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SIGMA HIGH ISOs ... and so it works...

Guest .

Hi All,

well, it is no real secret, that the foveon image sensor has its problems with shooting at high ISOs. Up to ISO 400 it performs very well. Higher speeds cause problems.
The latest software updates and the SD14 Firmware updates mean some progress in this field ... some problems remain.

Let us have a critikal look at an ISO 1600 SD14 shot....(processed with SPP2.5 without corrections)

Sample 6.jpg

Here we are! The typical problems are:

a) pale colour ... the green range in particular
b) Picture noise, both luminance and chroma

The low frequent chroma-noise in particular disturbs ... the luminance noise is at higher frequences .. not all that problematic.



Sample 7.JPG

Now we have our foveon colours and good noise performance with very acceptable loss of details.

Another example .....(the untreated photo first)

Sample 4.jpg

And now after having some "polishing up"...

Sample 5.jpg

SIGMA colours and the typical 3-dimensional touch comes up at ISO1600!;)

Well, to tell you beforehand, it is a software that does this "polish", which is not very expensive....

to be continued soon...:)

See you with nice pictures


Guest .

Hi All,

well, all this can easily be done with a software named Raw Photo Studio.

Unfortunately, my screenshots now are based on a German edition but I am going to explain, what I have done ...i.e. .. the single steps of image processing.
Finally, all this can be done in just one single little click .. let us see:

Sample 10.jpg

1) strengthening contrast... this does not burn out the lights but darkens the shadows...:)

Sample 11.jpg

2) working on details: Here you can adjust sharpening and denoising your image. Luminance and chroma noise filters can be adjusted seperately! The chroma filter very well works against the typical low frequence colour noise of the SD10/14 pictures. Detail detection also works best. There is no better denoising engine for SIGMA HIGH ISOs I can think of....:)

Sample 12.jpg

Sample 13.jpg

Sample 14.jpg

Sample 15.jpg

3) selective colour control: Here you can do everything to work on an "ISO 1600's" pale colours.

Sample 16.jpg

Finally ... and this is clou .... you can define all these settings as a filter and apply it on all your ISO 1600s with just a single click!

Raw Photo Studio can do both ... working as a converter (it processes X3Fs SD9/10/14 (no Polaroid X530 and no DP1 files)) or work with JPG- or TIFF-files.

In this case, I used SIGMA PHOTO PRO / SPP2.5 for conversion and did the further image processing with RAW PHOTO STUDIO.
I did NO CHANGES with SPP of course!!;)

See you with nice pictures


Guest .

Hi Uwe, Hi All,

after further testshots, I think it is worth using the "SD ISO 1600 filter"..:)

The following shots ... all of them ISO 1600 may give an impression on what can be achieved now....

Again ... I am not going to say that I can achieve ISO 100 image quality ... but for my opinion ISO 1600 is now an option to choose, if there are no lower ISOs possible.

Sample 28.jpg

Colours are basically neutral and saturated now, there is enough contrast now, noise is under control with an acceptable loss of details.
Sure, you do not have that high dynamic range, typical for SIGMA.. not in the lights in particular .....

Sample 20.jpg

Another example ... there is colour now ....;)

Sample 26.jpg

A 500mm testshot (Beroflex 500mm / 8.0 ... open) to speed up the shutter to 1/4000s .... watch the details in the car's headlight .....

Sample 35.jpg

This one ist MOST IMPORTANT since it is rather a NO LIGHT than a LOW LIGHT-shot.

SD14 ISO 1600 / apperture 3.5 / shutter at 0.3s / no tripod! (but OS!)

Well, compared to the "normal" ISO 1600 performance of the SD14, I really see some significant progress in the issue. A single "click" now can do this change!

After these findings, I do not quite understand, why SIGMA does not "implant" similar High ISO image processing directly into their cameras??!

See you with nice pictures



Hi Klaus,
you really dig in it.
Have you figured out where in the program-files your "SD ISO 1600 filter" goes?
I tried to find the filters,but no luck.
I created a filter,gave it an unique name and saved it.
Trying to trace it ended with no result.
The reason why I tried this is to have sets of filters which can be shared
between computers or users.



