Is a DP right for me?

Started Jul 29, 2013 | Discussions
WT21
Veteran MemberPosts: 4,652Gear list
Like?
Is a DP right for me?
Jul 29, 2013

I've sold (or am selling) my m43 kit because it just makes my life too complicated.

I've got a 6D system, and that covers my event shooting and high-ISO needs.

I've got an RX100, and that does an all-rounder for me.

I'm looking now for simple.

I've got space for a high-quality compact. I love the Fuji X series output, but I don't want another system. Call it a weakness, but if I have an ILC, then I start buying lenses, lol. I don't need that.

I've considered a Fuji X100, but I'm more of a 50mm eq shooter.

This camera would be for: very light street shooting (more like things of interest, than candid shots of people), architecture interest, and landscapes. Mostly shot in the early part of later part of the day.

Looking through the DP series images, the shots look gorgeous. BUT a slow camera gets me frustrated. Slow operations especially, and slow AF secondarily.

Am I right to avoid the DP series for the above reasons? The output looks so wonderful, though.

 WT21's gear list:WT21's gear list
Sony RX100 Olympus PEN E-P3 Sony Alpha NEX-6 +1 more
Canon EOS 6D Fujifilm FinePix X100 Sony RX100
If you believe there are incorrect tags, please send us this post using our feedback form.
streeteyes
Regular MemberPosts: 195Gear list
Like?
Re: Is a DP right for me?
In reply to WT21, Jul 29, 2013

First the pluses: Extraordinary image quality. Bar VERY few. The output rivals cameras with much higher megapixelage (if there is such a word) and cost. The catch is, this amazing IQ ONLY applies to images shot at ISO 400 or lower. Above that you want to reach for strangle yourself. BW, on the other hand, processed through Sigma's highly polarizing (and I don't mean light-wise) proprietary software SPP can yield spectacular results at ISO's as high as 3200! The thing is you are advised to use only the blue channel information for reasons that are too early to explain here.

The lens on the DP2 and DP3 is off the charts with many (like LL's Reichman) saying the quality is as good as the best from Leitz and Zeiss. The lens is perfectly matched to the sensor. Also, since it's a sealed system you don't have to worry about dust on the sensor. The jury is split on which is the sharper lens: the 30 (normal) or the 50 (short tele/macro). The 19mm (wide) lens is also ridiculously sharp but most folks seem to compare it to the other two DP lenses and it's simply not as sharp.

Under diffused light conditions the images have a surreal 3D quality that many have become quite enamored. The DR is very very good.

The menu is great. Somebody at Sigma obviously listens to what photographers like. No extras. No odd camera effects. That's left to photoshop. It's a simple, PASM with just the right number of controls, all very well implemented for speed.

The camera is solidly made. But buying a grip from either Milich or Really Right Stuff really helps the geometry and the mass.

Now the minuses: As I mentioned all that incredible image quality applies ONLY to color shots at ISO 400 and lower. Above that you'll wonder why you bought the camera. The noise and weirdness is truly a sight to behold. (But, as I also mentioned, BW is actually quite good up to ISO 3200 under certain conditions.) While the sensor is a 14.6 MP APS-C sensor the files have 46 MP of data and as a result are HUGE.

Now even though the camera has a pretty speedy processor what you don't realize is it has to process an avalanche of data in each and every shot. That's why shots in RAW (highly recommended) take about 7 - 10 seconds to process even onto the fastest SD cards. (The good news is the buffer allows 7 shots.) Since the files are triple the size of typical files that means for every typical FOVEON file that's like processing THREE Bayer files on a typical camera. That means the smallish batteries the camera last about a third as long per charge as a similar camera. That's why you might have read that it's advisable to buy at least two additional batteries beyond the two that Sigma gives you since most people are averaging about 70 - 115 shots per charge.

While the lens is f2.8 due to the ISO caveats you're pretty much restricted to sunny day situations or available light with a tripod. The sensor is EXTREMELY sensitive to even the SLIGHTEST movement and is mercilessly unforgiving.

OOC jpgs are not the way to go. Your best results are using SPP.

The AF is very accurate in decent light don't expect m43 or DSLR speeds. In lower light it will hunt but if you find a highlight it will lock pretty well. MF is actually quite good.

SPP: Ahhhhhh...the bane of many Foveon fan's existence. Some love it. Most loathe it. It's tedious and plodding and previous iterations have been known to crash unexpectedly. BUT when it comes to processing Foveon files it's the ONLY game in town. The good news is, if you do know how to work it, it's actually pretty good. And watching images materialize right before your eyes is quite magical. Most people seem to adjust the exposure to -.3 and fill to +.3 (but minor adjustments do help). Sharpness is either best at between -2.0 and 0 (although some actually push it to +.5). Color is best left at neutral but portrait will warm things up if you want that and landscape really pumps the greens. Noise reduction is also pretty good. Luminosity keeps grain at bay and in the software's unique BW mode you can actually adjust luminosity and grain randomness to achieve some really romantic film-like looks. Some folks do the minimum in SPP (basic exposure and NR) and output 16 bit TIFF's to LR (or PS or PSE) for final tweaking, cropping or whatever. The files are VERY robust and workable. Others do a little more.

