A New Camera Arrives: the Sigma DP3 Merrill | Jim Kofron Photography | Jim Kofron

A New Camera Arrives: the Sigma DP3 Merrill

I’m ditching the sidebar so I can dish on the brand new camera and put some slightly larger photos up. I picked up a Sigma DP3 Merrill a few weeks ago. Got it through Amazon from a Japanese reseller for a very nice price ($595)—and I’ve been waiting patiently to get my hands on this camera. Of course, now that I’ve got it, it’s obsolete! Sigma’s just announced the next generation of their compact DP series with a new Foveon sensor (Quattro): The new technology looks very cool, so there’s no doubt that I’ll have another one on my wish list soon enough.

For the uninitiated, the DP3 Merrill is a compact camera with a f2.8 75 mm equivalent lens. The sensor is amazing—it has nearly 4x the number of pixels that my dSLR (the SD15) does. Coupled with a beautiful lens, this is a great near telephoto setup for portraiture and close up work. The weather has been pretty rotten around here as of late (well, actually as of October) so it’s not a lot of fun to go outside and shoot, but I did a little work last weekend and today. Go to the DP3 Merrill gallery to see the images (and download a few and view them full size); I certainly see a lot of potential in this camera.

Downsides: it’s a high resolution (as in medium-format—I’ve seen 30 x 48” prints from this sensor) compact camera, so you either have to shoot at a high shutter speed or put it on a tripod. And every time I bring it up to my eye, I remind myself that it has no optical viewfinder (I’m getting more used to that). Battery life is poor (80-100 shots). The not-so-great Foveon performance in low levels of incandescent and fluorescent light. If you fill up the 7 shot buffer, you’ll be waiting a while for it to clear.

Upsides: A tremendous lens on top of a great sensor. A really well designed compact camera with some nice ergonomics and sensible controls and menus (I’m surprised how quickly I’m getting used to it already). The shutter is in the lens (a leaf shutter), so it’ll sync with my flashes to 1/2000 s. You can print murals out of this (20x30” is no problem). I’ll write more as I get used to it, but I’m pretty excited.

Copyright 2014, Jim Kofron. All rights reserved.