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Sigma DP2 and SD15: Sensors say bigger is better

Sigma is teaching the compact market a lesson with the DP2, a compact packing an image sensor similarly sized to the new SD15 dSLR

Learning is fun, mmkay? So today we're going to learn about the Sigma DP2, a 14-megapixel compact camera, and the SD15, a dSLR. Both have been announced over at Photokina. Let's learn a bit more about them, and possibly a bit about ourselves too.

Let's start with the DP2. The DP1 was the first compact to boast a dSLR-sized sensor rather than the relatively tiny chips in most point-and-shoots. The DP2 also packs a large sensor and other high-end features. The 14-megapixel sensor used in the DP2 camera is 20.7x13.8mm. According to Sigma, that's roughly seven to twelve times larger than the 1/1.8inch to 1/2.5-inch chips in other compacts.

Ready for some science? Don your white jacket, put down that Pot Noodle, and try and keep your hair out of the Bunsen burner. Most image sensors are laid using the Bayer pattern, which basically splits the sensor into red, green and blue pixels, like a three-coloured chessboard. But the DP2 packs a Foveon X3 sensor, which has three layers of silicon that each absorb colours. In theory, this retains more colour information, which is good.

Right, that's enough science, back to the specs and gags. The S2's fixed-focus lens has a 35mm camera focal length of 41mm. The specially designed 24.2mm F2.8 lens combines with the large sensor combination to give naturally shallow depth-of-field and bust out the bokeh. That's Japanese for 'fuzzy', by the way, and means out-of-focus bits. It's a veritable learning bonanza up in here, isn't it?

Click through the links for more good learning about the DP2 and SD15. -Rich Trenholm

The DP2 shoots raw files as well as JPEGs. It includes program, shutter and aperture priority and manual modes. A pop-up flash is complemented by a hotshoe for Sigma external flashes.

We're excited by the DP2, even if it is threatened to be left behind by the likes of Micro Four Thirds and other forthcoming systems that offer larger sensors and interchangeable lenses. Sigma has also launched a new dSLR, the SD15, pictured above. It packs a 14-megapixel Foveon X3, but is a fairly minor improvement over the SD14.

Here's the 76mm (3-inch) LCD screen, an increase over the SD14's monitor size.

What has this Crave taught us? Well, we've learnt about the Sigma DP2 and SD15, although we haven't yet learnt the price of either. And we've also learnt that we really like saying bokeh. Bokeh. Bokeh bokeh bokeh!