Sigma DP2 Merrill

I am done…

…with all that tinkering. Yes, I just sold my Nikon D600 with 50/1.8 G and 85/1.8 G lenses. There were few reasons why I did it.

First, I was really going to suffocate in the camera menus trying to figure out endless AF possibilities and also other camera adjustments. I was never happy with my current adjustments. Enough is enough.

Second, full frame is nice but usually I had to stop down quite much to get subjects both eyes sharp. And stopping down in low light situations means you have to use flash (which I do not like to use) or use high ISOs. It seems that APS-C sensor would be perfect for me. Nice shallow DoF but not so tricky to achieve sharp shots.

Third, I hate to change lenses. I really hate that. Actually, after buying 85mm lens I was solely using it. So, it seems that I do not need an interchangeable lens camera.

Fourth, it is a big beast. I am into smaller cameras. I really can’t understand when I will realize this. I hopefully have now realized it.

So, what is going to happen next. One part of the answer to this question is ready. I will order Fuji X100S immediately it will be available. I loved my late X100. I know I will love X100S much more. Another part of the answer is not so clear. Will I need another new camera for casual shooting? Small capable zoom compact maybe? Sony RX100?

And I am keeping my Sigma DP2 Merrill. It is so nice to own peculiar things which will surprise you very positively now and then.

SIGMA DP2 Merrill ISO 800 & above

My Flickr contact and fellow DP2M user Jun Seita has a nice set of ISO 800 (and 1600) shots by Sigma DP2 Merrill camera. Noise is quite nicely in control and his shots really show us that at least ISO 800 is well usable with DP2M. These are very nice news! I have to try out ISO 800 more since it will give me more opportunities to use DP2M for indoor shooting.


See on Scoop.itSigma DP2 Merrill Scoops

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Just a snapshot

This very quick snapshot of Tiitus has got 2000 views in two days in Flickr. My other much older shots are not even close to that sum. Of course I have the best model in the world and he has a pleasing little smile in it. Sigma DP2M has some magic in the shots it produces. Super detailed and sharp with nice 3D look and quite nice bokeh too. Sharpness is so high that I had to smoothen his cheeks little bit.


Nice dynamic range and exposure by DP2M

We were yesterday at Kaapo's Christmas party and I took Sigma DP2 Merrill with me. I knew that it most certainly will be a catastrophic journey photographically because the stage will not be properly lit and there will be a need for higher ISOs that DP2M can stand.

But immediately when I started to shoot I realized that first of all the camera focused very fast in those tricky conditions. Secondly, I saw already from the camera's LCD that exposure is very nice in all shots. Wow. What was happening? I really did not expect that good results.

Here is a shot from Kaapo's song performance. I used evaluative exposure, ISO 400, and the shutter speed was 1/30 and aperture 2.8.

DP2 Merrill for indoor portraits

I have been amazed how I've been able to shoot portraits or even some candids with Sigma DP2 Merrill in quite scarce indoor lighting. All shots below are taken with 1/20 s shutter speed which I find kind of a limit for my hands. I usually have to use ISO 400 to achieve that with aperture 2.8. Today I was able to use ISO 200 when I had artificial lighting from the ceiling and Tiitus was facing towards a window. Of course there is always an option for B&W shots and then ISO may well be 800 or even 1600 (this will produce lots of noise) depending on how grainy results you can stand. Actually the grain with ISO 800 is very nice looking and suits well for B&W work. So, all in all, I am very pleased so far.


Part III

I have cancelled the switch plan of my X-Pro1 for Nikon D600. I realized that I already have two phenomenal cameras. I should learn them more now and be more happy of the shots I take with them. I am many times too critical for my photographic work and that makes me think if there would be some kind of a wonder camera somewhere. And of course there is no such thing.

Thank you Jesse and Richard for your wise thoughts on this matter. Highly appreciated.

Here are two latest shots taken with my fantastic cameras:

X-Pro1 with XF 35mm lens. Converted from RAW in LR. 1/100, F1.4, ISO 2500.
Sigma DP2 Merrill. Converter from RAW in Sigma Photo Pro with additional post-processing in LR. 1/50, F2.8, ISO 400.

X-Pro1 vs. D600 – Part II

This is not a review. This is only my reasoning and ponderings. See previous post of this same topic below.

I just went through almost all my Canon 5D Mk II shots taken with 50/1.4 and 85/1.8 lenses. And that was a wonderful tour. So many shots with great memories. But also so many great shots technically. Quite many “action” shots of our sons and dogs too. At the moment I am not able to take that kind of action shots with my present cameras.

I went to mirrorless cameras because of their portability. And I felt that they have very nice IQ in the same small package. This is totally true. They have very nice IQ indeed. But is that IQ achieved in the photographic situations I am in? Low light and fast moving children and dogs. Short answer is no. This is of course only for my present cameras – Fuji X-Pro1 and Sigma DP2 Merrill.

Now I am in the process to decide if I should exchange my X-Pro1 to full frame Nikon D600. After going through my earlier own FF shots it seems that I should.

I chose mirrorless cameras because of the portability. But I am actually not carrying my cameras that much around. I am basically indoors or outdoors at our home or near vicinity of it. I really realize it now. Not much lugging around. When I carry my cameras I usually have to use a camera bag when I am not shooting because of children and dogs around me all the time. Otherwise there may be some damage happening. I have one small bag which is very good for DP2 Merrill but X-Pro1 will not fit in. For X-Pro1 (with XF 35 and XF 60 lenses) I use the same bag I was earlier using for 5D Mk II. And that’s not a big bag anyways. Nikon D600 with 50/1.8 (this lens is offered in the exchange) and 85/1.8 (this I would buy later on; it has quite reasonable price and very good IQ) lenses would fit confortably in that bag.

If I want to shoot those child/dog action shots again I need better AF than I am having at the moment. D600 would solve that problem. I would also like to have a good auto ISO system with nice ISO performance. D600 has that.

Those 5D Mk II shots were actually blowing my mind when I went through them. D600 is better camera than 5D Mk II in many areas. AF and ISO performance is better. Those linked to full frame would be nice combination for the shooting I am doing. I like shallow DoF and nice bokeh.

Later on I may add a quality compact in my arsenal. Sony RX100 would be nice one. Solves that lugging thing.

Sigma DP2 Merrill indoors

I have shot some more pics with DP2M indoors. It is very clear that you will need quite good lighting (either artificial or from window) to be able to use this camera indoors especially at these dark months when daytime is very short. This camera is good only up to ISO 400 when shooting color shots. With B&W you can go up to ISO 800 or even 1600 depending on the amount of grain you would like to achieve. It is actually not bad looking grain and suits well to B&W shots (I'll post some examples later). Of course ISO 400 is not much. You easily have quite long shutter speeds with that ISO when shooting in available light indoors. You'll need very steady hands or a tripod. I can be quite comfortable with 1/30 – 1/50 shutter speeds to get sharp shots of still objects but with slower than that it will be pure luck every time. The 46 Mp Foveon sensor produces so sharp shots that it will not forgive any movement. For indoor shooting I would like to have a lens with slightly wider aperture, maybe F2.

Taken together DP2M is quite tricky camera for indoor shooting. I knew this beforehand so it is not a surprise to me. I am delighted though that I am able to shoot at least some usable shots indoors even now when available light is very scarce.

1/20, F2.8, ISO 400

1/13, F2.8, ISO 400