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Sigma dp1 Quattro Review

The Sigma DP1 Quattro is a pocketable camera that features a recently designed 39-megapixel Foveon X3 Quattro sensor that is scaled to fit APS-C. The one-of-a-kind sensor in the DP1 Quattro produces raw photos with a resolution of 5424 by 3616 pixels when set to the maximum possible level. This sensor is made up of four separate layers, three of which are devoted to catching red, green, and blue light.

Additionally, the DP1 Quattro has a manual focus ring, an external hot shoe, a Quick Set button, RAW format support, and a 19mm fixed lens with an equal focal length of 28mm and a fast aperture of f/2.8. The lens has 8 elements in 6 groups and a 9-bladed diaphragm. Other features include a TRUE III image processing engine and a 3-inch TFT color monitor with 920,000 dots. The Sigma DP1 Quattro may be purchased through an authorized retailer for £899 or $999.

Sigma dp1 Quattro Build Quality

A completely new APS-C-sized Foveon image sensor serves as the primary imaging component of the Sigma DP1 Quattro. The image sensor of the DP1 Quattro camera has precise dimensions of 23.5 by 15.7 millimeters, making it somewhat more significant than the sensor in the DP1 Merrill. The DP Quattro from Sigma is said to have a resolution of 39 megapixels, and Sigma is the only company that currently uses the Foveon X3 sensor in its products.

The Foveon solution consists of three layers placed atop one another, with each photodiode collecting all of the RGB data. When compared to the previous generation, the Quattro sensor is distinguished by the fact that it allocates 20 megapixels to the top layer, which records both blue color and luminance information, but only 4.9 megapixels to each of the other two layers, which record green color information first, followed by red color information.

According to Sigma, this significant upgrade provides a higher resolution than the old Foveon sensor, faster processing times and less noise, at least in the red and green channels.

When compared to a CCD or CMOS sensor, Sigma and Foveon assert that the 3-layer technique produces better-looking color photographs that may be taken directly from the camera.

This may be the case, but from the perspective of the end user, the finished picture has a resolution of 5424 by 3616 pixels. This places a cap on the maximum size the native image may be printed or cropped without the need for interpolation in Adobe Photoshop or another program.

Sigma dp1 Quattro Image Quality

When shooting in RAW, the image quality of the Sigma DP1 Quattro is exceptional, and it produces excellent results at ISO settings ranging from 100 to 1600. Because there is a lot of noise and color desaturation at the higher ISOs, our recommendation is always to use the DP1 Quattro’s RAW mode if it is possible. Curiously, the quality drops off noticeably when shooting JPEGs, with only ISO 100-400 being usable because higher ISOs are worth using (despite the so-so Sigma Photo pro software and the huge file sizes).

We took hundreds of shots with the Sigma DP1 Quattro, but we were unable to discover a single one that included chromatic aberrations since the camera did such an excellent job of correcting them. When the photographs came out of the camera with the default sharpness setting, they were just a little bit soft. However, you can adjust the amount of sharpening on the camera itself, or you may use Adobe Photoshop later.

The night shot came out well, and the fact that you could use the maximum shutter speed of 30 seconds meant that you could catch sufficient light for the vast majority of after-dark scenarios. The performance in macro mode was the only minor drawback since it could only concentrate on subjects 20 centimeters or further away from the camera.

Sigma dp1 Quattro Specs

Body typeLarge sensor compact
Max resolution5424 x 3616
Image ratio w:h1:1, 4:3, 3:2, 16:9
Effective pixels20 megapixels
Sensor photo detectors22 megapixels
Sensor sizeAPS-C (23.5 x 15.7 mm)
Sensor typeCMOS (Foveon X3)
ProcessorTRUE III engine
ISOAuto, 100-6400
White balance presets6
Custom white balanceYes
Image stabilizationUnknown
Uncompressed formatRAW
JPEG quality levelsSuper-high, high, low
Focal length (equiv.)28 mm
Optical zoom
Maximum apertureF2.8
AutofocusContrast Detect (sensor)Multi-areaSelective single-pointSingleFace DetectionLive View
Manual focusYes (Focus Ring Type)
Normal focus range20 cm (7.87″)
Number of focus points9
Articulated LCDFixed
Screen size3″
Screen dots920,000
Touch screenNo
Screen typeTFT color LCD
Live viewYes
Viewfinder typeNone
Minimum shutter speed30 sec
Maximum shutter speed1/2000 sec
Aperture priorityYes
Shutter priorityYes
Manual exposure modeYes
Built-in flashNo
External flashYes (via hot-shoe)
Self-timerYes (2 or 10 secs)
Metering modesMultiCenter-weightedSpot
Exposure compensation±3 (at 1/3 EV steps)
AE Bracketing±3 (3 frames at 1/3 EV steps)
WB BracketingNo
MicrophoneNone
SpeakerNone
Storage includedSD/SDHC/SDXC
USBUSB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)
Microphone portNo
Headphone portNo
Environmentally sealedNo
BatteryBattery Pack
Battery descriptionBP-51 lithium-ion battery and charger
Dimensions161 x 67 x 87 mm (6.34 x 2.64 x 3.43″)
Orientation sensorYes
Timelapse recordingYes
GPSNone

Sigma dp1 Quattro Conclusion

With the release of the new DP1 Quattro, Sigma maintains its position as the lone camera manufacturer to implement Foveon sensor technology. This decision was made to keep the company’s focus on pursuing a particular course.

The Sigma DP1 Quattro is a relatively slow camera only suited to static or slow-moving subjects. Additionally, the relatively radical new design prioritizes image quality over usability (apparently, moving the memory card and battery away from the sensor helps to improve the latter). Suffice it to say that we did not get along with the much larger DP1 Quattro with its awkward grip.

Despite these reservations, however, the photographs that the DP1 Quattro creates are simply outstanding. They are the best photographs we have ever seen produced by a simple, compact camera, and they can even compete with pictures taken with a high-end DSLR equipped with an equivalent and pricey prime lens. It may take some time to get used to the DP1 Quattro, but the photographs it produces are unquestionable of high quality.

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