- Six retina grade tulip images from the Sigma DP3 Merrill.
- Sigma DP3 Merrill aperture series from f/2.8 through f/11.
The results are stunning, and that’s saying something, since I’m generally jaded on digital camera image quality.
Guide to Mirrorless: see the comparisons of the Nikon D600 and Canon 5D Mark III to the DP1 Merrill. Also the Comparisons Across Format.
Guide to Leica: see the comparison of the DP1 Merrill to the Leica M9.
Howard C writes:
I am simply astonished at the overall image quality of these sample images from the DP3. There is a three dimensionality to the files that just makes them seem to come alive. This not just about resolution.
The Sony image of the same flowers at 109mb doesn't look nearly as "alive" as the DP3 image. I have seen JPEGs from medium format cameras with 40+ MP that do not look as good.
DIGLLOYD: Indeed. Sigma DP Merrill shooters know firsthand that the visual impact is strong. As with almost any tool, one wishes for operational improvements, but the image quality is rewarding.
Stephen M writes:
Good morning. I just thought I'd write to compliment you on all the great work you do. I just looked at your fantastic tulip shots done with the new Sigma DP-3 Merrill. The Tulip #6 photo is absolutely incredible. That image is begging to be printed out as a 40x60 canvas and hung on your wall. Very well done! Wonderful light, composition, and detail...the detail! WOW! I've been watching your reports on the Merrill with great interest.
You've proven that the Sigma DP3 Merrill is an amazing camera capable of outstanding results in the right hands. In my opinion, the lack of decent raw workflow software, and an EVF is a deal killer, at least for me.
Really wish that the RAW Merrill files could be used with Capture One Pro, as that is what I use for my work. I'm a commercial photographer who shoots Canon full frame bodies. I always look forward to seeing your reports and images on all the equipment you work with and test. I can't wait until Canon's next flagship body with a sensor greater than 21mp. As we all know, it's been awhile, but I'm sure this new body will be spectacular!
DIGLLOYD: Yes, spectacular image quality from a point and shoot. I regularly get skeptic emails from those who have not tried... I strongly recommend renting one to see for oneself, and B&H Photo has the DP Merrill cameras in stock.
It’s of interest to me to hear the reactions to specific images. I like both #6, but perhaps #2 a bit more. Unfortunately, I am out of wall space, already storage of prints is a problem in my small house. But I get to see what a few clients are printing of same.
The lack of an EVF is a bummer, but not a show-stopper for me given the compact camera size of the camera and outstanding results.
The poor state of the software is a huge time sink for me—I’ve been griping to Sigma on the software for some time now, but progress is glacially slow on improving it. Finished images from it are excellent; the issue is mind-blowing interface design failures, some so basic that the thought “you can’t make this stuff up” applies, and frustrating bugs and crashes. Sigma Corporation doesn’t seem to realize that the SPP software degrades the entire product. Note that Iridient Developer 2.0 ow has X3F support, and I’ll be looking into that soon.
Of course what I’d really like is for a full-frame Foveon sensor of 33 megapixels: scaled up at the same pixel density, the existing APS-C sensor would produce 33 megapixel images which would blow away any existing DSLR resolution.
Ernst H writes:
Thanks for the great work with different cams and lenses. Thus I could compare a lot before trying myself. Especially the tests with Nikon D800e were helpful for me.
Recently more accidentally I got my fingers on a DP2M. I ordered one after one day of trying an also bought the Dp3M as well. Thus probably I also will buy the DP1M.
My only problem now I don´t like the Bayer sensor of my D800e anymore.
This 3D look and per pixel sharpness of the Foveon sensor reminds me the good old time with my 4x5inch large format camera. The color correction of the D3PM is better than everything including all Zeiss and Leica lenses I´ve had and tested during the last years. If you look at the full resolution files in my flickr account the camera makes me speechless. The best thing I almost have to do nothing with the files to make them look best.
DIGLLOYD: The Nikon D800E still has considerably more resolving power than the DP Merrill sensor, but it is true that no Bayer-matrix sensor can deliver the same per-pixel sharpness especially for color-on-color detail. Downsampling a D800E image to DP Merrill resolution makes it clear that the D800E quality is superlative with a lot more detail. But who should expect that 36-megapixels would not win out; even a Bayer sensor with its RGGB layout wins from a huge pixel count: oversampling.
The Foveon sensor does very well in sunlight for color rendition, but in my experience it does not have as wide a color gamut, and it has color rendition issues under some types of lighting (tungsten). This is basically becuase of the stacked design has trouble with strongly biased colors of light as the stacked photosite layers filter out a big chunk of wavelength. Also, the D800E dynamic range is wider.
The DP2M and DP3M are just incredible cameras. Picked up my DP3 Merrill at B&H yesterday and took it to Grand Central Station for a tryout. The resulting images are unbelievably sharp.
My decision to purchase Sigma cameras was based on your analysis of the results that could be achieved with this sensor and glass - spot on. Your tulips are some of the best flower pictures I’ve seen. Thanks for sharing.
DIGLLOYD: this is typical of what I hear from those who try the DP Merrill.