From WPPI: Epson's Shockingly Gorgeous New Paper & Sigma Shows Us the New 50mm f/1.4

As of today at 3pm, WPPI was concluded - and while the trade show itself is done, we're all still left with the excitement lingering from the last couple days. Today, we highlight a look at Sigma, who was able to show us their newly announced camera system as well as the much-anticipated Sigma 50mm f/1.4 Art Lens. We also stop by Epson, to look at their rich new metallic prints available for ordering soon.



Personally, I outsource all my printing. It seems much easier for me to just send it off to a print lab and expect pretty great quality at an affordable price. Well, Epson managed to sway my thoughts on that at WPPI, when they showed off their new metallic prints and expose much richer colors and detail than any other metallic print I've seen before. Seriously, the video above does not do this new paper justice, both Jaron and I were pretty blown away by the example they were able to show us. Be sure to check out Epson's new line of paper if you're looking to give your prints a new and exciting look.

The new paper called Metallic Photo Paper Luster and Metallic Photo Paper Glossy is planned for release on March 26. Pricing, which could be changed, is set to start at $24 for 25 8.5x11" sheets up to $359 for one 36" x 100' sheet.



Sigma has been doing well for themselves lately. With the Art Series 35mm announced last year, and the fastest zoom ever built with the 18-35mm f/1.8, Sigma has turned a new leaf and shown the entire photography community that they're here to stay, and able to make high quality products that can rival the best of the best in quality. They're hoping to do that again with their recently announced Sigma 50mm f/1.4 Art Series lens. While the price point and actual image testing has not been formally released, you can expect this lens to be an exceptional alternative and challenger to the 50mm lenses found from Nikon and Canon.

Along side their 50mm, Sigma was also able to show us their new mirrorless camera with the Sigma dp2 Quattro. Don't let the alternative design fool you, Sigma is promising exceptional image quality from this new out of the box camera body. Equipped with a 30mm f/2.8 lens, the Sigma dp2 Quattro hopes to bring a sexy new design to the pocketable mirrorless camera systems.


Be sure to stay tuned to see more cool and exciting products being shown off on the WPPI showroom floors.

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Jerrit Pruyn's picture

I feel weird saying it, but I like that Sigma DP2.

The sigma cameras are honestly insane. If you can work with them correctly, you will not really be impressed with anything out there. I shoot all my commercial work with them.

Many are conccerned thast the new censor will be higher res but lack the unique look of the Merrill series.

Spy Black's picture

"If you can work with them correctly..."
What exactly does that mean? What type of commercial work do you do? While Foveon is a fascinating concept, I've yet to be impressed by it. Modern Beyer filtered sensors (which incidentally are more and more becoming "un-bayered" sensors) outperform Foveon time and again on resolution and dynamic range. They also don't require you to have to work "correctly", for lack of a better term. The Fuji X-Trans is another interesting design that is also quite good. Foveon always seems like a great promise "coming real soon".

This is my current work.

I'm currently in talks with AMC Theaters to shoot some of their commercial work too. All of which I will probably shoot with a Sigma camera.

I won't comment on X-trans because I think when compared to a Foveon file, the images speak for themselves. This is all assuming you don't need a camera for low light but you do for landscapes and fine detail.

Here are a few unsharpened Sigma files for you to see the true detail.

Spy Black's picture

You have nice work. The image files you posted look good, but granted, they are controlled lighting situations. Even so, some of them have blown highlights and shadows that drop out. Some of them have what I can only describe as a "micro-posterized" look, such as around the shadow area of the Rasta's lips, the shadows in the torso shot, and the shrubs in the building shot.

I still don't understand what you're referring to when you say "If you can work with them correctly...", although I suspect dynamic range is part of it. Your particular cameras of course are rather limited by being fixed, although they can work well in a variety of studio work, as you've done.

Sigma really needs a modern-day DSLR to take on their own lenses. You have to wonder why they're making all these quirky cameras like the DP2 and not putting their new sensors in a DSLR body.

Thanks for the kind words in regard to my work. What these cameras are known for are their great detail gathering ability and micro contrast. The dynamic range is actual about the same as most semi pro dslrs. the flaws you point out are simply artistic liberties I took that enhanced other areas at the compromise of other areas. Im not a fan of perfect highlights or shadows or color, but simple a mood or feeling.

What I mean by using them correctly is knowing their huge limitations, horrible inaccurate lcd display shutter lag, poor battery life, and multi step post processing.

I have customized mine with many after market parts to make them feel like normal cameras and not point and shoots. Thats what I mean.

Sigma does offer a dslr with this exact sensor. It is called the SD1 merrill and all the new Sigma lenses are actually made for it but also for other brands. Do a search on the SD1 Merrill vs D800e image quality and you will be impressed.

These are very far from mainstream cameras but the files dont lie. On other thing to note is that they can actually print the equiv of a 20-30mp file because Sigma does not interpolate their images.

