Ouch! DPReview absolutely slams Sigma DP-1

Discussion in 'Mirrorless Digital Cameras' started by ralph_jensen, May 19, 2008.

  1. Frankly, I've never seen so many "Cons" in proportion to the "Pros" in a dpreview



    "Great for: Landscape photography in daylight"

    "Not good for: Low light, indoors (social snaps), movies, anything that requires

    I guess my large-sensor, compact-cam "ship" has not yet come in...
  2. Actually, the conclusion was not very well done - yes it has some negatives, but the conclusion reached seemed to be more about buying a DP-1 vs. a DSLR.
    But that's not the real question - the real question is, is the DP-1 good at what it tries to be, a "serious compact" as they with DSLR quality? And there the review shows it does succeed. It has far lower noise at ISO 800 than the GRD-II. The color resolution tests show what those of us already shooting Foveon cameras have already known for a long time, that in real world conditions (i.e. color) the camera can deliver results better than just about any other camera (including the M8, renowned for sharpness):
    http://www.dpreview .com/reviews/sigmadp1/page20.asp
    Indeed, there were many positive points like that scattered through the review, including resolution tests that show it almost matching a 12MP bayer camera and an 11--stop dynamic range from RAW.
    The negatives there are things that may put off some buyers, but they are buyers better off with other cameras anyway. The DP-1 is for people whose primary concern is image quality, even in low light - and there the DP-1 delivers. It delivers on resolution, on color accuracy, and dynamic range. If that's not your ship, I have news - your ship is not coming.
  3. Kendall, I'm interested in hearing more. I AM looking for a good low-light compact, and I'm willing to both pay the 800 bucks and to wait awhile between RAW shots (heck, I use a Sony R1 now).

    You say, "The DP-1 is for people whose primary concern is image quality, even in low light - and there the DP-1 delivers."

    But dpreview says, "While the DP1 can produce some brilliant results in daylight it is almost completely useless in any low light situations. At higher sensitivities you'll find large amounts of chroma noise in your images and you start losing detail. Turning on the flash won't help you much either, it is very low power and takes ages to recycle. Chances are you would not be able to focus anyway. The AF gives up completely once you dim the lights and there is no AF help light on the DP1."

    I do think that eventually a compact camera with SLR-like low noise levels at high-ISOs will come over the horizon. But the review makes it sound like the DP-1 is not that camera, and the fact that regardless of quality it doesn't even offer any ISO higher than 800 - standard now in SLRs that cost less than the Sigma - isn't encouraging.

    Am I mistaken? Are there low-light, lots-of-shadow-area, ISO 800 samples from the DP-1 available for inspection online?
  4. Go find yourself a used Fuji F31, and then be ready to overpay. Otherwise, you are still waiting.
  5. I already have a drawer full of Fujis (F10, F20, F30, F31, F50 and S100fd). They're good considering the sensor size, but I'm still curious what a manufacturer could do with an APS-C sensor (or even 4/3!) and an f2.8 lens (or faster; remember the Canon G3's f2 lens? Granted, that was a small sensor, but that was 6 years ago(!} and surely if a manufacturer put their heart in it they could accomplish something at F2.8).

    Perhaps I should look at the Live-View Olympus SLR with the pancake lens...
  6. I've recently found the formerly very reliable dpreviews reviews not to be of the caliber they used to be.
  7. The Sony R1 had an f/2.8-4 lens, using an APS-C CMOS sensor. Sales were pitiful, and camera makers took note.

    As far as the Sigma review goes, it falls neatly with the plaudits and (serious) complaints seen thus far in other reviews.


  8. Might Kendall Gelner's opinion here be a little biased? He does after all work for Sigma. Many promotional images for the DP1 and SD14 on Sigma's websites were produced by Mr. Gelner. He should have disclosed this relationship when offering his comments so we could gauge just how much salt it is indeed worth in this discussion.

    While I agree that dpreview.com reviews recently have been variable, their review of the Sigma DP1 is consistent with what I have heard elsewhere. It is slow and full of limitations for anything but daylight landscape photography. This gathering consensus of all but the most ardent Sigma/Foveon loyalists, is leading to slowing sales (they are down to virtually nothing in Japan) and used DP1's are already turning up for sale all over the internet. The market doesn't lie.

