Sigma, foveon and proprietary RAW and post-processing Locked

Started 9 months ago | Discussions thread
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xscd
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Sigma, foveon and proprietary RAW and post-processing
9 months ago

Are the images I capture with a camera my own?

No matter how amazing the camera manufacturers' hardware is, if one's use of it depends upon proprietary raw file formats and proprietary software that only runs on some computer systems, then for me, I'm inclined to ask myself what use is it.

I've been interested in the foveon sensor for some time. Sigma has a great reputation for very high quality optics. So although Sigma's hardware has been a little "funky" for quite a long time, the combination of foveon sensor and a great Sigma lens encouraged me to buy a DP2 Merrill.

As I looked forward to receiving the camera, I began to do some research about how to process the images I'd capture. Most people don't recommend the in-camera rather low-quality JPEG image processing, so that leaves the raw format, the best format for complete control over one's own "digital negatives." Or are they really one's own?

The raw file format of most cameras is proprietary, and the people and companies that create post-processing software sometimes have a hard time keeping up with hacking the camera manufacturers' proprietary formats and standards in order to give camera owners a better set of tools for developing raw files and for postprocessing tasks than those supplied by the camera manufacturer, that are often inferior, proprietary (so that independent programmers can't rewrite them and do a better job), and only run on some computer systems (typically Windows and Apple OS).

I'm a Linux user. I haven't used Microsoft Windows or Apple OSX in over 15 years. So I'm stuck. A camera is not useful to me, no matter how wonderful it is, if I don't have control over the images I capture, if a proprietary raw file format that must be developed and processed by proprietary software or other software that runs only on certain computer systems (but not the one I use) creates a brick wall between me and the images I've captured.

Yes, there are workarounds. I could buy another computer, or install Windows or Apple OS in a virtual machine on my own computer. I've tried both, and both had so many problems that I gave up in frustration. I hate the fact that the camera manufacturer is making it harder for me to enjoy their product, as great as the hardware technology may be.

So, I returned my DP2 Merrill and the optional matching viewfinder and SDHC card, without opening the box. I'm left with my trusty (but inferior) bayer-sensor camera, because although the raw file format and development sofware are still proprietary, a lot of independent hacking has occurred that gives one quite a few options, even in a Linux OS environment, for working on the raw files, using various demosaicing algorithms, etc.

This is a very frustrating and disappointing situation.

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Stephen Doonan, New Mexico US

Sigma DP2 Merrill
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