Sigma DP3 Merrill Review

March 21, 2013 | Mark Goldstein | |

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#1 xpanded

Lionel Messi is a fantastic player able to out smart any and all competition and score more goals. However, as his skills as a goal keeper is sub standard he just about deserves our Recommended award.

“The Foveon X3 sensor, be it 46 megapixel or 15 megapixels, and the prime 50mm lens deliver stunningly sharp, high-resolution images that are a joy to behold. Chromatic aberrations like purple and green-fringing are simply non-existent on the DP3 Merrill, testament to the excellent prime lens, which is also the reason for the almost complete lack of pincushion or barrel distortion, and the fast maximum aperture of f/2.8 and 1:3 magnification ratio are very welcome.


the Sigma DP3 Merrill is once again a poor camera but an excellent image-making device that just about deserves our Recommended award”

Excellent lens, excellent picture ==> “just about deserves”. I have not witnessed darker humour since Monty Python first aired.

Funny to read your conclusion on the very same day I got the latest B+W with the review of the DP2M. Amazing what a difference the photographer does.

4:00 pm - Thursday, March 21, 2013

#2 PepZ C

I think overall is OK and for the investment i’m not really sure its worth

4:01 pm - Thursday, March 21, 2013

#3 Walter

Karspoul is right. Biased review.

7:20 pm - Thursday, March 21, 2013

#4 vauve

Sigma cameras are not popular in Europe. They’re remaining marginal devices. Canon, Nikon, Fuji, Olympus, Sony, Pentax, Panasonic are real alternatives.

8:38 pm - Thursday, March 21, 2013

#5 JS

IQ is fantastic but overall it is average…it’s like a super sport that doesn’t have head lights, wipers and the roof…got it? I wish my camera would be so great when it comes to IQ.

8:46 pm - Thursday, March 21, 2013

#6 atrois

Biased conclusion, because it compares it unfairly to consumer-grade Bayer cameras, that have too many bells and whistles, not understanding the technical differences.

For the purposes intended, and kept within the ISO limits, this is a fantastic camera.

Its IQ cannot be beat, and I believe this has to be the bottom line.

1:32 pm - Monday, March 25, 2013

#7 leo

I do not understand how you can review a camera and saying that you need a lens hood to put a (macro) filter on. You can just screw a filter on the lens. Have you even seen this camera?

10:45 pm - Thursday, May 2, 2013

#8 Garry

I’ve probably said it before, but I wish Sigma would give this sensor to someone who knows how to make cameras.  A Ricoh GRD with the Foveon sensor would be unbeatable.

5:54 pm - Tuesday, June 11, 2013

#9 Walter

Gary…the camera is more than the sensor. Not wanting to give up the fantastic lens.  It’s the sensor and lens in combination. Since the camera already takes fantastic pictures, what else is there to want. Bells an whistles to play with, instead of taking pictures?

10:33 pm - Tuesday, June 11, 2013

#10 chris Searle

I am constantly amazed by my DP2M and have just ordered the ‘3’. No they are not a consumer point and shoot, they are premium no compromise imaging devices. They are well built, have excellent UI’s do what they are intended to do amazingly well.

6:02 am - Tuesday, August 6, 2013

#11 Ovi

First of all, this camera is the easiest camera to use on the market. It is so simple! I am very disappointed about the rating. It does not reflect the reality. And what’s wrong with the design?! The worst design is Canon G1 X (from main rivals). The image quality from Sigma cannot be beaten. Why would you rate this camera last in its class?! What’s more important, taking good photos or just taking photos?

3:24 am - Sunday, November 10, 2013

#12 Leo

Yes Ovi, I own a lot of Canon L class and FF camera’s. Nothing comes close to the IQ of the Sigma DP Merrill serie.

The design is perfect, very easy to handle. Much much better then the Sony Nex serie for example. If you talk about the design from a quality point of view, the Sigma shins again. The looks, well I like it, but that’s personal. Autofocus is spot on, time and time again. The speed is in the real world much much faster then people let believe you. The writing time is slow, but you can take 6 or 7 photo’s in a row. More then enough for me.

Of Course is a compact with a 50 mm lens and a APSc sensor not everybodys peace of cake. The DP1 and 2 M ( I own the DP1X, DP2M and the DP3M )are more versatile in that respect. Battery live is poor, but with cheap small battery’s not much of a real problem.

Like I said earlier, it looks like the one who has wrote this review has ever seen this camera (There are written simply wrong things about the camera), let alone has seen the exceptional beautiful pictures you can take with it.

If you do not fall in love then, you better take pictures with your phone.

9:39 am - Sunday, November 10, 2013

#13 Walter

Leo, I think you are right. There is enough info out there on this camera that anyone could write another review without ever seeing the camera.

