Sigma DP2

Last update (14 December’09):
– Review by PCAdvisor

Sigma DP2 is a point-and-shoot digital camera features a 14 megapixel FOVEON X3 direct image sensor (2,652 × 1,768 × 3 layers) as used in the Sigma SD14 digital SLR. The size of the image sensor used in the DP2 camera is 20.7mm x 13.8mm. It is approximately seven to twelve times larger than the 1/1.8inch to 1/2.5inch image sensors used in ordinary compact digital cameras.
[Download Sigma DP2 brochure]

Overall Rating: N/A | Check Availability

The camera also features “TRUE II” image processing engine, 24.2mm F2.8 lens, RAW format recording, Hot Shoe, Manual Focus and a 2.5″ TFT Color LCD Monitor. The camera has compact dimensions of 113.3mm/4.5in (W) x 59.5mm/2.3in (H) x 54.6mm/2.1in (D).

Expert Reviews

Sigma DP2 Reviews

PCReview reviews the Sigma DP2 and writes;
“The Sigma DP2 is one of a kind and produces strong at images with shallow depth of field. Is it for you? Well, consider this: the Sigma DP2 is pricey, has a confusing menu system, freezes up on occasion, has an unresponsive autofocus and a stiff shutter release button. Oh, and video capture is at a low resolution. But as strange as it is, we like the Sigma DP2.”
Rating: ★★★☆☆

Shutterbug reviews the Sigma DP2 and writes;
“So yes, you can get a compact camera with a lot more features and a lot fewer foibles for a lot less money than the Sigma DP2 (street price: $649), but there’s nothing quite like it. To those who love it, it’s a classic case of “less is more,” and that’s why it’s destined to have a small but devoted following.”
Rating: N/A

PopPhoto reviews the Sigma DP2 and writes;
“In noise control, the DP2 outshines its class. Its Extremely Low noise at ISO 50 and 100 is almost unheard of in a compact. At higher sensitivities, it did get noisy: Pictures at ISO 1600 are usable, if grainy; at ISO 3200, we’d advise converting to black-and-white..”
Rating: N/A

TechRadar reviews the Sigma DP2 and writes;
“The autofocus system is rather less impressive. It’s not that quick, and it’s pretty noisy, too. The manual focus dial makes up for it, though. It’s quick to use and the distance markings are clear.”
Rating: ★★★½☆

NeutralDay reviews the Sigma DP2 and writes;
“This is not a camera for beginners, for the photographer who prefers more dynamic subjects, or for those on a tight budget. If however, you are a photographer who places a premium on image quality and prefers full creative control over his or her camera, all in a tidy compact form, I highly recommend the Sigma DP2.”
Rating: ★★★★☆

Pocket-Lint reviews the Sigma DP2 and writes;
“we wouldn’t recommend anyone bought a Sigma DP2 as their one and only digital camera; it works best when viewed as a compact back-up to an existing DSLR, or an experimental supplement to a more fully-featured, user-friendly digital compact.”
Rating: ★★★☆☆

PhotographyBlog reviews the Sigma DP2 and writes;
“Chromatic aberrations like purple and green-fringing, typically a problem in this class of camera, are simply non-existent on the DP2, testament to the excellent prime lens, which is also the reason for the almost complete lack of pincushion or barrel distortion, and the maximum aperture of f/2.8 is a very welcome improvement on the DP1”
Rating: ★★★☆☆

PDN reviews the Sigma DP2 and writes;
“I’m afraid the DP2 has too many liabilities for me to recommend it. If you’re still interested in finding out what all the fuss is about with this technology, seek out the lower-priced, wider-angled Sigma DP1 instead.”
Rating: N/A

PCmag reviews the Sigma DP2 and writes;
“Overall, outside the lab, I saw excellent results—the experience of capturing D-SLR quality images without lugging around a bulky D-SLR was a pleasure. Despite low sharpness scores in the photography lab, images shot outdoors in good lighting conditions looked crisp and brilliant. The colors created by the Foveon X3 processor didn’t seem to produce anything that could not be replicated by a pricier Canon T1i or Nikon D5000, but definitely rivaled them (below ISO 1600)”
Rating: ★★★☆☆

CNET reviews the Sigma DP2 and writes;
“The good: Excellent characteristics for shooting in black and white; compact; nice manual controls. The bad: Slow AF system; short battery life; stiff shutter button; some interface annoyances; occasional lockups; poor white balance; overly blue LCD screen; poor video capture.
The bottom line: The Sigma DP2 doesn’t really live up to the promise of its Foveon sensor, but it does excel for shooting in black and white photos.”

