Your curiosity is not at all unusual. I was one of many so afflicted when I read (I am paraphrasing this) Reid Reviews describing the images from these cameras as being etched with a razor, and I believe (going from memory), he said they were the most detailed images he has even seen from a small camera. These comments made me look to see if Michael had tested them, and his report was the catalyst to pursing these discussion forums. I saw the same images you’ve seen, so I rented the DP2M and DP3M from Lens Rentals. The very first thing I did after indulging my curiosity with a few snapshots, was to shoot the same things with my D800E and the Merrills just to see how the little Sigmas compared. The D800E Tifs are over 200 MB, and the detail is incredible, but I’d be hard pressed to say there is any signifiant quality difference between the detail recorded by these very different cameras. In one of the reviews I read, the reviewer said you had to approach the use of the little Merrills the way you would medium format cameras. Having spent a lot of time with view cameras and medium format film cameras, I understood what he was saying. The obvious difference is the size and weight. I hike with the dogs every day except in the summer when it is too hot. Carrying the DP2M and DP3M on one of these hikes was a real treat. I’ll take the D3s when I have to photograph action, and the D800E when I don’t need a high fps rate, but if I was traveling and planning to shoot scenics, the Merrills would be my choice of cameras because they combine light weight with incredible image quality. If I knew I would be taking photos at night or in low light (I try not to use anything higher that ISO400 with the Merrills - and that is not the limitation for me that it seems to be for some others) - I’d look into the Sony RX1/R to use in those situations. The last thing that occurs to me to tell you is the detail and image quality is such I find myself photographing things I wouldn’t even consider with the Nikons, just so I can look at the images later.
If you are undecided, rent one or two of them - I discovered I used the DP3M around two thirds of the time I had it and the DP2M rental cameras. You will almost certainly discover all the images you see are representative of what you find in your own photos from the Merrills. You’ll surely see comments grumbling about the software, but I have yet to see anyone say the images are anything other than superlative.http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/cameras/sigma_dp3_review.shtml http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/cameras/sigma_dp2m_review.shtml
Thank you billh for confirming what I've been suspecting for so long. I do look at them as film cameras but better, limited exposures, slow processing of film, no fancy electronics, but when it comes to image quality, absolutely delivers. I think Nick Devlin mentioned this in one of the videos with 'TheCameraStoreTV' (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f3VjyHQiqdE
+1 I love my DP2 & 3. I also shoot a900s w/ Sony-Zeiss glass. The Sony is much more flexible as a system, but the Merrills are magic "detail-monsters" within their limited range of functionality. As said above, I also find myself photographing things I normally might not, just to see the detail in the files and prints. It is almost like "another way of seeing things."
I am really tempted by the DP2M at this point.
Thank you for all your insights about these little monsters.
Life would be so much easier if they were priced $499 or lower. At $800 I'm tempted to consider the x100s (it's much costlier than $800 but might as well etc.) even though I fully understand both those are very different cameras.