Sigma DP2 Merrill: Have any of you tried it?
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carstenw
Registered: Dec 26, 2005
Total Posts: 16067
Country: Germany

Generally, I find the look interesting, but as is no secret, I am really not a fan of the colours. If I were to buy one, it would almost certainly be for B&W tripod-based usage. For this, it seems to be quite good, although I have not developed an interest serious enough yet to start downloading raw files...



kosmoskatten
Registered: Oct 11, 2005
Total Posts: 3046
Country: Sweden

I am not really in a rush to get any camera so I quite enjoy NOT being an early adopter.

Sigma has always been Stigma to me after the crap lenses they made ages ago, but I won't deny they have pulled off quite a few decent lenses over the past years. In some of the files I have seen so far there is some strange color in shades/shadows. I am not too convinced as of yet though I have to say the level of small detail in some shots is very promising for such a camera.



Kit Laughlin
Registered: Mar 08, 2004
Total Posts: 3563
Country: Australia

Bernie, an interesting post.

I don't know what anyone else thinks, but in my casual experiments with ETTR (+1.0–1.7 EV, when making image, then pulling back in processing) with this camera I found that this 'HDR'-like' look manifested itself, along with desaturated colours—and I have concluded that this camera needs accurate exposure (meaning using its meter to determine where it thinks an image should be exposed) more than any others I have used recently. And I should say that this is using the Finepix software to make TIFFs with all settings at standard, then importing the results to Aperture).

And Herb on this thread from memory recommends -1 on the sharpness control using a similar workflow for his landscapes, I assume partly to avoid the impression of over-sharpness.

I think that a false impression of these files can be gained from any really good monitor—unless your goal is to display/view images at 100%. The same slightly oversharpened–looking files can print with a realism that's hard to get elsewhere.

If you have access to the raw files, try dialling back the sharpening in SilkyPix and then try printing the result—you might be pleasantly surprised; I know I have been.



alba63
Registered: Dec 21, 2003
Total Posts: 557
Country: Germany

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



sculptormic
Registered: Feb 05, 2012
Total Posts: 1522
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: 1522
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: 16067
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: 1522
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: 16067
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: 1522
Country: Netherlands

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



carstenw
Registered: Dec 26, 2005
Total Posts: 16067
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: 1369
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: 16067
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: 16067
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: 1522
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: 16067
Country: Germany

The B&W conversions do look very good.



sculptormic
Registered: Feb 05, 2012
Total Posts: 1522
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: 1522
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.



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