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Foveon Sensor better at high ISO than I thought

These posts are a bit old so I am bumping and asking how you have progressed?

I have just bought a Ricoh GR and am wondering whether to buy the DP3 as a portrait kit to take to people's homes and offices. The GR for the environmental establishing shots and the DP3 for the head and shoulders.

I'm photographing elderly people and felt that arriving with two unthreatening pocket cameras might create a more friendly atmosphere than with one bigger camera and changeable lenses. Maybe the DP3 is not pocketable - but the idea will not work unless I get the ability to work at 1600 ASA as I cannot consider adding lighting to their probably over-cluttered living rooms!

Tony
 

raist3d

Active member
It is definitively true with the new monochrome SPP addition the Foveon all of a sudden does way better vs trying color at high ISO. I take a small exception to this though (from the original OP):

"the Foveon sensor is suddenly up there with a color version of some of the better single layer sensors renowned for their prowess at higher ISOs (like Fuji's X-Trans, for example). "

I don't agree it does as well as the Fuji (at least at the highest isis), but it does pretty darn good. "The problem" with using the mixer and picking only blue is that you are effectively slanting the black and white images as if you shot with a blue filter.

Now, I said "the problem"- this isn't a problem if the image works. But one of the key features Sigma advertises for their BW vs say a pure monochrome camera like the Leica Monochrome is that you can simulate different color filters applied to a black and white camera. By using the blue channel mostly, you are basically canceling the benefit.

You are effectively shooting with a "blue filter always" on your camera. I noticed that their weight on blue does not seem to be "absolute" so human faces overall do not look downright horrible (as they would look with a blue only filter), so for many shots it does work (which is good).

Still speaking of the Fuji, the fuji does not have the issue of having to filter to blue like that. Of course on the fuji every single photo site is already color-filtered to a red, green or blue, but you certainly get more sensitivity to light on noise than having to use the blue layer. ISO 6400 on the Fuji (and up) still works better. In find 6400 works on the sigma if you re-size it down to like what used to be the previous foveon (4-4.7 megapixels) to a reasonable degree.

It's still good to have this option for sure. There's still lots of detail. In my testing I found that up to ISO 3200 it is quite reasonable (maybe cut at ISO 1600 but ISO 3200 being quite manageable).

- Ricardo
 
I'm not sure that is entirely true.

The three foveon layers are not Red green blue as they claim in their simplified marketing. The top layer is almost RGB although not in the usual proportions. The second layer is RGB with less blue. The third layer is RGB with much less blue and less green.

There is a fair mix of all three colours in the top layer, I believe.

It is definitively true with the new monochrome SPP addition the Foveon all of a sudden does way better vs trying color at high ISO. I take a small exception to this though (from the original OP):

"the Foveon sensor is suddenly up there with a color version of some of the better single layer sensors renowned for their prowess at higher ISOs (like Fuji's X-Trans, for example). "

I don't agree it does as well as the Fuji (at least at the highest isis), but it does pretty darn good. "The problem" with using the mixer and picking only blue is that you are effectively slanting the black and white images as if you shot with a blue filter.

Now, I said "the problem"- this isn't a problem if the image works. But one of the key features Sigma advertises for their BW vs say a pure monochrome camera like the Leica Monochrome is that you can simulate different color filters applied to a black and white camera. By using the blue channel mostly, you are basically canceling the benefit.

You are effectively shooting with a "blue filter always" on your camera. I noticed that their weight on blue does not seem to be "absolute" so human faces overall do not look downright horrible (as they would look with a blue only filter), so for many shots it does work (which is good).

Still speaking of the Fuji, the fuji does not have the issue of having to filter to blue like that. Of course on the fuji every single photo site is already color-filtered to a red, green or blue, but you certainly get more sensitivity to light on noise than having to use the blue layer. ISO 6400 on the Fuji (and up) still works better. In find 6400 works on the sigma if you re-size it down to like what used to be the previous foveon (4-4.7 megapixels) to a reasonable degree.

It's still good to have this option for sure. There's still lots of detail. In my testing I found that up to ISO 3200 it is quite reasonable (maybe cut at ISO 1600 but ISO 3200 being quite manageable).

- Ricardo
 
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