Sigma DP1 Merrill and DP2 Merrill 46MP cameras announced

Sigma DP1 Merrill

Sigma DP1 Merrill

Sigma DP2 Merrill

Sigma DP2 Merrill

In addition to the SD1 price reduction, Sigma also announced the DP1 Merrill and DP2 Merrill compact cameras that will have the same 46MP APS-C X3 sensor from the SD1. Now, this is something interesting. Pricing was not announced.

The DP1 has a 19mm f/2.8 lens (equivalent to 28mm), the DP2 has a 30mm f/2.8 lens (45mm equivalent).

Press release:

Sigma Corporation announces next-generation compact cameras named in honor of Foveon innovator
DP1 Merrill and DP2 Merrill now incorporate 46-megapixel, full-color image sensor

Ronkonkoma, NY, Feb. 8, 2012 – Sigma Corporation of America (, a leading researcher, developer, manufacturer and service provider for some of the world's most impressive lines of lenses, cameras and flashes, today announced the new Merrill series of digital cameras with the introduction of the DP1 Merrill and DP2 Merrill. The Merrill series is named in honor of Richard “Dick” Merrill, the co-creator of the Foveon X3 Direct Image Sensor technology that powers Sigma’s unique lineup of cameras.

These upgraded, high resolution, fixed lens compact digital cameras now incorporate the same APS-C sized 46-megapixel X3 image sensor found in the company’s flagship SD1 SLR, now also known as the Sigma SD1 Merrill. This name change not only pays homage to Merrill, but it also reflects new production efficiencies that will result in a substantial reduction in the camera’s market price starting next month.

Merrill (1949-2008) was a brilliant engineer, talented photographer and Foveon co-founder. He tapped into his passion for electronics to build an innovative pixel structure that uniquely demonstrated the ability to capture RGB information in each pixel location. This revolutionary discovery led the Foveon team to the development of the X3 Direct Image Sensor and, ultimately, to the creation of some of the most vibrantly colored and detailed imagery the photography industry has ever seen. Sigma acquired Foveon in late 2008.

“This revolutionary image capture system reflects both the artistic and technological sides of Merrill’s personality,” said Kazuto Yamaki, CEO of Sigma Corporation. “As an expression of Sigma’s passion for photography and in honor of Dick Merrill’s genius, we have named the latest generation of the Foveon X3 Direct Image Sensor the Foveon Merrill.”

The Sigma DP1 Merrill and DP2 Merrill each boast exclusively-designed, high-performance telecentric fixed lenses. The DP1 Merrill features a wide, 19mm F2.8 lens, which is the equivalent to a 28mm lens on a 35mm SLR camera. The DP2 Merrill, however, offers a 30mm F2.8 lens, which is the equivalent to a 45mm lens on a 35mm camera. Both cameras are compact and lightweight, and feature Sigma’s own “F” Low Dispersion (FLD) glass, which performs like fluorite glass and significantly improves lens performance, as well as Super Multi Layer Coating to reduce flare and ghosting. With the 46-megapixel, full-color Foveon X3 Direct Image Sensor, the new DP cameras capture all primary RGB colors at each pixel location with three layers, which results in incredibly detailed images with a three-dimensional feel.

The Sigma DP Merrill cameras also include the following features:

