Image Size / File Quality Options

Unlike most other digital SLR's the Sigma SD9 doesn't offer JPEG or TIFF in-camera. Instead it shoots Foveon X3F RAW files, this is in-keeping with Foveon's philosophy regarding the gain in quality and flexibility offered by RAW files. The other big advantage of RAW is that the camera doesn't have to do any image processing and also becomes easier to use. The X3F files themselves contain the RAW data straight from the sensor, 36 bits per pixel (12-bits per R, G, B). The X3F files are also losslessly compressed, this means that they are smaller than the 15 MB they would otherwise be (2268 x 1512 x 36 bits) by way of compression similar to Zip.

Standard Test Scene

Despite its lack of JPEG or TIFF in-camera you can select from three different resolutions to be stored in the X3F RAW file. These are 2268 x 1512, 1512 x 1008 and 1134 x 756.

Crops below are of the same 240 x 120 area of each image nearest neighbour magnified 200%.

All JPEG's provided in this section of the review were saved at the 99% quality level, click here for more information.

Photo Pro Adjustments: Shadow +0.5, Highlight -0.5, Sharpness +0.3

2268 x 1512

8,881 KB X3F, as a high quality JPEG 2,546 KB

1512 x 1008

4,519 KB X3F, as a high quality JPEG 894 KB

1134 x 756

2,566 KB X3F, as a high quality JPEG 636 KB

No more in-camera controls

Normally at this point in the review we would explore other in-camera controls such as saturation, tone, sharpness etc. In the case of the SD9 all of these controls are instead available in the Photo Pro RAW conversion application not in-camera. The only other setting which can be applied at the time of taking the shot is white balance, and of course even this can be changed later. Therefore the next four pages of this review are dedicated to the Photo Pro software.