Sigma SD 10 Newbie Help UPDATE

Discussion in 'Photography' started by Lex Mathews, Jul 26, 2004.

  1. Lex Mathews

    Lex Mathews Guest

    Hi, folks - I wanted to update you on the original post (copied below), and
    thank all of you who gave helpful advice, even if it was not what I wanted
    to hear. Thanks very much for your thoughts and advice. I have gotten lots
    of great responses from people from different newsgroups and from another
    email I sent. With a few exceptions, what a nice group of helpful people.

    I also got lots of posts from people who have a real dislike for Sigma,
    although in some cases I wasn't sure if it was the company in general or the
    Foveon X3 technology in the SD9 and SD10 in particular they were commenting
    on. Since most of them probably have more experience with digital cameras
    than I do, I have to respect their opinions, even though some of them were
    kind of . . . weird.

    But I also discovered there are lots of people who are equally passionate
    about the Sigma SD9 and SD10, but in a positive way.

    I feel like there must be some value to the X3 Foveon technology, since I
    have seen lots of great photographs on the web taken with Sigma SD9s and
    SD10s. They look absolutely gorgeous and obviously have high resolution and
    great color. Although I'm sure they were heavily post-processed, you can't
    polish a turd.

    As far as I can tell at this point after EXTENSIVE experimentation, I think
    my unhappiness is coming down to 3 factors:

    1) I am learning that many of the shots that I was disappointed in were
    caused at least partly because I was using the weakest part of an
    inexpensive zoom lens, and didn't bracket my shots enough to give me the
    options I needed. I took some more time and took different kinds of shots
    using some different focal lengths and started to get some images that are
    getting closer to what I was looking for.

    2) I am learning a little more about post-processing options and techniques,
    and although I wish that it wasn't such a complex endeavor, I guess that's
    what it takes.

    3) I do think a quality prime lens will make a noticeable difference - I
    have just ordered a 28 mm EX, and will take a look at that.

    I am a television producer/director by trade, mostly documentaries and
    educational programs, and although my productions are almost always shot in
    video, sometimes I am lucky enough to go work in 16mm film, which I love.
    So, both as a producer and a hobbyist photographer, I have been hoping that
    the SD 10 (i.e., Phoveon X3 technology) might be the next-step breakthrough
    between digital and film I have been hoping for, but I guess the jury is
    still out on that. I was one of the first people I knew of to start using a
    digital still camera (a 1 megapixel HP) when they first started appearing a
    long time ago.

    I also wanted to provide some links about the SD9 and SD10 that I found
    during my research in case any of you are interested.

    Thanks for your time,

    - Lex Mathews


    I have a simple question I would very much appreciate an honest answer to
    from someone who has experience, yet isn't selling me a camera or lenses . .

    I just got a Sigma SD 10, and am very disappointed (been waiting years to
    get a camera with this technology). I realize there are many ways to
    improve a photograph by experience and skill, but the initial photos that I
    took outdoors in bright light are nowhere NEAR the resolution and detail of
    the photographs I have seen on the web. Yes, I was using the highest
    resolution setting and shooting at 100 ISO. I tried a wide variety of
    apertures, shutter speeds, mirror up, etc.


    With the camera, I got one of those cheap zoom lens kits (28-70 and 70-300),
    and used those to take the pictures.

    Will I see a DRAMATIC difference if I just go with a high-quality prime
    lens, I was thinking the 28mm EX. Or will it just be a subtle difference?

    I would very much appreciate a response. If you are interested, I would be
    happy to send you some test pictures.

    Thanks so much.

    - Lex Mathews
    Lex Mathews, Jul 26, 2004
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  2. Lex Mathews

    S Ramirez Guest

    I don't know about the Sigma cameras, Lex, but you can polish a turd. I
    just did it myself using Photoshop 7.

    S Ramirez, Jul 26, 2004
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  3. This is your view. I do respect that - but it is somewhat skewd IMHO.
    The weirdest people here are definitely pro Foveon. You had the bad
    fortune to get some weird ansers to your post by one person that
    was definitely weird and hated Sigma. This is not the norm though.
    Most Sigma threads are dominated by weird pro Foveon posters.
    There are not many of them either, maybe three - it depends of
    the definition of weird.
    I have already answered to this. But - as you make a new thread
    stating the same thing I feel that I have to answer it again.