  • A dual, three-layer responsive ultimate (TRUE II) engine now incorporates two TRUE II processors toimprove the processing speed and overall quality of the final image. Sigma’s unique image-processing algorithm also provides high-resolution power and reproduces high-definition images with richly graduated tones that offer a three-dimensional feel.
  • RAW and JPEG format recording retains the full image detail of the utmost quality captured through the direct image sensor, as well as a JPEG recording format for convenience. The RAW data format provides pure data for high-resolution images, and uses lossless compression for more compact, yet uncompromised, data files. The RAW data format of the DP Merrill series keep brightness and color data in a 1:1 ratio without relying on interpolation. When the image is processed in Sigma Photo Pro, it will preserve the balance of the natural data for the best photos with the best image quality.
  • Sigma Photo Pro processing software converts RAW data quickly and easily. It incorporates functions such as a loupe, exposure picker, print, JPEG conversion, and batch white balance settings.
  • Manual focus is available for use when autofocus or focus-lock is not desired.
  • An advanced user interface is complete with acustom Quick Set (QS) menu and the metallic command dial to improve usability. The diaphragm, shutter speed and menu can be changed quickly using the command dial. The QS menu consists of the most commonly used functions and can be easily displayed by pressing the QS button, allowing photographers to change the menu content and the order depending on preferences.
  • A large, highly visible three-inch TFT color LCD monitor ensures great visibility even outdoors in the daytime. This approximately 920,000 pixel resolution LCD monitor benefits from a wide viewing angle, making it easy to capture details and check focusing and composition.
  • A hot shoe allows the use of the dedicated external flashgun EF-140 DG (optional) as well as Sigma electronic flashguns for SD series such as EF-610 DG Super (optional) and EF-610 DG ST (optional).
  • Movie mode enables movie recording with VGA (640×480) size, with 30 shooting frames per second.

Pricing and availability of the Sigma DP1 Merrill and DP2 Merrill are pending.

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  • Jorgen

    Wow! That is pretty awesome. Hurrah to Sigma for doing something different. I used to own a DP2 which was deadslow, but some of the pictures were awesome. If they fix the slow response time, improve the LCD, and the price is right, this might be the ticket for me.

    • CR

      no, how could they fix the cam, there’s nothing really new about this Sigma Mythic_named versions.
      They just cheapened it:
      – same processor
      – larger case
      – less buttons
      – no flash
      – “improved” glass, I believe optimized production, sharing it with other targets.
      – slightly larger sensor is more data, less speed, no change in low-iso quality

      To me, that’s just revamped, feature-reduced, not customer-improved, but production-optimized, big name stuff for same/more cash in a less compact case.

      Sigma cameras are dead to me, unless they really fix the DP2x with a firmware, but they won’t, as I have been told by the US-Service, who quickly confirmed the typical flaws with the firmware, sensor, noise, banding, AF, and speed. The flash is crap anyway, no wonder they left it out, now. The german-service just keeps ignoring the flaws, playing on time, to get over warranty period.
      the only nice about the sigma, is the wonderful picture quality in well-lit environments: summer daylight.

      Take a m43rds or a NEX instead for top allround usage.

      • Boing Wronkwell

        Oh yes… Lets not forget that they added 32MP to the old version. If the price is LOW, then it could be an interesting alternative to a Nikon D800… Just hope Sigma use LESS crappy plastic than on some other items.

        Actually I tend to agree about the service from Sigma. We had to deal with them a few years ago .. complete rubbish – I’m being nice, as we no longer use anything from them.

        • CR

          don’t believe the hype,
          they calculate the MP differently, as they’ve done always before.
          Make sure you understand that before you compare. It’s not about the MP.

          • CR

            Sigma says:
            Sigma DP2x: Effective Pixel 14,06 MP (2.652 x 1.768 x 3 Schichten)
            Sigma M2: Effective Pixels: 46MP(4,800×3, 200×3)

            I can tell you out of my experience. Effective is what I see as a Print/Screenformat and that’s:
            for the DP2x: 2.652 x 1.768 (=4.7MP, output, yes that small!)
            for the M2: 4,800×3, 200 (=15.4MP output)

            Don’t confuse Sensor stacked pixels with output pixels!

            Still it’s nice to see it has 3x the resolution on slightly larger area.
            THE PROCESSOR IS THE SAME (True II).

            Now tell me how a slow processor can speed up while having to run 3x the workload?

            Don’t get fooled, test it thoroughly yourself in evening light (blue hour and later) and do not trust neither me nor any of these payd and sponsored bloggers around with big names.


