Sigma DP3 Merrill Compact Digital Camera (46MP) 3 inch LCD

Product Description

[I Purchased A Sigma DP3 Merrill In July 2014 And Had It Shipped From Germany To Dublin At A Total Cost Of €399.00]

46 megapixel, 23.5×15.7mm Full-colour Foveon X3 Merrill sensor

The 23.5×15.7mm full-colour Foveon X3 direct image sensor (Generation name “Merrill”), featured in the SIGMA DP3 Merrill, incorporates 46 effective megapixels (4,800×3,200×3 layers) and 44 recording megapixels (4,704×3,136×3 layers). The Foveon X3 direct image sensor captures all primary RGB colours at each and every pixel location with 3 layers, ensuring the capture of full and complete colour. Since colour moiré is not generated, the use of a low-pass filter is not required, meaning light and colour are captured by the 46 megapixel 23.5×15.7mm full-colour X3 Merrill sensor with a three-dimensional feel.

Dual TRUE II image processing engine The dual “TRUE (Three-layer Responsive Ultimate Engine) II” image processing engine dedicated to Foveon X3 direct image sensors improves the processing speed and overall quality of the final image. By incorporating two TRUE II processors, Sigma’s unique image-processing algorithm provides high resolution power and reproduces high definition images with richly graduated tones as well as a three-dimensional feel.
Exclusively designed high performance 50mm F2.8 lens The high-performance 50mm F2.8 lens has the equivalent angle of view as s 75mm (35mm equivalent focal length) lens as has been designed exclusively for the SIGMA DP3 Merrill to maximises the sensor performance. The use of Special Low Dispersion (SLD) glass accompanied by aspherical lens elements not only compensates for a variety of aberrations, but also allows for a more compact size. The superior telecentric optical design improves image quality throughout the frame by passing on information about subjects to the sensor. The Super Multi-Layer Coating reduces flare and ghosting, ensuring sharp, high contrast image quality even under severe conditions such as taking photos against or towards the sun.

Advanced User Interface The custom quick set menu and the metallic command dial are incorporated to improve usability. The diaphragm, shutter speed and menu can be changed quickly using the command dial. The Quick Set (QS) menu which consists of the most commonly used functions can be easily displayed by pressing the QS button. It allows photographers to change the menu content and the order depending on their preferences.

Easy to use auto focus The SIGMA DP3 Merrill features a “9 point select mode” which can select the desires focusing point from 9 different frames and “Free move mode” which can move the desired point as you like. User friendly, the new “Face Detection AF”, prioritizes focus on the face of the subject when detected by the sensor. “AF Limit Mode” can adjust the range of auto focusing and “Shutter Priority AF” offers faster focus adjustment by stopping the live view to increase the speed of the auto focusing. The new AF+MF mode adjusts the focus manually after verifying the AF by rotating the focus ring. Manual Focus is available for use when autofocus or focus lock is not desired. It is possible to use the focus ring for focusing just like an SLR camera. It is also possible to magnify the display to ensure precise focusing.

RAW+JPEG format recording The SIGMA DP3 Merrill features a RAW data recording mode for retaining full image capture detail of the utmost quality captured through the direct image sensor, plus a JPEG recording format for convenience. The RAW data format provides pure data for high-resolution images, and uses lossless compression for more compact, yet uncompromised, data files. The RAW data format of the camera keep brightness and colour data in a 1:1 ratio without relying on interpolation. When the image is processes in SIGMA Photo Pro, it will preserve the balance of the natural data for the best photos with the best image quality. It is also possible to record RAW data and JPEG data simultaneously to provide more convenience.

SIGMA Photo Pro (supplied) The supplied image processing software, “SIGMA Photo Pro”, converts RAW data quickly and easily. It renders the full, 46 megapixel data. While looking at the captured images, it is possible to achieve the desired photographic expression by moving the sliders from side to side. It incorporates functions such as a loupe, exposure picker, print, JPEG conversion, and batch white balance settings, highlight correction, noise reduction and aberration correction mode.

Chriss on 2 Sep 2013
Verified Purchase
This camera is not for everybody but for a select group of photographers who look for ultimate image quality in a fixed medium telephoto range with some close focussing ability. For flowers and larger insects, for still life and for some landscape shooting there is literally no other camera on the market that can do what the DP3M does. It has poor battery life and requires a good knowledge of photography, photographic software and patience to use but the results are quite simply phenomenal.

By sid on 23 Dec 2013
Verified Purchase
This is not your typical consumer camera instead it is one seriously superb camera that delivers the most amazing image quality.

