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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)

View attachment 241

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.



View attachment 242

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

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

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

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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



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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:

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

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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....:)

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

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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



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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.

View attachment 254

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 .....

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

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

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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



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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.
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.

Hi Uwe ...

Good thinking really!! To be honest .. I have no idea, where the "filters" are saved within the software?!
I think you are much more gifted to find this out, than me .... :)

See you with nice pictures


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.
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


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!)


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!


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)
So ...
conversion in SSP, further treatment in RPS

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