Sigma has totally reinvented its DP series of large sensor compacts with the DP1 Merrill  and DP2 Merrill. The DP Merrill models are named after Dick Merrill, inventor of the Foveon sensor and include the most recent version of the technology - the 15x3MP APS-C sensor first seen in Sigma's SD1. Because the Merrill cameras feature full APS-C sensors, they also feature totally redesigned lenses, with the DP1M including a 19mm F2.8 lens to offer a 28mm equivalent field of view and the DP2M having a 30mm F2.8 lens to give a 45mm equivalent field-of-view.

Both camera's lenses (which may sound familiar in the light of the company's Digital Neo announcements) include Sigma's Fluorite-like 'FLD' glass elements. They also both include substantially redesigned bodies that incorporate high-resolution 920k dot LCDs. The controls have also been updated and the cameras look smarter as a result. Having been first-to-market with a large sensor, prime lens compact, it must have been hard for Sigma to watch the success of Fujifilm's X100. We haven't had a chance to see the Merrills in-person yet but we hold out hope that the high-res sensor and updates will make the DP series competitive again. There is also no detail on pricing yet.

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Press Release:

Sigma Corporation announces next-generation compact cameras named in honor of Foveon innovator

DP1 Merrill and DP2 Merrill now incorporate 46-megapixel, full-color image sensor

Ronkonkoma, NY, Feb. 8, 2012 – Sigma Corporation of America (www.sigmaphoto.com), a leading researcher, developer, manufacturer and service provider for some of the world's most impressive lines of lenses, cameras and flashes, today announced the new Merrill series of digital cameras with the introduction of the DP1 Merrill and DP2 Merrill. The Merrill series is named in honor of Richard “Dick” Merrill, the co-creator of the Foveon X3 Direct Image Sensor technology that powers Sigma’s unique lineup of cameras.

These upgraded, high resolution, fixed lens compact digital cameras now incorporate the same APS-C sized 46-megapixel X3 image sensor found in the company’s flagship SD1 SLR, now also known as the Sigma SD1 Merrill. This name change not only pays homage to Merrill, but it also reflects new production efficiencies that will result in a substantial reduction in the camera’s market price starting next month.

Merrill (1949-2008) was a brilliant engineer, talented photographer and Foveon co-founder. He tapped into his passion for electronics to build an innovative pixel structure that uniquely demonstrated the ability to capture RGB information in each pixel location. This revolutionary discovery led the Foveon team to the development of the X3 Direct Image Sensor and, ultimately, to the creation of some of the most vibrantly colored and detailed imagery the photography industry has ever seen. Sigma acquired Foveon in late 2008.

“This revolutionary image capture system reflects both the artistic and technological sides of Merrill’s personality,” said Kazuto Yamaki, CEO of Sigma Corporation. “As an expression of Sigma’s passion for photography and in honor of Dick Merrill’s genius, we have named the latest generation of the Foveon X3 Direct Image Sensor the Foveon Merrill.”

The Sigma DP1 Merrill and DP2 Merrill each boast exclusively-designed, high-performance telecentric fixed lenses. The DP1 Merrill features a wide, 19mm F2.8 lens, which is the equivalent to a 28mm lens on a 35mm SLR camera. The DP2 Merrill, however, offers a 30mm F2.8 lens, which is the equivalent to a 45mm lens on a 35mm camera. Both cameras are compact and lightweight, and feature Sigma’s own “F” Low Dispersion (FLD) glass, which performs like fluorite glass and significantly improves lens performance, as well as Super Multi Layer Coating to reduce flare and ghosting. With the 46-megapixel, full-color Foveon X3 Direct Image Sensor, the new DP cameras capture all primary RGB colors at each pixel location with three layers, which results in incredibly detailed images with a three-dimensional feel.

The Sigma DP Merrill cameras also include the following features:

  • A dual, three-layer responsive ultimate (TRUE II) engine now incorporates two TRUE II processors to improve the processing speed and overall quality of the final image. Sigma’s unique image-processing algorithm also provides high-resolution power and reproduces high-definition images with richly graduated tones that offer a three-dimensional feel.
  • RAW and JPEG format recording retains the full image detail of the utmost quality captured through the direct image sensor, as well as a JPEG recording format for convenience. The RAW data format provides pure data for high-resolution images, and uses lossless compression for more compact, yet uncompromised, data files. The RAW data format of the DP Merrill series keep brightness and color data in a 1:1 ratio without relying on interpolation. When the image is processed in Sigma Photo Pro, it will preserve the balance of the natural data for the best photos with the best image quality.
  • Sigma Photo Pro processing software converts RAW data quickly and easily. It incorporates functions such as a loupe, exposure picker, print, JPEG conversion, and batch white balance settings.
  • Manual focus is available for use when autofocus or focus-lock is not desired.
  • An advanced user interface is complete with a custom Quick Set (QS) menu and the metallic command dial to improve usability. The diaphragm, shutter speed and menu can be changed quickly using the command dial. The QS menu consists of the most commonly used functions and can be easily displayed by pressing the QS button, allowing photographers to change the menu content and the order depending on preferences.
  • A large, highly visible three-inch TFT color LCD monitor ensures great visibility even outdoors in the daytime. This approximately 920,000 pixel resolution LCD monitor benefits from a wide viewing angle, making it easy to capture details and check focusing and composition.
  • A hot shoe allows the use of the dedicated external flashgun EF-140 DG (optional) as well as Sigma electronic flashguns for SD series such as EF-610 DG Super (optional) and EF-610 DG ST (optional).
  • Movie mode enables movie recording with VGA (640×480) size, with 30 shooting frames per second.

Pricing and availability of the Sigma DP1 Merrill and DP2 Merrill are pending.

To locate an authorized Sigma dealer nearest to you, visit www.sigmaphoto.com/where/where.asp. For information about Sigma Corporation of America, visit www.sigmaphoto.com.

Sigma DP1 Merrill and DP2 Merrill specifications

 Sigma DP1 MerrillSigma DP2 Merrill
Body type
Body typeLarge sensor compact
Sensor
Effective pixels15 megapixels
Sensor photo detectors46 megapixels
Sensor sizeAPS-C (24 x 16 mm)
Sensor typeCMOS (Foveon X3)
ProcessorDual TRUE II engine
Image
Image stabilizationNoUnknown
Uncompressed formatRAW
Optics & Focus
Focal length (equiv.)50 mm
Optical zoom1×
Maximum apertureF2.8
Digital zoomNo
Manual focusYes
Focal length multiplier1.5×
Screen / viewfinder
Articulated LCDFixed
Screen dots920,000
Viewfinder typeNone
Photography features
External flashYes (via hot-shoe)
Videography features
FormatMotion JPEG
Videography notes640 x 480 (30 fps)
MicrophoneMono
SpeakerMono
Connectivity
USB USB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)
Physical
BatteryBattery Pack
Weight (inc. batteries)330 g (0.73 lb / 11.64 oz)
Dimensions122 x 67 x 64 mm (4.8 x 2.64 x 2.52)122 x 67 x 59 mm (4.8 x 2.64 x 2.32)
Other features
GPSNone

Additional images

Sigma DP1 Merrill  
Sigma DP2 Merrill  
Sigma DP1M