DP3M vs NEX 7

Started May 27, 2013 | Discussions
forpetessake
forpetessake Veteran Member • Posts: 4,999
Some rusty bolts with incredible detail, eh?

jennyrae wrote:

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

I find it hilarious people talk so much about super-duper IQ and there are no decent pictures to show. Frankly, the pictures I browsed through so far were quite underwhelming, the colors are pretty off and unappetizing, the sharpness is good at 100%, when it's in focus, but that's it, as soon as you downsize to the screen resolution it's all gone. I thought of getting DP3M for portraits, but the colors suck, and f/2.8 isn't sufficient for good DOF, so what's the point of that camera?

jstop Regular Member • Posts: 209
Re: Depends on light as well

nick_webster wrote:

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

Nick, have you seen this sample photo yet?

http://www.sigma-dp.com/DP3Merrill/samplephoto/SDIM1545.jpg

D Cox Forum Pro • Posts: 24,066
Re: DP3M vs NEX 7

Rand 47 wrote:

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.

But little tech cameras is just what they are not.

My Sinar 5x4 tech camera has tilt and shift, extendable bellows for macro, changeable lenses, and cable release.

Used with a suitable bellows or a tilt-shift adapter, so has a NEX.

But in good light, the Foveon sensor is clearly sharper and more detailed than any NEX sensor. (At low light levels, the Sony sensors pull ahead.)

What Sigma could do without vastly increasing the price of the DP cameras is:

1. tiltable LCD

2. focus peaking

3. cable release socket (the NEXes are weak here too)

4. a grip which would also allow a bigger battery

5. get SPP to export DNG files - this would allow the Color Checker to be used, among other advantages

glacierpete Senior Member • Posts: 1,917
Re: Loads of cheap lenses about

The lenses are optimized for the sensor. I have seen an technical image of the DP2M where the lens nearly seats on the sensor. You cannot do this with an exchangeable lens.

The DP2M sensor/lens combination outperforms my Leica Summicron. The DP2M is worlds ahead of my Nex5n with Leica glass and a CV15. Look for these endless discussions of color shifting and other problems caused by wide angle lenses like the CV15 on a Nex 7.

I find the user interface of the DP2m better than that of the Nex5n.

What the DP2M is missing, is an articulating screen and especially an EVF option. They could have used a bigger battery and integrate it in an Nex5n like grip to improve ergonomics, although I don't have a problem to hold it. I use multiple batteries, so no big deal with battery power.

Their Software SPP has some limitations. The best workflow for me at the moment is to use SPP only for raw processing with standard settings, and do the rest with the new Topaz clarity plugin (works very well on Foveon based Tifs) and PhotoNinja.

The DP2M is an incredible tool for landscape and architecture. I will not buy a Bayer based body again for my kind of photography. I used medium format film cameras in the past.

Multi layer sensor technology is the way to go. Kudos to D. Merrill and later Sigma to develop this technology. I am glad to see that Sony and Canon show some interest and patents for similar technologies.

nick_webster wrote:

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

D Cox Forum Pro • Posts: 24,066
Re: Some rusty bolts with incredible detail, eh?
1

forpetessake wrote:

jennyrae wrote:

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

I find it hilarious people talk so much about super-duper IQ and there are no decent pictures to show. Frankly, the pictures I browsed through so far were quite underwhelming, the colors are pretty off and unappetizing, the sharpness is good at 100%, when it's in focus, but that's it, as soon as you downsize to the screen resolution it's all gone. I thought of getting DP3M for portraits, but the colors suck, and f/2.8 isn't sufficient for good DOF, so what's the point of that camera?

Why would you downsize to screen resolution? Any crap P&S can produce images at the resolution of current monitors.

Current monitors are very low resolution and generally have poor image quality. You cannot judge a photograph on a monitor.

D Cox Forum Pro • Posts: 24,066
Re: Some rusty bolts with incredible detail, eh?
1

forpetessake wrote:

jennyrae wrote:

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

I find it hilarious people talk so much about super-duper IQ and there are no decent pictures to show. Frankly, the pictures I browsed through so far were quite underwhelming, the colors are pretty off and unappetizing, the sharpness is good at 100%, when it's in focus, but that's it, as soon as you downsize to the screen resolution it's all gone. I thought of getting DP3M for portraits, but the colors suck, and f/2.8 isn't sufficient for good DOF, so what's the point of that camera?

There are plenty of good pictures that show the quality of the Merrill cameras. Browse a bit more, and do look at the originals. However, viewing JPGs on a monitor doesn't show the full quality.

Naturally on a forum like this there are some duds too.

When the SD1 first came out, the colours were indeed bad, but with the improvements in firmware and SPP since then, the colours are now as good as from any other digital camera.

D Cox Forum Pro • Posts: 24,066
Re: One trick ponies ;-)

nick_webster wrote:

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 ?

