DP2M user review; 96 photos with full size JPEGs and raw files

Started Aug 12, 2012 | Discussions thread
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Andrew Hodgkinson
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DP2M user review; 96 photos with full size JPEGs and raw files
Aug 12, 2012

I went around the Cambridge Botanic Gardens and, later, took a few photos in town with a new DP2M. Lighting varied between sunny and overcast. All images are processed entirely in Sigma Photo Pro with no subsequent downstream editing.

http://pond.org.uk/galleries/DP2M/

Click once to see a medium sized image. Click on that image to load the full size version. Possibly click one last time to make your web browser zoom the image too 100% size, if it zoomed it out to fit in the browser window. The raw file links are underneath each of the medium sized images. Please only download the ones you particularly want to see as they're large and use a lot of network bandwidth - thanks!

Much more general excitement can be drawn from the images just using e.g. Aperture's auto enhancement settings, so consider these to be deliberately neutral images. Some of the really nasty pictures are excluded, so what you're seeing here, by and large, is the best I got on the day.

A couple of the really close-up macros were achieved using an AML1 lens held in front of the camera (the new camera doesn't fit the DP2M lens hood etc., seems for £800 I need to re buy some overpriced cheap bits of accessory plastic - thanks Sigma).

The good:
http://pond.org.uk/galleries/DP2M/slides/SDIM0808.html

The bad:
http://pond.org.uk/galleries/DP2M/slides/SDIM0770.html

(still struggles with red; best to underexpose red dominated shots despite shadow desaturation issues arising; lowering the red channel in Aperture helps a great deal; colour accuracy in red is typically bad no matter what you try though; nonetheless an improvement over the DP2S, which was basically completely hopeless at bright reds).

The ugly:
http://pond.org.uk/galleries/DP2M/slides/SDIM0798.html

(check the top left at 100% zoom - horrible sky noise, with banding, at ISO 100; banding makes it hard to eliminate even with SPP's customised algorithms; noise reduction that made the sky smooth interfered too much with detail in the tree, which is why this shot was left noisy).

Camera impressions follow. Summaries first.

Better built, better looking and faster than the DP2S. No lens extending out at startup - faster to get started, no wheezy "this is surely going to break soon" mechanics, no special spring-flap lens caps needed! Better control layout. Truly astounding detail is possible. Amazing glass; corner sharpness is close to perfect and chromatic aberration issues are very rare. Much better LCD than the DP2S, could usually see what I was doing even with minimum brightness setting on a sunny day.

Shadow area desaturation problem is much worse than the DP2S. Noise! And lots of it - unpredictable at that; noise in the sky at ISO 100 on a sunny day, but only sometimes; longer exposure times or deliberate overexposure of a shot seem to help reduce it. Focus: Hit and miss; possibly more so than the DP2S. Back-focus is still an issue. Being able to change the size of the focusing assessment area does help, particularly shrinking it for macro shots. Battery life: Terrible. Just over 100 shots per full charge. That's very, very bad. And that was with the LCD brightness set to minimum and keeping the camera switched off as much as possible.

Sigma DP2 Sigma DP2s
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