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Sigma and Foveon resource (usage tips) and information thread.
Old 06-24-2013   #1
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Sigma and Foveon resource (usage tips) and information thread.

I thought it might be useful to collect what we know about using the Sigma cameras and in particular the foveon sensored variety into one thread. They are definitely not your average straight forward digicam and my own learning curve has been quite steep to my surprise.

Also helpful for people, new owners in particular, in coming to grips with the SPP software.

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Old 06-24-2013   #2
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Hmmm... Haha
sounds like a Thread for Me
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Old 06-24-2013   #3
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It maybe easier to do this as a q&a type of thread as well. People can volunteer info, but asking questions in the thread maybe a good way to kick it all off as well.

Gary
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Here are some links to what was discussed before
Old 06-24-2013   #4
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Here are some links to what was discussed before

High iso b&w
http://www.rangefinderforum.com/foru...d.php?t=133467

Good video about using spp in monochrom
http://www.rangefinderforum.com/foru...d.php?t=133623

Possible solution for magenta cast to explore
http://www.rangefinderforum.com/foru...d.php?t=134065

How to create smoother looking skin on portraits
http://x3magazine.com/2013/03/09/smoother-portraits/


Some sigma propaganda resource links
http://www.sigma-dp.com/
http://x3magazine.com/
http://blog.sigmaphoto.com/
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Old 06-24-2013   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GaryLH View Post
It maybe easier to do this as a q&a type of thread as well. People can volunteer info, but asking questions in the thread maybe a good way to kick it all off as well.

Gary
I think it's reasonably important because the Merrills in particular are not a camera you can just pick up and use and instantly get great results. I was quite disappointed in mine initially.
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About AF DP Merrills
Old 06-24-2013   #6
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About AF DP Merrills

Hi i can advice on this:

The AF system is OK

Constrast type, so always spot an edge or a difference tween light and shadow.

Use the option AF limit, this one will prevent the af system to hunt AF lock tween 28cm and 1 mtr...this is very helpful!

Use AF priority.

RTemember the dp2 m is a 30mm lens so DOF base dof is huge...even more dof has the 19mm dp1 m....so you can avoid using AF system if you want!
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Old 06-24-2013   #7
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Here is a site I follow, he is a fine art photographer.. Uses Nikon d800e, but recently discovered first the dp Merrill series then decided he wanted a sd1m. Sounds familiar doesn't it. He has several good articles about what he has discovered along the way.

http://madshutter.blogspot.com/search/label/Review

Gary
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Samourai's ovf review
Old 06-24-2013   #8
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Samourai's ovf review

http://www.rangefinderforum.com/foru...d.php?t=127946
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My photo editing work flow
Old 06-24-2013   #9
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My photo editing work flow

As everyone says and I agree, the jpgs are the worst, the raw file is the only good one to use... That being said......

I normally shoot in raw+Jpg so that I can use the Jpg in Aperture to do initial evaluation and processing in order to decide which shots are good enough to go thru spp processing of the raw to tiff 16 file. I know that a lot of people just use raw only and do their weeding in spp file manager, but I find spp tooo slow for me and I like to keep stuff around in terms of my master database (Aperture).

Substitute your favorite editor for Aperture.

- import Jpg to aperture and the raw to a new folder (I create by dated named folder)
- rate and do initial processing using my default affect setting script
- the ones are keepers go thru raw to tiff 16 processing
-- decide which ones can be handled by
--- a known spp side profile for batch processing
--- need to create a new profile to be saved and used for batch processing
--- need to be handled individually

Spp side work
- group by saved profile manipulation type and run batch save on that group
- new batch files
-- bring first file of that group
-- decide the unique changes that need to be made
-- save the new batch profile
-- run the new batch profile for that group
- handle the one on ones last

Back on Aperture side
- import the new tiff files and work as normal.

