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Sigma SD9 Photos Reviewed

 
 
Frank Weston
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      12-27-2003
First let me state that my name is not George. I never have been George,
and I never will be George.

I made a decision earlier this year on a Canon 10D. I made this decision on
the basis of the lenses available, and features of the camera as compared to
similar Nikon and Sigma DSLRs. I chose on the basis of features that were
important to me.

For the last couple of days, I 've spent time reviewing hundreds, if not
thousands of images posted on-line. I looked at a lot of Canon 10D, Nikon
D100 and Sigma SD9 images. I judged these images with my eyes, viewing a
top quality, well calibrated monitor. The argument over resolution and
pixel count made no difference in this judgment. Here are some conclusions:

Sigma SD9 images in general showed better resolution and depth of color, and
appeared more vibrant to me than either Canon 10D or Nikon D100 images.
This could be the camera, or it could be that the level of skill of the
photographers who chose the SD9 was on average higher than those who chose
otherwise.

Sigma SD9 images, in many cases, appeared to have a yellowish cast,
particularly in the highlights.

Images shot with Sigma lenses didn't seem to suffer in comparison to those
shot with more expensive Nikon and Canon glass. The main difference seemed
to be the skill of the photographer.

All, in all, this informal review I've conducted has gotten me thinking
seriously about the new SD10, and about saving some money on lenses. I'd be
very curious to see if any other readers on this list would draw similar
conclusions after reviewing a good sample of Sigma vs. other images. If you
feel you can give an unbiased look at photos and report back here, I'd love
to hear what you have to say. Search the web, pick the photos you want, but
look at a lot of them and tell me what you think. And, could we try to keep
our biases out of this?

Finally, George, I would appreciate it if you would stay the hell out of
this discussion.


 
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George Preddy
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Posts: n/a
 
      12-27-2003

"Frank Weston" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
news:(E-Mail Removed)...
> First let me state that my name is not George. I never have been George,
> and I never will be George.


Prepare for foul language!

> I made a decision earlier this year on a Canon 10D. I made this decision

on
> the basis of the lenses available, and features of the camera as compared

to
> similar Nikon and Sigma DSLRs. I chose on the basis of features that were
> important to me.
>
> For the last couple of days, I 've spent time reviewing hundreds, if not
> thousands of images posted on-line. I looked at a lot of Canon 10D, Nikon
> D100 and Sigma SD9 images. I judged these images with my eyes, viewing a
> top quality, well calibrated monitor. The argument over resolution and
> pixel count made no difference in this judgment. Here are some

conclusions:
>
> Sigma SD9 images in general showed better resolution and depth of color,

and
> appeared more vibrant to me than either Canon 10D or Nikon D100 images.


Prepare for foul language!

> This could be the camera, or it could be that the level of skill of the
> photographers who chose the SD9 was on average higher than those who chose
> otherwise.
>
> Sigma SD9 images, in many cases, appeared to have a yellowish cast,
> particularly in the highlights.


This is due to Auto processing and AWB, and probably old firmware. It's not
inherent to RAW image.

> Images shot with Sigma lenses didn't seem to suffer in comparison to those
> shot with more expensive Nikon and Canon glass. The main difference

seemed
> to be the skill of the photographer.
>
> All, in all, this informal review I've conducted has gotten me thinking
> seriously about the new SD10, and about saving some money on lenses. I'd

be
> very curious to see if any other readers on this list would draw similar
> conclusions after reviewing a good sample of Sigma vs. other images.


Good luck finding full sized images from the other DSLRs.

> If you
> feel you can give an unbiased look at photos and report back here, I'd

love
> to hear what you have to say. Search the web, pick the photos you want,

but
> look at a lot of them and tell me what you think. And, could we try to

keep
> our biases out of this?
>
> Finally, George, I would appreciate it if you would stay the hell out of
> this discussion.


That's no way to thank me for turning you onto these fantastic 10.3MPs
machines. :^)

The SD10 is a great camera, the best you can currently get, but at about
double the cost of the 9 it could be hard to justify (though still
significantly cheaper than the blurry, only 6MP 10D).

