Featured: 'The agony and ecstasy of the DP2 Merrill' by lattiboy

Discussion in 'Open Gear Talk' started by lattiboy, Jan 19, 2015.

  1. lattiboy

    lattiboy SC Regular

    Mar 6, 2011
    (Hilariously, I forgot about my similar post on the DP1 from almost FOUR YEARS AGO!)

    I finally gave in and got a DP2M. I did the usual "take pictures of your pets and loved ones until they want to murder you" the first day I had it. Using a bounce flash I got some incredible pictures of my annoyed wife and confused dog! Really top-notch, groundbreaking stuff!


    I had used both the DP1 and the DP2s a few years back. Loved, loved the output, but honestly I wasn't a patient enough photographer to deal with it at the time.

    We're in the middle of a terrible bout of Seattle weather. Rainy, windy, dark. Regardless, I took it down the our local beach for an attempt at a "storm sunset".

    I love it. I love it so much.



    And not that dumb, pure puppy love that annoying teenagers have. The love you have for a woman who has repeatedly wronged you, but you still can't stay away from.


    (This was ISO400 pushed to the absolute limits of the histogram in post. The blue channel was completely clean, but for the scene the red channel had all the tonality. It was actually quite late and after sunset, so the fact it came out like this is astonishing!)


    So, ecstasy, done.

    Agony. Oh, the agony.

    First off, I've become accustomed to ISO9,999,999 pocket cameras with f/1.7 lenses and IBIS. It's all I've shot with for some time. You know what? It makes you lazy! Dumb and lazy! You can hand a GX7 to a child and that child will probably produce a reasonable picture. Same with pretty much any (non-Sigma) digicam made after 2006. You hand a DP camera to a child and they will start crying. As they should! (also, why are you handing a $500 camera to a child? Are you nuts?!!)

    I asked myself some questions too. Like:

    "Why did it focus on the background even though there is a clear and contrasty target in the AF selector?"


    "Why does this person have green skin? Do they have scurvy?"

    "How is this out of juice after 43 shots?!?! It's 2015 for $#*% sake!!!!"

    "Is Sigma Pro Photo actually some kind of large-scale test that mental health professionals send out to define the limits of human patience?"

    "Was 'sharp bar of wet soap' the design inspiration sent down from the Sigma executives?"

    The answer to all of these questions was, "stop being such a little pansy".

    At the end of the day, there is simply nothing I've ever used that produces photos like the Merrill. When I export the TIFFs into Lightroom and go 1:1 I get so happy. Unreasonably, ridiculously happy. Like a little kid. Because if I've done everything right, I will produce the most true to life, beautiful, rich image of what my eyes actually saw at the time. Something no other camera I've owned can be said to have done.
    • Like Like x 16
  2. demiro

    demiro Serious Compacts For Life

    Dec 15, 2011
    David, I've read all sorts of reviews about the DPs. Your little snippet about using the DP2M is among the best of them. It hits the nail on the head with perfect accuracy (based on my experience with the DP3M).

    A DP is the camera to have in your bag when you want to be a photographer. Not necessarily the one to have when you want to take photos. If that makes any sense. The irony, of course, is how amazing the photos are when you do your job as photographer correctly.

    I've decided if the Sigma was my only camera I'd probably give up photography completely and try to draw instead. With crayons. But keeping it as a specific camera to be used when conditions and attitude (mostly attitude) are correct makes a lot of sense to me. Your post provides validation of that thought. Thank you!
    • Like Like x 1
  3. Woody112704

    Woody112704 SC Top Veteran

    Nov 7, 2013
    Real Name:
    Nice shot and a great write up. I especially liked your questions you asked yourself. I think you should email Sigma and ask them this one in particular "Is Sigma Pro Photo actually some kind of large-scale test that mental health professionals send out to define the limits of human patience?" Be funny what answer, if any you got back. haha
  4. Luckypenguin

    Luckypenguin SC Hall of Famer

    Dec 24, 2010
    Brisbane, Australia
    Real Name:
    Glutton for punishment :smile:
  5. Itchybiscuit

    Itchybiscuit SC Regular

    Dec 26, 2014
    Glasgow, Scotland
    Real Name:
    My lowly DP1 drives me bonkers sometimes but I really can't bring myself to ditch it.