A note about saved profiles and their usage.
- in the spp file manager dialog, there is a save as function at top left of screen
- highlight select the raw files u want to save
- select Jpg or tiff8 or tiff16 file type via pull down
- original file size or half or double
- there is a color and monochrom pull down for the type of profile to use. The default is original.. This means whatever te setup in the camera was. When u use the color or monochrom pull down, u will find the saved profiles u created.
-- select one based on what u want to do.. Including batching changing color std to vivid w/ exposure dialed down to -2 for example (because that was what was saved in the profile u selected)
-- choose your destination folder
- these profiles were created during a spp edit session when u opened spp on a specific raw file.
-- all the edit changes u made during that session except for noise settings are save to a profile.. This dialog can be found on top left tool bar area. U can name it anything u want.

When u first begin, it maybe better to not do anything w/ saved spp profiles. Get comfortable w/ spp first. Just use the original default profile during batch save and instead use your favorite editor to do the hardcore work from the tiff file created.

Btw spp crashes on me if I do over 16 raw files in the same batch run. Jon and others have not seen this issue.

Hope that helps
Gary
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Old 06-24-2013   #10
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Thanks - great thread. My new DP2M should arrive tomorrow, so these tips are much appreciated!

If I'm getting reading this correctly, the general workflow seems to be tweaking the exposure/white balance in SPP and then exporting as a TIFF16 for more advanced edits in Lightroom/Aperature/whatever.

Are any other adjustments usually made in SPP? (Not including monochrome). I assume the noise reduction engine in SPP is better for foveon files than the built-in NR in Lightroom? But maybe I am wrong.

Does anyone have any lightweight tripod recommendations that won't break the bank? I don't think I need a special-purpose pano head but I do intend to do at least some basic stitching. I've looked into the MeFoto series and they seem okay, and more importantly, comparably inexpensive.

I'm also wondering if any of you use the J Milich L plate. It may make sense for me to invest in one.

Thanks guys!
Dan
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Old 06-24-2013   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by evilgeniusdan View Post
Thanks - great thread. My new DP2M should arrive tomorrow, so these tips are much appreciated!

If I'm getting reading this correctly, the general workflow seems to be tweaking the exposure/white balance in SPP and then exporting as a TIFF16 for more advanced edits in Lightroom/Aperature/whatever.

Are any other adjustments usually made in SPP? (Not including monochrome). I assume the noise reduction engine in SPP is better for foveon files than the built-in NR in Lightroom? But maybe I am wrong.

Does anyone have any lightweight tripod recommendations that won't break the bank? I don't think I need a special-purpose pano head but I do intend to do at least some basic stitching. I've looked into the MeFoto series and they seem okay, and more importantly, comparably inexpensive.

I'm also wondering if any of you use the J Milich L plate. It may make sense for me to invest in one.

Thanks guys!
Dan
The noise reduction to me is better in most cases in spp for b&w. I can't answer for color since I normally do not shoot above 640 for color.

I use a rrs plate plus handgrip on both my dp Merrill's.

The other questions I can't help w/ since I rarely use a tripod. The one I have though was for 4x5 and medium format (weighs a ton)..

Gary
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Old 06-24-2013   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by evilgeniusdan View Post
Thanks - great thread. My new DP2M should arrive tomorrow, so these tips are much appreciated!

If I'm getting reading this correctly, the general workflow seems to be tweaking the exposure/white balance in SPP and then exporting as a TIFF16 for more advanced edits in Lightroom/Aperature/whatever.

Are any other adjustments usually made in SPP? (Not including monochrome). I assume the noise reduction engine in SPP is better for foveon files than the built-in NR in Lightroom? But maybe I am wrong.

Does anyone have any lightweight tripod recommendations that won't break the bank? I don't think I need a special-purpose pano head but I do intend to do at least some basic stitching. I've looked into the MeFoto series and they seem okay, and more importantly, comparably inexpensive.

I'm also wondering if any of you use the J Milich L plate. It may make sense for me to invest in one.

Thanks guys!
Dan

I've just ordered a carbon fibre Sirui which seems like a great deal and should suit the Sigma to a T. Sirui


The less adjustments you have to do in SPP the better IMO because it appears to be very resource hungry and makes my laptop run fairly slowly. The 16 bit TIFF files are a breeze to work on in ACDSee Pro 6 by comparison.
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Old 06-24-2013   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by evilgeniusdan View Post
Thanks - great thread. My new DP2M should arrive tomorrow, so these tips are much appreciated!

