Sigma SD Quattro and 21:9 Panoramas - Fast stock photography turnaround

It doesn't happen too often, because I normally take a long while to get round to editing and uploading images, but occasionally I take a picture, caption, keyword and upload it to a stock library and achieve my first sale the same day. It was like this yesterday with the image above and the three below.

All three were shot in 21:9 ratio which the SDQ offers and with an 8-16mm Sigma zoom that I ordered the day before and arrived yesterday. The timetable was:-

12:00 Noon - 8-16mm lens arrived via courier.

12:30-1:00 PM - I went out to take some test shots along the country lane I live at the end of.

2:00-5:00 PM - I was editing, captioning, keywording and uploading images anyway, so I decided to include these new images. 

6:00-9:00 PM - Images reviewed and accepted by stock website (Fotolia / Adobe Stock)

10:00-11:00 PM - Sometime in this period all four images were bought and downloaded. If you click on the images, it will take you to the stock website they are on.

Yesterday I was highlighting what I consider a biased and unfair review of this camera and the Foveon sensor by someone who obviously is unable to see the potential of what they can achieve. For me and I imagine the vast majority of people who use Sigma camera (though vast is the wrong word to use in terms of Sigma camera owners!), the potential is obvious. The extraordinary sharpness and rich colour give the files a look that no other camera is able to provide. The tyranny of the Bayer sensor does have a few exceptions and the Foveon sensor is one of them. The photographic internet is dominated by conformity anyway and few seem to be able to see beyond the same old dogma that the review sites and internet 'gurus' keep relentlessly pushing at us. 

The SDQ and the Foveon sensor are definitely thinking outside the box. And yes, there are some compromises that go with using them. High ISO performance is not good, the camera operation is a little slower than many other cameras (though not as slow as some would have us believe) and the raw file development software (again not as slow as some would suggest if used in the right way) doesn't have Photoshops speed and efficiency. But I really don't have any problems with any of that. I shoot S-HI jpgs. in camera which produces large files. In the case of the 21:9 ratio these come out at around 25MP. I then run them through Adobe Camera Raw to make a few adjustments, edit them in Photoshop and end up with a superbly detailed image. 

What all of this illustrates is what I've been banging on about for years. The basic lack of imagination on the photographic internet and the inability to see beyond a very narrow set of parameters that most of the sites see as defining a 'good' camera. Dpreview and the rest have been peddling this for years as if somehow there was a fixed set of criteria that said 'good' camera had to achieve (Though Dpreview weren't always so rigid in the past). Having come into photography when film was what we all used, for me with digital there is now a narrowing of options. It used to be the case that if you were looking for a film camera everything from an APS-C compact to a 10 x 8" plate camera was available. Not everyone used 35mm. 

It may seem obvious, but somehow this seems to get forgotten, that the final image is the most important thing here. And while I guess some may enjoy it, in the years to come do we really want to be looking at photo albums full of pictures of the camera gear we have owned? 'Hey this is the mark II, it had one stop better noise performance at ISO 1600 and if you look carefully you can see that the third function button has been moved from the right side of the camera to the left.' (That will keep the grand kids REALLY interested!!) And that capacity to produce a different kind of image has always attracted me to Sigma cameras and the Foveon sensor. The first time I saw a 'Foveon Image' I was both impressed and intrigued and I've been experimenting with various cameras ever since. And despite reviews to the contrary I think the SDQ is the real deal. And I see it as nothing less than if somehow, in the days of film, someone managed to produce a 35mm SLR that produced results similar to MF / LF quality.

And finally, back to experimentation. On the Sigma / Foveon compacts I have used I've always liked using the 21:9 crop. I find it more interesting than 16:9 and those long thin 'photo strips' that my stitching software often produces. The reason for me buying the 8-16mm was to take advantage of this. I will be looking to explore what I can do with this format in the coming weeks and the fact that I've found a market for my first attempts so quickly is all the more encouraging.