography where you come home with a couple of rolls of 36 exposures.

Anyway, so here is an illustration that I shot for you (at ISO400) to show you what's possible DR wise and the key to this is the X3 Fill Light function which will bring back a ton of shadow information so you know you can ETTR and recover usable info

The top picture is the JPEG from the camera to show how it was shot and the bottom one is after using the X3 Fill Light.

Collage1.thumb.jpg.1aed30fef6e23785632a92646dbd9a7a.jpg

 

Next is a comparison between ISO200 and ISO400 as I needed a coffee after looking at those old ruins (what do you mean, I see one in the mirror every day).

With the Quattros, the native ISO is 100 and AFAIK there is a drop from 100 to 200 but its not so marked between 200 and 400. Basically, once you've taken the hit by moving away from 100 then you might as well take the extra shutter speed/aperture opportunities on offer by shooting at 400 ;)

Top picture is ISO200 and bottom is ISO400 with 100% crops from each to show the untreated noise in both.

Collage2.thumb.jpg.cc2c7cf62666d872e12545a3745fe3a6.jpg

This final one as a way of comparison between the current and previous generations is from my DP1m which is the fixed 19mm lens compact with the Merrill sensor.

The native ISO on the Merrill versions is ISO200 rather than ISO100 and as with the Quattro's you can shoot ETTR (as per the original shot top left) and the use the X3 Fill Light function to bring out the shadows (top right) and then take it from there to do more colour work or black and white conversion.

Collage3.thumb.jpg.7923c63bbc81efba6f8f397694084b0c.jpg

 

If anyone wants to have a play with it themselves then I've put the original .X3F file here and you can then go over to Sigma's site and download their SPP software to edit it with.

https://mega.nz/#!BiYwRCQZ!1725R1XDQlhRPliyTdnpusi3rqspEWirIvByYqvA-tI

As everyone says, these cameras have as many quirks and limitations as they do different models but if you're prepared to accept them then you're getting a hell of a lot in a compact form and price.  

I started off with the DP2m and if I had to have just one then I think that is the sweet spot for me in terms of size, focal length (stitched comps for faux wide angle are great from it) and price. 

Well, price is only ok for now until @Mattias Burling does one his reviews on it ;)

 

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40 minutes ago, 7 Lakes said:

I wish SD Quattro had the interchangeable lens mount, so I could use my 18-35 f1.8 Nikon mount :)

I think you may see the Sigma mount version being bundled with the SD Quattro before too long. 

The current SD Quattro c/w 30mm 1.4 ART bundle is around £800 so with the 18-35mm being £280 more retail than the 30mm 1.4 then £999 would seem right as a bundle.

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9 hours ago, BTM_Pix said:

There is a 10 page argument about it (without a single photograph) here if you've got the patience for it.

https://***URL removed***/forums/thread/3650127

Meanwhile....

I took a couple of shots for you at ISO400 on my DP0 which is the fixed 14mm version of the SD sensor.

The DR issue (as hotly debated in parts of the DPR thread) is one that partly comes down to what can be measured and what you can use based on what you can do with it in Sigma's RAW editor.

The RAW editor gets a lot of abuse (and not without foundation it has to be said when compared to stuff like Lightroom and Aperture) but its not dramatically worse than Hasselblad's Phocus app for example but at least you can open their files in something else, unlike Sigma's. Well, you have the DNG option now in the Quattro range and there is a freeware app who's name escapes me that can open the .X3F files but Sigma's open app is the key to getting the absolute best out of the files as they're the gatekeepers of the Foveon voodoo! Yes, its slow, but so is the pace of photography you will largely do with these cameras so its no big deal to me. Its not like I'm dealing with a DSLR where I've been machine gunning my way round a sports field and its more akin to film photography where you come home with a couple of rolls of 36 exposures.

Anyway, so here is an illustration that I shot for you (at ISO400) to show you what's possible DR wise and the key to this is the X3 Fill Light function which will bring back a ton of shadow information so you know you can ETTR and recover usable info

The top picture is the JPEG from the camera to show how it was shot and the bottom one is after using the X3 Fill Light.

Collage1.thumb.jpg.1aed30fef6e23785632a92646dbd9a7a.jpg

 

Next is a comparison between ISO200 and ISO400 as I needed a coffee after looking at those old ruins (what do you mean, I see one in the mirror every day).

With the Quattros, the native ISO is 100 and AFAIK there is a drop from 100 to 200 but its not so marked between 200 and 400. Basically, once you've taken the hit by moving away from 100 then you might as well take the extra shutter speed/aperture opportunities on offer by shooting at 400 ;)

Top picture is ISO200 and bottom is ISO400 with 100% crops from each to show the untreated noise in both.

Collage2.thumb.jpg.cc2c7cf62666d872e12545a3745fe3a6.jpg

This final one as a way of comparison between the current and previous generations is from my DP1m which is the fixed 19mm lens compact with the Merrill sensor.

The native ISO on the Merrill versions is ISO200 rather than ISO100 and as with the Quattro's you can shoot ETTR (as per the original shot top left) and the use the X3 Fill Light function to bring out the shadows (top right) and then take it from there to do more colour work or black and white conversion.

Collage3.thumb.jpg.7923c63bbc81efba6f8f397694084b0c.jpg

 

If anyone wants to have a play with it themselves then I've put the original .X3F file here and you can then go over to Sigma's site and download their SPP software to edit it with.

https://mega.nz/#!BiYwRCQZ!1725R1XDQlhRPliyTdnpusi3rqspEWirIvByYqvA-tI

As everyone says, these cameras have as many quirks and limitations as they do different models but if you're prepared to accept them then you're getting a hell of a lot in a compact form and price.  

