The Traveling SD1 Prints

Started Apr 17, 2012 | Discussions thread
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adegroot
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The Traveling SD1 Prints
Apr 17, 2012

Among other gear, I used to own one time or another a Hasselblad 6x6 Superwide, a Plaubel Makina 67-80mm, a Plaubel Veriwide 47mm, a Fuji 617, a Linhof 617, a Fuji GSWIII-65mm, a Noblex 612, plus a homemade panoramic 2x7-inch camera with Schneider, Rodenstock and Osaka lenses. I also shot 4x5 and 5x7 film. In the 35mm department I used a Konica Hexar, Yashica T4, and Contax RTS and G1 equipment with Zeiss lenses. Naturally, when I took the plunge and switched from film to digital, image quality was extremely important to me, and the Foveon chip appealed to me a lot and I bought an SD10 with two kit lenses, and soon bought the famous 50mm macro lens, and then some more EX glass later on. Most of my film equipment was soon gone.

And now here comes Sigma with the SD1 with an image sensor smaller than a postage stamp. Today I saw what the camera is capable of by viewing the prints shipped to Sandy's home in Vienna, VA, where she lives with her very supportive husband. This afternoon I was a guest at their home so I could have a first hand peek. It took the three of us to unroll the gigantic 30x48 inch prints unto the dining room table.

These are my quick observations:

1) D-max is very good, lots of detail into the shadow areas; did not see noise in the prints presented.

2) The camera begs for great glass,; some prints had soft edges/corners and/or were shot with lenses not totally up to the task. Not a fault of the camera. Other prints were sharp in foreground, background and all corners.

3) Colors were good, very good actually. Even is SPP is faulty, the colors can be controlled. No print was artificially pumped up in contrast or saturation, or sharpness. Reds were exceptionally good. One print of a lady in a garden showed all flowers in natural colors. The greens were wonderful as well.

4) The prints were 30x48 inches; nothing short of amazing. They held up extremely well, and certainly must look gorgeous if viewed from a proper viewing distance. As the prints were laid out on a table this was a little harder to do. But I got a faint idea.

5) No technical information was available (lens, f-stop, shutter speed, processing, ressing up process, sharpening, etc.), except that all prints were made on Fuji paper by a machine at some lab from jpeg files. Yes, JPEGs! As machine prints they were indeed very good.

6) The two pictures taken in Scandinavia were exceptionally detailed; shots of rooftops and buildings and homes. These were sharp from corner to corner with incredible depth of field and superfine details, such as the chicken wire in one's home balcony and the faint shadows it cast upon the wood behind it.

7) All in all, I was thinking this: with a DP1M on DP2M I can crop an image to a 1:3 ratio and then easily print a 13x39, or 16x48 inch panoramic! That's going to be amazing, because as a mirror-less camera, the sharpness is going to be great! Can't wait for Sigma to come out with these little pocket monsters.

Who could believe 10 years ago that a camera maker would be able to get such quality from a sensor smaller than a postage stamp?

Going back to film? I don't think so. Does it beat medium format? Probably does. I am not sure I could make prints that quality and size form my 6x7 transparencies shot on Velvia.

 adegroot's gear list:adegroot's gear list
Olympus XZ-1 Sigma DP2 Merrill Sigma DP3 Merrill Sigma SD10 Sigma SD15 +12 more
Sigma DP1 Sigma DP2 Sigma SD1 Sigma SD10
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