REALLY wanna jump into Sigma, but what about a decent RAW workflow?

Started Jan 31, 2013 | Discussions
marcio_napoli
Contributing MemberPosts: 780
Like?
REALLY wanna jump into Sigma, but what about a decent RAW workflow?
Jan 31, 2013

Hi !

I really need some help here, so any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

I shoot fashion, currently with a Nikon D700 and a Leaf Aptus digital back.

Love both, specially the IQ of the digital back, and my D700 is getting long in the tooth.

I was planning to buy a D800, but talking about image quality (and IQ alone), in my opinion, nothing comes close to the Foveon look (well, except for digital backs).

Just LOVE the Foveon look, and the depth of color that comes from it. It's the best look in the business.

So, if I could find a proper way to process Sigma's RAWs, I would forget about the D800 and go for the SD1 Merril without a second thought.

But that's what is holding me back...   can anyone point me a proper workflow?

(I use Camera RAW)

For example, I once saw the suggestion of batch processing in SSP as 16bit TIFF, and then open in Camera RAW for further enhancements.

But I have my doubts:

1.  SPP comes free, bundled with the camera?

2. Do I really have to batch process as 16 bit? Don't wanna donate so much money to HD makers...  Will 8 bit do it ?

3. Now something I've never tried before and need your help: when I open those exported TIFFs in Camera RAW, will they have the same latitude as real RAWs ?

Specially in the highlights. Will the ability to recover be preserved ? (as much highlight info as a native RAWs) ?

What about 8 bit TIFF? Will it do ?

Highlight recovery is very important in my workflow...

If anyone can provide me a good workflow, I'm heading to Sigma land !

Thanks a lot in advance

PS: I'm too used to Camera RAW, so I won't learn other converters... even in SPP, I just plan to open the files, and batch process them out.

All processing will be done in Camera RAW.

-- hide signature --

Marcio Napoli

www.marcionapoli.com

Nikon D700 Nikon D800 Sigma SD1
If you believe there are incorrect tags, please send us this post using our feedback form.
Scott Greiff
Senior MemberPosts: 1,564Gear list
Like?
Re: REALLY wanna jump into Sigma, but what about a decent RAW workflow?
In reply to marcio_napoli, Jan 31, 2013

marcio_napoli wrote:

Hi !

Hi!

(I use Camera RAW)

For example, I once saw the suggestion of batch processing in SSP as 16bit TIFF, and then open in Camera RAW for further enhancements.

But I have my doubts:

1. SPP comes free, bundled with the camera?

It does come with the camera and is available for public download.

2. Do I really have to batch process as 16 bit? Don't wanna donate so much money to HD makers... Will 8 bit do it ?

I'm not quite sure. I always output to 16-bit TIFF. I've always justified this to myself in terms that 8-bit would just end up being uncompressed JPEG quality and you really need more than 8-bits of information to approach what is available in the RAW files.

3. Now something I've never tried before and need your help: when I open those exported TIFFs in Camera RAW, will they have the same latitude as real RAWs ?

Again, I think you would have to export to 16-bit TIFF in order to get the same latitude as you would get in the RAW files.

Highlight recovery is very important in my workflow...

One idea is to dump everything out as 8-bit, to save space as you say, and then use SPP to recover highlights for those images that are specifically problematic.

If anyone can provide me a good workflow, I'm heading to Sigma land !

My workflow consists of batch processing to 16-bit TIFF out of SPP and then import those into Aperture.

-Scott

 Scott Greiff's gear list:Scott Greiff's gear list
Sigma DP1 Merrill Sony RX100 Sigma DP3 Merrill Sigma SD15
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
marcio_napoli
Contributing MemberPosts: 780
Like?
Re: REALLY wanna jump into Sigma, but what about a decent RAW workflow?
In reply to Scott Greiff, Jan 31, 2013

Hi Scott!

Thanks a lot for the help, really , really appreciate!

I agree, maybe 8 bit TIFF is really an uncompressed jpeg, with not that much data left.

