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Tuesday, 17 July 2018


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Your mention of prints reminded me that I need to go see the current Etherton Gallery Summer Show which runs through August 31st. Their site has a nice slideshow of all the images in the show.

From the Archive: Masters of 20th Century American Photography

I think the main reason why the Sigma compact cameras are so good are the lenses! I wish they still made e.g. the 40mm equiv lens of the classic DP2, they just have that bit of magic:

See, e.g. this Sigma DP2 gallery here on flickr:


Thanks for this post, Mike. I really like seeing who drops by TOP World Headquarters. Shows the engagement you have by the vibrant and active TOP community.

I really like prints a lot as well; its all about the print for me. There's the "tangibility" they provide that provides a lasting touchstone to the photographs we take. Would we know of Vivien Maier today if it were not for the discovery of her prints? Plus, there's just the intrinsic pleasure of viewing a physical print on paper that cannot be replicated by computer displays.

Speaking of prints, I sent you a set of 17X22" physical prints some time ago; last fall. Twice actually. And, from a Fujifilm GFX50S, no less. I would welcome your thoughts about them some time on any level, especially as it relates to prints from a medium-format camera: content, tonality, technical, whatever qualities or points you might like to discuss; and perhaps with even more added-value by way of contrast/context with the Foveon prints.

Best, Stephen


The latest Foveon SD Quattro cameras will shoot standard DNG raw files and can be opened and processed in Lightroom - so no longer necessary to use Sigma’s software.

Best Regards,


The older Sigma DP3 Merrill cameras still produce images that are excellent. Small, clunky and slow with battery life that is not great. Carry extra batteries and have fun photographing.
The image quality is worth it.

I tried a one of the early Foveon sensor cameras a few years back. A DP 1 from memory. I got one trully wonderful image out of it, but boy did I have to work at it. That one image makes me want to try a Foveon camera again each time I look at it. But the time involved ...

One day.

Whatever happened to your adventures in inkjet printing that started close to two years ago, Mike? A well-crafted print is a beautiful thing.

[I tend to fixate on the cost of materials, paper and especially ink. This is a psychological problem, like my irrational fear of dentists (I sometimes cannot talk myself into keeping appointments), but knowing that doesn't make it less difficult to deal with. --Mike]

These days, the cameras do have the DNG format option to save your Raws in, and open them in a decent raw software converter.
DR is not very good with the Quattro sensor.

RE your response to Brian Stewart, I, too, get fixated on ink & paper costs. A set of 12 "tanks" for my Canon Pro 1 costs $350.

Given I only paid $450 (via a 1-day special deal @ B&H a few years ago) for the printer, I can't bring myself to nearly double that cost by buying a full set of tanks.

The tanks included with the printer ran dry long before I was near being proficient with the printer.

So all 70 pounds of the great hulking howitzer, err Canon, sits on a table in my office like a huge, black paperweight gathering dust and mocking me.

Handing someone a print vs showing them your phone, no contest.

Re: Prints. I could not agree with you more. An unprinted image is an image almost certainly headed for oblivion. Most of my photographic efforts since last November have been devoted to making reference/proof prints of a large, long-term project. It’s been a challenging effort but it’s a wonderfully satisfying feeling of closure to have a box of those prints finished. Ahhh.

Re: Sigma. Ugh. Two or three times each year for the past few years I take my set of Sigma DP Merrill cameras (Huey, Dewy and Louie) out for casual walks in the thick, wooly city. Every such session has produced at least one image that I’ve considered among my best.

So last year, on a lark, I decided to try upping my Sigma game by buying that Quattro H and a couple of lenses for it. Ugh. So far, no good. It really is a beast. Whereas the DP Merrills are just slow, battery-sucking beasts the Quattro is a slow, battery-sucking, heavy, ungainly, and nearly unusable beast. (And, yes, the Quattro can write DNG files...but not the DPs - to my knowledge.). I never imagined any camera could make the DP Merrills seem like more fun...but the Quattro do. If you’re thinking of trying that Quattro...get a different thought.

I’ve never used a Sigma digital camera (fixed lens or DSLR), but I’m curious about why it’s such a pain to shoot with them.

