Merry Merrill: DP3M review

Started Oct 9, 2016 | User reviews thread
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rurikw
rurikw Veteran Member • Posts: 3,196
Merry Merrill: DP3M review
7

I have all three Merrill compacts. They have been around for a while so there is hardly anything new here to most on this forum. Because of all the warnings by conscientious reviewers, I did a fair amount of homework, reading lots of postings and trying out SPP with downloaded sample photos before deciding to buy. Though I was probably hooked early on, the files, you know…perfection incarnated. SPP wasn’t that bad, slow yes but otherwise quite nice and you don’t have to do an awful lot with it to get a good 16 bit TIFF to export to Photoshop. Actually it’s only downloading and exporting that’s slow, adjustments are quick enough. Stable too. Have had less crashes with SPP than with Photoshop on Windows 10. My present routine is to tweak exposure, sometimes fill light or shadows until I get a nice looking histogram + occasional WB adjustment and then export. It’s very simple and the files are very malleable.

The 3 was the first one I bought. It cost me 300 €, which I consider a steal for this level of IQ, limitations notwithstanding. This summer I went on a 3-day bike trip and brought only the Sigmas (Ok, I had my iPhone 4S, too). Only now that I have edited some of the photos do I feel ready to draw some conclusions. Which obviously doesn’t mean I don’t have lots left to learn about both the cameras and the processing.

I am quite the camera fetishist, so design, feel, looks etc. are important. In that respect (too) the DPMs are deeply satisfying: exquisite minimalistic design and superb manufacturing quality, fit and finish. Only they don't have much of a grip, so I have put Fittest LB-DPXM grips on all three of them. They are cheap, yet very well made, Arca Swiss compatible and don't detract too much from the purity of the design.

Like David Millier says in his review, it's the perfect camera for subjects where detail, surface structure, fine nuances and such is important. There is something weird about the RGB histograms in review mode. They are often piled up massively toward the right border though the monochrome histogram in record mode looks fine. Fortunately, the latter is about right and I haven’t had any problems with blown highlights that couldn’t be fixed in SPP. Anyway, the write speed is so slow that you can’t chimp much in any case.

The controls I find just about optimal. Everything important at hand, well ordered, distinct and precise. The menu is the best I have seen. It’s designed so that each page has only so many options as can fit on the screen, so you don’t have to scroll down to see hidden alternatives. Makes browsing so much faster. I usually hate when I have to go to the menu. Not so much on the Merrills. Wish everyone did it that way. The only reason I can’t give 5 stars is that to have no viewfinder and just a fixed screen is such a PITA. The slowness doesn’t bother me much. Giving up chimping hasn’t been a bad thing. The battery life is of course pitiful but I carry ten of them. Having to change them several times a day can be a nuisance at times but no biggie. It’s not a camera you use when you are in a hurry anyway.

The cameras are light and compact. All three fit in a small bag. But am also contemplating some kind of harness for carrying all three or at least two in ready-to-shoot mode. And trying to find decent optical viewfinders that don’t spoil the looks but don’t cost too much either. Or the hotshoe version of the Clearviewer. I already have the tripod mount version. Unfortunately, the attached Arca Swiss plate-grip things won’t allow mounting it. Thread too far towards front. Or just a screen shade. Perhaps even experiment with a mirror attached via a hinge to the tripod mount. I guess considering such little tweaks means I really want to carry them with me as often as possible. Now if I could only learn to take photos worthy of such quality…

 rurikw's gear list:rurikw's gear list
Nikon Coolpix 5000 Sony Cyber-shot DSC-R1 Sigma DP1 Merrill Sigma DP2 Merrill Sigma DP3 Merrill +28 more
Sigma DP3 Merrill
15 megapixels • 75 mm
Announced: Jan 8, 2013
rurikw's score
4.0
Average community score
4.1
bad for good for
Kids / pets
weak
Action / sports
weak
Landscapes / scenery
excellent
Portraits
good
Low light (without flash)
okay
Flash photography (social)
weak
Studio / still life
excellent
= community average
Sigma DP3 Merrill
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