Site Sponsors
Results 1 to 22 of 22

Thread: Merrill alternative

  1. #1
    New Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Posts
    11
    Post Thanks / Like

    Merrill alternative

    Long time lurker. Rare poster. Have had a DP2 M since the Fall of 2013. Like others here I am amazed by the image quality. Images from my OMD e5 just aren't quite as luminous for lack of a better term. I love the IBIS on the Oly though as well as the viewfinder but would also like more leeway for cropping. My ideal camera I suppose would be the Foveon image quality in an image stabilized package with a view finder. Interchangeable lenses even better. I wonder if the Sony A7 ll might fit the bill? Wonder if any of the Merrill experts here have had a chance to try the Sony and how it compares to the Merrlill? I understand that matching The right lens would be key as well. I recall that Michael Reichman compared the Sony RX 1 quite favorably to the DPM 2. Could one recreate this with A7 ll? The RX 1 is not a good option for me as I have a significant tremor and really want an image stabilized system. Thanks in advance if you've made it through this rambling post and even more so for any advice.
    Jim

  2. #2
    Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Posts
    78
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Merrill alternative

    I went from Merrill to A7R...
    Its a different thing. Nothing compares to merrill i guess.
    U have the benefits of higher isos and stuff but u will never get that "that" you have with the merrill.

  3. #3
    New Member
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Posts
    1
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Merrill alternative

    Why not the SD1 Merrill?

  4. #4
    Senior Member darr's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    North Florida
    Posts
    981
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Merrill alternative

    I went to the SD1M after owning all DPMs (still use them too). The SD1 is not like using my NEX-7 as far as weight and ease of shooting though. With the SD1 I get the advantages of using the Foveon sensor with great optics. The newer Sigma zoom lenses have OS (optical stabilizer).

    I use the SD1 mainly for tripod work, but on occasion shoot handheld. Here is a handheld image I made last week:



    1957 Mercury Montclair Phaeton | SD1M + 35mm f/1.4 Art + 1/400 @ f/8, ISO 100


    I also shoot MF digital: CMOS and CCD backs with Schneider lenses, and the NEX-7. I sold off my Nikon gear for the SD1M. I honestly have not found any other sensor that duplicates the Foveon look. If you are after the detail, there are other sensors that could deliver that (non AA filter), but the Foveon color with the detail is why I am a Foveon shooter. I recently tried a DP2Q, and liked it very much, but will not make the switch unless Sigma comes out with a DSLR body for the various lenses I use.

    The SD1M is a nicely made DSLR body and I really appreciate the grip. It is not lightweight like the DP Merrills and the lenses also add a bit of weight. If you are in the US, you can rent a SD1M + 35mm Art lens from lensrentals. You can also rent the DPQ cameras from them too. I rented the SD1M before I purchased it and would recommend doing so if possible. Renting the DP2Q saved me money in the long run, as I was able to try it out and decided I want to stay with a DSLR body and keep the DP Merrils.

    Good luck with your search.

    Darr
    Last edited by darr; 30th May 2015 at 11:12. Reason: added links
    "Creativity takes courage." ~ Henri Matisse
    Darlene Almeda, photoscapes.com
    Thanks 2 Member(s) thanked for this post
    Likes 4 Member(s) liked this post

  5. #5
    New Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Posts
    11
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Merrill alternative

    Thanks for the replies so far. I should mention that I am trying to keep the system fairly compact which is why I haven't considered the SD1M. Lens rentals.com is an excellent idea. Thanks. Jim

  6. #6
    Senior Member The Ute's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Posts
    955
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Merrill alternative

    Quote Originally Posted by jmg1949 View Post
    Thanks for the replies so far. I should mention that I am trying to keep the system fairly compact which is why I haven't considered the SD1M. Lens rentals.com is an excellent idea. Thanks. Jim
    I have shot the A7II w the top lens currently available, i.e. Zeiss 55 1.8
    and I can tell you that while the image quality is very, very good even excellent it is not a match for the DP2M.

    Perhaps the RX1r might be but it is non IBIS.

    I am waiting for the new A7RII w IBIS and the Zeiss 25 Batis.
    I'm hoping that combo w be as good as the DPM's.

  7. #7
    New Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Posts
    11
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Merrill alternative

    I had a chance to try out A7II with the 55/1.8 in a local shop today. Really a pretty nice system. May be a good alternative to my Oly kit although a bit heavier. Not the same as the DPM but not bad at all. Thanks again for the input.
    Jim

  8. #8
    Senior Member The Ute's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Posts
    955
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Merrill alternative

    Quote Originally Posted by jmg1949 View Post
    I had a chance to try out A7II with the 55/1.8 in a local shop today. Really a pretty nice system. May be a good alternative to my Oly kit although a bit heavier. Not the same as the DPM but not bad at all. Thanks again for the input.

