In the December 2017 issue of Digital SLR Photography you’ll find a special insert titled ‘Professional Photography Essential Handbook for 2018’ and it features the work of photographer Paul Monaghan with the SIGMA sd Quattro H and SIGMA 35mm F1.4 DG HSM | Art lens. Paul discusses the greater flexibility this camera offers with its ability to shot tethered using the free SIGMA Capture Pro Software. In this article Paul explains how it is done.
Tethering with the SIGMA sd Quattro H by Paul Monaghan
The SIGMA sd Quattro H offers me greater flexibility with its ability to shoot tethered using the free SIGMA Capture Pro software. This capture software enables me to use my computer to control the camera, giving me full control with focusing and live view. Viewing images through SIGMA Photo Pro on a large screen helps to produce critical, detailed work and allows me to position the camera in places that normally would have been hard to operate.
When I combine this set-up with the camera’s SFD mode then it easily becomes the best studio camera I have used in my career. The SFD mode enables the camera to capture seven frames to create a new raw file with more detail and colour when used in static scenes using continuous lighting. Using the camera tethered is a very simple process and I can share with you my process.
First make sure you have downloaded the free SIGMA Capture Pro software onto your computer and have the program open. Then activate the tethering feature of the SIGMA sd Quattro or sd Quattro H, by changing the setting from “USB Mode” set to “Camera Control”. This is done by pressing the “Menu” button on the camera, then navigate to “USB Mode” which is the 4th yellow bar under the spanner and change it from “Mass Storage” to “Camera Control”. Next connect the camera to the computer using a USB 3 connection and you should now have full control of the camera. You’ll be able to adjust the focus and see the changes being made in real time on the live preview window or via a second display using the HDMI connection on larger screens such as a TV.
When the camera is tethered to the computer you will have the ability to also save the raw files directly to your PC/MAC. This allows you to open the files automatically in SIGMA Photo Pro and see them on a larger, higher detailed screen than that on the camera itself. It is also a great way to work together in team collaboration or workshops as everyone can see the image in real time, discuss the results and make collective decisions to finer details.
The greatest benefit of tethering the camera is the ability to control and view from the camera at times when the placement of the camera makes it difficult to operate, such as the examples below.
For the Poetry in Motion image that that appears in the Professional Photography Essential Handbook, I used the camera as normal but tethered to the computer so the team could see the images being created and provide input which helped to achieve this final image.
I chose a black paper background to help the bold colours of the holi powder stand out but this required me to carefully light the subject who was also wearing black. In order to make sure the two were separated, I decided on three lights and a reflector. My main light was a 120cm Octabox placed up high to the left of the model Sarah, the second light was a 120cm x 40cm strip box placed to the right, behind her, with a third light in a small soft box bouncing off a light grey wall to add some fill.
I set the SIGMA sd Quattro H with 35mm F1.4 Art lens on a fast aperture at F1.4, 1/200 and ISO100 so as to keep the strobe power down to shorten the flash duration. Shooting this was a lot of fun but very messy as you can imagine. It did take a few attempts to get the shot but the tethering feature let me work closely with my team and helped to coordinate the efforts of all involved.
Once the lighting was perfect, we covered Sarah in holi powder and my assistants, Ziggy and Diana, were ready to throw more into the scene. On the count of 3.. 2.. 1.. Sarah jumped into the air as the others tossed in the powder and FLASH! The image was born.