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Thread: First DP2 Shot

  1. #1
    Senior Member Don Ellis's Avatar
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    First DP2 Shot

    (Now that's the kind of subject line I usually avoid... )

    I’ve been a customer of Photo Scientific in Hong Kong for thirteen years and they’ve been around for over twenty. The first thing I do when I buy any camera from them – Nikon F90X, Canon G1, G2, G5, Pro 1, and now the Sigma DP2 – is to photograph the man who sold it to me, Mr. Poon, in every case. So here’s my first shot with the DP2.

    One of the reasons I bought this camera – and immediately fell in love with it – is that after eight years of small-sensor, compact cameras, I finally have some depth-of-field control back in my life. The film boxes are about three feet behind Mr. Poon.



    Click on the image for a full-size photo – no cropping.

    ISO200, 1/30th, f/2.8, AWB under fluorescent lights. RAW file was converted in SPP 3.5 and run through Photoshop (where Auto-Color made him a little less fluorescent and a lot more alive). Choosing Fluorescent in SSP before conversion looked awful; AWB (as shot) was closer to reality, but still needed help in Photoshop. Oh, yes... I got him while he was talking. Sorry, Mr. Poon.

    On a personal note
    I seem to have one of the first, if not the first, legitimate DP2s in Hong Kong. Apparently the Hong Kong distributor was sending the entire first shipment to China, but when I told Mr. Poon how much I wanted one, he convinced the distributor to pull one, plus two extra batteries and a lens hood, out of the shipment and send it over. I was standing at the counter when the courier delivered those four items. (He convinced the distributor by saying that if they didn't give me one, I "would cry." The man obviously knows me.)

    Thanks to Bill
    I would like to thank Bill (fordfanjan) for answering the PMed questions of a complete stranger and helping me make the decision to buy this camera with his sage advice and beautiful photos – very generous.

    Full disclosure
    This was actually my second DP2 shot. The first one was a JPG of Mr. Poon. After realizing I was shooting JPG, I figured out how to set the camera to RAW, which is where it will stay forevermore.

    Unexpected benefit
    For image viewing, I have used ACDSee for many years. Although I have the latest Pro 2 version, I still use the Classic version 2.43 most often. One of the nice things I discovered is that even the classic version views X3F files as quickly as if they were JPGs, so I have a full-size image to help me make the “live or die” decision for each image – very convenient.

    Sharpening
    You may have to forgive the sharpening on this image because I work on a 1920x1200-pixel monitor and it's quite different for me to see small variations on files this size. The full-size image (click above) should be better. One thing that I have learned is that PhotoKit Sharpener, which does a superb job on my G-series images, isn't doing well at all on Foveon images. I will have to find out why... but in the meantime, I'm finding that basic old Unsharp Mask in Photoshop is working quite well.

    Cheers,
    Don

    P.S. Did you notice how I got the yellow piping on his sleeve just perfect on the right-hand side? Good. Total accident.
    Last edited by Don Ellis; 13th May 2009 at 21:23.

  2. #2
    Senior Member ecliffordsmith's Avatar
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    Re: First DP2 Shot

    Hi Don,

    Welcome to the forum and congratulations on your new purchase. The 24/2.8 lens in a compact does seem to be in a league of one as regards depth of field at the moment. This camera is not available here yet but I would not be surprised if I end up getting one when it is.

    I look forward to seeing more of your results with the camera.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Don Ellis's Avatar
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    Re: First DP2 Shot

    Quote Originally Posted by ecliffordsmith View Post
    Hi Don,

    Welcome to the forum and congratulations on your new purchase. The 24/2.8 lens in a compact does seem to be in a league of one as regards depth of field at the moment. This camera is not available here yet but I would not be surprised if I end up getting one when it is.

    I look forward to seeing more of your results with the camera.
    Hi Ed,

    I'm honoured to receive your 400th post.

    Thanks for the nice welcome. I'll certainly post more when I take something worth posting. One of the pleasures of this forum, besides the nice people, is the dark grey background... very nice for displaying photos.

    One thing I didn't mention about the camera is how tiny it is. The photos that I saw before buying the DP2 were so impressive, I just figured the camera would be larger -- go figure out that logic.

    Anyway, it's smaller than my Canon G9, which makes it even more amazing to me.

    Cheers,
    Don

  4. #4
    Caleb
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    Re: First DP2 Shot

    The main thing that I love about the DP1 is its incredibly sharp images. Unfortunately, the majority of images from the DP2 that I have seen are not nearly as sharp, and that includes this image. In the full-size version, Mr. Poon's face doesn't look very sharp to me at all. I can't find any portion of it that looks sharp to me (though perhaps this is because his face was moving). I'm very discourages about this because in all other respects, the DP2 has the features I want.

    I should say that my screen resolution is 800 x 600, so I can see pixel-level imperfections better than most. I switched over to 1024 x 768, and it still doesn't look very sharp to me.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Will's Avatar
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    Re: First DP2 Shot

    There is an area on his jacket that is very sharp. I suspect that it is the slow shutter speed rather than the quality of the lens that accounts for the lack of overall sharpness.

  6. #6
    Subscriber Member Streetshooter's Avatar
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    Re: First DP2 Shot

    Caleb,
    Will is right. The camera is great and the lens TACK sharp.....I have many images that are just a joy to view. The lens is wonderful....fast approaching my Leica lenses that I used on the R-D1s and the M8....
    Remember....contrast is as important if not more than sharpness....the DP2 has a very contrasty lens...part of the reason many comments about blown highlights etc are coming from....