    It is a shame really, as there are many, like myself, who have been waiting for a camera like this -- a DSLR-quality sensor in a compact P&S body. One hopes that the experience of the DP1 doesn't put off other manufacturers from producing a product for this space. This type of product still has great potential. It just requires a manufacturer with better project management and execution skills, the ability to tap into extensive digital P&S design and production experience, and, perhaps, a manufacturer not wed to the Foveon sensor.
  9. Sony's got the engineers and plans somewhere in their old Konica-Minolta files, if they'll just pull them out and make it a digital camera...


    This camera in digital form I would pay DP1 prices for. The DP1, I won't.
  10. If it is true that Mr. Gelner works for Sigma, mention of that fact is indeed a very troublesome omission from his post. Some other tidbits worth mentioning:
    resolution tests that show it almost matching a 12MP bayer camera
    No. The resolution tests show it matching a 5 or maybe 6 MP Bayer DSLR, or a 7 MP Bayer compact. Specifically, DPReview reports 1500 and 1525 lines of absolute resolution. On this point, they say it "cannot really compete with a modern 10 megapixel DSLR". The extinction resolutions are values of only minor secondary interest, probably mostly artifacts of the lack of (or only weak) anti-alias filter. It's like the film fans who want to talk about film resolution past the 50% MTF limit--you might get a little more detail, but mostly you get grain and stuff--not really useful image. Granted, the color resolution is comparatively high, but for the most part the B&W resolution is what we see as fine detail.
    an 11--stop dynamic range from RAW
    Not exactly. They say 8.8 stops, but then note that if you shoot raw, aren't affected by red channel clipping, and are willing to put up with color shifts and such, you can get more--they say that the more you get isn't very useful.
    To be fair, they do give it a 9.0 for image quality, although I think that is compared to other cameras with 4.7 MP and of that small size.
    I do hope Sigma or somebody can produce a digital equivalent of a Canonet G-III QL17: big sensor, good fast lens, compact, full manual control, reasonably priced. Theoretically, the Foveon sensor appeals to me. But the DP-1 does not look like the real deal. Maximum aperture of f/4, bad noise above ISO 200, and that much money?!
  11. Lotus - I do not work for Sigma. As I have stated on this board in the past, I did take some of the sample images they used in the official DP-1 gallery - but I have not, nor I have I ever, been a Sigma employee. I arrived at the position of using a DP-1 prototype because I had enjoyed using past cameras and gave images to Sigma for use at PMA and other tradeshows. I probably should have disclosed I took some of images but I was in a hurry in my initial post and I had not yet mentioned them, and honestly If I say that in every post it would sound more like bragging than a disclaimer. Why you think someone who has a month or two more experience with the camera than most people commenting on its abilities, is a mystery to me - as is your continued bashing of Foveon cameras on this and other boards. Odd you chose not to disclose your years of Foveon bashing which seems rather more relevant to your post than any of the things I said (which I note you did not dispute, only bothering to attack myself) ...
    I post foremost and singularly as a happy user - and is not that the very experience people seek to draw on in responses to learn more?
    On the Fuji - I totally agree with Ralph. I think Fuji is indeed the best compact P&S around, for general use - I bought Fuji digital P&S cameras for my extended family. But that does not mean they come anywhere close to the clean images you get from the DP-1, even with some chroma noise at higher ISO...
    Ralph, on low light... I find the AF does work in lower light, but it is slower and it needs some point of contrast to lock on and then it will work. If those conditions can't be met though, there's always the manual focusing which thanks to the wheel and on-screen display is far more usable than any other P&S camera I've ever used (the DP-Review helpfully mentioned the MF mode along with the great magnification feature it offers making fine focus possible).
    The end review mentioned Chroma noise but really that is mostly a problem when shooting JPG, not nearly so much shooting RAW. It's not just as simple as high ISO having chroma noise though, as using ISO 800 outdoors or using flash yields pretty good images without much chroma noise, whereas incandescent and florescent lighting is harder to capture without noise (but honesty, given the spectrums in question all cameras have to work harder and have more noise).
    Some examples of this are this ISO 800 image:
    ht tp://kigiphoto.smugmug.com/gallery/4717962_rRZTG#279263932_YCiRn
    and this ISO 400 image:
    ht tp://kigiphoto.smugmug.com/gallery/4717962_rRZTG#279264151_Hi7Be
    Both of those were taken indoors, but with a fair degree of natural light coming in from windows as it was daylight outside. Here's one where the outside light is fading:
    htt p://kigiphoto.smugmug.com/gallery/4831516_hUUf5#287542558_5fSeD
    Also the noise generally only appears in underexposed regions, if you are willing to forgo some of the higher dynamic range by dropping the shadows a bit much of the noise is gone, as in this ISO 800 image:
    htt p://kigiphoto.smugmug.com/gallery/4831516_hUUf5#287530225_dJrqk
    That image was taken during the day, but deep in the bowels of the Orlando airport where no outside light reaches the poor workers beneath - so it's really only artificial lighting at work. Here you can see the kind of noise they are talking about in the darker regions of the ceiling.
    Those images all have full-size originals - hover over the image with your mouse, and in the menu that appears click "Original" (or you can also download them to examine yourself).
    On a side note, while the camera officially only has an upper limit of ISO 800, you can get a bit further by pushing the exposure and bringing it back in the RAW converter - here's a great example of that technique, that shows you can work color up to about ISO 1200 in good light, and pretty far beyond that if you are OK with a B&W conversion:
    http://www.rytterfalk.com/2008/03/01/sigma-dp1-first- impressions/
    That's another beef I have actually with a blanket statement that it can't work in low light, when there's no other P&S that can give you B&W results like the ISO 3200 stuff he's showing there.
    If you want more sample images, there are a lot of original size images on Flickr (search for DP1 I think) and also on PBase, where many people post full size originals as well. I don't think at this point there is a paucity of general examples from which to make up your mind!
    I can understand if the limits in the end are still too much for you, but if indeed you are really after image quality and don't mind small delays here and there the DP-1 is an awesome camera.
  12. I do hope Sigma or somebody can produce a digital equivalent of a Canonet G-III QL17: big sensor, good fast lens, compact, full manual control, reasonably priced. Theoretically, the Foveon sensor appeals to me. But the DP-1 does not look like the real deal. Maximum aperture of f/4, bad noise above ISO 200, and that much money?!
    I've recently found the formerly very reliable dpreviews reviews not to be of the caliber they used to be.

