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Sigma DP Merrill: Leica M Lenses?

I’ve received a number of inquiries from readers on You can now add Leica M-mount to Sigma DP cameras for $300.

A member of the Chinese website Taobao is offering a service that modifies a Sigma DP compact camera and fits it with a Leica M-mount by removing the fixed lens and attaching an additional plate with the lens mount to the front of the camera

I am distinctly not a fan of sloppy journalism that cannot be bothered to clarify the key question: Sigma DP or Sigma DP Merrill or both? Totally different cameras. It’s like saying Nikon Coolpix vs Nikon D800. At least one of the pictures I see shows a Sigma DP (not Merrill), yet there is an “under $1000” buying link at the end, which implies the Merrill models.

Assuming the conversion is of the 'Merrill' variety and you trust some guy in his underwear over in an apartment in China to modify your camera, issues remain:

  • Sharpness and color shading issues from the acute ray angle with Leica M lenses; not a given to expect good results, as Sony NEX testing proves.
  • Precision: plane parallel alignment of the lens mount to the sensor.
  • Intrusion of dust into the camera.
  • Manual focus, quite awkward without always zooming in.
  • Voided warranty.
  • Whether the camera will generate oddball artifacts from a 'foreign' lens whose characteristics will be different.
  • Whether Sigma Photo Pro has built-in knowledge of the lens that it uses and whether it will mal-convert for a 'foreign' lens.
  • Whether the mount might damage the Leica lens, or lock onto it and not come off (I have had this problem with a Zeiss lens and a lens adapter brand I will never use again).
  • Whether the mount is of quality materials, or whether it might shed metal flakes into the camera (I have seen this with inexpensive lens adapters that look anodized but are cheap paint).

I don’t like reporting on horse-shit solutions, but after getting so many emails I wanted to address the issue.

Now maybe I’m all wrong here, and if someone sent met a converted DP Merrill camera, sure, I’d try it. But the fact is that the SIGMA lenses on the DP Merrill are excellent first rate optics.

In short, rather than mess with this camera-hack, buy all three of the DPM cameras for under $2K (about the price of one of the cheapest Leica M lenses) and be done with it.

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