The Sigma dp2 Quattro replaces the previous-generation DP2 Merrill, with a radically reworked sensor and strikingly unconventional body. In our Sigma dp2 Quattro review Andy Westlake takes it for a test drive
Sigma dp2 Quattro review – Build and handling
With a magnesium-alloy shell and chunky metal top-plate dials, the Quattro feels like an extremely well-made piece of kit. The body exudes a sense of solidity, with no hint of give or creaking, and all of the controls are fast and responsive.
The control layout is very good too. Those twin dials on the top-plate are used to change exposure settings, and the lens has a manual focus ring. Dedicated buttons are provided for focus mode (auto or manual), focus area selection, and auto-exposure lock. There’s no exposure mode dial, but instead a top-plate button allows selection from program, aperture priority, shutter priority and manual modes, plus three user-programmable custom set-ups.
Other key functions, including ISO, can be accessed quickly using the QS (quick set) button. This brings up an on-screen menu that’s much more intuitive to navigate than Sigma’s previous efforts, and which can be configured to each photographer’s individual preference. Overall, the Quattro’s user interface is much more refined than in previous Sigma models, with very little to complain about at all.
The elephant in the room, of course, is that grip. It certainly feels very odd on first impression, but after a few days’ use I got the hang of it. It makes a surprisingly comfortable handle for carrying the camera around one-handed, especially if you forgo the supplied neck strap and use a wrist strap instead. It’s not too bad while shooting either, although a lot of thumb movement is required to change settings as the rear buttons are at two very different depths. I found it works best if you hold the camera high up to eye level and use your left hand to support the lens.
The thing is, it doesn’t obviously solve a problem. I’ve used a lot of small, high-end cameras over the past few years, and I can’t honestly say that the Quattro’s grip works better than any others. But it does add extra bulk, and makes the camera more awkward to fit in a bag. I can’t help but think that a more conventional design would have been a better idea.
Sigma dp2 Quattro review – LCD and viewfinder
On the Quattro’s back is a 3in, 920,000-dot screen. It’s sharp and detailed, and shows lots of useful information including (optionally) a live histogram and electronic level display. It’s neither articulated nor touch-sensitive, and while these features aren’t found on most of the Quattro’s direct competitors either, they’re quite common on small compact system cameras.
If you want to use an eye-level viewfinder, you can slide an optical one onto the hotshoe, but there’s no facility to use an external electronic viewfinder. Instead, the Quattro provides a display mode that shows all of the usual shooting information on the rear screen, just without the live view display. You can also turn the LCD off completely if you like.