You will no doubt have read other reviews on the net that tell you about its flaws and so they should and indeed there are many of them, very poor battery life being the worst of them. It is a camera with many foibles that means the camera has to be used carefully and with thought however, what you get in return is IQ to die for! The combination of superb lens and foveon sensor result in the sort of images I have always dreamed of and all this in an easily carried compact camera.

I have been using top spec Canon equipment for most of my adult life, and thats a long time! I have just replaced a previous irreparable camera with the 5D mk3 and frankly I am very disappointed with it. I am getting far more pleasure and satisfaction from using this camera than I have ever had with any of my previous equipment throughout and that is an honest fact. I love this camera so much that I am already committed to getting the DP1 Merrill for the WA lens and really looking forward to using these as a pair, I do, however, recognise that unfortunately these will not suffice for all my photographic needs, if they did I would gladly sell all of my other gear tomorrow.

When you use this camera it will probably slow you down and make you think about each and every image you are intending to create with it. Instead of the mindless rapid shots that are too often produced with most all bells and whistles offerings available today this camera will slow you down and in my mind that is no bad thing at all. I actually find the speed of this camera in terms of ISO, focussing and writing to the card are quite a welcome relief they make you slow down and think a lot more carefully about what it is you are attempting to do.

If the end result is more important to you than convenience of use then you should not hesitate in purchasing one of these wonderful cameras, it is no exaggeration to say you will get medium format quality images, they are quite simply absolutely superb.

By barclay on 26 Mar 2014
Absolutely stunning images even close in and with colours that equal the best Fuji and Leica can offer ; this is a specialist's camera.
The write to disk time for each 50mb RAW file is awful but you can still shoot while it's doing that and handling is no different from many other compacts.
Buy batteries. I'd say buy at least 4 because you'll need to change every 60-70 shots. Some folk get over 100 shots but not me.

This camera creates Art Works that easily take enlargement to 36 inches and all of its idiosyncrasies are forgiven when you see the Image Quality.

RAW files need Sigma's own software for processing and , although it is slow-ish , it is effective.
Ignore the critics who are used to Lightroom this software is just as good and images exported as 16bit tiffs can then be worked on in Photoshop.

A lovely one off camera to complement your ordinary stuff.

By Brad R - Published on Amazon.com

This camera outputs one of the best pictures I've ever seen and I had them all (well, almost) from the original DP2, Leica X1,X2, M8 with a bunch of Leica lenses, Sony, Olympus, Panasonic. I even had the best 28mm ever built, the Leica 28mm 2.8R E55. None of them comes close to this Sigma camera. The pictures are super sharp but as you may know sharpness is not everything. The colors are deep without looking fake or digital, the detail is simply amazing, the pictures have that Leica crispness without the Leica tag.
Of course there are a bunch of annoying things like the slow focus, unusable above ISO 400 in color mode (though perfectly usable for B&W), short battery life, slow writing on card but the output makes up for all of these problems. I'd rather have a buggy camera and enjoy the results than a camera that can go 1000 shots between charges with poor picture quality.
You really have to see the raw files to believe it. Got mine from Adorama.

By GenesisOne29 - Published on Amazon.com

The Sigma DP3 Merrill is something else entirely: an enthusiast-only camera. This is a machine that cannot conceivably be used as an all-around imaging device, a product that lacks many of the basic features we've come to expect from modern digital cameras. Need usable high-ISO images? Too bad.. How about quick autofocus and decent write speeds? Nah, you don't need that. What we have here is a camera that can only be useful to someone who already owns another, more well-rounded camera.
With its 50mm f/2.8 fixed-focal lens, unusual Foveon image sensor, and stripped down feature set, the DP3 Merrill has just one purpose: to capture the sharpest possible shots in good light. And in that, at least, it succeeds beautifully.

Sharpness results in the lab were totally off the charts. The only other fixed-lens camera that's in the same league as the DP3 is the full-frame Sony RX1, though that camera smokes the Sigma in all other performance metrics. The DP3 shows a slight weakness near the edges at f/2.8 (relative to the phenomenal center resolution), but it's razor sharp everywhere by f/4 and stays that way until well past the diffraction limit.

The DP3 can pump out absolutely gorgeous images, but its window of opportunity is prohibitively small.
Because of the way color distorts, saturation drops off, and noise jumps at even moderate ISOs, you can really only get acceptable results from the camera between ISO 100 and 400.
That means good light outdoors or bright studio illumination. And it's not like there are a lot of extras to make up for the DP3's absurdly limited range. No HD video, no creative shooting modes, no nothing. The camera isn't even comfortable to hold.

