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Thread: Sigma DP2M - A User's Review

  1. #1

    Default Sigma DP2M - A User's Review

    For those who are fans of the Foveon sensor and is drooling over the Sigma SD1 Merrill with an APS-C sized 46-megapixel X3 image sensor, you would be glad to know that the same sensor is now available in a much smaller and cheaper compact camera body in the DP2 Merrill or DP2M in short and that this camera is now available locally ahead of many other countries worldwide. As part of a National Day promotion, the agent is giving away a free Sigma EF-140 TTL flash worth $140 with each set of DP2M bought.



    Although it is considered to be a reinvention of the DP2, it is a very much different beast altogether. Here are some of the differences:
    (a) The DP2M has a much higher resolution Foveon sensor (APS-C sized 24x16mm 46-MP producing a 4704 x 3136 pixels image size) compared to DP2's 20.7x13.8 mm 14-MP, 2640 x 1760 pixels image size.

    (b) DP2M's LCD: 3-in 902k dots; DP2's LCD: 2.5-in 230k dots

    (c) The DP2 Merrill has a 30mm F2.8 lens (equivalent to a 45mm lens on a 35mm camera) which is specially designed from the ground up to match the new sensor. The DP2 has a 24.2mm F2.8 lens which is equivalent to a 40mm lens in a 35mm camera.

    (d) The DP2M is actually significantly larger (or longer more accurately) in size than the DP2.

    (e) The DP2M has two TRUE II processors toimprove the processing speed and overall quality of the final image.

    (f) The built-in flash is now missing in the DP2M. It is just as well that the agent is giving away the EF-140 flash at the moment.

    (g) Manual focusing on the DP2M is now very useable. With a touch of the dedicated Focus button on the back, the camera can be switched to MF mode with a lens focusing scale appearing on the LCD display. Manual focusing can then be carried out by turning the new focusing ring on the lens barrel of the DP2M just like on a normal lens. Another press of the OK button while in the MF mode activates the magnification display which can magnify the view to x4, x8 or x12 to assist in the focusing. None of these features are available in the older DP2.

    Battery
    The DP2M uses a different battery (BP-41) from the DP2 which is rated for only 96 shots probably because of the higher resolution of the new senor and the larger amount of processing required. Luckily this is the same battery as the Ricoh GRD camera for which there are many cheap 3rd party alternatives available.

    So far so good right? What unfortunately is almost the same as the DP2 is the focusing capabilities of the DP2M. To me, the DP2M focuses almost as bad as the DP2 and about similar to the Fuji X100. Those who are spoilt rotten by the speedy focusing of DSLRs and the latest mirrorless system cameras would be disappointed with the DP2M. In good light, it is OK but in low light, and/or low contrast situations, focusing can become problematic.

    The consolation is that once focus is achieved, the image quality achieved is stupendously good due to the excellent lens which is sharp from centre to corner even wide opened and the 46-MP sensor. In fact at ISO 100 & 200, I dare say that it matches or even betters the outputs from more high end Full-frame cameras the likes of the D800 and 5DMk3. The amount of details captured is just unbelieveable. Alas, the Foveon sensor still cannot-make-it when it comes to High ISO shooting at anything about ISO 800. Sigma's answer to high ISO photography seems to be to apply aggressive noise reduction processing until the image details turn to mush.

    More test images to follow....
    Last edited by tomcat; 6th August 2012 at 11:20 AM.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Sigma DP2M - A User's Review

    Image File Size
    When Sigma said that the new Foveon sensor is 46-MP, they are not joking! The size of the RAW x3f files ranges from 45 - 60 Mb in size. For an image resolution of 4704 x 3136 pixels, this is rather big. The Nikon D800/D800E creates a RAW file of about the same size or slightly larger but for an image resolution of 7360 x 4912 pixels. I'm hoping that the Sigma DP2M RAW file size is so big because of all the details that it can capture and stored into the x3f image files. That seems to my observation from the test images that I have taken so far. I am really amazed at how much details could be squeezed out of the x3f files of the DP2M.

    Here are some test images....

    #1

    1/125s f/4.0 at 30.0mm ISO 100
    This is one of the first shots I had taken with this camera. It was in the late afternoon and the light is rather low under the canopy of trees. It is a very busy image with lots of minute details in the foliage which was captured fully by the DP2M but could be seen only when viewed at 100% as in the 100% crop image in the next image to follow.

    #2

    100% crop of #1
    Full of details of the foliage despite the jpeg artifacts caused by the high compression algorithm of the image hosting site that I'm using.

