Advice please on a DP.

Discussion in 'Sigma DP Forum' started by bilzmale, Jul 11, 2015.

  1. Pay the extra for the brand new DP2M.

    1 vote(s)
    100.0%
  2. Save on a DP2 with still good IQ.

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  1. bilzmale

    bilzmale Super Moderator Emeritus

    Jul 17, 2010
    Perth, Western Australia
    Bill Shinnick
    I am struggling with GAS to add a Foveon sensor to my list of toys. I can buy a DP2M for $549 AUD (about $415 USD) and am also watching an original DP2 on EBay which I could get for about $200 AUD.

    Is there a significant increase in speed, IQ, usability etc that makes the Merrill a no brainer?

    Either camera would not be my 'go to' camera and as such I need to justify the extra expense.

    What's your take on my dilemma?
     
  2. Kompaktkameratyp

    Kompaktkameratyp SC Rookie

    15
    Jul 6, 2010
    Hi bilzmale,
    the Merrill is by far better than the original DP, DPs, DPx models, and in more than one way: It has a much larger buffer, making for more swift photo taking. Compared to the older models, this is a huge improvement indeed. Merrils make for nice street photography tools, whereas the older DPs gave you multiple heart attacks when you wanted to take more than one carefully crafted image...

    The Merrills have a sensor with 3 times (!) the resolution of the older DPs. Put it another way: The original DP (and DPs, and DPx) with the older sensor may compete with a low-end micro 4/3 sensor -- but the Merrill sensor competes with the best of SLRs, and some say it competes with Leicas and medium format, even. Now, it's not clear to me what those last comparisons really mean (apples/oranges), but the Merrill advantage in IQ is enormous, any way you look at it. Given that the new camera is also faster, and can be had quite cheaply as NOS, I would go for the Merrill anyday. Actually, I bought two (DP1M and DP3M). As a matter of fact, I chose both over the Quattro models, which in my book are too awkwardly shaped. My bet: The Merrills will become true classics in the "serious compacts" realm, and the Quattros will remain an oddity... but that's just my 2 cents!
     
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  3. Tilman Paulin

    Tilman Paulin SC Top Veteran

    681
    Nov 15, 2011
    Dublin, Ireland
    I only had the original DPs and I quite liked their output. They had enough quirks to be annoying at times (inconsistent whitebalance, ...) but there was definitely something great about them. Wonderful dynamic range - the highlights rolled off very nicely (this is something I heard people complain about in the newer models. They're supposed to be a bit touchier with highlight clipping - can't say how much of that is a real problem though :) )

    When the Merrills came out I never updated to them for two reasons.
    -I liked the small size of the original ones (I'd say "cargo-pocketable")... The Merrills grew just so much that you'd need a bag.
    -The DP2's focal length changed from 41mm to 45mm... I was fine with 41mm as a "normal", but sometimes wished it was just a touch wider. When the Merrill actually went the other way focal length wise, I was a bit disappointed.

    The extra resolution of the Merrills is definitely there. So if "detail, detail, detail" is important than that might be the deciding factor :).
    But the Foveon "look&feel" is in both. (And I've printed from the originals at A4 fine - other people probably went even bigger)
     
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  4. Luke

    Luke Super Moderator

    Nov 11, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI USA
    Luke
    For me the Merrill is all about crazy resolution....... INSANE resolution is more like it. It's intoxicating. If that isn't important to you and you're just more about the Foveon "look", then save a little dough and buy the old one.
     
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  5. Tilman Paulin

    Tilman Paulin SC Top Veteran

    681
    Nov 15, 2011
    Dublin, Ireland
    oh, and one small (or big) consideration for workflow:
    The raw-files of the original DP's are supported in Lightroom (and I believe a fair amount of other converters).
    No Lightroom-support for the Merrills (and I believe generally a much more limited choice on file-support).

    You can always export a tiff-file with some basic adjustments from Sigma's software into your normal converter, but it's an extra step in your workflow.
     
