Sigma New owner of the DP1

secludedsea

New Member
Jan 13, 2018
Australia
Steve
Hi there. New to this forum but have been reading through the posts the last few days. I have wanted a Foveon based camera for a number of years and finally had the chance to purchase a second hand DP1. Having lots of film bodies as well, I am not one of those people who worries about speed and running and gunning photography. I love old cameras and love my Olympus OMD EM5 because I can use a ton of old lenses on it with in-body stabilization.

The DP1 arrived late last week and I had the chance to make a few photos with it. Though the weather here has been vastly uninspiring and I had little time, I made a few photos of some local industrial areas. Given that I cannot see the total shutter count of the Sigma, I can only hope there is plenty of life left in it! It looks to be in excellent condition, apart from a tiny dent on a lower corner, where it has obviously met a hard surface at some point. Other than that, the battery seems to have lots of life in it and everything else seems very nice indeed.

Here are some photos, minimally processed in the latest version of SPP, exported to 16 bit TIFF and then conservatively processed in ON1 Photo RAW. No sharpening or noise reduction applied. All at ISO 100. I love the resolution and detail retention. I quite often add up to 1 extra stop of EV, but was not sure for the DP1 in these cases. I would rather often have a slightly overexposed photo than one that is dark and underexposed. I hope also to have my DP2 Merrill come tomorrow!

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Jan 31, 2011
Newcastle, Australia
Sue
Nice, Steve, and welcome to the forum. The more Aussies the better, I say! I wanted one of the DPs too, and CRK had the Merrills for dead cheap (relatively speaking) for ages, but in the end I just couldnt bring myself to get one. I would not have had the required patience.
 

Archiver

Top Veteran
Jul 11, 2010
Melbourne, Australia
Congrats on the new camera. I have a DP1, DP2 and DP2M. The original DP1 is still one of my favourite cameras, despite all its slowness and quirks. I still struggle with the DP2M and sometimes wish I'd bought a Panasonic LX100 instead, which was the other camera I wanted at that time. But the DP1? Still goes out with me after ten years.
 

secludedsea

New Member
Jan 13, 2018
Australia
Steve
Congrats on the new camera. I have a DP1, DP2 and DP2M. The original DP1 is still one of my favourite cameras, despite all its slowness and quirks. I still struggle with the DP2M and sometimes wish I'd bought a Panasonic LX100 instead, which was the other camera I wanted at that time. But the DP1? Still goes out with me after ten years.
If you don't mind my asking, what do you struggle with on the DP2M? I took it out for the first time this afternoon, but have not had a chance yet to look at the images.
 

Archiver

Top Veteran
Jul 11, 2010
Melbourne, Australia
The original DP1 and DP2 have unnatural colour casts, but they are still pleasant to my eye. The DP2M has a colour cast that I don't like very much: it renders things warm/brown/yellow. Caucasian skin looks okay with the DP2M but Asian/Oriental skin looks sallow and ghastly. It also blows highlights much more easily than the DP1/2, and there is less headroom for highlight recovery. While the blown highlights can be mitigated with proper exposure compensation, the lesser highlight recovery means that the images can seem to have less dynamic range than the originals, despite nominally having more.

Operation speed of the DP2M is better than the originals in every way except for buffer clearance and shot review. To speed things up, I turn off automatic image review on most of my cameras. Doing this on the DP2M means that reviewing an image must come after the camera has written it to the card, which takes several seconds. Also, the camera won't power down quickly after taking an image, due to the longer buffer clearance time.

When processing raws in SPP, the Auto setting creates great looking images with excellent shadow and highlight recovery in the DP1 and DP2. For some reason, the DP2M doesn't follow the same Auto algorithms and the images look oddly dull and dark, and with blown out areas that would never happen with the DP1/2.

The DP2M is capable of some incredibly sharp and detailed images, and if you get it right, the images are remarkable. But they lack the 'magic' of the original Foveon sensor cameras and take a lot of work to get a pleasing image. YMMV, obviously, as we all have different tastes in image qualities. I'm finding more use from the DP2M as a dedicated monochrome camera that I take particular care with exposure. If the Merrill works for you, then that's great. Keep experimenting with it until you get results you like from it.
 

theoldsmithy

Hall of Famer
Jan 7, 2013
Cheshire, England
Martin Connolly
The original DP1 and DP2 have unnatural colour casts, but they are still pleasant to my eye. The DP2M has a colour cast that I don't like very much: it renders things warm/brown/yellow. Caucasian skin looks okay with the DP2M but Asian/Oriental skin looks sallow and ghastly. It also blows highlights much more easily than the DP1/2, and there is less headroom for highlight recovery. While the blown highlights can be mitigated with proper exposure compensation, the lesser highlight recovery means that the images can seem to have less dynamic range than the originals, despite nominally having more.