    Jim
    You're welcome.

    I think the new A7r and 25mm Batis will achieve or surpass Merrill-like results.
    At least that is my hope.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Tim's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Adelaide, SA
    Posts
    1,040
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Merrill alternative

    I have a DP2, DP2M and DP3 and had an A7 II for a while. I've also used an EM5 for an extended time.

    Look I may be wrong, but in IMVHO part of the magic of the Merrills is the matched lens to sensor. Sure the Foveon is part of the magic. I add that nearly every time I look at a Sony RX1 image I am impressed. Its a different look to a Merrill but its has a complete definition to me. I feel the RX1 is the closest image maker to film. Again perhaps the lens and its matching?

    My EM5 images lacked, and IMHO while many of the A7II images are great they don't quite achieve a DP2M IQ. The A7r has a closer look to the DP2M for me. As a note I've seen some reports that suggest the EM1 IQ is a tad better with CA than a EM5II.


    Right now I am looking at the Fuji XT-1. The glass is smaller and cheaper and I've seen processing techniques that yield very nice images. The issue for me is it won't be quite as enlargeable for the same detail as the Merrill. But for many images that will be fine for me.

    Good luck on your choice.

  10. #10
    Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Location
    Bellville, TX, USA
    Posts
    109
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Merrill alternative

    Quote Originally Posted by Tim View Post
    I have a DP2, DP2M and DP3 and had an A7 II for a while. I've also used an EM5 for an extended time.

    Look I may be wrong, but in IMVHO part of the magic of the Merrills is the matched lens to sensor.<>
    Hi Tim,

    IMNSHO, another part of that magic is SPP 5+. Decoding Merrill X3Fs with anything other than SPP on a PC is less than rewarding. For example RawDigger's RGB export with color adjustment in RawTherapee, doesn't hack it without a ton of effort. DCraw-based converters come out flat with a blue cast.

    Trouble is that, as shown by Merrill raw data, the bottom "red" layer is well over a stop less sensitive than the other two, is noisy and is not particularly sharp, actually.

    Slow as it is, SPP performs major miracles in wresting color-balanced, apparently detailed images from the raw file!

    Recently, trying to be faithful to the cause, I bought a brand-new Sigma DP1s for family gatherings, holiday snaps, etc. I have to say that Wife's Panasonic LX7 is currently winning for that kind of work. So, for now, I will remain the proud and recalcitrant owner of both a new and a used SD14 - and am planning to sell the DP1s soon.

    Note:

    I have not used Iridient Developer.

    I do not print and my monitor is 1280x1024px.

    Ted

  11. #11
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Posts
    415
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Merrill alternative

    you know that the DP1s isnt a Merrill?

  12. #12
    Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Location
    Bellville, TX, USA
    Posts
    109
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Merrill alternative

    Quote Originally Posted by foveon View Post
    you know that the DP1s isnt a Merrill?
    What?

    I purchased the DP1s quite deliberately for the following reasons:

    It is non-Merrill.
    It is non-AFE.
    It was brand new-in-box.

    Ted
    Last edited by xpatUSA; 2nd June 2015 at 19:49. Reason: chest-beating removed

  13. #13
    Senior Member biglouis's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    2,127
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Merrill alternative

    One of the first comparisons I did when I got my A7R was to compare it to output from my DP2M.

    The A7R matches the quality of the DP2M and exceeds it in terms of picture noise, even at lower levels.

    But the files do not look like the Foveon sensor or the sharpness at 100% - although it is considerably better than any Bayer sensor camera I have owned and if you had never seen a Foveon file at 100% you would probably consider perfect.

    However, mostly we do not look at capture at 100% so I would on balance say the A7R is superior. That said, I still have my DP2M and I still find it satisfying to shoot with it.

    -----
    My new book "Whitechapel in 50 BUildings", Flikr Stream, www.louisberk.com
    Likes 2 Member(s) liked this post

  14. #14
    Subscriber & Workshop Member GrahamWelland's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Vancouver, WA
    Posts
    5,802
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    564

    Re: Merrill alternative

    yup, I'd agree with all of the above. I use the A7r, A7II and A7s as my 'dslr' platforms and whilst they all have a multitude of advantages over the Merrills (I have the DP1M, DP2M, DP3M combo), they aren't the same on so many levels. I also shoot a Nikon Df for a very similar reason to the Sigmas and that's the ephemeral 'look' when using legacy AIS lenses.