If I'm getting reading this correctly, the general workflow seems to be tweaking the exposure/white balance in SPP and then exporting as a TIFF16 for more advanced edits in Lightroom/Aperature/whatever.

Are any other adjustments usually made in SPP? (Not including monochrome). I assume the noise reduction engine in SPP is better for foveon files than the built-in NR in Lightroom? But maybe I am wrong.

Does anyone have any lightweight tripod recommendations that won't break the bank? I don't think I need a special-purpose pano head but I do intend to do at least some basic stitching. I've looked into the MeFoto series and they seem okay, and more importantly, comparably inexpensive.

I'm also wondering if any of you use the J Milich L plate. It may make sense for me to invest in one.

Thanks guys!
Dan
Forgot to mention that like any raw, it has more headroom then the converted file. If u c blown highlights for example, it is better to do your recovery under spp where u have direct access to the raw file then to wait till later under your favorite editor. One of my favorite profile is a one stop exposure recovery.

As I mentioned before.. Get comfortable w/ just doing batch saves w/ spp first and a workflow w/ your favorite editor before u worry about any of the things that spp is good for.

Unlike silky pix, spp wa tailored only for sigma cameras. And specifically w/ the last set of updates to Merrill based ones.

Gary
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Old 06-25-2013   #14
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I only use multi pattern metering with my DP2M and while it's very good it's not intelligent like the Nikon matrix system that draws on a data base of known scenarios to establish correct exposure. Offer it a very bright minimal light source in a composition and it will generally give an over exposure and your light source will have blown highlights ... in this situation I will generally under expose by 2/3 to a stop.
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Old 06-25-2013   #15
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Actually, the Nikon has the best matrix meter bar none. The sigma can be easily fooled.

Since I shoot a lot of the time w/ the ovf, I tend to use -1/3 ec for the dp2 and -2/3 for the dp1 out of habit.. I don't have auto review active and normally do not review shots until much later in time. So most of the time I don't have blown highlights. But there are still times I have seen it, which is why I have that profile around.

Gary
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Old 06-25-2013   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GaryLH View Post
Forgot to mention that like any raw, it has more headroom then the converted file. If u c blown highlights for example, it is better to do your recovery under spp where u have direct access to the raw file then to wait till later under your favorite editor. One of my favorite profile is a one stop exposure recovery
are you saying that you bring the exposure down in SPP to recover highlights then bring them back up later when you process?

so far i have found the shadows quite noisy and am having a bit of struggle getting the highlights all in SPP.
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Old 06-25-2013   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FA Limited View Post
are you saying that you bring the exposure down in SPP to recover highlights then bring them back up later when you process?

so far i have found the shadows quite noisy and am having a bit of struggle getting the highlights all in SPP.
The Merrill sensor has less dynamic range then other cameras and given I normally don't review my shot until much later and I tend to use a ovf a lot... I won't notice the blown highlight until I start processing in spp.

I know there are some who advocate exposť to the right and recover the highlights in your raw processor. I am not doing that on purpose.

Gary
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Old 06-25-2013   #18
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i must say i'm big on ETTR, on sunny days the camera does tend to underexpose. i also tend to lift the shadows (i typically add X3F fill light in the range of +0.3 to +0.5) and it gives more grain than i would like. i find there is some level of highlight recovery but it's not great either. it's pretty WYSIWYG.

i agree that the meter isn't the greatest (i.e. like the X100), i need to watch the histogram like a hawk. usually i find the tendency to underexpose and i get punished when i'm lazy.
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Old 06-25-2013   #19
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Also see here:

http://www.getdpi.com/forum/other-ca...ce-thread.html

Lee
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Old 06-25-2013   #20
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Quote:
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Interesting link ... thanks. I was surprised to read that the camera's base ISO is 200.
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Iridient supports 3xf raw files
Old 06-27-2013   #21
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Iridient supports 3xf raw files

http://www.iridientdigital.com/produ...r_cameras.html

I just came across this, has anyone ever tried it?