I started off with the DP2m and if I had to have just one then I think that is the sweet spot for me in terms of size, focal length (stitched comps for faux wide angle are great from it) and price. 

Well, price is only ok for now until @Mattias Burling does one his reviews on it ;)

 

Thanks for this so much - I just ordered the DP2x on ebay - excited to do my own tests against film.

400 iso doesn't look that bad!  Highlight roll off is unfortuate - not a smooth flattering curve at all.

Your photos are gorgeous!

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1 hour ago, Ed_David said:

 

400 iso doesn't look that bad!  Highlight roll off is unfortuate - not a smooth flattering curve at all.

Its a bit of a torture test with the light here at that time of day in combination with those shiny spoons and reflective table top so I could've been kinder to it to avoid the cliff edge drop highlight drop off but at least you get to see a bad case scenario of it ;)

Its never going to match the DR of a number of cameras but it makes up for it in other ways and its capable of some subtlety in different conditions.

*Disclaimer, these are old jpegs blown up so the quality suffers accordingly when viewed supersize on this upload.

Collage 4 (1).jpg

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15 hours ago, BTM_Pix said:

Its a bit of a torture test with the light here at that time of day in combination with those shiny spoons and reflective table top so I could've been kinder to it to avoid the cliff edge drop highlight drop off but at least you get to see a bad case scenario of it ;)

Its never going to match the DR of a number of cameras but it makes up for it in other ways and its capable of some subtlety in different conditions.

*Disclaimer, these are old jpegs blown up so the quality suffers accordingly when viewed supersize on this upload.

Collage 4 (1).jpg

Looks like CGI..................but CGI can look more real than current CMOS sensor rendering of reality.......

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8 minutes ago, 7 Lakes said:

Would it be possible to mount 30mm 1.4 ART Sigma on Ursa Mini Pro? Maybe there is a Sigma to Canon converter?

Unfortunately not.

Sigma do one to let you use them on Sony, complete with autofocus.

Intriguingly, I've also found a third party one that lets you convert them to be used on Fuji, which makes them a bit more interesting to me.

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Quattro sensors achieve higher resolutions be splitting the top blue layer into 4 pixels, sort of like Bayer's use of green pixels to increase apparent resolution over color.  There are some (like me) who believe the Merrill's are still superior because they don't add mosaic issues into the image. 

I can't see Foveon replacing Bayer.  As @Shirozina mentioned above, bayer sensors could already do better against Foveon by thickening their filters.  Or they could go back to CCD.  The fact is, only a small minority of photographers look to maximize color in native ISO shooting.  

Someone mentioned that Foveons are dynamically-range challenged.  Couldn't agree more.  However, capturing a wide dynamic range is immensely over-rated.  As others will point out, within the 6 stops of DR Foveon likes to play in it crushes other camera's color-wise IMHO.  Our eyes can only perceive 6 stops of DR at a time. 

One of the problems with Foveon, as I understand it, is that although the sensor has three layers, they aren't as distinct as bayer filters.  Photons move through the silicon and a lot of computations must be done to calculate what color each layer is registering.  They've been working on this for a long time.  I don't see any magic algorithm in sight.  Foveon sensors have always been slow.  They don't get faster, just a little bit less slower!  These cameras are labors of love for Sigma; my guess is that either lose money or don't make any.  If they really cared about reaching the public they'd license a different lens mount, or make it easier to create adapters.

Normally, I would say that these cameras have nothing to do with video.  However, the kind of images they can capture in the right conditions are the closest thing to film one can get.  An image from a Sigma is THE image you want your video equipment to produce.   These cameras can make you fall in love with photography again.  

 

 

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Well I got the second print today.
So I have full body portraits of people printed 1:1 (average 1.8m tall).
Several shot on the Sigma DP Quattro and the 30mm kit prime. And one with a Fuji XT2 + 23 or 56mm, I forget which.
The Sigma prints looks way better. Not so the Fuji print isn't usable next to it but noticeably better.
If you are in Gothenburg this week you can come check them out up close downtown.

I can post pictures of them tomorrow. 

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2 hours ago, AaronChicago said:

Has anyone used the Quattro DP0? I love the double wide frame look. It's pretty much the digital version of the Hasselbad Xpan.

The couple of ISO400 test shots I did for Ed above were from the DP0.

These are a couple that I've done with it in the 21:9 ratio in both orientations.

599afe9e98be2_SDIM0099-Version4.thumb.jpg.042ce75b6a09d3bf253de657860729b9.jpg

SDIM0078.thumb.jpg.35a2b21c844a5ac7ff4f832fb9786b86.jpg

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Hmm, very intriguing camera! Especially the Quattro H version.

I am looking to get into photography, mostly for model shoots. I really like filmic colors and often use Filmconvert for my video's and photo's.
The thing is, I already have a GH5 and Speed Booster XL with a Sigma 18-35. So, I basically already have a very similar camera to the Quattro H. Same FOV, same lens, etc.

It looks like the colors and resolution will be much better on the Sigma camera. But it is another 1300 bucks. I'm sure my GH5 would take great pics with this setup as well.

Is it night an day? The Quattro seems to have about 11.6 stops of DR. The GH5 around 10.5 I believe? Is there any other camera with Sigma's sensor technology?
It looks like a great device, but not thàt great :)

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