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Sigma DP2 Merrill shots

biglouis

Well-known member
Each time I come into this thread I fall back in favour of my DP2M. It is an extraordinary camera and sadly one I think Sigma is never really going to better.

LouisB
 
While visiting our sons in New York, tried out my newly acquired Sigma Merrill DP2M for street photography.
The camera did surprisingly well without a tripod or monopod.
Here are a few examples.





















 
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downunder

New member
Wow, you are some street photographer. I love those photographs. I just took delivery of my Merrill DP2 and you have given me the urge to get out there fast and take some photos. The only problem - I will be afraid to show them next to yours.
 

Norm N

New member
Like others, I find myself sneaking back to look at DP2M photos, and then starting to use the camera again. When the Gods favor, nothing else can touch it.

 

retow

Member
3 years old with dozens of camera and lenses launched since, including generations of FF and aps-c "Nexes", and still setting the benchmark in IQ.
 

Quentin_Bargate

Well-known member
Here are examples of how the Quattro loses highlight detail in comparison with the Merrill

These image were taken with a DP2 Merrill and a DP2 Quattro repectively, both at 1/200 sec at F/8, ISO 100, which was 1 stop over the indicated exposure using the Merrill, but on 0.3 of a stop indicated with the Quattro. These are crops from a centre portion of the image.

The first example is from a DP2Merrill:



And here is a 200% enlargement, with some of the white wall roughtly burned in slightly to bring out detail.



Next are the equivalent image crops from the Quattro





You will see there is detail that can be recovered from the Merrill image, but much less from the white wall in the Quattro image (because the forum reduces the size of the 200% enlargements, you may need to open them in a new window to get the full effect).

Another factor I have noticed is that SPP 6.2.1 does not warn of the loss of highlight detail with the Quattro as accurately as with the Merrill.

I am prepared to accept that the colour balance and also the "naturalnesses" of the image, as well as detail, with the Quattro is marginally better than the Merrill when not being challenged by blown highlights. But this test was conducted at identical shutter, ISO and apertures so they should be broadly comparable.
 

adrewdecourcy

New member
Interesting Quentin and from your examples plain to see. I often get a small amount of irritation with highlights and the Merrill's,from what I view here from the unadjusted images is that the darks are darker in the Quattro and lights lighter or blown, there must be a better way to explain but it appears that the dynamic range is being forced, or the sensors reading by the software is having to be set at a bias to even work at all, albeit not very well and therefore it appears to be lacking consistent graduation.
Love to try a Quattro some time, but it may well not be until their price drops.
 

Quentin_Bargate

Well-known member
When I use a Quattro, I can see the potential. There is more real resolution, and the colours are better, but the clipping issue then make the camera unusable in many situations. The Merrill is a better bet.

Not much cooking today, I'd be better off in Mevagissey! But at least the sun is out (DP2M)..



Edit: of course, Sigma's excellent implementation of auto bracketing will help the Quattros in tripod-based situations
 
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tsjanik

Well-known member
The Merrills really are remarkable. I recently compared the DPM2 to a Pentax 645D and 645Z (75mm on the Pentax cameras). All shot under a mix of tungsten and daylight using AWB. No PP, just opened in ACR or Sigma's clunky 6.2.1. Certainly not a rigorous test, but I thought you Merrill fans might enjoy these. Full images followed by crops in a separate post. Bottom line, I don't feel I'm losing much when using the Merrill rather than the Pentax under the right conditions.
NB Not one camera got the orange-yellow of the lily.
Tom

IMGP0788 copy by tsjanik47, on Flickr
_IGP6026 copy by tsjanik47, on Flickr
_SDI0179 copy by tsjanik47, on Flickr
 
Hi Quentin

Given that digital cameras are like positive rather than negative film when it comes to judging exposure and that the Q appears to have reduced dynamic range (similar to other AFE Sigmas like the SD15?), does this not call for better management of the highlights by the photographer ie underexpose a bit more?

I accept that this will mean reduced exposure and a little more noise in midtones and highlights compared to cameras with more dynamic range but the DR of the sensor is what it is. It'll also need other DR management techniques such as grads, HDR techniques, fill flash, reflectors etc, just like the good old days of slide film.

Or is there something else going on a bit more weird with this highlight blow out problem that is more complex than restricted DR?

Best

Dave

Here are examples of how the Quattro loses highlight detail in comparison with the Merrill

These image were taken with a DP2 Merrill and a DP2 Quattro repectively, both at 1/200 sec at F/8, ISO 100, which was 1 stop over the indicated exposure using the Merrill, but on 0.3 of a stop indicated with the Quattro. These are crops from a centre portion of the image.

