I'm a new member looking for suggestions and guidance around my thought of purchasing an older, non-Merrill, DP2 series camera. Re: This (and couple accessories) would complete my ultimate "retro" kit - DP1x + DP2x + Tripod. Current kit = DP1x, HA-11 Hood Adapter & Hood, EX DG Polarizing filter, Manfrotto 190 Series tripod, 324RC pistol grip ball head with quick release. I'm attracted to the simplicity of having two great camera backs, with two great primes, that have basically interchangeable accessories: batteries, chargers, AC adapters, filters, close-up lens, etc.
I'm a very deliberate shooter (landscapes/nature/stills). I've had a DP1x since 2011, and love shooting with it - particularly, it's terrifically intuitive and minimalistic control plane, and focus wheel. It's simplicity enables me to make adjustments quickly, easily, and with my eyes closed. In the field, I'm amazingly productive with the DP1x mounted atop my Manfrotto 190 Series tripod and 324RC2 pistol grip head. After 6 terrific months of shooting, I was thrilled with the results.
Then, I got greedy and wanted MORE. So I added an SD1 Merrill for more IQ, and more focal length selection. Wanting even MORE, I then added an NEX6 for more capabilities, indoors, low-light, high ISO, action, etc. But as I added more and more to my kit, I discovered what many photographers have often noted - I ended up shooting my favorite camera 99% of the time - my now discontinued (legacy) DP1x.
In my efforts to add more flexibility and capability, I had also managed to add more complexity and more inventory management hassles:
- multiple battery sizes
- multiple battery chargers and cordage
- multiple filter sizes
- multiple AC adaptors
- multiple menus structures
- multiple configuration parameters and attributes
- multiple button locations and function allocations
- multiple memory cards, and even multiple card readers
Additional complexities surfaced in handling of the Merrill files in SPP. While the IQ was, and is, breathtaking, the Merrill x3f files bring my iMac 2.7 GHz Intel Core Duo i5 with 16GB RAM to its knees. And while I was looking forward and intrigued at what could be accomplished with these files in the new SPP Monochrome Mode, I was not impressed with Sigma's first implementation, as it seems I could achieve similar tonal changes by desaturating to -2.0, then using the color wheel (Note: just my quick visual assessment, as I have yet to compare BW prints developed with and without MM, and have certainly not, yet, developed the imaging expertise that others likely have). MM does seem to initially lighten the processing burden, and improve processing speed, as apparently the engine ignores all color information, but very unstable, as to be expected in a first release. I do certainly applaud Sigma for pursuing this area, as the Foveon sensor is produces beautiful monochrome results. On the flip side, my iMac i5 crushes the 16MB, non-merrill x3f files, handling everything with greatest of ease - terrific speed and stability (rarely a crash).
In short, I overlooked the obvious - the very things that had enabled me in the first place - a minimalistic, compact system with excellent IQ, and no moire. For me, less is definitely more. I decided to move on, selling my SD1M, NEX6 and lenses last week. A painful and expensive lesson, but one that will likely enable me going forward.
Now, I am looking to simplify and complete my kit, with less - by leveraging my familiarity and experience with the DP1x by adding her sister camera and the following accessories:
- DP2, DP2s, or DP2x
- HA-21 Lens Hood Adapter
- AML-1 Close-Up Lens (poor man's macro)
My question: Which DP2 should I get? Was hoping to get a used DP2x for around $300USE, but prices seem relatively high, and inventory low. Can find a new one, at $700 USD, or a DP2M for that matter. Better inventory of used DP2s models from what I've seen. From other threads, AF speed improvement (and AFE) seems to have been the primary differences between the DP2s and DP2x, as both use TRUE II, and may have similar image processing pipeline. Is my understanding correct? Or are there other factors/differences to consider? Was also thinking the x with AFE would have characteristics (in terms of metering/exposure) that I'm already accustomed to. I'm not concerned about write times, and primarily use manual focus mode and scale for zone focusing or hyperfocal distances, just easier for me to calculate/memorize. So maybe just smarter to pick-up a DP2s.
Lastly, really like the DP1 Soft Case. Slick design, and accommodates the DP1 with her Lens Hood Adapter attached. I have not seen a specific "DP2 Soft Case," and was wondering if a DP2 would fit in the DP1 Soft Case with the Lens Hood Adapter attached. Anyone tried that?
All suggestions and thoughts welcome, including selling my DP1x, and replacing with the complete DP Merrill trio (all three) and just learning to deal with the PP challenges in favor of things to come in future versions of SPP, Monochrome mode, or even the (unlikely?) possibility that Adobe and Sigma will partner to produce a top-notch conversion to DNG, or support for Merrill raw files in LR4.x.
Thanks in advance for any guidance and suggestions.