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Sigma DP2 review

Ben Pitt
25 Dec 2009
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
465
inc VAT

An impressive sensor in a compact body, but some of the DP2's other quirks aren't as appealing.

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Specifications

20.7x13.8mm 14.1-megapixel sensor, 1.0x zoom (41mm equivalent), 260g

Of all the cameras that claim to deliver SLR quality from a compact body, Sigma's DP2 is arguably the most convincing. It's certainly the most unusual. It's a little larger than the average compact camera but smaller and lighter than Olympus's E-P1. However, its sensor is only fractionally smaller than most SLR sensors.

The sensor's size isn't its only unusual attribute. While every other sensor we've seen uses a colour filter array, this one has three sensors that are, in effect, layered on top of each other, capturing every pixel in full colour. The resulting images have a modest 4.6-megapixel resolution, but the detail captured is broadly on a par with that of 10-megapixel cameras.

Considering Sigma's expertise in lenses, the DP2's may seem surprisingly modest, with no zoom function and only an f/2.8 aperture. However, focusing light on to a big sensor with such a compact lens is a superb achievement. Focus was sharp into the corners of our test shots, with no chromatic aberrations or vignetting. Meanwhile, the large sensor produced a shallow depth of field, blurring backgrounds in a pleasing way that isn't possible with conventional compact cameras.

The large sensor didn't deliver the low-light image quality we'd hoped for. Photos at the top ISO 800 setting for JPEGs weren't bad but they weren't up to SLR standards, with noisy shadows and some magenta-coloured blotches. RAW shots processed in Adobe Lightroom looked better and allowed ISO speeds up to 3200, but still fell short of SLR standards.

This wasn't our only concern. The controls are reasonably laid out but the etched button labels were almost illegible. Performance was poor, taking six seconds to start and up to four seconds between shots. Worst of all, the autofocus was slow and unreliable in low light, and manual focus is tricky on the 2?in screen.

These flaws are disappointing, but the DP2 still makes an excellent carry-everywhere camera for carefully composed daylight shots.

Basic Specifications

Rating***
CCD effective megapixels14.1 megapixels
CCD size20.7x13.8mm
Viewfinderoptional optical
LCD screen size2.5in
LCD screen resolution230,000 pixels
Optical zoom1.0x
Zoom 35mm equivalent41mm
Image stabilisationnone
Maximum image resolution2,640x1,760
Maximum movie resolution320x240
Movie frame rate at max quality30fps
File formatsJPEG, RAW; AVI (M-JPEG)

Physical

Memory slotSDHC
Mermory suppliednone
Battery type3.7V 1,300mAh Li-ion
Battery Life (tested)250 shots
ConnectivityUSB, AV
Body materialaluminium
AccessoriesUSB and AV cables, soft pouch
Weight260g
Size60x113x56mm

Buying Information

Price£465
Supplierhttp://www.bristolcameras.co.uk
Detailshttp://sigma-dp.com

Camera Controls

Exposure modesprogram, shutter priority, aperture priority, manual
Shutter speed15 to 1/2,000 seconds
Aperture rangef/2.8 to f/14
ISO range (at full resolution)50 to 800
Exposure compensation+/-3 EV
White balanceauto, 6 presets, manual
Additional image controlscontrast, saturation, sharpness
Manual focusYes
Closest macro focus28cm
Auto-focus modes9-point
Metering modesmulti, centre-weighted, centre
Flashauto, forced, suppressed, slow synchro, red-eye reduction
Drive modessingle, continuous, self-timer