Yes, it is slow to use in many situations but if you do get the camera you can do as much or as little as you like. Your other cameras are great all rounders but once you get addicted to the Foveon images you might find yourself grabbing the DP more often than you think just to make sure you to get at least one shot in that unique Foveon way.

-- hide signature --

Life is an infinite series of moments called now. My job is to capture them.

 streeteyes's gear list:streeteyes's gear list
Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
carlos roncatti
Senior MemberPosts: 2,662Gear list
Like?
Re: Is a DP right for me?
In reply to WT21, Jul 29, 2013

WT21 wrote:

Looking through the DP series images, the shots look gorgeous. BUT a slow camera gets me frustrated. Slow operations especially, and slow AF secondarily.

go for a DP2m review and see if fits your needs...

as far as operation:

http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/sigma-dp1m/sigma-dp1mA6.HTM

but if you already have a RX100, i would give the DPm a try...

-- hide signature --

To understand photography, you must understand that the experience must be much more important than the result ....
Carlos Roncatti Bomfim
http://weweh.com/en/
Ideas and passions making the news.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
WT21
Veteran MemberPosts: 4,652Gear list
Like?
What about a DP2 vs a DPm
In reply to WT21, Jul 29, 2013

I've found a DP2 listed for less than $200. Would this be a good "starter" camera into the DP world, or is it so slow/old/quirky that it could turn me off from the DPs?

 WT21's gear list:WT21's gear list
Sony RX100 Olympus PEN E-P3 Sony Alpha NEX-6 +1 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
SandyF
Forum ProPosts: 14,875Gear list
Like?
Re: What about a DP2 vs a DPm
In reply to WT21, Jul 29, 2013

WT21 wrote:

I've found a DP2 listed for less than $200. Would this be a good "starter" camera into the DP world, or is it so slow/old/quirky that it could turn me off from the DPs?

I pretty much concur with streeteyes' points above. What the Merrill cameras give you is tons of detail, with corresponding large file sizes. I've used the DP1, DP2, DP2Merrill cameras extensively. The original DP2 is NOT "slow/old/quirky" ... it's only lack is the extra detail of the Merrill sensor. If you can start off with a DP2, that would be fine in my opinion.

PS: I use SPP as my only RAW processor and have no hassles with it.

Best regards, Sandy
http://www.pbase.com/sandyfleischman (archival)
http://www.flickr.com/photos/sandyfleischmann (current)

added: a few more comparisons, plus and minus. Because the original DP2 files are smaller, it writes faster to card. But also because the files are smaller, you don't have the luxury of cropping as much on the original DP2 files as on a DPxMerrill RAW file. I really haven't noted any problems with speed of AF on either, both suit me fine. Be aware that you need some contrast to get AF. I describe AF as it either focuses or doesn't. If it doesn't, reframe slightly to get more contrast into the focus [ ] and then reframe again. While SPP colormodes are supported on both cameras, perhaps the newest SPP versions have a few features that are not supported with the original DP2... but I'm not sure of that point..like CA correction for example. But again I'm not sure and there is usually very little CA on either DP2 or DP2Merrill in my opinion and usage.

 SandyF's gear list:SandyF's gear list
Sigma DP2 Sigma DP1 Sigma DP2 Merrill Canon EOS 5D Mark II Sigma SD9 +5 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Scott Greiff
Senior MemberPosts: 1,568Gear list
Like?
Re: Is a DP right for me?
In reply to WT21, Jul 29, 2013

WT21 wrote:

I've sold (or am selling) my m43 kit because it just makes my life too complicated.

I've got a 6D system, and that covers my event shooting and high-ISO needs.

I've got an RX100, and that does an all-rounder for me.

I'm looking now for simple.

I've got space for a high-quality compact. I love the Fuji X series output, but I don't want another system. Call it a weakness, but if I have an ILC, then I start buying lenses, lol. I don't need that.

I've considered a Fuji X100, but I'm more of a 50mm eq shooter.

I found the DP2M wide, but not wide enough, and not tight when you want it to be tight. This is why I own both the DP1M and DP3M.

This camera would be for: very light street shooting (more like things of interest, than candid shots of people), architecture interest, and landscapes. Mostly shot in the early part of later part of the day.

Looking through the DP series images, the shots look gorgeous. BUT a slow camera gets me frustrated. Slow operations especially, and slow AF secondarily.

