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
Hands-on First Look
Before we reviewed ths Sigma DP2 in full, we took a hands-on first look back in March. You can read our initial thoughts of the camera below…
Sigma dp2 Quattro at a glance:
- 29-million-pixel resolution (3:2 aspect ratio)
- APS-C-type (23.5×15.7mm) CMOS sensor
- TRUE III processor
- Raw & JPEG file formats
- 9-point AF
- 30mm f/2.8 (45mm equivalent) lens
- ISO 100-6400
- Price and availability to be confirmed
There has been a lot of emphasis on camera design in recent years. This has helped to revitalise the camera market by providing a wide range of designs from which photographers can choose. However, few could have predicted the direction Sigma would take with its new generation dp series.
The dp range
We’ll come onto the elongated design later, but first let’s look at the dp range. The Sigma dp2 Quattro is one of three models in a range of fixed-lens compacts, slotting in between the dp1 Quattro and the dp3 Quattro. Much like Sigma’s existing Merrill range, the key difference between each camera is the lens.
Whereas the dp2’s 30mm fixed lens offers a field of view that is equivalent to 45mm, the dp1’s 19mm lens squeezes more in the frame, equivalent to 28mm, while the dp3’s 50mm lens is equivalent to 75mm. Each model will use the company’s latest APS-C Foveon X3 Quattro sensor – a new variation of the multi-layer sensor we’ve seen before.
Designed to capture colour vertically, recording hue, value and chroma accurately and completely for every pixel, the new sensor samples 19.6 million pixels of data on its top layer and 4.9 million pixels on the two layers beneath. This should speed up processing, improve noise characteristics and, it has been alleged, offer a 30% improvement in resolution.
The sensor is paired with a new TRUE III image-processing engine to deliver what Sigma describes as outstandingly rich colour that is claimed to be more faithful than ever before.
The motive for the obscure design is to provide a more substantial handgrip and allow the camera to accept a larger battery to improve battery life. Due to our mock-up sample not being operational, we can’t comment on performance. However, it did provide us with an impression of what we can expect from its handling. The body felt slimmer than expected and the first obvious omission is the lack of a rubber grip to give it a tactile feel.
The protruding lens naturally lends itself to being supported by the left hand and in that respect it is rather similar to holding a DSLR, albeit not as comfortable. Holding the camera in this way makes you want to lift it up to your eye, and rather than composing via the dp2’s 3in, 920,000-dot screen, it needs an optical viewfinder – an accessory that Sigma will offer as an optional extra.
Operation of the camera feels as though it could be let down by the positioning of buttons, and we have yet to find out why there is no dedicated mode dial and only two dials on the top-plate to control aperture and shutter speed.
Based on our brief handling experience, the build quality of the Sigma dp2 Quattro is not as rigid as we’d hoped for and it certainly looks to have its work cut out if it is to challenge its closest fixed-lens compact rivals. We expect the Sigma dp2 Quattro to excel in its image quality, but we’ll have to wait for our review sample to find out whether this is the case.