Sigma DP2 Merrill: First Impressions by Jack Howard
I’ve spent the past few weeks experimenting with the Sigma DP2 Merrill and I am quite honestly blown away by the images this compact prime lens camera produces. The Sigma DP2 Merrill creates amazing photographs with exceptional detail and beautifully smooth color gradations and nuances of tone. The overall image quality of this camera is simply amazing and outstanding.
And the feel of the images is stunning both when there is significant depth of field, and also when there is selective focus and a softened background thanks to the F2.8 maximum aperture with rounded blades and that large APS-C sensor for a “big camera” aesthetic to the images that is often lacking from so many small-chipped compact cameras.
The build and operation, too, is rock-solid: Metal shell, metal tripod socket, 920K LCD, and fast, responsive autofocus. This is the compact camera for photographers who care first and foremost about image quality.
All of the images shown here were captured in X3F RAW format, and processed lightly in Sigma Photo Pro 5.3 as 16-bit TIFFs. These 16-Bit Images were then converted to Highest Quality JPEGs as a batch action in Adobe Camera RAW as Highest Quality 8-bit JPEGs in sRGB space for web display. Click on the images to pull them up at full screen slideslow display. And view this Flickr set at 100% resolution to really appreciate the nuances of tonality and fineness of details this camera captures. There is so much visual information in these files!
Yes, X3F Raw write time with the Sigma DP2 Merrill may take some time, even when using super-fast storage like the Lexar Professional Class 10 600x speed 16GB SDHC card. (We recommend Class 10 cards like the Lexar used here for best performance.) But the focus with the DP2 Merrill is on quality, not quantity. Seeing the quality of the images on the hi-rez LCD, and then in their full glory displayed on a big computer monitor makes that write time seem very worthwhile. And yes, I am glad the camera ships with two batteries, as the BP-41s can drain quickly.
All in all, the Sigma DP2 Merrill is the sort of camera that will get you wanting to think about where you’re going next and what you’re going to hope to capture through its amazing lens when you get there.