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Thursday, 13 October 2022


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Mike besides your recent Sigma experiences a photo thread on a site I participate on features Foveon images. Always wondering what I am missing I picked up a DP1 on the cheap. Well the image quality can be quite nice when everything falls in place but it is not a pleasant camera to use. But I saw potential so I purchased a DP2 Merrill. What a difference. The Merrill has the last firmware upgrade and it neither slow in operating speed or auto focus speed. Sure it’s not a sports camera but fast enough in most situations. The image quality was a new experience for me. A total wow. A Voitlander 40mm finder in the hot shoe frames quite well on the 30mm, (45mm equivalent) lens. Image sharpness blows my Canon 6D out of the water in daylight conditions. Like you I want great looking B&W images. Shooting raw, saving the images as tiffs on the hard drive and then finishing up in PS has given me very promising results.

Mike, the M10 Monochrom link that you provided must be for a used body, as the retail new price is $8995.

I have a DP1, Mike, with the e28mm lens and I bought the add-on viewfinder.

I quite like it, being small and with very sharp results (the camera, not me). I've never had any trouble with Sigma's Photo Pro browser - I quite like it, although I use ACDSee Photo Studio for all my DAM and browsing. It won't open the Sigma X3F RAW files, but Affinity Photo will, although very slowly.

That's the thing with this camera - everything takes its sweet time. Card writes are slow, although I'm sure if I used a faster card it would be OK. Battery life is short, but I bought two extra spares.

I like it and I'll be holding onto mine. The colour rendition is a little odd, but nice.

@2. Operability (subjects): The TLR, Vivian Maier’s preferred tool, doesn’t confront the subject with an apparatus on top of a neck, but with an attentive, complete (head and all) human being. Though almost 50 years have passed since, I still remember that aspect of my Rolleicord Vb, Rolleiflex T and Mamiya C330 quite dearly.

Workflow is where Fuji lost me and Nikon has been trying very hard to lose me.

I like opening the raw file in a state as close to the original (in camera) "look" as possible (after all, I used certain settings for a reason, right?) so I generally like to open a raw file in a manufacturer's software, then save it as a tiff and open that in Photoshop to finish. Fuji's software absolutely stinks. Nikon's isn't horrible, but they went downhill from NX2 to NXd to whatever (if anything) they have now. Luckily, I still have NXD and my DSLRs, so I can keep using them. My XT-1 hasn't gotten much use in a long time (and will never be upgraded) because I hate Fuji software so much. And that's despite my liking the small prime lenses and the handling of the XT-# series.

Maybe camera makers don't care, but to me those are the kinds of friction points they need to avoid if they want people to keep purchasing their products. I am aware of third-party software products and tried some. They may work for others, but my workflow is based on using the manufacturer's software to start my processing. This is a hobby for me, and I am unwilling to invest the extra money and time to master a new workflow.

Ah, the good old Pain-Gain Ratio (P/G)

P/G <= 1: Most current digital photography technologies.

P/G > 1: Sigma’s Foveon*, b&w film, technical cameras (w/ digital backs).

P/G > 2: All large format photography, color film.

* Yet I remain a believer in Foveon and still own all three of Sigma’s DP-x Merrill cameras (Huey, Dewey, and Louie as I’ve named them). They’ve recorded three of my all-time personal favorite images, in fact. But, like a toxic romantic partner, what awful pain. One trip out each year is enough with these guys!

"Lee Friedlander used to say he would sometimes start photographing because he just got the urge to get his Leica out and play with it."

Yep. If I simply switch to a different lens I feel the need to take it out and shoot, even if I had no particular plan for the chosen focal length.

My cheapest old digital Rebel was an astounding piece of technology, and a modern alpha is a fricking marvel, without even comparing it to any other modern camera. I just take it out and play.


It looks to me that you are doing some really good work with the Sigma. You images on Flickr have a beautiful look. Have you given thought to what your workflow will be for printing, making your black white images into photographs that might be offered in a TOP print sale every so often?

Lord Snowdon, photographer who just happened to have Queen Elizabeth II as a sister-in-law for a while, hated cameras. He thought 'they always get in the way when you wish to take a photograph'. Which re-inforces your second point of the Three Basics, Mike.

I have to say that my Olympus OM1 and OM2ns and Leica M6 (all film cameras) do not get in the way and are a pleasure to use. Am never happier than when they are in the hand and I'm taking photographs.

What generation of DP2 is it?

[Merrill, but it's sold. --Mike]

I love the DP Merrills, as long as I think of them as medium format cameras with Plus-X on a tripod (a much smaller tripod than you'd need for an RB67, and the self-timer obviates the need for a cable release).

Interesting essay. Operability covers a lot of ground. By many criteria, the Leica thread mount cameras have poor operability. But many film photographers love them, and prices for clean examples continue to rise. They have a high fun factor.

Frequently when looking through my archives, I find that a photo particularly grabs me, and when I look to see what camera I made it with, 9 times out of 10 it was either the DP2M or DP3M. Both of which I stupidly sold. But both which, indeed, were absolutely a pain, workflow-wise.

At least I still have the “crazy” DP0Q. That’s not going anywhere, ever.

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