          • CR

            in detail the CPU has to calc 46M sensor pixels instead of 14M sensor pixels into a buffer and then store it away to your card. Now, if you see how the RAW file is read, it does it by reading layer by layer (3) on your system, so it’s stored in layers, too, making the files quiet large already for the DP2x, furthermore for the M2.
            Storing takes time (3x), calculation takes time (3x).
            Given they have optimized something they don’t understand as a lense manufacturer, a CPU. Do not believe it’d be 6x faster to:
            1. compensate the slow processing of the existing models to an acceptable level, 2x
            2. compensate the 3x data volume to 1x

            that won’t happen, maybe overall 10% faster or something similar.

      • Danni Coy

        My understanding is that it using the same processor but running two of them in parallel.
        The resolution is effectively 3 times the size of earlier models, so will the amount of processing storage that is required.
        The new chip is about twice as good at high iso. So 200 iso is effectively what 100 iso was. 800 is 400 and so on.

        Speed will depend on what the bottle neck is – I would expect the new models to have a much larger buffer than earlier versions.

        Overall the strengths and weaknesses of the camera will be the same, it will be a comparatively primitive and slow camera that is challenging to use in low light conditions, that in the right hands produces stunning results.

  • Hope the top one wasn’t taken with the D800E. Some moiré is showing up around the lens. 😉


  • Albert

    This is quite cool. How big are these things in reality? Are they pocketable like a Canon S95/S100?

  • Arn

    Only the victims of Sigma’s marketing believe than this is a 46mplx camera !!

    • oluv

      the files upscale pretty nicely though. the 15mp from SD1 still look very good upscaled to 34mp.

      the upscaled files from the old DP1 sensor didn’t look worse than the native 12mp files from my G1.

    • Jesse

      The 46 is a bit misleading indeed as it effectively creates 16mp files. But this whole MP nonsense needs to end anyway. Its getting ridiculous.

      • Petia

        Yep, nobody complains that with Nikon’s 36MP (as with any Bayer matrix), you need to blur the image to get correct color information! The effective resolution is far lower than is apparent. This is not true of the Foveon, which has a full color-correct 15MP resolution (but will never be happy in low light; so only great for studio work). This difference between claimed MP and actual resolution is apparently less true of the latest Fuji X1 sensor, which is a Bayer-matrix killer (at least in the lab). Maybe one day Canikon will ditch Bayer for good.

  • Camaman

    Interesting cameras. 🙂
    Hope the price is not $3499…

    • Boing Wronkwell

      Non-Merrill DP1’s can be had on eBay for $300 or so. Seems a bit high for a used 14MP P&S…

      If this newer design comes out at not much more than (say) $700 or so, I might get one!

  • Jesse

    This could be GEM! I just hoped they fixed the main issues of the DP1. Meaning it needs to be a lot faster! If this camera had a EVF and fix the sluggish of the dp1 it would be a no brainer for me. In fact im still very tempted to get this camera. Im just afraid of the pricing on this unique camera. Seeing it shares some internals with de sd1 it will probably be 1000$ ish

  • J Shin

    Oooh… This certainly makes things interesting. Given the image quality, $3,300 for the SD-1 is not bad, either.


  • fants

    I’m actually very surprised that they did this. A DP2 with the SD1 sensor was kind of a pipe dream camera of mine, and now it’s going to actually exist! If pure IQ is your main goal, this will probably be just about the best low-ISO travel performer around, considering that SD1 files upres easily beyond even the 5D2 and NEX-7’s native resolutions. That 45/2.8 lens is really going to have to hold up, though, because those sensors are ridiculously demanding.

    I would wager the price on these will be no less than $1500, which will suck…but you have to guess that the main factor in the SD1’s ridiculous price is the sensor itself, which will unfortunately be passed on to these.

    • Petia

      SD1 was slashed to around $3000 (street price). I expect these new DP to be half of that, at the same price point as the Fuji X-Pro 1.

  • photonut

    Interesting, but
    – no flash?
    – VGA movie? Are you serious?

  • ATK

    Anddddd….these products will be available in the next year, right ? Sigma. slow always

  • Leica_Vermin

    I’m buying the DP1. I’ve been looking for a new Foveon to come out for the last year.

    All non-Foveon sensors suck in comparison.