    #3

    1/640s f/2.8 at 30.0mm ISO 100
    My prerequisite cat shot taken with the lens wide-opened at f/2.8. This lens is really sharp and optimised to the sensor of the DP2M. All that details in the eyes when viewed at 100%. That said, I really don't like taking portrait shots with a 30mm lens because of the distortion in facial proportions when using a wide angle lens at closed up distances. So the DP2M is more suited for street photography and maybe landscapes for me.

    #4

    100% crop of #3

    #5

    1/1000s f/4.5 at 30.0mm ISO 100
    This shot was taken from inside the car through the driver side window while waiting for the traffic lights to change. I'm surprised that even shooting through a dirty and obviously non-optical glass window pane did not deter the DP2M from capturing all those details, even those in the dull cloudy sky.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Sigma DP2M - A User's Review

    Now for some 'street photography' shots (not exactly my forte)....

    #6

    1/40s f/4.5 at 30.0mm ISO 100

    #7

    1/160s f/4.5 at 30.0mm ISO 100
    All those colours and fine details at the SCAPE weekend flea market... just begging to be captured by the DP2M. I'm amazed at the minute details in the clothings and goods on display there when viewed at 100%. I have a feeling that even the D800E would have a problem matching the DP2M in this respect.

    #8

    100% crop of #7 (somewhat reduced in size by ClubSnap unfortunately)
    I think the D800E would have a huge moire problem with this scene when viewed at 100%.

    #9

    1/200s f/4.5 at 30.0mm ISO 100
    This shot illustrates how good the lens of the DP2M is. Just look at the 100% crop of the bottom right corner of this shot in #10.

    #10

    100% crop of #9
    All the texture of the fabric and the small objects were clearly captured even at the corner/edge of the image.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Sigma DP2M - A User's Review

    #11

    1/200s f/4.5 at 30.0mm ISO 100

    #12

    1/40s f/2.8 at 30.0mm ISO 100

    #13

    1/125s f/2.8 at 30.0mm ISO 100

  5. #5

    Default Re: Sigma DP2M - A User's Review

    #14


    #15


    #16

  6. #6
    Moderator ed9119's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sigma DP2M - A User's Review

    discussion of prices is discouraged ..... thanks
    shaddap and just shoot .... up close
    Walkeast

  7. #7
    Senior Member UncleFai's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sigma DP2M - A User's Review

    And no one cursed at the 46MP as they did the 36MP of the D800 (FF)... strange...

  8. #8

    Default Re: Sigma DP2M - A User's Review

    Quote Originally Posted by UncleFai View Post
    And no one cursed at the 46MP as they did the 36MP of the D800 (FF)... strange...
    Because no one is interested in the DP2M

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Sigma DP2M - A User's Review

    Thanks for the Review. Really missed the colour of Foveon Sensor. Its simply different.

    It will be great if there is a side to side size comparison of the camera too

  10. #10

    Default

    What is the price currently ?

  11. #11

    Default Re: Sigma DP2M - A User's Review

    Quote Originally Posted by keyuan View Post
    Thanks for the Review. Really missed the colour of Foveon Sensor. Its simply different.

    It will be great if there is a side to side size comparison of the camera too
    Thanks for reading. Size comparison with which camera?

  12. #12

    Default Re: Sigma DP2M - A User's Review

    Quote Originally Posted by yeokpd View Post
    What is the price currently ?
    The local RRP for the DP2M is $1,499 but you should be able to get one for much less at the dealers at street prices. Only thing is that not many dealers who stock Sigma lenses will have the DP2M ex-stock and would only place orders with the agent if they have confirmed orders. I know of only one dealer who actually have physical stock at his shop.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Sigma DP2M - A User's Review

    Thanks for the review. I saw your photos in dpreview. It look like it was taken in Singapore, so I called my dealer and reserved a set and collected it Wednesday, 8 Aug. For me it is a good price compared to similar size sensor Fuji 100. And for its unique foveon look, despite some of camera's inconvenient features. as long its better than the dp1 and dp1x earlier models.

    Here is a cropped jpeg image, directly taken from the camera of my morning prawn noodles breakfast.


  14. #14

    Default Re: Sigma DP2M - A User's Review

    can share which shop .. shops at funan haven't heard of it. thank you.

    Quote Originally Posted by tomcat View Post
    The local RRP for the DP2M is $1,499 but you should be able to get one for much less at the dealers at street prices. Only thing is that not many dealers who stock Sigma lenses will have the DP2M ex-stock and would only place orders with the agent if they have confirmed orders. I know of only one dealer who actually have physical stock at his shop.

  15. #15

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by mike43
    can share which shop .. shops at funan haven't heard of it. thank you.
    Yes please, share which shop pls. Interested in getting.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Sigma DP2M - A User's Review

    Interesting camera indeed.
    It does seem to display images that has a sharpness to it that I find it hard to describe.

