In defence of SPP

Started Sep 25, 2012 | Discussions thread
ArvoJ Senior Member • Posts: 1,369
Re: Well put. Reasonable. Informative.

DaveJC wrote:

I too would like something along this line. Specifically, how to preserve the most information available in the RAW file when exported to a TIFF. Then I could just do what needs to be done in LR.

I would do next (I'm personally using mostly SPP, but some images need different processing and for these I'm using TIFF either):

  • if you want consistent color over entire series, either shoot with Custom WB or set WB in SPP to most suitable predefined value (not Auto!)

  • reset all controls to zero settings

  • set sharpening to -1 (or even -2 - you must experiment a bit)

  • set luma noise slider to minimum

  • play with chroma noise - for low ISO images you may set it to minimum, but for more noisy images SPP can supress color noise a bit better than non-specific software

  • depend on scene, play with fill light in range -0.2 .. +0.2; this effect can't be directly repeated in other applications

  • display histogram, set warnings at 2 and 253

  • lower saturation (-0.4 .. -0.8), play with exposure and shadow/highlight (and with contrast for very contrasty images) to avoid clipping warnings and to fill histogram nicely

  • increase saturation, watch for color clipping, correct shadow/highlight when needed

  • for vivid images, where colors are clipping for normal saturation (for older Sigma cameras red was clipped easily, some yellows are generally hard too), you may use some wider working color space than sRGB (AdobeRGB allows deeper greens, cyans and yellows; ProPhoto can fit most of possible colors). Although you see same image, histogram and warnings change according to color space.

  • export into 16bit TIFF

As you can guess, most of processing here is done to avoid any clipping (=lost data) in resulting image. (Foveon complex color transformation can sometimes create negative RGB values, which are of course clipped to zero.) Some people even start with lowering contrast to -1; I think that this is usually not needed - but you should experiment yourself. You may not recover specular highlights, but color clipping (out-of-gamut colors) can usually avoided by decreasing saturation slightly.

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Arvo
Sigma/Foveon information collection and little gallery:
http://www.stv.ee/~donq/sigma.htm
http://www.stv.ee/~donq/images.htm

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