Gary
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Old 06-27-2013   #22
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One thing I'm curious about in regards my new DP3M is lens hoods. It appears to have the same mounting system as the other lenses but I have yet to see a hood listed anywhere?
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Old 06-27-2013   #23
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http://www.sigmaphoto.com/product/le...or-dp3-merrill
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First use....
Old 06-27-2013   #24
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First use....

Keith mentioned "I think it's reasonably important because the Merrils in particular are not a camera you can just pick up and use and instantly get great results. I was quite disappointed in mine initially." To overcome that potential disappointment, how would you advise someone who is completely new to the camera to proceed in the first few days of using it? Thanks for your insights ...
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Old 06-27-2013   #25
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My first tip is simple: S L O W--D O W N. Imagine you are shooting low speed film.
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Here is what I did .. Fwiw.
Old 06-27-2013   #26
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Here is what I did .. Fwiw.

After reading about all the negatives about the dp series way before I bought my dp2m, one thing I decided to do was to initially concentrate on still objects to get the hang of the camera and to test out what it could do and what it couldn't.

One thing I immediately noticed, was that for me the camera is actually too light. When I press on the shutter release, I noticed that there was not enough mass to dampen it... So I would need to either add mass or figure out a different way to release the shutter than I normally do or up my shutter speed way higher then normal.

In the end I adding mass. I use a real right stuff hand grip which has a bottom plate for their qr system as well. This added enough mass for me that I did not have to change my normal shutter release technique...

I only use a tripod around 10% of the time, so for me to enjoy the dp series, I needed to find a way to shoot handheld.

I also figured out what was optimal f stop and lowest shooting speed I could use.

Experimented --> shooting in all sorts of situation to c what worked for me and what did not. From this information, I also started programming the c1 to c3 user configuration to make life easy for myselfI.

From my experience w/ other cameras one of the first things I did was to put my rollei 40 ovf on my dp2m to,handle issues w/ bright sunlight and for issues associated w/ steadying the camera when u need to shoot low shutter speed (3 point hold, breath control, stnace, smooth shutter release --> all things u learn when shooting Kodachrome 25 or panatomic x).

So I was not expecting to get any great pictures until I went thru this process.

Gary
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Last edited by GaryLH : 06-27-2013 at 20:53. Reason: Fixed entente structure
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Old 06-27-2013   #27
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I forgot to mention...

I was initially shooting between 100-400.. But after all the experimentation, I found that good color up to iso 320. U can push it to 800, really is grey zone. The monochrom can go as high as 3200 using the blue color wheel technique. Thus here are my current c1 to c3 settings that I use for both the dp1 and 2 Merrill's.

C1 - zone/scale/hyper focal mode, check distance scale and setup zone accordingly
-- mid size raw
-- monochrom mode
-- manual focus
-- auto iso to 3200
-- aperture priority
-- dp1 fstop f11, dp2m f16
C2 - my default setup
-- large raw
-- auto iso up to 3200
-- aperture priority
-- fstop set at f4
-- af single
-- monochrom mode
C3 - good color
-- large raw
-- auto iso up to 320
-- aperture priority
-- std color
-- fstop at f8
-- autofocus single

For the non-custom modes, PASM, it uses C3 as base but
- fixed iso at 640

Gary
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Old 06-27-2013   #28
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^ Very helpful. Thank you Gary.
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Old 06-27-2013   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by conyon View Post
Keith mentioned "I think it's reasonably important because the Merrils in particular are not a camera you can just pick up and use and instantly get great results. I was quite disappointed in mine initially." To overcome that potential disappointment, how would you advise someone who is completely new to the camera to proceed in the first few days of using it? Thanks for your insights ...

Keep your expectations reasonable and as said by burancap 'slow down!'

Don't worry about the battery life, write speed, slow AF etc and just concentrate on learning the menus and settings that suit your style and importantly, master and understand SPP.

Two months down the track I feel I have 'finally' learned how to get the best from my DP2M and now regard it as the most rewarding digital camera I've ever used. Keeping in mind that I have a D700 and two Zeiss primes in the cupboard!
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Old 06-27-2013   #30
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Keith and Gary -- thank you very much, very helpful -- Martin
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Old 06-27-2013   #31
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Quote:
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Ahh ... so they do make one thanks!

