Saturday, April 26, 2008

SPP Software

Sigma's RAW processor is called Sigma Photo Pro...SPP.  Like other manufacturer's RAW processors it is quite good at developing the files from it's cameras.  Also like other developers it is nowhere at all for helping to create a streamlined workflow.  I am hopeful that another asset management software (Aperture I hope) decides to work with these files.

One thing this software has is a slider they call X3 Fill Light, at first glance some sort of shadow enhancement tool.  What this tool really does however is more sophisticated and quite exciting.  On the + side of the slider it quickly begins to bring HDR type qualities to the image.  Now while HDR is an acquired taste for sure, one I haven't yet acquired, it does increase the dynamic range of the image.  In fact this dynamic range increase was it's original listed purpose.  The cartoonish colors and the "Grunge" look quickly became what it's known for.  I've tried to add a subtle enhancement or tone mapping to images with HDR software but quite frankly the work is frustrating and almost never worth the effort.  X3 fill light allows me to dial in as little as I like and not only do it easily but do it with one image.  Bottom line...I get more information in my photographs.  I don't know how much increased dynamic range is because of the Foveon chip and how much the software but I like the results.

One of the very first things I noticed with the DP1, long before I tried bracketed exposures, was the sky.  Somehow just as the software was done processing the image the skies would just pop.  Rather than the "Mono" white sky to be cropped out later I was seeing detail, clouds, how exciting.

These images were taken in the large Cemetery at the end of Canal? Street about 12:30pm on a bright sunny day.  The perfect recipe for disaster.  They were good enough to be able to convert to B&W.

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