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Sigma Photo Pro contd.

Adjustment examples

Photo Pro 2.0 features the the same set of image parameters as 1.0 apart from the addition of the new X3 Fill Light parameter. Thus for a detailed examination of Exposure, Contrast, Shadow, Highlight, Saturation, Sharpness and Color Adjustment see this page of our Sigma SD9 review.

X3 Fill Light

Probably the most significant new feature of any RAW converter is Foveon's excellent new X3 Fill Light implemented in Photo Pro 2.0. It essentially operates as an automatic dodge and burn (or in more technical words 'locally varying tone correction'). X3 Fill Light is controlled using a slider (just like other parameters) and has an adjustment of -2 to +2 in 0.1 steps. Increasing X3 Fill Light raises the brightness of shadow areas of the image and retrieves highlight detail, it appears to balance the tone between highlight and shadow to extract maximum dynamic range. The results are extremely impressive and would be typically very difficult to reproduce from a JPEG in a standard photo application.

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

No adjustment +0.8 X3 Fill Light


Sigma Photo Pro: Performance

Timings below taken on a Windows XP workstation with a Pentium 4 3.06 Ghz HT and 1 GB of RAM. As you can see from the figures below Photo Pro caches a certain amount of its processing, this means that if you have opened (saved from browser or reviewed) an image in that session then any further review / save of that image will be extremely fast. Photo Pro is clearly designed with performance in mind and never really leaves you waiting. Kudos.

Action Notes Time taken
Browser: Save As 8-bit TIFF Not opened this session 6.7 sec
Browser: Save As 8-bit TIFF Previously opened this session 1.4 sec
Review Not opened this session 6.9 sec
Review Previously opened this session 1.0 sec
Review: Save As 8-bit TIFF   2.6 sec


Sigma Photo Pro: What's fixed, missing, issues

Good news! Foveon has clearly spent time addressing the issues we raised about Photo Pro 1.0 in our SD9 review. Indeed, two of the major image quality issues have been completely resolved. Firstly JPEG output is now using 4:4:4 subsampling for much improved JPEG quality (introduced in Photo Pro 1.1), secondly the way that Photo Pro handles color drop-off at the edge of overexposure has been cleaned up, the gray halos which were a trademark of some SD9 images are now gone. Kudos.

Issues which have been resolved (since our SD9 review)

  • Ability to change white balance in batch (from the browser) - DONE
  • Ability to assign / remember adjustments on a per image basis - DONE
  • JPEG output quality (2x2 subsampling) lets down high quality source images - DONE
  • Gray halos around overexposed areas of color (see below) - DONE
  • Noise reduction for higher ISO images - DONE

What's missing

  • Folder creation / deletion
  • Workflow management (grouping images / 'film rolls' / jobs)
  • Printing directly from Photo Pro
  • Chromatic aberration reduction / Vignetting reduction
  • Studio remote capture, the ability to capture / convert on the fly via Firewire / USB
  • Adjustments aren't reflected in thumbnails (thumbnails are not updated)

Current issues

  • Occasional slow response in browser (when loading a folder with a large number of images)
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