The Sigma DP series of cameras have absolutely phenomenal image quality, but they output a proprietary RAW file (*.x3f) from the Foveon® system that makes them awkward to work with. Here’s how I get great photos out of this camera:
- Transfer the files from the camera to computer. I put them into a folder marked by year and a sub-folder with the date. I drag and drop the files from the camera to the computer, then use a renaming program to sort them.
- Use the Sigma Photo Pro software to decode the X3F files. I make these adjustments:
- Exposure +0.3
- Contrast +0.1
- Shadow 0.0
- Highlight 0.0
- Saturation +0.1
- Sharpness -1.0
- X3 Fill Light +0.3
- White Balance Auto
- Color Mode Standard
- Highlight Control 1.0 Restore
- Chroma Noise Reduction middle
- Luminance Noise Reduction middle
- Banding Noise Reduction middle
- Chromatic Aberration Lens Profile 1.0
- Fringe Correction green and magenta both checked
- Ghosting Color Reduction on (if available)
- Then I save the photos as 16-bit TIFF files. The Sigma software is needed because it reads the X3F files and none of the other programs like Lightroom or DxO do.
- I then import the files into Adobe Lightroom and follow my normal workflow of editing with various software programs, returning to Lightroom at the end.
- Last, I export as JPEG files from Lightroom as I do with my regular workflow.
The DP cameras create incredibly sharp and well-defined images so I actually have to reduce the sharpness using the Sigma Photo Pro software. That is unusual as I am usually seeking sharper images from standard Bayer sensor type of cameras.
This is a simple and quick workflow that allows me to get the most out of my Sigma DP cameras and the spectacular photos it produces. By far the largest hazard in post-processing these photos is over-processing them. They are so good right out of the camera that they don’t need much post-processing.
If you don’t have a Sigma DP camera, they are definitely worth checking out as they have the best and sharpest image quality I have seen in any camera short of a medium format. And, the Sigma DP is a compact camera. It is hard to believe the quality of the image that comes out of this small, hand-held camera!