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Reader Comment: Travel Cameras (Sigma DP Merrill, etc)

Get Sigma DP Merrill at B&H.

Andrew H writes:

Just reading your reviews of the DP1M/DP2M/DP3M again! :) I now have the DP1M and DP3M and have ordered the DP2M yesterday. Really like some of the Aspen tree images on the DP2 review.

We have a trip planned for Prague and I will be taking the Sigma trilogy with me (still not decided wether to take the Canon 5D Mark III along with the 70-300DO for some reach if needed plus a 50mm1.4 and the swiss army knife of lenses the 24-105 mainly as a back up.

I do not intend to carry them about much as I have really started to enjoy my photography again now I have managed to get the weight right down,its liberating! and having fixed focal lengths also is liberating I now compose in my mind with the choices I have 28 & 75 equivalent and soon the 45, gone full circle really as used to use mainly primes in the film days 24 TS 45TS 501.4 90TS 100macro and 180macro all those lenses were good for film but apart from the 90TS and the 100 macro they are not the best for the digital age.

The cost of replacing all the TS lenses etc to the generation 2 versions is more than I can commit myself to these days and secondly I do not want/can't carry that sort of weight all day any more.

I'm of course aware that the DP123m cameras are soon to be replaced and will be interested to read your findings on the new versions. I still purchased the DP2M even with the soonish arrival of its replacement as they are so cheap here now, but the high end 32Gb SD card is about a 5th of the cost of the camera!

I do wish camera manufacturers would build into the camera the Arca swiss mounting grooves, this has become the standard mount and it would save having to purchase tripod plates and L plates if they were all ready machined into the camera body. Fujifilm have at least supplied for extra cost an L plate for the XT1 camera as soon as it is available. ( hope you are going to review that camera).

I wish to have a small camera that I can put a longer lens on and will fill the gaps in the Sigma DP line up and is good for low light levels Fuji XT1 or Sony A7? Any thoughts? with the Sony I could still use my canon lenses but that means larger heavier gear again and not sure what quality one could expect from such a set up. Olympus EM1, love the idea of it, keep coming back to it and almost purchasing but your comments about this format keep coming into mind and my finger doesn't make to the "Buy" button.

DIGLLOYD: Lightweight is indeed very nice, and the DP Merrills deliver stunning sharpness that with the pinpoint autofocus feature and excellent controls is nail-it-every-time good. Well above their pay grade. My review goes into all the pluses and quirks and should be read before going to the DPM cameras.

As for storage, good deals pop up regularly and the fastest cards are not needed for the Merrills as the CPU is a gating factor.

Arca Swiss style mounting dovetail and plates: not all are compatible. Really Right Stuff gear all works great together but does not always interchange with other brands even though all are nominally “Arca Swiss compatible”. There might be patent issues involved.

Cameras—Right now, the industry is in flux. With Sony on the full-frame warpath, my advice is to keep it simple for a few months, letting things settle out (wait for Photokina in September). But a few ideas:

  • The Ricoh GR remains a favorite without peer for some uses.
  • The Sony A6000 offers a lot of value and the “reach” for longer lenses due to its APS-C crop, but one can put full-frame lenses on it, using it as a stepping stone to what later full-frame E-mount (2nd gen from Sony).
  • I expect to see some very nice Sony E-mount lenses late this year which will influence the equation of camera choice (lens choice is the weak point of the Sony line at present).
  • The Olympus EM1 is a very fine camera and terrific fun to shoot and its sensor image stabilization is the best there is. But it is not petite or cheap and its sensor has some limits.
  • Fujifilm X is adored by many for some good reasons (mainly ergonomic), but I am not a fan of investing in a relatively low-res APS-C camera system which is hardly cheap, and which means starting all over when full frame comes (because the lenses cover only APS-C sensor). And the X system bodies are already larger than Sony full frame cameras, which come in 12/24/36 megapixel flavors.

Specific cameras for specific purposes make sense to me, and in this respect all of the cameras above have merit in some context. But long term value is harder to gauge and gets into individual goals. Bottom line: full frame is where it’s headed generally, sort of the new megapixel war, but this time it’s about sensor size.

Philippe A writes:

I was in Prague two weeks ago. Very beautiful town, a lot of people, but very concentrated on the main sites, worth escaping from Charles bridge as there are numerous beautiful places very near, just a few streets away.

Lots of opportunities for night shots also (GR probably better suited than DP here).

Would recommend the restaurant u zlaté studné, close to the castle, not cheap, but very good food and an outstanding terrace with a fantastic view over Prague' rooftop ( reservation recommended).

DIGLLOYD: On night shots, the Ricoh GR is a stand-out. For one thing, it is the only camera I know of offering direct shutter speed control up to 5 minutes. And it’s night-shot quality is outstanding (but use long exposure noise reduction, just like on DSLRs).

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