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Thread: Still kicking the can about a Merrell......

  1. #1
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    Still kicking the can about a Merrell......

    but it is getting much closer to possibly getting a DP?m.

    My question is for those who own or have used both the 1 and the 2. I read that the 2's IQ is considerably better than the 1's primarily in the outer 1/3 of the images. The 1's 19mm perspective suits my scenic needs more than the 30mm perspective on the 2 but unfortunately I am near anal about my IQ. My question is will a person who is extremely sensitive to IQ be unhappy with the results of the 1 compared to the 2 for scenics? Do you and others find the differences significant or do you have to really pixel peep to actually see a difference?

    As I said before, photo shops locally are very basic at best and usually are 6 months or more behind the major players up in NYC getting product for brands other than Nikon or Canon. I asked our biggest most stocked photo shop if they planned to get any Merrell's in and their comment is we do not stock ANY Sigma products (lenses, cameras, nothing). So mine is a leap of faith as if I buy it and it works I am not one of those people who will return a product to a internet retailer just because I made a mistake in my purchase decisions. I do not think that is fair to the retailer nor the next guy who may get the returned camera thinking he is buying a new product.

    I really do appreciate any comments you may offer concerning these two cameras and their IQ differences. I have had B&H up 5 times the past week and had everything checked for a order except hitting the submit button. I am that close to making the leap of faith. Right now it is just a matter of focal length and IQ differences that is holding me back and if I had both in hand I could make that decision in a second (I am really tired of stitching and would like to not have to do that IF the IQ can support my needs). Unfortunately, my last leap of faith was a bit disappointing so I am a bit reluctant this time as money is an issue for me being retired in this economy. Thanks in advance for your comments on this......

    One last thing I own both the 19mm and the 30mm Sigmas for my NEX. Are these the same lenses they use on the Merrells and are the IQ differences similar that I see comparing my 19 to my 30 on my nex 7? This answer could help my decision as I see some differences but not enough to be upset about.
    Last edited by Jim DE; 31st January 2013 at 11:10.

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    Re: Still kicking the can about a Merrell......

    The lenses in the Merrill are improved over the NEX mount versions.

    The DP-1M can be sharp over most of the frame at around f/8. One of my better attempt to get an overall sharp DP-1M image is this (full size JPG can be viewed at the link):

    Denver on Ice | Flickr - Photo Sharing!


    It is true that the DP-2M lens is better, but for the angle of view the DP-1M offers it's really good compared to just about any other lens.

    If it helps you, take a look through my most recent galleries I have put up showing shots with the DP-2M, DP-1M, and SD-1, a variety of desert landscapes - all of these sets have full size original versions also available to view for all images:

    Little Finland

    Valley Of Fire

    Windswept Dunes

    Things that Moved (has a high percentage of DP-1M shots)

    Death Valley Salt Creek Sunrise

    Death Valley Dune Sunset

    Death Valley Zabriskie Point

    Death Valley Badwater Flats
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    Re: Still kicking the can about a Merrell......

    Thanks for the reply kgelner ..... I just went through a couple of you albums so far and they are excellent! I do see the difference between the 1&2 around the edges on some of the images. I am sure you are right that this degree of edge issue is no more severe and in fact less than most any other lenses from any other manufacturer.

    If you were forced to carry only one which would you choose as it seems you like to shoot the same genre as I do?

    Thanks again as your images have helped define the expected reasonable differences between these two tools.

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    Re: Still kicking the can about a Merrell......

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim DE View Post
    Thanks for the reply kgelner ..... I just went through a couple of you albums so far and they are excellent! I do see the difference between the 1&2 around the edges on some of the images. I am sure you are right that this degree of edge issue is no more severe and in fact less than most any other lenses from any other manufacturer.

    If you were forced to carry only one which would you choose as it seems you like to shoot the same genre as I do?

    Thanks again as your images have helped define the expected reasonable differences between these two tools.
    It's a really hard choice. If I'm going somewhere that I might need a camera but I don't expect to shoot, I carry the DP-2M - but that's for more mixed city kind of shooting where the longer focal length helps to isolate things, and it's a good general focal length.

    During the winter when I am wearing a jacket often I keep the DP-2M and DP-1M in each pocket so as not to have to choose.

    Another factor to consider is that I tend to like tight shots on landscapes, my favorite landscape lens really is more like a 70mm. So going forward a set of two cameras I would carry with me would probably be the DP-3M and the DP-1M!

    If you generally like wider landscapes, I still think you might be better off with the DP-1M even if it's not as sharp overall - because like I said I think it's as good as any wide angle you'd have on any other body (even a DSLR) anyway.

    Looking back through the number of raw shots, my use between the DP-1M and DP-2M was almost even - in some locations like Badwater or Salt Creek, I took about twice as many DP-1M shots as DP-2M. In a place like the area below Zabrinske, I shot the DP-2M about twice as much because there was a greater need to isolate segments of chaos. In the sand dunes use was about even between the two cameras as I wanted to isolate some things, but also there were some great wide vistas at times.

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    Re: Still kicking the can about a Merrell......

    Hey Kendall,

    I went through your set of photos. Fantastic!! I've got the photo of you setting up a tripod at Salt Creek in my office---it's one of my favorites. I'm really sorry I missed the trip!