    they have slammed the GRD before and didn't consider it to what is is... a photographer's camera catering to the original GR with a tiny sensor...
    all things considered, smallish camera designs need to compromise something, unfortunately... My main thing is street photography and I have used everything you guys can imagine, Leicas, Canon EOS Elan/10D/5D, or a Rolleiflex on occasion and the Ricoh GRD for a year and a half.
    I also shot a Canonet QL17 for a while and not everything is candy, either. The aperture and shutter controls are cluttered around the lens and are way too finicky for serious work. The meter doesn't do more than ISO 800 (which doesn't matter to me, since I can ignore it) - while the lens is fast it, lacks in the contrast department, but I'm not bashing this sweet 30 year old cam from the yesteryears.
    The GRD was a great deal to me, since it was the only small digital camera with dedicated controls, just like a "big" camera. I've taken great shots during the past 1.5 years with it - mind you, I'm not a bokeh creeper nor a pixel peeper, even though the results count and I'm not excluding good post-processing. The GRD did good and I still have it.
    Needless to say, I anticipated the DP1 ever since it was announced and finally got my hands on it by the end of April. f4? seems to suck initially, but working the streets I want to zone focus and f4 gives me sufficient depth-of-field for focusing error to begin with. check.
    autofocus on the DP1 is yucky, maybe worse than on the Ricoh, so I don't use it with the DP1. The DP1's manual focus with its dedicated wheel beats Ricoh's snap mode and is still not on par with a manual lens (I also use a Leica, but hell I'm not spending 5k on a crippled M8) and I'm used to guessing the distance. The DP1 has a focus wheel with distance indicator. check.
    DP1's lens is ace, sharp, virtually no distortion, vignetting at f4 is negligible
    The DP1's image quality is outstanding at any given ISO in decent light - yes, I have to shoot RAW in order to achieve the best image quality and it slows the camera down. same with GRD. or shoot film. check.
    In all honesty I used the GRD w/ jpg from day 2, since the RAW writing speeds were so slow. The truth is that the GRD sensor/processing barely benefits from RAW. jpg is faster here and I'm getting great results. period. check.
    The ultimate gratitude -and grain of salt at the same time- is shooting the DP1 in RAW mode (even more so than with a Bayer sensor, believe me). the grain of salt: you'll need to process your images on your computer with Sigma Photo Pro, which is obviously perfected for the Foveon sensor, but will take it's sweet time, even on a fast computer (I'm using a 2x2.33GHz Mac), but the results will blow your mind.
    At first, you'll see the thumbnails in SPP and be surprised - low ISO images look ace, but anything above 200 will make you ask "wtf!?" saturation sucks, sharpness sucks - but once the Sigma software pulls it plugs on the RAW files, gets in gear, and works its magic with your optional manual settings... the images don't look like anything I've seen before from a pocketable digital camera ever. this thing is on par with a crop DSLR from one generation ago (say EOS 10D). let alone scans from a Canonet. check for image quality. uncheck for worflow.
    just my 2c from a street photographer's view
  13. One more thing - for those interested in more of an exploration of the DP-1 dynamic range, here's a great test with the DP-1, D-LUX and G-9 together:
    http://www.seriouscompacts.com/2008/05/dp1-shootout-pt-6-dynamic- range.html
    Also thanks for the detailed comments Markus, it's good to hear from people who have spent more time with the more advanced compacts than I have.
  14. [​IMG]
    My solution, quite close in size and shape to a Leica M, is a Panasonic L1 with the new Olympus ZD 25mm f/2.8 lens fitted:
    link to Panasonc L1 beauty shots
    The more I use it, the more I like it.
  15. I just noticed Dave's comments, which contain this:
    "No. The resolution tests show it matching a 5 or maybe 6 MP Bayer DSLR, or a 7 MP Bayer compact. Specifically, DPReview reports 1500 and 1525 lines of absolute resolution. On this point, they say it "cannot really compete with a modern 10 megapixel DSLR". The extinction resolutions are values of only minor secondary interest..."
    There are a number of corrections to make here.
