Support Cameralabs by shopping at our partner stores or donating via Paypal
 






Follow my RSS feed at Camera Labs RSS Feed
 
  Latest camera reviews

Canon EOS 1200D T5
Sony WX350
Nikon P600
Sony Alpha A5000
Sony Cyber-shot HX400V
Panasonic Lumix GH4
Panasonic TS5 FT5
Sony Alpha A6000
Canon SX700 HS
Canon SX600 HS
Olympus TOUGH TG2
Nikon AW1
Nikon D3300
Fujifilm XT1
Olympus STYLUS 1
Sony Cyber-shot RX10
Olympus OMD EM1
Panasonic Lumix GM1
Nikon D610
Sony Alpha A7
Nikon D5300
Canon PowerShot A2500
Sony Alpha A7r
Canon ELPH 130 IXUS 140
Nikon COOLPIX P520
Nikon COOLPIX L820
Canon PowerShot S120
Panasonic Lumix GX7
Canon SX510 HS
Canon PowerShot G16
Fujifilm X20
Panasonic FZ70 / FZ72
Canon EOS 70D
Sony RX100 II
Canon ELPH 330 IXUS 255
Panasonic Lumix GF6
Fujifilm XM1
Olympus EP5
Panasonic Lumix LF1
Panasonic TZ35 / ZS25
Olympus XZ2
Sony HX300
Panasonic Lumix G6
Sony HX50V
Fujifilm X100S
Canon SX280 HS
Canon EOS SL1 / 100D
Panasonic TZ40 / ZS30
Nikon D7100
Nikon COOLPIX A
Fujifilm X-E1
Canon EOS 6D
Nikon D5200
Panasonic Lumix GH3
Canon PowerShot S110
Panasonic Lumix G5
Sony NEX-6
Panasonic Lumix FZ200
Canon PowerShot SX50 HS
Nikon COOLPIX P7700
Olympus E-PL5
Canon EOS M
Panasonic TS20 / FT20
Canon PowerShot G15
Nikon D600
Nikon COOLPIX L810
Canon PowerShot D20
Sony RX100
Panasonic Lumix LX7
Canon SX500 IS
Fujifilm HS30 EXR
Sony HX200V
Panasonic FZ60 / FZ62
Canon 520HS / 500HS
Canon 110HS / 125HS
Nikon D800
Canon EOS T4i / 650D
Canon PowerShot A3400
Panasonic ZS15 / TZ25
Olympus E-M5
Nikon D3200
Fujifilm X-Pro1
Canon PowerShot A2300
Canon SX240 / SX260
Samsung NX200
Sony Alpha SLT-A77
Canon EOS 5D Mark III
Panasonic ZS20 / TZ30
Canon PowerShot G1 X
Sony NEX-7
Panasonic GX1
Olympus E-PM1
Nikon V1
Sony NEX-5N
Canon EOS T3 / 1100D
Canon EOS 600D / T3i
Nikon D7000
Canon EOS 60D
Canon EOS 550D / T2i
Canon EOS 7D

All camera reviews
 
 
   
 
  Best Buys: our top models
   
  Best Canon lens
Best Nikon lens
Best Sony lens
Best budget DSLR
Best mid-range DSLR
Best semi-pro DSLR
Best point and shoot
Best superzoom
Best camera accessories
   
 



Camera Labs Forum

Any questions, comments or a great tip to share? Join my Camera forum and let everyone know!
   
 
  DSLR Tips



 
Free Shipping on ALL Products
Sigma DP1 Gordon Laing, June 2008
 

Sigma DP1 introduction

The Sigma DP1 is arguably the most unique and long-awaited compact digital camera on the market today. First shown as a prototype back in September 2006, the DP1 offers something camera enthusiasts have wanted for years: a DSLR sensor squeezed into a compact body. This in turn should allow the DP1 to deliver DSLR image quality while avoiding the noise issues which increasingly plague modern compacts. Various issues delayed the DP1’s public release, but now in 2008 the camera is finally on sale.

The DP1’s sensor isn’t just unusually large for a compact camera – like Sigma’s DSLRs, it also employ’s Foveon’s X3 technology which unlike most sensors allows full colour to be captured on every photosite. Conventional sensors only capture monochrome brightness on each photosite and use a ‘Bayer’ matrix of coloured filters and subsequent interpolation to generate a full colour image from the captured data. Today Sigma is the only major company using Foveon’s sensors, with the DP1 actually sharing the same chip as the SD14 DSLR.









Sigma and Foveon describe this sensor as having 14.06 effective Megapixels, but this figure is derived from a three-layer structure with 4.69 actual Megapixels on each: one layer for red light, one for green and one for blue. This is what allows the X3 sensors to capture full colour on every pixel location.

This means the actual native resolution of the DP1’s images is 4.69 Megapixels. Describing the sensor as having 14.06 Megapixels may therefore sound like a bit of a cheat, but to be fair, other Bayer sensors count all their photosites even though they’re not recording full colour. So in those terms, the DP1’s sensor does indeed have a total of 14.06 Million photosites, but in terms of the native matrix and spatial resolution, it’s delivering images with 4.69 Megapixels. Sigma’s RAW processing software does however offer an interpolated mode which outputs images with 13.9 Megapixels, which as you’ll see in our results pages, look better than you might think.

It’s not just the sensor that makes the DP1 different though – it also shuns the zoom lens you’ll find on most compacts for one with a fixed focal length that’s equivalent to 28mm. Indeed the DP1’s stripped-down approach to photography means it’s also lacking several comforts you’d take for granted on modern compacts including image stabilisation, a high resolution movie mode and face detection to name but three. In its favour though are a flash hotshoe, manual focusing, full PASM modes with control over exposure, along with accessories which include a rangefinder and a lens hood which further reinforce its retro looks and enthusiast appeal.

It’s fair to say there’s nothing else like it on the market, and the specifications (along with delays) have created an enormous buzz in the enthusiast sector. One thing’s for certain: while every other manufacturer continues to fit increasingly compromised sensors in their compacts, Sigma has been the first to do something about it and fit a decent sensor. The big question then is whether the DP1 really delivers DSLR quality in practice, or at least output that’s measurably superior to a compact? Beyond this, how much do you miss the luxuries of a modern compact, or does the DP1 deliver an acceptable experience? Ultimately is it worth the asking price?

 

We’ll answer these questions and more in our Sigma DP1 review where you’ll see its mage quality pitted directly against a DSLR and a traditional compact camera. We’ll also closely examine its other features and usability, again compared to other, more traditional options. So read on to find out if Sigma really has delivered a compact camera that can take on DSLR image quality, and as always check out our Sigma DP1 video tour for a demonstration of its highlights.

Many thanks to Hanafins New Zealand which supplied this camera for our tests. Readers in New Zealand please visit Hanafins's website.

Note: we tested a final production Sigma DP1 updated to firmware version 1.02. As we went to press in June 2008, Sigma released firmware version 1.03 which added a LOW 50 ISO option. This was too late for our noise tests, but we have included a sample in our Gallery and updated our resolution results page.

Support this site by checking prices above or shopping via our affiliate stores




All words, images, videos and layout, copyright 2005-2014 Gordon Laing. May not be used without permission.

/ How we test / Best Cameras / Advertising / Camera reviews / Supporting Camera Labs