I'm thinking I could shoot jpeg + RAW, check out the jpegs for faster workflow, and then go RAW only for the selected shots.

Assuming I export them as 16 bit TIFF, will they have the same amount of latitude as the original RAWs ?

I'm specially concerned about highlight recovery.

Every single bit of information must be kept from the original RAWs...

Thanks a lot again! Seems like Sigma is indeed a way to go!

-- hide signature --

Marcio Napoli

www.marcionapoli.com

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
jcollier
Forum MemberPosts: 83
Like?
Re: REALLY wanna jump into Sigma, but what about a decent RAW workflow?
In reply to marcio_napoli, Jan 31, 2013

I normally shoot all images (regardless of camera) in RAW with an exposure bias of -.3 (-.6) in very bright sun. I process these in ACR. With the DP2M I batch convert with DPP to 16 bit tiff files. These are very large files (70-80 MB) but I rarely have any issues with highlight recovery. The Sigma seems slightly better than my Canon 5D2 in this regard. The only issue that I have with this workflow is with the white balance. ACR is more limited when adjusting white balance on tiff files. This workflow is slightly cumbersome, but batch processing it makes it manageable. THe down side is that you end up with a number of very large files (RAW, tiff and jpg).

That being said, if you are looking for a work tool you are probably going to be better off with the D800. It is an excellent camera, very versatile, familiar and I'm sure that you already have Nikon lenses. You still have your digital back when you want very high image quality.

Now, the good part: If your budget allows, get the Sigma M as well. You will enjoy it more than almost anything else with your clothes on.

-- hide signature --

jcollier

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
maceoQ
Regular MemberPosts: 483
Like?
Re: REALLY wanna jump into Sigma, but what about a decent RAW workflow?
In reply to marcio_napoli, Jan 31, 2013

Assuming I export them as 16 bit TIFF, will they have the same amount of latitude as the original RAWs ?

I'm specially concerned about highlight recovery.

Hi

No, you need to recover the highlights in SPP. You can do that with the exposure-slider (down), or/and the fill-light slider (up) (unlike usual fill-light in lightroom etc. Sigmas fill-light pushing shadows and recovering highlights at the same time.)

Maceo

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
xpatUSA
Senior MemberPosts: 2,536Gear list
Like?
Re: REALLY wanna jump into Sigma, but what about a decent RAW workflow?
In reply to marcio_napoli, Jan 31, 2013

marcio_napoli wrote:

I agree, maybe 8 bit TIFF is really an uncompressed jpeg, with not that much data left.

Can't agree with that.

Would say that 8-bit TIFF is OK if the output file after processing is a webshot for posting, etc.

16-bit TIFF for considerable post-processing followed by a largish print.

For a late model Sigma not much choice other than SPP for conversion to either 8 or 16-bit TIFF and then off to your favorite Editor . . .

-- hide signature --

Regards,
Ted http://tcktek.blogspot.com
SD10/70mm macro

 xpatUSA's gear list:xpatUSA's gear list
Sigma SD9 Sigma SD10 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH1
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
larryj
Veteran MemberPosts: 7,532Gear list
Like?
Re: REALLY wanna jump into Sigma, but what about a decent RAW workflow?
In reply to xpatUSA, Jan 31, 2013

xpatUSA wrote:

marcio_napoli wrote:

I agree, maybe 8 bit TIFF is really an uncompressed jpeg, with not that much data left.

Can't agree with that.

Would say that 8-bit TIFF is OK if the output file after processing is a webshot for posting, etc.

16-bit TIFF for considerable post-processing followed by a largish print.

For a late model Sigma not much choice other than SPP for conversion to either 8 or 16-bit TIFF and then off to your favorite Editor . . .

-- hide signature --

Regards,
Ted http://tcktek.blogspot.com
SD10/70mm macro

I use 8-bit TIFF outputted from SPP and final PP in lightroom.  I adjust any clipped highlights in SPP before exporting, as SPP seems to control highlights in Foveon files better then LR.  All my downstream processing is done in LR, except for the few cases where I need layers and other specialized processing only available in PS.  I use 16-bit TIFF files only for large prints.