    The first is that the resolution charts were all shot JPG only - and as the review itself said, you get more detail from RAW.
    The second is that my comments are based on how close the image results are to the 12MP 450D when upsampled, and on personal results from printing. Why are you spending time considering only test charts when even the review itself has perfectly fine sample images to examine?
    Also, the extinction values are key to why the Sigma images can achieve this - because the detail you see past that 1550 point is generally representative detail, that echos the actual image contents. You can see that in the test chart - the number of lines may not be exact past the single pixel level of detail, but as the review noted instead of much you see there are lines there. In real life that translates to seeing window blinds instead of a blank window, leaves on trees or blades of grass instead of green mush, and hair that looks like hair and not molded plastic.
    Furthermore in commenting on resolution charts only reaching 1550, you oddly neglected to mention the color resolution charts as well:
    http://www.dpreview .com/reviews/sigmadp1/page20.asp
    For a red line on blue background (say approximating fall leaves against the sky) the non-Foveon cameras could not match the Foveon captured resolution. If the DP-1 is supposedly only a 7MP camera how is it then that a 10MP camera like the M8 cannot even come close to DP-1 results on this chart?
    Do you shoot zebras in the real world, or do you shoot color? I shoot color subjects. And that remains true even if you do only B&W work - your subjects at time of capture are in color, you only convert later and then it helps to have had a consistent image as a base to do your conversion from.
    To better understand the true variety in detail a bayer image delivers with color subjects and why the Foveon chip can deliver more detail than you might expect, this article comparing the SD-14 (same sensor resolution as the DP-1) with the Canon 5D makes for excellent reading:
    http://www.ddisoftware.com/sd14- 5d/
    Along with this article comparing prints (in the end should not a good print be a worth goal?) from the SD-14 to the 14MP Kodak 14n:
    http://www.whisperin gcat.co.uk/scans/sd14vs14nx.htm
    Dave also said:
    "Not exactly. They say 8.8 stops, but then note that if you shoot raw, aren't affected by red channel clipping, and are willing to put up with color shifts and such, you can get more--they say that the more you get isn't very useful.
    If you look at the very end of that page:
    http://www.dpreview .com/reviews/sigmadp1/page11.asp
    You'll find they note the usable range is 10.3 EV for SPP default, and 11.5 EV for SPP best (which is where they complain you start to see more flattening than real detail). Of course since the flattening looks better than sharply clipped highlights, I find some value in that and that's why I averaged the figure to 11 instead of saying 11.5.
    Red channel clipping is also not much of a problem in real shooting, you go down perhaps -0.7 EV for very strong reds. But since you have so much range to work with that's not really an issue. A poster on another forum brought up the interesting idea of using a cyan filter to address that and allow you the full use of the range again, I may try that at some point.
  16. Godfrey - very nice image, but the Panasonic L1 is just not as pocketable as the DP-1 - with a camera overly large for a pocket, I might as well bring a DSLR.
    For those interested in DP-1 macros, here's a very nice set of examples on Flickr taken using close-up adaptors:
    An example:
    Of course, to use close up adaptors you need to bring along the adaptor and lens hood (which has the 46mm thread for the filter). But that can be kept in a different pocket and easily attached when needed...
  17. There is one place where the DP1 is getting better image quality than some DSLR. Bright sunny day landscape shots. The DP1 is a lot lighter than most DSLR so it is my number 1 candidate in taking up in the air. I took both the DP1 and my Nikon D60 up in my electric helicopter and in my opinion the DP1 is consistently coming back with better image quality than the D60.
  18. Now the D60 shot.
  19. ..
    Kendall Gelner:
    Godfrey - very nice image, but the Panasonic L1 is just not as pocketable as the DP-1 - with a camera overly large for a pocket, I might as well bring a DSLR. ..

