My reaction to the DP2 Merrill pictures posted

Started Aug 25, 2012 | Discussions thread
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Nancy and Pete Spader
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My reaction to the DP2 Merrill pictures posted
Aug 25, 2012

I have now experienced enough DP2 Merrill pictures, both those I see posted, and those I have downloaded and printed, that I would like to make a few comments on my reactions to them.

First of all, we own most of the Sigma cameras until this last sensor, and so we are quite familiar with the so-called “Foveon look.” For me this look is the sense of “verisimilitude,” a sense that what you are seeing is real. Others have identified it with the 3d look, but that is only part of it. I prefer to define it in terms of what I actually experience while seeing the picture, rather than a single reason for my experience, since I suspects the reasons are complex.

I focus on this IQ because it is very important to me, and each time a new Foveon sensor came along people have been concerned it had lost the “Foveon look.” This concern has been particularly strong with this latest sensor in the SD1 (Merrill) and the DP2 Merrill cameras. One factor does seem to be the quality of the lens. It does look as if this quality occurs only when you have a lens/sensor that produces an image uniform across the entire image. Lens that are sharp only in the center of the image and fall off dramatically as you move to the corners and edges do not seem to have this quality.

The DP2 Merrill has a lens tuned to the sensor, and so people had the hope it would produce an exceptionally good image and the "Foveon look". My experience is that with the best pictures it does. Indeed, the "Foveon look" is so powerful that I can easily sense it in posted pictures, something I did not find in earlier cameras to the same degree. Since this IQ is what attracts me to the Sigma cameras most of all, I find this a very important factor in judging this camera.

Secondly, I find the colors in the best pictures to be very, very, good. By good I do not mean they match the color chart perfectly, but rather the colors also have verisimilitude, in the sense that they seem to be realistic. Indeed, if colors are badly off, that too kills the overall sense of verisimilitude. Now one might point out that I have not been there when the picture was taken and so how do I know they are “realistic.” I do so because, for example, I have taken hundreds of shots in forests and on the basis of that experience Chunsum’s pictures taken at the Rocky Arbor State Park in Wisconsin seem realistic to me. This does not mean I know they are objectively the same as the real scene was, just that they look real. Seng Merrill has posted a picture of several bowls that has the IQ I prize to a very high degree. I’ve seen that type of bowl myself and again the posted picture seems realistic to me, and the colors are a very powerful part of that sense of realism.

Incidentally, if someone is interested in specific DP2 Merrill pictures I have found to be particularly good, I will now post links to a few that Chunsum has posted publicly. (Since Seng has not published bowl picture I like best publicly yet, I will not do so in the case of her picture.)

Here are the links to two pictures Chunsum posted that I believe have the “Foveon look” I like:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/chunsum/7792863396/in/set-72157631090989560

http://www.flickr.com/photos/chunsum/7792869092/in/photostream

If they do not have the “Foveon look” for you that means you do not see what I see (or the way I see). I accept that will happen in many cases, and have no interest in repeating the debate over why it occurs. I do not have the time now since my classes start on Monday. Indeed I am posting this now since once classes start I must give my full attention to my students. There are three things in life I especially love. The first is Nancy, the second is teaching, and the third is photography.

I make this report now because I must admit I was rather surprised at how effectively the DP2M produces the IQ I cherish. Nancy likes the DP2 Merrill too, and we would buy the camera without hesitation if we could afford it. We cannot do so, and until and unless our financial situation changes, we will simply continue to enjoy the excellent pictures people who have the camera are sharing with us. And we will continue to use what we have and post the pictures we enjoy or think may be of value to others.

So if you have the DP2 Merrill, please post pictures. The more posted pictures we have, the better people will see what it can do, and we will be able to better identify any real defects or limitations the camera has.
And above all, enjoy!

Pete

Sigma DP2 Sigma DP2 Merrill Sigma SD1
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