Foveon sensor output - film like?

Started May 28, 2012 | Discussions
charlwoodphotography
New MemberPosts: 13
Like?
Foveon sensor output - film like?
May 28, 2012

Having looked through quite a few shots online it seems to me that the output from a Foveon sensor is very 'film like' - by that I mean the apparent dynamic range and the colour tones.

Is that something you folks, as users, would agree with?

apoc
Regular MemberPosts: 426
Like?
Re: Foveon sensor output - film like?
In reply to charlwoodphotography, May 28, 2012

No,its dynamic range is smaller, and the colors are not as accurate.
--
Sorry about my english, it's not my first language.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
maple
Senior MemberPosts: 2,556
Like?
Re: Foveon sensor output - film like?
In reply to apoc, May 28, 2012

apoc wrote:

... and the colors are not as accurate

just like films.

-- hide signature --

Maple

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
atom14
Senior MemberPosts: 1,276
Like?
Re: Foveon sensor output - film like?
In reply to charlwoodphotography, May 28, 2012

Presumably some positive quality is being attributed to "film". This is in spite of wide quality and characteristics range of the media.
Then as for popular agreement:
Some would. Some wouldn't. And some wouldn't know.
I wouldn't know, and I'll tell you, unlike some who wouldn't.

And after this exercise I would still be wondering why, as would some others, as would some others not, and as would yet others who do neither.
atom14.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
colinbm
Senior MemberPosts: 1,219
Like?
Re: Foveon sensor output - film like?
In reply to charlwoodphotography, May 28, 2012

It is subjective........it is all in the eyes of the beholder...........but YES
Col

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
SandyF
Forum ProPosts: 14,869Gear list
Like?
Re: Foveon sensor output - film like?
In reply to charlwoodphotography, May 28, 2012

charlwoodphotography wrote:

Having looked through quite a few shots online it seems to me that the output from a Foveon sensor is very 'film like' - by that I mean the apparent dynamic range and the colour tones.

Is that something you folks, as users, would agree with?

I never shot DSLR film very much, before getting an SD10 in 2004. I've always been satisfied with the Sigma-Foveon dynamic range, as compared to other digital cameras I've used (Canon and Pentax mainly). Once more last week, the DP1 and DP2 cameras proved themselves 'in the field' so to speak. They handled high dynamic range scenes better than my Canon 5DII. I cannot speak of the SD1's newer sensor dynamic range, but the DP1/DP2 sensor is the same basic sensor as the SD14/SD15. The older SD9/SD10's had an earlier sensor. Dynamic range has never been a 'problem' in my experience, on the contrary.

I haven't had a chance yet to process through my hundreds of rock shots 5DII, DP1, DP2 from Valley of Fire and Zion National Park Utah. Just a couple are online at flickr at present.

There is a certain sharpness and edge contrast IMHO to the Foveon sensors' output which often give results which are sharper and cleaner than non-Foveon cameras. This is a matter of a LOT of threads and controvery on the Forum, but I think it's true... ie there is a Foveon quality.

There are disadvantages too... mainly high ISO. I rarely shoot any camera over ISO800. You won't find most Sigma users doing the ISO24000+ or whatever.
Best regards, Sandy
http://www.pbase.com/sandyfleischman (archival)
http://www.flickr.com/photos/sandyfleischmann (current)

 SandyF's gear list:SandyF's gear list
Sigma DP2 Sigma DP1 Sigma DP2 Merrill Canon EOS 5D Mark II Sigma SD9 +5 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
pntbll248
Forum MemberPosts: 66
Like?
Re: Foveon sensor output - film like?
In reply to apoc, May 28, 2012

Each emulsion has a different color profile and renders real-life color differently than others. There seems to be some nebulous concept of "Color accuracy" in the photography world, but it's an elusive property that I've yet to see properly demonstrated. More importantly, I'm not sure why "Accurate" colors are even that important outside of forensic or scientific application. Good color and accurate color are not necessarily synonymous. Look at Velvia -- it's one of the most iconic transparency films in the history of photography, and its colors are wild and even outlandish at times. It has a razor-thin dynamic range compared to the Foveon sensor, and that's okay too.

Personally, I see Foveon output as coming closer to film rendition than any other consumer digital technology. Maybe that's a good thing, maybe it's not -- really depends on your intended application I guess. But the reason I adore Sigma cameras is for their unique color palette -- even the greenish SD14 renderings can have a place in my gallery.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Tom Schum
Senior MemberPosts: 3,279Gear list
Like?
Re: Foveon sensor output - film like?
In reply to SandyF, May 28, 2012

Foveon is better than film.

I did experiments about a year ago. In order to do this I had to buy a used Sigma SA-7n 35mm film camera body. Ken Rockwell did some similar experiments and I guess he was lucky enough to get better film processing or something. He still prefers film, but he has only done comparisons with Bayer sensors so he really doesn't know.

I compared my best film version of a view thru the 85mm F1.4 EX DG HSM with the same view on a SD15, thru the same lens, within a few minutes time, same ISO, same exposure. So far as I know, the 85mm F1.4 EX DG HSM is the best prime Sigma makes, but that's only my opinion.

I sent the film to the best processing people I was able to find, following a recommendation from someone else on this forum (it was pricey). They did the development and scanning. Scan resolution was easily equal to SD15 sensor resolution if I remember correctly. Before the images below, I shot a couple rolls of film in the SA-7n to get the hang of it. I built a thread out of my experiences but the thread was removed from this forum last time I checked. Thread was "The High Cost of Film".