    Never said it was ... it's just my solution to the compact camera problem. I love the size and shape of the Leica M as a compact camera, had them for many years, but I'm not yet quite willing to spring for the $8K or so necessary to go with an M8 plus two lenses.

    The trick to the Panasonic L1 fitted with the Oly 25mm lens is that it is just about the same size and weight as that M8 (body is thicker by 10mm) yet it is a full DSLR system camera that I can use with a wide range of lenses depending on circumstances. It fits handily in a very small shoulder bag (or largish belt bag) and is not heavy. The control organization and responsiveness is excellent, and it handles ISO 800 very nicely, even ISO 1600 in a pinch.

    I was very enthused by the DP-1 when it was announced, but honestly: I just got tired of waitng for it and, now that it's finally available, I find it less appealing and not worth $800 to me. It does take nice pictures when exploited for its strengths.

  20. Far more meaningful to me than test charts or comparisons of 100% crops of pictures I'll never take are the photographs and the experiences of people actually using a camera to take real-world pictures.
    Therefore, I'm very glad that Markus and Kendall, who have been out using the DP1 for picture-taking have commented here at length. And since I'm a street snapper (an enthusiast, really) who admires Markus' photos, I'm especially interested to hear what he says.
    From the dpreview conclusion, I came away with the sense that the DP1 would be a very capable camera for landscape or architectural photography in ample light -- two kinds of photography I generally don't do. Now perhaps I'll need to rethink this.
    Interesting also to read Ellis' comment about dpreview. I don't study enough reviews there to generalize. But one camera with which I'm a bit familiar, the Pentax K10D, did comparatively poorly on dpreview's image quality "scoring," resulting in that camera being downgraded to "Highly recommended (just)."
    That's disturbing, at least until you realize that the camera's lower dpreview image quality score was a byproduct of its less-than-optimal handling of straight-out-of-the-camera jpegs taken at default settings.
    While I believe it's fair, for purposes of standardization, to test and to criticize a camera like the K10D, or any camera for that matter, on the basis of how it handles straight-out-of-camera jpegs at default settings, I doubt most photographers interested in the camera would rely principally upon that output.
    And if they are relying upon that output, well, I say they shouldn't ! :)
  21. Michael - you make a good point that DPReview places a bit too much emphasis on
    JPG quality over RAW, and that can hurt camera scores. The DP-1 score was I
    think lower more because of other things added to that - but as I've said before I do
    not think sufficient weight was given to the things the DP-1 does very well, like
    manual focus which to my mind takes a lot of pressure off AF in low light where no
    P&S does very well anyway. The DP-Review review data shows the DP-1 has good
    ISO 800 images (though there again they relied too much on JPG when there is a
    huge difference in noise quality between that and RAW) so it can work as a low light
    camera if you are willing to live within the photographic parameters of the lens and
    ISO, and at times push exposure a little.
    Also one more thing of note - the DPReview resolution chart result was around 1525
    LPH. This I am now putting in question, due to two things:
    1) The link I posted above with the color resolution comparison measures the SD-14
    at 1700 LPH, and the Canon 5D about the same as DPReview rated it (meaning he
    knows how to use a resolution chart)
    2) In a much older review of the Sigma SD-10, which has about 17% lower resolution
    - the camera scored HIGHER than the DP-1 at 1550 LPH! There is simply no way
    the DP-1 does not have more detail than that older camera - it has better glass, and
    more resolution with a newer sensor. Much of the difference there may be because
    the DP-1 res chart was shot with JPG, and the SD-10 was shot with RAW (the SD-
    10 only had RAW output, no JPG).
    So I would take the resolution numbers with a grain of salt.
  22. Wow this is all too technical. Just take some pictures with one and decide whether
    you like it or not. If I had listened to dpreview I'd have been an unhappy owner of a
    G9 as my second camera. Not that it's not a great camera, but I really wanted wide
    angle in my pocket.

