DP3M vs NEX 7

Started May 27, 2013 | Discussions
nick_webster
nick_webster Veteran Member • Posts: 7,623
DP3M vs NEX 7
1

Been playing with my new DP3M for a couple of days so I thought I'd get out my NEX 7 to see how they compare. These are just some subjective thoughts about the two.

Size : The DP is really stretching the term pocketable. Fits in the leg pocket of my cargo pants but due to awkward shape it's not entirely comfortable. Really needs a small bag I guess. Here's the odd thing - stick a 50mm lens on the NEX and they are virtually the same size ! The Sony manages to fit in an articulating LCD - very handy - a grip and larger/higher capacity battery - both also very handy - and an excellent EVF - even handier. I'd also give the nod to the NEX for its external controls.

Adaptability : A no-brainer really One has a fixed 50mm f2.8 semi macro lens, the other can fit just about any MF lens ever made plus a choice of AF lenses.

Battery life : Another nod to the Sony

Ergonomics : I prefer Sony's approach with a nicely shaped grip covered in a rubber both back and front. With the non-retractable lenses of the DPxMs I would have thought Sigma might have added something better on the front as it doesn't affect how pocketable they are - plus they could then use a bigger battery

Software : Lots of RAW developers ( pick one you like ) vs SPP followed by some other software if you need anything slightly complicated doing - such as a crop I hate SPP so I'm biased but choice would be better

Picture quality :  Obviously a lot of this is subjective and subject dependant. In good light with static subjects I would still give the nod to the DP here. It's very close in terms of detail but I like the crispness of the DP shots. Colour is a bit brown/cool depending on light but not too bad - better than my old DPs. Sony's colours are a tad vivid developed in Aperture, but again easily toned down. Anything other than good light I think the Sony wins - better AF, better WB in anything other then sunshine, and better high ISO. Here's a shot at ISO1600 and you can see the weave in the wick of the red candle ( view original size in my gallery to see ) - plus the DP would have needed ISO 3200 as I used f2 on the NEX here:

So why oh why didn't Sigma make the DP an interchangeable lens camera ? That way people could have bought one body and added their lens of choice, or used any of the old MF lenses out there. I'd love to have that sensor behind some of the lenses I have and I think it would have brought more people to the brand. There aren't many who want to be stuck with a fixed focal length and I think it limits the appeal of the DPs.

If anyone has any questions or requests I'll be happy to try and help,

Nick

Sony Alpha NEX-7
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SandyF Forum Pro • Posts: 14,941
Re: DP3M vs NEX 7

So why oh why didn't Sigma make the DP an interchangeable lens camera ?

That way people could have bought one body and added their lens of choice, or used any of the old MF lenses out there. I'd love to have that sensor behind some of the lenses I have and I think it would have brought more people to the brand. There aren't many who want to be stuck with a fixed focal length and I think it limits the appeal of the DPs.

The obvious answer to me is that the SD1Merrill is the interchangeable lens camera with that Merrill sensor.
You want to use a variety of lenses, use the SD1Merrill. And by using a variety of lenses, I think you lose the advantage of the DP camera, which is a lens perfectly designed for and matched to the sensor. What we've seen with the SD1(M) and a "lens of choice" is that it's difficult to match up a lens good enough for the sensor! I think various people have fitted different mounts and different brand lenses on a SD1Merrill body, but I wonder if their results are as consistently good as the DPxMerrill.

In sum what I'm saying is that "lenses of choice" wouldn't give you the quality of output of the fixed lens DPxMerrill.

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

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nick_webster
OP nick_webster Veteran Member • Posts: 7,623
SD1 - will it go in my pocket ?

There is no reason that I can see that Sigma couldn't have made a DP body and then sold the 3 DP lenses as interchangeable lenses to fit. Might have been slightly bigger to account for the mount but still considerably smaller than an SD1. It would also mean that if they develop a new sensor you don't have a body and lens to upgrade, just the body.