Im typing this on an ipad so stuff will probably read awful and be misspelled.

Spy Black's picture

Yeah I found what is really one article that gets spread about the 'net, which one this one here:
However it was pretty well put together article. One thing I'm getting between your shots and the shots on that page is that there is definitely a dynamic range limitation with the Foveon. This shouldn't be much of an issue in studio work where you have full control of lighting.

That "micro-contrast" as he put it, which I realize now is what I'm seeing in your own examples, is kinda funky. Although it's not overtly detrimental, I do find it a bit funky, and as a photographic retoucher it could definitely be problematic, especially in compositional work.

That said there's no denying the overall image quality the Foveon can give you. It's certainly a technology that I wish was further developed, and it appears to me that it's a problematic technology to work with. Either that or Sigma may not have the internal resources to really get it going. I wonder where Foveon would be today if someone like Sony had bought it instead.

Sigma needs to make a full-frame sensor as well. Ultimately I'm not sure comparing it to the D800E was the best comparison however. I would like to see it compared instead to a D7100, using identical Sigma lenses on both bodies. The price of the SD-1 is also a hurdle for an APS-C body.

I too am a well trained retoucher and I can tell you from first hand knowledge that Sigma has good dynamic range that would satisfy most anyones standards. DXO rates it higher than the Fuji x100 which everyone gushed over (I shot an x100 for 3 years and won an national advertising award with it).

This article further supports my findings and I think if you got your hands on the tiffs you too would understand.

As far as micro contrast, we as retouchers and photographers WANT micro contrast. Im not sure whether you quite understand what that term means but its a very very good thing.

This article will further expalin it.

I feel much of your opinion may have been formed from web gossip and not first hand dealing with the files. You said you had never been impressed with anything Foveon but I think that is because most of what you found was not shot by a professional but by hobbiest. My examples should prove the power of this sensor.

i hope you dont take offense to my statements but the opinion you have come up with may have been based on inaccurate findings that would certainly be refutted with first hand knowledge.

You said they dont make a dslr, but they do. You said they have poor dynamic range but they actually rank higher than the x100, you said price would be an issue but you mistakenly looked at the SD1 and not the SD1 merrill. The merrill is the less expensive model that is EXACTLY the same as the $10,000 model that sigma later discounted and credited people due to the initially rediculous price. A new SD1 Merrill is around $2k US.

Again you have been very respectful and thus I want to be also.

Feel free to add me on FB if you would ever want to exchange files or opinions. My name is Theopinion Theopinion.

Don't beleive everything you may read without seeing it yourself first hand. There is a HUGE reason why I dont shoot Fuji. This reason is first hand and later proven by others.


Spy Black's picture

No I'm not taking any of this offensively. Most of what I'm seeing certainly looks like it just drops out in shadows and highlights, hence my comments about dynamic range. The price I was quoting was the $2000 price, which is rather high for an APS-C body. I believe Sigma needs to make Foveon cameras that are more competitive price-wise before they'll find more widespread use. A mirrorless along the lines of an A7 or XT1 would be a much better idea instead of these quirky designs they're coming out with.

I'm not so sure I WANT micro-contrast, I simply a good-quality image. I didn't like what I saw in the shadow area of the Rasta's lips, for example, or the shadows on the torso shot. But that's strictly my tastes.

I haven't seen the output of the new X-Trans II sensor and corresponding image processor, only the first gen, but I found it was excellent at holding chroma noise at high ISO. High ISO is not one of Foveon's strengths, although that will hopefully change over time. As I said in the studio or controlled lighting it can work quite well, but so can a number of bodies from Canon, Nikon, etc. I'm glad they're working out well for you, and that's ultimately the bottom line. :-)

Chet Meyerson's picture

""thast the new censor" Maybe you want to edit this? Get the words right?

Really cool to see the 50mm f/1.4! The moire on the representative's shirt though was a little distracting haha.

so what is the name of the paper.. bad journalism.... no real info. :(

Jaron Schneider's picture

They really weren't ready to talk about it. The stuff wasn't released yet, but they let us take some video of it.

Spy Black's picture

Metallic Epson...

Couldn't keep watching . some people have no idea how to handle a microphone nor do they know when you ask a question you don't look down but to the person. Everyone should stick to his job and interviewing people should not be his job. sorry for my negative comment but take the advise and with it whatever you want

Did that Sigma rep say "Arperture?" Yep, heard it again, totally did @ 2:13.... #fired.

Nicholas Bernardsen's picture

Having the now "old" 50mm 1.4 which I really enjoy I see no need to upgrade to the new "art" lens. I'm giddy as a kid on christmas morning for them to update the 85mm 1.4 lens.

It would have been nice if Epson made their new papers in a 50 inch height similar to the size of Fuji Crystal Archive. 36 inches is pretty limiting.

Chet Meyerson's picture

OK, but the Sigma guy really need to do something about his hands if he going to be showing things close up on a video. A bit disgusting.