What is holding Sigma back with the new Merril(s)?

Started 6 months ago | Discussions
Johan Borg Veteran Member • Posts: 3,235
Re: What is holding Sigma back with the new Merril(s)?
5

Lukacs85 wrote:

I can't imagine a new FF X3 sensor how can be competitive. I expect Bayer reaching the 100MP border on 35mm next 1-2 year, and even A7R4 would be a tough competition in resolution, fine detail, let alone the camera response speed, AF-speed, size, battery, live view quality. I really hope Sigma can make us a surprise, but I have no high expectations. I'd prefer a new DP series with small, simple body for an affordable price.

They don't have to be competitive across the board, especially now that they share L-mount with Panasonic, Leica and their own Bayer cameras. The new Foveon primarily needs to be unique, in the same way the original DP2 got me into Foveon despite its resolution and feature set.

Let the other brands fight against smartphone specs and deliver another perspective, like every Foveon camera to date. Personally I'd even be happy with a 10MP full frame Foveon if it delivered deep, rich colors and those dramatic clouds...

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xpatUSA
xpatUSA Forum Pro • Posts: 20,136
Re: What is holding Sigma back with the new Merrill(s)?

Scottelly wrote:

xpatUSA wrote:

Scottelly wrote:

xpatUSA wrote:

Scottelly wrote:

xpatUSA wrote:

D Cox wrote:

A 20 Mpix Foveon is not enough for 24x36mm.

76 lp/mm at the sensor would be good enough for any lens except an Otus mebbe.

Huh? If that was the case, then we wouldn't see any more detail in our photos when we step up from the SD9, SD10, SD14, or SD15 to the SD1 Merrill, but as you know Ted, even when using a zoom lens, like the 17-50mm f2.8 EX OS there is a significant amount of extra detail in those Merrill images.

Huh? How do you measure "detail", Scott?

. . . or were you just joking?

Nope. I realize that numbers other than MP are anathema to your good self - but may I offer, apart from the Otus, the Sigma 65mm DG DN which goes just over 80 lp/mm at f/2.8 and f/4 in the center, which a 20MP full-frame Foveon would almost match and would certainly beat at all other settings or away from the center of the lens.

See for yourself :

https://www.lenstip.com/600.4-Lens_review-Sigma_C_65_mm_f_2_DG_DN_Image_resolution.html

I think at this point you're just being impractical, and shutting your eyes to the obvious Ted.

Gee, thank you, Scott! After all, what would I know about anything?

DP1

dp2 Quattro

Those are crops from these images at Imaging-Resource:

https://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/DP1/FULLRES/DP1hSLI100.JPG

https://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/sigma-dp2-quattro/FULLRES/DP2QhSLI0100H.JPG

Much more detail is visible in the image from the Quattro, as you and anyone else can see.

What's missing from your point is that the DP1 brought closer would render the same amount of detail on the circular slide rule and probably sharper. All you have shown us here is that the Quattro has a higher pixel density.

Ummm . . . isn't that how more detail is captured?

Correct! By getting closer, using a macro lens or an extension, an additional "macro" filter on the lens or an addition reversed lens or a DCR-250 clipped, etc. etc. etc.

I mean that's how they did it with film, right? (i.e. more grains of emulsion in the same square of film)

Yep, I bet 6 ASA was preety detailed, eh?

Nothing like a fair comparison, eh?

Equally fair:

I'll ask again: "How do you measure "detail", Scott?"

I don't, but I can look at two photos and see numbers or letters in one, while not being able to make them out in the other, and that shows me there is more detail in one photo than in the other.

Something tells me you're trying to say something, but I am not "getting" it. Can you just be less cryptic, and come right out and tell me what you're trying to say?

Well, first we would have to agree what "detail" is ...

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mujana Veteran Member • Posts: 7,529
Re: What is holding Sigma back with the new Merril(s)?

