Sigma DP1 Merrill Review

4.0
October 18, 2012 | Mark Goldstein |

Image Quality


All of the sample images in this Review were taken using the 46 megapixel Fine JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 8Mb.

The Sigma DP1 Merrill's image quality is outstanding when shooting in the RAW format, with great results from ISO 100-1600. Curiously the quality drops off noticeably when shooting JPEGs, with only ISO 100-400 worth using thanks to a lot of noise and colour desaturaion at the higher ISOs, so our advice would be to always use the DP1 Merrill's RAW mode if possible (despite the so-so Sigma Photo pro software and the huge file sizes).

The Sigma DP1 Merrill dealt with chromatic aberrations so well that we struggled to find any examples from the hundreds of frames that we shot. The images were just a little soft straight out of the camera at the default sharpening setting, but you can increase the level in-camera, or use Adobe Photoshop later. The night photograph was very good, with the maximum shutter speed of 15 seconds allowing you to capture enough light for the majority of after-dark situations.

Macro performance was the only fly in the ointment, allowing you to focus as close as 28cms away from the subject, which means that you'll need to buy the DP1 Merrill lens hood and then fit a third-party close-up macro filter if you want to get really close to your subject.

Noise

There are 7 ISO settings available on the Sigma DP1 Merrill for both JPEGs and RAW files. Here are some 100% crops which show the noise levels for each ISO setting, with JPEG on the left and RAW on the right:

JPEG

RAW

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 6400 (100% Crop)

ISO 6400 (100% Crop)

Sharpening

Here are two 100% crops which have been Saved as Web - Quality 50 in Photoshop. The right-hand image has had some sharpening applied in Photoshop. The images are just a little soft at the default sharpening setting of 0. You can change the in-camera sharpening level to one of the 10 preset preset levels (0.2 increments on a scale of +1 to -1) if you don't like the default look.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)

   

File Quality

The Sigma DP1 Merrill has 3 different JPEG image quality settings available, with Fine being the highest quality option. Here are some 100% crops which show the quality of the various options, with the file size shown in brackets.

46M Fine (8.33Mb) (100% Crop) 46M Normal (3.27Mb) (100% Crop)
   
46M Basic (2.72Mb) (100% Crop) 46M RAW (50.1Mb) (100% Crop)

Chromatic Aberrations

As with the DP1, the Sigma DP1 Merrill handled chromatic aberrations very well during the review, with just a few examples from the hundreds of shots that we took.

Chromatic Aberrations 1 (100% Crop)

Chromatic Aberrations 2 (100% Crop)

Macro

The Sigma DP1 Merrill doesn't offer a dedicated Macro setting. The closest distance that you can focus on a subject is 20cms away from the camera when it's set to Full Focus mode. The first image shows how close you can get to the subject (in this case a compact flash card). The second image is a 100% crop.

Macro Shot

100% Crop

Night

The Sigma DP1 Merrill's maximum shutter speed is 15 seconds, which is good news if you're seriously interested in night photography. The shot below was taken using a shutter speed of 15 seconds ISO 100. I've included a 100% crop of the image to show what the quality is like.

Night Shot

Night Shot (100% Crop)

Color Modes

The Sigma DP1 Merrill offers 7 different color modes.

Standard

Vivid

   

Natural

Portrait

   

Landscape

B/W

   

Sepia

 
 

Entry Tags

3 inch LCD, compact, review, lens, RAW, prosumer, 28mm, prime, sigma, fixed, 46 megapixel, merrill, x3f, foveon, dp1, 19mm, Sigma DP1 Merrill Review, dp1 merrill

Tracker Pixel for Entry