Sigma DP2 Merrill: Have any of you tried it?
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sculptormic
Registered: Feb 05, 2012
Total Posts: 2588
Country: Netherlands

alba63 wrote:
While I haven't tried a dp2m, I have been (very recently only) very interested by it and browsed through a lot of threads in forums etc. and downloaded lots of samples, including a lot of full rez plus a few RAW files.
After my first enthousiasm and when I looked at the files on my calibrated and sharp monitor, I finally was not too impressed by what I saw. Not the camera side, that is clear, but the photographic results.

What I don't like in what I see:
1. General image impression is kind of like disturbed by overly enhanced tiny "detail specks" that give the files a rough, rippled look where my eyes are somehow lost in myriads of dots instead of what the photo actually shows.


""I use a slide show of DP2 Merrill shot as a screensaver and some of them, the ones that are very detailed show the effect you discribe. Seen at 100% these artifact don't exist. The detail is just to high to be displayed on a 22 inch monitor without artifacts.""

2. When viewing in large view or even 100% view, lots of false detail and grid- like artefacts become visible. For larger objects (like any digital camera) things can look amazingly good, for smaller frequency detail the rendition gets different but not better than Bayer pattern files.

""Well, I have to look better at 100% but I don't see what you discribe. I see that my NEX images are somehow vaque with a veil, and you have to do a lot of PP to come near that sharpness and crispyness.""

3. Colour is "different"; often I find the dp2m colour to have low saturation which is basically ok, but what really disturbs me is a certain kind of tone mapping/ HDR look of the files.

""To get the colours "right" can be hard. It is mostly a question to set the whitbalance point in SPP at exactly the right spot, which can be tricky. One can always correct more in Lightroom or ACR etc
For the rest the files often don't need much fine tuning.""

In the end the idea of getting LF resolution in a compact camera format is too sweet, but my impression is that the Merrill is only apparently close to the large format.

""Apparently? You should see a print!""

I also must say that the better 20+ MP cameras with traditional bayer matrix, like my Canon 5dII or the Nex-7 generally don't make me want more sharpness or detail.

""May be a question of taste but I am often, especially in the case of more exact work where you need sharpness, disapointend in the NEX-7. If you like nice OOF areas in your pictures, this is not this camera's speciality. Although even that is not to bad.""

I respect to the limits of sensor resolution I might like the blurring approach of the classic digital cameras better than the rough filterless approach. But that may be personal preference. I used to shoot with the Kodak SLR/n and also with a Mamiya ZD (SLR version), and I liked the Mamiya files quite a bit (much better quality than the Kodak), but the lack of Bayer mask + no AA filter in the dp2m seems a bit over the top to me.

""This explains a lot ""

Maybe some of those issues (like the fake HDR look) can and will be adressed by new RAW converters like Lightroom or others, until then I don't feel to much attracted to the merrill.

And it is true: I only looked to files on the monitor, no printing done.

""Tja... can't show them on a monitor"".

So sorry for being the devil's advocate here, I had high hopes after the first look at the Merrill, but in the end I don't think I would like the results this camera gives. (I don't care high ISO or all the bells and whistles Sigma does NOT give).

""Whatever rings your bells....""

Cheers
Bernie


""Salute Michiel""



sculptormic
Registered: Feb 05, 2012
Total Posts: 2588
Country: Netherlands

Sorry it's a bit difficult to read this way but I didn't find a way to give my answers a different colour.



carstenw
Registered: Dec 26, 2005
Total Posts: 16163
Country: Germany

You need to interleave the quote /quote blocks. For each time you want to type something in white, you need to make sure that all the quote blocks have been /quote ended. Then start another... A bit of work, but it can be done.



sculptormic
Registered: Feb 05, 2012
Total Posts: 2588
Country: Netherlands

These colours are exactly right to my eyes. The greenish on the pavement etc. is just moisture because it had been raining for days.







carstenw
Registered: Dec 26, 2005
Total Posts: 16163
Country: Germany

Hard to say without being there. Generally the shots I have not liked have had lots of sky and foliage, and/or skin tones with sky.



sculptormic
Registered: Feb 05, 2012
Total Posts: 2588
Country: Netherlands

Oh thanks Carsten. I put in quotation marks for the time being.



carstenw
Registered: Dec 26, 2005
Total Posts: 16163
Country: Germany

alba63 wrote:
Thanks for those tips. And yes I am very well aware that my impression is like from swimming on dry ground. I may start to process a few RAW files and print them out with less than zero sharpening dialled in in the Sigma software.

