I opened the box, charged the batteries, set up the camera as best as I could figure out, downloaded Sigma's RAW software, and began to test the camera.
Now I've heard that high ISO images from the DP2 Merrill are terrible. I believed that, but wanted to put it to the test to see for myself. So for the first photograph from this camera I set ISO to 3200, with images saved as RAW and JPEG.
I don't normally use ISO 3200 for any camera, no matter the situation. I know some cameras do a good job with high ISO, but even with those cameras I would never use ISO 3200 for anything remotely serious. So this test was more to understand the limitations of the DP2 Merrill than anything else.
|Boy - Stallion Springs, California|
This is an example of ISO 3200
The sun had just set by the time the camera was ready to go, so I pulled out a tripod and captured an image at ISO 100, which can be seen below.
|California Country 130% Crop - Stallion Springs, California|
Speaking of post-processing, Sigma's Photo Pro software is just fine. You have to use this software if you use RAW format. I had heard that it was terrible, but it isn't. Yes, it is limited in what it can do, but it is capable of doing what most photographs require. For those images that need a little more work, save as TIFF and continue editing in your software of choice. In the little that I used Photo Pro I had no issues.
So far, the Sigma DP2 Merrill is living up to the hype of exceptional image quality at low ISO. You could compare it to using 35mm Kodachrome 64 with a great prime lens. Only it might actually be better than that.
Look for an upcoming review of the Sigma DP2 Merrill.