It's partly because the Foveon sensor is costing more than the Sony sensor. This leaves less money for other features such as a hinged LCD, if the price is not to get too high.

hexxthalion Contributing Member • Posts: 539
Re: DP3M vs NEX 7

IQ - no comparison.

DPxM cameras are specialised cameras and should be treated as such. There's no point to compare them to NEX or any other mirrorless cameras because they have fixed lenses.

My X-Pro1 is better than NEX-7 (have had both, kept Fuji) and my DP2M is marginally better than X-Pro1 IQ-wise.

For grip, I cannot recommend enough this one (I received mine last week, simple installation), it completely transforms DPxM camera in terms of handling:

http://www.kleptography.com/rf/#camera_dp1m

 hexxthalion's gear list:hexxthalion's gear list
Fujifilm FinePix X100 Sigma DP2 Merrill Sigma DP3 Merrill Leica M Typ 240 Nikon AF Micro-Nikkor 60mm f/2.8D +3 more
jennyrae Senior Member • Posts: 2,690
Re: Some rusty bolts with incredible detail, eh?
2

you just made poor arguments which is telling you don't have interest in camera at all.

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

wow.

Jim Funston Senior Member • Posts: 1,698
Re: Depends on light as well

nick_webster wrote:

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

Nick if you have both cameras still (I don't own a DP3m just the DP2m so I don't have first hand experience with the 3) take a close to identical shot with each really trying to assure both ate focused on the same distant object in a scenic at a good distance. Take the images home and convert the Sigmas files to a 86 mp 16bit tiff and in whatever post software you Ouse for the NEX export this 16bit 86mp tif into it as well as opening the NEX raw. While there do a extreme crop of the same area in both shots and look at the detail in each. I think that will illustrate what I am referring too.

I will be the first to admit that the DP2m is a one or two trick pony and far from a versatile do it all camera. But, like Rand I use it like a mini tech camera for scenics as scenics are what I mostly do. Now I am doing even more stitching because I am in a pano mode it seems and this lil DP2m with a Nodal Ninja 3 with leveler is about as good at these as any camera I have owned over the past nearly 50 years. I am creating 86 mp Tiffs in -2-0-+2 exposures for each segment and doing multi row HDR giga Pano's that are truly amazing to look at. No other camera I own even come in second place at doing these: unfortunately reducing these for web view kills just how great these sensors display detail. Mounted on a old 3001 brogan alum tripod I essentially have a ultra lightweight tech camera for hike in and outs that does not kill this old guy to use. For scenics IMHO the DP2m is perfect.

If one wants to find flaws with these little cameras when used in other venues or genre's it is more than easy to find them. But, if one uses it for its strengths in a genre that suits it I have never owned or seen a camera that can beat or even match it. Fortunately, the DP2m's strengths is what I enjoy most to do with a camera in hand. If one is looking for a general purpose one camera does all system they should look elsewhere for that because the DP2m will not do that well.

nick_webster
OP nick_webster Veteran Member • Posts: 7,623
Here you go ...

I did that yesterday, which is why I made my point about not seeing a great difference, so I was just redoing them to post when I saw your reply

dp3m crop

nex7 crop

Ignore the colour differences as I made no effort to fix them. For what it's worth I reprocessed the Sigma with vivid as otherwise the colours were really flat and the real scene was somewhere between the 2.

Not seeing a great advantage to the Sigma which is kind of what I'd expect of a 24MP Bayer vs a Foveon 15MP.

Don't get me wrong I prefer the DP3M but I don't see the night and day difference others claim to see. My main point of this thread was not really a comparison of image quality, more the lack of features of the DP3M that Sony have put into a body that is the same size. The DPs used to be pocketable, but with the size increases of the newer models, plus the non-retracting lenses they are really starting to stretch that point

Nick

hexxthalion Contributing Member • Posts: 539
Re: Here you go ...

Hi Nick,

what lens and aperture was used on NEX? I can see that NEX shot was at ISO100, Sigma at ISO200 but that's pretty much it. Also have you done any up/down-size on the images?

 hexxthalion's gear list:hexxthalion's gear list
Fujifilm FinePix X100 Sigma DP2 Merrill Sigma DP3 Merrill Leica M Typ 240 Nikon AF Micro-Nikkor 60mm f/2.8D +3 more
nick_webster
OP nick_webster Veteran Member • Posts: 7,623
Wide angles and NEX don't mix ;-)

I am aware of the problems with legacy wide angles and NEXes (?) particularly the 7. I tend not to use wide angles much and go for "normal"/ longer lenses which is why I have the 3M not the 1M

I have 3 batteries, but I'd prefer not to have had to buy them and carry them then change them every 50 shots or so. I also like the grip as it means I can carry the camera with a couple of fingers hooked over the grip letting it hang down. With the DP I have to cradle it to stop it swinging from the wrist strap which I find a bit uncomfortable after a while, but obviously that's a personal thing.

