Wild Places

The Art of Landscape and Travel Photography

Useful Accessories for the Sigma DP2M

I thought it might be interesting for other DP2M users to know which accessories are useful for me. Keep in mind that I’m mainly doing landscape and travel photography.

Batteries and charger
Some spare batteries are really necessary because one fully charged battery lasts only for about 100 images. I bought 6 spare batteries and decided to get the original Sigma batteries because most of the non-OEM batteries have to be modified to fit in the DP2M (you often have to cut with a knife some additional grooves in the plastic shell). The Ricoh OEM-batteries that also fit in the DP2M are more expensive than the Sigma ones in Germany and are therefore no alternative. For the future I’ve planned to buy another charger because charging 6 batteries during the night after a long shooting day with only one charger is probably not very funny.

Carrying strap
I’ve tested different carrying straps, but finally bought the Leica X1/X2 carrying strap for my DP2M. It is not cheap, but the quality is much better compared to the cheaper alternatives I had tried.

Filters
Typically I use three different types of filters for landscape shooting.
I use polfilters for reducing reflections on water surfaces and/or leaves and sometimes, but rather seldom, for raising the contrast between clouds and the blue sky.
ND-filters are used mainly in combination with flowing or moving water to give it a silky-milky smooth look and a nice contrast to non-moving objects like rocks. Sometimes you also get nice effects by using a ND-filter with moving clouds or wind-blown plants or leaves. My favorite strengths are 1.8 and 3.0. Since my DP2M kit should be a lightweight minimalistic kit I only have the 1.8 in 49mm, but could probably also live with just one 3.0.
My favorite brands for filters are B+W and Heliopan.  I bought the following pol- and ND-filters for my DP2M:
B+W 49mm ND 1.8 MRC F-Pro ND-filter
B+W 49mm Kaesemann C-Pol MRC nano XS-Pro polfilter

For landscapes I often use a graduated neutral density (GND) filter to reduce the contrast between the darker foreground and the lighter sky. While I often do the final adjustments with the more flexible digital GND function in Lightroom, the GND filter helps to keep the RAW data of the image within the dynamic range of the camera is therefore prerequisite for any further high quality adjustments in LR.
With my DSLR cameras I always used Lee GND filters which are of great quality and have no color cast. But they are only available in large sizes and it makes in my opinion no sense to carry filters that are larger than the camera. Therefore I decided to use Cokin series A filters for my DP2M (and also for my Leica M9). They are made of the same material (resin) as  the Lee filters but are a bit more sensitive to scratches. But since they are cheap (12€ instead of 100€ for a Lee filter) I just throw them away after each longer trip and buy a new clean one.
Cokin filters can sometimes have a slight color cast, which was a big problem in the past when used with  slide films. But with digital images this is easily corrected by a slight white balance adjustment and therefore not really a problem anymore. Besides this the quality of the Cokin filters is quite good. If you use just one filter (and a clean one) there is only a very small reduction of sharpness and contrast visible in the images, probably less than the reduction in sharpness due to diffraction if you stop down from f/8 to f/11.
Sometimes I use the Cokin series A filter holder with the 49mm adapter, but sometimes I just hand hold the GND filters in front of the lens.
I carry and use two different GND filters, both are 2 stop versions, but one has a softer graduation than the other. The filter with the hard edge is typically used for situations with a rather straight horizon in the image, for example at the sea.  While the filter with the soft edge is used for situations with an uneven transition between the darker foreground and the lighter sky, for example when large trees or mountains are part of the image. With Lee filters I often used in addition to the 2 stop GND filters some 3 stop filters, but they are not available from Cokin. These are the two GND-filters I always carry with me (in the same Cokin filter box with some cloth between them to reduce scratches):
Cokin A 121 (2 stops, hard edge)
Cokin A 121 S (2 stops, soft edge)

Memory-cards
Since I never had any problems with memory cards from Sandisk I typically stay with this brand. But cards from other brands are probably just as good. For the DP2M I use either 16GB Extreme III or 32 GB Ultra SD cards. These are not the fastest cards, but they work reliable. The number of cards I take on a trip depends on the length and the supposed shooting opportunities. I have 2 16 GB and 6 32 GB cards.

Bubble-level
When I work from a tripod I nearly always use a small Manfrotto bubble-level for the hot shoe to get straight horizons (and straight verticals of buildings, trees etc.). On longer trips I sometimes carry a second bubble-level because they are easily lost.

Lens hood
I have and often use the original Sigma lens hood LH2-01 for the DP2M, especially when working from a tripod. Besides reducing flare and raising the contrast the lens hood can also protect the lens from water drops when it rains or near waterfalls.

Cleaning
I carry 2-3 Hama Lenspens (only the tips, the other parts are removed), 1-2 microfiber cloths and some Hama Pro-Optic wet cleaning cloths.

Flashlight
Since I often shoot at night or around sunset/sunrise carrying a small flashlight is a must. I use a Fenix PD20 which has enough output even for some difficult hikes back to the parking lot in complete darkness, it is small enough to fit in any bag, and has a long lasting battery.

Bag
Everything of the above equipment (besides the charger) fits together with the Sigma DP2M in my Lowe D-Res 200 AW belt pouch. This bag has a small separate compartment for the accessories, an integrated rain-cover, and has a perfect size for the Sigma DP2M.