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  6. El Guapo

    El Guapo SC Regular

    176
    Feb 3, 2014
    The original DP2 will often yield a look and images have what is described as a "pop" to them, its sometimes 3D.
    The clarity and definition at base ISO is superb.
    The Merrill loses some of this look at high res but the detail is immense.
    I think some of the DP2 look is garnered back in LOW and MED on the Merrill.

    The cameras themselves.
    The Merrill is very nice to handle, good LCD, good speed and a non retracting lens.
    IMO the only downside is the battery life.

    The DP2 has a LCD that is poor at best. The LCD issmaller than the Merrills and the camera overall is smaller. Both jacket pocketable. Both are nice and light but well built.
    Some DP cameras have had the lens flexi cable fail.

    I would opt for the Merrill unless the DP is at a bargain price, then buy both.
     
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  7. bilzmale

    bilzmale Super Moderator Emeritus

    Jul 17, 2010
    Perth, Western Australia
    Bill Shinnick
    Thanks for the feedback folks. I've gone for the DP2M as the price is very competitive right now - should arrive by my 69th birthday next weekend.

    :2thumbs:
     
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  8. El Guapo

    El Guapo SC Regular

    176
    Feb 3, 2014
    Good move Bill, I did email the AU distributor and they said there are no more DP1M for sale, and I suspect the same for the DP3.
    The DP2M would be the last of them here new and for once we had the best price in the world on them.
     
  9. bilzmale

    bilzmale Super Moderator Emeritus

    Jul 17, 2010
    Perth, Western Australia
    Bill Shinnick
    Yes I spoke to Leederville Cameras who were out of stock and not sure if they could restock. My camera is direct from the importer and was the last one on eBay (shows out of stock after I bought).
     
  10. Kompaktkameratyp

    Kompaktkameratyp SC Rookie

    15
    Jul 6, 2010
    One last thing: Please, please, please do yourself a favor and invest in another RAW software: The Sigma-supplied RAW converter is really as bad as people say it is. It's slow. It's buggy like hell. If you touch a slider or button, the *whole* image is re-computed (not just a preview) -- so touching any slider, or any button, makes you wait, and yes, that's on fast, up-to-date computer...

    However, there are alternatives: I don't know what is available now, but when I looked around about a year ago, Iridient Developer seemed a good option to me and I went for it (but google for alternatives). It is a fast, reliable piece of software that even gets better results than the Sigma thing (noise reduction and sharpening are really good). The Sigma thing... just don't go there... :-s
     
  11. taqtaq

    taqtaq SC Regular

    135
    May 31, 2015
    Espoo, Finland
    Tuukka
    I would go another way around. I was very skeptical because of the reputation of the SPP, but decided to give it a go anyway. To me it turned out it's not as bad as people make it seem. Sure it is not as fast as Lightroom, but most of the settings still update in a second or two. Also on my computer it is not horribly buggy. It has crashed only once during the last month I've been testing it. I'm on a late 2013 13" Retina MacBook Pro with 8gb memory, so it's not really a beast of a computer.

    I downloaded the Iridient Developer demo to try it out too, but quit immediately as the UI put me away. I do believe it's a great software and am sure it's faster than SPP, but looks like a lot more complicated too (have to try again when I have more time and motivation). I like how few controls there are in SPP, though I would love to have perspective correction and cropping tools built in...
     
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  12. Ripleysbaby

    Ripleysbaby supernatural anesthetist

    Sep 9, 2011
    Cumbria UK
    Garry
    Yep, Quite happy with SPP. Nothing untoward to report. Never crashed and not so slow I get bored. It's good enough for me too.
     
  13. bilzmale

    bilzmale Super Moderator Emeritus

    Jul 17, 2010
    Perth, Western Australia
    Bill Shinnick
    Good news - the DP2M arrived today 24 hours from Melbourne to Perth.

    Bad news - you were all right about the slowness and lack of IS. Tripod seems the way to go.

