Sigma DP3 Merrill Review

March 21, 2013 | Mark Goldstein |


The new DP3 Merrill completes Sigma's compact camera range by incorporating a 75mm equivalent lens and useful macro capabilities, with the DP Merrill family now offering 28mm, 45mm and 75mm lens options. As with its siblings, the DP3 Merrill is an equally slow, cumbersome, rather unrefined and expensive compact camera that's really only suited to static or very patient subjects. Similarly, though, the images that it produces thanks to the combination of the 50mm fixed lens and the intriguing Foveon X3 sensor are simply outstanding, by far the best images that we've seen from a humble compact camera and even rivaling a DSLR with an equivalent prime lens, so its worth persevering with if your subjects allow.

Image quality is the DP3 Merrill's star turn, indeed the principal reason to put up with its numerous other shortcomings. 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.

That initially high price of £799 / $999 certainly looks more palatable when viewing the DP3 Merrill's sample images up close. Perhaps better suited to macro shots rather than portrait photography because of the slow auto-focusing system, the Sigma DP3 Merrill is once again a poor camera but an excellent image-making device that just about deserves our Recommended award.

4 stars

Ratings (out of 5)
Design 3
Features 3.5
Ease-of-use 3
Image quality 5
Value for money 3.5