Sigma DP1 Merrill review

Sigma's large sensor compact camera with Foveon x3 sensor

TODO alt text

The Sigma DP1 Merrill is both brilliant and frustrating, depending on the shooting conditions and also your expectations.

The images in good light, at ISO 100 or 200, and especially shot in raw, are nothing short of superb, as the Foveon X3 sensor can reproduce detail and colours that even the best digital SLRs can struggle to match.

But that's only half of the story, as there's more to a camera than simply producing stunning results at low ISOs.

The results at ISO 800 and above are disappointing, and it doesn't offer many of the features or performance you'd expect of a compact camera.

The slow write times and short battery life can spoil the picture-taking experience, and the reliance on Sigma's own software for processing raw images can also be a time-consuming and less-than-ideal solution if you've got a lot of shots to go through.

We liked

The image quality at low ISO settings, particularly from raw files, is as good as many more expensive cameras, while the compact size, simple design and basic control layout are all impressive.

We disliked

Above ISO 400 the image quality is disappointing, and the slow write times, battery life and reliance on Sigma's Photo Pro software for raw processing can be frustrating.

Final Verdict

Despite the simple, compact appearance, the Sigma DP1 Merrill isn't really a point-and-shoot camera. It's much better suited to a more considered approach to picture taking, and if that suits your needs you'll struggle to find a camera that will produce better images, even if you spend much more cash.

If you can put up with the fixed focal length lens and slow write times, and want a compact camera that will produce amazing quality images at low ISO settings - especially from raw files - then the Sigma DP1 Merrill is a great choice.

Tech Specs

Product TypeCompact Camera
Battery Size SupportedProprietary Battery Size
Maximum Video Resolution320 x 240
Effective Camera Resolution14.1 Megapixel
USBYes
HD Movie ModeNo
Memory Card SupportedSecure Digital (SD) Card, Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) Card, MultiMediaCard (MMC)
ColourBlack
Digital Zoom3x
Brand NameSigma
Screen Size6.4 cm (2.5")
Video FormatsAVI
Viewfinder TypeNo
Weight (Approximate)250 g
Maximum Image Resolution2640 x 1760
Display Screen TypeLCD
Height59.5 mm
Width113.3 mm
Depth50.3 mm
Focal Length16.60 mm
Image FormatsJPEG, RAW
Focus ModesAuto, Manual
ManufacturerSigma Corporation
Product ModelDP1
Product NameDP1 Compact Camera
Manufacturer Part NumberC7S900
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.sigma-imaging-uk.com
Marketing Information

The DP1 uses the same 14 megapixel (2652×1768×3 layers)direct image sensor as the SD14. Utilizing the special features of silicon, which is penetrated to different depths by different wavelengths of light, this direct image sensor succeeds in full-color capture with the full RGB in a single-pixel location. Just like film, each photodiode captures all the RGB data, so no final-stage demosaicing is required.