No the obvious answer to me is the DP ILC concept. It would actually be more pocketable as you could split the body from the lens and put the items in separate pockets as I can if I want to carry my NEX.

If I wanted something the size of the SD1 I'd more likely go the way of the Nikon D800 - 36MP would beat the SD1 on detail and give me the option of all of Sigmas lenses plus those of NIkon and Tamron. In addition it's a better all round SLR then the SD1 by some margin.

I found it quite shocking when I saw what Sony managed to fit into nearly the same size body - you wouldn't believe how handy an articulating LCD can be for tripod and other work - why contort your body when you can just move the LCD

If Sigma can't package a camera better I wish they'd license the sensor out to others who can,

Nick

nick_webster
OP nick_webster Veteran Member • Posts: 7,623
Addendum : Video

Forgot to mention this as I have no use for it, but the Sony sweeps the floor with the DPs in terms of videography.

640x480 ? I guess this is one of Sigma's pranks like the grey on grey text of SPP,

Nick

jennyrae Senior Member • Posts: 2,690
Re: DP3M vs NEX 7
1

my opinion is sigma approach has sense. I see reason on interchangeable. but why worry much on carry lens separately and waste time change lens? dp merrills are small and ready to shoot anytime. avoid dust, avoid dirt, optimize quality, also cheap now, many reasons. my opinion if there is improvement sigma need to work on, it's battery and performance of camera. high iso improvement is also benefit but not as priority as battery and performance. sigma camera made for studio, daytime and long exposure. night shooting is not top priority.

nick_webster
OP nick_webster Veteran Member • Posts: 7,623
DPs not that small anymore
1

They have grown to the point where they are not really any smaller than their ILC competitors. As I said the DP3M is virtually the same size as a NEX 7 with a 50mm lens on it. So in the same pocket that I currently use for the DP I could have the NEX 7 with a lens on it, and then have a different lens in another pocket, which would be lighter, smaller and cheaper than carrying a second DP.

Also the 50 on the NEX would be f1.4 which gives me more flexibility for shallow DOF or low light work. I would like to have that option on a DP body

Also as I mentioned in my reply to Sandy - if Sigma come up with a better sensor, you would only need to upgrade the body to get that upgrade, which would be cheaper as you could re-use any lenses you had ...

Nick

Rand 47 Contributing Member • Posts: 934
Re: DP3M vs NEX 7
1

It is interesting how we all evaluate image quality in different ways.  I have an a900 (w/ Zeiss and Sony G glass), NEX-7, Fuji X-100 and a DP2 and 3 Merrill.  The Sigma DPs blow all the other cameras in the dirt for their ability to render detail.  I find the NEX to be somewhat sterile compared to the a900 and Fuji X-100.  It is more like a toaster than a camera.  It does do high ISO fairly well and the articulated LCD is what keeps it around.

Others are faster, better high ISO, have interchangeable lenses etc.  In other words, "more versatile."  Duh...  The Sigma DPs are slow, clunky but solid one-trick-ponies.  But the one trick they do is VASTLY superior to all of the others in terms of detail rendering.

I shoot the DPs like little tech cameras.  RRS L-plates and bolted to a large tripod.  Careful exposure and getting the files out of SPP "unmolested" as 16 bit tiffs for proper post processing in more robust software yields amazing screen images and even more amazing large prints.

Rand

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dmaclau Senior Member • Posts: 2,841
an often asked question...but a good one.
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Sigma cameras don't have the latest ergonomic greatness as other cameras.  I learned that 6 years ago (or so) when I bought my DP1.  Along with others I often wonder why they couldn't have done one thing or the other better.

Sigma cameras use the Foveon sensor.  It's a different look.  Over the years I've read many peoples "proof" that these images are no different from their bayer sensor images.   By upsizing a bayer image and downsizing a foveon...no.  Wait.  I got that backwards.  Perhaps it's upsizing the foveon and sideways sizing the bayer...or mid sizing both, turning three times and jumping backwards.  Bottom line the images are different.  Like em or don't.  The only way to get a foveon image is with a foveon sensor.

