• Review on the Sigma DP2 Quattro



    Since everyone is just clamoring for an update on this, well, here it be.

    The good:
    1) Low ISO image quality is outstanding. If you are taking pictures of things that aren't just bright areas and dark areas, this is the best camera I've ever used. Really. Sharp and solid all the way across the field of view with great contrast. I pretty much always bump the contrast on shots at least a little bit but with this I left it alone.
    2) Does not transmit ebola to those who use it.

    The bad:
    1. The screen is abysmal. It has the shiniest coating on the back of anything I've ever used. In pretty much any sunlight you are blind. Further if you can see it the quality is terrible. I set up some shots off of a tripod and at 8X magnification the view was so blocky it was damn near impossible to make sure you were in focus.
    2. This is the slowest camera I have ever used. My 10 year old Nikon point and shoot is faster. You have to wait 5 seconds or so after taking the shot to see the histogram. I tried different cards but stuck with the one they supplied. 50 meg RAWs are annoying if you have no ram. And that is important because...
    3. For as good as the sensor is in a lot of situations, it is certainly not up to grade on dynamic range. In the B&W landscape below I had to bring up some of the trees about 1.5 stops and it was already starting block up. Now, the noise shown is not terrible and would look fine printed but this wasn't a huge bump in exposure. I would expect better when I bumped 4 stops on my A7R. And this leads to a problem because...
    4. The metering is just damn odd. It seems to really expose to the right to the point that I was routinely dialing in minus a stop of exposure compensation to keep the highlights from blowing. And because the dynamic range is so limited the blacks then would be gone. And when it is showing you the highlights are blown, they are really blown. Dialing them down in LR is not possible.
    5. As everyone expects, the ergonomics are just odd. It is balanced weirdly in your hand and is all sharp corners.
    6. High ISOs start at about 800 for this. 3200 is unusable. 1600 works in B&W and thinking you are Moriyama.

    The ugly:
    1. All of the above might be livable if it didn't require the use of their software to decode the RAWs. It will take about 30 seconds to a minute for each picture to be converted to a TIFF on an i7 processor computer. That is assuming the software works on your computer as it didn't on two of mine. This last point is so bad that I will make it known that I will point and laugh at you if you purchase one of these.

    If I can deal with it I'll put up a couple full size shots on Flickr. That sensor can be good in a very limited way but it is just not worth it.

    C/N Weird for the sake of being weird, the required software to undo the weirdness kills it.

    1.
    And God Blesses the Winemakers by Andy Henry Photo, on Flickr

    2.
    Things Left by Andy Henry Photo, on Flickr

    3.
    Spot Lights by Andy Henry Photo, on Flickr
    This article was originally published in forum thread: WTF Sigma? DP2 Quattro: started by jacobsen1 View original post
    Comments 42 Comments
    1. jacobsen1's Avatar
      It actually looks pretty thin in this pic:


      oh, it's on camera size:
      http://camerasize.com/compact/#466.388,532,478,wa,f


      so it's not massive but it is wider than a typical small camera. It's much shorted and thinner FWIW. I kinda do like the "thumb hook" idea, but yeah, just make the damn thing 1~2" less wide and it might have been amazing.
    1. Idjiit's Avatar
      Yeah, it's the width that kills it. It's totally senseless. Do the funky grip and put a super high capacity battery in it - great. But at least make it well proportioned. Silly.
    1. Andy's Avatar
      If'n you are looking to try one for free, Sigma is running an odd deal. I signed up. I really want to see what that sensor type is like.
    1. jacobsen1's Avatar
      tempting but $999 is more than a a6000 even if it's only temporary?
    1. Andy's Avatar
      From looking at samples, the a6000 isn't anywhere near the same class as the Sigma. A D800E is closer.

      I'm not really interested in any camera without a viewfinder but I've wanted to play with this sensor setup.
    1. Andy's Avatar
      I got this odd thing yesterday. It is stupidly proportioned. Stupidly. The SD card cover is a rubber flap like other cameras have over USB ports. This will fail with how many times you have to pop the card. I tried 3 different windows computers yesterday trying to look at the RAW files, all a no go. The software is somewhat working on my macbook pro. It is the slowest, crappiest piece of software imaginable but you must use it as nobody decodes the RAWs yet if ever.

      That said, the JPGs look pretty damn incredible. I'll have more to say after this weekend. I'm headed to the fingerlakes and it is coming along.
    1. Andy's Avatar
      Since everyone is just clamoring for an update on this, well, here it be.

      I'm an idiot. I repacked all of my camera stuff just before we left for the trip and promptly left everything that wasn't the Sigma at home. So it got a fair amount of use.

      The good:
      1) Low ISO image quality is outstanding. If you are taking pictures of things that aren't just bright areas and dark areas, this is the best camera I've ever used. Really. Sharp and solid all the way across the field of view with great contrast. I pretty much always bump the contrast on shots at least a little bit but with this I left it alone.
      2) Does not transmit ebola to those who use it.

