Sigma DP2 Merrill: Mini-review and a few helpful tips

Started Feb 15, 2014 | Discussions thread
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eke2k6 Regular Member • Posts: 209
Sigma DP2 Merrill: Mini-review and a few helpful tips

One of my first shots with the DP2M

Last summer, a friend of mine gave me his Sgma DP1s as a gift. He had just upgraded to a DP1M, and figured he'd share the gift of photography with me.

I've spent the last few months mastering the DP1s, coaxing the most I could out of it, and learning the art of Lightroom. I think I've gotten pretty good at the basics and I've been pretty satisfied with the DP1s.

Recently I came across reviews of the DP2M, a camera that's nearing two years old, but is said to have IQ that rivals the best DSLRs in the business. A quick price check also showed that it had a potential for tremendous value if the claims about its IQ held true. I managed to find a used one on Amazon for $500 and, with the prompting of my friend who gave me the DP1s, I made the leap.

In the days between my purchase and the arrival of the camera, I scoured the internet for reviews of the DP2M. The consensus was the same...unrivaled IQ, but terrible handling and uand ergonomic disaster. I had come to find the DP1s very usable, so my hopes for the DP2M remained high.

D-Day. The UPS man was amused by the vigor with which I swung the door open and signed for the package.

I was fully expecting to find a slippery brick in the box, but here was a very nicely made camera that felt quite good in my large hands. Focus was very quick in barely decent lighting on 1.05...unlike what most reports would have you believe, the menu system was extremely intuitive...I was zipping through options as if I had known the camera for my entire life, and there are more features than I'll probably ever use. The buffer system is also incredibly useful. What's often not mentioned is the fact that your image is previewed for a few seconds before the write process begins. It's not like you have to wait for it to write to the SD card before you can take a look at it. You'll know instantly if you made a composition or exposure error. Adding to that is the fact that you can shoot and change any setting while the file is being written, and I really don't see how the camera is cumbersome.

Then I took the camera out for the first time, with my lady friend as a model. Whoa. Whoa, whoa whoa. I think I'll just let the images speak for themselves. I did some editing with VSCO Film 04 to get the kind of look I like, and I had to do some skin softening to counter the tendency of the DP2M to expose every wrinkle and line on her face with its truly awe-inspiring resolving power.

The rest:


Helpful tips:

I'm a broke college student, so I always look for the best value I can get. This hold true when I was looking at accessories for my new purchase. So here's a rundown of what I got:

1) Extra batteries.

These are 30% higher capacity than the stock Sigma batteries, so you get even longer life. They require a 10 second modification to deepen the groove to allow for a proper fit though. Still, 2 high capacity batteries and a charger for half the price of a stock battery? I'll take it.

2) A UV filter for protecting the lens.

I extensively compared shots with and without this filter, and I found no appreciable degradation in IQ. Quality is up there with the B+W counterpart. For $7, why not.

3) A lens hood. Why should I pay $30 for one, when I can get a better looking and funtioning lens hood for much less?

It screws right into the UV filter for a permanent setup.

4) A case.

I got it in yesterday, and it's even better than I hoped for. Given that I already have the lens hood and UV filter, I only attach the bottom half. It adds a nice leathery grip to the camera, and it now looks even better. I'll take pictures and update this review when I can.

All in all, I hope this helps someone who needs it. I know the new Quattros are coming out, but even if it has slightly better overall IQ than the Merrills (and I really don't see that happening), the current pricing of this generation represents unparalleled value. I mean, a camera that outresolves the D800 for a fraction of the D800's body-only setup is the steal of the century, if you ask me.


Nikon D800 Sigma DP1 Merrill Sigma DP1s Sigma DP2 Merrill
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