    Workflow - I'm floundering a bit. No go in LR of course and SPP doesn't seem to have an import function. For now its import from card reader with Faststone, convert to tiff in SPP, and then process in LR. Essentially I'm just using SPP as a converter - am I missing something here? (I'm on a PC).
     
  14. grillec

    grillec SC Veteran

    399
    Jan 16, 2014
    My workflow:
    copy all x3f files from card to a new directory (named with the actual date) on disk.
    If the number of x3f files in a single directory is to large SPP will be much slower.
    Doubleclick a file to open it in SPP.
    After change of WB (and others) export as 16bit TIFF (ProPhotoRGB).
    Create path in LR with the exact same name. Sync and import all TIFF files.
    Further processing... and export as JPG (sRGB).
    Don't have to be everyone's gusto
     
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  15. taqtaq

    taqtaq SC Regular

    135
    May 31, 2015
    Espoo, Finland
    Tuukka
    You are right, it is a slow camera to use. I actually like it that way, and it is one of the reasons I got one.

    I'm a very trigger happy kind of a shooter, and usually rely too much on post processing (poor exposure etc.). I wish to fix that with Merrill, which forces you to take your time to build the photo. With Merrill I shoot about 30% of what I used to during a photowalk, but I feel I still get more keepers.

    You can fool yourself to take cons as pros ;)
     
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  16. juliandecourcy

    juliandecourcy SC Veteran

    245
    Apr 16, 2013
    Cornwall
    Bill you are not missing anything. SPP does not catalogue but that's fine, simply import as you are doing, I use Cs6 bridge. You access those x3f file from SPP. Like most proprietary Raw converter is is fairly rudimentary, yet a lot can be achieved within SPP before exporting as 16 bit Tiff into a folder which can be accessed by either LR, Cs6 or what ever software you have. I pick up the files via Cs6 Bridge and open into the Raw converter. Ok you do not have the pliability of a raw file with Tiff, but the 16bit Tiff can be pushes around quite a bit. I then open as a Tiff into Cs6 to work with layers. LR6 is also an option but of course more restrictive than Cs6.
    Lots of people moan about SPP, sadly it seems some using Mac's have a problem, not all by any means. Here it is as fast as LR. But I did this PC build specifically for editing Video and Photography.
    If SPP does crash on opening a file, it is most often a corrupt file within that folder. Sometimes when taking an image and the battery is low, the file gets corrupted as there is not enough juice to make the completion. Those files if imported will crash SPP. Have fun.
     
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  17. bilzmale

    bilzmale Super Moderator Emeritus

    Jul 17, 2010
    Perth, Western Australia
    Bill Shinnick
    Thanks for the advice. I intend to use the Sigma like a 'film' camera as suggested by some of you (use a tripod, think through each shot and enjoy the scenery). I've experienced the green and magenta casts in indoor shadow areas so it seems like sunlight is the way to go. I tried RAW +jpg and it seems even the jpgs are 'invisible' to LR. Also Faststone is able to display x3f files but not download them so I'm importing using a file browser. Was pleased to find bracketing and time lapse shooting in the menu.
     
  18. Luke

    Luke Super Moderator

    Nov 11, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI USA
    Luke
    Time lapse = using the Sigma software :rofl:
     
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  19. Garylh

    Garylh SC Veteran

    U can batch process the files from 3xf to tiff.. My workflow for Merrill files
    - shoot jpg+raw
    - import the jpg into your photo editor for browsing and selection of the keepers
    - import the raw to same or separate directory where spp has access to it
    - select raw u want to back process in spp browser menu
    - use save function to kick off the batch processing..select jpg, tiff or tiff16
    -- note: I don't select more than 16 files to convert at a time due to crash related issue
    - import tiff to your photo editor.

    Alternate solution
    - shoot raw only
    - import to folder of your choice
    - run batch spp over everything
    - import tiff to your favorite photo editor

    Though the alternate method is more stream line.. Typically I only have about 5-15% I would want to convert, so for me the first approach works better.

    Enjoy your dp2m
    Gary
     
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