Sigma Getting a DP2 Merrill - hope this works

Jul 6, 2010
I am not actually guessing what people's background might be and had no intention to be condescending. I apologize if I have been -- but then again, people tell me I'm a bit blunt. However, as for SPP, I really maintain that Mac owners simply shouldn't bother with it. As for "Mac only" -- I never noticed, it's true! :) So obviously, no, don't buy another computer for Iridient.

As for resolution, the comparison to the M9 is not even close, believe me: The Merrills resolve in the vicinity of very, very good 30-35 MP Bayer sensors. Which makes sense if you think about the actual resolution on a Bayer sensor. For the record, a M9 has an 18 MP sensor, which translates as 9MP worth of green sensor cells, and 4.5 MPs of red and blue ones. Merrils resolve 15MP in every color. Just sayin'!

As for the ugly colors: I don't see them. I truly like the Foveon colors, they are one of the reasons I use the cameras. They remind me of film, they really do. As for highlights blowing out? Never noticed, honestly. I use a bit of exp.comp. for virtually every picture, and set that before I shoot. I don't mean to be condescending, but coming from film cameras as I do (where you never got a chance to correct anything and had to force the camera to do anything right, because they were so dumb), these things are automatic for me. With digital, I am kinda careful not to blow highlights, so maybe that's why I don't see a problem. In other words, then, this can be handled, and DR is certainly not horrible (I'm neither *that* good with the camera, nor *that* blind with my images).

If you want to slap 35/1.4 lenses on a Foveon, buy that new Quattro sd thingy -- or else go for a Leica M or Canikon or M4/3, sure. Fixed-lens cameras won't do that. But, on the other hand, the Merrills are whisper quiet because they have a leaf shutter. You can only have a leaf shutter if you have a fixed lens (or build it into every single lens, which is a cost issue, ask Mamiya). You can only couple a sensor to a lens, if the two are paired, too. So no, you can't change lenses. But you can buy a Merrill complete for the price of a good lens, actually more like two to three Merrills for the price of a good Leica lens, and change the camera instead of the lens. Better still, get only the DP2m and be happy with its super-universally usable FoV. There is a reason people never were dissatisfied with their old Olympus Trips and Rollei 35's, or never bought any other lens for their old K1000 other than the 50 that came in the box: Good, universal lenses in cameras that give great IQ without fuss. I feel that the Merrills come very close to offering that -- if you watch the quirks, that is.

So, I still feel that the criticism against Sigma's is too often unfair. They are single-purpose devices: to make the best 15MP files at ISO 100-200, like an old film camera would have. And that they do; the IQ is the best I have ever seen at that file size -- and by a very, very wide margin. This is all I care about when I grab the Merrill. If that floats your boat, buy one. Don't believe me? Read the reviews of the Merrills, and the SD1 on Luminous Landscape. Michael Reichmann (God bless his soul) certainly saw his fair share of cameras in his lifetime -- and was blown away by the 15MP Foveons as I was when I saw those pictures. Nick Devlin compares the Merrills to large format cameras on CameraStoreTV. I simply agree, so I'm in good company, I think.

Focussing on clouds, for the record, I have never noticed to be a problem. Ever tried to focus on a fence or other repeating pattern with an M9? Ever tried to achieve critical dead-on focus with a Canon DSLR with a slow lens? Ever tried to release said Canon's (or a Nikon's) shutter stealthily, like a Merrill can? Ever tried to fit a Nikon D800 in your coat pocket? Good luck with all of that. You can only achieve critical focussing with a closed-loop system that auto-corrects for slop. Sorry, you cannot focus on smoke, clouds, or other objects without contrast in them that persists long enough for the contrast-detect to focus on them. Rangefinders, however, go out of alignment, and with its short base, a digital Leica M will not reliably focus a 135 lens with its rangefinder, ever (as per the Leica manual). SLRs go out of alignment, too, plus have focussing systems tailored for speed, not accuracy, plus they cannot overcome the problems that come with through-the-lens focussing coupled with slow lenses. Given their mirror box, SLRs cannot be small, lightweight, or quiet. Given they way, they are made, Leicas cannot be cheap, etc., etc.. Every construction, in other words, has its pros and certainly its cons.

Anybody who wants a small, stealthy camera with stellar IQ (for not much money) should look at the Merrills. Go look at the current Fuji X100 model, too, or a Ricoh GR, while you're at it. Anybody who needs something else should simply walk away from all of those cameras. Just my 2 cents... and your mileage may certainly vary, and vary a lot.
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