To overcome the software compatibility issue can be cumbersome, I get it, but I don’t really understand why people keep complaining about ease of ise with the cameras.

I passionately hate Sony and Nikon user interface, but I could shoot with them if I had to, anyone could. Are Sigma cameras really that mucho harder to use than any other camera brands.

Regarding Frank's accent, the New York Times recently had an article that is, in my opinion, right on: https://goo.gl/tSsRiv.

As for prints and printing, I think I'm largely held back from making prints for the same reasons you are, Mike. But I always go to dentist appointments.

Just to answer your question about Lightroom and "Sigma files", read here: https://www.dpreview.com/reviews/sigma-sd-quattro-h/5. The comments DPR make about DNG and the sd Quattro H also apply to all Quattro models (all current models) via a firmware update released in early 2017. You cannot do it with any older models e.g. Merrill, SD15, etc.

You still have to use Sigma's own software for the proprietary X3F raw files, but if you set the camera to produce DNG files instead of X3F, then most raw converters can read them.

DP2M masterrace checking in. The Merrill cameras are still better than any of the quattro ones. They do still require the sigma software, but it is bearable. There is also irident if need be.

Don't sell yourself short, you could handle using these fulltime. Just approach it with an open mind and don't bring any pre-conceived baggage with you.

And the gorge at the Glen is a superbly cool place, no doubt,

Prints are, to me, the logical, natural and necessary end result of most photographic images. However, I cut my photographic teeth way back in the film era when prints were nearly always necessary to show your images.

The digital generation is likely much more comfortable with seeing images on a glowing screen. That may be, in part, because they've not looked at enough good prints.

Which is a shame.

Maybe I'm romanticizing it a bit, but I feel drawn into a printed image, especially with large prints. That never happens in the glowing-screen images. (Maybe because I've not seen any on really nice, large monitors.)

Another factor for me to favor prints is that a print fixes the image so that most people see nearly the same image. The glowing-screen image can vary from screen to screen, creating many variations of the image.

To the extent that the glowing-screen image can travel to the viewer and the printed image usually requires the opposite, the convenience factor makes the former so much more convenient and practical. Regardless, I'd recommend taking every opportunity to see good prints.

I've been using the Sigma/Foveon combination for over a decade(?), starting with the SD10. The current version of the mirrorless interchangeable lens camera (sd quattro and sd quattro H) are pretty nice to shoot. Certainly easier than a view camera. As files have gotten bigger, the software does struggle. As others mention, there's a dng format.

I love the images, I can't help myself---and I find the slower working suits my style. I just got my daughter her first mirrorless 'real' camera for her birthday (24th). It's a Panny GX8. I'm a good dad-I don't necessarily foist my oddities on my kids. I have no idea how I ended up with the Panny, however...

And Mike, she'll be over for some shooting instructions... :-)


Thank you for the post Mike. As a dedicated user of Foveon equipped cameras I too have received my share of "when you get serious, you will start using a Canikon". Thing is, I do use a Canon and Fuji for many of my everyday shots. But when the color has to be absolutely right, like product shots or artwork duplication/presentation, I set up the SD Q H. I started with a SD-15 that was frustratingly hard to get images with acceptable noise levels, but outperformed color-wise, my Canon with 4x the pixel count. The SD Quattro H is light years ahead of the SD-15 and, in SFD mode, gives me images rivaling those of my MF film days. Yes, Sigma cameras are a learning experience, but well worth the effort. Keep up the good work.
Best Regards, Fred Hoefler (www.photographic-perspectives.com)

I have an original DP1, which I'd not used for a while but earlier this year I took it out, charged both batteries, and went out shooting with it. Still like the results, but it is very much a base-ISO static subject camera and far from a good all-rounder.
That said, the picture of the SD Quattro reminds me I've been very close to picking one up ever since I read that you can convert it to infra-red and back with no tools more complex than tweezers to pop out the IR cut filter in the lens mouth.

I've been using the SD Quattro H camera for a few months now and love it. I almost always use a tripod so that I can keep ISO at base 100. And since the SD Quattro bodies provide DNG output option, I can skip using the difficult Sigma software and instead process using Lightroom. I find the camera simple to use, but slower than other modern digital cameras. Using it feels much like when I was using my old Mamiya RB67. Fun!

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