Wow. I hope Sigma will be back in business with these new DP models. Really interesting ones, especially the DP3 Quattro with a 75mm equivalent lens. If the Quattros are faster and have better battery life than the DP Merrill serie then I would be highly interested. Image quality will be a stunning one. I know because I have had DPM 2 with a 45mm equivalent lens. The biggest irritating thing with DPM cameras, and I suppose also with the Quattros, will be the fact that you have to use Sigma’s own RAW processing software, Sigma Photo Pro. That is a very cumbersome and slow programme and I really hope Sigma will enhance its usability in conjunction with the release of the new camera serie. Foveon is a fantastic sensor but unfortunately only Photo Pro will read the RAW files it produces.
I think fixed prime lens cameras are quite much unbeatable in image quality if they have top-notch lens design combined with great sensor and lens-sensor matching is done meticulously. There are such cameras. Ricoh GR, Fuji X100S, and Sigma DPM series just to mention some. But much more is needed for a great camera than pure IQ. That is useability. I think Sigma DPM series have the IQ but they are lacking in other features and their images are difficult to post-process (I have had DP2M). But what is really fantastic with Sigma’s DPM cameras is that they have three variants of them. DP1M, DP2M, and DP3M. 28mm, 45mm, and 75mm equivalent lenses. I can easily say that if those Sigma’s would work better in high-ISO situations and if the post-processing of their files would be easier I would have all three of them at the moment. It is as simple as that. Unfortunately, Sigma has not nailed this camera series in those two above mentioned areas. It really is a pity.
I have now Ricoh GR which has a 18.3mm (28mm equivalent) lens and the GR has all the bells and whistles I need. The GR is so great to use. Now I would like to have another GR with say 50mm (75mm equivalent) lens. Just in a way Sigma’s DPMs have. That would be a winner combination. Then I would have two GRs which together still are smaller than many mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras with two prime lenses.
Two GR bodies with fixed sensor-matched primes. That’s my dream. I could even see that happen.
Just a short post about the AF speed of different lenses in m4/3 system. As I stated earlier the current generation of Olympus M.ZUIKO lenses are blazingly fast to achieve the focus. The situation is not the same with Panasonic lenses, unfortunately. My Lumix G 20mm F1.7 ASPH lens has quite mediocre AF when used with Olympus OM-D body. Huge difference when compared to M.ZUIKOs and there is also quite much focus hunting too. The shot below was taken in reasonable indoor lighting (due my standards) with Lumix 20/1.7. M.ZUIKOs will focus instantaneously in those conditions having no hunting at all. Lumix 20/1.7 was instead hunting a lot. Not good. I am now thinking to get M.ZUIKO 17/1.8 lens to replace the Lumix. Many reviews report that the 17/1.8 has a really fast AF and has also more pleasing bokeh than 20/1.7.
My Sigma 30mm F2.8 EX DN is much faster in focusing than the Lumix 20/1.7. I think Sigma is very well acceptable even if not so fast than M.ZUIKOs. Also the focus hunting is very minimal with the Sigma. Very nice performance for so cheap lens!
All in all, some lenses are behavin', some are not.
I am now back to Micro Four Thirds. I bought Olympus OM-D E-M5 with Olympus M.ZUIKO 45/1.8 and Sigma 30/2.8 lenses. In addition, I have my old Panasonic lenses, 20/1.7 and 45-200 zoom. That's quite a cool set!
First impression with OM-D was that it is small! Smaller than I really thought of. But that's a good thing. Of course it feels small after D600.
Then the absolutely best thing. The autofocus is blazingly fast! I mean DSLR-fast. No, actually it is faster than that in real use. At least so in my hands and that's of course what really counts here. I had time to test OM-D yesterday only with 45/1.8 lens but at least with it I can truly say that this camera has the fastest AF I have ever used. Period.
Also IQ seems to be top notch. 45/1.8 is very sharp wide open. Very, very nice. Also noise seems to be very controllable at least up to ISO 3200, maybe up to 6400. That's a very good achievement for m4/3 sensor. That together with fast lenses which provide just perfect DoF wide open, and the best image stabilization system I have ever encountered, I really think OM-D and m4/3 system is deserving those praises all over the photography web pages.
And by the way, I just sold my Sigma DP2 Merrill. 🙂 I thought that it would be difficult to sell but…
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
I got my new DP2 Merrill yesterday evening. When I opened the package and took the camera in my hand I was smiling. It really feels solid and very well made. I got the feeling that I am holding a Braun or Junghans product. I immediately felt “home” with it. Maybe even more than with my late Fuji X100. Menu system is simple and easy to understand and use. QS (Quick Set) button and system is a joy to use. Fast access to the most needed features like ISO, metering, and WB.
I feel the focusing is quite fast. And it is really accurate. Have to say that DP2M focuses faster than my Fuji X-Pro1 (even with the XF 35mm lens). Quite funny actually because DP2M does not even have a focusing assist light. So, I am very pleased in this respect. The whole camera is nicely responsive.
The battery life is quite horrible and you have to remember to keep both supplied batteries charged all the time. Fortunately I never shoot lots of shots in one instance, so I believe this is not going to be a very big problem to me. Writing times to memory card (I use a 95 Mb/s card) are slow. Camera has a 7 shot buffer which helps the situation a lot because you can still shoot with the camera when it is writing the files.
Awesome. That’s my overall initial feeling. More later.
F2.8, 1/20, ISO 400.