I really do love the image quality from the Sigma DP3 Merrill. After spending time with three Sigma cameras: DP2 Merrill, SD1 Merrill and the DP3 Merrill, I really have become a major fan of the Foveon sensor. They produce some of the most beautiful images. And the 50mm lens creates a perfect portrait focal length for close-ups.
But, this image quality comes at a price. There are some major drawbacks to the Sigma DP line of cameras. The slow autofocus will easily turn off a majority of the working photographers – especially if they are working with moving subjects. The inability to produce a good, usable image above 800 ISO is also a major issue. Finally, a lack of battery life also cripples the user and requires that them to be fully aware of their remaining exposures.
I don’t love the ergonomics of the DP3 Merrill. I would much prefer to have a less “boxy” feel to the camera. In addition, the simplistic design of the camera is a little too simplistic for my taste. Yet, neither of these are deal breakers for me.
The video functionality is sub-par and I would much prefer that the feature was removed so that it could be marketed as a still image camera only. You know, like the good ‘ole days? Unfortunately, the video function on the SP3 Merrill only gives us more things to criticize.
Overall, this is a great camera for a patient photographer who loves fine art images. Portrait photographers who work in a studio may also be interested in the DP lineup due to it’s leaf shutter and excellent image quality. It also stands to reason that the DP3 Merrill may also bode well with an up-and-coming group of photographers who have a love of compact, large sensor, fixed-lens cameras. In that case, the DP3 can hold it’s head high and brag about it’s exemplary image quality and optically excellent lens.
- Outstanding image quality at low ISOs
- Great color quality from Foveon sensor
- Optically superior 50mm lens
- High ISO images are inadequate
- Slow autofocus
- Poor battery life