-- hide signature --

Cheers,
larryj
If you can see the light, you can photograph it
Quote from Myron Woods

 larryj's gear list:larryj's gear list
Sigma SD1 Merrill Sigma 24-70mm F2.8 EX DG HSM Sigma 150-500mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM Sigma 105mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM +1 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
villebon
Senior MemberPosts: 2,160
Like?
Re: REALLY wanna jump into Sigma, but what about a decent RAW workflow?
In reply to marcio_napoli, Jan 31, 2013

marcio_napoli wrote:


3. Now something I've never tried before and need your help: when I open those exported TIFFs in Camera RAW, will they have the same latitude as real RAWs ?

No, as with any other RAW images from other camera makers.

Before you export as TIFF, you need to adjust in SPP the White Balance and also the Black and White Point.

Once that done, any other adjustment can be done in your favorite photo editing software.

-- hide signature --

Villebon

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Kendall Helmstetter Gelner
Forum ProPosts: 18,034Gear list
Like?
Re: REALLY wanna jump into Sigma, but what about a decent RAW workflow?
In reply to marcio_napoli, Jan 31, 2013

marcio_napoli wrote:

<...>

But I have my doubts:

2. Do I really have to batch process as 16 bit? Don't wanna donate so much money to HD makers... Will 8 bit do it ?

Here's why 16-bit - because it lets you output from SPP with exposure reduced to recover highlights, and then bring exposure back up in whatever program you import to with no banding in the shadows.

Also if you are using a wider color space like ProPhoto or AdobeRGB, it will help preserve subtle differences in color. Since that was one of the things that interested you about the camera, it is a good idea to preserve it!

What I do to mitigate the space issue is I first go through the JPG's and review for content and sharpness, then only batch process in SPP the RAW files I want to do further work with.

3. Now something I've never tried before and need your help: when I open those exported TIFFs in Camera RAW, will they have the same latitude as real RAWs ?....

If you export as 16-bit TIFF files, sort of - but not in terms of highlight recovery, that's something that has to be done in SPP.

I shoot the Merril cameras with a +0.7 exposure bias, with the intent to slightly blow highlights - then in SPP I batch export all images at -1.0 to -2.0 exposure (using a preset), so that SPP recovers the highlights blown - then in Aperture I add the exposure back in in bulk to the original levels. At that point I can use things like the recovery sliders because the highlight data is now preserved... Camera RAW may behave the same way.

Again the 16-bit TIFF file is important to preserve changes in tone and color as it goes from a dark but recovered highlight image back to a normal image where you adjust tones.

Edit: also a good idea to shoot ISO 200 for maximum highlight recovery (does not impact sharpness but slightly increases noise in smooth areas like the sky)

Email me and I'll send you a few images with highlights blown out a bit so you can experiment.

 Kendall Helmstetter Gelner's gear list:Kendall Helmstetter Gelner's gear list
Sigma 70-200mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM Sigma 8-16mm F4.5-5.6 DC HSM Sigma 24-70mm F2.8 EX DG HSM Sigma 50-500mm F4.5-6.3 DG OS HSM Sigma 85mm F1.4 EX DG HSM +4 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
mordicai
Forum MemberPosts: 95
Like?
Re: REALLY wanna jump into Sigma, but what about a decent RAW workflow?
In reply to marcio_napoli, Jan 31, 2013

You must be the only owner of a Leaf Aptus digital back that wants to process in 8 bit. ?? You for real?

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
PicOne
Veteran MemberPosts: 6,512
Like?
Re: REALLY wanna jump into Sigma, but what about a decent RAW workflow?
In reply to marcio_napoli, Feb 1, 2013

I think you're over thinking the 16-bit size issue as an issue.  Export to 16-bit TIFF, do your processing and THEN you can feel free to save to 8bit.  The issue working with 8bit files is the limited amount of data available;  so do your working in 16-bit and then save as 8 bit.   So, "HD space" is just an issue for whatever amount you have coming out of just 1 shoot -- if this is in itself an issue, not sure what I can tell you.

