Not scientific, very casual Quattro vs. Merrill test

Started Jul 11, 2014 | Discussions
SigmaTog
SigmaTog Contributing Member • Posts: 955
Re: Not scientific, very casual Quattro vs. Merrill test

Thanks Sam

I'll wait & see.

ΣigmaTog

OP Sam Goetz New Member • Posts: 14
Raw files for download .x3fs for download
2

Raw files are uploading here :

https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=0B68MTk4TTHl-VTB0eGo2b3F2eEU&usp=sharing

They are actively uploading right now so they won't all be there for another hour or so. Should be 12 files in total. 200s are Merrill. 40s are Quattro.

Enjoy!

OP Sam Goetz New Member • Posts: 14
Raw files here
1

Uploading here :

https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=0B68MTk4TTHl-VTB0eGo2b3F2eEU&usp=sharing

Will be up in an hour or so...

200s = Merrill // 40s = Quattro

SigmaTog
SigmaTog Contributing Member • Posts: 955
Re: Raw files here

Thanks Sam

I'll get to them soon

Tog

D Cox Forum Pro • Posts: 27,092
Re: Not scientific, very casual Quattro vs. Merrill test

From these comparisons, I would say that the Merrill is more punchy and the Quattro is more delicate.

Perhaps the Merrill is more film-like, but to my eye the difference is much like that between different types of film. People have strong preferences among films.

A good set of comparisons anyway. Thanks for posting.

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Sigma fp
Aaron C Greenman Contributing Member • Posts: 544
Re: Not scientific, very casual Quattro vs. Merrill test

Q renders enough (as in the right amount of) details. M renders more, more than what meet our eyes. And that has a price to pay, in other respects of image quality.

I agree with that assessment - as cool as it was to see all that detail with the Merrill, it was overwhelming and awful for portraits. I think the same look can be extracted from the Quattro when required but otherwise image quality is much more balanced.
--
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www.acuitycolorgrain.com

Lord metroid
Lord metroid Regular Member • Posts: 476
Re: Not scientific, very casual Quattro vs. Merrill test

Love your images, so many very nice environments to compare the two cameras.

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Tom Schum
Tom Schum Veteran Member • Posts: 9,987
Re: Not scientific, very casual Quattro vs. Merrill test

Sam Goetz wrote:

Merrill 06 - Wide

Quattro 06 - Wide

Merrill 06 - Detail

Quattro 06 - Detail

Based on the test images I've already seen I was deeply concerned that Sigma threw the baby out with the bath water with the Quattro - that the new sensor (although very nice in a vacuum) did not have the qualities that I fell in love with in the Merrill.

Unfortunately, I'd have to say that this test 100% confirmed those fears for me. I'm going to shoot some more tests this weekend (specifically I'd love to see how it does with portraits), but I've seen enough to know that the Quattro makes some deadly compromises in terms of color and detail that simply ruin the whole camera for me.

It just looks like the acutance has been toned down in the Quattro.  It looks to me like all the detail is still there.

To me, the Quattro images have a softer feel to them without compromising detail, and this ought to appeal to CFA sensor users more than the radical Merrill hyper-reality that we all love (I have a DP3M).

I'm guessing a little sharpness tweaking will give the Quattro a more Merrill-like feel.  Maybe "sharpness tweaking" is not the right term here.  Something to increase the acutance but not give the characteristic haloes that come with increases to sharpness...  Not sure how to do this, but it keeps looking like this to me.

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Tom Schum

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SigmaTog
SigmaTog Contributing Member • Posts: 955
Re: Not scientific, very casual Quattro vs. Merrill test
1

Tom Schum wrote:

It just looks like the acutance has been toned down in the Quattro. It looks to me like all the detail is still there.

To me, the Quattro images have a softer feel to them without compromising detail, and this ought to appeal to CFA sensor users more than the radical Merrill hyper-reality that we all love (I have a DP3M).

I'm guessing a little sharpness tweaking will give the Quattro a more Merrill-like feel. Maybe "sharpness tweaking" is not the right term here. Something to increase the acutance but not give the characteristic haloes that come with increases to sharpness... Not sure how to do this, but it keeps looking like this to me.

Yep, that is what I think too....

Sigma has gone for the middle ground to appease the Bayer CFA crowd who like soft images

Sad really, 'cause the niche market of detail has been watered down, for the $$$, but that is life.

Can they carry two models, M & Q........a sharp camera & a soft camera ??

ΣigmaTog

richard stone Veteran Member • Posts: 3,442
Re: Not scientific, very casual Quattro vs. Merrill test
1

Tom Schum wrote:

Sam Goetz wrote:

Merrill 06 - Wide

Quattro 06 - Wide

Merrill 06 - Detail

Quattro 06 - Detail

Based on the test images I've already seen I was deeply concerned that Sigma threw the baby out with the bath water with the Quattro - that the new sensor (although very nice in a vacuum) did not have the qualities that I fell in love with in the Merrill.