The lack of an articulating LCD or option for an EVF was my main point to the thread. How is it that Sony can fit both of those into the NEX 7 which has the same size body as the DPs ?

Nick

nick_webster
OP nick_webster Veteran Member • Posts: 7,623
More info,

Both shot at 50mm f5.6 to try and make things as even as possible. Lens on the NEX was a Contax 50 f1.4 .

Nick

nick_webster
OP nick_webster Veteran Member • Posts: 7,623
Quick and dirty comparison

I posted these as a response to a subthread but it might get buried so here is a repost of the crops from yesterday

DP3M crop

NEX 7 crop

Ignore the colour difference, neither is right but for detail purposes I don't think it matters.

Both shot at 50mm f5.6.

The lens on the NEX was a Contax 50 f1.4 stopped down as mentioned to f5.6.

I prefer the look of the DP shot, but I'm not seeing the large differences others are. Anyway you can make your own minds up

Nick

PS DPRs galleries tend to soften jpgs but both are softened so it's still fair

Jim Funston Senior Member • Posts: 1,698
Re: Here you go ...

Nick, I think around the net you will finds a sort of "cult"  of Merrill sensor followers: so we communicate a lot on other forums as well. Like with all cameras RAWs and the post processing techniques has there own distinctions. That said, PP has a huge effect on results and what works well with one cameras RAWs may not be what works best on anothers (not to mention individual preferences as well). There are some generalities that seem to be somewhat constant among this so called cults users that others may or may not be aware of. Most use the neutral color mode, most decrease noise reduction, decrease slightly sharpening(not needed as much on the newer SPP versions), expose +.3 to +.7 in exp comp, iso's for color are generally 100-200, either use a "custom white balance" (set with a CBL or some other means) or set the WB to what the conditions are and rarely use auto WB. The color wheel is set somewhere 1/3-1/2 way over towards 3 o'clock position. Most are doing very little PP in SPP (other than those above custom settings) and just transferring 16bit TIF's to their normal post processing softwares. These seem to be some general preferences that are suggested or used among this little band of DPXm users on the web and may be of interest to you. Once one learns this lil camera's likes and dislikes it will shine for the user that plays to its strengths as is required for every camera.

In the examples you posted above I too see very little difference ..... but in my usage of NEX and DP2m cameras there are far greater differences between the results between my NEX7 with CG glass  and my DP2m. So much so that for a IQ hound like I am I find it very difficult to use my once beloved NEX7 and CG45mm combination anymore for scenics (and honestly that combo is truly a outstanding setup for IQ and very tough to match that lenses performance in the past).

Seeing the results you posted I would have to totally agree with the way you are seeing them. But, all I can say is your results are far different than those I see in my own tests of DP2m vs NEX7 with its best possible glass on it.

vkphoto
vkphoto Senior Member • Posts: 1,632
Re: Quick and dirty comparison

On DP3M photo I can clearly see the texture of each brick, not so with NEX

-- hide signature --
REShultz Senior Member • Posts: 1,108
Re: Some rusty bolts with incredible detail, eh?

forpetessake wrote:

I find it hilarious people talk so much about super-duper IQ and there are no decent pictures to show.

This itself does not validate or invalidate the IQ of the camera. If it did, one would be hard pressed to find a decent camera on this forum, given the proliferation of pictures dealing with mundane things (cats, backyards).

Frankly, the pictures I browsed through so far were quite underwhelming, the colors are pretty off and unappetizing, the sharpness is good at 100%, when it's in focus, but that's it, as soon as you downsize to the screen resolution it's all gone. I thought of getting DP3M for portraits, but the colors suck, and f/2.8 isn't sufficient for good DOF, so what's the point of that camera?

Most here don't think the colors "suck" and many love them. I don't find them as good as the original DP2 but color is subjective. I find NEX cameras reproducing pretty bad skin tones and there have been numerous threads about this.

nick_webster
OP nick_webster Veteran Member • Posts: 7,623
Thanks for your honesty

I'm not a fan of spending time doing PP, so these are pretty much "as shot" and whatever defaults SPP or Aperture applied to the respective RAWs. The only big change I made was to alter the colour setting in SPP to vivid from neutral - as shot the DP was flat and dull which was a bit odd and something I'll look into. I don't think it affects this test though, which was about detail differences between the 2 cameras.

Good to see that I'm not the only one seeing little difference. With some more skilled PP I think both would look better though whether those differences would make the Sigma much better than the NEX is moot. I'll get out and do some more tests over the coming weeks when I get more free tiime. I might even post more comparisons, though I'm not sure I'll convert anybody from either camp

As I mentioned in another post in this thread, with more foliage the Sigma may pull ahead further, but it was very gusty and windy yesterday so my attempts to get an even playing field for both cameras was foiled.

Nick

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