Rating: ★★★☆☆ reviews the Sigma DP2 and writes;
“The Sigma DP2 is a camera for the cognoscenti, not beginners. It’s not without its downsides, but it offers a fantastic build, great design, excellent manual controls, and a level of clarity that belies its apparently modest resolution, thanks to its Foveon X3 sensor”
Rating: ★★★★☆

PCWorld reviews the Sigma DP2 and writes;
“The cameras’ shadow detail, dynamic range, and color accuracy are all top notch, but bump the ISO up to 800 and the images start to get overly noisy. The amount of noise isn’t terrible, but it’s not up to par with SLRs, most of which can shoot at ISO 800 and produce very clean files. “
Rating: ★★★½☆

MacWorld reviews the Sigma DP2 and writes;
“The Sigma DP1 and DP2 produce the most outstanding low ISO (100 to 400) images of any compact camera I have ever used. Their image quality is truly on the same scale as entry-level SLRs. You get sharp, accurate colors, wonderful tonality, and the ability to isolate your subject with shallow depth of field—all in a package that resembles a rangefinder and slips into a jacket pocket when turned off. “
Rating: ★★★½☆

NeutralDay compares the Sigma DP2 to Olympus E-620 and writes;
“it’s safe to say that it does take pictures just as good (or very nearly so) as an even more expensive DSLR camera.”

TrustedReviews reviews the Sigma DP2 and writes;
“While images at ISO 1600 may be usable in some instances, I for one would not want to shoot above ISO 800, unless it was absolutely necessary, and ideally, I wouldn’t want to stray above ISO 400…. you really do have to want it, and know how to use it to get the best from it. For most people, I suspect, that it comes as too a high a price to pay. ”
Rating: ★★★½☆

Gizmodo reviews the Sigma DP2 and writes;
“As much as I’d like to say it’s a great camera for photographically inclined people to stash somewhere for certain situations, it’s too damn expensive. It costs around $650 street price; for that money you can probably get a clearance-model DSLR model these days, maybe even with a kit lens..”
Rating: N/A

TOP reviews the Sigma DP2 and writes;
“After using the DP2 daily for over a week I found it to be a sluggish, noisy, unreliable, and generally charmless device which I ultimately decided to return for a refund. That’s the bottom line of my opinion.”
Rating: N/A reviews the Sigma DP2 and writes;
“Low-light performance was only marginally better than we found with the DP1, with a severe loss of colour in long exposures that was reflected in both JPEG and raw files. Noise and colour shifts became increasingly obvious from ISO 400”
Rating: ★★★★☆

User Opinions

Little camera great image by Ken | Rating: ★★★★★
“After using this camera for a few days I really had a difficult time rating the Sigma DP2 with a 4 star or 5 star rating. Yes, the camera is slow to focus in dim light and the user interface is difficult and convoluted. However, the image quality it produces is superb! When all thing are considered, the pluses far out weight the negatives. The camera is capable of producing a technically excellent image, the rest is up to the photographer.”

More user opinions | Write your opinion


Sigma DP2 Samples

Sigma DP2 Sample Photos @ PhotographyBlog
Sigma DP2 Sample Photos @ CNET
Sigma DP2 VS Olympus E-620 Sample Photos
Sigma DP2 Sample Photos @ TrustedReviews


Sigma DP2 User Manual (PDF)

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Sigma DP2 Press Release

The Sigma Corporation (COO: Kazuto Yamaki) is pleased to announce the new Sigma DP2 compact digital camera featuring a 14 megapixel FOVEON X3 direct image sensor (2,652 × 1,768 × 3 layers) as used in the Sigma SD14 digital SLR.

Sigma introduced the DP1 with a direct image sensor as used in the Sigma SD14 digital SLR to the market in March 2008 as a “unique, groundbreaking, compact digital camera with all the power of a digital SLR”. The multi award winning DP1 has established strong support from a wide range of photographers both amateur and professional.

Building on this success, the DP2 is equipped with a 24.2mm F2.8 lens, equivalent to 41mm on a 35mm SLR camera, for increasing creative possibilities and superior image quality, improving handling and performance

Main features

SLR-sized image sensor
The size of the image sensor used in the DP2 camera is 20.7mm x 13.8mm. It is approximately seven to twelve times larger than the 1/1.8inch to 1/2.5inch image sensors used in ordinary compact digital cameras.

The pixel size of the image sensor is 7.8μm. The large photodiodes deployed at a large pixel pitch capture pure, rich light efficiently and give the DP2 its high resolution and richly-graduated tones.

Full-color image sensor
The DP2 uses the same 14 megapixel (2,652×1,768×3 layers) direct image sensor as the SD14 and DP1.
Utilizing the special features of silicon, which is penetrated to different depths by different wavelengths of light, this direct image sensor succeeds in full-color capture with the full RGB in a single-pixel location.

Since the moiré is not generated, use of a low-pass filter is not needed because full information of light and color can be captured with three-dimensional feeling.

“TRUE II” image processing engine
The DP2 incorporates “TRUE II” which is an improved version of “TRUE” (Three-layer Responsive Ultimate Engine), the world’s first image processing engine suited for the three silicon embedded layer direct image sensor.

The unique image-processing algorithm, which has been developed throughout the development of the SD series digital SLR cameras and DP1, is incorporated into “TRUE II”.

24.2mm F2.8 lens designed exclusively for the DP2
The DP2 is equipped with a 24.2mm F2.8 lens, equivalent to 41mm on a 35mm SLR camera, which has been designed exclusively for DP2. Two molded glass aspherical lenses provide superior image quality. The Super Multi Layer Coating reduces flare and ghosting. This lens and SLR-sized image sensor combination provides natural shallow depth-of-field and attractive bokeh effect.