Unfortunately, I'd have to say that this test 100% confirmed those fears for me. I'm going to shoot some more tests this weekend (specifically I'd love to see how it does with portraits), but I've seen enough to know that the Quattro makes some deadly compromises in terms of color and detail that simply ruin the whole camera for me.

It just looks like the acutance has been toned down in the Quattro. It looks to me like all the detail is still there.

To me, the Quattro images have a softer feel to them without compromising detail, and this ought to appeal to CFA sensor users more than the radical Merrill hyper-reality that we all love (I have a DP3M).

I'm guessing a little sharpness tweaking will give the Quattro a more Merrill-like feel. Maybe "sharpness tweaking" is not the right term here. Something to increase the acutance but not give the characteristic haloes that come with increases to sharpness... Not sure how to do this, but it keeps looking like this to me.

From what I saw with the Merrill sensor in the DPM series, the camera was great for non-people street images, for some types of still life images, and for landscapes, but not so good for general image making. For such general use, it's not impossible to use the M, it's just a challenge, sometimes. The DPM series has an odd level of micro-contrast and detail, more than the D800, considering that the D800 has a sensor twice the size. Meanwhile, the camera was somewhat slow in use, caused in part by what even Sigma referred to as "file bloat." And Sigma had to know that the images themselves presented a somewhat odd, and un-human, view of the world. It was much more than people could see, and that was distracting in some images.

The images from the quattro have an equivalent, if not greater, level of detail, presented with more subtlety, and it may be more accurate, in terms of how people see things.

For me, in the posted images, which I consider a reasonable guide to how a normal person might use the camera in a city, the detail is more than sufficient, and the color is excellent. And someone so inclined could probably get to about 80% of the micro-contrast of the Merrill sensor.

What strikes me is that the q is a much more versatile camera, one which someone could actually use at a wedding or other "event" and get superb images without a struggle. Or which could be used as a travel camera. And most importantly, it will provide excellent images of people. In addition, the images look to me like images that I would expect from an updated SD10 or SD15 but with a huge amount of additional detail. It does not have a blurring filter, and it does not interpolate data, and it does not have to be massively sharpened to get a decent image. Those are the benefits of a Foveon sensor.

On a related issue, the q seems much better in terms of "DR," in the sense of avoiding or minimizing low light "noise," which presents itself as odd colors in the image. The result is at least one stop (and maybe two) better performance, which is big. That odd colored noise is a huge issue (or worse) to many people who would otherwise buy and use the M camera. Avoiding or minimizing the noise is a big step forward. But we have to figure that people using the camera will push the performance envelope until noise becomes an issue, and then complain about it.

I plan on buying one.

Richard

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Roland Karlsson Forum Pro • Posts: 29,087
Re: Not scientific, very casual Quattro vs. Merrill test

Tom Schum wrote:

It just looks like the acutance has been toned down in the Quattro. It looks to me like all the detail is still there.

To me, the Quattro images have a softer feel to them without compromising detail, and this ought to appeal to CFA sensor users more than the radical Merrill hyper-reality that we all love (I have a DP3M).

I'm guessing a little sharpness tweaking will give the Quattro a more Merrill-like feel. Maybe "sharpness tweaking" is not the right term here. Something to increase the acutance but not give the characteristic haloes that come with increases to sharpness... Not sure how to do this, but it keeps looking like this to me.

My guess is that Merrill images simply enhances the local contrast. And ... it is most likely that this is a feature in the software/firmware, done when converting from RAW to RGB.

I would be surprised if this enhancement exists in the RAW data, i.e. that it is the sensor that does the enhancement. This can be checked if you have a Merrill camera and do some tests, looking at RAW data.

My guess is also that it is Quattro and the CFA cameras that have it right and the higher micro contrast in Merrill is a special effect.

NOTE - that it should be quite straight forward to get that enhancement in a photo editor.

NOTE also that you can get the same effect with film by using a high accutance developer.

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Sigma DP3 Merrill Sigma dp2 Quattro Sony RX100 III Pentax K-3 Pentax K-1 +14 more
joe173 Regular Member • Posts: 449
Re: Not scientific, very casual Quattro vs. Merrill test

Roland Karlsson wrote:

Tom Schum wrote:

It just looks like the acutance has been toned down in the Quattro. It looks to me like all the detail is still there.

To me, the Quattro images have a softer feel to them without compromising detail, and this ought to appeal to CFA sensor users more than the radical Merrill hyper-reality that we all love (I have a DP3M).

I'm guessing a little sharpness tweaking will give the Quattro a more Merrill-like feel. Maybe "sharpness tweaking" is not the right term here. Something to increase the acutance but not give the characteristic haloes that come with increases to sharpness... Not sure how to do this, but it keeps looking like this to me.

My guess is that Merrill images simply enhances the local contrast. And ... it is most likely that this is a feature in the software/firmware, done when converting from RAW to RGB.

I would be surprised if this enhancement exists in the RAW data, i.e. that it is the sensor that does the enhancement. This can be checked if you have a Merrill camera and do some tests, looking at RAW data.

