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Another day with the full-spectrum Sigma

I’m in between things right now when it comes to my photography work. My Nikon lens has broken so I can’t use my Nikon setup for infrared work right now. This is why I’m using my full-spectrum Sigma Merrill more again. I always changed my opinion about this camera in the past. Now, with dozens of sessions with the camera, I think I can come to a proper assessment.

I think the Sigma SD1 Merrill is a superbe camera that has some major flaws. But those flaws are all issues of handling and not of the image quality itself. And they can be dealt with. The major, number 1 issue for me is this:

It’s hard to get maximum sharpness. I mostly use the 17-50/2.8mm lens. Dont’ get me wrong: The lens is great and can produce fantastic results. But if you choose focal lengths around 20mm and larger apertures, and if the subject is not close to the lens you’ll run into some problems. The main problems are the poor autofocus and that the camera is very sensitive to movements.

So what can you do?

1. Choose a smaller aperture, stop down to around 9 or 10. 9 is ideal.
2. Choose smaller frames between 30mm and 50mm.
3. Don’t choose longer than 1/100 seconds for shutter speed.
4. Use a tripod when you can’t go faster than 1/100 seconds.
5. Go manual focus for maximum quality. Manuel focus can really change everything. Take your time for focusing. Use a tripod. The result is oftentimes stunning.

I’m still regularly in awe by the quality of images taken with the full-spectrum Sigma SD1 Merrill and by the fact that the Merrill makes it so easy to get Aerochrome-like imagery straight out of the camera.

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