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Reader Comments: Sigma DP Merrill vs Alternatives

Sigma DP1 Merrill

See in depth review of Sigma DP Merrill cameras in Guide to Mirrorless.

Also, the Sigma DP Merrill topics page and Pixel for Pixel, *Nothing* Beats a Sigma DP Merrill.

Elaine D writes:

I subscribed to your Mirrorless for one year to read the Sigma DP Merrill reviews. I know everyone, including non-photographer bloggers who have no expertise at all love to bash these cameras. I bought the Sigma DP2M based on your review. Most people and non-photographer bloggers hate the cameras due to all the listed reasons. Their reviews stop there.

I understand all the annoying quirks, but the end result is the picture. I can honestly say that out of all of my digital cameras, this one is the most annoying, and yet the most exciting. I am always excited when I print and viewing the details. Nothing gives me the 3D detailed imaging for a camera of this size like the Merrills. I could get the Nikon D800E or the latest greatest camera. I’ve had the Leica system.

I sold all my expensive gear, except to keep a few quirky items. The reason I did this was picture results. Some camera, lens, sensor combos produce lovely results, and others look like crap. The Leica gear was way overpriced for what it produced. Loved the rangefinder and the M6 film cameras were the best to use, but I’m talking digital. Sold it all. I wanted to LOVE the Fuji X-E1 but hated the pictures coming out of it, (except the color). The smearing, slow focus, not sharp photos drove me insane! I sold it and was deeply upset as I loved the body's design, but wished for the tilted screen like on the Sony NEX camera. Everyone is jumping on the Fuji wagon with the X-T1 and such, but I can’t get past my first experience of slow, inaccurate AF focus coupled with smearing files. What does everyone see in those cameras? And what’s changed? Is it better now? I still see the same sensor going into slightly different bodies.

I wanted to get the Sony A7 series camera, but the shutter vibration issue and then lack of lenses kept me from delving into it. Plus, I had the Sony NEX 6, which is as much as I wanted to delve into Sony right now. But I think the files are nicer coming out of the Sony than the Fuji. Am I the only one who thinks so? Am I crazy?

My Sony NEX 5 & 6 which everyone dismissed was much faster and smaller, with tilted screen too. It’s great for a carry-all in my bag, though not the sharpest results..

But the Merrills with all their annoying quirks beats all of my cameras in the final result…Files!. It is closest to that 3D film look, kind of reminds me of Kodachrome and Ektachrome slide film. Kind of shoots like that too in its unforgivable nature. Ha! So, unless I break out my old film cameras, the next best thing is the DP2M, and DP3M. I almost got the DP1M, but many reviews showed that it wasn’t sharpest of the three. I kind of regret that. Sharp in the Merrill world is pretty sharp, and I love that wide angle view. It’s between the Ricoh GR and DP1M. I have no doubt the Ricoh would be easier to use. I know Sigma moved onto the Quattro and I hate the look, and the fact that it shoots more like all the other Bayer sensors (read in your review). I am so happy I got a much-reduced DP3M the other day from B&H Photo. Both cameras I purchased at much lower prices, because no one is buying them. I know everyone hates Sigma Photo Pro, but it works fine on my Macintosh. An occasional crash, but not since I updated both the OS to Yosemite and the Sigma Photo software. I live in Arizona, so the Merrills are perfect here. I just need a good tripod. I have never owned a good one and think most of the gear is overkill.

Anyway, I just wanted to thank you for your reviews. While less knowledgeable people bash these gems for their faults, which they do have, again, the final result is worth the hassle. One day Sigma will get it all right with that Foveon. I think they should dump the Quattro and focus on coming out with a workable solution for their Merrills. I’m happy with them. but it would be great to work in low light with them, and on moving subjects. LOL! I know it’s wrong of me to say, but I hope no one uses them, because I want my photos to stand out. Hahahaha!

DIGLLOYD: Agreed. And I always try to do more than review—hints, tips, how to use, etc I try to incorporate whenever possible. See Sigma DP Merrill pricing on gear page.

Richard R writes:

I can't miss this opportunity to second Elaine D's conclusion and observations about the Merrills. And nod to your not small part in introducing your readers to these marvels.

I have a 16x22 black and white of an Easter lily framed in a guest bathroom. People have actually gone in and been so blown away that they have walked out forgetting why they went in!

DIGLLOYD: Agreed. My tulips shot from the DP2 Merrill is still my favorite print ever.

Henning K writes:

I must say I really enjoy your site. I subscribe to Mirrorless guide, and I guess as many of the readers I value light weight, as I travel a lot.

I have used DP2M for a long time and recently bought DP3M as well as Ricoh GR.
Until now I have treated the Merrills as low ISO cameras only, but today I decided to try High ISO BW converting using blue channel 100 percent in SPP.

What a missed marked opportunity for Sigma, they could easily have advertised this great behavior or even made a firmware with this as a feature from start. Please see the included 2 photos, ISO 2000, one Sigma default BW(in-camera) and the other one Blue Channel BW only no noise reduction, sharpness minus 1. This is my first attempt and only a grab picture of my son.

For people who wants the phenomenal low ISO for instance when travelling but still be able to take photos in low light and not be left with a useless camera in many situations; I find it really expands the shooting envelope as Ming Thein would have called it.

According to Sean Reid it is only 2/3rd of a stop worse for noise than Leica Monochrom at 6400,when using Blue channel.

Actually this trio GR,DP2M and 3M is growing on me.

DIGLLOYD: the Merrills are keepers in many ways. Mixing color channels or using singly for black and white is another terrific application. I’ve long felt that the DP Merrills are better black and white cameras than the Leica M Monochrom: far more flexible in applying a color filter after the shot for starters.

Aspen, late autumn
f/5.6 @ 1/13 sec handheld; ISO 100, Curves Sigma DP-1 Merrill

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