6:12 pm - Sunday, November 10, 2013

#14 José Luis

The images are a little soft? What are you talking about? The Sigma Merrill cameras produce some of the sharpest digital photos I’ve seen in my entire life. There’s no need for sharpening the files in Lightroom. I have used many good cameras in my life and the last one was the flagship 36mp Nikon D800.

How can your conclusion be that the images are a little soft? These cameras are specialist tools, not point and shoot cameras. You shoot in RAW, ISO100-200, tripod, manual exposure, self timer and you process the images in Sigma Photo Pro. If needed, you import the files in your favorite editor after that.

I think this is what you get when someone with little time, patience and understanding of the product he or she is reviewing writes an article about it. Do some more research before your draw any conclusions please.

7:21 pm - Wednesday, December 18, 2013

#15 KhunPapa

Sigma DP3 Merrill has many flaws. But all combined flaws are less than this review by no-knowledge reviewer.

I own DP3m for 3 days, and found out a LOT of advantages in this little picture-making machine. I’m so lucky I don’t read this review before decide to pay.

First, AF is slow. Right. But the Customized AF Range is the best. Other maker should buy this idea patent from sigma and put into all their cameras. You just predefine the range, the AF is almost snap. It’s the closest to “pre-focus technic” that Master Photographer of the past instinctly deployed.

There’s a LOT of information in the raw file. To see how much is simple. Just shoot raw, throw it in SPP, then save the final output as DOUBLE SIZE TIFF picture file, in aRGB or other wide-gamut color schemas.

For me, DPm is nothing but film camera with built-in three-passes scanner. You should compare the final output picture to Kodachrome images, instead of those Bayerian digital camera which shoot-vdo-better-and-better.

The DPm bricks are not for plain vanilla, sunday shooters who shoot thousand JPGs which no one want to see, shooter included. It’s for photographer who knows and demands final output picture -before- power up this little brick.

3:44 pm - Sunday, February 16, 2014

#16 Ken

As someone who owns and loves a DP2 and a DP3, I don’t get what people’s problems are with this review which seems to me to get its overall judgement exactly right. My cameras exhibit all the defects the reviewer points out, together with the unbelievably great IQ he rightly praises and which leads him to give it four stars despite those defects. 

I guess that makes me a fan, but not a fanboy.

4:31 am - Saturday, May 31, 2014

#17 Walter

Ken, the question is whether the camera meets the design objectives. I understood the design and for my use the camera has no defects. For example, a large format camera was not designed for action photography.

12:13 am - Sunday, June 1, 2014

#18 Ken

Walter, I don’t think we disagree about the cameras. I use them having regard to their design objectives and in that context they have very few defects, although I could do with better battery life and less noise at medium ISO and above. But I think it is fair enough for a reviewer targeting a general audience to point out, essentially, that the cameras are specialists rather than generalists because there are a number of things they don’t do so well.

1:26 am - Sunday, June 1, 2014

#19 Walter

Ken, of course there are tradeoffs for the great IQ. One of the tradeoffs is the fixed lens. For each DP camera, the lens is individually fitted to the camera for optimum performance. For my way of shooting I find the battery life to be adequate. Deleting photos on the camera affects battery life. Better to delete photos from your computer.

5:34 pm - Sunday, June 1, 2014

#20 xukin

The new replacement model is the dp2 quattro (with the soon to follow dp1 and dp3). Same starting list price, but higher IQ and much improved ISO and autofocus.
I have been testing a pre release model, it can actually work as street camera if there is enough light. Some of these test images and comments are there

11:54 am - Thursday, July 17, 2014

#21 Herman

I’ve always been fascinated by the image quality the Foveon sensor delivers - making me think of large format cameras. But shooting with a Merrill camera comes along with a lot of limitations, a serious camera reviewer may not ignore. You might not be happy with this camera even if you go for image quality. It’s a special tool for special demand.

BTW, ‘Standard’ and ‘Vivid’ in Color Modes look swapped.

2:41 am - Sunday, August 10, 2014

#22 Bob

In your review you say “The lens hood also includes a hood adapter which is designed to accept a 46mm lens filter”. Is this a typo, please?

The manual says “filter size 52 mm” and I’ve read elsewhere that the thread size of the LH3-01 lens hood is 62 mm.

11:35 am - Monday, October 6, 2014

#23 rupert

I have both the DP3 and the X100s and I have extensively testing. when it comes to images sharpness and brilliance, the DP3 blows the X100s out of the water!

8:08 am - Wednesday, April 8, 2015

#24 rupert

Actually, you can see the superior DP3 quality by downloading and comparing the two picture of the flower for the Sigma DP3 and for the Fujifilm X100S. Zoom in an you will see the difference.

8:15 am - Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Entry Tags

review, 3 inch LCD, compact, lens, RAW, prosumer, prime, sigma, 50mm, fixed, 75mm, 46 megapixel, merrill, dp3, x3f, foveon, dp3 merrill, Sigma DP3 Merrill Review