Johan Borg wrote:

mujana wrote:

Ceistinne wrote:

xpatUSA wrote:

pranza wrote:

Anyway the Merrills both DP & SD have proved themselves as excellent cameras and I see no need for posts from relatively new posters denigrating them. They have been used by many of us to make amazing pictures over the last nine years and are still doing so.

that's exactly what i say (finally having gotten the SD1 this year) - if anything _needs_ upgrade, is the photographer, full frame merril won't be a magic bullet.
again, those who don't see foveon issues with color in certain circumstances - they certainly need some awareness, not larger frames

I agree with your sentiment but can we please respect the memory of Richard B Merrill by spelling his name correctly and capitalizing the "M"?

Thank you Ted. I agree.

In any case, there is no indication from Sigma that the "FFF" will be called a "Merrill" ...

I think it is certain that it will not be called a "Merrill"

S

Why do you think that?

Because it defines a specific generation of Foveon sensors (one of many 1:1:1 generations) and a future version will inevitably be of another generation.

Ok. Thnxs.

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victorgv
victorgv Senior Member • Posts: 2,029
Re: What is holding Sigma back with the new Merril(s)?

mike earussi wrote:

Tom Schum wrote:

danski0224 wrote:

If/when Sigma releases a 20mp FFF, I have no doubt that it will be comparable to a minimum 60mp Bayer sensor "full frame" camera.

But Sigma already has the fp L, which has a 60mp sensor. If the goal is photographic excellence, my guess is Foveon will be a path left uncompleted, at least for the foreseeable future.

Being old, it looks like the best way for me to get Merrill quality now is to buy myself a fp L.

No matter what Bayer camera you use with x amount of mps you'll never be able to duplicate the 3D look of the Foveon. It isn't about MP it's about the ability of the Foveon to separate subtle adjacent tones the Bayer misses because of it's need to average adjacent pixels to obtain color information.

Pixel Shift can come close but even then your color sensitivity is limited by the fixed color filters Bayer is forced to use.

I compared my Sigma SD15 to my Sony NEX 7 and even though the Sony had a higher resolution it missed the subtle adjacent tonal differences that the SD15 was able to pick up, and it actually made a better looking print because of it.

The Foveon sensor has a lot of limitations compared to Bayer especially in high iso/low noise and better DR, but nothing I've seen so far can beat the Foveon in picking up more color variations. I wish there was something that could because Sigma may never be able to solve the technological problems in making a FFF, at least at a realistic cost.

Subtle variations are more about a weak color separation between layers of silicon versus filters on Bayer sensor. You can make Bayer based sensor be more like Foveon using weak filters  but you probably will get worst of both worlds as a result.....

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D Cox Forum Pro • Posts: 29,614
Re: What is holding Sigma back with the new Merril(s)?
1

Tom Schum wrote:

mike earussi wrote:

Tom Schum wrote:

mike earussi wrote:

xpatUSA wrote:

D Cox wrote:

A 20 Mpix Foveon is not enough for 24x36mm.

76 lp/mm at the sensor would be good enough for any lens except an Otus mebbe.

I've printed 24x36 images from my 14.7mp Merrill that look excellent when using Topaz Gigapixel AI (in Architectural mode) to enlarge the file. BTW, Foveon files uprez very well, much better than Bayer.

It would be interesting to find out if Topaz Gigapixel would do well with a fp L file that has been downsized to 1/4 original pixels. The quality of these pixels ought to equal that of the Merrill, pixel for pixel, should it not?

No, a Merrill sensor will still look different because of how it determines color. You'll have better DR with the Bayer but poorer color variations.

Sigma knows how to determine color from a Foveon sensor, so they might be able to get a close match for it with special processing of a Bayer image. Or am I guessing wrong here and it is impossible?

This is one of several reasons I am becoming interested in the fp L.

The colours I get from the fp are quite pleasing. I used the Color Checker to make a custom preset. But I think the Merrill colours are better.

My opinion is that using three rather narrow-band filters will give an uneven response across the spectrum, with hues shifted toward the dominant wavelengths of the filters. A Foveon gives wide-band filters with plenty of overlap, so there are two or three numbers for each wavelength.

Ted thinks this gives more noise, which may be true. I can live with a bit more noise if it means better colours.

Don Cox

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D Cox Forum Pro • Posts: 29,614
Re: What is holding Sigma back with the new Merril(s)?