    I went to the shop took pictures with the cameras I was interested in and chose the
    one that produced the pictures I liked. Take your laptop! For me it happened to be a
    Ricoh GX100. dpreview confused me to bits so I used my own judgement.
  23. Sounds to me like it just needs a better autofocus, be a bit quicker on the draw, and maybe a 3x optical zoom to be a real winner.
  24. David:

    1) Better AF may be a possibility, in either firmware upgrades or future models (the
    AF speed has already improved a little in the last two firmware upgrades.

    2) It may be a little slow to turn on right now, but you can leave the lens extended
    and the LCD off to have it ready instantly. If the AF takes too long you can leave it
    in MF mode and then it's just like shooting a DSLR.

    3) 3x optical zoom would probably make the camera too big to pocket, but we'll see
    what they come up with if they do a second model.
  25. For $800 you'd expect them to throw in higher ISO, IS and/or an f/2.8 lens.

    Maybe the DP-2 will have such things.
  26. For a pocket digital, I reckon my Fujifilm F810 renders closest to my wants and otherwise I'm with Godfrey about the L1. But my solution to the larger sensor compact remains either my Rollei Prego 30 for AF, or my Olympus XA or one of the other 35mm compacts I have. Full frame, don't cost and arm and a leg and have the look I'm always trying to get from the smaller digitals.
  27. Fred - For $800, you get IQ far and away better than any other P&S - DSLR quality

    You get better dynamic range than any P&S, and better than many DSLR's.

    You get a manual focus mode that is actually usable.

    You get a really nice 28mm equiv. lens with almost no distortion and great corner to
    corner sharpness.

    And you get the ability to shoot RAW, something many compacts (even some
    serious compacts) omit.

    Are those things valueless? Why can not the incorporation of many unique aspects
    to this camera be themselves worth a premium? You act as if those things were of
    no consequence, and the camera price should be weighed on features alone when a
    great deal of time and effort went into actually improving the fundamental image
    itself and developing a good lens that would be compact and yet work with a large
    sensor. Sigma has spent design effort in areas different than anyone else, and it's
    important to recognize that when considering the price.

    As an aside, an f/2.8 lens on the camera would be about the size of your fist due to
    the physics of light and larger sensors - making it another R1, which only a handful
    of people would ever buy because it's not really compact. Quite a few people are
    buying the DP-1 exactly because it is the intersection of image quality and
    portability than nothing else has.

    I'd like to see higher ISO and IS myself, but you can as I noted push exposure to
    get effective higher ISO, and with a wide angle lens IS is not as necessary as it
    might be with other cameras.
  28. Heya Dean,

    I still have my two old favorite compact 35s ... a Rollei 35S and a Minox 35GT-E. I
    sold all the AF point and shoots ... drove me crazy ... and let go of the Leica M in
    2002. The Rollei 35S has the best lens of the pocketables and the Minox is almost
    on par while being a bit smaller and a little more automated (Aperture priority AE).

    But I hate scanning 35mm film, it's nowhere near the quality of a good DSLR
    capture, and haven't shot anything but a trivial amount of 645 in film since 2002. I
    hold onto these two cameras out of sentimentality more than anything else, just like
    I hold onto my favorite Minox and the Contax Tix that worked so well on the eve of
    the digital camera revolution. And the Pentax 645 as well...

    Ah, the good old days. But for me the L1 does a better job. :)

  29. jtk


    I canceled my order for DP-1 in favor of a K20D with two pancake lenses.

