Published on June 12th,2008 at 9:32 PM
By >Daimaou - G.G-B

Sigma DP1 Review: Pure Images from Your Pocket

*****ERRATUM*****

It seems that our translator made a huge mistake in this article, INDEED, the DP1 is not a DSLR, sorry for this “bad” translation from French to English.

Many people will come to covet the Sigma DP1, and this is understandable! When you see the picture quality produced by this little digital camera, you should have no reason for surprise. Clearly, 1 pixel equals 1 pixel! It ignores interpolations that inflate the number of mega pixels… Here Sigma is seeking clarity for the record!

Getting Started

The DP1 fits well in your hand, and with it you’ll appear less touristy than if you were carrying a conventional digital camera. Its rectangular design and lens cap creates a retro effect that some will appreciate, tho others may curse the cap as it hinders Lucky Luke point & shoot techniques… Clearly, this is a camera for those who are patient when taking pictures. Although it possess automatic modes, for a great finished product pictures should be taken in manual mode.

The DP1′s design is well conceived and works well when using manual settings. I particularly found the manual focus knob to be very comfortable, and its wide 2.5″ screen provides enough light for outdoor use, and a practical field of view.

Electronics

The Foveon sensor is IMPRESSIVE! Image detail is breathtaking when set at 100%, and clearly a slap in the face of the best reflex! I’ve never had a camera capable of this level of quality in my hands… The sensor’s 3CCD technology is revolutionary. On the stroke we have actual pixels, not the interpolations provided by other sensors.

Some may scoff at the specs’ 4.6 Mega pixels… Indeed! But these are ACTUAL 4.6 Mega pixels! When other manufacturers advertise 10Mpx, they’re really saying 2.5Mpx of Blue, 2.5Mpx of Green, and 5Mpx of Red… all this is interpolated to provide an image of 10Mpx. The DP1′s Foveon X3 sensor’s 4.6Mpx image is composed of 4.6Mpx of Blue, 4.6 Mpx of Red, and 4.6 Mpx of Green… the equivalent of 14Mpx when calculated as the others. Its 4.6Mpx, when extended to 14Mpx, provides an image rendering almost identical to a reflex.

Technology is not everything, we must also take into account the DP1′s sensor is the same size as that found on a reflex… namely 12 times the size of those generally found on a camera!

All this combined, we can easily see that picture rendering is worthy, and may be superior to high-end digital reflex cameras.

Not everything is perfect…… far away…. Although the sensor is a great technological advance, the rest the camera is lagging and similar to digital cameras released five 5 years ago. Auto-focus is slow and imprecise (not considering the image freezes for an instant when focusing… taking a picture of something in motion is nearly impossible), long lag time between two shots, ignition slowness, forget setting ISO sensitivity too high…… etc. Use is really reserved for those who have the time to prepare their shot… Point & shoot aficionados should forget it.

The 320×240 pixel video format is simply ridiculous, and shows how behind Sigma is on this point…

The menus are clear, and their’s also a certain freedom in manual settings.

Finishes and Accesories

No need feel careful when handling this camera, it’s like possessing a handmade and robust device. Although the lens is excellent, I feel Sigma is fudging a bit… This is not really a wide-angle (it’s advertised as a 16.6mm, but including the size of the sensor, it’s really a 28mm lens ) and you will end up with an average image size… A shame because this camera is clearly designed for those who want to do something different… something artistic!

Accessories are interesting but far from essential… really for addicts.

Pros:
- Picture quality surpassing all that exists
- Foveon X3 Sensor
- Lens quality
- Manual settings
- Finishing and robustness of the casing

Cons:
- Very slow electronics
- Ancient auto-focus (Too Old…)
- 320×240 videos
- Maximum ISO 400
- Macro mode to 30 cm (Is that macro?)
- Protective cap

Conclusion:
The Sigma DP1 provides the feeling of a unique, handmade product, a true handicraft where quality manufacturing prevails over performance, which appears to be Sigma’s aim. A beautiful device offering incomparable picture quality thanks to its revolutionary sensor (Sigma succeeded in this), but clearly dedicated to the professional who is looking for something different from that provided by a typical digital camera.

Drawbacks… The slowness of the electronics makes our digital camera suitable for still-life, but not for animated photos, and a 16.6mm lens, even if it’s excellent, is like having a 28mm lens (equivalent 24×36 )… excluding those who are looking for originality of vision outside the typical box.