My guess is also that it is Quattro and the CFA cameras that have it right and the higher micro contrast in Merrill is a special effect.

NOTE - that it should be quite straight forward to get that enhancement in a photo editor.

NOTE also that you can get the same effect with film by using a high accutance developer.

I don't think much detail has been lost so much as has been toned down. With my editing skills, I could probably record a photoshop action to reproduce the enhanced microcontrast. In many images I found the high level of microcontrast worked, while others it detracted from the photo. Also, please remember, this is a new camera with new software. I would be surprised if over the months to come, things aren't tweaked.

Roland Karlsson Forum Pro • Posts: 29,087
Re: Not scientific, very casual Quattro vs. Merrill test

joe173 wrote:

I don't think much detail has been lost so much as has been toned down.

I think it is the other way around. It has been enhanced in Merrill. I have seen several Merrill images that are just too much. But, just as you say, sometimes it is just fine.

With my editing skills, I could probably record a photoshop action to reproduce the enhanced microcontrast. In many images I found the high level of microcontrast worked, while others it detracted from the photo. Also, please remember, this is a new camera with new software. I would be surprised if over the months to come, things aren't tweaked.

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Sigma DP3 Merrill Sigma dp2 Quattro Sony RX100 III Pentax K-3 Pentax K-1 +14 more
Lord metroid
Lord metroid Regular Member • Posts: 476
Re: Not scientific, very casual Quattro vs. Merrill test
1

Roland Karlsson wrote:

joe173 wrote:

I don't think much detail has been lost so much as has been toned down.

I think it is the other way around. It has been enhanced in Merrill. I have seen several Merrill images that are just too much. But, just as you say, sometimes it is just fine.

I think I like the Merrill better, the photographs are awesomely realistic and the size of the camera seems much more in line with the original intent of the DP.

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Sigma DP2s Sigma dp2 Quattro
Roland Karlsson Forum Pro • Posts: 29,087
Re: Not scientific, very casual Quattro vs. Merrill test

Lord metroid wrote:

I think I like the Merrill better,

OK

the photographs are awesomely realistic

I would not call it realistic.', I would rather call it super realistic. The same way some modern American artist are painting super realistic paintings. They have a pop or wow factor that reality lacks.

and the size of the camera seems much more in line with the original intent of the DP.

Agree totally.

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Sigma DP3 Merrill Sigma dp2 Quattro Sony RX100 III Pentax K-3 Pentax K-1 +14 more
Filmophile Regular Member • Posts: 306
Re: Not scientific, very casual Quattro vs. Merrill test

If the Merrill images are just enhanced by software, presumably it would be possible to hack the RAW file to trick SPP into applying old fashioned SD14 or SD15 processing logic, right? (unless of course it sneakily checks the image dimensions as a second level of validation).  Anyone tried this?

IljaOblomow Junior Member • Posts: 44
Re: Not scientific, very casual Quattro vs. Merrill test

I am glad i bought a dp2m at great price...

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Roland Karlsson Forum Pro • Posts: 29,087
Re: Not scientific, very casual Quattro vs. Merrill test

Filmophile wrote:

If the Merrill images are just enhanced by software, presumably it would be possible to hack the RAW file to trick SPP into applying old fashioned SD14 or SD15 processing logic, right? (unless of course it sneakily checks the image dimensions as a second level of validation). Anyone tried this?

No, but the image will be blue.

I have to admit though that the "theory" that Merrill has an extra step of local contrast enhancement is rather weird. Why would they do such a thing?

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Sigma DP3 Merrill Sigma dp2 Quattro Sony RX100 III Pentax K-3 Pentax K-1 +14 more
Hng Contributing Member • Posts: 645
Re: Not scientific, very casual Quattro vs. Merrill test
1

Open tiff converted from RAW of Q and M, open in ACR, zoom up, will see Q is simply a painting whereas M is really interactive with combination of all functions. Best choose tiffs of flower of both. Q has no more classic Foveon look, no more 3D feel - completely watercolor pixels processed from new engine, new concept.

Roland Karlsson Forum Pro • Posts: 29,087
Re: Not scientific, very casual Quattro vs. Merrill test

Hng wrote:

Open tiff converted from RAW of Q and M, open in ACR, zoom up, will see Q is simply a painting whereas M is really interactive with combination of all functions. Best choose tiffs of flower of both. Q has no more classic Foveon look, no more 3D feel - completely watercolor pixels processed from new engine, new concept.

It would be very nice if someone could take the same image with DP2, DP2M and DP2Q. Then it would be possible to test that hypothesis. Because, right now there are two truths:

  1. DPM is classic Foveon. DPQ is just some water color Bayer thing.
  2. DPQ is classic Fovon. DPM is overexaggerated, just enhancing local contrast.
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Sigma DP3 Merrill Sigma dp2 Quattro Sony RX100 III Pentax K-3 Pentax K-1 +14 more
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