    Yes - there are gorgeous Sigma pictures out there. There are
    also gorgeous pictures taken with other cameras, both film and

    Now - Sigma pictures possess a quality that normally Bayer
    pictures don't - they have high contrast sharpness at pixel
    level. That looks very flashing; it adds to a kind of freshness
    to the pictures. So - if that is a desirable thing, then it
    is tempting to get a Sigma camera. But, there are some things
    to consider before doing that:

    1. The Sigma camera is only 3.4 Mpixels. Downscaling the
    6 Mpixel pictures from the Bayer DSLRs will give you
    just as flashing and sharp looking pictures. This downscaling
    will remove information - so the original 6 Mpixel
    Bayer contains more information than the 3.4 Mpixel

    2. Bayer pictures use an anti alias filter. Those filters
    are not perfects, so they decrease the local contrast.
    Some sharpening with USM will bring back the local
    contrast - thus making the picture more flashing.

    3. Speaking of anti alias filter. Such a filter is needed
    if you want to faithfully record the picture. The Sigma
    camera has none; the sharpness you see is partly faked.
    You can see this if you look closely at almost any
    sharp Sigma picture. If you don't care. it is not a
    problem. But I do - so I would not consider a camera
    without anti alias filter.

    Roland Karlsson, Jul 26, 2004
  4. Lex Mathews

    Zebedee Guest

    I didn't believe an anti-alias filter was needed for a foveon sensor.



    (Claiming asylum in an attempt
    to escape paying his debts to
    Dougal and Florence)
    Zebedee, Jul 27, 2004
  5. ah haa haa haa hee hee hee


    Arty Phacting, Jul 27, 2004
  6. If you want to be able to faithfully reconstruct the input
    signal you always need an anti alias filter in a sampling system.
    This goes for Bayer, Foveon, B&W, three separate color sensors, etc.
    It is the same for pictures as for sound. Sound is time sampled and
    pictures are spatially sampled.

    If you don't care about the "faithful" part and just want to make
    a camera, you can omit the filter. If you omit the filter for a Bayer
    camera you are making a big mistake, you will get very colorful
    aliasing artefacts. If you omit the filter for the other kinds,
    you just get aliasing artefacts. It is a matter of opinion if you
    can live with those faults. In the best case, the artefacts adds to
    the feel of sharpness and in the worst case it looks strange or ugly.

    As have been seen in the discussions here, the latter is also a
    matter of opinion; what some people think is "stunning sharpness"
    some other consider "unacceptable strange". You have to consider though
    that if you buy a camera that make "stunning sharp" pictures then
    the same pictures may be considered "unacceptable strange" by your
    customers or friends. Your choice.

    Roland Karlsson, Jul 27, 2004
  7. Lex Mathews

    Tim Smith Guest

    I'm still having trouble seeing this, because as far as I can see, in
    photography we *aren't* trying to faithfully reconstruct the input signal.
    Let's compare to audio: there we sample a continuous signal when recording,
    and then when playing back, we output a continuous signal reconstructed from
    the samples.

    In digital photography, the final output is either a print, printed on some
    kind of pixel-oriented device, or a picture on a monitor, again a
    pixel-oriented device.

    So, given a rectangular array of sensors, I don't see why, if they are
    mapped basically 1-to-1 to pixels on the screen or printer, that any filter
    would be needed. Sure, if you constructed a continuous signal from those
    samples, it would be wrong because of aliasing, but it would be right at the
    points that are on the grid, and since those are the points that display on
    the monitor, does it really matter? I.e., the part of the original that we
    can't faithfully reconstruct if we don't filter should be, it seems to me,
    that part that we would not be able to display anyway because we are
    displaying on a pixel-oriented thing.
    Tim Smith, Jul 27, 2004
  8. How do you know that the scene was actually blurry?
    You believed correctly, it doesn't.
    Georgette Preddy, Jul 27, 2004
  9. Then you should do a google search for aliasing, and learn what it means and
    why it's a problem.
    The basic problem is that if you don't use a filter, the pixels end up in
    the wrong place. A feature that's smaller than the pixel grid will get shown
    "snapped to grid". And any time you have a sharp edge or a line, you have a
    feature that's smaller than the pixel grid. Power lines all turn into
    twisted cable with a twist that's determined by the camera, not the power
    company. Cat's whiskers get turned into barber poles. Guitar frets get
    turned into buzz saws. (This latter one is _really_ disturbing to
    Again, look up aliasing. Strong periodic signals get messed up really badly
    unless you filter.
    You are getting close<g>. The stuff that "we can't faithfully reconstruct if
    we don't filter" gets represented strongly and incorrectly in the final
    image. That's why aliasing is a problem.