Take a look on my full size sample here

Via Sigma DP1
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Sigma DP1 Review: Pure Images from Your PocketSigma DP1 Review: Pure Images from Your PocketSigma DP1 Review: Pure Images from Your PocketSigma DP1 Review: Pure Images from Your PocketSigma DP1 Review: Pure Images from Your PocketSigma DP1 Review: Pure Images from Your Pocket
Sigma DP1 Review: Pure Images from Your PocketSigma DP1 Review: Pure Images from Your PocketSigma DP1 Review: Pure Images from Your PocketSigma DP1 Review: Pure Images from Your PocketSigma DP1 Review: Pure Images from Your PocketSigma DP1 Review: Pure Images from Your Pocket
Sigma DP1 Review: Pure Images from Your PocketSigma DP1 Review: Pure Images from Your PocketSigma DP1 Review: Pure Images from Your PocketSigma DP1 Review: Pure Images from Your PocketSigma DP1 Review: Pure Images from Your PocketSigma DP1 Review: Pure Images from Your Pocket
Sigma DP1 Review: Pure Images from Your PocketSigma DP1 Review: Pure Images from Your PocketSigma DP1 Review: Pure Images from Your PocketSigma DP1 Review: Pure Images from Your PocketSigma DP1 Review: Pure Images from Your PocketSigma DP1 Review: Pure Images from Your Pocket
Sigma DP1 Review: Pure Images from Your PocketSigma DP1 Review: Pure Images from Your PocketSigma DP1 Review: Pure Images from Your PocketSigma DP1 Review: Pure Images from Your PocketSigma DP1 Review: Pure Images from Your PocketSigma DP1 Review: Pure Images from Your Pocket
Sigma DP1 Review: Pure Images from Your PocketSigma DP1 Review: Pure Images from Your PocketSigma DP1 Review: Pure Images from Your PocketSigma DP1 Review: Pure Images from Your PocketSigma DP1 Review: Pure Images from Your PocketSigma DP1 Review: Pure Images from Your Pocket
Sigma DP1 Review: Pure Images from Your PocketSigma DP1 Review: Pure Images from Your PocketSigma DP1 Review: Pure Images from Your PocketSigma DP1 Review: Pure Images from Your PocketSigma DP1 Review: Pure Images from Your Pocket
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Comments
 

  • Victor

    This is NOT a DSLR as stated in your first paragraph. This is a “compact digital camera”.
    DSLR refers to the mirror system which allows the viewer a direct look through the taking lens.

    Please do your homework if you are reviewing equipment.

  • meisterman

    This camera is only suited for landscape photography where you have time to compose and take the shot.

    For other photography purposes, this camera is utterly useless, IMHO.

    After buying this and finding how specific it was, I went to buy the Olympus E420 DSLR which is bigger but still light and small enough to carry around. Quality and convenience (to some extent)

  • MrBen

    On Monday, I began shooting an extensive project of environmental portraiture with the DP-1, using available light with fill from a few Lumedyne heads. The camera performed flawlessly and unobtrusively. Several of my sitters were rather dismissive of my approach, until they saw the results on the laptop screen – beautiful, subtle, characterful and crisp. Stop for stop, the lens on the DP-1 is performing as well as my Leica 28mm F2 Summicron aspherical. If you want a point and squirt, buy a Coolpix. If you care about output quality, and you understand the technical discipline of photography, and don’t have a grab-all approach to images, the DP-1 is a compelling choice.

  • cwhat

    I bought and returned this camera. Really bad user interface. Horribly slow autofocus.

    The image quality was pretty decent, but nothing to get particularly excited about. I’d rather carry around an extra pound or two to get the usability and quality from my D300.

  • http://www.elitezoom.com radha

    I think my brother who work on landscape and built some villa will like this camera. I will send this link to him soon

  • http://hotelesbaratos.blogit.fi/ mikavaaan

    Too expensive.

  • http://www.juegostodogratis.com manolo

    Much too expensive.

  • http://soft.blogi.ru/blog/post/415266/ afkanessa

    I bought and pass it to teh support in 4 days unfortunatelly…

  • http://ofertashoteles.wordpress.com manuelg

    this is great.

  • http://www.aperturedaily.com disful

    For digital compact $700 is beyond expectation, it’s expensive.

  • vidor

    Terrible review from the first sentence to the last punctuation. Who hired this idiot?
    There are plenty of better, more valid reviews on this camera, its Abilities and flaws. Please AKiNews, find another camera reviewer. This person is a photo-idiot!

  • darklight331

    I recently purchased a DP1 and although it is slower than other compacts it is not that slow, with a fast SD card shot to shot time is about 4 or 5 secs. Although it does not have the brute resolution of other cameras, it has better dynamic range than any other compact and is as good as many DSLR’s in this respect (and apparently better than some). Image quality is excellent with subtle tones. I have no regrets about buying it, when I can’t be bothered carrying my DSLR’s or want something inconspicuous but without the compromise in image quality that every other compact has, I take the DP1.

  • http://www.sushistand.com Sushistand

    1) Drop the “…” they aren’t being used properly and is, quite frankly, annoying and not professional. Further, there’s plenty of sentence fragments, incorrect punctuation, and discombobulating sentences.

    2) As a semi-pro photog myself; (paid to do concerts, events, etc), I’ve gotta admit that I don’t get a feeling of confidence when I read this review. Two quick points:

    a) You failed to mention that the Dp1 only is a prime f4 lens.

    b) “A slap on the face of the best reflex.”? Excuse me? Your telling your readers that this slaps around the 9fps, clean ISO6400, full frame goodness of a Nikon D3? If you want to exaggerate I could pick up a Nikon D50/D70 with a 50mm F1.8 and I could shoot images that not only would spank the dp1 around but also have it clean the floor and scrub my toilets. Would only cost 300 bucks too.

    I agree a bit with Victor, it might be better to have a different writer for camera reviews.

  • http://www.pharmacyrx.org sergie

    After buying this CAMERA and finding how specific it was, I went to buy the Olympus E420 DSLR anyway..

  • thofte

    Having used Sigma DP1 for almost 2 years I have to say this is a real quality camera for people concerned with IQ. The built in wideangle lens is very fine. Used in good light it works well, not fast, but satisfactory for a mindfull way of photography. Another poster compared it to a Nikon D50 with a 50mm f1.8. Well I compared it to a Nikon D40 with the same lens. D40 is a faster and more versatile camera, but IQ wise the DP1 is much better in good light. So again: you have to have more than 1 camera and you have to choose your tool for the occasion. The price of the DP1 is now very low, if it’s possible to get one at all…

 

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