Sigma DP2 Merrill

Instead of a regular APS-C sensor, the Sigma DP2 Merrill adopts a Foveon X3 CMOS chip, which consists of three layers of photodiodes, each responding to different wavelengths of light.

Sigma DP2 Merrill

Sigma DP2 Merrill

Instead of a regular APS-C sensor, the Sigma DP2 Merrill adopts a Foveon X3 CMOS chip, which consists of three layers of photodiodes, each responding to different wavelengths of light. The signals received by the three layers are then processed to produce data that provides the three additive primary colors; red, green, and blue. Although on Sigma’s website the DP2 claims a 46MP resolution (3x15.4MP), in practical terms it produces 15.4MP(4800x3200px) sized images in either RAW or JPEG, however, its .X3F RAW format is currently (June 2013) unsupported by Adobe Photoshop, meaning processing is left to the included software. ISO is limited to 100-6400, while on the front there’s a fixed 30mm lens (45mm in film terms) with a maximum aperture of f/2.8, closing down to f/16. Flipping the camera over reveals a 3in, 920k-dot LCD, which resolves a bright, clear picture.

In the hand, the DP2’s box-like design is surprisingly comfortable, though without a rubberised surface for added grip, it felt more slippery than the others. During testing, the AF proved to be rather pedestrian, slowly racking the lens back and forth before deciding on a target, and this only worsened when shooting in low light. Write speeds were also disappointing, taking a sluggish 13.6secs to record a single RAW file and 9secs for a Fine JPEG. In continuous shooting mode we were able to record 7 RAW or 7 Fine JPEGs before the buffer slowed, though it took 43.8secs and 33.8secs respectively to finish writing these images to card. 

Verdict

The Sigma DP2 is admirably priced and produces sharp images, but is let down by poor Noise performance, and slow autofocus and write speeds.

Specification

  • Street price: £800 (Now Discontinued)
  • Resolution: 15.4MP (4800x3200px)
  • Sensor: Foveon
  • Focal length: 30mm (45mm in film terms)
  • Aperture range: f/2.8-f/16
  • Shutter range: 30-1/2000sec & bulb
  • ISO range: 100-6400
  • Monitor: 3in, 920k-dot LCD
  • Viewfinder: No
  • Dimensions: 121.5x66.7x59.2mm (WxHxD)
  • Visit: www.sigma-imaging-uk.com

This review was first published in the June 2013 issue of Digital Photo - download back issues here.