Sigma DP2 Merrill review

Build and handling

It may be classed as a compact camera, but by today's standards the DP2 Merrill is both sizeable and weighty. It is not a true pocket camera, especially given that its measured depth is approximately 60mm, including the fixed lens. First impressions of the design are of a somewhat dated and understated camera, with few controls on the body and a plain black shell. I would like to see this chunky block a little smaller, but after some use I happen to rather like it. 

There are few frills on the DP2 Merrill, but thankfully some thought has gone into accessing the key exposure controls. The top-plate is dominated by a large command dial, which is used to scroll through menus, to adjust exposure and magnify an image in playback. In line with the four-way D-pad, the dial changes the settings in the quick menu, which contains up to four user-defined controls. The dial is central to navigating the camera, and operates both speedily and intuitively. Next to the dial is the shooting mode button, which includes three custom modes, the usual PASM options and the video function.

It does not take long to work around the camera's body and its menus, for it is a simple photographer's tool - and this is a refreshing thing. Photographers will appreciate the quick start-up time of less than 2secs from pressing the power button to being ready to shoot.

Disappointingly, though, given the size of the camera, the DP2 Merrill does not include a built-in flash or viewfinder. Both can be purchased as separate units and attached via the hotshoe port.

The camera comes supplied with two low-capacity batteries. Unfortunately, this is not the sign of a considerate manufacturer, but is instead due to the battery life being so poor, to the point that it would be helpful if Sigma threw in another.