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Sigma is saying.

07.01.2014

The very first advance shipment of the Sigma dp2 Quattro camera has just arrived, and as I write, our team is preparing a number of these compact, high-resolution cameras for the dp2 Quattro Test Shoot: Try Before You Buy program. Here’s our exclusive first look at the Sigma dp2 Quattro.

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I’ve spent the weekend with the dp2 Quattro, and I can tell you straight-out that this is far and away the best dp camera I’ve had my hands on. And for those keeping score, I’ve been working with these cameras for a long time. In fact, I published one of the very first hands-on reports of the original DP1 back when I was Online Editor of PopPhoto.com.

The Red Mill in Clinton, NJ, as seen through the Sigma dp2 Quattro. 1/20 F8 ISO 100, Sigma 58mm Circular Polarizer. X3F Raw processed through Sigma Photo Pro 6. All photos in this article were captured as X3F Raw, Processed in Sigma Photo Pro, and tuned for final web output in Adobe Camera Raw 8.5.

The Red Mill in Clinton, NJ, as seen through the Sigma dp2 Quattro. 1/20 F8 ISO 100, Sigma 58mm Circular Polarizer. X3F Raw processed through Sigma Photo Pro 6. All photos in this article were captured as X3F Raw, Processed in Sigma Photo Pro, and tuned for final web output in Adobe Camera Raw 8.5.

I have always been a fan of the elegant simplicity of the dp cameras, the uncluttered interface, and the refreshing lack of frills and bloat in the menus and commands. The dp cameras have always been designed with an eye on image-making, and to that end, the functionality trumped any fashion issues for me.

Tiger Lily as seen through the dp2 Quattro. 1/250 F2.8 ISO 100. The fast F2.8 lens and APS-C sized Foveon Quattro sensor offers great background separation and shallow depth of field; hallmarks of a sharp prime lens and big sensor.

Tiger Lily as seen through the dp2 Quattro. 1/250 F2.8 ISO 100. The fast F2.8 lens and APS-C sized Foveon Quattro sensor offers great background separation and shallow depth of field; hallmarks of a sharp prime lens and big sensor.

Some called the older dp cameras “boxy.” But I was never really that bothered by the design. However, now having gone walking around with the dp2 Quattro, I can say that I am really impressed with the new design that is so much more complex a form than the old box and barrel of previous generations.

Here's the Hunterdon Art Museum and chalkboard wall and the trees beyond, captured at F4 hyperfocal. Notice the incredible richness of detail throughout the tonal range in this image, captured in late morning. 1/320 F4 ISO 100, again with the circular polarizer to add "pop."

Here’s the Hunterdon Art Museum and chalkboard wall and the trees beyond, captured at F4 hyperfocal. Notice the incredible richness of detail throughout the tonal range in this image, captured in late morning. 1/320 F4 ISO 100, again with the circular polarizer to add “pop.”

It is as if an SLR and standard lens were sliced and pared down to its most essential form. The thumbgrip and shutter button feel natural for a one-handed hold, and the lens barrel aligns with where an SLR lens lives, so a two-handed hold is also very natural a feel. Framing through either the 920K dot LCD or the optional optical viewfinder is very easy; and the new multi-plane level overlay on the LCD during framing is a much appreciated addition to the on-screen display during composition.

The Red Mill, framed by the single-lane bridge over the North Branch, captured wide open at F2.8 for shallow depth of field. The on-screen multi-axis level helped frame this composition. 1/800 F2.8 ISO 100.

The Red Mill, framed by the single-lane bridge over the North Branch, captured wide open at F2.8 for shallow depth of field. The on-screen multi-axis level helped frame this composition. 1/800 F2.8 ISO 100.

On the inside, of course, is the Foveon Quattro sensor, with a completely new architecture that increased the resolution about 14-15% over the Merrill Generation sensor, which is renowned for its fine detail capture; but the real story here, in addition to the slight resolution bump is the significantly increased processing speed from the previous generation.  The photographic process with the dp cameras has always been, to put it kindly, a “methodical” and “deliberate” one; due, in part, to the enormous amounts of data captured by the stacked image sensor.

The spills between the two buildings, and the reflecting pond above. This lens and sensor love detail and color! 1/400 F2.8 ISO 100.

The spills between the two buildings, and the reflecting pond above. This lens and sensor love detail and color! 1/400 F2.8 ISO 100.

The new 4:1:1 sensor, which captures panchromatic luminance (detail) information on the top sensor, along with blue chrominance (color) information, and green and red chrominance information on the middle and bottom layer, seriously improves the processing time compared to the DP Merrill cameras.

I used on-screen level to help frame this image of the old single-lane bridge by the Red Mill. I'd already determined the level's accuracy by checking it against my spirit level. So, apparently, the steel supports of the old bridge have settled slightly askew! Processed as Monochrome from the X3F Raw in Sigma Photo Pro 6.

I used on-screen level to help frame this image of the old single-lane bridge by the Red Mill. I’d already determined the level’s accuracy by checking it against my spirit level. So, apparently, the steel supports of the old bridge have settled slightly askew! Processed as Monochrome from the X3F Raw in Sigma Photo Pro 6.

And the legendary Foveon image feel—tactile, immersive, and oozing with incredible detail on the focal plane, is all there. The images are simply stunning, with a richness of color and detail that needs to be seen up-close, and preferably, as a big print, to be truly appreciated.

A studio shot with the dp2 Quattro, captured with a continuous LED lightsource. The images this camera captures truly have a tactility that must be seen to be appreciated! 6/10 second F7 ISO 100.

A studio shot with the dp2 Quattro, captured with a continuous LED lightsource. The images this camera captures truly have a tactility that must be seen to be appreciated! 6/10 second F7 ISO 100.

Watch a hands-on demo with the dp2 Quattro and screencast of Sigma Photo Pro Raw Conversion

Sigma dp2 Quattro and Sigma Photo Pro 6 Hands-On Demo from Sigma Corporation of America on Vimeo.

Click the link for more information on the dp2 Test Shoot Test Shoot, and to view photos tagged with #SigmaQuattro.

Download the dp2 Quattro  brochure and manual here.

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  1. Extracted with Sigma Pro Photo 6 and then tweaked with Adobe Camera Raw 8.5? Huh, is Sigma Pro Photo 6 extracting to DNG now?

    5 allows extraction to tiff or jpeg, then one could do a bit more editing in PhotoShop CS5 or Lightroom 4, or PaintShop, etc.

    ACR 8.5 doesn’t open XF3 files and would only be useful for DNGs.

  2. Jay, the images were captured as X3F RAW, toned and exported as 16-bit full-resolution TIFFs in Sigma Photo Pro, and then web optimized for the web (sRGB color space and downsampled) in Adobe Camera Raw’s exporter module.

  3. Jack, thank you for the informative DP2Q review and “hand-on” video. DP2Q is a great camera that comes very close in image quality to a digital medium format at a pixel level.

    Do you know by any chance if there are plans for Sigma to make an external EVF for the Quattro line-up?