    What I got was very compact by comparison to the usual DSLR with any zoom, better than most prosumer DSLRs (at least equal to D300) in terms of resolution and noise at 3200, great autofocus and stabilization, and something roughly equivalent to a brick (or my Canon F1s) weightwise. The weight, being an issue, led me to a genuine bicycle messenger bag (brown, doesn't look like a camera bag), which also holds my Oly LS10, good Sony earphones, and whatever work paperwork or pleasure book is current at the moment...and the weight vanishes completely.

    I'll be eager to check out Canon G10 when it's introduced.
  30. Kendall, you can stop selling me the DP1. My XTi with Tamron 17-50/2.8 and Fuji F30 do everything the DP1 does and more, and they do it better. Mind you, both my cameras are also freqently accused of being "too small and fiddly" in the size department.

    Nikon did the 28Ti with a 28mm f/2.8 lens covering 24x36mm more than 10 years ago. Look it up and see why your argument on lens-size does not stand at all.

    There are far better ways to spend $800 than the DP1.
  31. Fred,

    You are ignoring the fact that a 28mm f/2.8 lens for a 24x36 mm format FILM
    camera can be made much more compact than a similar lens for a DIGITAL camera
    due to the most fundamental difference between film recording media and a digital
    sensor. To whit:

    Film is completely insensitive to the direction of light striking it. Digital sensors are
    extremely sensitive to the direction of light striking the photosites.

    To obtain the same FoV on the DP-1 sized sensor would require approximately a
    16mm lens. The design of the lens, to achieve the required near-orthogonal incident
    angle at corners and edges for best performance, would almost certainly require an
    inverted telephoto design and collimating elements at the rear of the lens, as close
    to the sensor plane as possible, in order to 'straighten' the ray trace adequately. This
    would be a relatively large lens no matter what ... make it fast (f/2.8) and it will grow
    in size and weight even more to the point where "a brick the size of your fist" is not
    too far off the mark as a description.

    I have a 14mm f/2.8 prime lens designed for the Pentax DSLR cameras. It is indeed
    a 1 lb, large lens. A DP-1 type camera might cut down on that size by some as it
    would not require the 45mm mount register consideration and there is no swinging
    mirror in the way, but by how much is questionable.

  32. Good thread from some serious folks. I do wish digital photography would mature to where we get cameras instead of rocket ships-let the manufacturers produce some compact, quiet, fluid picture-taking machines where the emphasis is on image and lens quality. A limited zoom range or single focal length is fine. I think the market is there.
  33. I agree, David. A good conversation on the subject and I think further proof that a
    market is there. Sigma sees that market, too; Serious camera people (pros and
    enthusiasts) currently using DSLRs who would like a pocketable alternative--a
    serious compact camera.

    This is what the DP1 is trying to do. It's competing for a niche in the compact
    camera arena. Say what you will about the bland state of current compact cameras,
    but I for one find it amazing what these tiny little things can do in such a small form
    factor. Anti-shake? Face recognition? 1.7 second start-up time? Minute shutter lag?
    Hi-res LCD screens? 28mm-180mm zooms with decent quality and distortion control?
    It's remarkable. Even more amazing, we've come to expect these little miracles in
    each new camera.

    So you can't just go blundering blindly into this arena. This will be considered a
    compact camera first. A serious camera second. You have to acknowledge what
    people--even enthusiasts and professionals--expect from a compact camera. And
    what they will be willing to concede. Unfortunately, it looks like Sigma flipped the priorities.

    Of course, the list will vary wildly for everyone. But in terms of expectations, I bet
    the things on both the "layman" and professional lists for requirements in a compact camera
    might be; quick start-up, quick
    buffer, quick shutter lag, good image quality and quick auto-focus. I was actually in
    a Best Buy last weekend looking at compact cameras. Apart from how cool the
    camera looked, these were the things I heard most often from people asking clerks
    for help (I won't even go into the uneducated responses they received). Sure, some
    enthusiasts will boast about not caring about shutter lag or time between shots if it
    means enhanced image quality. I think that's nuts. This is a compact camera! We
    should have both!

    The DP1, according to dpreview, is poor in 4 of 5 of these categories. Regardless of
    how you might feel about their reviews, that's not good. Yes, as an enthusiast I
    want a sharp, special lens. I want as fast a lens as I can get, but I understand the
    limits that would place on the form, so I'll concede that if I have to. I want exceptional image
    quality, full manual
    control, wide dynamic range, and a sharp, hi-res LCD screen so I can tell if I got the
    shot. I want the camera ready when I take it out, and I want negligible shutter lag. I want
    acceptable, not stellar low-light capability. Frankly, though I don't use it
    a lot, I want a decent flash when I need it. If this camera will be with me all the time,
    it has to take snap shots as well as contemplative scenics and fussy macros. And it
    has to be small enough to fit in my pocket. Sure that's a tall order. But I've been
    spoiled to expect it. And I've a sneaking suspicion it can and will be done.