I hate to say this, because I love my DPs, but I don't think the DP would be right for you.  The DPs force you to be a lot more deliberate than does the RX100, say.  I love my little RX100.  It's quite a performer, but operation is quite a bit different from the Sigma.

Am I right to avoid the DP series for the above reasons? The output looks so wonderful, though.

The output is intoxicating.

-Scott

 Scott Greiff's gear list:Scott Greiff's gear list
Sigma DP1 Merrill Sony RX100 Sigma DP3 Merrill Sigma SD15
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Rand 47
Regular MemberPosts: 366Gear list
Like?
Re: Is a DP right for me?
In reply to WT21, Jul 29, 2013

If slow operation is a deal-killer stay very far away from a DP M.  Write times to the card can be measured with a calendar, and are enough in and of themselves to drive you to insanity if "slow" is bad for you.   These little cameras are amazing, but they are like mini-tech cameras and "fast" and "versatile" isn't in their vocabulary.

Sony RX-1 might be a better fit for what you're describing.

Rand

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
villebon
Senior MemberPosts: 2,160
Like?
Not a camera for you
In reply to WT21, Jul 29, 2013

WT21 wrote:

Looking through the DP series images, the shots look gorgeous. BUT a slow camera gets me frustrated. Slow operations especially, and slow AF secondarily.

It gets even more frustrating when the camera simply refuses to AF and you can't take the shot.

Even though the IQ is unmatched by any camera this side of the Nikon D800, someone has described the DPxM cameras as the best two legged tripods on the market...

-- hide signature --

Villebon

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
PrebenR
Senior MemberPosts: 2,706
Like?
Re: What about a DP2 vs a DPm
In reply to WT21, Jul 30, 2013

WT21 wrote:

I've found a DP2 listed for less than $200. Would this be a good "starter" camera into the DP world, or is it so slow/old/quirky that it could turn me off from the DPs?

The DP2 is slower than the DP2M in operations. Faster in writing to the card. DP2 has 3 photos in burste and you cannot work the camera while it writes to the card. It is a RAW only camera (jpgs are no good). But for street photography you can use manual focusing by setting the focusing wheel to a set distance and then it will shoot without lag. Like the Richo GR snap focus.

DP2M has a 7 picture buffer so there are never any problem that you cannot take the photo you want. When people say that it slow because it takes long time to write the 50Mb per image RAW files, it is only if you need to review your photos every time you have taken one. I have not been able to fill the 7 picture buffer. And you can change settings while it writes to card.

However, I would have tried the DP2 out (especially for $200), because if you are not convinced by the IQ to tolerate a slightly different shooting technique, then you will maybe not like DP2M either.

Here is a shootout I did to compare the DP2 and DP2M: http://www.flickr.com/photos/prebenr/sets/72157634524714567/

I will shortly have the RAW files uploaded for download so stay tuned.

PS: The Sigma Photo Pro RAW converter program is available for free from Sigmas web pages, so you can test it with RAW files.

-- hide signature --

Lightwriting with Sigma

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
abortabort
Contributing MemberPosts: 959Gear list
Like?
What about DP1M + DP3M vs SD1 vs SD15?
In reply to PrebenR, Jul 30, 2013

Sorry to thread-jack but I didn't want to start a whole new thread for my little question! - I am in a somewhat similar boat to the OP, I have a 6D kit that I'm mostly plenty happy with and has gobs of low light potential (my kits normally consist of 3 primes, maybe an ultra wide and very very rarely a telephoto).

I have been looking at Foveon cameras for years longing for one since the SD9. My interest piqued with the SD1 and DPMs but I still haven't done anything about it (ok one thing which i'll get to in a sec).

Anyway point is I don't need super high ISO shooting, 100-400 will be fine. I also already have an EOS-M and X-E1 as portable kits for different jobs.

Anyway, a while back I somewhat on a whim bought a brand new Sigma 50mm f1.4 in SA mount because it was a) ridiculously cheap @ $60 and b) I've always wanted to dabble in foveon land and it would give me a high quality lens to do that with.

Now i am trying to decide what the beat option would be if i want somw foveon goodness. Normally I don't like a 50-ish FoV, so the DP2m is out. My real options are as follows:

DP1m + DP3m - I don't think I could do just one, I would always be longing for a wide/short tele (again I never use 'normal' FLs).
SD1 - Use with my 50mm and try to pick up a cheapo but decentish wide. Slightly more $$$ than the DP pair but gives a few more options later on.
SD15 - Buy cheap SD15, use with current 50mm and maybe splash out on new 18-35mm f1.8 while waiting for SD1 to be replaced / price drop.

As I say high ISO not a concern. But it seems to me that the DPMs seem to have a more 'mature' SD1M sensor that gets better colours and does less 'funky' business or am I completely imagining this? So if the sensor was much the same it would sway me more towards the SD1 with a potential 18-35mm, but otherwise more keen on the DPM pair.

