Current State-of-the-Art in SPP Processing Alternatives?

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stansbca Forum Member • Posts: 63
Current State-of-the-Art in SPP Processing Alternatives?

Hello all. I am currently on vacation and happily snapping away with my DP2M. However, if it's like previous vacations, I'll get back and stick my camera on my desk--> dreading processing my photos and avoiding it for months (knowing how painful it will be).

I was wondering what the current state of the art seems to be in relation to processing primarily outside of SPP? For instance?:

  • Are there any suitable raw converters that can compare in quality while being faster?
  • Are there workable X3F to DNG converters? (Last I tried Kalpanika, it failed on many files)
  • Is there a suitable workflow for generically processing a folder of X3F in SPP to TIFF or other format such that similar post-processing results are possible in other programs? I love what SPP can do, but it's just glacially slow.

Thanks, in advance, for any advice. I'm interested to hear what successful workflows have been established.

Sigma DP2 Merrill
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brendanpaxton
brendanpaxton Forum Member • Posts: 68
Re: Current State-of-the-Art in SPP Processing Alternatives?

I've used the batch functions in SPP a few times for processing overnight.

Just hit CTRL+B or Edit > Batch Settings. You can manually tweak settings right there or load a Setting you've saved previously on an example/test/first shot from your set. Just click "Set to RAW Files" to apply those settings to all the X3Fs you want (whole folder, only marked, only selected).

Once all your X3Fs have your settings, batch export > TIFF. Easy. If you have a single folder and every X3F needs the same setting (and it's a setting you've saved previously), you can skip the first step and apply the setting directly in the export dialog.

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joe173 Contributing Member • Posts: 507
Re: Current State-of-the-Art in SPP Processing Alternatives?
3

stansbca wrote:

Hello all. I am currently on vacation and happily snapping away with my DP2M. However, if it's like previous vacations, I'll get back and stick my camera on my desk--> dreading processing my photos and avoiding it for months (knowing how painful it will be).

I was wondering what the current state of the art seems to be in relation to processing primarily outside of SPP? For instance?:

  • Are there any suitable raw converters that can compare in quality while being faster?
  • Are there workable X3F to DNG converters? (Last I tried Kalpanika, it failed on many files)
  • Is there a suitable workflow for generically processing a folder of X3F in SPP to TIFF or other format such that similar post-processing results are possible in other programs? I love what SPP can do, but it's just glacially slow.

Thanks, in advance, for any advice. I'm interested to hear what successful workflows have been established.

If you want to cut down on your workflow, it can be done. When I used the DP2M, it has some issues with color and white balance, also highlight recovery. Two things. I used a custom white card and did a white balance in the camera for each change in lighting. Second, I used a ND graduated filter to avoid blowing out the sky. By doing these two things, I was able to keep much of the settings the same in SPP. I just exported the TIFFs into another program (Adobe, Gimp, whatever you use) and go from there. I wasn't doing the highlight recovery nearly as much, and the color corrections were also minimal. With a modern PC and SSD drive, SPP should be fast enough. Put each event's photos in its own folder and process each folder separately, they should have similar settings so that you can batch process them. That way you aren't waiting for all the thumbnails to be redrawn. Copy the folders to your fastest drive and use extra memory option in SSP. Last, use a limited size sd card. This will force you to only take your best shots. Use it only for taking special scenes, not to document every last sight you see.

D Cox Forum Pro • Posts: 30,198
Re: Current State-of-the-Art in SPP Processing Alternatives?
4

If you have Photoshop, there is a Sigma plugin that can be used to import X3F files. Definitely worth trying.

I wonder if it works in Elements ?

I don't like Joe's advice to take fewer photos.   

Don

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EEvan
EEvan Regular Member • Posts: 298
Re: Current State-of-the-Art in SPP Processing Alternatives?

stansbca wrote:

  • Are there any suitable raw converters that can compare in quality while being faster?

I don't think there is anything much faster. I believe much of the time is doing the noise reduction. SPP still seems to be the best.

