Sigma Photo Pro 5.5 Monochrome: First Look, First Photos

Sigma Photo Pro 5.5 is a significant update to the raw processor for X3F Raw files from Sigma’s cameras featuring the unique Foveon X3 Direct Image sensor as there is a completely new, dedicated monochrome processor for raw files from the original Sigma SD1 and all Merrill generation cameras, the SD1M, DP1M, DP2M, and the brand-new DP3M. And it is now available for download.

Eastern Willet, Sandy Hook, NJ. The dedicated black and white X3F RAW conversion mode in the newest version of SPP creates stunning silvertone images. Sigma SD1 and 50-500mm zoom. 1/640 F6.3 ISO 100. Converted to grayscale in Sigma Photo Pro 5.5 Monochrome.
The combination of the signature superfine detail of the X3 sensor and a touch of the film grain effect makes for amazingly tactile black and white images! This swan was seen through the SD1 and 50-500mm at 1/1600 F6.3 ISO 400 fully zoomed.

I was lucky enough to have spent much of the week prior to the release going public working up a ton of my X3 files in the new software, and I’ve smiled a lot seeing just how beautifully the new monochrome mode renders detail and tonal gradations. And the film-grain option is simply wonderful for adding a classic feel to images. The results, truly, can be breathtaking. I’ve worked up close to fifty of my shots so far, and this new monochrome process has me excited to get out and shoot more images with my SD1 and DP2M specifically for monochrome output. Continue reading Sigma Photo Pro 5.5 Monochrome: First Look, First Photos

Sigma Photo Pro 5.5 Monochrome: Video Tutorial

Sigma Photo Pro 5.5 now offers dedicated Monochrome processing for X3 raw files from the original SD1 and all cameras in the Merrill Generation, the SD1 Merrill, the DP2 Merrill, and the new DP3 Merrill.

Abandoned Diner, White House, NJ. Shot with the Sigma SD1 and Sigma 17-50mm F2.8 EX DC OS HSM. X3F Raw file processed in Sigma Photo Pro 5.5 Monochrome mode.

The X3 processing has completely re-engineered for exceptional monochrome results, with great control over tonal range, contrast, subtle gradations, and a simply beautiful film grain option for expressive creative control.

In this demonstration, I work up three images captured with the Sigma SD1. One is a very low contrast image, the second a very high contrast image, and the third, an infrared shot through an IR-passing filter with the Infrared cutting filter in the SD1 removed.

Learn more about Sigma Photo Pro Monochrome, and view many more sample images.


A Tale of Two Time Lapse Videos

Over the past few years, I’ve traded emails regularly with Jay Burlage, one of the owners of Dynamic Perception, and co-creator of their motor-driven dollies for time lapse motion effects, about this, that and the other thing relating to time lapse photography.

I’ve been itching to experiment with the amazing Stage Zero dolly and MX2 Dolly Engine from Jay’s company, and Jay needed a tack-sharp ultrawide angle zoom lens for testing a cool new telescoping configuration for the next version of the motion dollies. So, I shipped my Sigma 12-24mm F4.5-5.6 DG HSM II off to Jay for a month, and Jay loaned me a Stage Zero dolly.

And then, gear swapped, we each embarked on creating a new time lapse video. The gear was very similar: Sigma ultrawides, Canon cameras, and Dynamic Perception dollies. Jay’s video is edgy, with lots of amazing ultrawide auto interiors, night-driving head- and tail-light light-tracer graffiti, and HDR time lapse sequences thrown into the mix.

Every time I watch this video, I am more amazed at Jay’s skills with creating, capturing, processing, editing, audio-tracking, and pushing the envelope for time lapse photography. Jay’s time lapse video is urban, industrial, edgy, and showcases the expansive field of view of the full-frame Sigma 12-24mm lens on on full-frame camera (Canon EOS 5D Mark II) in such an amazing way.

The gear I packed for my experiments with the Stage Zero dolly was very similar, but APS-C scaled: the Sigma 8-16mm F4.5-5.6 DC HSM paired with an APS-C SLR, the Canon EOS Rebel XTi. I took a very opposite tack with my subject choice for the first field test with the Stage Zero Dollie and MX2 motion controller. I spent my day in a patch of woods that’s always sang to me. While Jay’s video is filled with nightside city streets, mine features the low winter sun filtered between dancing trees. (I also supplemented the wide-angle motion time lapse footage with a few non-motion shots made with the Sigma 70mm F.28 EX DG Macro.)

After these first experiments, I am totally hooked on motion controlled time lapse, and cannot wait for the chance to get out and make more time lapse footage with this fantastic six-foot long track and motor kit! I’ve been thinking non-stop about the possibilities the Stage Zero opens up for my future time lapse adventures. I thought I was hooked on time lapse photography before, but, wow, now I’m in even deeper, thanks to Jay!

Here’s one more thing to think about as you check out these videos: give a close listen to the audio on both tracks. Jay’s audio track is a punchy remix with driving bass, while mine is a mellow, guitar-based Celtic melody. We used very similar gear, but chose very different subjects, and as you listen to the audio of both tracks, think how well-fitting each tune is to the on-screen imagery. Now imagine reversing the tracks–it flat-out doesn’t work!  Pairing the right audio to the on-screen goes a long way towards polishing up a time lapse video, and the audio should complement, but not compete, or worse, contradict, what’s being seen onscreen.

Here’s the takeaway in one sentence: Sigma Ultrawide zoom lenses and Dynamic Perception’s Stage Zero Dolly kit are a potent combination for making killer time lapse videos, whatever your visions happen to be.

I’m off and running on my next time lapse adventures with this dollie, but now I’m experimenting with the Sigma 15mm F2.8 EX DG Fisheye! You can check out more of the amazing time lapse videos Jay Burlage has created over the years on his Vimeo page.

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