    Jim

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    Re: Still kicking the can about a Merrell......

    kgelner, I fully understand. For the past two years my goto light scenic rig has been my NEX7 and a CG 45mm f2 (because it is the best lens/sensor combination I own for IQ on that body). This gives me a 67.5mm perspective on all my shots and if I wanted wide I stitched. On my bigger gear I use from a small of 11mm to usually no higher than a 35mm for my scenics on apc. At my age my even bigger gear stays in the trunk (or usually in the closet) until I am at a location where I don't have to carry it far to shoot.

    I understand how both the 1 and the 2 have there place in scenics and I like the 1's perspective but seem to like the IQ much better of the 2. I tend to as I am looking through shots to stop more on DP2m shots than those made by 1's. I see a richer more detailed contrasty image with a different look from the 2 than the 1: sort of more 3D or Velvia like. I think I am seeing which one to buy a bit better now. I use the 45mm on the NEX 90% of the time for just those traits I see in the 2's images when I have many lenses I could use on the NEX that have wider perspectives but lesser IQ. Think my choice is clearer now.....

    Thanks again, I really do appreciate the first hand information...

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    Re: Still kicking the can about a Merrell......

    kgelner, Thanks again.... I just bit the bullet and placed my order for a DP2m...... I decided to go for the IQ rather than the perspective as I currently do with my NEX7. Your posts was the reality check I needed to make the choice I would be the happiest with.

    Heck compared to my normal 67.5 perspective I am going wide angle with a 45 perspective

    One last question...... do you do as many I have read and just use the SPP as a basic raw converter and set only the white balance in it before converting to a TIFF and doing the majority of the post processing in other softwares? I have a fair selection of PP softwares except lightroom which adobe says one of my other PP softwares is blocking a pathway for it to install properly even though I have CS6 that works.

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    Re: Still kicking the can about a Merrell......

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim DE View Post
    One last question...... do you do as many I have read and just use the SPP as a basic raw converter and set only the white balance in it before converting to a TIFF and doing the majority of the post processing in other softwares? I have a fair selection of PP softwares except lightroom which adobe says one of my other PP softwares is blocking a pathway for it to install properly even though I have CS6 that works.
    Pretty much yes. I shoot RAW+JPG to start with, review JPG's for sharpness and composition, then from SPP I batch convert into 16-bit TIFF files all of the images I want to work with and import them into Aperture for further adjustment (but you could use any program).

    I also prefer to shoot Neutral color mode (not the default) and auto white balance.

    I also like to shoot normally with +0.7 exposure compensation applied, and export with a preset from SPP that reduces exposure by -1.0. That way SPP normally recovers highlights (highlight recovery is something that has to be done in SPP) and the shadows are cleaner. If you shoot ISO 200 you get the most dynamic range in an image (almost two stops of highlight recovery possible) but the image will sometimes have more noise. Sharpness between ISO 100 and 200 is about the same.

    I also don't necessarily set white balance in SPP, I shoot auto and if it needs adjusting I just adjust it in an external editor. SPP may do a somewhat better job of it though.

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    Re: Still kicking the can about a Merrell......

    kgelner, Thanks again.....Aperture is my most used PP software though I have many others and have just recently bought a Capture One Pro 7 software that I have been trying to get a handle on being as I don't want to have to buy a new desktop to stay up to date with my aperture software updates. (seems my 3 year old duo intel Mac can't be upgraded to current OS levels, sadly as it still works great).

    I will definitely try your PP suggestions! I just went to the sigma site and downloaded the MAC version of SPP and played in it a bit. I've seen worse
    Last edited by Jim DE; 1st February 2013 at 12:00.
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    Re: Still kicking the can about a Merrell......

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim DE View Post
    kgelner, Thanks again.....Aperture is my most used PP software though I have many others and have just recently bought a Capture One Pro 7 software that I have been trying to get a handle on being as I don't want to have to buy a new desktop to stay up to date with my aperture software updates. (seems my 3 year old duo intel Mac can't be upgraded to current OS levels, sadly as it still works great).

    I will definitely try your PP suggestions! I just went to the sigma site and downloaded the MAC version of SPP and played in it a bit. I've seen worse
    I actually think it's not that bad of an application. I just find it faster to work in Aperture.

    One thing that works really well in SPP is Fill Light. You can't use it too much or you start to get an HDR kind of look, but it does a fantastic job of really filling in a scene in a way that looks natural up to a certain setting. Also something cool to try is to set Fill Light to negative, great for moody scenes.

    Also be aware that if you find the sharpening too strong, you can back it off some - in SPP 0 is the default but that really means some sharpening has been applied (as is the case with all RAW processors). For the DP-2M setting sharpening to -1.0 may be more pleasing, and you can quickly re-sharpen in Apturture a tiny bit if you wish... but try using the defaults for a while, as I think the SPP sharpening does a pretty good job.

    Also coming very soon is a really nice monochrome raw conversion mode to SPP. I have been really looking forward to that as it's a dedicated conversion chain for monochrome images that does not do color conversion first.

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    Re: Still kicking the can about a Merrell......

    I will do as you are suggesting......... would be nice if Sigma had a better monochrome than Topaz or NIK.

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    Re: Still kicking the can about a Merrell......

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim DE View Post
    I will do as you are suggesting......... would be nice if Sigma had a better monochrome than Topaz or NIK.
    I don't think it will be more fancy than Nik SilverFX (which I use), but I think it will give you a better base B&W conversion that you could also then use those other tools to add on top of.

    It did let you use virtual color filters, and control levels of grain.

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