    The DP1 is an exciting step in the right direction. But for the same price as a low to
    mid-level DSLR, I expect a camera with faster performance and low light capability
    than this. For $300-400, I would be more accepting of the DP1's flaws. But for $800,
    you've got to be kidding. I don't think sluggish sales of this camera is an indication
    of a lack of a market, I think it's an indication of a missed mark. The crying shame?
    I haven't even shot this camera! I'd love to, but no brick and mortar carries the
    thing! Same goes for the Ricohs! Of course you have disappointing sales! I can't
    find your cameras!

    So I'm waiting for a camera that does what a compact camera is supposed to do
    first, then strips away all the silly features and takes great images. In a perfect world, I'd like to
    see the ones who are pioneering this niche benefit from it (Ricoh and Sigma), but it looks as if
    they've left the door open for the big boys.
  34. Had the DP1 for a little over a week and i have to say that the image quality is amazing. Sure its a little slow but that doesnt bother me. Ive attatched an image taken in relatively low light in a jpeg and this is straight from the camera.
  35. I can understand why some nock the DP1. I thought I made a mistake buying it after using it off and on for a few months, until I fully understood how to use it. Now it's the only camera I want to use. I can hardly stand to use my D300 or any of my other cameras. The pictures are so film like and the camera lets you totally keep your mind on the subject. For me it's the fastest, quietest, sharpest, lightest package you can get. I bought the D300 and a D60 after the DP1 for when I need big glass and because of all the lenses I have. Been using the Sigma for about a year. The others camera just sit. I use it low light conditions all the time without a flash at 3000iso equvilant. I agree the auto focus is not the fastest (but it have a fantastic manual focus) and between shots are a bit slow, but it's the best camera I have, and I have alot of of cameras. It does not do alot of tricks but it is a shooters camera. This is a camera you can and want to live with. If they where to discontinue this camera, I would likley run out and buy 3 or 4 more.
  36. I would like to ask Kendall Gellner's opinion about the Sigma Foveon sensor, as I am very impressed by it's sharpness and so forth, but I REALLY need a sensor with MORE PIXELS. Regardless of how well the lens/sensor definition combination is, surely a bigger sensor with more pixels will produce a more detailed image?
    I see this with all the reviews I have watched over the years - the more pixels, the more image can be used to produce a finer detailed photo. Similarly, with a film camera, the finer the grain of a film, (I guess more image-forming smaller grains), then the larger the enlargement you can produce from it.
    I don't mind saving up for a more expensive camera, but as I would like to produce pictures about 5 feet wide, it is no use me using a sensor with a small number of pixels on it, but I need to have lots of detail from many pixels. Now, correct me if I am wrong, but it seems that Sigma are fixated with using the same number of pixels, but just improving processing and results from that same number. This is fine, and I love the subtle colours and nice sharpness, but I need to get more of those pixels, so I can print it out bigger.
    Would you know if Sigma are working on making bigger sensors at all? - you seem to know a lot about the camera and sensors, so I thought I would ask. I am fascinated to find out that the camera can do well with low light levels, as that was one of the criticisms levelled at the Foveon sensor. And yet, bigger sensors are around - I understand from a report I read yesterday about the Hubble Telescope that it has now got a gigapixel sensor - and ok, it's government - financed (read 'you and me' there), but if they can make something that big, and panasonic can now put 12 megapix on a tiny phone sensor, why the heck can't Sigma move away to something like 15 megapixels, with three layers at each sensor - I know it equates to 45 megapixels of actual sensitive pixel, but as each site really only seems to produce one (very accurate) pixel, well, we are limited to the size of a finely detailed print.
    So, what Kendall, could you let me know about Sigma's plans. I tried to contact them about the matter, but they seem to not want to talk to me - so I am sticking to 645 film for any big shots, which is expensive and a shame, as the camera is big to lug round with me, so I don't take so many photos as I would like, and the cost is not good either.
    Hope you may be able to enlighten me, and thanks for your detailed responses above to other's comments

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