The DP3 is TFA. Totally. Freaking. Awesome. I thought my Nikon D800E files were sharp, they are but pale versions of the files from the DP3 Merrill.
The DP Merrill sensor offers sharpness on a per pixel basis that cannot be matched by any conventional Bayer-matrix sensor. Also, the lower pixel density is subject less to diffraction. All of the DP Merrill cameras share the same sensor and all have high quality /2.8 lens,
An alternative RAW converter is Iridient Developer.
The Nikon D800E delivers substantially more total detail, something easily seen by resampling to a common resolution.
The D600 and Canon 5D Mark II offer marginally more detail, but generally do not have the same visual impact for that detail, and the Sigma sensor has none of the digital artifacts produced by a Bayer-matrix sensor.

While the D800E has evidently more resolution, you can see how the SD1 Merrill holds its own very well; its files show actually more micro-contrast and fine detail than the D800E's files. Indeed the rendering of homogenous coloured areas looks more detailed, more tridimensional in the SD1 Merrill.
Now this is an interesting comparison, since Sigma claims that the 45 MP Foveon sensor used in the SD1 Merrill has a luminance resolution equivalent to that of a 30MP Bayer sensor. However, the upsized file from the SD1 Merrill holds details very well against the downsized D800E's file, more so if you consider that downsizing a file improves noise and detail, while upsizing it exacerbates noise and reduces detail. Again, you still can see more micro-contrast and fine details in the Sigma files compared to the Nikon's.
The SD1 Merrill's files shows much more detail in the area of the image than the D800E's. It is clear to me, both from this and from hundreds more pictures I have shot so far with the Foveon sensor vs those thousands I have shot with Bayer sensor cameras, that when demosaicing Bayer images of such homogenous areas the algorithms struggle to render the fine details that the Foveon sees with ease.

Sigma imags are the best images, in terms of sharpness, definition and clarity I've ever taken, with any kind of camera, film or digital in any format. The images on my screen are things of beauty, absolutely stunning. Almost too sharp, and with a colour separation that is almost unbelievable. I will put up with almost anything to make images that look this good.

The DP1m is a great walk-about camera if you're prepared to compromise in order to get amazing image quality.
The DP3m offers medium-format beating photos for stationary subjects if you fuss about stitching images together.
The bottom line is that while not full-frame, the Foveon sensor competes with everything up to medium format digital at ISO 100, especially if you fuss about and stitch multiple images together to increase the overall resolution. I've not seen any moire.
The 100% per-pixel acutance of the X3 Foveon sensor, in my opinion, beats pretty much all of the competition outside of medium-format digital. I also prefer the colour.
But if you fuss about creating multiple exposure-bracketed HDR images to stitch together later, you can effectively create a medium format digital camera for a fraction of the price. Can you do this with other cameras? Sure, but the sharpness of the lens and excellence of the sensor gives the Sigma DP3m a huge advantage.
But realize what you're getting. The Sigma DP3 Merrill pushes image quality forward by a couple of years. Doubtless in a decade the towering prints possible from multiple-stitched DP3m files will be achievable by your phone. If you want this image quality now without paying tens of thousands or carrying a huge, heavy body, then the Sigma DP3m, with all of its compromises, is your best option.
Most photographers won't have the skill to get the most out of them but when you get them in the right zone, they are tremendous. I use them like a more convenient Hasselblad 500cm for meditative photography or like a quieter, cheaper Leica M for covert photography. However, you choose to use yours, enjoy the image quality and invest in plenty of batteries!