  • Webelieve

    Sigma dp cameras have their issues, but if you have never used one, you shouldn’t comment. In terms of image quality, detail and clarity, theses Foevon sensors are quite amazing. I like the overall quality better then then my full frame DSLR. in terms of a point n shoot, the camera sucks, but it’s not for everyone. You learn to work around the sluggish camera. I shoot 4×5 large format 75% of the time. I shoot on tripod almost all the time. Sigma is quite fast in comparison.

    • bitkol

      Agree. I’ve never seen files such as the ones from my dp2. Colors and details are just amazing, and the way you postprocess the raw files in photo pro just reminded me of film processing it was a lot of fun. Unfortunately I sold it because it was too slow and manual focus was very hard, but Sigma have adressed this issues I’m in for sure.

  • JSB

    I will definitely be buying these. The Sigma DP’s are a bit of a pain to work with the image quality is nothing short of stunning from such small cameras. And I say this as a person who has a Nikon D800E on pre-order and uses Nikon G series lenses. You do have to know a bit about photography to get the best out of them. These little cameras are demanding but when you get it right you will be happy with the results.

    • fants

      Will you still be buying both of these if they cost $1799 a pop? That’s my personal prediction. I’ll be thrilled if they’re lower though!

      • JSB

        At $799 I’d buy them. Not at $1799. I bet they are closer to $799.

  • I think its interesting that the different models have different focal length lenses, I’m surprised that with that, one doesn’t have a faster lens then the other, but since they use the same sensor and other wise seem to be comparable, its an interesting decision that they are having photographers make when purchasing this camera. It suggest they think there will be thought on the part of the informed individual buying it. Sortof strange and interesting at the same time.

    • fants

      Well if they’re cheap enough a lot of us will buy both!

  • Johan

    Why Sigma is not supported by Apple Aperture? No Aperture support – No Sigma camera for me.

    • Albert

      Like you implied yourself, that’s Apple’s problem, not Sigma’s.

  • BklynPigeon

    love Apple! been with then for 15+ years, but apple aperture sucks.

  • pooh

    Expect price tags of $1,000+.

  • 46MP hur hur hur. Gullible!

    Some inevitable features not mentioned: dollar-store materials and construction, Lego mindstorms-esque motor control, space shuttle era display quality and processing power/ write speed to match.

    • Thinking Bayer CFA cameras like the D800 are “36MP”, etc. is just as gullible… so the real joke is on people who think Sigma’s the only company that’s got marketing hype.

      • I completely understand Bayer array resolution and resolving power and I agree it’s not the same. I just think Sigma’s hype is outrageous and the construction quality and implementation sucks. The sooner they sell the tech and focus on lenses the better.

        • It’s not worse… just different.

          When Bayer CFA makers say their camera does, say, “24MP” it gives the impression that there are 24×3=72 million values (x3 for each colour channel) coming out from the sensor because a true 24MP RGB image is made up of 72 million values. But the actual number of distinct values read from a “24MP” sensor is only 1/3 of that.

          How does that make only Sigma’s hype outrageous?

  • Argh… just when I thought I’m done buying digital cameras!

  • UseFilm

    Regarding SD1 they only have to change price so I guess it might happens in 2012. DPs are quite new cameras so no way we gonna see it this year in stores.

  • me
    • CR

      as said:
      Merill is about production optimization, not about making the crap effectively better for the user.

      The only good stuff remaining is the excellent good-light picture quality shot with time. That’d be the only reason to buy a Sigma. That’s already superbe on the existing DP-series.

      If you’re looking for avg or better speed -AF, low noise, low-light photo, flash, video, just ignore all Sigma non-lens stuff. Do not invest a cent into this quirky stuff.


      • Did Sigma force you to buy their cameras? Then who are you to call someone else’s innovations “crap”? Have you made anything even remotely comparable in your lifetime?

        Perhaps you just need to improve your vocabulary.

        • Duh


          I don’t own a Sigma camera but I am very happy that alternative technology exists. Diversity is very healthy for tec progress and benefits all of us in the end.

          I don’t understand the schoolyard, ‘my bikes got more gears then yours’ mentality amongst supposedly adult photographers.

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