Ming Thein DP3 Merrill review

Started Jul 8, 2013 | Discussions
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TalleyrandBH Forum Member • Posts: 62
Ming Thein DP3 Merrill review
5
Sigma DP3 Merrill
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Kendall Helmstetter Gelner MOD Forum Pro • Posts: 19,555
Really good review
2

That's a pretty good review of the DP-3M, although I disagree a bit that the body without a grip is hard to hold.  I don't think it's that bad.

It's great that he points out that the DP-M cameras give you the ability to adjust a monochrome image based on color channels, unlike the Leica-M.

One guy in the comments dislikes the images because of too *much* micro-contrast!  He finds it distracting.  Interesting, and I've not heard anyone say that before.

Thanks for posting the link.

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PrebenR Senior Member • Posts: 3,415
Re: Really good review

I agree.

I like the handling though. I have no problem holding the dpxms. But I don't walk around to much with camera in my hand. Is that the problem? I don't put a grip on mine as I prefer the original design too much , but it is excellent to see that such grips do exist and are highly valued.

I have tried the OM-D in a store, but for me that was not comfortable and had to use two hands. Perhaps it all depend on your size of hands and the way you walk around with the camera?

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PrebenR Senior Member • Posts: 3,415
Re: Really good review
1

Kendall Helmstetter Gelner wrote:

One guy in the comments dislikes the images because of too *much* micro-contrast! He finds it distracting. Interesting, and I've not heard anyone say that before.

I saw a poll somewhere (trying to remember where, but I cannot at the moment) about how people viewed their photos. The majority by far were viewing them on screen only. Viewing a high resolution image at 96 dpi with poor image scaling can give artifacts. F.ex you see plenty moire just do to the crude scaling down software, but there is non in the real image. This is one reason I wish Flickr got rid of the awful lightbox.

Printing DPxM photos, even small, you want the micro contrast/acuity as it gives such clarity to the photo.

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hexxthalion Contributing Member • Posts: 536
Re: Really good review

PrebenR wrote:

I agree.

I like the handling though. I have no problem holding the dpxms. But I don't walk around to much with camera in my hand. Is that the problem? I don't put a grip on mine as I prefer the original design too much , but it is excellent to see that such grips do exist and are highly valued.

I have tried the OM-D in a store, but for me that was not comfortable and had to use two hands. Perhaps it all depend on your size of hands and the way you walk around with the camera?

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adding a grip (I use Mr Franiec's one) improves handling dramatically - I usually walk around with Sigma in my hand and X-Pro1 on the strap.

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KM Legacy Senior Member • Posts: 1,955
Re: Ming Thein DP3 Merrill review

As it is, this camera challenges the very best of the 35mm full frame DSLRs on image quality; it’s probably better than the previous generation of medium format digital backs, too. And it still beats the current ones on high ISO performance.

That sums it up. The DPxMs are comparable to all but the latest medium format digital cameras. They are, IMO, better than the giant medium format film cameras of yesteryear. That's why I don't really care if they aren't the most hand-holdable, high-speed, high-ISO machines. I do think that a bulge in the front would allow a larger battery and improve hand-holding, without reducing portability that much.

Antone
Antone Contributing Member • Posts: 991
Re: Ming Thein DP3 Merrill review

I just wish there were DPxM cameras with a 12mm-14mm and 75mm lenses...

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Tony-S

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BarrytheB Veteran Member • Posts: 3,436
Re: Ming Thein DP3 Merrill review

Good review- I always enjoy Ming's take on things, thanks for the post

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Gate bois Contributing Member • Posts: 868
Re: Ming Thein DP3 Merrill review
1

In the example presented for comparison with the D800E, the facade of the building with foliage, dp3M shows more detail than the D800E.
I did a test by expanding the original crop the equivalent of D800E, using PhotoZoom and working accentuation in photoshop.

maceoQ Senior Member • Posts: 1,766
Re: Really good review
1

Kendall Helmstetter Gelner wrote:

One guy in the comments dislikes the images because of too *much* micro-contrast! He finds it distracting. Interesting, and I've not heard anyone say that before.

Really? I think the harsh microcontrast is the main problem when shooting portraits withe the Merrills.
There has been lots of comments about it. There is even an article in x3magazin: "smoother portraits".

But on the other hand the strong microconrast is welcome when photographing textures, landscapes, old facades etc.

Anyway, since there is the monochrome mode (blue channel) smooth portraits are easy to make.

Kendall Helmstetter Gelner MOD Forum Pro • Posts: 19,555
Not at all a problem

maceoQ wrote:

Kendall Helmstetter Gelner wrote:

One guy in the comments dislikes the images because of too *much* micro-contrast! He finds it distracting. Interesting, and I've not heard anyone say that before.

Really? I think the harsh microcontrast is the main problem when shooting portraits withe the Merrills.
There has been lots of comments about it. There is even an article in x3magazin: "smoother portraits".

There are a huge number of options for smoothing skin.  What the microcontrast is great for is hair, eyes, jewelry, clothing, etc.  In none of those cases does micro-contrast do anything but improve the image.

And even without the micro-contrast boost, you'd have to smooth the skin ANYWAY to remove imperfections, most bayer portrait shooters do this also.  So it's not like it saves you any time not having micro-contrast.

But on the other hand the strong microconrast is welcome when photographing textures, landscapes, old facades etc.