    Perhaps I should have used it in the Single in January challenge but I would have been Bedlam fodder by February. :wink:
  6. Tilman Paulin

    Tilman Paulin SC Top Veteran

    Nov 15, 2011
    Portland, OR
    I still have my original DP1 and DP2 in storage back home. Couldn't bear to sell them or give them away :)
    Planning to use them again some day - and hoping that they will still work fine (or rather "no worse" than before :wink: ) after a few years in storage....

    At least for this deficiency there's an easy fix: buy one the available aftermarket-grips for the Merrill.
    I had the Franiec one's and it made a world of difference. Sigma should have included these with every camera...
  7. lattiboy

    lattiboy SC Regular

    Mar 6, 2011
    Okay, updated with most the pics from that day.
  8. Arup Roy Chowdhury

    Arup Roy Chowdhury SC Regular

    Jul 24, 2013
    DP3M bought me back to my good old days of shooting the temperamental VELVIA where I had to watch out for highlights or shadow or pay a heavy price, the fact the VELVIA was limited to ISO50 made things extremely difficult but end results were WOW and thats exactly what my DP3M does.
    • Like Like x 1
  9. Boid

    Boid SC All-Pro

    Dec 15, 2011
    Bangalore, India
    Real Name:
    I bought the DP3M to use as a "portrait" camera. What a laugh that turned out to be. The darn camera doesn't like skin tones one bit. I only ever get weird grey/green skin tones that are impossible to edit. So frustrating.
  10. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs SC Legend

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    Real Name:
    you should be able to figure it out...
    I shot pretty extensively with a DP1M for a couple of months a couple of summers ago. There is ecstasy, but as you say, it's most apparent at 1:1 in lightroom, which really has very very little to do with viewing photographs and much to do with viewing pixels. I did a lot of back to back shooting with the DP1M and Nikon Coolpix A and the number of shots where there was a positive difference in favor of the DP1M at any sort of normal viewing size (full size on a 27" monitor and prints up to 20x30) was really really small. Mostly on semi-macro-ish shots of plants and spider webs and stuff - for landscapes I found no meaningful difference. And, of course, the number of shots I GOT with the Coolpix that I couldn't with the Sigma more than offset that.

    And I think even if I'd concluded the ecstasy was all upside and devastatingly wonderful, there is the agony part. I'd never be willing to do a whole separate time consuming and frustrating processing step for more than a small % of my shooting - SPP ultimately was an impediment to using the camera. Not to mention it's lack of versatility, but that was such a given going in I'd pretty much accepted it. I didn't mind shooting with it much at all, and got consistently good results, but the processing was more than I'd be willing to deal with for the relatively small benefit.

    So, in my case, the agony kicked the ecstasy's butt and I returned the camera at the end of the loan period and never seriously considered buying one. I was also shooting a lot with an RX1 at the time and found those images to be far more pleasing on balance and with a lot easier workflow. But I do get the appeal - there were some few shots that were just magical with that camera and a lot of them that were quite fun to view at 100% just to marvel at the tech side. But that ultimately wasn't enough for me...

  11. Archiver

    Archiver SC Top Veteran

    Jul 11, 2010
    Melbourne, Australia
    Bahahahahaha, I love it! This should become my standard response to just about any complaint. Congrats on the DP2M!
  12. Luke

    Luke Super Moderator

    Nov 11, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI USA
    Real Name:
    The Simga photos/files are a joy unto themselves regardless of the composition. And I'd like to get one again someday because of the richness of the files. But if the photo sucks, it still doesn't matter how beautiful it looks. And for me...right now....I need to work on making better photos....not better-looking photos.After I get that first part down, I'll worry more about the second part.

    But for now, enjoy the ecstasy and try to ignore the agony. And flip Sigma the bird for me for that AWFUL software. Just pay a software company to make somehting new that works
  13. Arup Roy Chowdhury

    Arup Roy Chowdhury SC Regular

    Jul 24, 2013
    [​IMG]"500" height="333" alt="DP3M0045"></a>[/IMG] with DP3M