The Sigma DP1 and the Sigma DP2 large-sensor compact cameras, were cameras we really wanted to love.
At first sight, we warmed to their no-nonsense Ricoh GRD-like lines, and felt warm all over when we swept our fingers over the none-more-black industrial design. But…
.. .and the ‘but’ was a big one.
Despite the high price tag, both cameras failed to live up to their enthusiast potential, being plagued by a swarm of relatively minor but culmatively annoying performance issues.
The camera could take great pictures mind, but the battle with the sluggish focussing and treacle-slow RAW file-saving meant we preferred to use something a bit more dependable.
Hopefully with lessons well and truly learnt, Sigma is back with two revised versions of these compact cameras, both sporting a “46 megapixel” FOVEON X3 direct image sensor, manual focussing ring and a custom QS (Quick Set) mode.
The updated cameras will be available with two brand new lenses; 19mm f/2.8 lens for the Sigma DP1 Merrill and a 30mm f/2.8 for the Sigma DP2 Merrill.
We’re hoping that these two cameras will get the recipe right for Sigma, although video enthusiats can jog right on, seeing as the camera has stuck with its lamentable VGA (640×480) movie recording.
Pricing is yet to be announced, but we expect neither of these to be particularly cheap.
Sigma Press Release
SIGMA DP1 Merrill and SIGMA DP2 Merrill
Compact digital cameras with a 46MP APS-C size image sensor
46 megapixel Foveon X3 Direct Image Sensor
Dual TRUE II Image Processing Engine
Exclusively designed high performance lenses
Lens mounted manual focus ring
The Sigma Corporation is pleased to announce the new SIGMA DP1 Merrill and SIGMA DP2 Merrill. These high image quality compact digital cameras feature a 46 megapixel (4800×3200×3 layers) FOVEON X3 direct image sensor.
The SIGMA DP1 Merrill and SIGMA DP2 Merrill are the next generation of high image quality digital cameras which incorporate a newly developed 46 megapixel large image sensor in a compact body. The full-colour FOVEON X3 direct image sensor ensures outstanding resolution and natural rendering with rich gradation as well as a three-dimensional feel. The manual focus ring and custom QS (Quick Set) mode improve the user interface.
About the generation-name “Merrill”
The Foveon X3 Direct Image Sensor uses technology originally developed by the late Dick Merrill (1949-2008), a brilliant engineer and talented photographer. This revolutionary image capture system reflects both the artistic and technological sides of Merrill’s personality. As an expression of Sigma’s passion for photography and in honour of Dick Merrill’s genius, we have named the latest generation of the Foveon X3 Direct Image Sensor the Foveon Merrill.
SIGMA DP Merrill Special Site ： http://www.SIGMA-DP.com/DP-Merrill
46 megapixel. 23.5×15.7mm Full-colour X3 Merrill sensor
The 23.5×15.7mm full-colour FOVEON X3 direct image sensor featured in the SIGMA DP Merrill series, incorporates 46 effective megapixels (4,800×3,200×3 layers) and 44 recording megapixels (4,704×3,136×3 layers). The FOVEON X3 direct image sensor captures all primary RGB colours at each and every pixel location with 3 layers, ensuring the capture of full and complete colour. Since colour moiré is not generated, the use of a low-pass filter is not required, meaning both light and colour is captured with a three-dimensional feel.
Dual TRUE II image processing engine
The SIGMA DP Merrill series incorporate a dual “TRUE (Three-layer Responsive Ultimate Engine) II” image processing engine dedicated to FOVEON X3 direct image sensor. This improves the processing speed and overall quality of the final image. By incorporating two TRUE II processors, Sigma’s unique image-processing algorithm provides high resolution power and reproduces high definition images with richly graduated tones.
Exclusively designed high performance lenses
The exclusively designed lenses for the SIGMA DP Merill series are developed to maximise the sensor performance. For the SIGMA DP1 Merrill, a 19mm F2.8 lens, equivalent to 28mm on a 35mm SLR camera, and for SIGMA DP2 Merrill, a 30mm F2.8 lens, equivalent to 45mm on a 35mm SLR camera. FLD (“F” Low Dispersion), which has a performance equal to fluorite glass, and molded glass aspherical lenses correct aberrations. The superior telecentric optical design improves image quality throughout the frame by passing on information about subjects to the sensor. The Super Multi Layer Coating reduces flare and ghosting, which makes it usable even under severe conditions such as taking photos against or towards the sun.
RAW+JPEG format recording
The SIGMA DP Merrill series obtain a RAW data recording mode for retaining full image capture detail of the utmost quality captured through the direct image sensor, plus a JPEG recording format for convenience. The RAW data format of the DP Merrill series keep brightness and colour data in a 1:1 ratio without relying on interpolation. When the image is processes in SIGMA Photo Pro, it will preserve the balance of the natural data for the best photos with the best image quality. It is also possible to record RAW data and JPEG data simultaneously to provide more convenience.
SIGMA Photo Pro
The supplied image processing software, “SIGMA Photo Pro”, converts RAW data quickly and easily. While looking at photographed images, it is possible to render desired photographic expression by moving the slider from side to side. It incorporates functions such as a loupe, exposure picker, print, JPEG conversion, and batch white balance settings.
Manual Focus is available for use when autofocus or focus lock is not desired. It is possible to use the focus ring for focusing just like an SLR camera. It is also possible to magnify the display to ensure precise focusing.
Advanced User Interface
The custom quick set menu and the metallic command dial are incorporated to improve usability. The diaphragm, shutter speed and menu can be changed quickly using the command dial. The Quick Set (QS) menu which consists of the most commonly used functions can be easily displayed by pressing the QS button. It allows photographers to change the menu content and the order depending on their preferences.
The DP Merrill series adopt the SD Card (SDHC compatible) which is compact and easy to carry.
Large, highly visible 3.0” TFT colour LCD Monitor
The DP Merrill series feature a 3.0 inch TFT colour monitor with approximately 920,000 pixel resolution. The monitor benefits from a wide viewing angle, making it easy to capture details and to check focusing and composition.
The DP Merrill series cameras are equipped with a hot shoe, allowing use of Sigma’s optional dedicated external flashgun, the EF-140 DG as well as SIGMA electronic flashguns for SD series such as EF-610 DG Super (optional) and EF-610 DG ST (optional).
Dedicated lens hood
The optional dedicated bayonet lens hood can be attached to block out extraneous light.
Movies can be recorded with VGA (640×480) size. The number of shooting frames per second is 30 frames.