Sigma's 50mm DP3 Merrill Completes a Glorious Triumvirate of Fixed Lens Cameras

Illustration for article titled Sigmas 50mm DP3 Merrill Completes a Glorious Triumvirate of Fixed Lens Cameras

The Sigma DP3 Merrill is a boxy shooter with 50mm f/2.8 lens. It follows the 19mm DP1 Merrill and the 30mm DP2, which aside from their fixed focal lengths are identical. This is a trinity of image quality awesome, and if it were any other manufacturer, we'd join the haters in saying this is a waste.

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You see, at its core, Sigma is a lens manufacturer and these lenses are built perfectly for the somewhat clumsy bodies on which they live. In addition to innovating optics, Sigma also happens to own the absurdly sophisticated Foveon X3 image sensor, which uses three different 15.3-megapixel layers (one for each primary color) to capture images. Instead, a third camera increases the awesome by half.

As we learned when we reviewed the DP2 in the fall, these cameras are a little tricky to use because they don't have all the easy features most of us are used to. Still, the image quality is spectacular owing to the quality of its components. The Merrills-three, then, are basically, bland black boxes built around a badass 23.5 × 15.7mm Foveon X3 sensor with a lens that has been perfectly built for that design.

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Illustration for article titled Sigmas 50mm DP3 Merrill Completes a Glorious Triumvirate of Fixed Lens Cameras

So even if owning all three of the DP Merrills might be a bit excessive, having the option of a longer fixed lens is something we're looking forward to when the camera ships. Even if the longer lens does jut out further than the rest, and even if it costs $1000 like the other two do. Speaking of which, there's still no word on when when can bring this camera home with us or exactly how many paper stacks we'll have to burn to buy one. [Sigma]

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DISCUSSION

You basic premise is flawed. Sigma may perhaps make lenses, but they are easily a fourth or fifth tier player in that category. So, that's saying extremely little about what one would expect from the IQ. On top of that, Foveon is the cute little technology that not one of the real players in the digital imaging game would touch for a second, because it's rife with so many downsides. But you think the sensor is "badass". Why?