Generally my impression is that after being a mid level maker for many years, Sigma has been gaining momentum. Some of the more recent lenses like the 35/1,4 seem to be on par or even better with anything out there... And principally I applaud Sigma for their courage to further develop the Foveon approach. Their camera business is small, but they may end up - in a few years - with a world class camera, like a high rez FF version of the dp2.

Bernie


Yes, it is interesting to watch what Sigma is doing. They seem to want very much to be a high-end lens maker, and they are getting closer and closer... The 35/1.4 may be the lens which finally launches this new ideal in the minds of people. I also hope that continued work on the Foveon sensor yields results which I like. I would love a DP3M with great colours (IMO), and better operation.



cjrpostma
Registered: Sep 13, 2011
Total Posts: 91
Country: United States

Personally, as someone who owns a D800E, D700, 5D Mk II, RX100, and the DP2M, there is something in the Merrill files that none of my other cameras can produce. It is just sharper. On my other cameras, I use lenses like the 85 1.2 II, 70-200 VR II, 35L, 135L, etc. The Merrill is just way sharper, even hand held.

It is very true that the colors are hard to get perfect and that shooting above ISO 100 greatly reduces image quality. I am most excited to download the files from my Merrill above any other camera I own though. This is almost a problem because I always just want to shoot with the Merrill even if the situation calls for a different tool. Also, I find the Merrill's interface very intuitive. I really like how simple it is. Everything I need is just right there in the quick menu.

Now that I have four batteries, the viewfinder, grip, close up lens, and a nice wrist strap, I don't feel like carrying any other camera with me. I'm slightly infatuated with this camera right now, if you couldn't tell.



mortyb
Registered: Feb 15, 2009
Total Posts: 1505
Country: Norway

I've been tempted to try the DP2M. It's not too expensive. It's small, light and simple. IQ is different in an interesting way. I'm curious about it.



Luis Cunha
Registered: Dec 26, 2012
Total Posts: 113
Country: Portugal

Does anybody felt something similar in some aspects to what Bernie points with a Leica M system or a Nikon D800E (no-filter cameras)?



carstenw
Registered: Dec 26, 2005
Total Posts: 16163
Country: Germany

Michiel, there is something about the colours in your image which doesn't look right to me. I grabbed it, assigned sRGB to it, and played a bit with it in Photoshop, and I find that with a Color Balance layer with -8 on the Magenta/Green slider, and a Brightness/Contrast layer with +25 on the Contrast, it looks better. This may just be the lack of a proper profile in the image though.



carstenw
Registered: Dec 26, 2005
Total Posts: 16163
Country: Germany

mortyb wrote:
I've been tempted to try the DP2M. It's not too expensive. It's small, light and simple. IQ is different in an interesting way. I'm curious about it.


I agree. It might be something fun to play with while wondering in which direction I want to go I am hesitant because of the colours. The image quality generally seems very high, but the proprietary software and odd colours hold me back a bit, as well as the battery thing, and a few usability comments from people.

I also miss the clarity of Zeiss lenses. The Sigma lens look very, very good, but it doesn't have that "you are there" feeling that I get from the Zeiss lenses. It is like looking at the world through a window, not looking directly at the world.



sculptormic
Registered: Feb 05, 2012
Total Posts: 2588
Country: Netherlands

carstenw wrote:
Hard to say without being there. Generally the shots I have not liked have had lots of sky and foliage, and/or skin tones with sky.


Personally i never used the camera much for people/portraits. I have seen many people convert them to B&W's
That works pretty good.