    David J. Littleboy
    Tokyo, Japan
    David J. Littleboy, Jul 27, 2004
  10. If it matters or not is up to you. This is what happens though:

    The worst case - Moire: For a regular pattern, that contains details
    that are smaller than the sampling can reconstruct, you will get
    strong interference pattern. This can be window blinds, fences,
    cloth or whatever regular pattern out there.

    The second worst case - Strange Edges or Lines: Sharp edges or
    thin lines will get striped (sort of). Power lines that looks
    like a string of beads, cats whiskers that look like rope, edges
    tha looks like stair cases, etc. NOTE - with stair case I don't
    mean the natural stair case you get when enlarging the pixels -
    I mean stair case structures that are more than a pixel wide.

    The third worst case - Strange Texture: Look at foliage or water
    or stone surfaces or any irregular texture. Does it look sharp,
    does it look natural, does it look unatural squary? If it has a
    texture that is unnaturaly squary, like small icons all over the
    texture, then you see aliasing.

    The fourth worst case - Unnaturally sharp: Sometimes it is harder
    to put a real word for what you see. It just looks sharp. Now, this
    might be a good thing, and many likes it - me to sometimes.

    Level one and two above are definitely bad. Except for some creative
    photography projects, they are unwanted by all of us.

    Level three might be a matter of opinion but I assume that it is
    almost alwys unwanted. It does add to the feeling of sharpness
    though. So ... no .. I don't want it. Do you?

    Level four is harder to judge. This is (IMHO) what people mean when
    they say that they like the sharpness of Sigma picture. It adds
    a touch of clearness that is not there using anti aliased pictures.

    Roland Karlsson, Jul 27, 2004
  11. Tim: Google on moire


    Arty Phacting, Jul 27, 2004
  12. Lex Mathews

    Chris Guest

    Ok, if what you say is true, and many people are "passionate" about Sigma,
    give me 10 names.

    I dare you. ;-)

    I once posted asking if ANYONE liked Sigma's SLR cameras, and NO ONE
    responded favorably. Your statement about photos on the web is deceiving,
    as something could have been done to modify the photos beyond simply taking
    them with a Sigma camera.

    Find me 10 names of people who are passionate and positive about Sigma, who
    cannot be proven to be affiliated with Sigma in some way, and I might just
    buy something made by them.
    Chris, Jul 27, 2004
  13. Although I don't have a Sigma camera, and they would certainly not be my
    first choice, I do have several Sigma lenses which I do like.
    I am not surprised that "NO ONE" responded favourably to your post since
    most of the anti brigade are so aggressive and pig headed. I respect all
    opinions, if they are backed up with factual details, but most (not all) of
    the anti Sigma posters make bold statements but only explain their opinions
    by repeating the same bold and generally unsubstantiated opinions before
    resorting to personal abuse.

    I suppose I had better duck now to avoid the missiles :)

    Dennis Bradley, Jul 27, 2004
  14. Lex Mathews

    Lex Mathews Guest

  15. Hey! I like the Sigma film SLRs. Solidly built, reasonable feature set,
    great price. Their only problem is that they take neither Nikon nor Canon
    lenses. (I almost bought one once as a dedicated body to hold the 20/1.8.
    Until I saw the size of the 20/1.8, that is.)

