Before you take a look at the cute motifs and possibly get diabetes as a result, I would like to share my insights with you, gained through comparing the DP2Q and SPP 6.0.5 with the DP2M and SPP 5.5.3. 😉 While post processing these most recent photos, I’ve stumbled across the following differences.
I don’t know if it’s due to the new Foveon sensor or SPP 6.0.5, but the impression of sharpness is completely different, when you pull the sharpness slider all the way to the left (-2). I’ve never applied USM to Merrill X3Fs, I used to leave the sharpness slider on the far left position. If you do the same thing with DP2Q X3Fs in SPP 6.0.5, they appear considerably less sharp. I’m going to have to take photos of the same motif with both cameras, in order to find a sharpness value at which DP2Q X3Fs will appear as sharp as Merrill X3Fs when no sharpening is applied in SPP 5.5.3.
Contrast and Saturation
The two sliders in SPP 6.0.5 appear to take effect earlier and to have a much stronger effect overall than in 5.5.3. When processing Merrill X3Fs in 5.5.3 +0.5 used to be my default contrast value, but I wasn’t hesitant to apply +1 or in some rare cases even +2. With the DP2Q/SPP 6.0.5 combo +0.5 appear to be similar to +2 in 5.5.3 – meaning, very contrasty. Most of the time +0.3 is already too much, while +0.1 or +0.2 are about enough. Saturation isn’t any different. In 5.5.3 I used to apply +0.2 or +0.3 to Merrill X3Fs, sometimes even +0.5. With the DP2Q/SPP 6.0.5 combo colors are already very vibrant “out of the box”. +0.2 is already too much, most of the time.
I think that I now understand what the cause of those statements is, which claim that Quattro X3Fs have very limited highlight headroom. It appears to be a mere SPP problem, which has nothing to do with the Quattro sensor. With Merrill X3Fs in 5.5.3 you had to apply negative exposure and positive fill-light in a 3:1 ratio, in order to recover highlights. Meaning, if you applied -0.6 exposure, you also had to approximately apply +0.2 fill-light, in order to achieve the best results. If you went overboard with fill-light, photos would start to look like amateurish HDRs very fast. The right approach when processing DP2Q X3Fs in 6.0.5 seems to be an entirely different one. The negative exposure seems to have no effect on highlights beyond -0.2 (!). Only additional fill-light, which in 6.0.5 has to be applied in a 1:1 ratio for best results, can recover the missing details in the highlights. Nevertheless, you have to set a negative value for exposure, otherwise photos will appear too bright.
Very soon I will be taking a look at the blue channel “trick” in the BW mode, which according to user reports no longer seems to be working in 6.0.5. I didn’t apply any noise reduction to my photos so far, which is why I’ll be taking a look at NR as well. Supposedly chroma NR no longer increases edge contrast and doesn’t resemble “clarity” in Lightroom.
You can find more of my DP2Q photos on Pinterest and Flickr.