Sigma DP2s - Request
Old 07-10-2016   #1
Samouraļ
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Sigma DP2s - Request

Hi guys,

I'm considering a pre-Merrill DP2 for some travel photography. The focusing dial is particularly attractive, as it may allow for easy zone focusing.

I know the files it produces have a look their own, separate the Merrills and Quattros. Gary, I know you like this camera. Anyone else have any thoughts on the output in the modern era? How it performs, how long batteries last, how pocketable and easy to use it is. Etc.

Again, I'm looking at this as a light travel camera that has a specific look, maybe less harsh than the Merrills, still filmic, but a little more warm or soft (not so bitingly harsh).

It's also my understanding that the "X" model had more banding and noise than the regular or "S" model. The AFE is what causes this, though it helped with splotchiness at higher ISO's. Anyone know anything about this?

Thanks
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Old 07-10-2016   #2
jbielikowski
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I had DP1s twice, and yes the focusing dial is a blessing. Now the output... I spent loads of time with RAWs in both SPP and ACR, sometimes they are just untamable, sometimes beautiful and slide-like. Also forget about jpgs, they are awful. Noise will become visible around iso 400, clever noise reduction recommended.
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Old 07-10-2016   #3
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Thanks for the response. Interesting. So the files might even be more difficult to work with than the Merrills or Quattros? The IQ performance more temperamental?
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Old 07-10-2016   #4
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One of our members traveled extensively with one of these little gems ... tsiklonaut is the man to ask about this! And he has posted plenty of pics from it in various threads.
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Old 07-10-2016   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Keith View Post
One of our members traveled extensively with one of these little gems ... tsiklonaut is the man to ask about this! And he has posted plenty of pics from it in various threads.
You weren't kidding, he eked out some of the most amazing image quality that I've seen from any Sigma cameras.
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Old 07-10-2016   #6
conyon
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Of the pre-dp2m era cameras (I think, dp2, s and x ?) was there one that was particularly favored? Small question -- what battery did they take, is it the same as the ones in the DP2M? thanks ...
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Old 07-10-2016   #7
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ps -- is there a link to tsiklonaut's thread that Keith mentioned? thanks
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Old 07-11-2016   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Samouraļ View Post
Thanks for the response. Interesting. So the files might even be more difficult to work with than the Merrills or Quattros? The IQ performance more temperamental?
Usually no, but sometimes they just f*** up. At least that's what I remember, I'll upload later some RAW files so you can play with them and judge on your own.
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Old 07-11-2016   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jbielikowski View Post
Usually no, but sometimes they just f*** up. At least that's what I remember, I'll upload later some RAW files so you can play with them and judge on your own.
Hey thanks for that, I'll keep an eye on this thread.
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Old 07-11-2016   #10
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It is a wonderful little camera, I had the plain DP2, batteries lasted about 100 shots, don“t bother above iso 400 unless doing black and white, it was slow to write the pictures and SPP was a hassle; but the output at low iso is beautiful. I loved that camera.

Have a look at some pictures of eastern island on my flickr if you like...

https://www.flickr.com/photos/352342...57629075164405
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Old 07-11-2016   #11
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...now with more time a couple of remarks:

- I used the camera with a cheap petri optical viewfinder that was very helpful, the screen is not very compatible with daylight...

- I used one of the back buttons to lock focus. Autofocus speed was fine to me, but I did not track anything. When there is a lot of movement zone focus with the thumb wheel was very useful.

- I found out the camera tolerates overexposure very well. In bright sunlight my exposures were 1/250 f8.0 iso 100. Later in SPP you can reduce the exposure in SPP to your taste completely recovering the highlights. On the other hand, underexposure kills the files completely, but you can hand hold the camera at 1/15, specially if you use the continuous shutter.

- While SPP is a hassle (I used a DP2 Merrill as well), the fill light option is very nice. Positive fill light reduces the overall contrast and if used excessively get you a HDR look. Negative fill light combined with reduced exposure in SPP gives you half of the histogram with an amazing range of tones in your highlights, compressing the shadows in the process. I really like this look, and to me its hard to achieve with lightroom in the DP2 files.

I loved the files this camera produce, the only thing you have to remember is IT NEEDS LIGHT!! Lots of it. As general camera the DP2 sucks, battery life is poor, autofocus is not fast, the lens takes a while to get in position and medium to high iso is not good. But in daylight the files are amazing, and the lens is world class.

I went to Cuba with it as well, here is a link if you want to have a look:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/352342...57632706431746
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Old 07-11-2016   #12
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Thanks for the detailed response. Those shots look great. Seems like a special camera, and a classic. I've used both the Merrill and Quattro cameras, but the older model seems like it has something else to it. Could just be the ability to shoot at f8 and zone focus in daylight (as you noted) that has me seriously interested (besides the 1:1:1 chip).
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Old 07-11-2016   #13
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The original DP2 files are more wild than those of the Merrill. Auto white balance was poor so colors don“t look the same, but SPP improved its auto white balance a lot recently. Files are like polaroids, I think in terms of resolution that behave like 8 to 10 MP files from Bayer sensors... Regards
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Old 07-13-2016   #14
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sorry for the delay, feel free to play with the files, I strongly suggest to download latest SPP, it's slow and quirky but can do wonders (such as saving files as tiffs with doubled resolution).

https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B2...WVkdVNyVVV2c1U
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Old 07-13-2016   #15
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that's really great feedback. i'm a merrill user who's always been curious about the previous series. i'll have to try the fill light suggestions.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dirojas View Post
...now with more time a couple of remarks:

- I used the camera with a cheap petri optical viewfinder that was very helpful, the screen is not very compatible with daylight...

