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Sigma DP2 Merrill First Impressions Review
The shooting modes on the DP2 Merrill are organized into a single mode menu on the camera, which is brought up by pressing the dedicated mode button on the top plate of the camera. This shows a horizontal list of the four main shooting modes (program auto, shutter priority, aperture priority, and manual exposure) along with video and three custom shooting modes, which can be stored by going into the main menu.
The Sigma DP2 Merrill is designed to be a camera for the enthusiast photographer, and as such is doesn't offer much in the way of scene or intelligent automatic modes. The most automatic mode that the camera can engage in is the program auto, though this easily shifts with just a simple turn of the top control dial. This will largely affect aperture, though it makes constant changes to shutter speed to compensate as well.
The video mode on the Foveon sensor is strictly VGA, with no option for high definition shooting. The Foveon sensor's unique construction has traditionally limited video capture to just VGA at 30fps, so it's no surprise that the DP2 Merrill retains this rating. There are also not very many video controls on the camera, though with only VGA video capability we can't imagine video being a priority for those picking up the camera.
The DP2 Merrill allows users to take a single shot or a continuous burst of shots by utilizing the camera's drive modes. The amount of data that has to be pulled from the image sensor doesn't allow for supremely fast burst shooting, but we found the camera to be generally responsive. The camera also allows users to make use of a self-timer, with options for a two- or ten-second delay, an interval timer, and the camera's "infinite drive" setting, which as far as we could tell in limited time with the unit continually takes images until you tell it to stop.
Playback on the Sigma DP2 Merrill was very limited, with very few in-camera editing options. Playback is entered by pressing the camera marked with a red "play" symbol on the bottom of the back of the camera. Images can then be examined by digitally zooming in with the control dial, or zooming out to view an index of images. In the camera's menu the two pages of playback options allow you to mark, protect, delete, or rotate an image. You can also order prints, view images in a slideshow and turn options on like overexposure warning, whether you want an image to play with sound, or the camera to automatically rotate an image to the correct orientation.
Picture Quality & Size Options
The image sensor on the Sigma DP2 Merrill captures a staggering 46 megapixels of data, but that includes 15.4 megapixels per channel for red, green, and blue. While the model we used at CP+ in Japan was still pre-production, it also offered image size options of 3264x2176 and 2336x1568, with the ability to capture shots in RAW, JPEG, or RAW+JPEG. In JPEG shooting the camera offered three levels of compression—high, medium, and low—with the highest quality returning a roughly 10MB image file at maximum resolution, while a low quality maximum resolution shot was just 4.2MB