  • Are there workable X3F to DNG converters? (Last I tried Kalpanika, it failed on many files)

When you say fail, what did you experience? I use the tool, and the only issue I had with the dpm2 was that the color cast correction would fail on some images. Those ones I would simply manually edit in SPP.

  • Is there a suitable workflow for generically processing a folder of X3F in SPP to TIFF or other format such that similar post-processing results are possible in other programs? I love what SPP can do, but it's just glacially slow.

Others mentioned that there is a batch mode:

And there are some suggestions for SPP performance here:

https://sigmaphotopro.com/category/performance/

One thing that might be helpful is to CULL your photos in another program like FastRawViewer or FastStone first.

OP stansbca Forum Member • Posts: 63
Re: Current State-of-the-Art in SPP Processing Alternatives?

Thanks to everyone who has replied.

Regarding batch mode, I am well aware of that, I guess I was wondering if there was a generally accepted setting that would bake in the majority of data (especially into a 16 bit file) such that another program could make use of it? When I've just batch processed everything "flat" in the past, it seems like a lot of info was tossed (especially in highlights...and I admit to abusing highlight recovery to keep shadow detail).

As for X3F tools, my issues were related to color casts and highlights. I believe I was one of the first "civilians" to use the tool and wrote a bit about about it early on. However, since then, I haven't messed with it. I just wasn't sure if there have been updates or best practices?

Few threads:

https://www.dpreview.com/forums/thread/4110769

https://www.dpreview.com/forums/thread/4083908?page=5#forum-post-59034060

yusufmotiwala
yusufmotiwala Regular Member • Posts: 386
Re: Current State-of-the-Art in SPP Processing Alternatives?

The latest SPP has become reasonably faster, especially 6.81 and now 6.8.2. Earlier versions were real pain though.

Not very convinced about the batch mode, every photo is different.

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xpatUSA
xpatUSA Forum Pro • Posts: 20,682
Re: Current State-of-the-Art in SPP Processing Alternatives?
3

stansbca wrote:

Thanks to everyone who has replied.

Regarding batch mode, I am well aware of that, I guess I was wondering if there was a generally accepted setting that would bake in the majority of data (especially into a 16 bit file) such that another program could make use of it? When I've just batch processed everything "flat" in the past, it seems like a lot of info was tossed (especially in highlights...and I admit to abusing highlight recovery to keep shadow detail).

Not sure what "bake in the majority of data" means, sorry.

At the risk of being banned for life and assuming that speed is a serious issue for your good self - may I suggest the use of a viewer that can extract the embedded JPEGs as-is and batch-save them as TIFFs. XnView is one such and works in a blink of an eye. Here is an embedded JPEG taken from a DP2 Merrill X3F with no post-processing at all other than XnView's TIFF output being converted to JPEG to post here:

XnView is free and is very good. FastStone Viewer might work but I've never batched with it. At my age, I no longer care much about subtle differences between raw and JPEG, TIFF, PNG, GIF, etc., preferring instead to get the exposure right and just push the button!

And if one of your shots turns out to be Masterpiece ... you can always SPP it to your heart's content!

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Just interested in the technology.

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brendanpaxton
brendanpaxton Forum Member • Posts: 68
Re: Current State-of-the-Art in SPP Processing Alternatives?

yusufmotiwala wrote:

The latest SPP has become reasonably faster, especially 6.81 and now 6.8.2. Earlier versions were real pain though.

Not very convinced about the batch mode, every photo is different.

Yes, every photo is different, hence why you'd edit the TIFFs in Photoshop or whatever software you prefer after you do the basic routines of the batch. The batch processing is mainly to fix the egregious auto processing of the JPEGs that Sigma does.

I typically turn off the automatic sharpening and the automatic noise reduction that every X3F seems to have. I also reduce contrast and exposure so nothing peaks.

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EEvan
EEvan Regular Member • Posts: 298
Re: Current State-of-the-Art in SPP Processing Alternatives?
2

stansbca wrote:

Thanks to everyone who has replied.

