Sigma DP1 Merrill

Sigma DP1 Merrill with 19mm lens arrived yesterday - above on right. Part two of this Three Camera / Lens outfit I'm putting together, that will at some time be completed by the DP3 Merrill with 50mm lens. 

Its very similar to the DP2M except the lens is slightly thicker. Exactly the same in every other respect both in terms of looks and operation. 

A quick test revealed the same extraordinary sharpness and resolution.

This is going to be an interesting way of working. Instead of swapping lenses on a camera body, I'll be swapping between compact camera + lens units. I'm seeing it almost as one camera in three parts and when I have the three it will certainly be different. I have used a couple of cameras with different lenses before but this will somewhat unusual.

Whether Sigma have intended it this way I cannot say, but I can't think of anything similar. There have been two different fixed lens options before, indeed Sigma did it with the DP1 and DP2, but I can't think of anything else recent with three options. (Though I seem to have some memory of three different Rollieflex MF fixed lens cameras?) However as I wrote before, Sigma are not known for getting these things into stores very quickly so it could be a wait for the DP3M.

I have no idea as to what this means for what else I will keep. This is something I have no experience of using. Again it reminds me of using film. I remember going off on three week trips to Europe with different cameras and hundreds of rolls of film. All Fuji Velvia 50. So the idea of working with cameras, none of which are capable of good results at anything other than ISO 100 isn't really that limiting for me. Plus all the other cameras I currently use are generally locked at their base ISO's anway. 

There are still some fascinating comments about these Sigmas on the forums and review sites. This notion that the cameras should in some way do what Bayer sensor digital cameras do still seems to be commonplace. There are also lots of reactions from people who have bought one because of the image quality and then been surprised to find just how restrictive the cameras are. There are also constant comments about how Sigma have somehow failed to get the cameras "right" with the idea that they have decided to make the cameras slow, useless at high ISO's and need large numbers of spare batteries. As if what they have done is either deliberate or because they don't know what they are doing. 

These "flaws" are I'm sure a result of the Foveon technology and there is obviously no such thing as a free lunch. A point to be made is that if by some chance Sigma did manage to get fast operation + great high ISO results, while at the same time retaining the image quality, then they would pretty much outsell anything else. But I fear that isn't going to happen and we get what we get. 

Hopefully I'll get to use the DP1M soon, however the weather forecast isn't particularly encouraging. We have had a mild winter so far, with not very much sun and its now going much colder, with unfortunately no increase in sunshine, so I'll see what I can get. This is going to be an intriguing way of making pictures but I'm looking forward to it. Whether I will find it frustrating I cannot say, and it may be a while before I'm able to make an assessment with the three cameras, but I've never been one to resist a challenge, particularly with the thought of the quality results I'm expecting.

N.B. to see more on the cameras and lenses featured in this post click on the relevant labels (tags and keywords) below.

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