Sigma has unveiled the latest iteration of their extremely powerful compact camera series in the DP3 Merrill, a 46 megapixel monster with a 50mm f/2.8 macro lens (a focal range equivalent to 75mm on a 35mm SLR camera) and Sigma's signature Foveon X3 sensor. It includes an advanced user interface and the capability of seven-frame continuous shooting. It is designed to be paired with its DP Merrill predecessors, the DP1 and DP2, as a complete compact camera tool set.
46 megapixel, 23.5×15.7mm Full-color Foveon X3 Merrill sensor
The 23.5×15.7mm full-color 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 colors at each and every pixel location with 3 layers, ensuring the capture of full and complete color. Since color moiré is not generated, the use of a low-pass filter is not required, meaning light and color are captured by the 46 megapixel 23.5×15.7mm full-color 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 75mm on a 35mm lens, and it has been designed exclusively for the SIGMA DP3 Merrill to maximizes 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 DP3 Merrill has a minimum focusing distance of 22.6cm (8.9”) and a maximum magnification ratio of 1:3, which can offer quality macro shooting. 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.
Capable of 7 frames continuous shooting
A large volume buffer memory enables the camera to capture up to 7 RAW images per sequence in continuous shooting mode. Using the high speed data transfer and processing, the SIGMA DP3 Merrill features a continuous shooting speed of up to 4 frames per second. In addition, depending on the situation, it is possible to capture up to 5 frames per second and up to 14 images per sequence in continuous shooting mode in Medium and Low image quality mode.
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 color data in a 1:1 ratio without relying on interpolation. When the image is processed in SIGMA Photo Pro, it will preserve the balance of the natural data for the best photos with the best image quality. It offers better usability as the RAW data and JPEG data are recorded simultaneously in Monochrome Mode.
SIGMA Photo Pro
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. Moreover, Monochrome Mode makes it possible to generate monochrome images fully optimizing the Foveon X3 direct image sensor capabilities.
Portable compact and lightweight body
The SIGMA DP3 Merrill has compact dimensions of 121.5mm (W)×66.7mm (H)×80.6mm (D), 400g. The supplied neck strap provides perfect mobility for candid photography.
Large, highly visible 3.0” TFT color LCD Monitor
The SIGMA DP3 Merrill features a 3.0 inch TFT color monitor which ensures great visibility even outside in the daytime. This approximately 920,000 pixel resolution LCD monitor benefits from a wide viewing angle, making it easy to capture detail and to check focusing and composition.
The SIGMA DP3 Merrill is equipped with a hot shoe, allowing use of the dedicated external flashgun EF-140 DG (optional) as well as SIGMA electronic flashguns for SD series such as EF-610 DG Super (optional) and EF-610 DG ST (optional).
Dedicated lens hood
The dedicated bayonet lens hood (LH3-01) can be attached to block out extraneous light. Attaching Sigma’s optional dedicated 52mm DG filters such as the DG wide circular PL to the camera body extends the shooting possibilities.
Movies can be recorded with VGA (640×480) size. The number of shooting frames per second is 30 frames.
ISO Sensitivity can be set by 1/3 Step
ISO sensitivity can be set from ISO 100 to ISO 6400. By setting the range to 1/3 EV steps from the default 1 EV steps, it is possible to set the sensitivity to ISO 125 or ISO 160. ISO AUTO, where the camera automatically sets the ISO sensitivity according to brightness of the shooting environment enables you to set the upper limit and lower limit depending on your shooting style.
Also, Sigma announced the Sigma Photo Pro Monochrome Mode. This new black and white editing mode in the Sigma Photo Pro software processes the RAW data of the Sigma Merrill series for the creation of monochrome photography. Sigma’s full-color capture system produces richly detailed monochrome images with a wide dynamic range from highlight to shadow. It creates ultra high-resolution images even at high ISOs with minimal noise. In this mode, photographers can expect smooth, beautiful gradations, and editing options that include a new Color Channel Mixer and a Film Grain Effect. Since Sigma’s cameras do not use blur filters, and since the image sensors capture full image detail at each pixel location in the image, the Merrill camera series is uniquely positioned to produce great color, and black and white imagery. This feature set will be available in Sigma Photo Pro version 5.5, which will be available for download via the Sigma site.
Pricing and availability are not yet available. What do you think? Interested? I've seen images out of the DP2 and have been pretty impressed with the quality. For being so tiny, it was a beast in terms of quality.