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Sigma’s 46-megapixel DP3 Merrill captures more depth

Check out our review of the Sigma DP3 digital camera.

While it’s difficult to find a film camera – or film – these days, there’s still the complaint that digital photos lack depth. This is one of the issues tackled by the DP3 Merrill, a new 46-megapixel fixed lens camera from Sigma.

The camera uses a 23.5 x 15.7mm full-color Foveon X3 direct image sensor, the same APS-C sensor Sigma uses in its SD1 DSLR. The camera captures 46 effective megapixels – that is 4,800 x 3,200 x 3 layers – and 44 recording megapixels (4,704 x 3,136 x 3 layers). The direct image sensor captures all primary RGB colors at each pixel location with three layers. In terms the rest of us would understand, that means full, richer colors, and a more three-dimensional feel that offers some of the depth that people find lacking in digital photos.

A Dual TRUE II image-processing engine – the TRUE stands for “three-layer responsive ultimate engine” – improves the processing speed and quality of the final image. The DP3 camera actually has two of these chips, which utilize Sigma’s image-processing algorithm to provide high-resolution power and reproduce high-definition images.

The compact camera has a high performance 50mm F2.8 lens, which is exclusive to the DP3 Merrill. The lens has the equivalent angle view of a 75mm setting on a 35mm lens, and was designed to maximize the sensor performance. A Special Low Dispersion (SLD) glass and aspherical lens elements work together to compensate for aberrations. The lens also owes its compact size to the design of the SLD glass. The DP3 Merrill has a minimum focus distance of 22.6cm (8.9 inches) and a maximum magnification ratio of 1:3, which makes macro shooting possible. Flare and ghosting is reduced by a Super Multi-Layer Coating.

The DP3 Merrill has a large volume buffer memory, which enables the camera to capture up to seven RAW images per sequence, in a continuous shooting mode. Photographers can easily switch between manual and autofocus for more control when shooting.

The Sigma DP3 Merrill uses an SD card, and is compatible with SDXC. The camera is constructed with a portable compact and lightweight body that is easy to tote around on the included neck strap. A hot shoe makes it possible to incorporate a flashgun or other lighting apparatus for better lighting options. The user interface, as well as photos, can be reviewed on the camera’s 3-inch color LCD monitor (920,000 pixel resolution), which supports a wide viewing angle that makes it easy to show friends what photos you’ve shot.

Sigma did not immediately provide a price for the DP3 Merrill, but its predecessor DP2 Merrill had a list price of $1,400, so don’t be shocked if the DP3 Merrill costs just as much.

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