Also any thoughts on a cheap ($300ish) SD15?

Lastly - Does anyone know of anyone using any kind of wide adapters with the DP1M? I have heard of people using the Panasonic one designed for the 14mm pancake on the 19mm DN which is relatively (but not completely) similar - Any thoughts?

 abortabort's gear list:abortabort's gear list
Sony RX100 Ricoh GR Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 Konica Minolta Maxxum 7D Sony Alpha DSLR-A850 +32 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
SandyF
Forum ProPosts: 14,875Gear list
Like?
Re: What about DP1M + DP3M vs SD1 vs SD15?
In reply to abortabort, Jul 30, 2013

In addition to my DP2Merrill and original DP2, DP1, I also have a SD15. I like the output a lot; it's quite similar to the original DP2 output in my opinion. In fact, owning many SA lenses, I chose a refurb SD15 for $620 or so from Sigma rather than a refurb SD1(M) for about $1600. But again, I already have one Merrill sensor for the extra resolution it provides. I took the SD15 + DP2Merrill to Hawaii some weeks ago. I haven't finished processing the huge number of photos I took, but you might be interested in what I do have online, SD15, DP2Merrill for comparisons http://www.flickr.com/photos/sandyfleischmann/sets/72157633910113966/

Best regards, Sandy
http://www.pbase.com/sandyfleischman (archival)
http://www.flickr.com/photos/sandyfleischmann (current)

 SandyF's gear list:SandyF's gear list
Sigma DP2 Sigma DP1 Sigma DP2 Merrill Canon EOS 5D Mark II Sigma SD9 +5 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
PrebenR
Senior MemberPosts: 2,706
Like?
Re: What about DP1M + DP3M vs SD1 vs SD15?
In reply to abortabort, Jul 30, 2013

I'd say get a DP3M and take it from there. Much bigger chance you will use it a lot more than a SD15 as you have another DSLR.

-- hide signature --

Lightwriting with Sigma

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
PrebenR
Senior MemberPosts: 2,706
Like?
Re: Not a camera for you
In reply to villebon, Jul 30, 2013

villebon wrote:

WT21 wrote:

Looking through the DP series images, the shots look gorgeous. BUT a slow camera gets me frustrated. Slow operations especially, and slow AF secondarily.

It gets even more frustrating when the camera simply refuses to AF and you can't take the shot.

Good thing is that manual Focus is very easy and fast to do with the Merrills. Even if you use AF.

-- hide signature --

Lightwriting with Sigma

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Kendall Helmstetter Gelner
Forum ProPosts: 18,409Gear list
Like?
Operation definition
In reply to WT21, Jul 30, 2013

WT21 wrote:

<..>Looking through the DP series images, the shots look gorgeous. BUT a slow camera gets me frustrated. Slow operations especially, and slow AF secondarily.

I think the answer depends on what you mean by operation.

Operation to adjust parameters is great.  I really like how the controls are arranged, the customization you can do, the way the quickset menus work.

I also find operation between shots (changing settings) to be quick.

The aspects of operation that are slow - waiting for the buffer to clear when full, waiting to review a shot after taking.

I don't think focus is that much slower than any other contrast based AF camera, and is fairly configurable to offer smaller and larger focus points, with quick re-adjustment of where the focus points are (just nine of them though).

 Kendall Helmstetter Gelner's gear list:Kendall Helmstetter Gelner's gear list
Sigma 70-200mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM Sigma 8-16mm F4.5-5.6 DC HSM Sigma 24-70mm F2.8 EX DG HSM Sigma 50-500mm F4.5-6.3 DG OS HSM Sigma 85mm F1.4 EX DG HSM +4 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
PrebenR
Senior MemberPosts: 2,706
Like?
Re: Operation definition
In reply to Kendall Helmstetter Gelner, Jul 30, 2013

Kendall Helmstetter Gelner wrote:

WT21 wrote:

<..>Looking through the DP series images, the shots look gorgeous. BUT a slow camera gets me frustrated. Slow operations especially, and slow AF secondarily.

I think the answer depends on what you mean by operation.

Operation to adjust parameters is great. I really like how the controls are arranged, the customization you can do, the way the quickset menus work.

I also find operation between shots (changing settings) to be quick.

The aspects of operation that are slow - waiting for the buffer to clear when full, waiting to review a shot after taking.

I don't think focus is that much slower than any other contrast based AF camera, and is fairly configurable to offer smaller and larger focus points, with quick re-adjustment of where the focus points are (just nine of them though).

Operation is definitely fast. It is the most comfortable operations on all the cameras I have tested.

You have 9 AF points, but you can also move the AF-point freely around if you want.

-- hide signature --

Lightwriting with Sigma

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum MMy threads