-- hide signature --

'Everything in photography boils down to what's sharp and what's fuzzy.'
-Gaylord Herron

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Petroglyph
Senior MemberPosts: 2,519Gear list
Like?
Re: REALLY wanna jump into Sigma, but what about a decent RAW workflow?
In reply to maceoQ, Feb 1, 2013

maceoQ wrote:

Assuming I export them as 16 bit TIFF, will they have the same amount of latitude as the original RAWs ?

I'm specially concerned about highlight recovery.

Hi

No, you need to recover the highlights in SPP. You can do that with the exposure-slider (down), or/and the fill-light slider (up) (unlike usual fill-light in lightroom etc. Sigmas fill-light pushing shadows and recovering highlights at the same time.)

Maceo

I thought I was seeing it work that way in my own workflow.  Thank you for confirming this.

 Petroglyph's gear list:Petroglyph's gear list
Canon EOS 6D Pentax K-3 Canon EF 17-40mm f/4.0L USM Pentax smc DA* 60-250mm F4.0 ED (IF) SDM Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
marcio_napoli
Contributing MemberPosts: 780
Like?
Thanks!
In reply to PicOne, Feb 1, 2013

Hi Mordicai

Yeah, I know but in my area, clients are usually unknowledgeable about these technical factors.

80% of the time, I can just export them jpegs to go to printing stage, as they do not care.

So if I can do with jpegs, imagine that 8 bit tiffs are more than enough.

And if I may be totally honest, I don't blame them. A non-photographer person can not see the difference between 10 and 30 mp, just imagine what happens with subtle differences in color depth...

I'd like to thank everyone in this thread for the really helpful support! Thanks a lot!

I now understand what I have to do with a Sigma camera.

The only thing that's still holding me back (and at the same time, towards D800), is that the suggested workflow is still too much pain, specially when you consider I might shoot more than a thousand shots in a single day.

In the long run, this cumbersome processing chain may simply prove to be a pain in the#@$.

I gotta think a bit more about that.

Kendall, if that's not too much to ask, I'd love to have some files to play with and see that Foveon look a little bit closer.

One last thing I would like to add:

I'm a Nikon guy, but I'm the first one to admit that Sigma has better IQ at low ISO.

(base ISO is where I am 99% of the time)

I don't care how many stops of DR and added resolution the D800 might have. I don't care for DXO either.

I just care for what my eyes can see, the reaction I get, whenever I review those files, and to me, the Nikon files are somewhat empty, compared to Foveon files.

Simply not in the same league.

The D800 files are great? Yeah, from a technical POV, yes.

But they're just like D7000 files, just larger. They lack the richness Foveon has in spades.

Thanks again to all !

-- hide signature --

Marcio Napoli

www.marcionapoli.com

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
marcio_napoli
Contributing MemberPosts: 780
Like?
Now, that's a way to turn my D700 into garbage.
In reply to marcio_napoli, Feb 2, 2013

Hi!

It's quite late in the night in Brazil, but I just wanted to uptade this thread.

I saw the oficial DP3M samples, and my jaw dropped to the ground. I thought:  WHAAT ?????  nooooooooo...!! That's fre@king amazing !!

Wanted to see more, so downloaded SPP and several X3F files I could find (from the SD1 Merril), and tried Kendall's workflow.

Thanks Kendall !!

SPP > 16bit TIFF -2 exp. compensation > Camera RAW + 2 exp.

I played with a bunch of files, and my conclusion's are:

- SPP is garbage    I believe anyone would agree with that. It's just a bad software! Oh dear...

- it's a tremendously cumbersome workflow, and keeps me over the fence... on a busy day I can shoot more than a thousand shots, and cumbersome workflow is a no-no. It's a deal breaker, really.

- let's just forget about that for a moment, and just look at the IQ

What can I say? Foveon is indeed on a different league. Actually, it's on a different galaxy!

