Sigma Photo Pro 6.5 Review

The new Sigma Photo Pro 6.5 software has also received a major overhaul. Summarizing from the official website, here are the major improvements:

  • Compatible with macOS Sierra.
  • It is compatible with RAW data (X3F files, X3I files) of the sd Quattro H.
  • It increases the processing speed of RAW data in the Review Window and when it saves images, by utilizing the GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) (RAW data of sd Quattro series and dp Quattro series only).
  • It is compatible with thumbnails and shooting information of DNG files shot with the sd Quattro H (If the files are edited using other processing software compatible with DNG files, they will not be displayed).
  • It has an improved algorithm in Super Fine Detail Mode so that minor gaps between each frame are less visible.
  • It has an improved algorithm in noise reduction when developing RAW data for the sd Quattro series and dp Quattro series.
  • It has an updated Auto development algorithm of RAW data adjustment setting for the sd Quattro series and dp Quattro series.
  • It corrects the phenomenon whereby the parameter of Auto development is different when Display Quality or Display Speed is prioritized.
  • Preference Settings incorporates a mode whereby images transferred from Sigma Capture Pro will not open in the Review Window.
  • It incorporates an Update Information Notification function.
  • It displays messages for some functions by way of a pop-up notification.

Some might not have noticed, but the following pre-requisite is important for Windows Users:

  • If you have Windows 7 (64-bit) or Windows 8 (64-bit) installed on your computer, please install Windows Update Program (KB2929755) for x64-based system prior to SIGMA Photo Pro 6.5.0 installation. Please download Windows Update program (KB2929755) at Microsoft Windows Download Center if you need to download manually and install SIGMA Photo Pro 6.5.0 after finishing the system update.
  • It is also important that you update your Graphic Driver to the latest before installing the program.

Sigma Photo Pro is actually a fairly straight forward and easy to use proprietary RAW converter for Sigma cameras. It is probably the only converter (prior to the H and subsequent firmware update to enable RAW support in DNG) that is able to process the X3F/X3I files. The biggest complaint has been the the stability of the software especially on Mac OS X, and the awfully slow processing time to convert one image. This new version supports GPU acceleration and there is indeed a major improvement in response time when adjustments are made in the Review window.

SPP 6.5 – Preference Settings – Memory and GPU Acceleration are OFF by default.


Review Screen

I have been mucking around with it for a couple of days since it’s availability on 19th Dec. These are the list of improvements I noticed, and they reacted also instantaneously:

  • Detail
  • Tonal Adjustments
  • White Balance Setting
  • Color Mode
  • Highlight Control
  • Chromatic Aberration Correction
  • Fringe Correction
  • Color to Monochrome (vice versa)

In case you’re wondering, I am running it on my 6 year old Sony Vaio Z (Core i7 M 620 @ 2.67Ghz “Sandy Bridge”, 8GB RAM, 4x60GB SSD in RAID 0, Nvidia GT330m, 13″ FullHD LCD screen). Tested it on a 6th Gen “Skylake” Core i5 machine; it runs at least twice faster even with the standard Intel HD520 GPU.

Enable Display Quality Check (Horizontal). The fastest way to check image quality at 100% in SPP.


You may have noticed that the Aspect Ratio drop down menu now has native ratio (in APS-H only) and DC Crop mode.

DC Crop Mode Setting in the sd Quattro H
DC Crop Mode in SPP 6.5

Any RAW image shot on the H can now be cropped (switching from 1.3X crop to 1.5X) by changing the mode correspondingly. It only works one way. If the image was shot with DC Crop OFF, it can still choose the DC Crop version in SPP. This is particularly useful if you are shooting with DG (full frame) lenses, but it might be rather confusing initially. As long as you have shot it in RAW with DC Crop OFF you will have the option to change it in SPP 6.5.

DC Crop Off/On

In summary:

  1. DC Crop OFF captures at 1.3 x focal length at full native resolution of 25.5MP.
  2. DC Crop ON switches back to 1.5 x focal length at 19.5MP.

This, however is only relevant on the sd Quattro H.

DC Crop On/Off. Shot with the 8-16mm F4.5-5.6 DC HSM.

The X3F format does not suffer from the limitation of the DNG when an image is shot in a different Aspect Ratio set in the camera. The user can always revert to the native 3:2 ratio regardless of what was used during the shoot.

The image quality out of conversion remains one of the best, so if you can live with some of the shortcomings (fewer by each updated version) and can accommodate this into your workflow, it is highly rewarding.

Please click here if you wish to download the latest Sigma Photo Pro 6.5.


Sample X3F Files:

SDQH1008 DC OFF (6192 x 4128)
SDQH1008 DC ON (5424 x 3616)