I recently visited Pismo Beach, California, and used my Fujifilm X100V to capture some pictures. As I was photographing, I remembered a previous trip to this same location eight years ago—at that time I was shooting with a Sigma DP2 Merrill camera. I was curious how my X100V pictures would compare to those captured with the Sigma camera
For those who don’t know, the DP2 Merrill was introduced in 2012. It has Sigma’s unique three-layer APS-C Foveon sensor with a whopping 46 megapixels (15.3 megapixels on each layer); while a lot of megapixels were advertised, the resolution is more equivalent to 30 megapixels (compared to 26 megapixels on the Fujifilm camera). It has a 30mm (45mm equivalent) f/2.8 lens permanently attached to the front—the X100V has a 23mm (34.5mm equivalent) f/2 lens. There are plenty of similarities between these two models, but there are many differences, too.
The Sigma DP2 Merrill produces wonderful images within a very narrow window: ISO 100 or ISO 200. You can get a decent black-and-white up to ISO 800, but at all costs going higher should be avoided, especially for color photography, where ISO 400 is pushing the envelope. The battery only last about as long as a 36-exposure roll of film. The camera is not particularly stylish or user-friendly.
The Fujifilm X100V can be used at much higher ISOs—for example, the Kodak Tri-X 400 Film Simulation Recipe requires a minimum of ISO 1600, and maxes out at ISO 12800. For color photography, I’m comfortable going as high as ISO 6400 (that purple flower picture above was ISO 1600). I will typically carry a spare battery, but oftentimes one fully-charged battery will last the whole day. The X100V is one of the most beautiful and best-designed cameras, in my humble opinion.
The biggest difference between the Sigma DP2 Merrill and Fujifilm X100V is workflow. With the Sigma, I’d have to load the massive files onto my computer, which would take forever (I’m sure it would be quicker now with modern computers), then I’d have to do an initial edit with their mediocre software (which, again, has likely improved), save as a TIFF, and then finish editing in another program (sometimes a thirty-minute process per picture). With the Fujifilm, I use Film Simulation Recipes to get the look I want straight-out-of-camera, download the pictures from the camera to my phone, crop and straighten if needed, and then upload to storage. My post-processing workflow is so much quicker and easier with the X100V!
Obviously I’m not doing any sort of serious comparison between a still-new model and one that’s a decade old. That’s not fair, and that’s not the point. I’m just looking back, and seeing what has changed in eight years. Obviously my kids have grown a whole bunch. The other big change is that my workflow has simplified and become much less intrusive to my life. The Sigma camera was good for a season, but now I’m very happy to be shooting with Fujifilm.