Well not quite a rubbish waterfall, more litter-ally (get it?) a rubbish fall!
After spending the past year or more following the construction of the Leeds Refuse Recycle & Energy Recover Facility (RERF for short) from the outside, I was invited inside by the French architects, S’PACE, to take some shots of its inner workings.
Whilst the rubbish fall might not be as picturesque as a Dales waterfall, the plant itself is a hugely impressive building, incinerating the citizens of Leeds’s waste and transforming it into electricity for 20,000 homes, but more to the point a perfect place to point a Sigma Merrill or Quattro camera.
Whilst I’m starting to prefer the Quattro DP0 for landscape work the Merrill’s eye for detail, and tonal range, is in its element for industrial subjects.
I know the majority of you would prefer to point your camera at beach sunsets, cute seaside villages, and rolling hills and dales, but I could have spent a week roaming around the RERF looking for angles and perspectives; industrial subjects are cool too, and different test of your compositional skills.
In February I go back to complete the job, and with the facility opening in March, it will probably be the end of my association with this fascinating building, and I can head back to mountains.
I’ll post a final set of images of the RERF then, I bet you can’t wait!
The comparisons of the Sigma Merrill and Quattro have remained by far the most popular posts on this website throughout 2014 and 2015, with the test shot of Leeds (below) the most clicked upon.
The two shots below, taken a few days ago, complete the set with a comparison of the Sigma DP1 Merrill and Sigma DP0 Quattro. Both shots were hand held. Both have been post processed in SPP and Lightroom, using the same settings. Both shots were taken at ISO100 at f5.6. On both the colours come straight from the camera. The Quattro shot has been cropped to aid the comparison.
With the Quattro I’ve struggled to control highlights, but a B&W graduated ND filter, soldered onto the camera, seems to have sorted the problem.
On previous comparisons the Merrill has always come up trumps on resolution and micro contrast, but taking into account the different focal lengths between the DP0 and DP1 to my eyes it’s too close to call. Both are fantastic image producing machines and both deserve a place in my camera bag.
Please note the above is an unapologetic, unscientific comparison.
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.
It’s 11:15pm on Saturday night. A lost fell walker stumbles into the pub 4 hours after sunset and 6 hours after they flipped a coin and chose the wrong track down the mountain. 30 minutes later they’re in a taxi heading back to the comfort of their campsite, but not before leaving us their map of Cader Idris. Their misfortune is our gain.
Forward on the clock to 3pm on Sunday. We’re enveloped in mist, no visible landmarks, unfamiliar territory. We start to head down a path off the summit marked with two cairns. I get the compass out and check the map they gave us. We’re heading North not East, we switch directions and stumble upon the right path. It’s an easy mistake, without a map and compass we’d have found ourselves in the wrong valley with a long walk home.
A stitched panoramic from the Minffordd Path with Craig Cwm Amarch (left) and the summit Penygadair (right) towering over Llyn Cau filling the corrie below. Taken before the clouds descended.
Feel the flow of the road as you head over the pass, but watch out for oncoming lorries!
The Sigma DP1 Merrill is really a joy to use in Andalusian light. No tripod needed, just point at the scenery, use the histogram to protect the highlights, and it’s in the bag. In the murk of the UK the camera is a cracker but there’s no denying that Andalusia is its natural habitat. I just wish I’d brought a viewfinder!
Hand held, ISO 100, post processed is SPP 6.2 and Lightroom