The Essential Differences between the Sigma DP2 Quattro and the DP2 Merrill


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As the Sigma DP2 Quattro has been officially announced a week ago, we will have a look at crucial changes/enhancements in comparison to the DP2 Merrill. First thing that leaps to the eye is the new design with the rather particular grip and the bigger measures. While the Quattro is only a few millimeters higher than the DP2M, it is a whole four centimeters broader and two centimeters thicker than the Merrill. The following picture by Flickr-user and blogger Foxfoto illustrates the difference in size.

SIGMA DP2 Merrill_vs_QuattroDP2(unofficial)

©  Foxfoto

The next major difference can be found with the sensor.

Sigma-Foveon-Merrill

Merrill FoveonSigma-Foveon-Quattro

Quattro Foveon

While the Foveon sensor including the Merrill version with 15MP or 45MP (depending on what you are counting) had three layers with the exact equal amount of pixel or photodiodes per layer, the Quattro-Foveon got a little “bayerized” and now has four times more blue light detectors than green and red respectively. Altogether, the Quattro has 19.6 Mio photodiodes for blue and 4.9 Mio for red and green light respectively. From this new design, Sigma expects better light sensitivity and less noise. I can’t wait to see photos from ISO400 onwards.

The RAWs have a resolution of 5424×3616 pixel, so 19.6MP, instead of 14.7MP the Merrills have. In addition, Quattro-RAWs have 14bit, instead of the usual 12bit of former Sigma cameras. This promises more information in the RAWs and more leeway on post processing. Photographing in the JPG mode, you have several upscaling modes up to 33MP with five different aspect ratios at your disposal: 7,680×4,320 (16:9) – 7,680×3,296 (21:9) – 7,680×5,120 (3:2) – 6,816×5,120 (4:3) – 5,120×5,120 (1:1).

Sigma-Quattro-DP-9

New as well is the image processor. The chip called “True III” is said to ensure faster AF and better write speed. I furthermore assume that we owe the selectable AF-spot-size to the new processor. For the Merrills, you couldn’t render the AF-spot at all, with the Quattro there is “spot” and “large” beside the standard size “regular”. What’ that good for? Well, the smaller the AF spot, the more precise but also the slower it is. We now have the chance of adjusting the AF spot size to meet our own needs. I should RTFM before I start making wild claims. 😛

Those owning a DP Merrill know that they consume a lot of power. For this reason, Sigma gives you two batteries with every new camera. The unusual handle of the Quattro doesn’t seem to be a pure design decision; rather, this is where the new bigger BP-51 battery is stored. How many pictures can be shot with a battery is not yet known.
Sigma-Quattro-DP-7

Last but not least, there will be two new optical attachable viewfinders for the DP2 Quattro and the DP1 Quattro.

Sigma-Quattro-DP-8

By the looks of it, Sigma changed or improved almost everything. Personally, I am most interested in how well the Quattro-Foveon performs in regards to resolution and noise in comparison to the Merrill-Foveon and how heavy the new processor and the bigger battery make themselves felt.

  1. I wonder if they’ll also make a DSLR with the new sensor etc aka the Merrill, so we can use existing glass?

    Reply

    1. According to rumors Sigma is already working on a SD1M successor, aka SD1 Quattro.

      Reply

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