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Sigma dp2 Quattro

Sigma has announced the dp2 Quattro, the next incarnation of its DP Merrill line, which deliver fabulous image detail.

Our proprietary algorithm makes possible ultrafast processing of an immense volume of image data without any deterioration of the final images. The result is high-definition, 3D-like photographs with outstandingly rich color detail.

If the above “ultrafast” claim is not hyperbole, taking this literally would mean a 20X speed improvement. It would be a huge boost in usability.

Sigma states that the 1:1:4 solution was the inspiration for the name of the current generation of Foveon sensor: “Quattro.”

Top:5424 X 3616 = 19.6 megapixels
Middle:2712 X 1808 = 4.9 megapixels
Bottom:2712 X 1808 = 4.9 megapixels
Sigma dp2 Quattro sensor design

The new sensor with 1/3 higher resolution is an exciting prospect, assuming it delivers on its promise. Based on my deep experience with the Sigma DP Merrill line, I would expect the dp2 Quattro to outperform the Sony A7 on detail, and to approach the Sony A7R level of detail at least with some subjects, and without any problems with the shutter vibration of the A7R, a very practical consideration in real-world sharpness.

Initial reactions

Based on deep and wide experience with numerous cameras and practical field issues.

  • The omission of an EVF or even an optional EVF is confounding and frustrating. As someone increasingly dealing with the inexorable onset of presbyopia, the rear LCD just does not cut it. Screen glare sucks too, and having to hold the camera at arm’s length to compose is inherently unstable, which hugely cuts down the versatility under lower light conditions. Nor can focusing be done well holding at arm’s length nor can mass-coupling by holding the camera to the eye be done. An optical viewfinder in the hot shoe is a joke for all these purposes and worse.
  • Will the rear LCD be better than the DP Merrill predecessor, whose LCD is among the worst on the market? One has to hope so, given the missing EVF. But it’s a 920K pixel unit, raising concern that it’s the same crummy one in the DP Merrills.
  • The body shape is surely better in terms of the grip, but for stowing in a pocket it looks incredibly awkward (very wide/long). With the DP Merrills, a cycling jersey pocket works well enough; the dp2 Quattro looks to be a poor fit and might not even be viable.
  • The lenses look to be the same as in the DP Merrill line, and they are excellent.
  • Reduced file size is a very nice plus, assuming that the quality is superior.
  • Battery life is almost assuredly going to be much better, judging by the big blocky grip area designed to house a much larger battery. That alone might have been the genesis for the strangely shaped body.
  • I would have liked to see the focal length range expanded to include an 18mm option (18mm full frame equivalent, e.g., ~12mm).
  • The addition of a cable release switch is a nice plus, but a wireless remote is missing and that is even more useful for some purposes.
  • No built-in flash = big disappointment for fill flash purposes. Having to add an awkward top-mounted unit means that I just don’t use fill flash in too many otherwise useful situations. Fill flash is a valued feature that I use regularly on the Ricoh GR, and I just love it with the full speed flash sync of the in-lens leaf shutter.

A glass half full. Still, if the image quality moves forward in resolution and noise and color predictability, this will be a very useful camera system for big prints.

Sigma dp2 Quattro
Sigma dp2 Quattro
Sigma dp2 Quattro
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