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Sigma DP1 Review
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Addie Bedford
(addiebedford) - MLife

Locale: Montana
Sigma DP1 Review on 02/10/2009 14:39:58 MST Print View

Companion forum thread to:

Sigma DP1 Review

Ashley Brown
(ashleyb) - F
Re: Sigma DP1 Review on 02/10/2009 16:19:33 MST Print View

Thanks Chris for your review. =-)

I'm somewhat underwhelmed by the colours I'm seeing though.

Some of the shots look a little washed out on my monitor (is it silly to ask whether they are still in adobeRGB?).

On the other hand, a few of the photos have colours which are positively garish. The greens in particular in a few photos are completely off (again, on my monitor). The second picture of the tree, for example... lurid green with far too much yellow in it.

What post-processing did you do on the photos? Were they all shot in RAW and exported to sRGB? Perhaps it is my monitor which needs calibrating, but I haven't noticed this problem before (eg. pics on look fine). Or does the DP1 just produce fugly greens?

Edited by ashleyb on 02/10/2009 16:20:20 MST.

Chris Townsend
(Christownsend) - MLife

Locale: Cairngorms National Park
Sigma DP1 Review on 02/10/2009 16:43:49 MST Print View


The photos look fine on my monitor. I converted them all to sRGB.

None of them look washed out or have garish greens on my monitor.

The images were processed in Lightroom 2 with the standard settings. I made few changes.

Have you looked at my photo essays that have appeared on BPL? The photos in these were all taken with the DP1. Quite a few people commented on them and no one said they looked washed out or garish.

Of course different people see images differently and maybe I like brighter greens than you but the images have of course been viewed by others at BPL and no one has commented on the colours.

Ashley Brown
(ashleyb) - F
Re: Sigma DP1 Review on 02/10/2009 17:10:25 MST Print View

Hey Chris,

Just checked out your autumn cairngorms shots. Lovely gallery. The greens are looking more natural in those shots. Most of the pics are a bit "warm" for my taste, but like you said that may just be personal preference (or my monitor). The "larch" tree shots though are really very saturated.

Perhaps garish was too strong a word, but the colours in some of the pics I've referred to (green trees in this report, and larch trees in autumn essay) are surprisingly, ah, bright. But I guess it's not too different from good old Velvia, so perhaps it is personal taste after all. I was a bit surprised that only a few photos stuck out for me though --- the rest of the gallery seems fine. (As a reference point, the pics DP1 gallery at looks "normal" to me in terms of colours.)

Anyway, no biggie! Thanks for your report. Not sure I could handle the fixed focal 28mm length even with landscape. Gotta be pretty creative and probably get used to doing some heavy cropping when necessary.

Cheers, A

Edited by ashleyb on 02/10/2009 17:13:29 MST.

George Matthews
(gmatthews) - MLife
Re: Sigma DP1 Review on 02/10/2009 18:53:01 MST Print View

Good camera review. Seems like it would weigh more than it does.


The sample pictures look fantastic - is this attributed to the DP1? Probably not because talented photographers' pictures always look better no matter what camera is used compared to the amateurs like me : )

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Re: Sigma DP1 Review on 02/10/2009 18:56:39 MST Print View

I have the same issue as Ashley. The colours on my monitor look downright horrible in many of the photos. I wonder what's going on??

Ryan Jordan
(ryan) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Greater Yellowstone
Re: Sigma DP1 Review on 02/10/2009 19:16:36 MST Print View

I don't like the way the photos look on my Dell Windows laptop.

They look pretty good on my Apple cinema display.

But they're JPGs, and small, nonetheless, so I can't say I'd put a whole lot of stock into them being representative of the RAW files.

I've used the DP1 a lot, and the RAW files have had exceptional color ranges. What you do post processing is up to you, but you still have to start with good dynamic range, and the DP1 RAW's have it.

Rick Dreher
(halfturbo) - MLife

Locale: Northernish California
Re: Sigma DP1 Review on 02/10/2009 19:32:44 MST Print View

Hi Ashley,

The Foveons have a reputation for tricky red response, but overall color response seems very good, whether in a DP1 or SLR. If you're considering one, there are hundreds of galleries to review, including some that are consistently dazzling.

In sum, as a prospective buyer I would be less concerned about color response and more about high-ISO performance. FWIW the best price in the States has dropped into the low $500s.

Edited by halfturbo on 12/07/2009 14:21:33 MST.

Sean Nordeen
(Miner) - F

Locale: SoCAL
Sigma DP1 That Good? on 02/10/2009 22:37:51 MST Print View

Its a good write up and it does make me want to check this camera out. However, I do want to know how you can say the following though?

"In terms of quality the DP1 produces images that are...far superior to those from any other compact camera, regardless of the number of pixels."

Thats a pretty bold statement since there is no disclaimer of any sort attached (ie. price point, feature set, etc.) that would be hard to live up for any camera. Is this being based soley on the sensor size?