    .....slow shutter speeds will degrade the quality of any image in any camera...
    remember most users of the DP2 are excited about having a faster lens and the ability to work in lower light.....outside at even 125th unbelievable.....

    shooter

  7. #7
    Senior Member Don Ellis's Avatar
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    Re: First DP2 Shot

    Quote Originally Posted by Caleb View Post
    In the full-size version, Mr. Poon's face doesn't look very sharp to me at all. I can't find any portion of it that looks sharp to me (though perhaps this is because his face was moving).
    Yes, it was 1/30th of a second and he was just beginning to talk... plus, I certainly wouldn't base any lens evaluations or buying decisions on my first off-the-cuff shot. (Got to factor in the excitement-of-a-new-camera factor, as well. )

    Look to the people who know how to use it... or check back in a few weeks with me when I have more of a clue.

    Don

  8. #8
    Super Duper
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    Re: First DP2 Shot

    Welcome, and great shot!

  9. #9
    Senior Member Don Ellis's Avatar
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    Re: First DP2 Shot

    Quote Originally Posted by Lili View Post
    Welcome, and great shot!
    Thank you, Lili... with any luck, they'll get better. If they don't, at least I'll know it's not the camera's fault.

    Don

  10. #10
    Caleb
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    Re: First DP2 Shot

    Well, the set of DP2 images that were posted over at DP Review don't have half the sharpness of the Las Vegas photos that were taken with the DP1 a year earlier. I assume that the people at DP Review know how to take photos. Any ideas about why their DP2 photos are so soft?

    I may be revealing some technical ignorance here, but because of the narrower lens on the DP2, I assume that overall sharpness of an image will be harder to achieve (is that correct?). But almost all of those DP2 photos on DP Review are soft over the entire image.

    Here are links to both galleries:

    DP2:
    http://www.dpreview.com/news/0905/09...dp2preview.asp

    DP1:
    http://www.dpreview.com/news/0802/08...dp1gallery.asp

    I assume it is okay to mention DP Review here.

  11. #11
    Senior Member ecliffordsmith's Avatar
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    Re: First DP2 Shot

    Hi Caleb,

    To be honest, the example photographs that DPReview tend to post are rarely close to what can be acheived with a photographer who knows their camera, cares about their subject and processes the results to relate the content as intended. They no doubt are using several cameras a day and seem to provide a range of high ISO, low ISO, wide open, stopped down, night, day, close focus etc etc images. They are trying to do their job and no doubt have deadlines like the rest of us.

    I would look at their example images of cameras that you own and see if you agree that these are indicative. With the ones I own I have found that far better results can be acheived.

    As regards the lens focal length. I do not know either but if I had to make a guess I would think that the technical challenge is slightly easier when the focal length is more 'normal'.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Will's Avatar
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    Re: First DP2 Shot

    Maybe it's because most the equivalent DP2 images are taken at ISO400 or 800 whereas the DP1 shots are mostly ISO100? Neither set do either camera much justice though.

  13. #13
    Caleb
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    Re: First DP2 Shot

    Thanks, Clifford.

    Will, I thought the Las Vegas gallery was spectacular. What don't you like about those photos?

  14. #14
    Senior Member Will's Avatar
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    Re: First DP2 Shot

    Quote Originally Posted by Caleb View Post
    Thanks, Clifford.

    Will, I thought the Las Vegas gallery was spectacular. What don't you like about those photos?
    Caleb I don't mean that some of the photo's weren't good, simply that because camera review sites have to give a even playing field they can't show the full potential of image files by post processing them. For that reason you get very little idea of how spectacularly good the DP files can be compared to all the small sensor compacts.

  15. #15
    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: First DP2 Shot

    Don first welcome to the forum. Have to say i am damn impressed on this shot. Very clean and also very sharp with great detail. It also handled the crap lighting very well with skin tones which under fluorescent the absolute worst for skin tones. BTW most reviews on Dp Review are shot with jpeg settings which sorry is the absolute worst way to compare images. I would NEVER compare camera's using in -camera jpeg algorithms.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

  16. #16
    Senior Member Don Ellis's Avatar
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    Re: First DP2 Shot

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    Don first welcome to the forum. Have to say i am damn impressed on this shot. Very clean and also very sharp with great detail. It also handled the crap lighting very well with skin tones which under fluorescent the absolute worst for skin tones. BTW most reviews on Dp Review are shot with jpeg settings which sorry is the absolute worst way to compare images. I would NEVER compare camera's using in -camera jpeg algorithms.
    Guy, thanks for the nice welcome and the kind words on the first photo. I just noticed that over 500 people have viewed this shot... had I known that, I might have actually taken some care with it.

    Still, it served to tell me what I wanted to know -- that depth-of-field was back in my life. What a relief.

    GetDPI was recommended to me by a friend and I'm glad I found it... you have a beautiful layout and background for displaying images, and everyone seems quite nice. I look forward to visiting often.

    Don

  17. #17
    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: First DP2 Shot

    Thanks Don and thanks for the kudo's on the design of the site. Jack and I worked pretty hard making sure images look very well with the backgrounds of the site.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

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