    David J. Littleboy
    Tokyo, Japan
    David J. Littleboy, Jul 27, 2004
  16. Lex Mathews

    Chris Guest

    So you can't state 10 names. Afterall, that'd be the answer to my question.
    You claimed you discovered alot of people are passionate about Sigma's
    digicams in a positive way. The problem with your links, is that they have
    a commercial interest in presenting Sigma in a positive light. I thought
    you were supposed to be just a casual person with a question about Sigma
    quality? Maybe you were being a tad dishonest and misrepresented yourself?
    There have been afew "fake" posters here lately, ringing false praise on
    Sigma. The problem with that, as I've mentioned before, is that if you are
    one of those, whether Sigma pays you, or you feel like doing it on your own,
    the act itself points disfavor to Sigma.

    Not surprised atleast one of the sites you gave had Sigma in the title, 2
    were just sublinks to the same site, and a gallery site wouldn't prove
    anything, as I've already said the images could have been modified prior to

    Did you even bother to read my post before you responded?

    What is surprising to me, is that you found all these sites, detailed and
    full of information, yet you had to ask for advice here. A more subtle
    discrepancy, but all the other Sigma posters had similarities, too. Of
    course, their lies were far more obvious.
    Chris, Jul 27, 2004
  17. Lex Mathews

    Lex Mathews Guest

    How sad for you.

    I get it now - you cannot stand that there are people out there who just
    honestly disagree with you, and want to root out anyone who doesn't see
    things your way. I realize there are people out there who have different
    opinions than me on a variety of issues, and try to respect them all,
    especially if they seem reasonable and calm and not overly biased. So try
    and hear this: I'm not some secret Sigma agent, I'm not sold on the Sigma
    camera, I can see there are weak points and strong points to it, and may end
    up buying a Canon or a Nikon. But I'm trying it out and listening to all
    points of view.

    In my post, I was only trying to point out there were people out there with
    different opinions. But you can't stand for that to be true. So now that I
    see that this is a psychological issue, not an honest discussion with people
    who have different points of view, I no longer care about anything you have
    to say. Save your time and go find someone else with which to start a
    pointless argument.
    Lex Mathews, Jul 27, 2004
  18. We've given you the facts and you still refuse to accept them. You're
    the one with the problem.
    Randall Ainsworth, Jul 27, 2004
  19. Except for the 2-3 sick persons that resently have popped up and
    attacked Sigma and Sigma owners without any reason, where do
    you find this Anti Sigma brigade? Until a week or two I rarely
    saw any. So - what brigade are you talking about? Methinks the tone
    and style of the currently popped up anti Sigma posters looks just
    like all other strange unwanted spam here in the newsgroup lately.
    Maybe they do it just to teasy so you will write flame mails like
    this one. Think about that?
    Here I beg to differ. There are lots of sensible persons here
    that have very much facts behind their claims. Most of them
    seems to have gotten tired of the whole thing by now after months
    of Sigma discussions. I don't blame them - there are some few
    pro Sigma/Foveon posters here that make claims beyond all
    possible reasons - and they generally don't listen.

    Roland Karlsson, Jul 27, 2004
  20. Lex Mathews

    E. Magnuson Guest

    So, you're too lazy to follow the links he provided?
    Oh, I see now. Anyone who likes Sigma *must* have a commercial
    interest in them and thus you disqualify it.
    Trolls and idiotic fanboys are everywhere. But just because something
    happens to attract a few overzealous morons does not make it
    automatically bad.
    Oh, my. People who like Sigma products enough to build a web site for
    similar minded people actually dare to use the Sigma name. That
    *never* happens for any other product! More proof of Sigma
    And heavens to Betsy! They modify their images too! The nerve of them
    to use common tools to produce better photos.
    I think he read it. He just mistakenly assumed that you were a
    reasonable person instead of someone with their own axe to grind.
    Possibly a mistake he won't repeat.
    Hmm, someone complaining that despite the hype of SD10 sharpness, it
    still potentially disappoints with cheap lenses. That just buying and
    SD10 is not enough; if you want high accutance results, you also need
    to learn some shooting and processing techniques and may need better
    lenses. Very subtle. Thank goodness that your acute reasoning sussed
    this out as a clever Sigma marketing ploy. It went right over my
    head; I just assumed someone actually wanted some help.
    E. Magnuson, Jul 27, 2004
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