The two compare this way: The 9 is ever so slightly sharper at ISO 100 and
under some conditions it displays a little bit more depth (intangible I
admit). Most will tell you there is no difference, I'm convinced there is,
although it will fall into the minutia category for 90% of users, and both
are dramatically sharper than any DSLR alternative. The SD10 has much lower
noise at higher expicit ISOs (there are workarounds for this with the 9 up
to ISO 800, but they shouldn't be needed). But again, both have a much
higher resolution:noise ratio than any alternative. That said, if you buy
faster EX lenses with the price difference, that'll be worth more than an
ISO stop or two. The single source battery system of the 10 is more
convenient, and more important than it may seem, plus it'll save you maybe
$100 over the long haul. AWB of the 10 is spot on virtually every time, the
9 may need WB adjusting in harsh lighting. Custom WB seems about the same
and is easy to set either before or after any shot (prevailing conditions
permitting, for the latter).

And that's about it. The 9 may not be available when the SDX is released in
Feb, so think fast.

On Sigma lenses, you'll want to buy the super high value Sigma staples for
any D/SLR. "EX" denotes the lens is part of their professional line. The
ones with no competition on value are (that isn't to say all are cheaper,
but most are much cheaper than similar performers)...

*15-30mm/f3.5-4.5 EX ($550)
*24-70mm/f2.8 EX ($340)
24-70mm/3.5-5.6 HF ($85, exc corner to corner sharpness, but slower not EX)
*70-200mm/f2.8 EX ($650)
70-300mm/f4-5.6 ($150 [APO version $180], exc sharpness, but slower not EX)
120-300mm/f2.8EX
50-500mm/f4 EX
300-800mm/5.6 EX
Possibly, but still an unknown: 80-400/f4.5-5.6 OS EX

Note the two non-EX zooms sell in a 2 lens kit for about $150 (free 24-70).

14mm/f2.8
24mm/f1.8
28mm/f1.8
50mm/f2.8
105mm/f2.8
300mm/f2.8
800mm/f2.8

*1.4X EX TC
2.0X EX TC

I *'d an excellent professional lens plan, this would apply to whatever DSLR
you choose. All have 9 blades except the 8 blade 15-30, but that is such a
wonderful lens it earns a kitchen pass. The only "flaw" is that the 70-200
only has a 77mm front element and the others are 82mm, which may cause
filter pain. If you can't deal with the EX cost, go with the 24-70/70-300
lens kit for superb value, but the slower speed of that kit would warrant
more strongly considering the SD10 so it's a catch-22. The 24-70 HF also
has inverted bokeh, which can be no fun. Also worth considering, no two
f-stops are created equal, Sigma's very fine EX glass is extrememly
transmissive and this results in a third to half stop brighter image than
most alternatives when used at the same aperture setting.

Good luck with whatever you purchase.


 
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Dave Martindale
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      12-27-2003
"Frank Weston" <(E-Mail Removed)> writes:

>Sigma SD9 images in general showed better resolution and depth of color, and
>appeared more vibrant to me than either Canon 10D or Nikon D100 images.
>This could be the camera, or it could be that the level of skill of the
>photographers who chose the SD9 was on average higher than those who chose
>otherwise.


A couple of things that it's worth pointing out, to ensure that the test
was really showing you what you think you saw:

Were you looking at the images at the same final size? If you were
examining the full-frame images downsized to fit your monitor, that's
automatically true. But if you're looking at the images at 100% scale,
you're using different magnifications if the images have different pixel
counts. To be fair, you need to reduce all of the images to 3.4 MP, or
enlarge all of them to 6 MP, or pick some other common size for all.

Were they sharpened appropriately? The Sigma raw converter includes
rather strong sharpening by default (you have to set sharpness to "-1"
to turn this off) so most Sigma images you see will be strongly
sharpened even if the text says they are straight out of the raw
converter. The Canon and Nikon images have little or no sharpening in
camera, deliberately, so the photographer can judge the amount of
sharpening needed after other processing. But these images need
sharpening to look their best - "straight from the camera" images will
look soft compared to the sharpened Sigma images. The images on review
sites like dpreview are *not* sharpened appropriately, so you'll have to
sharpen them yourself to see the output of the cameras the way they were
intended to be used.

