Firmware Friday: Sigma Quattro DP2 gets better JPEG detail; PocketWizard extends compatibility


posted Friday, August 8, 2014 at 3:42 PM EDT


In last week's Firmware Friday roundup, we shared news from Sigma CEO Kazuto Yamaki indicating that new firmware was on the way for the Sigma dp2 Quattro digital camera. Now it's here, and comes accompanied by new Sigma Photo Pro software which also works with the company's SD1, SD1 Merrill, and DP Merrill-series cameras.

What we didn't know at the time was the purpose of this new Sigma dp2 Quattro v1.01 firmware -- but now we do, it strikes us as very interesting indeed. Imaging Resource publisher and founder Dave Etchells met with Yamaki-san in Tokyo shortly after our last Firmware Friday roundup, and learned that the update is intended to address a bug in the camera's noise-reduction processing.

This bug, it turns out, was the cause of severe detail loss in one of the hard-to-render fabric swatches in our Still Life target. The issue rears its head only in camera-generated JPEG images, so RAW shooters were immune. It also happened, according to Sigma, only in "subjects that have both similar color tones and contrast difference".

Nevertheless, Sigma was quick to act. Yamaki-san told Dave that the images of our Still Life target were what led them to identify and address the bug, and the new firmware arrived just three weeks after our post -- a pretty quick turnaround between diagnosing the problem and resolving it. (Kudos to Sigma for the swift response!)

Our Quattro sample is out with one of our senior writers at the moment, so we'll need await its return before we can reshoot the Still Life target and judge the improvement for ourselves. We're certainly looking forward to doing so, though, as the camera's handling of that ever-problematic red fabric swatch was so at odds with the exceptional resolution and detail we saw otherwise. We don't have an ETA for the retest, but will certainly post results from it as soon as possible!

The dp2 Quattro v1.01 firmware update also helps to reduces longitudinal noise that can appear occasionally when developing RAW files in SIGMA Photo Pro v6.x, and it comes accompanied by an update to that app on both the Windows and Mac platforms. On either platform, Sigma Photo Pro v6.0.5 also improves image quality in long exposures shot with the dp2 Quattro.

Three other cross-platform bugs are also resolved in Sigma Photo Pro v6.0.5. The print size shown in the print window was occasionally defaulted, and after saving or deleting images, your position in the thumbnail image view could change. These inadvertent behaviors have been corrected, as has a problem that prevented JPEG images developed from X3F RAW files from being uploaded to social networking sites.

In addition, the Windows version fixes an issue with the same X3F-derived JPEGs that stopped them being displayed in photo editing software, and a problem with processing of images shot with the SD1 or Merrill-series cameras when the color space was set to Adobe RGB. On the Mac platform, one final issue is resolved: the working color space set in the app's settings will now be respected properly.

And that's it for the Sigma news. Grab the new firmware and software at the links below:

While we're not aware of any other camera firmware updates this week, there's one other photo accessory with new firmware. The folks at PocketWizard have pushed an update for their ControlTL firmware, as used in the Nikon and Canon versions of the MiniTT1 and FlexTT5 radios. This new firmware is aimed solely at supporting new cameras, according to the company. With firmware v3.700 installed, the Nikon variant will now work with the Nikon D810, D610, D4S, Df, D7100, D5300, D5200, and D3300 DSLRs. Canon users who install firmware v6.700 will be able to use the MiniTT1 and FlexTT5 with the Canon EOS-1D X, EOS 6D and Rebel T4i DSLRs with TTL compatibility, while the 70D, T5i, T5 and SL1 are also supported by the new update.

(Camera parts image courtesy of Kelly Hofer / Flickr; used under a Creative Commons CC-BY-2.0 license. Image has been modified from the original.)