And as a side note, I'm also having issues with how the colors display on my monitor as they don't look that great to me and normally good photos look correct on my screen the way I have the settings calibrated. Since others are having that problem, I wonder if its how they were formated for dispaly on the webpage as I normally save them differently for that application over how I do it for archiving. But if you say that they look good, I'll take your word for it.

Edited by Miner on 02/10/2009 22:52:50 MST.

Ashley Brown
(ashleyb) - F
Re: Sigma DP1 That Good? on 02/10/2009 22:51:20 MST Print View

It's not so bold actually Sean. Compact cameras are generally pretty poor in terms of image quality, due purely to the tiny size of the sensor they use. The DP1 is the *only* compact camera which uses this large "dSLR-size" sensor. Therefore there is currently no real competition from an image-quality perspective. There are a few newer ones (LX3, G10) which have *much* better features and performance and pretty good image quality (at low ISO), but the image quality (esp dynamic range, noise) isn't as good because their sensors are smaller than the DP1.

Edited by ashleyb on 02/10/2009 22:52:50 MST.

Sean Nordeen
(Miner) - F

Locale: SoCAL
Re: Re: Sigma DP1 That Good? on 02/10/2009 23:07:42 MST Print View

It is bold. You can't just make that blanket statement based on sensor size alone. There is more to a digital camera image quality then just sensor size. There is the quality of the optics, the quality of the sensor and then there is the quality of the processing of the sensor data before the image is saved. 2 cameras that are identical but one with better processing of the light information from the sensor will take the better picture. Even in the RAW setting, there is alot of DSP algorithms going on to collect the optimal light from the sensors with the least noise.

I do recognize the problem of cramming to many pixels in to given sensor size and that it is better to go with a larger sensor when pixel count goes up. The recent trend towards 10 and 12megapixel cameras in such small sensors seems to be more driven by marketting then performance. Though they can still get excellent quality in good lighting, the higher pixel count in a given sensor size works against them in lower lighting (there are circumstances where my 12meg G9 with its small sensor will match the performance of my 10meg Digital Rebel, though not often). An excellent lower pixel camera can take better images then a higher one with the same sensor size in many circumstances when conditions aren't as optimal.

Well, my point is a camera with excellent onaboard processing can overcome a larger sensor if that camera's processing isn't nearly as good (within reason though) or its sensor quality is poorer. Look at all the arguements over which is better, Canon or Nikon even though their sensor sizes aren't identical. If it was clear cut, then the camera with the larger sensor would be clearly recognize as the superior one. I'm not saying a compact camera will match the DSLR as the designers of SLR cameras have a higher budget, larger size and weight to work with in their designs adding to the advantage of their high quality larger sensors.

Ok, I admit that I'm probaby overly sensetive to statements like that as I deal with marketting types that like to say things like that and then I'm stuck trying to design something to match his comments with a budget too small to make it ever possible. So you will have to forgive me.

Edited by Miner on 02/10/2009 23:49:12 MST.

Len Glassner
(lsglass) - MLife

Locale: San Diego
Re: Colors on 02/10/2009 23:49:22 MST Print View

How about these greens?

Check out all of Seng Merril's DP1 galleries to see the very best that this camera can achieve, in the right hands.

And here are some more greens:

I'm not sure I'd choose all of Vern's PP color processing, but awesome photos nonetheless.

Red really is the curse of Foveon sensors, IMO.

Adam Kilpatrick
(oysters) - MLife

Locale: South Australia
Sensor size in compact...Canon Powershot SX1/S...? on 02/11/2009 00:08:27 MST Print View

This article was very informative...I learnt alot I think...but I'm looking for a camera thats more user friendly, dynamic and useful (not being able to take action shots too is a killer).

I was looking at getting the new Canon Powershot SX1/S. The specs say it has a CMOS sensor...which I thought was one of Canon's DSLR sensors...or so I was told. Is this similar to the Sigma DP1? Obviously its lower spec-the MPs are lower to start with (although as I now know thats not the only factor in quality).

I'm a bit new to this stuff, so any info would be great :)


Ashley Brown
(ashleyb) - F
Re: Re: Re: Sigma DP1 That Good? on 02/11/2009 00:26:41 MST Print View

There is more to image quality than sensor size. But 1/1.8" and 1/2.7" sensors are simply so small in comparison to APS-C that the other factors are largely irrelevant.

Ever wonder why you don't get f16 on a compact camera? Because the sensor is so small the diffraction effects destroy image quality. It's a fact of physics, and better lenses and image processing can't do anything about it.

When sensor sizes are similar (eg. 1.5x crop vs 1.6x crop) then the other factors (esp lenses) come into play. But when the sizes differ by a factor of 10 (or more!) the little guys have no chance.