Oh well... I shouldn't have messed with Foveon files... now my Nikon D700 instantly looks like cr@p

And I gotta say it, that Foveon IQ has exactly the same look / feel as my digital back.  Now I can see how Sigma tried to pull those bold claims SD1 = DMF a while back.

It's is indeed DMF image quality, on a lighter package.

The colors, pixel sharpness, and overall rendering is simply light-years ahead of those boring CMOS sensors in Canikon.

I would risk to say: from a pure IQ point of view, I will feel bad if I choose the D800 over the SD1.

I've never had any special reactions when reviewing D800's files... never. Just boring, dull, flat Sony CMOS look. If you forget about DXO and the 36mp factor, it's actually a very uninspiring IQ.

But the moment these SD1 files popped in my screen, instantly, the largest ear-to-ear smile you can imagine covered up my face right away.

Foveon is indeed amazing. Period.

It would be the perfect combo with a digital back. The only problem is that fre@king cumbersome workflow

That's still holding me back... if it wasn't for that, I'd jump both feet in Sigma land right now.

Gotta think long, loooong, what should I do...

Can I live with that cumbersome workflow to have the most amazing IQ ? I really don't know, gotta medidate about that for some (long) time

Thanks everyone for the help!

-- hide signature --

Marcio Napoli

www.marcionapoli.com

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Chato
Forum ProPosts: 43,524Gear list
Like?
I agree
In reply to larryj, Feb 3, 2013

larryj wrote:

xpatUSA wrote:

marcio_napoli wrote:

I agree, maybe 8 bit TIFF is really an uncompressed jpeg, with not that much data left.

Can't agree with that.

Would say that 8-bit TIFF is OK if the output file after processing is a webshot for posting, etc.

16-bit TIFF for considerable post-processing followed by a largish print.

For a late model Sigma not much choice other than SPP for conversion to either 8 or 16-bit TIFF and then off to your favorite Editor . . .

-- hide signature --

Regards,
Ted http://tcktek.blogspot.com
SD10/70mm macro

I use 8-bit TIFF outputted from SPP and final PP in lightroom. I adjust any clipped highlights in SPP before exporting, as SPP seems to control highlights in Foveon files better then LR. All my downstream processing is done in LR, except for the few cases where I need layers and other specialized processing only available in PS. I use 16-bit TIFF files only for large prints.

I started off saving images as 16 bit TIF, and then did some comparisons. If you properly adjust the image in SPP, there is simply no reason to use 16 bit. For the life of me, I couldn't find any advantage.

Dave

-- hide signature --

"Everyone who has ever lived, has lived in Modern Times"

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Kendall Helmstetter Gelner
Forum ProPosts: 18,034Gear list
Like?
Re: I agree
In reply to Chato, Feb 3, 2013

Chato wrote:

I started off saving images as 16 bit TIF, and then did some comparisons. If you properly adjust the image in SPP, there is simply no reason to use 16 bit. For the life of me, I couldn't find any advantage.

If you don't need to do any further editing, there is no advantage to using 16-bit TIFF files unless the printer you are using does 16-bit prints.  Not sure if many commercial printers do.  Most printers still take 8-bit files.  So if you are just editing in SPP outputting to any 8-bit file should be fine for pretty much any use.

It's only if you plan to make significant changes after saving the TIFF that there's a benefit.  Both Aperture and Lightroom treat images as 16-bit internally, so it's nice to give those applications an incoming file that captures the full range of values.

The only danger of doing much editing on 8-bit files is that with large tonal changes you can potentially introduce banding, where the original values did not have much separation.  That's something the 16-bit files preserve and 8-bit files truncate.

 Kendall Helmstetter Gelner's gear list:Kendall Helmstetter Gelner's gear list
Sigma 70-200mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM Sigma 8-16mm F4.5-5.6 DC HSM Sigma 24-70mm F2.8 EX DG HSM Sigma 50-500mm F4.5-6.3 DG OS HSM Sigma 85mm F1.4 EX DG HSM +4 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum MMy threads