These are things you need to do before you can start comparing sharpness
of the cameras themselves.

Dave
 
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Tony Spadaro
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      12-27-2003
Comparing images on the web at whatever res the and whatever quality, is a
chancy business at best. Look at magazine pictures. YOu can pick up a Sigma
cheap right now as they are failing on the market. Try one out and you'll
either find it's good enough for you or not - and you can send it back.

--
http://www.chapelhillnoir.com
home of The Camera-ist's Manifesto
The Improved Links Pages are at
http://www.chapelhillnoir.com/links/mlinks00.html
A sample chapter from my novel "Haight-Ashbury" is at
http://www.chapelhillnoir.com/writ/hait/hatitl.html
"Frank Weston" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
news:(E-Mail Removed)...
> First let me state that my name is not George. I never have been George,
> and I never will be George.
>
> I made a decision earlier this year on a Canon 10D. I made this decision

on
> the basis of the lenses available, and features of the camera as compared

to
> similar Nikon and Sigma DSLRs. I chose on the basis of features that were
> important to me.
>
> For the last couple of days, I 've spent time reviewing hundreds, if not
> thousands of images posted on-line. I looked at a lot of Canon 10D, Nikon
> D100 and Sigma SD9 images. I judged these images with my eyes, viewing a
> top quality, well calibrated monitor. The argument over resolution and
> pixel count made no difference in this judgment. Here are some

conclusions:
>
> Sigma SD9 images in general showed better resolution and depth of color,

and
> appeared more vibrant to me than either Canon 10D or Nikon D100 images.
> This could be the camera, or it could be that the level of skill of the
> photographers who chose the SD9 was on average higher than those who chose
> otherwise.
>
> Sigma SD9 images, in many cases, appeared to have a yellowish cast,
> particularly in the highlights.
>
> Images shot with Sigma lenses didn't seem to suffer in comparison to those
> shot with more expensive Nikon and Canon glass. The main difference

seemed
> to be the skill of the photographer.
>
> All, in all, this informal review I've conducted has gotten me thinking
> seriously about the new SD10, and about saving some money on lenses. I'd

be
> very curious to see if any other readers on this list would draw similar
> conclusions after reviewing a good sample of Sigma vs. other images. If

you
> feel you can give an unbiased look at photos and report back here, I'd

love
> to hear what you have to say. Search the web, pick the photos you want,

but
> look at a lot of them and tell me what you think. And, could we try to

keep
> our biases out of this?
>
> Finally, George, I would appreciate it if you would stay the hell out of
> this discussion.
>
>



 
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Frank Weston
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      12-27-2003
Dave,

I'm comparing end results, attained by whatever means the photographer
thought best. I really don't care what the means were....I'm interested in
the image quality as presented, not the process required to attain it. I
looked at a lot of images, and I'm sure all had been manipulated in some way
to fit or look better, but that makes no difference. Most photographers
are going to try to present their work in the best way possible. So, in
essence, by looking at a lot of images, all from the same viewpoint of my
monitor, I'm comparing the best to the best for one given set of
circumstances. That seems a pretty fair comparison, far better than the
incomplete, restricted sample comparisons done by most photo review sites.
And, by looking at a lot of work by a lot of photographers, any bias on the
part of one particular reviewer is pretty much eliminated.

Please look at some photos...lots of them and come back and tell me what you
think. I'm really curious to get a feel for the general perception of an
unbiased group of viewers...if there is such a thing.




"Dave Martindale" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
news:bskkmv$c8c$(E-Mail Removed)...
> "Frank Weston" <(E-Mail Removed)> writes:
>
> >Sigma SD9 images in general showed better resolution and depth of color,

and
> >appeared more vibrant to me than either Canon 10D or Nikon D100 images.
> >This could be the camera, or it could be that the level of skill of the
> >photographers who chose the SD9 was on average higher than those who

chose
> >otherwise.

