The Sigma DP3 Merrill is the newest member of the DP family, and the fourth camera in the Sigma line built around the amazing Merill Generation Foveon Direct Image Sensor. The DP3 Merrill is fitted with a 50mm F2.8 DP prime lens that equates to 75mm on the APS-C stacked image sensor. And, in a first for the DP lineup, it offers 1:3 macro magnification.
The combination of macro focusing combined with the incredible detail captured at every pixel location due to the unique Foveon sensor design adds up to images absolutely loaded with the finest details perfectly captured–every thread and fiber in silk ties and scarves, spots of pigment in watercolor paintings, and even the tonal fluctuations in the grooves of an LP.
The lens barrel is a little bigger in diameter and longer in length than the lenses on either of its DP stablemates, so overall it’s more of a pouch-sized, than pocket-sized camera, since that big, bright lens and lens barrel doesn’t retract. But still, it’s a compact camera capable of making photographs with serious visual impact.
As this is the first DP-series camera with true macro capture, I’ve focused this first piece specifically on the close-up detail and macro capabilities of the DP3 Merrill. We’ll follow up with another blog posting featuring portraiture and general distance photography to look at the capabilities of the 50mm F2.8 lens on more distant subjects, both in color and in the new, dedicated monochrome mode.
One of the things that is most remarkable about the Merill DPs is the feeling of excitement when a shot is blown up to inspect the incredible detail, first on the three-inch LCD, and then, to an even greater degree, once the X3F Raw file is processed in Sigma Photo Pro. And the paired resolving power of this sensor and this 50mm F2.8 macro lens is simply staggering.
For studio photographers, this camera offers a great feature set including a 1/2000 flash sync (at F5.6–maximum sync at F2.8 is 1/1250), 1:3 macro for close ups and details of even the finest fabrics, textures and microstructures, with no moiré artifacting, and easy, intuitive operation. For art reproduction work, as our tiny watercolor example shows, this camera is a champ. And it is much less bulky (and costly!) than a medium format setup.
I’ve posted all the photos in this blog posting at full resolution on Flickr. You’ve got to see these at full resolution to really appreciate the image quality!
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m getting back out and exploring more of the world with the Sigma DP3 Merrill. Check back in a few weeks for more shots of people and places!