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Sigma DP Merrill

Best Quality: ISO 100 or ISO 200?

ISO 200 is the native ISO of the Foveon sensor in the Sigma DP Merrill. Hence, the nominal recommendation which one will hear from Sigma and others is to shoot at ISO 200 instead of ISO 100 for increased dynamic range.

But after shooting 1500 or so images mostly at ISO 100, I developed a feeling that ISO 100 delivered solid image quality with highlight loss being rare, even the way I was inclined to shoot: carefully monitoring exposure, indeed even giving extra exposure (ETTR).

The working premise for the ISO 200 admonishment is that the non-native ISO 100 carries a risk of highlight degradation or hard-clipping whereas ISO 200 preserves a full stop of “headroom”. Why so? ISO 200 is calibrated so that about a stop of headroom is available for very bright highlights. Thus there is some margin for error in exposure before high-key detail “blows out”. At ISO 100, the exposure time must be doubled, and hence this safety margin is unavailable.

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Diglloyd Guide to Mirrorless offers comprehensive integrated coverage of most APS-C and full frame mirrorless cameras and lenses.

Special emphasis is placed on Sony full-frame, including Sony lenses and the high performance Zeiss Batis and Zeiss Loxia lenses plus Rokinon/Samyang and others. Fujifilm X, Olympus and Panasonic M4/3, Sigma dp Merrill and dp/sd Quattro are also covered in depth. Years in the making, it offers a wealth of material for choosing and using a mirrorless camera.

  • Make better images by learning how to get the best results right away. For example, the best way to set up your Sony camera.
  • Save money by choosing the right lens for your needs the first time, particularly with the numerous lenses available for Sony.
  • Make better images, a sort of “cheat sheet” saving yourself months or years of ad-hoc learning—best practices and how-to and processing parameters are discussed and shown.
  • Jaw-dropping image quality found nowhere else utilizing Retina-grade images up to 28 megapixels filling up to 5K display, plus large crops.
  • Real world examples with insights found nowhere else. Make sharper images just by understanding lens behavior you won’t read about elsewhere.
  • Aperture series from wide open through stopped down, showing the full range of lens performance and bokeh.
  • Optical quality analysis of field curvature, focus shift, sharpness, flare, distortion, and performance in the field.

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