After years of frustration, and increasingly poor customer service with a camera which wasn't their newest, I searched for greatness in other places.  Olympus also seems to have a different color signature, and Fuji.  The Fuji X-100 is one of the sweetest digital cameras I've owned.  Then one day recently I needed to retrieve an old DP1 image and so opened that library for the first time in years.  Oh My.  I had forgotten.  This week my DP3M arrived.  Yes, Sigma has improved the ergonomics but I still need to work twice as hard for an image ... but those images.  Wow!

http://dp1meanderings.blogspot.com/
http://iPhonemeanderings.blogspot.com

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nick_webster
OP nick_webster Veteran Member • Posts: 7,623
One trick ponies ;-)
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I used that very same expression myself about the DPs last week

I want the Foveon sensor - perhaps I didn't make that clear enough in my original post - but I also want it in a more versatile body. I know I'm being greedy, but every other camera maker offers more versatility in a similar sized package, some in smaller ones now the DPs have grown and have fixed lenses.

I was just amazed when I compared the DP and NEX together as I would have bet money before about how much bigger the NEX was, but apart from grip depth they are virtually identical. If Sony can put so much into a certain size why can't Sigma ?

NIck

nick_webster
OP nick_webster Veteran Member • Posts: 7,623
Ergonomics not bad at all,

Apart from the lack a of good grip and I'd even be happy with just some grippy rubber on the front I don't really have a problem with the ergonomics.

It is just frustrating to see such features as an artculating LCD that Sigma's competitors fit into cameras the same size or smaller. Those are things that can improve your chances of getting a photo without having to contort your body, or lay on the ground.

Interchangeable lenses would also help Sigma sell cameras to more people. It's not as though they don't know how to make an interchangeable lens is it ?

NIck

jennyrae Senior Member • Posts: 2,690
Re: DPs not that small anymore

understand your need for flexibility. but cannot say interchangeable will make lens cheaper than buying separate body with lens. mention earlier making interchangeable has advantage but also disadvantage. time-consuming and dust and dirt. also will not make camera any smaller because of lens size. maybe only advantage of interchangeable is temporary small savings on lens. but that is opening can of worms. means sigma need to make more lens available which have you buy future new lens. so saving not. laugh.

dmaclau Senior Member • Posts: 2,841
I certainly agree.

As I've aged I find that more often I "guesstimate" rather than get down on the ground. I would use any help available, and with much appreciation. An articulating LCD would be wonderful.  I do like that the buffer is larger on the DP3 and as long as there's room I can keep shooting.  That was one thing which really bothered me about the DP1...and I told Sigma my feelings...more than once.

On the interchangeable lens thing though...I respectfully disagree.  I like a single purpose tool.  I spent 30+ years with my Nikon F and a 50mm.  When I broke down and bought a D2 and a zoom lens I would challenge myself to shoot the zoom at only one focal length. That technique produced my on;y keepers. I always thought I used just one lens for financial reasons.  When I could finally afford new equipment I found that I rather like forcing myself to "see" within the abilities of my camera.  Too old now to change spots.  rather have 2 small cameras than one camera with 2 lenses...but that's me I guess.  I do take your point though.

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nick_webster
OP nick_webster Veteran Member • Posts: 7,623
Loads of cheap lenses about

They are manual focus, but most of the time that's not a problem. Since I've got some nice lenses already, they are "free" for me

All my cameras except for the Sigmas are interchangeable and I've never seen a dust problem - and it only takes a couple of seconds to change a lens

Nick

nick_webster
OP nick_webster Veteran Member • Posts: 7,623
Nobody would make you change lenses ;-)

I would prefer to have the choice of some longer/faster lenses and I really believe that Sigma would get more sales and therefore more money to develop better sensors and hopefully hire some decent software engineers to produce a half decent RAW developer

Nick

REShultz Senior Member • Posts: 1,108
Re: Nobody would make you change lenses ;-)
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nick_webster wrote:

I would prefer to have the choice of some longer/faster lenses and I really believe that Sigma would get more sales and therefore more money to develop better sensors and hopefully hire some decent software engineers to produce a half decent RAW developer

Nick

I think most here would prefer an ILC version of the DP cameras.