The first example is from a DP2Merrill:



And here is a 200% enlargement, with some of the white wall roughtly burned in slightly to bring out detail.



Next are the equivalent image crops from the Quattro





You will see there is detail that can be recovered from the Merrill image, but much less from the white wall in the Quattro image (because the forum reduces the size of the 200% enlargements, you may need to open them in a new window to get the full effect).

Another factor I have noticed is that SPP 6.2.1 does not warn of the loss of highlight detail with the Quattro as accurately as with the Merrill.

I am prepared to accept that the colour balance and also the "naturalnesses" of the image, as well as detail, with the Quattro is marginally better than the Merrill when not being challenged by blown highlights. But this test was conducted at identical shutter, ISO and apertures so they should be broadly comparable.
 

Quentin_Bargate

Well-known member
Hi Quentin

Given that digital cameras are like positive rather than negative film when it comes to judging exposure and that the Q appears to have reduced dynamic range (similar to other AFE Sigmas like the SD15?), does this not call for better management of the highlights by the photographer ie underexpose a bit more?

I accept that this will mean reduced exposure and a little more noise in midtones and highlights compared to cameras with more dynamic range but the DR of the sensor is what it is. It'll also need other DR management techniques such as grads, HDR techniques, fill flash, reflectors etc, just like the good old days of slide film.

Or is there something else going on a bit more weird with this highlight blow out problem that is more complex than restricted DR?

Best

Dave
Not in my opinion.

The problem is the inelegant way the Quattros' clip. Its sudden and to some extent, unpredictable, and very non-film like.

Certainly filters will help, as will the very neat way Sigma have applied automatic bracketing. But the problem is noise. Underexpose a Quattro and you are in for a rough time.

If you use a Quattro, then you simply must be very careful about anything approaching a possible highlight blow out.

I'm going to give you an example of a shot I took on Morocco in late 2012 with the DP2M that would have been ruined and useless had I take the same shot with a Quattro today.



The woman's face was overxposed, as was the background, but the latitude of the Merrill sensor enabled me to recover it (it was a very high contrast midday sun image).

It's with situations like this that filters are useless. Yes, I could have reduced the exposure, but I might have missed the moment or had too much noise in the underexposed shadow areas.

Im angry, David. I'm bloody angry! :confused::D the Quattro has potential but it needs development.
 

Quentin_Bargate

Well-known member
By the way - message to Sigma / Foveon here - if you ever do sort out the sensor, let me know, I will be the first to recognise the achievement. Your silence is deafening.
 

adrewdecourcy

New member
When I use a Quattro, I can see the potential. There is more real resolution, and the colours are better, but the clipping issue then make the camera unusable in many situations. The Merrill is a better bet.

Not much cooking today, I'd be better off in Mevagissey! But at least the sun is out (DP2M)..



Edit: of course, Sigma's excellent implementation of auto bracketing will help the Quattros in tripod-based situations
A fine image Quentin, I can assure you today in Mevagissey was rather dull and grey but the past week has been shorts if not tee shirts and a taste of summer, very welcoming.
 
Quite a few people complain about highlight clipping and restricted DR with the SD15. This camera introduced the variable gain analogue front end to Foveon. Some Foveons are ISO-less (like the Merrills and the SD14 and earlier), some (like the Q) have the AFE.

I've not used a AFE Sigma but there have been complaints about earlier models with the AFE that it was hard to manage the highlights. I wonder if it's more do with this than the Q architecture?

Or possibly the problem is something Sigma can sort out from the the processing end. Let's hope so.



Not in my opinion.

The problem is the inelegant way the Quattros' clip. Its sudden and to some extent, unpredictable, and very non-film like.

Certainly filters will help, as will the very neat way Sigma have applied automatic bracketing. But the problem is noise. Underexpose a Quattro and you are in for a rough time.

If you use a Quattro, then you simply must be very careful about anything approaching a possible highlight blow out.

I'm going to give you an example of a shot I took on Morocco in late 2012 with the DP2M that would have been ruined and useless had I take the same shot with a Quattro today.



The woman's face was overxposed, as was the background, but the latitude of the Merrill sensor enabled me to recover it (it was a very high contrast midday sun image).

It's with situations like this that filters are useless. Yes, I could have reduced the exposure, but I might have missed the moment or had too much noise in the underexposed shadow areas.

Im angry, David. I'm bloody angry! :confused::D the Quattro has potential but it needs development.
 

soboyle

New member
Here is a shot that would likely have been lost if I had the DP2 Quattro instead of the DP2 Merrill with me. Shot earlier this week along the Hudson River near Peekskill NY. I sold my Quattro after being frustrated with the highlight problems, and picked up this DP2M used for $375. Has to be the best deal in cameras going.
 
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