Tom Schum wrote:

mike earussi wrote:

Tom Schum wrote:

Sigma knows how to determine color from a Foveon sensor, so they might be able to get a close match for it with special processing of a Bayer image. Or am I guessing wrong here and it is impossible?

It's a property of the silicon filtration vs. colored gels, not just a different way of processing the information from the chip. Gels are more limited in their color discrimination than silicon is. Bayer is always going to look like Bayer, it's just the nature of the technology regardless of software.

TANSTAAFL, everything is a tradeoff. If you want the high iso, better DR and higher pixel count of a Bayer you have to trade off color discrimination (not accuracy, which is different).

Well if anyone can get close to Foveon color science using a Bayer sensor, Sigma would be them.

Interesting thought: would color science shifts such as this introduce noise in odd places, depending on color gradation? If this sort of noise cuts my ISO range down to 3200, I guess I can live with it!

ISO 3200 is a nice setting to use on the fp. There is some noise but it's easily reduced by Neat Image or similar programs. 800 is good for sunny days.

Don

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J. Michael Veteran Member • Posts: 4,655
Re: What is holding Sigma back with the new Merril(s)?
1

D Cox wrote:

ISO 3200 is a nice setting to use on the fp. There is some noise but it's easily reduced by Neat Image or similar programs. 800 is good for sunny days.

Don

Keepin' in mind that DR is lowered as ISO goes up, but you probably already know that.

ISO vs. DR

It'll be interesting to see if the fp is ever added to his analysis.

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Scott Greiff
Scott Greiff Senior Member • Posts: 1,700
Re: What is holding Sigma back with the new Merril(s)?
2

fusoexplorer wrote:

I think many have come to expect that modern cameras have high ISO abilities and video. If Sigma is concerned about the foveon sensor not working too well with high ISO above 400 in color and 800 in B&W why don’t they just eliminate the ability to go above 800? And why don’t they just eliminate video altogether?

You can't eliminate video on a mirrorless body. So many systems rely on the live feed from the sensor, not just for recording. You need video for responsive live-view, for AF, for accurate focus peaking, reducing rolling-shutter artifacts, and any computational work would also depend on being able to read frames quickly off of the sensor.

I would argue that in order to expand their market, buyers these days expect to be able to record video with their camera. I don't imagine Sigma is interested in creating a whole camera JUST for the fans in this forum.

What would really be great is for Sigma to communicate their design goals with the FFF especially now that they've delayed the release twice already. It would go a long way to alleviate the die-hard fans (in this forum) as well as professionals even remotely considering the benefits of a sensor of this kind.

Years ago when I bought a camera you would pick a film to put in the camera and it was generally 50-100 iso sensitivity. Occasionally I would buy a 400 ISO film. And for video which I didn’t buy or use it wasn’t even a thought about a combined camera because it didn’t even exist.

High-ISO is table steaks theses days.

Believe me, I would have LOVED Sigma to create a stop-gap APS-C Foveon camera using their existing sensor just so I can use the L-mount glass I've been collecting recently. But, alas...

_Scott

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Tom Schum
Tom Schum Forum Pro • Posts: 11,885
Re: What is holding Sigma back with the new Merril(s)?
1

D Cox wrote:

The colours I get from the fp are quite pleasing. I used the Color Checker to make a custom preset. But I think the Merrill colours are better.

My opinion is that using three rather narrow-band filters will give an uneven response across the spectrum, with hues shifted toward the dominant wavelengths of the filters. A Foveon gives wide-band filters with plenty of overlap, so there are two or three numbers for each wavelength.

Ted thinks this gives more noise, which may be true. I can live with a bit more noise if it means better colours.

Don Cox

Are you able to make a custom preset using a Foveon image of the color checker?

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Tom Schum
Copper: Mankind's favorite electrical conductor

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Ceistinne Senior Member • Posts: 2,741
Re: What is holding Sigma back with the new Merril(s)?

mujana wrote:

Ceistinne wrote:

xpatUSA wrote:

pranza wrote:

Anyway the Merrills both DP & SD have proved themselves as excellent cameras and I see no need for posts from relatively new posters denigrating them. They have been used by many of us to make amazing pictures over the last nine years and are still doing so.

that's exactly what i say (finally having gotten the SD1 this year) - if anything _needs_ upgrade, is the photographer, full frame merril won't be a magic bullet.
again, those who don't see foveon issues with color in certain circumstances - they certainly need some awareness, not larger frames

I agree with your sentiment but can we please respect the memory of Richard B Merrill by spelling his name correctly and capitalizing the "M"?

