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Foveon X3 Fill Light

By dpreview staff on Oct 27, 2003 at 00:03 GMT

Foveon today announced that Sigma Photo Pro 2.0 (for the SD10, also works with the SD9) has a new and important feature called 'X3 Fill Light'. This feature works by lightening dark areas of the image much in the same way a flash fill light would (auto dodge and burn or 'locally varying tone correction'). As the new X3 Fill Light operates using the RAW data stored in the X3F file it appears to produce far better results than we have seen from any similar Photoshop plug-in type enhancement. The new X3 Fill Light feature is implemented as an adjustment slider in Photo Pro and its setting can be stored in the X3F file along with all other rendering adjustments (another new feature of Photo Pro 2.0).

Phil: Personally I was amazed at the difference this adjustment can make, it's far more sophisticated and capable than anything I've seen to date and because it's operating on the X3F RAW data the results are bound to be better than attempting the same kind of 'fix' on a JPEG.

Press Release:

FOVEON ENHANCES DIGITAL IMAGES WITH ‘X3 FILL LIGHT’

New technology easily corrects lighting problems in digital photos

Santa Clara, CA (October 27, 2003) – Foveon, Inc., a technology leader in high-quality digital image capture, today announced the release of X3 Fill Light, a powerful new technology that dramatically improves the quality of digital images affected by difficult lighting conditions. The technology is incorporated as a new software feature in the Sigma Photo Pro 2.0 application for the Sigma SD10 digital Single-Lens Reflex (SLR) camera.

The X3 Fill Light feature simulates the photographic method of “dodging and burning” adding extra light to shadow regions, while preserving highlight detail. It is a powerful method for simultaneously adjusting overexposed and underexposed areas of a digital image with a single simple control. The feature is bundled exclusively with the new Sigma SD10 digital SLR (Single-Lens Reflex) camera, which uses a Foveon X3 direct image sensor.

X3 Fill Light is designed for images taken under lighting conditions such as indoor-outdoor scenes, backlit portraits, or scenes with mixed lighting. Use of the X3 Fill Light feature creates natural-looking images that can be faithfully reproduced in a print.

“Challenging lighting conditions, such as backlighting from a window or subjects in front of snow, can result in disappointing images. The X3 Fill Light technology allows photographers to make excellent prints from poorly exposed images which otherwise would have been discarded due to poor lighting and exposure.” said Eric Zarakov, Foveon’s vice president of marketing.

X3 Fill Light is implemented as a simple slider interface that allows the user to control the amount of correction. By increasing the amount of X3 Fill Light, the brightness and contrast of the shadow regions are increased to add visibility into areas that have been underexposed. Simultaneously, the contrast in highlight regions is automatically increased and the brightness is adjusted to avoid saturation.

The Sigma Photo Pro 2.0 software, incorporating Foveon’s X3 Fill Light, is shipping with the Sigma SD10 digital Single-Lens Reflex (SLR) camera from Sigma Corporation.

X3 Fill Light samples

The samples below were shot with a pre-production Sigma SD10, output from Photo Pro 2.0 at the half-size 1134 x 756 (to save bandwidth). Adjustments noted below the images were made in Photo Pro before saving.

No adjustment +2.0 EV Exposure Compensation +0.4 EV Exposure Compensation
+0.5 X3 Fill Light

No adjustment +1.2 X3 Fill Light

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