For a number of years I was a user Sigma camera, and still am, I just now found this forum. Just like many others, I'm also facing with poor quality at high ISO. I was pleasantly surprised when I read this topic, and when I saw what can be done with the photo. Yesterday I tried working at one of my photos, but did not receive such a final outcome, as above in this post. Little I managed to correct color, but there is still a disturbing color noise, which is no way I can get rid of. In any way I can get even close result. Therefore, I would like to know whether the treatment carried out in addition to have any further treatment? And whether there is such a program in english language, just like this one and not german. Is that can be done in PS?
Thank you.

Guest .

Hi Vigor,

what I did above is no magic! I just used Sigma Photo Pro and the above mentioned RAW PHOTO STUDIO software.

I am sorry ... Raw Photo Studio is based upon an Arc-Soft product named Photo-Studio-Darkroom

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This version is available in Englsh but .. HAS NO selective colour control engine!!!

I have searched the net for more than half an hour to find an English version of the above mentioned RAW-Photo-Studio Software.

I now think, that a German company named -Image Master- bought it and improved it??!! :)

I really think so, because even Carl Rytterfalk obviously uses a German version which he certainly would not do, if an English one was available!!

(Scroll down a bit .... Rytterfalk is presenting it with a flash-video!)

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So I am sorry! It seems as if there is no English Version!

IMPORTANT: Arcsoft Darkroom (although similar in basic functions) cannot do the above illustrated HIGH ISO SIGMA JOB because selective colour control is missing!!
BUT ..... I think ... it is that easy to handle -even if in a foreign language- that it is self-explaining!

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See you with nice pictures

Hallo Klaus,
I have been reading this thread with my mouth (and eyes) open; astonishing what you manage to bring about with - on the first sight - such an 'unknown-13-in-a-dozen-photoprogram' .
The last 2 weeks i've been using different converters such as
rawDeveloper (one of kind quality pre-raw adjustments, fast, stunning B&W, great nuances-details, colors natural not 'wow', AT LOW ISO super, with high iso the severe color noise of my sigma can't be beaten)
lightroom (fastest working program, fancy, rawconversion I find underaverage -loss of detail in highlights ! and noisereduction not sufficient)
SPP (works slowly (on my mini-mac that is) at the end one must conclude that it converts the sigma-foveon-rawfiles in images of great quality, I think that sigma makes good compromises/choises, my grown respect for this company)
Rawphotostudio : I can subscribe your findings . The missing link for SPP
First of all : indeed it's noise-engine handles the foveoncolornoise very well,f.e. the green-purple specs have practicaly vanished and without (big) loss of detail! with noiseninja the colornoise-treatment is also vigourious but with much loss of detail .
Second I find it's rawconversion not as good as spp, more or less like lightroom
Further RPS has nice extra features (as you mentioned) in a simple (no fuss) way .
So ...
conversion in SSP, further treatment in RPS
Question : How did you convert your files in SPP before you treated them in RPS ? (16-bit TIFF?)

PS that it is a german version doesn't bother me much(just a few terms, + I'm Flemish by the way)

Guest .

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Hi Patrick ... you got it! That is the proper workflow with SD-High ISOs.

16-bit TIFF or 8-bit JPGs .....???!!!

In fact it daoes not make all that much of a different (IMHO) as long as you use a high JPG-quality.

Using the 16-bit TIFF-format you have finer gradations (much more grey-scale values) available per colour chanel. The readymade picture does definately not need more than 256 tone values per colour channel (8 bits).

More can make sense, if you do heavy tone-value corrections while working on jour pic. Then you have more image material and do not risk a visible-cut in tone-values when stretching it a lot.

Above, I did JPGs. :)

See you with nice pictures



New Member
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I am really surpriced that is possible; so you shoot raw, export a jpg max quality with auto in spp and edit that jpg in camera raw? I really thought belived that it would ruin the picture to edit a jpg - or is this only for high iso pics, that already are inferiour?


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Hi solsang,

it depends on the picture. But there is a rule of thumb that you have always more headroom, espielly in the lights with RAW images. The best practice is doing as much as possible within RAW and only for things you can not do with your RAW processor, the switch in other format with the highest quality possible.