Which also make great backdrops for models...

Anyway, since there is the monochrome mode (blue channel) smooth portraits are easy to make.

But that can smooth out other things, I prefer just affecting the skin if possible.

Also if the subject is old and has a "weathered" face, then micro-contrast is a boon on skin!  It really brings out the character.

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Laurence Matson
Laurence Matson Forum Pro • Posts: 11,656
Push em back, push em back, push em waaaay back

maceoQ wrote:

Really? I think the harsh microcontrast is the main problem when shooting portraits withe the Merrills.

There has been lots of comments about it. There is even an article in x3magazin: "smoother portraits".

But on the other hand the strong microconrast is welcome when photographing textures, landscapes, old facades etc.

Anyway, since there is the monochrome mode (blue channel) smooth portraits are easy to make.

Of course this requires a push back.

The inconsistency above is similar to the order and chaos problem in physics and right-brained people.

You can always create order, but you can never "create" chaos.

The right-brained version is: You can always get organized, but you cannot "become" intuitive.

And so it is with detail: You cannot create detail, but you can always get rid of it.

In fact, with SPP and NFL, it is a snap.

For portraits, there have been portraits taken with SD cameras since day one (starting with Kevin Ames and Stephen Johnson), and they have been beautifully rendered with creamy smoothness, when desired, and left raw when that was the message.

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Antone
Antone Contributing Member • Posts: 991
Re: Really good review
1

maceoQ wrote:

Really? I think the harsh microcontrast is the main problem when shooting portraits withe the Merrills.

It's easy to soften a sharp image. It's difficult to sharpen a soft image. All things being equal, I'll take sharp images over soft images.

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Tony-S

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SigmaChrome Veteran Member • Posts: 8,298
Re: Push em back, push em back, push em waaaay back

Laurence Matson wrote:

maceoQ wrote:

Really? I think the harsh microcontrast is the main problem when shooting portraits withe the Merrills.

There has been lots of comments about it. There is even an article in x3magazin: "smoother portraits".

But on the other hand the strong microconrast is welcome when photographing textures, landscapes, old facades etc.

Anyway, since there is the monochrome mode (blue channel) smooth portraits are easy to make.

Of course this requires a push back.

The inconsistency above is similar to the order and chaos problem in physics and right-brained people.

You can always create order, but you can never "create" chaos.

The right-brained version is: You can always get organized, but you cannot "become" intuitive.

And so it is with detail: You cannot create detail, but you can always get rid of it.

In fact, with SPP and NFL, it is a snap.

For portraits, there have been portraits taken with SD cameras since day one (starting with Kevin Ames and Stephen Johnson), and they have been beautifully rendered with creamy smoothness, when desired, and left raw when that was the message.

Good point, Laurence.

I have been using NFL for portraits shot with Sigma cameras for years. The trick is to shoot with this in mind from the outset - even for young subjects with great skin it's still a useful approach. Mind you, it's not the whole answer for great portraits with the SD and DP cameras - one still needs to do local spotting, just like in the old days.

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glacierpete Senior Member • Posts: 1,917
Re: Really good review

maceoQ wrote:

Kendall Helmstetter Gelner wrote:

One guy in the comments dislikes the images because of too *much* micro-contrast! He finds it distracting. Interesting, and I've not heard anyone say that before.

Really? I think the harsh microcontrast is the main problem when shooting portraits withe the Merrills.
There has been lots of comments about it. There is even an article in x3magazin: "smoother portraits".

But on the other hand the strong microconrast is welcome when photographing textures, landscapes, old facades etc.

Anyway, since there is the monochrome mode (blue channel) smooth portraits are easy to make.

maceoQ

I often prefer to set spp sharpness to -2 and use topaz clarity to manipulate contrast and sharpness.

You might want to give it a try. it allows various degrees of aritfact free contrast enhancement and manipulation and comes with a great masking tool. For me it is the perfect tool to fine tune my DP2M files.

http://www.topazlabs.com/clarity/

maceoQ Senior Member • Posts: 1,766
Re: Really good review
2

Antone wrote:

maceoQ wrote:

Really? I think the harsh microcontrast is the main problem when shooting portraits withe the Merrills.

It's easy to soften a sharp image. It's difficult to sharpen a soft image. All things being equal, I'll take sharp images over soft images.

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Tony-S

I was not talking about sharpness, but about micro contrast.
This asian woman, in real life, has a very smooth skin, but the DP2m makes it look harsh.

Thats why i often use the monochrome mode in such situations.

left side, normal SPP processing, right side monochrome processing, layered in PS

Harold66
Harold66 Veteran Member • Posts: 6,570
Re: Ming Thein DP3 Merrill review

well the review is ok BUT.. the images are horrible ( especially the images with people in it) Looks like he had a serious underexposure problems with the images he took with the dp3m

Harold

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DMillier Forum Pro • Posts: 19,223
Re: Execellent review and discussion (nt)
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Hornbrille
Hornbrille Regular Member • Posts: 308
Re: Really good review

For such portraits it's necessary to lower the chrominance noise reduction to a minimum as described bei Bob in the X3-Magazine. I'd additionally lower the contrast and limit fill-light to 0.3 or less. BTW: I stopped showing unprocessed images to my wife and my mother in law.

Uwe 8-)

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