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03-21-2013, 10:34 AM   #1
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Humorous comparison: Q vs. Sigma DP2 Merrill

So I started this thread over in the K-5 forum, and not content to leave my Q out of it, I decided to post some comparison images of the Q+01 lens and the (new to me) Sigma DP2 Merrill compact. Not just big vs. little sensor, or fixed-lens vs. interchangeable, but Bayer CMOS vs Foveon... again!

All in good fun, really, but dont' worry... the Q doesn't just lie down and take it!




So the Q is obviously smaller and more "pocketable" (and much better ergonomics, despite that size), but the Q is also more of a "photographer's compact" in the sense that it has a real PASM mode dial, green button, exp. comp button, built-in flash (!), and the usual Pentax-style menus. The Sigma instead has a mode "button" and some rather obscure menus, and needs a 3rd party grip (the Franiec one shown above) to be comfortably held. The Sigma also takes many painful seconds to write a single file, and the Q battery lasts a lot longer than the DP2M's (and we thought it wasn't very much), but then again, the Q raw files are not 50+ megs each like the DP2M's!

If my memory serves me, the Q came to market at about $800, and the current promotional price for the Sigma DP2 Merrill is $800, so we'll call it a draw on price!

Now the image comparisons! I took both cameras to the Royal Ontario Museum and pressed them up against the glass in the dimly lit Minerals Hall. Here are the results, both at web-res, and at the inevitable pixel-peeper 100%.



Q+01 lens:



DP2 Merrill:




The 100% crop comparison - don't look if you're faint of heart or have your Q nearby! (click to enlarge):




There you have it! I'm an equal opportunity comparator!

03-21-2013, 10:55 AM   #2
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Honestly, for what the Q is, is does pretty well here. The word Malachite is a lot sharper in the Q shot, which makes me wonder is focus may have played a role in the 100% crop inequality.
03-21-2013, 11:06 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Nick Siebers Quote
Honestly, for what the Q is, is does pretty well here.
It really does, despite the doubters who have K-5s or D800Es to lug around. I was pleasantly surprised, both by the color response and the ability to easily adjust the raw file to get where I wanted to go. Like I said, the Q doesn't take it lying down...

QuoteOriginally posted by Nick Siebers Quote
The word Malachite is a lot sharper in the Q shot, which makes me wonder is focus may have played a role in the 100% crop inequality.
Actually, that's just depth-of-field due to sensor size. The Q is at f/2.8 and is equally sharp from the words to the back of the case, while the DP2M is at f/4 and, like the Q, used the swirling Malachite bands as a convenient focus target.... but being APS-C, it doesn't get as much in it's focus zone. Look at the Azurite details for a hint of this!

Last edited by panoguy; 03-21-2013 at 06:10 PM.
03-21-2013, 11:37 AM   #4
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I was going to comment on the DP2 Merrill vs K-5 thread that the DP2 doesn't have an EVF and therefore excellent IQ doesn't matter (so say the K-01 critics ), but this is a much more fair comparison. It's interesting that you added a grip to the D2 Merrill, since it's about the size that some insist the K-01 body could/should have been (but only doable if you left off the flash, grip & SR system, accepted 50% less battery life, etc.).

03-21-2013, 01:33 PM   #5
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Fun comparison, thank you for sharing
03-21-2013, 04:38 PM   #6
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Now Im starting to wonder how much a Q with Foveon sensor would cost. I mean, if Pentax collaborated and made that kind of product
03-21-2013, 05:58 PM   #7
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The sigma is extraordinary impressive but I'm too impressed by the Q. To be fair, the Sigma pics "pops" way better than most DSLRs too.
QuoteOriginally posted by Na Horuk Quote
Now Im starting to wonder how much a Q with Foveon sensor would cost. I mean, if Pentax collaborated and made that kind of product
That's crazy and so wrong in so many ways (the opposite of point and shoot) but at the same time a very very cool idea!
03-21-2013, 06:07 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by THoog Quote
It's interesting that you added a grip to the D2 Merrill, since it's about the size that some insist the K-01 body could/should have been (but only doable if you left off the flash, grip & SR system, accepted 50% less battery life, etc.).
I think I had the Sigma for a week before I started shopping for the grip I'd seen in some reviews. It's a slippery bar of aluminum without it! Pentax could teach them a thing or two about balancing aesthetic design with ergonomics...

QuoteOriginally posted by Na Horuk Quote
Now Im starting to wonder how much a Q with Foveon sensor would cost. I mean, if Pentax collaborated and made that kind of product
Man, that would be awesome! They made Foveon sensors in a tiny size for some Polaroid-branded compact way back when, so it's possible. I just wonder what the photosite density would be like (probably much less than the current 12MP), and would the Q lenses keep up with the resolving power? I can see the 01 and 06 doing fine...


Last edited by panoguy; 03-21-2013 at 06:15 PM.
03-21-2013, 06:20 PM   #9
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Foveon sensor is horribly good.
It can easily beat most of the APSC sensor and make even result from FF sensor.
I like both of the camera.
03-21-2013, 06:21 PM   #10
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wait how come when I press a camera up against the glass at the rom someone wants to club me?
03-22-2013, 04:10 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by panoguy Quote
Man, that would be awesome! They made Foveon sensors in a tiny size for some Polaroid-branded compact way back when, so it's possible. I just wonder what the photosite density would be like (probably much less than the current 12MP), and would the Q lenses keep up with the resolving power? I can see the 01 and 06 doing fine...
Yeah, it would be great. Even if it has fewer MP, its quality would beat all P&S and bridge cameras and mobile phone cameras. And Pentax tends to be pretty good in the noise department, so I'm sure they would eek out a lot from a tiny Foveon sensor.
03-22-2013, 08:23 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Na Horuk Quote
Now Im starting to wonder how much a Q with Foveon sensor would cost. I mean, if Pentax collaborated and made that kind of product
A 1/2.3" foveon in 2013? I'm imagining noise at ISO100.
03-22-2013, 05:06 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Unsinkable II Quote
A 1/2.3" foveon in 2013? I'm imagining noise at ISO100.
You think the extra image data and detail wouldn't be worth the noise? Not to mention, even the current Q is kinda noisy
03-22-2013, 11:38 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Na Horuk Quote
You think the extra image data and detail wouldn't be worth the noise? Not to mention, even the current Q is kinda noisy
You might be right, but it's be a strictly daylight machine.
03-23-2013, 04:09 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Unsinkable II Quote
You might be right, but it's be a strictly daylight machine.
Not so sure about that. I've taken a bunch of (city) night shots at ISO 250 with my Q (f/1.9, 1/6s), this is hand holdable and probably not too bad on a foveon sensor.

Plus of course my first thought for night shots is with a tripod, and foveon doesn't seem to have much of a problem with long exposures.
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