Thank you Ted. I agree.

In any case, there is no indication from Sigma that the "FFF" will be called a "Merrill" ...

I think it is certain that it will not be called a "Merrill"

S

Why do you think that?

mujana,

I have no idea. Someone in Sigma Japan will decide or maybe has decided.

S

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Ceistinne Senior Member • Posts: 2,741
Re: What is holding Sigma back with the new Merril(s)?
1

D Cox wrote:

Ceistinne wrote:

xpatUSA wrote:

pranza wrote:

Anyway the Merrills both DP & SD have proved themselves as excellent cameras and I see no need for posts from relatively new posters denigrating them. They have been used by many of us to make amazing pictures over the last nine years and are still doing so.

that's exactly what i say (finally having gotten the SD1 this year) - if anything _needs_ upgrade, is the photographer, full frame merril won't be a magic bullet.
again, those who don't see foveon issues with color in certain circumstances - they certainly need some awareness, not larger frames

I agree with your sentiment but can we please respect the memory of Richard B Merrill by spelling his name correctly and capitalizing the "M"?

Thank you Ted. I agree.

In any case, there is no indication from Sigma that the "FFF" will be called a "Merrill" ...

I think it is certain that it will not be called a "Merrill"

S

It won't; but what "pranza" is talking about is a FF 1:1:1 sensor with similar properties to the Merrill.

Don

Don,

I know that but I would like to think that the FF 1.1.1 Sigma  / Foveon will be better all round over any other 1.1.1 that came before, so similar but better properties and I think that is what Kazuto has indicated that he wants also.

S

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danski0224 Senior Member • Posts: 1,357
Re: What is holding Sigma back with the new Merril(s)?
1

D Cox wrote:

The usual view is that a Foveon is roughly equal in resolution to a Bayer with 1.7 or 1.8 times as many pixels. Certainly not 3x.

To equal the fp L, a new Foveon would need at least 30 Megapixels. That would be, twice the area of the Merrill, with the same pixel pitch as the Merrill.

Don Cox

Having used a 5DSr, a DP3M and a sdQ (and not just comparing compressed samples from some online source), it is my opinion that if there is an appreciable difference in apparent resolution/detail between the 3 of them, I am very hard pressed to find it.

Based on that real world experience, I do not have any reasons to doubt that a "20mp" FFF will be on an equal footing with a "60mp" Bayer "full frame" sensor.

I hope that Sigma can pull it off, but I have a suspicion that Canon will be bringing their 5DSr/1DsIII replacement before than.

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FDecker Senior Member • Posts: 2,235
Haven‘t you heard the news some time back....?
3

Sigma, as you may know, wants to develop a new full frame 1:1:1 Foveon sensor for a photo-centric camera along the tradition of the SD9 to SD1. But they faced severe technical problems and re-started the project.

I think this is the answer to your question, plain and simple.

D Cox Forum Pro • Posts: 29,614
Re: What is holding Sigma back with the new Merril(s)?

J. Michael wrote:

D Cox wrote:

ISO 3200 is a nice setting to use on the fp. There is some noise but it's easily reduced by Neat Image or similar programs. 800 is good for sunny days.

Don

Keepin' in mind that DR is lowered as ISO goes up, but you probably already know that.

ISO vs. DR

It'll be interesting to see if the fp is ever added to his analysis.

According to Sigma, DR of the fp is twelve and a half stops at 100, 800 and 3200.

Don Cox

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D Cox Forum Pro • Posts: 29,614
Re: Haven‘t you heard the news some time back....?
2

FDecker wrote:

Sigma, as you may know, wants to develop a new full frame 1:1:1 Foveon sensor for a photo-centric camera along the tradition of the SD9 to SD1. But they faced severe technical problems and re-started the project.

