Sigma DP1 Merrill

Screenshot 2014-01-06 08.30.05I’ve been shooting on a Sigma DP1 Merrill for the past week. It has a 42 megapixel sensor (actually 3 layers of 14mp) packed into a body the size of a choc-ice.
The camera really has a lot going against it – it’s extremely slow, it takes at least 10 seconds to write the huge 45mb files, focusing is basic and the battery life it appalling – I’m getting less than 50 frames before the battery dies (probably why Sigma supply two batteries). Also, the RAW files aren’t supported by Adobe Lightroom, which is a massive hassle.

…But the picture quality is absolutely stunning, as good as, if not better, than some digital medium format cameras I’ve used. You probably can’t see on these images, but the detail is unbelievable…and very film like.

It’s a keeper.

***Update to answer a few questions I’ve been asked***

Yes, it’s a very simple camera to use, the menus are very intuitive and easy to use. The lack of RAW support is my only real issue with this camera, I’m doing a basic adjust in Sigma Photo Pro and then editing full size TIFFS in Lightroom, which isn’t ideal. I am told that Adobe are working on it though. The day that happens I will do a merry dance, most vigorously!

The other complaint that people have about the DP1M is the battery life, but I don’t see it as being too much of an issue, I get about 50 frames from a charge, but I take 4 spares out with me (after-market batteries cost about £10). Knowing you have limited power really makes you think about whether you want to really take that photo, which is a good thing!
A vast improvement, after using the camera for a week, is the addition of the optical viewfinder and lens hood. The hood works well, and makes the camera look a bit more serious! The optical finder is very bright and accurate, it also reduces the need to turn the camera on to look at shots, thus wasting the battery.

This isn’t a camera for the snapshot enthusiast, sports shooter or any situation where you need to work fast. For landscapes and the kind of portraits I do, it’s perfect.

Screenshot 2014-01-06 08.26.54SDIM0066OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

19 comments

  1. Hi Phil, Thanks for the post. I have a DP2 – original version. For all it’s faults I think it’s a great photographic tool so I can only imagine how good the Merrill is.

  2. I’ll echo lksa – it has a purpose; perhaps landscape/portrait photography where speed isn’t an issue. Very nice quality. The large file size is a bit daunting though. The batter short-comings will hopefully be fixed in a later version?

  3. Interesting stuff but I have more questions than answers now. It looks like a very simple camera with some basic buttons and dials. Is it easy to operate? How’s the interface, the menus? And how about Lightroom not opening it’s RAW files, do you convert them to TIFF first? Tell us more! (And do you care to share a (any) RAW file? Like to experiment with it.)

  4. PE Preston

    I’ve been using a DP1 Merrill since it was released and remain in love with it. The RAW files make for spectacular B&W images. I actually do quite a bit of street type of photography with it. Once you get used to it, its faster than it gets credit for being. And the manual focus mode is genius.

  5. Hi Phil,
    I’ve just bought the DP3 Merrill and I’m in love with it, but I’m having problems sourcing batteries, I don’t suppose you can point me in the right direction for any third party ones that will do the job? Thank you.

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