Tripods
I use either a GorillaPod SLR-Zoom or a Gitzo G1127 tripod with my DP2M.
The GorillaPod is used without a head but instead I’ve mounted a Novoflex MiniConnect MR quick-release system on top of the GorillaPod.  The horizontal adjustment is done by turning the camera in the round quick-release (which is easy when you slightly open the manual release lever). Any other adjustments are done just by the extremely flexible legs. Even vertical shots are possible with some practise.
My Gitzo 1127 tripod is fitted with a Kirk base (instead of the center column) and an Acratech Ultimate ballhead with a Novoflex Mini Connect quick release system.
The advantage of the Novoflex quick release system is, that the baseplate is extremely small (about the size of a 1€ coin) and can therefore always stay on the camera. For the same reason I also use this system with my Leica M9.
I nearly always carry my Gorillapod (even on business trips and often in the pocket of my jacket) but take the Gitzo tripod only when I do some serious landscape shooting with the DP2M.

Underwater Housing
The Ewa-Marine model D-B fits the DP2M perfectly. It is rated for up to 10m depth, more than enough for snorkeling. The lens is directly mounted via the 49mm filter thread to the flat glass port of the housing and the useability of the housing is, for a low-cost solution, quite good. The only problem is, that due to refraction effects you can sometimes get soft corners underwater. The DP2M lens seems to have problems with the flat glass port. But as far as I know there is no domeport solution available for the DP2M. In addition the AF of the DP2M is not really up to the task of underwater photography. But for usecases above the water like kayaking, rafting, canyoning etc. it could be a good solution.

13 Responses to “Useful Accessories for the Sigma DP2M”

  1. Leo-Jan Jonkers

    It is a pity you can not use a pola filter with the Lens hood attached. I own the close-up lens, but have not use it to be honest. I bought 4 extra spare batteries, total six now :) I went for the Cellonic batteries, fits nicely. If i just want to put the camera without the accessories in my coat pocket I use a nameless pouch, with all the accessories a small Crumpler back. I use an Arca Swiss L-Bracket, I switch that bracket with my other camera’s. I already owned the Voightlander viewfinder and the EF-140 DG Electronic Flash with my “old” Sigma Dp1 and 2. Witch I still use bye the way. Ideal real small camera’s to carry with you all the time, the Merrill is just that bit bigger.

    Reply
      • Leo-Jan Jonkers

        Luis, I have this one.
        On the little box they call it the Voightlander Bessa-L Viewfinder 40 mm. I live in Holland and really had to search for it and found it on a France site. It is much bigger, the flash on the Sigma DP2 can not open. It is also much cheaper, I thought 110 euro versus 190 euro for the original Sigma. The size of the original is nicer, the view trough the Voightländer is better. The size on the Sigma DP2M does not really matter, no pouch and the Merrill is not a really pocket size any-ways. I put a little peace of black tape on the foot to make a good firm fit.

      • Luis Filipe Cunha

        Thank you very much for the reply.
        Looks very nice .-)
        Do you see almost what the lens sees? Do you use it often or do you prefer the camera´s lcd? Which is more accurate (parallax
        appart)?

      • Luis Filipe Cunha

        I´m not fully aware of how this works but shouldn´t it be more than 45mm as a reference to cover the lens which is 30mm
        (35mm Equivalent Focal Length Approx.45mm)?
        With this 40mm viewfinder, do you cover the whole lens view field?
        Thanks

  2. Leo-Jan Jonkers

    I just checked it Luis and it is pretty exact. You cover the view field. The biggest disadvantage is that you do not see exactly where your autofocus point is. And the rest of your info of course. It is not a very nice way of working, first looking at the info, I always use aperture preference and correct with the exposure compensation and then looking through the viewfinder. If I use the viewfinder.
    It looks very cool an your camera, nicer even on the bigger DP2M, but the Sigma does not has the nice viewfinder like the Fujifilm x100 has for example.

    On the other hand the photo’s you get with the Sigma DP2M never stops to surprise me, I own very nice Canon L lenses and FF Canon 1Ds Mark III, but the detail the Sigma gives you beats it hand down. It is incredible for such a compact camera. Or a camera in general.

    Reply
    • Luis Filipe Cunha

      Leo,
      that disadvantage and the usual parallax problem, as far as I could understand.
      But it´s very nice on the camera ,-)
      So if you say that the 40mm model covers the image properly, that´s very good news.

      I too use Canon FF body and FF lenses and the Sigma seems to be much better. A lot more detail and above all sharp.
      And as you said Leo, with such a compact camera .-)

      Reply
  3. vladimir

    Hello Boris,
    Re. Sigma DP2M, I just returned from 10 days in China with my DP2M as the main camera (the second one was old P&S Canon). What a great camera (I have now all but abandon plan to buy Leica M 240 and will wait for full frame Sony that is rumoured to be introduced in early 2014 to use my Leica lenses on Sony). Back to DP2M, I could not be happier with it as far as the picture quality and ease of use go. Lot has been said about battery life. Prior departure I purchased 3 spare ones from Camera-Battery.com.au in Melbourne for $ 12.29 each that are manufactured for this camera. The batteries come with 400 days money back guarantee. This same company also sells battery charge for $ 16.55, this charge does have an advantage that it can charge batteries in a car, from 12V outlet that Sigma one cannot do. Check them out (I have no connection with this firm other then as a customer). Also I have customised my DP2M by fitting a 49 mm B+W UV filter and generic 49 mm rubber lens hood. Also on the net I found a cheap leather case for less than $20 and using only the ‘halve’ case part of it. As the DP2M is now I could not be happier.

    Reply
    • Boris

      Thanks Vladimir for the information. I think it’s very interesting for all people living close to Australia. From Europe it’s probably cheaper to buy the original batteries locally. If I would take the DP2M as my main camera on a longer trip I will for sure get a second charger (or a DP1M with it’s own charger as a second camera).

      Boris

      Reply

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