The problem is more, that not every RAW processor is good in everything. The SPP has some advantages, but can not do all the finetuning like LR2 or PS CS4. On the other hand SPP can do things which LR2 and PS CS4 can not do in the same way and sometime not as good as SPP.

Depending on the picture, it is therefore better to use i.e. SPP, another picture might be better processed & tweaked with LR2 et alii.

Unfortunately, there is currently neither support for Sigma RAW files in DXO nor in Capture one. So there is not that much choice out there to find the best tool :(

All depends on the combination of your expections for the image quality you want to achieve (and time to invest), the RAW material you have and your personal knowledge in using different software with all available tricks for different situations.

Best wishes

Guest .

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.... it may sound funny ... but it works! Using my "Raw-Photo-Studio-filter" you really can enhance colour saturation/colour correctness/noise performance in general / and chromatic noise performance in particular.

A candlelight shot ... ISO 1600 / 200mm / F:6,3 (open) / ....1/30s... (freehended - OS ON)

SPP result:

Sample 19.jpg

One mouse-click later ... using my readymade ISO 1600-filter (exactly like explained above!)

Sample 20.jpg

If you did not know? Does No.2 look like SD14 ISO1600?

See you with nice pictures



Well-Known Member
I must be a bit tired right now...I don't quite understand the post very well, so I'll read it again after I go take a walk. :z04_pc2:

But Holy Cow! That last image of the wristwatch. Frankly it looks like it came right off of the drum scanner from one of my 6x7 transparencies.

And this with ONE click?



New Member
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That is tremendously amazing, i would love to do it - really sad the program does only accept the old sigma raw, so my dp1 pictures are left in the cold, i really could use iso 800 & pushed 1600 shots with it that are seemingly impossible to correct in other programs

Happily my friends sd14 can get to see this miracle, so i can borrow that when needed, and look forward to an update of raw photo studio (maybe with the coming of sd15, that i expect to use the same x3f as dp1 and 2)

Guest .

Some more HIGH ISOs ...

Hi All,

let me add some examples (treated the way explained above!). I Did these shots in a very dimly lit exhibition in Spain. There was no choice to avoid ISO 1600 since I did not have any tripod at hands.

Sample 16.jpg Sample 8.jpg

Sample 12.jpg Sample 13.jpg

Sample 14.jpg Sample 15.jpg


Guest .

Sample 17.jpg Sample 18.jpg

Only the very last shot is ISO 800 ...the others are all ISO 1600 shots.

See you with nice pictures



Well-Known Member
I'm continuing my thread
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, but I'm now posting here because I've come up with my own High ISO fix just using Photoshop.

A nice use of the X-Rite ColorChecker is to create and save image manipulations so that they can be applied at a later time to other photos. It's also very easy to make adjustments and see how things turn out.

Here is my original ColorChecker photo shot at ISO 1600:


and here is the version where I have been able to correct for the failings of ISO 1600:


Interestingly, this was achieved with only a single level adjustment layer where I simple set the White, Black, and Grey points to the ColorCheckers White, Black, and Neutral .5 Grey squares. These are the squares in the bottom row Left, Right, and Center Right respectively.

I applied this to my ISO 1600 Horse photo, the original:


and fixed. In this case, the level adjustment was too severe, so I reduced the Opacity to about 80%:


If anyone wants to play with this fix, here is a Zip archive containing the level adjustment:

View attachment SD14ISO1600LevelAdj.ZIP

In Photoshop, open a Daylight White balanced ISO 1600 image, create a level adjustment layer and instead of playing with the histogram, click on Load and open the file extracted from this Zip. As I had to do with my image, adjust the level adjustment layer's opacity to get the right effect needed.

Guest .

Does not seem as if .....

The only suitable screenshot of the new 2.0 version seems to be this one:


Compare this to my German Raw-Photo-Studio screenshot:

Sample 12.JPG RAW-P_1.JPG

As it seems .... selective colour control is still a missing feature with the English version! Hard to believe .... obviously they go another way developing their software?!!

See you with nice pictures