Here are the two images processed to look the same to the limits of my ability (film shot is first). You will decide which one you like better of course, but I prefer the SD15 shot. Look how smooth and clean the SD15 shot is, and how clear it is. True, the saturated reds are different, but overall the colors match pretty well.

SD1 is far better than this, mostly because of resolution but the SD1 blues excel. DPx series is the equal of the SD15, except it is much easier to get a perfectly focused image because sensor-based autofocus is used. Film has some artistic merit, this I cannot deny, but I think you can get all that with software now.

I remember there were some comments posted in the long-gone thread about how I needed to use different film or scan it better, or find better processing, but I got tired of trying to out-do my SD15 and gave up. I still have several rolls of new film sitting in a box with the SA-7n body, in the top of my closet.

Please do some film vs Foveon experiments of your own; I'd love to see your results.

-- hide signature --

Tom Schum

 Tom Schum's gear list:Tom Schum's gear list
Sigma DP2 Sigma DP3 Merrill Fujifilm X-E1 Sigma 50mm F2.8 EX DG Macro Samyang 85mm F1.4 Aspherical IF +5 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
charlwoodphotography
New MemberPosts: 13
Like?
Re: Foveon sensor output - film like?
In reply to Tom Schum, May 28, 2012

Tom,

Thanks for excellent comparison.

As others have said, it is very subjective, but looking at the shots you showed, there does seem to be what I would call a 'filmic' quality to the Foveon output. Obviously it will require the right conditions and handing etc.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
D Cox
Senior MemberPosts: 6,800
Like?
Re: Foveon sensor output - film like?
In reply to pntbll248, May 28, 2012

pntbll248 wrote:

Each emulsion has a different color profile and renders real-life color differently than others. There seems to be some nebulous concept of "Color accuracy" in the photography world, but it's an elusive property that I've yet to see properly demonstrated.

The nearest practical definition is accurate reproduction of the Color Checker card.

More importantly, I'm not sure why "Accurate" colors are even that important outside of forensic or scientific application. Good color and accurate color are not necessarily synonymous. Look at Velvia -- it's one of the most iconic transparency films in the history of photography, and its colors are wild and even outlandish at times. It has a razor-thin dynamic range compared to the Foveon sensor, and that's okay too.

I have been digitising thousands of slides lately. Very few have the colour balance one would want. The colour goes off (usually to magenta) when the film is stored before shooting, and again (faster) between shooting and processing. Kodak used to make their film with a green bias, in the hope that it would reach the dealer at just the moment when it crossed from green to neutral, before it went magenta.

Generally, I think Kodachrome II had the best colour.

Personally, I see Foveon output as coming closer to film rendition than any other consumer digital technology. Maybe that's a good thing, maybe it's not -- really depends on your intended application I guess. But the reason I adore Sigma cameras is for their unique color palette -- even the greenish SD14 renderings can have a place in my gallery.

The SD1, judging from the many examples posted here, shares the tendency of film to be too magenta, especially in the shadows.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
TRIODEROB
Contributing MemberPosts: 925
Like?
Re: Foveon sensor output - film like?
In reply to D Cox, May 28, 2012

you decide for yourself

here is a color image from a 4 x 5 slide and a BW image from a 120 negative

be sure to double click lily pad image and let it settle in

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Zone8
Forum ProPosts: 15,366
Like?
As far as I am concerned ....
In reply to charlwoodphotography, May 28, 2012

charlwoodphotography wrote:

Having looked through quite a few shots online it seems to me that the output from a Foveon sensor is very 'film like' - by that I mean the apparent dynamic range and the colour tones.

Is that something you folks, as users, would agree with?

As I have stated many times, since my SD9 in 2003 and SD14 since, I only entered the digital camera world (was already into advanced digi printing techniques) from film because of the B+W rendering using the Foveon sensor. IMHO, still the only sensor that matches that requirement.

-- hide signature --

Zone8: Although I am a handsome geniearse, when I stand in front of a mirror, I vaguely recognise the ugly idjit standing on the other side!

LINK: For B+W with Epson 1400 (and other models) using black ink only PLUS other useful tips:
http://www.photosnowdonia.co.uk/ZPS/epson1400-B&W.htm
Cleaning DSLR Sensors, including Kodak DSLR Factory Cleaning method:
http://www.photosnowdonia.co.uk/ZPS/KodakDCS-sensorcleaning.htm
Solving back/front focus problems on Sigma DSLRs
http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1027&message=35565277

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
SandyF
Forum ProPosts: 14,869Gear list
Like?
link: 'high cost of film' thread
In reply to Tom Schum, May 28, 2012
 SandyF's gear list:SandyF's gear list
Sigma DP2 Sigma DP1 Sigma DP2 Merrill Canon EOS 5D Mark II Sigma SD9 +5 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Ed_S
Veteran MemberPosts: 8,059
Like?
Re: Foveon sensor output - film like?
In reply to charlwoodphotography, Jun 4, 2012

How about this, for equivocation. I react to my favorite Sigma/Foveon photos (and those of others), much as I recall reacting to my favorite color transparencies, and some of my color prints. For me, Sigma photos at their best have a jena se qua, a combination of detail, dynamic range, and saturation of color which reminds me of an excellent film photo. Can this be done with other technology? At least situationally, I'd say yes. But it's what my eyes see just trying to do what I've learned to do, with minimal post processing, when shooting my Sigmas. No line in the sand here nor throwing down the gauntlet. It's what works for me. It pleases me and requires a bit of participation on my part to bring it off.

Best,
--
Ed_S

http://www.pbase.com/ecsquires

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum MMy threads