Now, at this point, you may be asking, why continue with the review given all the negatives? We thought the same thing too, and then we opened the files on our PC using the Sigma Photo Pro software. We were ready to quickly give the DP3 Merrill a failing grade since it's so frustrating to use but then we started pixel peeping on a 27-inch monitor. The photos were absolutely outstanding, with a richness we had only seen on full-frame cameras; they are easily comparable to those from many high-megapixel APS-C DSLRs and CSCs. In fact, the shots were better in some ways than the X100S and Coolpix A. They even give the RX1 a run for the money - and that one costs three times as much.
One of the great things about the DP3 is the Sigma glass. The 10-element, 8-group lens really delivers the bokeh, those nicely blurred backgrounds with wide-open apertures. When you everything to work, the camera really delivers, but the user experience is bad and the unit itself is several generations behind current technology.
We hate to pile on but where the DP3 fails again is ISO capability. It has a range of 100-6,400, which is far behind the 25,600 of most high-end 2013 cameras. In our recent reviews, such as the Canon EOS 70D, we could even use 25,600 for a small image. With the DP3, ISO results are solid to 800, then falling off as you increase it. Of course, you can eliminate a lot of the noise using the Sigma Photo Pro software during post-processing if you are saving RAW files.
The Sigma DP1 and DP2 Merrill is in a group of a limited number of compact cameras with an APS-C sized sensor and a fixed lens, along with the Leica X2 and the Ricoh GXR APS-C cameras. This niche is rarer still due to the use of a Foveon sensor which promises the ultimate in image quality, although this is when shooting RAW. The Foveon sensor is capable of resolving excellent - to stunning - levels of detail far beyond what you would usually expect from 15 megapixel images.
I am simply astonished at the overall image quality of these sample images from the DP3. There is a three dimensionality to the files that just makes them seem to come alive. This not just about resolution.
The Sony image of the same flowers at 109mb doesn't look nearly as "alive" as the DP3 image. I have seen JPEGs from medium format cameras with 40+ MP that do not look as good.
Indeed. Sigma DP Merrill shooters know firsthand that the visual impact is strong. As with almost any tool, one wishes for operational improvements, but the image quality is rewarding.
I just looked at a fantastic tulip shots done with the new Sigma DP-3 Merrill. The Tulip #6 photo is absolutely incredible. That image is begging to be printed out as a 40x60 canvas and hung on your wall. Very well done! Wonderful light, composition, and detail...the detail! WOW! I've been watching the reports on the Merrill with great interest.
It's proven that the Sigma DP3 Merrill is an amazing camera capable of outstanding results in the right hands.
Yes, spectacular image quality from a point and shoot. I regularly get skeptic emails from those who have not tried... I strongly recommend renting one to see for oneself, and B&H Photo has the DP Merrill cameras in stock.
It's of interest to me to hear the reactions to specific images. The lack of an EVF is a bummer, but not a show-stopper for me given the compact camera size of the camera and outstanding results.
The poor state of the software is a huge time sink for me--I've been griping to Sigma on the software for some time now, but progress is glacially slow on improving it. Finished images from it are excellent; the issue is mind-blowing interface design failures, some so basic that the thought "you can't make this stuff up" applies, and frustrating bugs and crashes. Sigma Corporation doesn't seem to realize that the SPP software degrades the entire product. Note that Iridient Developer 2.0 ow has X3F support, and I'll be looking into that soon.
Of course what I'd really like is for a full-frame Foveon sensor of 33 megapixels: scaled up at the same pixel density, the existing APS-C sensor would produce 33 megapixel images which would blow away any existing DSLR resolution.
My only problem now I don't like the Bayer sensor of my D800e anymore.
This 3D look and per pixel sharpness of the Foveon sensor reminds me the good old time with my 4x5inch large format camera. The color correction of the D3PM is better than everything including all Zeiss and Leica lenses I've had and tested during the last years. If you look at the full resolution files in my flickr account the camera makes me speechless. The best thing I almost have to do nothing with the files to make them look best.
The Nikon D800E still has considerably more resolving power than the DP Merrill sensor, but it is true that no Bayer-matrix sensor can deliver the same per-pixel sharpness especially for color-on-color detail. Downsampling a D800E image to DP Merrill resolution makes it clear that the D800E quality is superlative with a lot more detail. But who should expect that 36-megapixels would not win out; even a Bayer sensor with its RGGB layout wins from a huge pixel count: oversampling.
The Foveon sensor does very well in sunlight for color rendition, but in my experience it does not have as wide a color gamut, and it has color rendition issues under some types of lighting (tungsten). This is basically becuase of the stacked design has trouble with strongly biased colors of light as the stacked photosite layers filter out a big chunk of wavelength. Also, the D800E dynamic range is wider.
haslat writes:

The DP2M and DP3M are just incredible cameras. Picked up my DP3 Merrill at B&H yesterday and took it to Grand Central Station for a tryout. The resulting images are unbelievably sharp.

Here, the things will shock you:

Sharpest lens ever in the world - only nikon D800E can challenge this guy

True color - No more false colors. you will get exactly what you see with your naked eyes.

This lens can give you much MORE details than Zuiko 75 mm f1.8 (eqv. 150mm FF with pana GX7) shooting in same distance.

My decision to purchase Sigma cameras was based on the analysis of the results that could be achieved with this sensor and glass - spot on.