As for X3F tools, my issues were related to color casts and highlights. I believe I was one of the first "civilians" to use the tool and wrote a bit about about it early on. However, since then, I haven't messed with it. I just wasn't sure if there have been

updates or best practices?

Make sure you use the wrapper utility. It does two things, it tries to fix the color cast, and it gives you meta data.

The highlights problem is easily fixed by using the free adobe DNG converter (losslessly reencodes it). It has the added benefit that it compresses the DNG's better.

joe173 Contributing Member • Posts: 507
Re: Current State-of-the-Art in SPP Processing Alternatives?
1

D Cox wrote:

If you have Photoshop, there is a Sigma plugin that can be used to import X3F files. Definitely worth trying.

I wonder if it works in Elements ?

I don't like Joe's advice to take fewer photos.

Don

Oh. I should have rephrased. Take photos only worth your time and within the domain of such a wonderfully built eccentric little camera! For myself I found 20-40 photos per event was more than enough, and around 100 for a multiday trip. Any more and I found processing too tedious. SPP has gotten faster over the years as has hardware.

I really did learn how to make each shutter click count. it made me slow down and think. It made me learn to carry around a small tripod and accessories. I always watched the heat and tried to keep the camera cool. I learned how to stack images in photoacute. I learned and used every setting in SPP for each photo.

OP stansbca Forum Member • Posts: 63
Re: Current State-of-the-Art in SPP Processing Alternatives?

Thanks for the latest and greatest on the X3F tool and free DNG app. I'll give that a go.

SigmaTog
SigmaTog Senior Member • Posts: 1,063
Re: Current State-of-the-Art in SPP Processing Alternatives?

I bought this earlier in the year specifically to run SPP smoothly & I am not disappointed.
https://www.bpctech.com.au/2r1a0pa-hp-z2-tower-g5-workstation-i9-10900-32gb-1tb-ssd-2tb-hdd-quadro-p2200-5gb-w10p.html

D Cox Forum Pro • Posts: 30,198
Re: Current State-of-the-Art in SPP Processing Alternatives?

joe173 wrote:

D Cox wrote:

If you have Photoshop, there is a Sigma plugin that can be used to import X3F files. Definitely worth trying.

I wonder if it works in Elements ?

I don't like Joe's advice to take fewer photos.

Don

Oh. I should have rephrased. Take photos only worth your time and within the domain of such a wonderfully built eccentric little camera! For myself I found 20-40 photos per event was more than enough, and around 100 for a multiday trip. Any more and I found processing too tedious. SPP has gotten faster over the years as has hardware.

I really did learn how to make each shutter click count. it made me slow down and think. It made me learn to carry around a small tripod and accessories. I always watched the heat and tried to keep the camera cool. I learned how to stack images in photoacute. I learned and used every setting in SPP for each photo.

In that case I agree. This is the approach I carried over from film. A DP-M battery is like a cassette of 35mm film.

If I were shooting sports I would use a different camera and take far more photos, or perhaps extract frames from video.

Don

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ole kekkonen
ole kekkonen Regular Member • Posts: 271
Re: Current State-of-the-Art in SPP Processing Alternatives?

xpatUSA wrote:

Here is an embedded JPEG taken from a DP2 Merrill X3F with no post-processing at all other than XnView's TIFF output being converted to JPEG to post here:

very cool software but why won't it load my sd9 x3f´s?

ole kekkonen
ole kekkonen Regular Member • Posts: 271
Re: Current State-of-the-Art in SPP Processing Alternatives?

ole kekkonen wrote:

xpatUSA wrote:

Here is an embedded JPEG taken from a DP2 Merrill X3F with no post-processing at all other than XnView's TIFF output being converted to JPEG to post here:

very cool software but why won't it load my sd9 x3f´s?