Next trick is to find someone who has one in stock ... the Aust Sigma Web Shop where I got my DP3M doesn't even list it.
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Old 06-27-2013   #32
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Keith and Gary -- thank you very much, very helpful -- Martin

No worries ... we'll look forward to seeing you in the foveon images thread!
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Old 06-27-2013   #33
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No problem.. Canyon and evilgeniusdan.. As everyone contributes to this thread, it will be a good base of learning for everyone.

Gary
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Dp3m
Old 06-27-2013   #34
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Dp3m

I know some have had sharpness issues w/ the dp3m. I was thinking about my comment about being too light. Since these cameras have no image stabilization like a p&s, any slight movement at the time of shutter release is really going to be magnified especially when using LCD in conjunction w/ that 50f2.8 lens.. For the dp3m, u may need to add both weight and a higher than normal shutter release then normal for u? Or do u use it on a tripod? Those w/ dp3m can u comment?

Gary
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Old 06-27-2013   #35
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Quote:
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Ahh ... so they do make one thanks!

Next trick is to find someone who has one in stock ... the Aust Sigma Web Shop where I got my DP3M doesn't even list it.
i believe the best source is probably ebay
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Old 06-28-2013   #36
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A simple fix for the hot shoe ... most finders you put into them don't fit very snuggly at all and tend to wobble around a fair bit.

There's a spring clip in there that's reasonably easy to get out ... you lift the centre of it with a very fine screwdriver and slide it backwards out of the shoe. Once out you will see that it has two springy rails, one on either side and these are angled upwards slightly with a right angle tag on the end. Carefully angle the rails up a bit further and then put a slight kink halfway along them ... in other word bend those rails back down slightly from about half away along their length. Refit the clip (easy) and you'll find that it now holds things a lot more snuggly by significantly increasing the upward pressure on them.
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Old 07-01-2013   #37
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I fashioned a lenshood for my DP3m from the plastic top of a spray can. It fits the bayonet mount nicely and is reversible like the original. Costs next to nothing and only a few minutes of diy time

David
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Old 07-06-2013   #38
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quick af to infinity :
http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/51741414
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Old 07-06-2013   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by conyon View Post
Keith mentioned "I think it's reasonably important because the Merrils in particular are not a camera you can just pick up and use and instantly get great results. I was quite disappointed in mine initially." To overcome that potential disappointment, how would you advise someone who is completely new to the camera to proceed in the first few days of using it? Thanks for your insights ...
To start, keep the ISO at 100 and use auto white balance for outdoor shots and indoor shots with lighting from the outside. Use spot focusing to autofocus on the part of the scene that most interests you. AND use a tripod! I also adjust EV to -0.3. With experience, you learn when you can afford to deviate from these parameters.

I find that if I think and plan each shot, the photo goes well. If I stop thinking, the results are awful. This platform is not very forgiving.

That is one of the reasons I like the Sigma Merrills. They force me to think and slow down. Their slow response also helps (oddly enough). I view each shot as precious so I take each one more seriously. As a result, I have more keepers with the Sigma Merrills than any other camera system I have used to date (both film and digital).

And don't forget the high ISO capabilities of Sigma Merrill photos adjusted to black and white in SPP. I learned that from a previous thread here at RFF. Not only does this enhance the breadth of capabilities of these cameras, it also helps you to better understand how the foveon sensors work.
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Eric Triplett in sunny Florida
These days I shoot mostly with Sony A7R, Canon M3, and Leica T.
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Old 07-08-2013   #40
darya151
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This thread is really helpful. I'd really like to get a DP but at the same time, I'm a bit boggled by the workflow. It seems that SPP is not really difficult, but slow. I haven't used a post processing app like Lightroom or Aperture or others (suggestions welcome!), I'm a bit apprehensive, yet still quite interested. Slow is fine, just not quite sure how to get started. Which is best and clearest for someone new to the process?

The work posted by the DP cameras is incredible. The monochrome's are deep, rich - haven't seen any digital that renders in this way. So, it is worth the work. Suggestions appreciated!

Many thanks,
Darya
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