Sigma DP2 Merrill

We haven't had a chance to fully test this product yet, but we've assembled this helpful overview of relevant information on it.

The Sigma DP2 rangefinder is essentially identical to its counterpart, the DP1, save for its 11.6 oz weight, its focal length, and its 45mm lens. The DP2 includes a 46-megapixel photolite sensor (with 14.8-megapixel image output), a 3-inch rear panel LCD screen with 920-dot resolution, and three-layer Foveon sensor technology. The latter feature helps to eliminate interpolation, enhancing image rendition, thereby reducing the number of artifacts. The DP2 Merrill additionally integrates hi-speed USB 2.0, a SD/SDHC card slot for memory storage and expansion, and a rechargeable lithium-ion battery pack. 

Features List:

– 45mm lens

– 46-megapixel CMOS image sensor

– 3-inch 920-dot resolution rear panel LCD screen

– Three-layer Foveon sensor technology

– USB 2.0

– SD card slot

– Rechargeable lithium-ion battery 

Digital Trends’ Camera Buying Tips:

What’s the difference between optical and digital zoom?

Like megapixels, manufacturers frequently throw around big numbers relating to digital zoom. Like megapixels, you should ignore them. Optical zoom uses real optics to get you closer to your subject, while digital zoom merely takes the same amount of pixels you would have in a standard shot and blows them up to fill the frame. The camera captures no more detail. It’s the same zooming or cropping trick you could pull in Photoshop, done in the camera on the fly. While that can sometimes be handy, image quality suffers severely as a result, and most photographers would never use digital zoom.

Key differences between SLR and Point-n-shoot

Price: According to industry analysts, the vast majority of cameras sold go for less than $200. Making the leap to a DSLR will definitely set you back, but many shoppers obviously believe that the investment is well worth it.

Speed: Speed is the one of the most critical factors. If you’ve ever used a compact digicam, you know that these devices take time to focus and save images to memory cards. During these delays, you can easily miss a smiling face or a running child. To put things in perspective: Point-and-shoot digital cameras generally capture 1 frame per second, while most DSLRs take 3 frames per second or more, making them better suited for fast action shots or sporting events. The difference between snagging the perfect picture and missing it entirely is one of the biggest factors weighing heavily in DSLR cameras’ favor.

Image quality: Compact cameras use much smaller imaging devices. By cramming so many megapixels on a small chip, digital noise is a constant problem. In our reviews, we always recommend keeping the ISO (sensitivity) of a digicam at 400 or less. DSLRs have much larger APS-C sized imagers, meaning you’ll encounter less noise in low light situations and better picture quality overall. Using one, you can shoot in more dimly lit conditions without a flash with little image degradation. In addition, if huge prints are in your future-or extensive cropping-DSLRs should be in your sights.

What about shooting video?

Within the past few years, video has gone from a novel sideshow that yielded almost unusably bad results, to a legitimate secondary purpose for many point-and-shoot cameras. Although you probablt won’t want to replace your dedicated camcorder with a camera that also shoots video, many will do the job just fine for short, impromptu clips.

First off, pay attention to the resolution a camera can capture – VGA (640 x 480) is now common on point-and-shoot cams, while 720p is getting more frequent and 1080p sometimes crops up on DSLRs. Video in the AVCHD format – the same type real digital camcorders shoot – is preferable to other formats. Pay attention to the encoding bitrate, measured in megabits per second (mbps). The higher the rate, the more detailed the videos will look, although they will take up more space on your storage card as well.

What are some basics I should look for?

Your new digital camera should have these key features:

  • At least a 6MP imaging device for a D-SLR
  • At least a 7MP imager for a point-and-shoot
  • Optical zoom of 3x, not just a digital zoom
  • The highest quality optics
  • A large LCD screen; the more pixels, the better the quality
  • The widest range for aperture (f/stops), shutter speed and ISO
  • An AF Illuminator or AF Assist mode for best flash shots in dim light
  • A variety of Scene Modes for more convenient shooting in a variety of situations
  • Make sure you do your own ergonomic hands-on test

What Should I look for in an LCD Display?

Camera manufacturers market display size quite prominently because it’s easy to visualize, but other factors also come into play. Resolution (usually measured in the number of pixels, like 461K) will determine how clear the display looks, and brightness will help determine whether it gets washed out when shooting outdoors. An optical viewfinder makes a great backup when shooting with a less-than-ideal LCD.

LCD screens are measured diagonally and 2.5 inches is a common size. We prefer even larger ones, up to 3 inches. If your eyesight is a bit challenged, definitely look for a larger LCD. Screens are measured in pixels, just like image size. Again, the more pixels, the better the image you’ll see on screen.

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