Operation speed of the DP2M is better than the originals in every way except for buffer clearance and shot review. To speed things up, I turn off automatic image review on most of my cameras. Doing this on the DP2M means that reviewing an image must come after the camera has written it to the card, which takes several seconds. Also, the camera won't power down quickly after taking an image, due to the longer buffer clearance time.

When processing raws in SPP, the Auto setting creates great looking images with excellent shadow and highlight recovery in the DP1 and DP2. For some reason, the DP2M doesn't follow the same Auto algorithms and the images look oddly dull and dark, and with blown out areas that would never happen with the DP1/2.

The DP2M is capable of some incredibly sharp and detailed images, and if you get it right, the images are remarkable. But they lack the 'magic' of the original Foveon sensor cameras and take a lot of work to get a pleasing image. YMMV, obviously, as we all have different tastes in image qualities. I'm finding more use from the DP2M as a dedicated monochrome camera that I take particular care with exposure. If the Merrill works for you, then that's great. Keep experimenting with it until you get results you like from it.
Looking back over my DP2M images, I now see what you mean about blown highlights. I was so distracted by the stunning levels of detail that I missed that issue at the time.
 

grebeman

Old Codgers Group
This post has encouraged me to get my old DP1 out of its box and fire off a few shots with it. (I also have a clutch of Sigma Merrills). Whilst it has its quirks and produces relatively small images at 300 ppi I'm reminded how well it handles skies and clouds and just what a "fun" camera it can be, as well as one that resolves detail extremely well. After SIJ is over I fancy I'll carry it round and fire off some shots using my 25mm Voigtlander optical viewfinder in the flash shoe to be able to make a reasonable attempt at framing and relying on auto focus to take care of focussing, although I might need the light levels to improve somewhat given I'll be using it at 100 iso. Then again in my film days Ilford FP4 was a favourite and that's iso 125 so it should be a runner. I expect to set it to make three bracketed exposures for each shot as an added safeguard to get one reasonably well exposed. It will easily fit in a small bag I have along with my other walk round camera, a Leica D-Lux Typ 109. The only drawback will be using my Windows computer to process the raw files unless I can get one of the versions of SPP running in wine under Linux, which I'm reminded I was going to try.

Barrie

P.S. I've just checked the time and date on it, 4th August, 2062, I said it was quirky :laugh:
 
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Archiver

Top Veteran
Jul 11, 2010
Melbourne, Australia
@grebeman - the Voigtlander compact 28/35 VF works really well on the DP1, and I often used that combination for more of a 'film feeling'. The DP1 with viewfinder reminds me of a film camera from the late 70's or early 80's, kind of an Olympus XA in nature. Film-like files, VF with no info, and slow operation, what more could you want from a faux-film experience?
 

porchard

Veteran
Feb 3, 2013
Devon, UK
The DP1 with viewfinder reminds me of a film camera from the late 70's or early 80's, kind of an Olympus XA in nature. Film-like files, VF with no info, and slow operation, what more could you want from a faux-film experience?
Having owned both the DP1 and the Olympus XA, I can't say that I agree with you on this. I liked the DP1 very much for its image quality, but when it came to in-use characteristics, the XA is really 'snappy', whereas the DP1 definitely SLOW! :)

As an aside, my DP1 (2008 vintage) went 'belly-up' about three years ago, whereas my XA (around 1980 vintage) is still operating. :wink:
 

Chris2500dk

Top Veteran
Dec 22, 2011
Copenhagen, Denmark
The original DP1 and DP2 have unnatural colour casts, but they are still pleasant to my eye. The DP2M has a colour cast that I don't like very much: it renders things warm/brown/yellow. Caucasian skin looks okay with the DP2M but Asian/Oriental skin looks sallow and ghastly.
I use the following settings as my starting point in SPP for DP2M images, at least the colors look good to me (and to my wife who is my sanity check for photos and everything else :) )

Daylight WB +8.5 blue +6 magenta
Portrait colors
+0.1 fill light
-0.3 contrast
+0.2 exposure
-0.1 saturation
-0.8 shadow
-0.8 sharpening
NR 3/3/4 (4 or 5 Lumi NR for faces)
 

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