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Sigma DP1 Merrill digital camera image
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Sigma DP1 Merrill

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Sigma DP1 Merrill Performance


Timing and Performance

Generally slow to very slow speeds, but fast manual focus and prefocused shutter lag.

Startup/Shutdown

Power on
to first shot

~2.9 seconds

Time it takes for camera to turn on and take a shot.

Shutdown

~1.4 seconds

How long it takes to turn off.

Buffer clearing time

34 seconds*
after 7 Large Fine JPEGs

Worst case buffer clearing time. -- This is the delay after a set of shots before you can remove the card. Some cameras won't shut down until the buffer is cleared.

See Cycle-Time table below for more buffer clearing times.

44 seconds*
after 7 Large RAW frames
44 seconds*
after 7 Large RAW + Large Fine JPEGs

* Note: Buffer clearing times measured with a SanDisk Extreme Pro 95MB/s UHS-I SDHC card. Slower cards will produce correspondingly slower clearing times. Slow cards may also limit length of bursts in continuous mode. ISO sensitivity and noise reduction settings can also affect cycle times and burst mode performance.

Startup and shutdown times are sluggish for a fixed-lens compact camera. Buffer clearing is glacial despite the shallow buffers and fast card rated at up to 95MB/s read/write speed. To make matter worse, the camera is unresponsive while clearing the buffer.

 

Mode Switching

Play to Record,
first shot

~0.8 second

Time until first shot is captured.

Record to Play

~9.0 seconds

Time to display a Large/Fine quality JPEG file immediately after capture.

Display
recorded image

~0.1 second

Time to display a Large/Fine quality JPEG file already on the memory card.

Time to switch from play to record mode is pretty good, as is displaying a previously captured image, but switching from record to play after taking a shot takes a very long 9 seconds.

 

Shutter Response (Lag Time)

Full Autofocus
Single Area
(center) AF

0.490 second

Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture.

Full Autofocus
Speed Priority AF

0.424 second

Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture.

Manual focus
0.081 second
For most cameras, shutter lag is less in manual focus than autofocus, but usually not as fast as when the camera is "pre-focused."

Pre-focused

0.043 second

Time to capture, after half-pressing and holding shutter button.

The Sigma DP1 Merrill's autofocus speeds are on the slower side of average compared to most compacts these days, though most DSLRs and CSCs are noticeably faster. A Speed Priority mode helps by reducing lag to 0.42s, but AF performance still isn't swift. Shutter lag in manual focus mode is however pretty fast, though, at 0.08s, and prefocused shutter lag is quite fast, at about 0.04s.

 

Cycle Time (shot-to-shot)
Single Shot mode
Large Fine JPEG
1.68 seconds

Time per shot, averaged over buffer depth of 10 shots.

Single Shot mode
Large RAW

1.84 seconds

Time per shot, averaged over buffer depth of 9 shots.

Single Shot mode
Large RAW +  Large Fine JPEG
1.88 seconds
Time per shot, averaged over buffer depth of 9 shots.

Early shutter
penalty?

Yes
(inconsistent)

Some cameras refuse to snap another shot if you release and press the shutter too quickly in Single Shot mode, making "No" the preferred answer.

Continuous mode
Large Fine JPEG
0.26 second
(3.8 fps);
7 frames total;
34 seconds to clear*
Time per shot, averaged over the buffer length of 7 shots, and camera is unresponsive until buffer clears.

Continuous mode
Large RAW

0.26 second
(3.8 fps);
7 frames total;
44 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over the buffer length of 7 shots, and camera is unresponsive until buffer clears.

Continuous mode
Large RAW + Large Fine JPEG

0.26 second
(3.8 fps);
7 frames total;
44 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over the buffer length of 7 shots, and camera is unresponsive until buffer clears.

Flash recycling

N/A

Flash at maximum output.

* Note: Buffer clearing times measured with a SanDisk Extreme Pro 95MB/s UHS-I SDHC card. Slower cards will produce correspondingly slower clearing times. Slow cards may also limit length of bursts in continuous mode. ISO sensitivity and noise reduction settings can also affect cycle times and burst mode performance.

Shot-to-shot cycle times are sluggish, at 1.68 seconds for Large ("High") Fine quality JPEGs, 1.84 seconds for RAW files, and 1.88 seconds for RAW+JPEG.

Full-resolution continuous mode speed isn't fast either, at a very consistent 3.8 frames per second for all file types. According to Sigma, burst speeds as high as 5 fps are possible at medium and low resolution settings, however we did not test those modes.

The Sigma DP1 Merrill's buffer depths are quite shallow at only 7 frames for Large Fine JPEG, Large RAW, or Large RAW + Large Fine JPEG files. The Sigma DP1 Merrill's full-resolution RAW files are quite large though (they can be over 50MB each), so we're not really surprised here, though we were surprised continuous mode buffer depths didn't improve when shooting just Large Fine JPEGs. Buffer clearing is very slow at 34 seconds for JPEGs, and 44 seconds with RAW or RAW+JPEG.

 

Download speed

Windows Computer, USB 2.0

3,657 KBytes/sec

Typical Values:
Less than 600=USB 1.1;
600-769=USB 2.0 Low;
Above 770=USB 2.0 High

Connected to a computer or printer with USB 2.0, downloads are fair compared to most cameras these days. You'll probably want to invest in a fast card reader if you don't have one already, especially given the large RAW files the DP1 Merrill produces.

 

Bottom line, the Sigma DP1 Merrill is pretty slow at almost everything it does, especially buffer clearing where it's not only very slow, but is unresponsive until the buffer is empty. Autofocus speeds are acceptable for contrast-detect AF, though, and shutter lag in manual and prefocused modes are actually quite fast.

Battery

Battery Life
Very poor battery life.

Operating Mode Number of Shots
Still capture
97

The Sigma DP1 Merrill uses a custom BP-41 rechargeable lithium-ion battery for power, and ships with two batteries and a charger. Battery life according to Sigma is only 97 shots per charge which is very poor, especially considering the camera has no built-in flash, zoom or image stabilization which all require power to operate.

The table above shows the number of shots the camera is capable of (on either a fresh set of disposable batteries or a fully-charged rechargeable battery as appropriate), based on CIPA battery-life and/or manufacturer standard test conditions.

(Interested readers can find an English translation of the CIPA DC-002 standards document here. (180K PDF document))