It is perfect for counting specs and wrinkels though. Don't know if most models like that



carstenw
Registered: Dec 26, 2005
Total Posts: 16163
Country: Germany

The B&W conversions do look very good.



sculptormic
Registered: Feb 05, 2012
Total Posts: 2588
Country: Netherlands

carstenw wrote:
Michiel, there is something about the colours in your image which doesn't look right to me. I grabbed it, assigned sRGB to it, and played a bit with it in Photoshop, and I find that with a Color Balance layer with -8 on the Magenta/Green slider, and a Brightness/Contrast layer with +25 on the Contrast, it looks better. This may just be the lack of a proper profile in the image though.


Magenta and greens are something to watch out for, but it was very overcast weather and the colours were moisterous.

May be the fill light was set a little to high, so the walls did loose some contrast.
BTW "Fill light" is an amazing but very sensitive feature in SPP.



sculptormic
Registered: Feb 05, 2012
Total Posts: 2588
Country: Netherlands

Carsten, You should try one from a friend (Bobu, or something) in Berlin and work on the files in SPP.
I would be curious what you think of it.



Luis Cunha
Registered: Dec 26, 2012
Total Posts: 113
Country: Portugal

My provocation was Merrill vs Leica Monochrome. For me a Merrill is also/mainly for B&W work.
---
Is there such thing as "right color"?
---
Image quality, portability, affordability. The Merrill represents this for that was not possible until now (did I said that?).



sculptormic
Registered: Feb 05, 2012
Total Posts: 2588
Country: Netherlands

cjrpostma wrote:
Personally, as someone who owns a D800E, D700, 5D Mk II, RX100, and the DP2M, there is something in the Merrill files that none of my other cameras can produce. It is just sharper. On my other cameras, I use lenses like the 85 1.2 II, 70-200 VR II, 35L, 135L, etc. The Merrill is just way sharper, even hand held.

It is very true that the colors are hard to get perfect and that shooting above ISO 100 greatly reduces image quality. I am most excited to download the files from my Merrill above any other camera I own though. This is almost a problem because I always just want to shoot with the Merrill even if the situation calls for a different tool. Also, I find the Merrill's interface very intuitive. I really like how simple it is. Everything I need is just right there in the quick menu.

Now that I have four batteries, the viewfinder, grip, close up lens, and a nice wrist strap, I don't feel like carrying any other camera with me. I'm slightly infatuated with this camera right now, if you couldn't tell.


Sharper then the D800E? I red it was sort of simular in detail/sharpness. Well I couldn't know.

That quick menu is quiet nice indeed!

I was just thinking to buy a Canon 6D for my C/Y lenses but I don't know. It is nice and small and low light is interesting... But oké I am going off topic here.



carstenw
Registered: Dec 26, 2005
Total Posts: 16163
Country: Germany

sculptormic wrote:
Carsten, You should try one from a friend (Bobu, or something) in Berlin and work on the files in SPP.
I would be curious what you think of it.


I would love to, but to be honest, I have been too equipment-focused for some time, and I need to back off a bit and spend some time trying to figure out what I really want to do with photography. I need to spend more time with medium format film first, and sort that out (I own a Hasselblad 2000FC/M, Rolleiflex 6008i and RZ67, and some unused stuff). Then I need to spend some time with my DSLR stuff and sort that out (SLR/n, S5 Pro, D3, D800). And I need to spend a little time with large format as well, probably sell my Linhof and buy a Chamonix, or just sell it all. And I need to look at my FM2 and XPan. I just have too much stuff around and it distracts me (and ties up some money which should be used to pay down a loan I have). Once I have picked the stuff I really want to use, I need to figure out what I want to do with it.

So I couldn't really give the DP2M a proper try right now. Maybe in the summer?



alba63
Registered: Dec 21, 2003
Total Posts: 734
Country: Germany

So I checked some of the samples I found online again and try to upload a crop of one of them here; I am sorry but do not remember the name of the poster (I hope it is ok to post this crop which doesn't show much of the photo, if someone recognizes it as his photo, and does not want it to be posted, please inform me and I take it down).

(link removed).



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