RAW format recording
The DP2 includes a RAW recording mode for retaining full image capture detail of the utmost quality plus a JPEG recording format for convenience. The RAW data format uses lossless compression for more compact, yet uncompromised, data files. The RAW data format of the DP2 keeps brightness and color data in a 1:1 ratio without relying on interpolation. Each pixel location captures the full color of RGB data which, when processed in Sigma Photo Pro, will preserve the balance of the natural data for the best photos with the best image quality.

Exclusive Sigma Photo Pro Software (Supplied with the DP2)
The DP2 comes complete with SIGMA Photo Pro software, a RAW image developer that converts all RAW data quickly and easily. Adjustments can be made in three separate modes. The X3F Mode stores the original settings of the image at the point of capture. In the Auto Adjustment Mode, the software analyzes and automatically makes adjustments to the RAW data. The Custom Mode allows the photographer to make individual adjustments. The photographer can make changes easily and quickly by simply adjusting the slider controls within the software.

Compact and lightweight body
The DP2 has compact dimensions of 113.3mm/4.5in (W) x 59.5mm/2.3in (H) x 54.6mm/2.1in (D). Its compact body and lightweight design makes it easy to carry everywhere.

Three metering modes and four exposure modes
The DP2 has three metering modes, Evaluative Metering, Center Weighted Average Metering and Spot Metering. It is also possible to select the exposure mode from Program AE, Shutter Priority AE, Aperture Priority AE or Manual.
Exposure compensation can be set in 1/3 stop increments from +3.0 to -3.0 stops and an auto bracketing function is also available.

Pop up (manual) built-in flash
The DP2 is equipped with a pop up (manual) built-in flash. It is possible to use Normal Flash, Red-Eye Reduction Flash and Slow Synchro Mode. It also features flash exposure compensation in 1/3 stops increments.

Manual Focus
Manual Focus is available for use when autofocus or focus lock is not effective. It is also possible to magnify the display to ensure precise focusing.

Large 2.5” TFT Color LCD Monitor
The DP2 camera features large 2.5 inch TFT color LCD monitor. The LCD monitor displays 100% of the images, allowing the photographer to easily and accurately confirm the image compensation.

Hot Shoe
The DP2 camera is equipped with a hot shoe, allowing use of the dedicated external flashgun EF-140 DG (optional) as well as Sigma electronic flashguns for SD series such as EF-500 DG and EF-530 DG*. This hot shoe is also used to attach high performance view finder VF-21 (optional).

Dedicated lens hood (HA-21) **
It is possible to attach the dedicated lens hood to block out extraneous light. It also functions as an adapter,
designed to accept the 46mm Close-up Lens and 46mm filters.

*EF-500 DG and EF-530 DG flashgun series can be used in manual mode only.
**A hood adapter HA-21 is sold separately.

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5 Responses to “Sigma DP2”

  1. richmond says:

    It is truly disappointing that in all the time that has elapsed since the first announcement of the Sigma DP1 and its subsequent release, and now the eminent release of the DP2 that Sigma seems to have not listened to its customers, and has skimped on everything except image quality. I recently bought the DP1 and love its image quality. But even I will admit that the design of it gives the impression that more thought is given to design of a bar of soap than was given this camera. It is light and sturdy, but in ergonomics it gets a zero. I also recently bought the Richard Franiec’s grip for the DP1 and find it makes an enormous difference in the feel and holdability of the camera. Why didn’t the Sigma designers think of that? Why settle for a 230,000 pixel 2.5″ display when there is no viewfinder? Why limit the sensor to 2640 x 1760? Why does the camera groan when the lens extends? Why is the autofocusing so slow? It seems as if most of these inadequacies have traveled to the DP2. Too bad. It could have been awesome.

  2. gil says:

    i bought the DP1 after reading a gushing review about it in either PDN or Amer. Photo. and it was expensive–maybe about $800. I was really disappointed with the autofocus. then i read a ny times review and i still remember that the reviewer said something like, “1998 is calling, it wants its camera back.” i’ve basically shelved it.
    So i’m sorry to read the earlier reviewer’s comments that the slow-poke focus has migrated to the upgrade.

  3. Foveon Love says:

    But oh my, the images….I love the DP2

  4. herb says:

    My Yashica twin lens camera was not fast, had no light meter, had a super soft distorted lens, the shutter would stick– yet it was the best camera ever as I learned about light and composition and photography in general. I get the feeling this camera is aimed at those of us who want to take pictures with great IQ, not those who want super fast autofocus and bells and whistles.

  5. Luis Bonilla says:

    I don’t understand all the negative comments. The pictures this camera produces are awesome! It’s not supposed to be a point and shoot. It’s a tool that’s worth the effort to get that great shot. If you want all the bells and whistles, get a point ant shoot camera. This is for someone who can appreciate SLR quality imaging in a pocketable size. Nothing in this size can touch the image quality. Build quality is very good. The camera is very easy to use once you become accustomed to the controls. Autofocus is slow, but once locked, it’s very accurate.

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