      The bad:
      1. The screen is abysmal. It has the shiniest coating on the back of anything I've ever used. In pretty much any sunlight you are blind. Further if you can see it the quality is terrible. I set up some shots off of a tripod and at 8X magnification the view was so blocky it was damn near impossible to make sure you were in focus.
      2. This is the slowest camera I have ever used. My 10 year old Nikon point and shoot is faster. You have to wait 5 seconds or so after taking the shot to see the histogram. I tried different cards but stuck with the one they supplied. 50 meg RAWs are annoying if you have no ram. And that is important because...
      3. For as good as the sensor is in a lot of situations, it is certainly not up to grade on dynamic range. In the B&W landscape below I had to bring up some of the trees about 1.5 stops and it was already starting block up. Now, the noise shown is not terrible and would look fine printed but this wasn't a huge bump in exposure. I would expect better when I bumped 4 stops on my A7R. And this leads to a problem because...
      4. The metering is just damn odd. It seems to really expose to the right to the point that I was routinely dialing in minus a stop of exposure compensation to keep the highlights from blowing. And because the dynamic range is so limited the blacks then would be gone. And when it is showing you the highlights are blown, they are really blown. Dialing them down in LR is not possible.
      5. As everyone expects, the ergonomics are just odd. It is balanced weirdly in your hand and is all sharp corners.
      6. High ISOs start at about 800 for this. 3200 is unusable. 1600 works in B&W and thinking you are Moriyama.

      The ugly:
      1. All of the above might be livable if it didn't require the use of their software to decode the RAWs. It will take about 30 seconds to a minute for each picture to be converted to a TIFF on an i7 processor computer. That is assuming the software works on your computer as it didn't on two of mine. This last point is so bad that I will make it known that I will point and laugh at you if you purchase one of these.

      If I can deal with it I'll put up a couple full size shots on Flickr. That sensor can be good in a very limited way but it is just not worth it.

      C/N Weird for the sake of being weird, the required software to undo the weirdness kills it.

      1.
      And God Blesses the Winemakers by Andy Henry Photo, on Flickr

      2.
      Things Left by Andy Henry Photo, on Flickr

      3.
      Spot Lights by Andy Henry Photo, on Flickr
    1. frigidlight's Avatar
      Posted this as a review on the front page Andy, hopefully you're cool with that?
    1. jacobsen1's Avatar
    1. frigidlight's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by jacobsen1 View Post


      When you gave me permissions to post to the front page I figured that was tacit blanket approval and that you trusted my judgement.
    1. Andy's Avatar
      Absolutely cool with that... even though a pretty negative review.

      Two more things:
      1. I really think that if they made this sensor full frame and just bumped the mpix slightly this could be a pretty good SLR choice. The extra area and larger site size should lower the noise and the results are so sharp you really don't need as many pixels as you do with a bayer pattern sensor. Really, the results of the camera on fairly evenly lit shots (like that of the window) are beautiful no matter how much you blow them up.
      2. I went out last night for a walk in the park with my sony. I don't think I've been so overjoyed using a camera in such a long time. When you press the button it goes click and shows you what you did!
    1. rkane's Avatar
      Nice review Andy. Is that the A7s you went out with and are happy with?
    1. Markitos's Avatar
      Love that first shot, but is that vertical banding I see in the middle of the sky????
    1. Andy's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by rkane View Post
      Nice review Andy. Is that the A7s you went out with and are happy with?
      Nah, just the A7R with my ZM 25mm f/2.8 which is pretty well perpetually attached. It could be an m-mount camera for how I use it these days. It is funny, I noticed that I have kept my three cameras setup for individual tasks now. The Xpro1 is just with my macro for work stuff, the A7R is m-mount for walking around fun stuff, and the X100S is always packed with my flash stuff.

      Quote Originally Posted by Markitos View Post
      Love that first shot, but is that vertical banding I see in the middle of the sky????
      I don't know. I'll look at the full res when I get home. There was a ton of haze hence the sunlight trails. I really didn't notice any banding with this sensor when I was playing with it at higher ISOs. The noise was pretty well just luminance and wasn't that objectionable. It is just that it happens so low.
    1. rkane's Avatar
      OOOPs I meant a7r
    1. Andy's Avatar
      Now they have a 28mm effective version that comes with an optional goiter! Dear ****ing god. At some point I'm thinking this has mutated into some performance art piece.

    1. frigidlight's Avatar
      It took me a seriously long time to figure out exactly what I was looking at and how to hold it.
    1. rkane's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by frigidlight View Post
      It took me a seriously long time to figure out exactly what I was looking at and how to hold it.
      That!

      When I read "Optional Diopter" I got it.
    1. tbert's Avatar
      Well, maybe if Sigma really wants to be that different from everybody else, it should change its name to Delta. Just a thought.
    1. ppower's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by Andy View Post
      Now they have a 28mm effective version that comes with an optional goiter! Dear ****ing god. At some point I'm thinking this has mutated into some performance art piece.
      So true. It's got a Hoodman LCD loupe that permanently mounts to it. Speaking of www.HoodmanUSA.com I'm pretty sure their mascot guy is the split off from the Ambiguously Gay Duo cause you just know they started out as a threesome. How can a company with such great lenses so completely miss the mark with their cameras?
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