Sigma DP3 Merrill for portrait and macro photography

sigma dp3

Sigma launches its new enthusiast compact camera featuring a Merrill generation Foveon X3 sensor and now equipped with a 50mm f/2.8 lens, optimized for macro and close-up photo shooting.


50mm f/2.8 lens


Sigma’s announcement during this CES 2013 comes as a bit of a surprise. The new addition to the Foveon X3 Merrill series, the DP3 Merrill, features a 50mm f/2.8 lens which, combined with the APS-C sensor, becomes equivalent to a 75mm portrait lens on a 35mm SLR. This lens is also optimized for macro photography and close-up shooting. On the DP3 Merrill, the lens offers a minimum focusing distance of 22.6mm and a maximum reproduction ratio of 1:3. The optics use Special Low Dispersion (SLD) glass and aspherical lens elements, thus compensating aberrations while making for a more compact camera. Its telecentric optical design improves the image quality over the entire frame. Lastly, the lens’ Super Multi-Layer Coating reduces flare and ghosting while enhancing image contrast.


3-layer Foveon X3 Sensor


Needless to say, the Sigma DP3 Merrill features the latest Foveon X3 AOS-C 46 megapixel sensor. This unrivaled sensor is made up of 3, 4800×3200 pixel layers, one for each RVB color. This innovative design avoids color moiré, making the use of a low-pass filter unnecessary, somewhat like X-Trans Fujifilm sensors on the new X100S and X20 cameras.


Sigma DP3: enhanced speed

Aware of previous generation large sensor drawbacks, Sigma highlights the DP3 Merrill’s enhanced processing speed. Featuring a TRUE II double image processor entirely dedicated to the sensor images, image recording and processing speeds are much improved. The continuous shooting mode reaches 7 I/s in RAW format. The DP3 Merrill’s 9 point autofocus now includes a new Face Detection system and can also limit focus range for faster focusing. To further enhance speed, the DP3 features a “Shutter priority” autofocus mode for faster adjustment in a “AF+MF” mode that allows you to manually readjust focus.

The Sigma DP3 measures 12.15 x 6.67 x 8.06 cm, only weighs 400 gr and features a 3”, 900 000 pixel TFT monitor. Video is definitely not the Sigma DP3’s forte, with a 640×480 VGA movie mode, surprisingly

minimal in 2013…

sigma dp3
The SIgma DP3 Merrill and its Foveoon X3 46MP sensor well served by a 50mm f/2.8 lens (75mm macro and portrait focal length)


Sigma DP3 Merrill: Major Specifications


  • Sensor:
    • FOVEON X3 (CMOS) direct image sensor
    • Sensor size: 23.5×15.7mm
    • Definition: 46 effective megapixels (4,800×3,200×3 layers) and 44 recording megapixels
    • Aspect ratio: 3:2
  • Lens:
    • Focal length: 50mm
    • 24x36mm equivalent: approximately 75mm
    • Aperture range: F2,8-F16
    • Diaphragm: 9 blades
    • Optical build : 10 elements, 8 groups
    • Focusing distance: 22.6cm + LIMIT Mode (choice between Macro, Portrait and Landscape)
    • Maximum magnifying ratio: 1:3
  • Media: SD, SDHC, SDXC, Multi Media Card
  • File formats: RAW (12-bit, High, Medium, Low), JPEG (High, Medium, Low), RAW+JPEG, Video (AVI)
  • File sizes : RAW 4,704×3,136×3 (Approx. 45MB), JPEG High Fine 4,704×3,136 (Approx.10MB)
  • ISO Sensibility: 100-6400 ISO (by 1/3 EV)
  • White balance: 8 types (Auto, Day, Shadow, Overcast, Incandescent, Fluorescent, Flash, Custom)
  • Color Modes : 8 types (Standard, Bright, Neutral, Portrait, Landscape, B&W, Sepia, FOV Classic Blue)
  • Autofocus :
    • Type : by contrast detection
    • AF Zones: 9 points, Free Move mode, Face Detection
    • AF Lock with shutter half-pressed (AF Lock possible using the AE lock button)
    • Manual Focus
    • Manual Focus ring on the lens
  • Exposure Control Systems : Evaluative Metering, Center-weighted Average Metering, Spot Metering
  • Exposure Control : (P) Program AE (program shift is possible), (S) Shutter Speed Priority AE, (A) Aperture Priority AE, (M) Manual
  • Exposure Compensation : Up to ±3EV, 1/3 stop increments
  • AE Lock : AE lock button
  • Auto Bracketing = 3 frames by 1/3 EV step increments up to ±3EV.
  • Shutter Speed : 1/2000 – 30sec. (variable depending on aperture value)
  • Shooting : Single, Continuous, Self-timer (2sec. / 10sec.), Interval timer
  • LCD Monitor: color LCD TFT / 3″ / 920 000 point monitor
  • Interfaces : USB (USB2.0), Video Out (NTSC / PAL), Audio Out (Monaural)
  • Power Source : Li-ion BP-41 battery, BC-41 charger, AC Adapter SAC-5 (with DC Connector CN-11) (Optional)
  • Battery Life : Approx. 97 (+25°c)
  • Dimensions : 121.5mm / 4.8in. (L), 66.7mm / 2.6in. (H), 80.6mm / 3.2in. (P)
  • Weight : 400g / 14.1oz. (without battery and card)


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