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Thread: Simplifying with DP1x + DP2x + Tripod

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    Simplifying with DP1x + DP2x + Tripod

    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.

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    Re: Simplifying with DP1x + DP2x + Tripod

    Quote Originally Posted by Amilewide View Post
    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.
    If you really don't need resolution much why not shoot a Merrill in Medium resolution? It's still about twice the resolution of the original DP-2, but a lighter load on the computer.

    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
    The main thing is you can really get a lot more range of higher ISO from the Monochrome conversion. Also adjusting which channel contributes most of the data can give you a cleaner overall image, and with noise reduction off you can get some great detail and tones.

    What I think is a great combo now is the DP-1M and the DP-3M. Between those two and cropping you have a great range of options, all with very little weight.

    The older DP cameras still work great though if you really decide that route is best! I like the DP-2s in particular for some reason.
    Last edited by kgelner; 29th March 2013 at 00:32. Reason: Quote tags messed up

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    Senior Member biglouis's Avatar
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    Re: Simplifying with DP1x + DP2x + Tripod

    Sell everything and get a DP2M and a small lightweight tripod. You won't regret it.

    LouisB
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    My new book "Whitechapel in 50 BUildings", Flikr Stream, www.louisberk.com
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    Re: Simplifying with DP1x + DP2x + Tripod

    Just found what I consider to be the perfect tripod for my DP2 (and DP1) Merrill...

    Velbon UT-43 DII...I'm rather tall (194cm) but the tripod suits me almost perfectly...10cm more would be perfect, but one can't have everything...considering it's only 28.5cm long, when packed and weighs around 1150g (ball head included). Oh and it's one of the "fastest" tripods as I guess...ready in about 10sec (rather less), thanks to the revolutionary leg segment "(un)locking system" (six segments btw...)...and attached to the cameras it perfectly fits into the middle compartment of my LowePro Flipside 400AW...so I can carry it as a unit an just need to get out one piece of equipment (in no time)...I however plan to get another ball head. Not that this one (Velbon QHD-43D) would be particularly bad, but it's not Arca Swiss compatible and it doesn't seem to be possible to replace the quick release system...I probably will get one of the "size 10" Sirui ones...

    Seen here in my Flipside 400, attached to the DP2M with the Really Right Stuff L-Plate...the "white thingy" on the camera's lens is a WB cap

    Last edited by phips243; 18th July 2013 at 13:42.
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    Senior Member Tim's Avatar
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    Re: Simplifying with DP1x + DP2x + Tripod

    I still have a DP2 as well as the DP2M. I am in a bit of quandary because I am not finding quite the same "pop" in the DP2M files that I got with the DP2. I see the full res output as different to the DP1/2 series of cameras. The prints are not exactly the same IMO.

    I am now experimenting with the low and medium res settings (the Merrills also have 4 Mpixel and 8 Mpixel) on the DP2M to see if it virtually reproduces the look of the DP2 files. Anyone done this?
    The amount of detail in the original 5 Mpixel DP1/2 was pretty good. I'd like to have the newer Merrill hardware but be able to get the same look.

    I am curious as to how the DP2M does the lower res, I can only assume it must do it one of two ways, either skip unneeded pixels as the image is taken? or does it use all the pixels and in then combine the output from neighboring pixels to form the lower res image?

    A buddy has offered me his DP1s for a good price and I am seriously thinking of adding it while I can get it.

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    Re: Simplifying with DP1x + DP2x + Tripod

    I found somewhere that the Merrills combine more pixels to one Pixel in lowest resolution.
    The mid setting is bad cause it causes artifacts. (cause its not possible to do the combining thing like in the low setting)

    But dont know if it is true.

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    Re: Simplifying with DP1x + DP2x + Tripod

    Quote Originally Posted by adsf View Post
    I found somewhere that the Merrills combine more pixels to one Pixel in lowest resolution.
    The mid setting is bad cause it causes artifacts. (cause its not possible to do the combining thing like in the low setting)

    But dont know if it is true.
    Curious to know where you saw this? There does not seem to be much discussion about these settings on the web. I'm going to take some samples with my DP2M to compare.

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