Foveon photography

My medium format photography kit The Sigma DP2

My medium format photography kit!

This Sigma DP2 is a highly portable even minuscule ‘medium format’ kit. The only things not shown are a couple additional filters, yellow, orange and SIX batteries…

Every review ever read about the DP2 complains firstly about the ISO performance and secondly about the power consumption of the camera. When one has been using film for any length of time the limitation of 400 ISO is really not a problem. In some ways its a personal thing but a printed image shot at 400 ISO is really about the ISO limit for the DP2 unless additional post processing is carried out. Personel preference is for no greater than 200 ISO which again I don’t feel is such an onerous limitation.
It just means going back to the mindset of what things were like when I first picked up a camera. When the most affordable film was 100 or 125 ‘ASA’ Agfa, Ilford or Kodak PlusX. Then the use of a tripod when light levels dropped so low as to make hand holding impossible was the only thing to do.
As for batteries the little BP41 is as cheap as chips, they charges quickly and are small enough that carrying six for a days shooting is no real drama, try carrying six Canon batteries in your pocket!
This DP2 has been in use for about a year now and I have to say it has given me a great deal of satisfaction. The only other camera that produces images with the same colour render and clarity is the Leica M9 but sorry Leica friends, the M9′s resolving power is considerably less than the Foveon sensor cameras. However, like the M9 the DP2 has a character even ‘a look’ of its own. But unlike the M9 it produces even more phenomenal monochrome images with the kind of resolution that was only available from 6×7 or even 4×5 contact prints. Its a truly brilliant and much underrated camera! If the upcoming Quattro release improves on the DP2′s weakness’s it will be an even more remarkable photographic tool.

 

Resolution…

Perth a'la foveon

The three DP series of cameras are actually several cameras all in one and it is not until one has been using one for awhile that one realizes the full potential of these wonderful instruments. Firstly it has all the resolving power of a 6×7 negative, secondly it’s a point and shoot with full manual controls and thirdly it is a damn fine monochrome camera and there is only one other digital monochrome camera… Sigma’s blog has a few articles written by Sigma selected photographers. One of particular interest at this time is dedicated to monochrome and the use of Sigma Photo Pro 5.5 by Jack Howard which is an excelant raw processor on most Macs except the MBA on which it crashes regularly.
On the subject of RAW processors of X3 files for the mac Iridient Developer it is as comprehensive as Adobe Camera Raw.
It takes a while to adjust ones mindset if ACR has beed used for any amount of time but its worth the effort eventually.
This is a real gem for AUD$22. It’s for the basic tasks of image working with Sigma files,  Lyn a fine British offering written by Mirko Viviani.  I had a minor problem so I emailed Mirko and he sent me a corrected version of the application within a couple of hours (beat that Adobe!) It is the equal of Bridge and for some things it just does it better.  Lyn does all the basic things that Bridge does with no manipulation capabilities other than cropping. It  converts to eleven different file formats, allows keywording and most important because  Bridge, Aperture and Lightroom don’t, It allows fast sorting of X3 files. Then batches and outputs to email, Facebook, Flickr, Pikassa, 500pics, Dropbox and Smugmug.  All in all a good stable and usable application.

 

Perth by night

Perth W.A. by night a' la foveon
This Foveon photo has been shot a short distance from the previous albeit a few days later at night. Again the resolution produced by this camera is simply amazing  at full size details inside the hi rise can clearly be seen!

 

That’s lousy parking mate…

That ain't no way to park a lorry...
A 1940’s lorry secured (parked) rather oddly to the top of a container – as if any one is going to steal it, very strange…

Black and white is this Foveon sensor the perfect digital mono?

Black and white is this Foveon sensor the perfect digital mono...
For any one who doesn’t know about Gregory Simpson and Ultra something.com  it really is time you open another window and read his blog, Egor as he like to call himself is a wonderful writer with a lot to say on the subject of photography and a great wealth of  experience share. Not only does he have his excellent blog but he also written a few really good articles for the Leica camera blog.

But the subject of this blog post is Foveon cameras in three parts so his last few posts are of particular interest to you my fellow Foveonesta’s – not certain if this name has been used before but it feels right, but I digress…
Sigma versus the Nerd part 1 and 2 takes a critical look and makes comparisons in the Foveon sensor as a monochrome camera.

Egor bemoans the fact that the images he makes have to be converted into colour prior to becoming Mono. Well this is not quite correct depending on how one sets the camera up. If one sets the DP2M in my case to mono the result downloaded from the card is in mono if opened with Lyn. I then sort and save the selections it as tiff files. They are then corrected in Photoshop with much of the work being done in ACR. I have for many years used the L.A.B. space to work on my images because it is faster once one becomes familiar with it. I generally only sharpen in the lightness channel because it is more forgiving than sharpening all the channels together. Its a little like using  high pass sharpen if its needed.

I also use Silver effects + when required but I always leave any smart sharpening or USM till the very last… This way is not totally without its faults it sometimes,  as Egor found the red channel seems to hold a higher propotion the noise, not that one can actually see any red when using the A channel in L.A.B. but it is there.

The above image was treated this way and in this case very little sharpening was required, Foveon files seem to need a lot less than tiffs from other cameras.
This process can also be carried out in Iridient as that also supports L.A.B. however Iridient sees the whole colour file.

Launceston looking towards Mount Arthur

LauncestonLaunceston sits in a valley at the junction of the North Esk and South Esk rivers. Together they form the Tamar river which is a deep and wide tidal river that enters the Bass Straits at Georgetown…

A grassy lane in West Launceston…

A grassy lane in West Launceston

 

A Bird of Paradise – Strelitzia reginae

Strelitzia regina e A bird of paradise

 

Rhododendron blossom path…

Rhodedendron Blossom Path…Spring in full colour rhodedendron blossoms Cataract Gorge Park Launceston Tasmania Australia

 

Found still life at Evendale Market

Found still life at Evendale Market

 

Alexandra suspension bridge

Alexandra suspension bridge

Alexandra lookout

Alexandra lookout a quiet place that over looks the Alexandra suspension bridge in the Cataract Gorge in Launceston, Tasmania.Alexandra lookout a quiet place that over looks the Alexandra suspension bridge in the Cataract Gorge in Launceston, Tasmania.

Spotted Gum

Spotted Gum
I have been shopping around for some timber recently and I found this stack in a timber yard… The grain texture come out very well at full size. This is spotted gum Corymbia maculata is a beautiful warm honey colour when finished.

Pining for a bed…
Pineing for a bedIn the process of finding suitable wood for a project I came accross someone elses project a giant daybed lined with these half rounded radiata pine batons. The timber was just so appealing sat there in the Timber World yard in the village of Meander a pretty little place about fifty km from Launceston.