There's really only one reason to buy this in light of all of the other advantages you've already mentioned. That's incomparable IQ at base ISO. If you find it comparable, I think you will probably move on from Sigma very quickly. For me, it's just too incredible to pass up.

jennyrae Senior Member • Posts: 2,690
Re: Loads of cheap lenses about

good reason for old lens use but lose practicality for dpm camera especially long lens. if manual lens is compact and short, you have good point, but there is SD1 merrill for purpose of interchangeable. yes?

my opinion is buy SD camera and DP. for me, top priority for sigma is make camera easy and faster.

jennyrae Senior Member • Posts: 2,690
Re: Nobody would make you change lenses ;-)

I wish my pictures with other cameras similar with merrill. but cannot copy same output easily without  long long process. not easy my opinion.

Jim Funston Senior Member • Posts: 1,698
Re: DP3M vs NEX 7

I agree with Rand.... I have a Nex 5 , Nex 7, a77, and a a33 in Sony gear along with all too many minolta and sony A and E mount glass (along with various legacy lenses). Never thought at my age I would own anything but a Sony again. My DP2m has just about relegated my NEX gear to being put on Craiglist as I mostly used my NEX gear as a lightweight scenic  camera  system for hike in and out shots. My glass of choice for my N7 was the Contax G 45mm for its outstanding optics but I would have to stitch images for a wider field of view because NEX E mount glass in wide or ultra wide just has more corner issues than I care to have to deal with (the new zeiss 12mm nay resolve this but I am waiting to see at this point) and using a adapter with a mount glass kinda takes away from the "lightweight" aspect of the NEX system.

IQ is a hands down winner for the DP2m over my NEX7 with any or all the glass I have. IQ is everything for me and one can have all the lens interchangeability in the world and it does not help anything if you are getting worse IQ. I had to stitch the CG 45mm Nex 7 images just like I have to stitch the DP2m images for a wider FOV perspective so it is a dead heat when it come to post processing headaches but the bayer sensor on the NEX in no way can match the Merrill foveon sensor for pure detail and IQ.

If the SD1 could fulfill my needs and wants for my wildlife imaging I would dump my entire Sony/minolta gear for Sigma Merrills and never look back.

Don't read this wrong as the Sony's are very nice and I have plenty of images over the years I have been more than proud of but I am merrill spoiled now and it is hard to even look at my Bayer sensored images the same way anymore. This makes me very reluctant to even pick up my Sony's to shoot anything now.

nick_webster
OP nick_webster Veteran Member • Posts: 7,623
Depends on light as well
1

In lower light the NEX will beat the DPs - plus you can often get faster lenses giving even more advantage. In good light the DPs win but for anything else my vote would be the NEX.

If you had an ILC DP then you'd have the best of both worlds - which is what my original post was asking for

Not sure I'm seeing a lot more detail in NEX 7 vs DP3M. Shot some comparisons yesterday and the DP shots looked "crisper" but not sure there was a much, if anything, in detail. This didn't include foliage as there was a strong wind blowing so comparisons would have been pointless, so that might have given a bigger adge to the DP.

Horses for courses - this is all just my opinion

Nick

jennyrae Senior Member • Posts: 2,690
Re: Depends on light as well

there is good picture examples of sd1 and 5d mk2. although not merrill and not sony comparison, I think get idea of what to get from foveon sensor and sigma lens on dp camera.

here is topic with pictures , http://www.dpreview.com/forums/thread/3483649?page=1

if you see compared pictures have difference, then there is difference. difference is in micro level detail and outline sharpness. something I find very difficult to replicate with bayer sensor camera.

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