- I used one of the back buttons to lock focus. Autofocus speed was fine to me, but I did not track anything. When there is a lot of movement zone focus with the thumb wheel was very useful.

- I found out the camera tolerates overexposure very well. In bright sunlight my exposures were 1/250 f8.0 iso 100. Later in SPP you can reduce the exposure in SPP to your taste completely recovering the highlights. On the other hand, underexposure kills the files completely, but you can hand hold the camera at 1/15, specially if you use the continuous shutter.

- While SPP is a hassle (I used a DP2 Merrill as well), the fill light option is very nice. Positive fill light reduces the overall contrast and if used excessively get you a HDR look. Negative fill light combined with reduced exposure in SPP gives you half of the histogram with an amazing range of tones in your highlights, compressing the shadows in the process. I really like this look, and to me its hard to achieve with lightroom in the DP2 files.

I loved the files this camera produce, the only thing you have to remember is IT NEEDS LIGHT!! Lots of it. As general camera the DP2 sucks, battery life is poor, autofocus is not fast, the lens takes a while to get in position and medium to high iso is not good. But in daylight the files are amazing, and the lens is world class.

I went to Cuba with it as well, here is a link if you want to have a look:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/352342...57632706431746
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Old 07-13-2016   #16
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I prefer the Merrill cameras because they have a true Foveon sensor with the same number of pixels for red, green, and blue. In contrast, the Quattro cameras have only about a third as many pixels for green and red as it does for blue. So the Quattro images don't look as sharp to me - although the performance is better with the Quattro sensor.
I have the DP Merrill cameras and the SD1m.

If you are willing to take your time and are in bright light (unless shooting B&W), the image quality is amazing. But you can't go above 400 ISO (unless interested in B&W). Battery life is VERY short for the DP Merrill cameras and the performance is VERY slow. It takes several seconds to record a single image to a card.

You have live view on the DP cameras but not on the SD1m.

The DP Merrill cameras hold their price pretty well which is amazing for a compact digital camera. That shows that high regard people have for them.

I suggest that you start with the DP2 Merrill and give it a try. But be careful - you can get hooked fast and you may find yourself wanting more focal lengths and get an SD1m.
I thought I was having battery problems with my SD1m but it turned out to be bad third party batteries. So now I am back using the SD1m after over a year on the shelf.

I don't think I will buy the upcoming Sigma Quattro SD - I just don't care for the Quattro sensor.
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Old 07-13-2016   #17
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I loved the original DP1 and DP2 so much that this year, I finally got around to buying a DP2 Merrill. Unfortunately, I'm still half-half about the Merrill, and I wonder if I could have either just hung on to my money, or bought another lens or even a Panasonic LX100 instead.

- DP2 gets about 100-120 shots per battery charge. Bring at least three batteries on trips plus the charger.

- DP2 is slower to start and focus than the Merrill, and makes more noise when extending the lens barrel and focusing.

- DP2 writes to the card faster than the Merrill, and allows you to review images much faster.

- DP2 images are utterly gorgeous - when you get it right. If you like that kind of look, all you need to do is set SPP to Auto and it will spit out beautifully clear, transparent images. However, if you don't like greenish colour casts, you'll have to adjust things manually. By comparison, I don't like how Merrill photos look on Auto, they seem too harsh and 'bitty', if that makes sense. I'm still trying to tweak them to be more to my liking, months after buying the camera.

- DP2 holds highlight detail much better than the Merrill, which has a tendency to overexpose and blow out highlights. Highlight recovery is better with the DP2.

- DP1 and DP2 can focus on clouds, which the Merrill can't. It's bizarre.

- Lightroom/ACR does NOT do Foveon images justice. Processing DP1/2 files with Lightroom removes that unique Foveon 3D clarity, and makes them look like normal Bayer files. Avoid Lightroom unless you want a particular look that you can't get with SPP.

- DP2 will fit in a jacket pocket, whereas the Merrill is a little larger. And the Merrill chews up batteries much faster than the original DP2.

- ISO 800 is the furthest you want to go for colour. Anything higher is black and white territory. SPP 6 has greatly improved high ISO handling for the original cameras, which has given them greater usability.

- if you're after a light travel camera and can live with the relative slowness and audible creakiness, the DP2 produces wonderfully transparent and film-like images. I just love my DP1 and DP2. I know a guy who sold his Leica M8 because his DP2 came very close to its output for his purposes, and he couldn't justify the Leica!

My DP1 set on flickr:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/archiv...57606234732635

My DP2 set on flickr:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/archiv...57622797533428
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Old 07-13-2016   #18
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With original DP I have read too many posts about lens not extending due to worn ribbon cable (design flaw). Probably it were fixed in later batches as many people just use their DPs but some, like me, have installed cable to short circuit and keep lens extended permanently. It makes DP less compact but I rather have less compact camera than go through them like napkins. Cable were (is?) sold by Chinese guy for about $24, on expensive side, but my sleep is well worth it.
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Old 07-14-2016   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Archiver View Post
(...)

- Lightroom/ACR does NOT do Foveon images justice. Processing DP1/2 files with Lightroom removes that unique Foveon 3D clarity, and makes them look like normal Bayer files. Avoid Lightroom unless you want a particular look that you can't get with SPP.

(...)
SPP is getting better and better, but some features are blocked with DP1/2. Color balance- you gonna spend some time fine tuning each photo but it's worth it.
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Old 07-14-2016   #20
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All this talk of the DP series made me go through my old images last night, and think about the looks that I like. I still rate the DP1 and DP2 very highly for personal satisfaction, due to their unique rendering that I find tremendously pleasing. Other cameras are much faster, have more accurate colour, have a movie mode that doesn't look like grainy splodge. But I'll still go out with the DP1 and 2 for personal shooting, even now.
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