Sigma Photo Pro 5.3 - Quick review.
Sigma Photo Pro 5.3
Something users of the DP2 will have to get used to, for the time being, is Sigma Photo Pro. It's a big improvement over the earlier versions especially the ones that shipped with the Original DP2... The user interface is better, it's quite quick to use and it does pull some incredible detail out of the RAW files so in terms of full file image quality, there is nothing to complain about. For me though it represents an additional part of my workflow which adds time and complexity and I'd rather not need it!
I tend to use Sigma Photo Pro (SPP) to correct gross exposure errors ( caused by user misjudgement!) and apply exposure balancing to get the file 'about right'. I then export the image as a 1:1 Tiff which I then process in either Lightroom or Photoshop. It's a cumbersome workflow and I hope the Adobe Camera RAW team are close to getting the import for Lightroom et al sorted!
The emphasis on RAW comes from the desire to extract maximum image quality but also because there are distinct issues with the Out of Camera JPEGS. The default JPEG settings are nowhere near the quality of those coming from the Fuji-Xpro1. I'm not saying that they are beyond redemption, or that they are poor, just that they dont quite reach the heights that are possible from RAW. I've not had time to experiment with Camera settings to sort out the JPEGs. My main gripe is that the shadow detail is lost very quickly to black and if like me you tend to 'expose for the highlights and then develop for the shadows', the jpegs rule themselves out. So you are left with RAW. Which in turn means using Sigma Photo Pro.
The navigation is really intuitive - there is no importing here, simply point SPP to the directory on the drive where your files have been imported. I like this because it means I can control the file importation and apply my own rules. This is possible because of the tight integration between SPP and the Raw X3F format. Changes made by SPP are not stored in a separate file (Like Lightroom) but can be saved within the actual RAW file as modifications so they can be undone or modified lated without degrading the modified image. I think this is a brilliant way of working and means that the X3F File contains all the image modifications and is self contained.
But. That would be magnificent if SPP was the end of the workflow.... it's not.