In the last of series of 3 posts on Sigma’s DP0 Quattro I couldn’t resist a cheeky comparison against the Sigma DP1 Merrill.
… But first let’s get the disclaimer out of the way!
Anyone looking for a technical, scientifically rigorous, thorough, review should look away now!
Ok, so now we’re rid of those pesky pixel peaking folks, for those still curious let’s press on with the comparison.
Now we’re told that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and for that I’m personally thankful … but not holding an opinion, where’s the fun it that!
To my worn eyeballs the Merrill has the edge on resolution, but when I say edge I mean a razor sharp knife-edge of an edge, a micron of an edge, an edge just one atom thick. More importantly I seem to be able to pull more from the highlights and the shadows, an issue amplified when I don my Dracula cape and go out shooting at night (but to put this in perspective, neither camera is a Sony A7s). Finally, if I’m going through a moody, arty, monochrome phase, the Merrill has a touch more tone.
In the Quattro’s favour I love the colour rendition that comes out of the camera, the images seem warmer, richer, less harsh and more forgiving than the Merrill, especially with people and skin tones, and there’s something about the look of the landscapes, a dreaminess, a timelessness, that I can’t quite put my finger on (Lee, if you ever read this please publish your balloons picture so I can link to it and people can see for themselves).
But with the margins so thin a little post processing either way allows you to match one with the other as near as makes no difference, except for the night-time shots, and if you’re serious about this genre of photography you’re salivating over the Sony A7SII rather than reading this.
So I was pushed into a corner; had a camera bag just for one; had gun held to my head; what would I choose? Well if I find myself running to the door to catch that magic moment, I think … I might … just find myself … unconsciously … reaching for the DP0Q … I just love the look of the landscapes.
All things considered
A whole set of factors combine to make this comparison not worth the (virtual) paper it’s written on, including but not limited to:
- the different length of the lenses
- the wholly unscientific (for many reasons) nature of the comparison*
- the lack of time I had to get to know the Quattro
- an extremely subjective take on what good looks like
- the price difference of the cameras
- the relative sizes of the cameras (the Merrill is tiny in comparison)
- the superiority of the Quattro as a camera
- the relative size of the RAW files and consequent time to process in SPP
- the limited subject matter
- the dreariness of the weather during the time I had the Quattro.
I make no apologies, the aim of the comparison is to look at the camera against my set of needs, not yours! That said I’m sharing it because people seem to be interested in this sort of thing, and hopefully it contributes to the discussion. IMHO both cameras are immense considering the IQ, the price point and the unique look they produce. I don’t care which you’d choose, just spare a moment to look beyond the pile of bayer sensors and give them a go.
*Despite the unscientific nature I’ve tried to make the comparisons as fair as possible. Unless otherwise stated comparison shots are: the same ISO, same aperture, exposure matched by varying shutter speed, shots taken seconds apart, same processing SPP (noise reduction at zero everything else neutral), same post processing in Lightroom, and cropped to make the comparison easier.