    Pardon me, but shadow areas look darker.
    Is that part of the foveon characteristic or can be easily tweaked like using shadow recovery for example?

    I also seem to be seeing moire on the repeating patterned grills on #6 and #16. Is this really there or due to a resize (or just my monitor)?


    Lastly, do you have an idea where I can try out this camera?
    thanks


    Great looking review and stunning crops showing off the capability of the system.
    Last edited by pinholecam; 9th August 2012 at 05:34 PM.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Sigma DP2M - A User's Review

    Quote Originally Posted by pinholecam View Post
    Interesting camera indeed.
    It does seem to display images that has a sharpness to it that I find it hard to describe.

    Pardon me, but shadow areas look darker.
    Is that part of the foveon characteristic or can be easily tweaked like using shadow recovery for example?

    I also seem to be seeing moire on the repeating patterned grills on #6 and #16. Is this really there or due to a resize (or just my monitor)?


    Lastly, do you have an idea where I can try out this camera?
    thanks


    Great looking review and stunning crops showing off the capability of the system.
    I checked the full-sized versions of #6 and #16. There is no repeating patterns in the ceilings of #6 but repeating patterns can still be seen in the facade of ION Orchard in #16. Maybe there's something behind those narrowly spaced horizontal bars that form the facade of ION Orchard that's causing the optical illusion.

    The shadows look darker in these images probably because of the broader dynamic range of Foveon images. There are actually a lot of details in the dark areas of these reduced size images that I posted. They can be seen in the 100% crops but could not be seen in the full images posted because they are all shrunk and squeezed together tightly eg #1 & 2, #7 & 8. Since I could actually see the details when I viewed these images at 100%, I did not try to carry out any shadow recovery and left them as they were.

    I don't think any dealer would let you just try out the camera without buying as the DP2M does not really have a broad appeal to th usual photographers and the dealers therefore do not carry a lot of stock if any of this camera. Maybe you can try going to the local agent Audio & Photo Distributor (FE) Pte Ltd's showroom at E-Centre@Redhill at Jalan Bukit Merah for some hands-on testing if you are interested in the camera.

  18. #18

    Default Re: Sigma DP2M - A User's Review

    Quote Originally Posted by mike43 View Post
    can share which shop .. shops at funan haven't heard of it. thank you.
    Quote Originally Posted by yeokpd View Post
    Yes please, share which shop pls. Interested in getting.
    Depends on which shop you asked in Funan I guess TK Foto has definitely heard of it. They only dared to order 1 set of the DP2M as they told me that they were afraid that it would not sell and they would get stuck with the stock (anyway it was sold immediately literally within seconds of the set arriving at their shop last Saturday). Parisilk Holland Village on the other hand had sold many sets since last Saturday surprisingly and is therefore not afraid to keep stock of this camera.
    Last edited by tomcat; 9th August 2012 at 11:31 PM.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Sigma DP2M - A User's Review

    Seems that Sigma Marketing (Singapore) Pte Ltd, the local agent for Sigma and Ricoh cameras, has linked my review here on their facebook page Audio & Photo Distributor (FE) Pte Ltd/Sigma Marketing (Singapore) Pte Ltd - Camera/Photo - Singapore, Singapore | Facebook
    If the DP2M sells because of my review, maybe they should consider giving me a small commission or some DP2M accessories in kind, you think.

  20. #20

    Default Re: Sigma DP2M - A User's Review

    And now for a rather interesting comparison... between the DP2M and the Nikon D800E !

    It is commonly believed that Bayer sensors tend to turn grass and foliage to mush after interpolation especially in low resolution and smallers sensors, but how about the D800E which is the current king of high resolution full-frame DSLRs with it's 36M non-anti-liasing filters?

    In my simple comparison, since I do not have a 45mm lens and do not want to use a zoom lens which might be considered unfair to the D800E to compare a zoom lens with a prime lens, I have paired the D800E with a 50mm f/1.4G prime lens to approximate the 45mm FOV lens of the DP2M. An aperture setting of f/5.6 was used for the 50mm f/1.4 lens while the DP2M was set to f/4.0 considering that the Foveon sensor of the DP2M is APS-C sized and therefore have a deeper DOF than a full-frame lens at the same aperture stop. The D800E images were then reduced in size to match those of the DP2M and the 100% crops of both are compared. No sharpness was added during post-processing.

    These are the results....

    #17

    1/125s f/5.6 at 50.0mm ISO 100
    This is the scene as shot with the D800E. Looks OK, right?

    #18

    100% crop of the centre of #17 by D800E

    #19

    100% of the centre of the image by DP2M

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