    The Merrill's have a signature look that technical perfection can't match. I'd even say that my Sigma's are flawed, especially when it comes to some of the sky/cloud rendering, but ultimately that means nought because the files just look so special. Heart vs brain I suspect here ...

    This comes to mind when considering the Merrill's vs other systems:
    Senator, you're no Jack Kennedy - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Remember: adventure before dementia!

    As Oscar Wilde said, "my tastes are simple, I only like the best"
    Likes 1 Member(s) liked this post

  15. #15
    Senior Member The Ute's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Posts
    955
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Merrill alternative

    Anyone have any experience w the Rx1r ?
    Heard those files are "Merrill-like".

  16. #16
    Subscriber & Workshop Member GrahamWelland's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Vancouver, WA
    Posts
    5,802
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    564

    Re: Merrill alternative

    I use the RX1R myself. The files are extremely sharp and render the fine micro contrast and acuity from the Zeiss 35mm lens and full frame sensor. However, as appealing as it is, it doesn't have the "look" of the Merrill cameras. It is a superb camera though.
    Remember: adventure before dementia!

    As Oscar Wilde said, "my tastes are simple, I only like the best"
    Likes 1 Member(s) liked this post

  17. #17
    Senior Member The Ute's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Posts
    955
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Merrill alternative

    Quote Originally Posted by GrahamWelland View Post
    I use the RX1R myself. The files are extremely sharp and render the fine micro contrast and acuity from the Zeiss 35mm lens and full frame sensor. However, as appealing as it is, it doesn't have the "look" of the Merrill cameras. It is a superb camera though.
    Thanks. Nothing really is a DP2M.
    Do you consider it a top-notch Landscape camera ?

  18. #18
    Senior Member biglouis's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    2,127
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Merrill alternative

    Actually I did like the way my RX1 (no longer with me) rendered files compared to the DP2M.

    At the pixel level it was no contest but the dynamic range of the sensor (compared to the DP2M) was/is incredible. The RX1 was first digital camera I owned where what you saw in the EVF was actually what you got in the file. I get the same with the A7R and A7S (in fact I bought into Sony on the basis of the RX1).

    That said, take your DP2M, mount it on a tripod and treat it like a film camera and you get some extraordinary captures.

    LouisB

  19. #19
    Subscriber & Workshop Member GrahamWelland's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Vancouver, WA
    Posts
    5,802
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    564

    Re: Merrill alternative

    What BigLouis said.

    Love my RX1R to bits and I have nothing bad at all to say about it. Nothing.

    The Merrill files are just different and special in their own way. I can't really explain it better than that. Just different and special.
    Remember: adventure before dementia!

    As Oscar Wilde said, "my tastes are simple, I only like the best"

  20. #20
    Senior Member The Ute's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Posts
    955
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Merrill alternative

    Quote Originally Posted by GrahamWelland View Post
    What BigLouis said.

    Love my RX1R to bits and I have nothing bad at all to say about it. Nothing.

    The Merrill files are just different and special in their own way. I can't really explain it better than that. Just different and special.

    Thanks for the answer.

  21. #21
    Senior Member Malina DZ's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    S. Florida
    Posts
    549
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    1

    Re: Merrill alternative

    Jim, you may find this thread useful in answering your question: http://www.getdpi.com/forum/other-ca...er-camera.html
    All I can add thus far, after over 2 years of shooting with DP2M, is that there is still no replacement for this little camera's IQ.
    Bayer sensor cams are improving each year, but none of them, with Otus mounted, can match the sheer opulence of detail one can capture in Merrill files.
    I can make a long list of Merrill's cons far exceeding the number of pros, but choose to deal with those flaws for a reason of unmatched level of detail that my eyes couldn't fathom during capture.
    And then explore the files with genuine joy. Even when colors fail to deliver, B&W version will strike like no other conventional sensor, CFA or not.
    All of the above within the realm of photographs that a camera with an APS-C sensor, f/2.8-16 lens, iso160 (color) and up to iso1600 (B&W) can deliver.
    Likes 2 Member(s) liked this post

  22. #22
    New Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Posts
    11
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Merrill alternative

    Thanks again for all of the thoughtful replies. I've come to conclusion that I'm probably asking the wrong question as the DP Merrills appear to quite unique. I've looked through the Sony RX-1 threads and the images are quite stunning. I know that some of you have posted on that forum as well. I think the more reasonable question is whether or not there is a lens that would match up with Sony A7 II that would produce images comparable to the RX-1? That would be a nice image stabilized system with an EVF. Or is it again a unique match of lens and sensor in the RX-1? Perhaps I should post this in the Sony forum as well.
    Thanks, Jim

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •