The last time I had a Quattro it lasted one week. A combination of poor results and immature SPP led me to the conclusion that the camera was just not ready, or perhaps that there was a more fundamental issue with the new sensor design when compared to that bit of magic at the heart of the Merrill.
Then those Sigma people tempted me to give the Quattro a second try, with updated firmware and SPP, and I found myself once again comparing the Merrill and the Quattro, re-shooting some of the original images and re-processing others using SPP 6.0.6.
Quatto DP2 & Merrill DP3 Leeds Panoramic (Re-shot) Ok, so this is an unfair comparison given the difference in reach between the 50mm Merrill and 30mm Quattro, and that zooming with my feet would have got me wet, but this time around I see a much more acceptable rendition from the Quattro.
(note that the white balance for the Quattro images are different between the pano above and detail below – “as shot” changed to “auto”)
Leeds Red Brick (New Shots)
Clock & Green (Re-shot)
Check out the spiders web as it extends over the clock dial on the Merrill. Try as I might I could not recreate this white over white contrast with the Quattro!
Ossett War Memorial
Temple of the Four Winds
So what we have with the Quattro is a camera that undoubtedly represents a step change improvement in terms of usability from the previous generation, and when judged on its own merits produces images of outstanding quality that retain that Foveon look. It’s certainty not a camera to be sniffed at!
But the problem for the Quattro (and for Sigma) is that for loyal Merrill owners it’s nigh on impossible to judge the Quattro on its own merits when the Merrill sets the IQ bar so high. And for those whose need for usability means they are prepared to compromise IQ there’s a myriad of high-end compact cameras out there on the market, let alone DSLRs, that will produce excellent results.
So will I keep the Quattro this time around? I have to admit to being tempted. The IQ is great … the usability is just so much better …. despite the evidence above I’m no pixel peeper and more interested in the overall look … and if I didn’t already own a Merrill … but the trouble is I do …
… I think I need to sleep on it!
All shots were taken with a tripod and 2-second delay (accept Ossett War Memorial hand held), at ISO100 and F9, in the same lighting conditions (2-3 minutes apart maximum, and an attempt to get the same exposure . All shots were converted to tiff 16 bit in SPP 6.0.5 with luminance noise reduction at the minimum setting; no other processing. All shots adjusted on Lightroom with the same settings – auto white balance, clarity and contrast up, sharpness up. Shadows and highlights adjusted for exposure, and no noise reduction.