I think this is the answer to your question, plain and simple.

And developing a new sensor is a tough project.

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D Cox Forum Pro • Posts: 29,614
Re: What is holding Sigma back with the new Merril(s)?

Tom Schum wrote:

D Cox wrote:

The colours I get from the fp are quite pleasing. I used the Color Checker to make a custom preset. But I think the Merrill colours are better.

My opinion is that using three rather narrow-band filters will give an uneven response across the spectrum, with hues shifted toward the dominant wavelengths of the filters. A Foveon gives wide-band filters with plenty of overlap, so there are two or three numbers for each wavelength.

Ted thinks this gives more noise, which may be true. I can live with a bit more noise if it means better colours.

Don Cox

Are you able to make a custom preset using a Foveon image of the color checker?

You can by using a DNG file from a Quattro. I don't know a way of converting an X3F file directly to a DNG.

Adobe do have a program for editing presets, but I haven't tried it.

Don Cox

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J. Michael Veteran Member • Posts: 4,655
Re: What is holding Sigma back with the new Merril(s)?

Hadn't seen that chart, thanks.

Thought this video ( fp vs Pan. S1), DR comparison was interesting.  Should start at 3:18 but if not just go there.

fp vs S1

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xpatUSA
xpatUSA Forum Pro • Posts: 20,136
Re: What is holding Sigma back with the new Merril(s)?
1

Tom Schum wrote:

D Cox wrote:

The colours I get from the fp are quite pleasing. I used the Color Checker to make a custom preset. But I think the Merrill colours are better.

Are you able to make a custom preset using a Foveon image of the color checker?

If by "custom preset" we mean a file of type DCP, the answer is "yes".

first, to paraphrase Mrs Beeton*, download Adobe's DNG_Profile_Editor.

I had a DP2 image in DNG format which I had converted with the Adobe raw to DNG converter.

My shot looked like this:

When opened in the Editor, for each color patch, you can adjust the dots in the hue circle to be correct or even have more or less saturation, or even a different hue or lightness!

In the above, you can see that the red is bit off toward orange and a tad down on saturation. The arrow points to where it is and the little circle is where it should be.

After adjustment, you can save the above as a "recipe" file type .dcpr

or export it as a digital camera profile type .dcp

In RawTherapee you can select that profile as an input profile:

Off topic, RT can also take .icc/.icm files. I don't know about other apps.

*"First, catch your hare" ...

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OP fusoexplorer Regular Member • Posts: 123
Re: What is holding Sigma back with the new Merril(s)?

xpatUSA wrote:

pranza wrote:

Anyway the Merrills both DP & SD have proved themselves as excellent cameras and I see no need for posts from relatively new posters denigrating them. They have been used by many of us to make amazing pictures over the last nine years and are still doing so.

that's exactly what i say (finally having gotten the SD1 this year) - if anything _needs_ upgrade, is the photographer, full frame merril won't be a magic bullet.
again, those who don't see foveon issues with color in certain circumstances - they certainly need some awareness, not larger frames

I agree with your sentiment but can we please respect the memory of Richard B Merrill by spelling his name correctly and capitalizing the "M"?

In any case, there is no indication from Sigma that the "FFF" will be called a "Merrill" ...

Merrill. 😀

xpatUSA
xpatUSA Forum Pro • Posts: 20,136
Re: What is holding Sigma back with the new Merril(s)?
1

fusoexplorer wrote:

xpatUSA wrote:

pranza wrote:

Anyway the Merrills both DP & SD have proved themselves as excellent cameras and I see no need for posts from relatively new posters denigrating them. They have been used by many of us to make amazing pictures over the last nine years and are still doing so.

that's exactly what i say (finally having gotten the SD1 this year) - if anything _needs_ upgrade, is the photographer, full frame merril won't be a magic bullet.
again, those who don't see foveon issues with color in certain circumstances - they certainly need some awareness, not larger frames

I agree with your sentiment but can we please respect the memory of Richard B Merrill by spelling his name correctly and capitalizing the "M"?

In any case, there is no indication from Sigma that the "FFF" will be called a "Merrill" ...

Merrill. 😀

Very funny.

IFTTGRWL

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