Sigma dp Quattro will run $1K, summer 2014 ship

/ Updated: February 10, 2014 9:31 AM PST

Sigma

Editors' note, June 12, 2014: The dp2 Quattro was announced in February. We've updated the story with pricing and availability, plus a clarification of how the sensor works.

While the company has been leading the band recently with its high-quality, reasonably priced new lenses, Sigma's camera division has always marched to its own drummer. Since acquiring the Foveon sensor technology, it has released a series of Foveon-based dSLRs and compacts that tended to disappoint on several fronts, such as performance. The latest generation of compacts, dubbed "Quattro" for the odd architecture of the new version of the Foveon X3 sensor, bear a striking design otherwise seem surprisingly similar to their predecessors. They'll be available in early August 2014 for $999 USD, the same manufacturer price as their predecessors.

The new sensor has quadrupled the top layer of blue-wavelength sensitive photodiodes to create a luminance channel (which is used to render the image), and which is then combined with the color data to form the full-color render. Magic Foveon marketing math -- in which the company defines a "pixel" as a single color element rather than an actual picture element -- turns that into a 29-megapixel sensor (with "39 megapixel-equivalent ultrahigh resolution"), though the raw files are 20 megapixels and the JPEGs are 25MP. I'm calling it a 20MP color sensor, since there's only 20 megapixels' worth of picture elements, but if the camera does fully exploit the full monochrome layer for black and white, the monochrome resolution may be higher. As always with the Foveon sensors, my stance is that they might outperform sensors with similar resolutions (resolvability), but that doesn't mean they can claim to have a higher resolution; "resolution" is a spec, "resolvability" is a measurement result.

Sigma

Sigma has always released its compacts in trios: same camera, different prime lenses. The Quattro generation retains this practice, with dp1, dp2, and dp3 models equipped with 28mm, 45mm, and 75mm-equivalent f2.8 lenses. As far as I can tell from the provided specs, the innards of the camera, with the exception of the new sensor and updated TRUE III (Three-layer Responsive Ultimate Engine) image processing -- no details there, either -- everything else is the same. Even the lens specs look the same.

Its new design is striking but odd. It's extremely elongated, which gives it a bigger grip, but given that it has the same size LCD as before I can only surmise that either the new battery pack is bigger and can handle more than the pitiful 97-shot rating of the Merrill generation or that the extra data requires a lot more silicon for processing. Or both.

Here's how they compare with some of the higher-end compacts:

Fujifilm X100S Nikon Coolpix A Sigma dp1/
dp2/
dp3
Merrill
Sigma dp1/
dp2/
dp3
Quattro
Sony Cyber- shot DSC- RX1
Sensor (effective resolution) 16.3MP X-Trans CMOS II 16.2MP CMOS 15.4MP Foveon X3
12 bits
20MP Foveon X3
n/a
24.3MP Exmor CMOS
23.6 x
15.8 mm
23.6 x
15.7 mm
23.5 x
15.7 mm
23.6 x
15.7 mm
35.8 x
23.9 mm
Sensitivity range ISO 100 (exp)/200 - ISO 6400/ 25600 (exp) ISO 100 - ISO 3200/ 25600 (exp) ISO 100 - ISO 6400 ISO 100 - ISO 6400 ISO 50 (exp) / ISO 100 - ISO 51200 / ISO 102400 (exp, via multishot NR)
Lens
(35mm-equivalent)
35mm
f2
28mm
f2.8
28mm/
45mm/
75mm
f2.8
28mm/
45mm/
75mm
f2.8
35mm
f2
Closest focus (inches) 3.9 4 7.9/11/8.9 7.9/11/8.9 7.9
Continuous shooting 6fps
31 JPEG/ n/a raw
(burst only available with focus and exposure fixed at first frame)
4fps
n/a
4fps
7 JPEG/7 raw
n/a 2.5fps
(5 fps with fixed exposure)
n/a
Viewfinder Hybrid
Reverse Galilean
90 percent coverage
EVF
0.48-inch/ 2,360,000 dots
100 percent coverage
Optional
Reverse Galilean
($449.96)
Optional
Reverse Galilean
($160)
None Optional
Reverse Galilean
Zeiss
n/a
($599.99)
EVF
Tilting OLED
0.5-inch/ 2,359,000 dots
100 percent coverage
($404.99)
Autofocus n/a
Contrast AF
n/a
Contrast AF
9-area contrast AF 9-area contrast AF 25-area contrast AF
Metering 256 zones n/a n/a n/a n/a
Shutter 20 - 1/4,000 sec; bulb to 60 minutes 30 - 1/2000 sec; bulb 30 - 1/2000 sec 30 - 1/2000 sec 30 - 1/2000 sec; bulb
Flash Yes Yes No No Yes
Hot shoe Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
LCD 2.8-inch fixed
460,000 dots
3-inch fixed
921,600 dots
3-inch fixed
920,000 dots
3-inch fixed
920,000 dots
3-inch fixed
921,600 dots
(plus another set of white dots for brightness)
Image stabilization None None None None Electronic (movie only)
Video
(best quality)
1080/60p/ 30p
H.264 QuickTime MOV
Stereo
1080/30p/ 25p/24p
H.264 QuickTime MOV
Stereo
VGA Motion JPEG AVI n/a AVCHD: 1080/60p/ 50p @ 28Mbps; 1080/60i/ 50i @ 24, 17Mbps; 1080/24p/ 25p @ 24, 17Mbps
stereo
Manual iris and shutter in video Iris only n/a No n/a Yes
Optical zoom while recording n/a No n/a n/a n/a
External mic support No Optional
(with WU-1a Wireless Mobile Adapter)
No n/a Yes
Battery life (CIPA rating) 330 shots 230 shots 97 shots n/a 270 shots
Dimensions (WHD, inches) 5.0 x 2.9 x 2.1 4.4 x 2.6 x 1.6 4.8 x 2.6 x 2.5/
4.8 x 2.6 x 2.3/
6.4 x 2.6 x 3.4/
6.4 x 2.6 x 3.2/
6.4 x 2.6 x 4
4.5 x 2.6 x 2.8
Weight (ounces) 15.5 10.6 (est) 13 (est) 14.5 (dp2, est) 17.6
Mfr. Price $1,299.95 $1,099.95 $999 $999 $2,799
Availability March 2013 March 2013 December 2012 August 2014 November 2012

Sigma has not released pricing or availability for any of the dp Quattro models.

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Where to Buy

Sigma dp2 Quattro

Part Number: C81
Pricing is currently unavailable.

Quick Specifications See All

  • Optical Sensor Type X3 Quattro CMOS
  • Sensor Resolution 29.0 Megapixel
  • Optical Sensor Size 15.7 x 23.5mm