Chris Townsend
(Christownsend) - MLife

Locale: Cairngorms National Park
Sigma DP1 Review on 02/11/2009 06:45:48 MST Print View

Adam, I'm pleased to hear you found the article informative.
The Canon Powershot SX10 IS has a 1/2.3" sensor, which is much smaller than the DP1 sensor. CMOS sensors come in different sizes. The SX10 IS also weighs 560 grams, which is heavy. If I was looking for a small sensor compact I'd consider the Canon G10, Panasonic LX3 or Ricoh GX200 on the basis of images I've seen and reviews. All of these are much lighter than the SX10 IS.

The problem with colour does depend on monitor type and calibration. Ryan and Rick both make good comments here. Small JPEGs on a screen aren't representative of the raw files or of prints, especially large ones. At low ISOs small sensor compacts can produce images that look excellent on monitors and can make good small and medium size prints. The advantages of bigger sensors are better quality at high ISOs (which means they are easier to handhold in low light) and for large prints. For photography in good light, viewing on a screen and small to prints a small sensor compact is fine.

Ashley, the images at look very saturated to me, especially the reds! On my monitor I can see no difference in the greens between the images in the review and the ones in the Autumn in the Cairngorms photo essay. Some of the images were taken on the same trip and have been processed the same way at the same time. 28mm is limiting but if I want the same quality from a camera with a zoom lens (or more importantly in my case it's publishers who require that quality) then I have to carry my DSLR. My ideal camera would be a zoom compact with a DP1 size sensor.

Sean, Ashley is right. The sensor size is key here. Of course the other factors you mention are important but it's the sensor size that makes the real difference. My Ricoh GR-D has a very sharp top quality lens, possible better than the DPI lens (though that is also good), but the images are nowhere near as good at large sizes due to the sensor size.

Jonas Bodenäs
(greenjuice) - MLife

Locale: Scania (Skåne)
Nice review on 02/11/2009 07:53:31 MST Print View

Hi Chris,

Thanks for the review about DP1. I asked you before what you did think about it. Even DP1 produces great image quality, it's pricey. I consider to order a Canon G10 which is more flexible and is more worth its price.

Darryl Romm
(Lyrrad) - F

Locale: Greater London
Sigma DP1 Review - Colour Issues on 02/11/2009 07:57:27 MST Print View


Unless you are viewing any pictures on a recently/regularly calibrated monitor it is sheer folly to comment.

Edited by Lyrrad on 02/11/2009 07:59:41 MST.

Darryl Romm
(Lyrrad) - F

Locale: Greater London
Re: Re: Sigma DP1 That Good? on 02/11/2009 08:11:05 MST Print View

"The DP1 is the *only* compact camera which uses this large "dSLR-size" sensor."

The smaller sensor of the Fuji F31fd ( I would have thought a different model number in US) produces perfect images using up to ISO 800 and put a lot of dSLR's to shame for low light situations in it's day. It was 6MP and sadly after that model, Fuji succumbed to the marketing 'greater pixel number chase'. A great camera that was okay as a general point & shoot but will go down as a classic low light compact digital camera (not too many classic digital compacts to talk about). To my mind the perfect UK backpacking camera

Edited by Lyrrad on 02/11/2009 08:12:06 MST.

Misfit Mystic

Locale: "Grand Canyon of the East"
RE: G10 vs DP1 on 02/11/2009 09:43:42 MST Print View

Hi Jonas, I don't know if I would say the G10 is worth the money either. I have found a few issues with the image quality; I think the Pana LX3 is a better performer if you don't need the extra reach on the telephoto end. The optics are definitely better; Summicron with a minimum f-stop of 2.0-2.8!

Personally I'm waiting for the Oly micro 4/3 camera. About the size of the DP1, with interchangeable lenses that will be much smaller/lighter than current SLR lenses. I'm thinking this will be the first option that will allow significant weight-savings and have a full complement of features, while giving images that at least compare somewhat favorably to my Canon 5D, which I never take anyway because of it's expense and weight.

By the way, the 5D is an excellent example of the sensor size debate. My 30D is a better action camera, but it has never taken images to compare with the 5D, nor can any other APS-C SLR. And we aren't talking that much bigger of a sensor, it's about 50% bigger if I'm doing the math right. The sensor-size difference between the DP1 and G10 is about 700%, is it not? Giant pixels do amazing things!

Edited by cooldrip on 02/11/2009 09:44:36 MST.

Mark W Heninger
(heninger) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
5d Hooray on 02/11/2009 10:23:37 MST Print View

I'm behind you with the 5d comment. Spectacular camea - few things compare with a 5D and a good L lens.

It is a beast to haul into the backcountry though (he says as he plans the next three backpack trips where he *will* carry a SUL load and a 5D w/ 24/105 L).

I did notice the price drop on the DP1 recently, and I do have the Pana LX2 which I've always loved for the pano ratio buit in.