XnView MP is a multiplatform viewer (plus a lot of other useful functions) that will happily show the JPG images embedded in your X3F files (except for the SD9 / SD10 files that, as stated by Ted, lack the embedded JPEG).

found the answer here myself

https://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/64559927

xpatUSA
xpatUSA Forum Pro • Posts: 20,682
Re: Current State-of-the-Art in SPP Processing Alternatives?

ole kekkonen wrote:

xpatUSA wrote:

Here is an embedded JPEG taken from a DP2 Merrill X3F with no post-processing at all other than XnView's TIFF output being converted to JPEG to post here:

very cool software but why won't it load my [SD9/X3F]´s?

The discussion is about DP2M/X3Fs.

But for you information, the SD9/SD10/X3Fs do not not have full-size embedded JPEGs that can be extracted.

Fortunately, with those, there are several apps that can convert X3F direct to TIFF some of which can batch, e.g. command-line DCRaw or Kalpanika. FastStone Viewer can also convert SD9/SD10/SD14/DP1 but I don't know how it batches ...

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Just interested in the technology.

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ole kekkonen
ole kekkonen Regular Member • Posts: 271
Re: Current State-of-the-Art in SPP Processing Alternatives?

xpatUSA wrote:

ole kekkonen wrote:

xpatUSA wrote:

Here is an embedded JPEG taken from a DP2 Merrill X3F with no post-processing at all other than XnView's TIFF output being converted to JPEG to post here:

very cool software but why won't it load my [SD9/X3F]´s?

The discussion is about DP2M/X3Fs.

But for you information, the SD9/SD10/X3Fs do not not have full-size embedded JPEGs that can be extracted.

Fortunately, with those, there are several apps that can convert X3F direct to TIFF some of which can batch, e.g. command-line DCRaw or Kalpanika. FastStone Viewer can also convert SD9/SD10/SD14/DP1 but I don't know how it batches ...

YES…}I know the discussion was about dp2m, but I wish it would work with my own camera

I would try the recommended apps, just hope it works with Mac and are 4 free!

thanks

xpatUSA
xpatUSA Forum Pro • Posts: 20,682
Re: Current State-of-the-Art in SPP Processing Alternatives?

ole kekkonen wrote:

xpatUSA wrote:

ole kekkonen wrote:

xpatUSA wrote:

Here is an embedded JPEG taken from a DP2 Merrill X3F with no post-processing at all other than XnView's TIFF output being converted to JPEG to post here:

very cool software but why won't it load my [SD9/X3F]´s?

The discussion is about DP2M/X3Fs.

But for you information, the SD9/SD10/X3Fs do not not have full-size embedded JPEGs that can be extracted.

Fortunately, with those, there are several apps that can convert X3F direct to TIFF some of which can batch, e.g. command-line DCRaw or Kalpanika. FastStone Viewer can also convert SD9/SD10/SD14/DP1 but I don't know how it batches ...

YES…}I know the discussion was about dp2m, but I wish it would work with my own camera

I would try the recommended apps, just hope it works with Mac and are 4 free!

I know the feeling , Ole. I was once happy with my Performa and OS9.0 but, when it died, I defected to Windows because of my increasing interest in photo-processing ...

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Just interested in the technology.

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sattva Contributing Member • Posts: 502
Re: Current State-of-the-Art in SPP Processing Alternatives?

joe173 wrote:

D Cox wrote:

If you have Photoshop, there is a Sigma plugin that can be used to import X3F files. Definitely worth trying.

I wonder if it works in Elements ?

I don't like Joe's advice to take fewer photos.

Don

Oh. I should have rephrased. Take photos only worth your time and within the domain of such a wonderfully built eccentric little camera! For myself I found 20-40 photos per event was more than enough, and around 100 for a multiday trip. Any more and I found processing too tedious. SPP has gotten faster over the years as has hardware.

I really did learn how to make each shutter click count. it made me slow down and think. It made me learn to carry around a small tripod and accessories. I always watched the heat and tried to keep the camera cool. I learned how to stack images in photoacute. I learned and used every setting in SPP for each photo.

Agree with your experience joe173. My SD14 and DP2s 'forced' me to take it slow and deliberate!

The time and effort invested in the photo 'making' stage is invaluable. It has saved me hours of time and effort in front of the computer...which i detest actually.

Thank you for sharing and regards,

Sattva

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