>
> A couple of things that it's worth pointing out, to ensure that the test
> was really showing you what you think you saw:
>
> Were you looking at the images at the same final size? If you were
> examining the full-frame images downsized to fit your monitor, that's
> automatically true. But if you're looking at the images at 100% scale,
> you're using different magnifications if the images have different pixel
> counts. To be fair, you need to reduce all of the images to 3.4 MP, or
> enlarge all of them to 6 MP, or pick some other common size for all.
>
> Were they sharpened appropriately? The Sigma raw converter includes
> rather strong sharpening by default (you have to set sharpness to "-1"
> to turn this off) so most Sigma images you see will be strongly
> sharpened even if the text says they are straight out of the raw
> converter. The Canon and Nikon images have little or no sharpening in
> camera, deliberately, so the photographer can judge the amount of
> sharpening needed after other processing. But these images need
> sharpening to look their best - "straight from the camera" images will
> look soft compared to the sharpened Sigma images. The images on review
> sites like dpreview are *not* sharpened appropriately, so you'll have to
> sharpen them yourself to see the output of the cameras the way they were
> intended to be used.
>
> These are things you need to do before you can start comparing sharpness
> of the cameras themselves.
>
> Dave



 
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Frank Weston
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      12-27-2003
George. You really are an idiot, and you're doing neither yourself nor your
cause any good by replying to this thread.


 
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George Preddy
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      12-27-2003

"Frank Weston" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
news:(E-Mail Removed)...
> George. You really are an idiot, and you're doing neither yourself nor

your
> cause any good by replying to this thread.


I couldn't care less what you buy, but its a good discusion for others who
actaully want good information.


 
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J
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      12-27-2003
I use a special caliration DVD called 'Video Essentials' to calibrate my
home theater screen - which is NTSC based. How are we supposed to
calibrate a computer monitor? Specifically, what can I use as
reference colors? I can get my hands on pure white and pure black, but
what about the rest? I am obviously a newbie to calibrating monitors,
so bear with me if this is obvious to everyone!

Frank Weston wrote:
I looked at a lot of Canon 10D, Nikon
> D100 and Sigma SD9 images. I judged these images with my eyes, viewing a
> top quality, well calibrated monitor. The argument over resolution and
> pixel count made no difference in this judgment. Here are some conclusions:


 
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Jeff Shoaf
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      12-27-2003
"George Preddy" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in
news:bsklqb$j2s$(E-Mail Removed):

>
> "Frank Weston" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
> news:(E-Mail Removed)...
>> George. You really are an idiot, and you're doing neither yourself
>> nor

> your
>> cause any good by replying to this thread.

>
> I couldn't care less what you buy, but its a good discusion for others
> who actaully want good information.
>
>
>


George, what's your source of authority? How do we know the info you
provide is good information? You have given us nothing but quotes from
sources with a vested interest in seeing Fovean and Sigma succeed, along
with your opinions and a batch of images that most observers agree have
imaging problems.

Why should anyone reading this newsgroup give your opinion any weight?
You tend to write as if you consider yourself an authority on digital
imaging, but you haven't given us any reason to consider you an
authority.

You're always asking for links to other folks images. Where are the links
to your images that have been sold, published, or mentioned by a
recognized authority on digital imaging, photography, art, etc.?

 
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nospam
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      12-27-2003
In article <(E-Mail Removed)>, <(E-Mail Removed)>
wrote:

> I use a special caliration DVD called 'Video Essentials' to calibrate my
> home theater screen - which is NTSC based. How are we supposed to
> calibrate a computer monitor? Specifically, what can I use as
> reference colors? I can get my hands on pure white and pure black, but
> what about the rest? I am obviously a newbie to calibrating monitors,
> so bear with me if this is obvious to everyone!


http://www.i1color.com/
http://www.colorvision.com/
http://www.monacosys.com/
 
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