We use a Sigma DP2 Merrill camera with a Foveon sensor. The Foveon sensor samples all three RGB channels at each pixel. This results in a very different kind of raw processing. So far only the free Sigma Photo Pro raw converter (SPP) can do the job properly. The overall workflow with only SPP would be not nearly as refined and complete as we are used to with Lightroom. That is why we use SPP as a raw preprocessor for Lightroom.
If we have properly exposed images we actually use SPP in batch mode, which can save us a lot of time. If time were not that much of an issue we would tweak the following properties in SPP:
• White Balance
• Exposure to avoid clipped highlights (our default is -0.3)
• Some X3 Fill Light to open up the shadows a bit (our default was +1.0, maybe a bit agressive as others suggest to stay below +0.3 to avoid banding)
Here is how you can define the processing parameters for your batch run. Select one image and adjust it as you like. Save these settings as a new named preset.
Here are the controls that are saved in SPP when saving processing settings:
- X3 Fill Light
- And also the color wheel
Then select all the images you want to process and choose the previously saved preset as you processing:
Often we just save the results as very low compressed JPEGs to save space. In some cases you may actually want to use 16-bit TIFFs. We save the converted images into a subfolder located with the original raw images. Lightroom won't be able to even import the original ".X3F" files and you only will see the converted images.
We leave these operations to Lightroom:
• White Balance fine tuning (has to be in the right ballpark before)
• Exposure fine tuning (has to be in the right ballpark before)
• Opening Shadows
• Global and local contrast
• Final black and white point
• Vibrance and/or Saturation
• Selective color tuning
• CA removal (not much todo here)
• Lens distortion correction
• Perspective corrections
• Gradients (major)
• Adjustment Brushes (very powerful)
• Artistic look creation
• B&W conversion
Here are two samples that show the results we get from batch-processed images.
Because we batch process our images in SPP the workflow is not as bad as it seems. It helps us to enjoy the very special look of these Foveon images.
Learn more about Lightroom from our e-books: