If you were waiting like me for an update of Sigma’s outstanding DP Merrill compact cameras with Foveon sensor and fixed focal length equivalents of 28mm, 45mm and 75mm, then the wait is either over. Or you’re unspeakably disappointed. Not because the new dp1, dp2 and dp3 Quattro cameras will disappoint in performance. Used in the right conditions, these Sigmas give the look of medium format in a truly compact package. Potential downer of the Quattro update: chances are you don’t like the vanguard chocolate bar design with elongated body and angled grip.
The first representative of the trinity, the dp2 Quattro, is certainly not your typical camera. Forget the design, show me the pictures! Well while it’s true that the photographer shall not get distracted by a cameras look’s, I’ll first have to get my head around the ergonomics. How to carry, how to hold this thing.
No clue what the Sigma engineers and designers were smoking. This is no more small compact camera. While Sigma processes it’s newly developed TRUE III image processing engine resulting in the ultrafast rendition of high definition, 3D-like photographs with outstandingly rich color detail, it’s certainly the world’s widest camera with 161mm…
While I’d certainly welcome a less bizarre design, one must wonder what’t the reasoning behind this total departure from common camera design; camera design, BTW, that makes some strange inroads these days, just to mention the Pentax K-01 designed by Marc Newson who either created a masterpiece or one of the world’s ugliest cameras. Hasselblad’s latest Lunar creations are hot on the K-01’s heels. And now there’s a new contender for inglorious camera design. Or design doesn’t matter?
Not nice if you’re a lefty and doesn’t easily fit into any pocket. To one will have to show the thing off? The 500ml can of beer I’m drinking right now is 168mm tall, about the dp2’s length. Never imagined I’d carry that beer can in a pocket. A camera doesn’t have to fit in a pocket to be a compact camera, but with the predecessors being about half the size (see this comparison) with much less protruding lens, can we expect the Quattro will deliver double performance?!
That’s not how judging a camera works. Sigma has put thousands of hours into design and feasibility studies. Maybe they were split between a more conventional and a more revolutionary wing. In the end the revolutionaries mostly lose (often when it’s already too late). In this case it’s probably a case of total functionality above looks. But mostly the road less traveled is less traveled for a reason.
One has to take a leap of faith to like this Sigma. Accepting the Quattro shape requires breaking the mental barriers of the usual and expected. The rewards of stepping outside of one’s own boundaries can be deeply satisfying. Can be. But most likely Sigma could sell more cameras if they’d follow a more conventional path. Or do they need the extra body mass to hide all the electronics that power the processing of the rich and complex image data produced by the new Foveon X3 Quattro direct image sensor, world’s only image capture system to use vertical color separation technology, with each pixel being able to capture all three colors at once?
While waiting for sample images, I might not be ready for this leap of faith. And a camera with a queer design that will undoubtedly attract attention is never the best of cameras. Attracting attention distracts. I prefer inconspicuous gear. But then again, if these Quattro deliver as suggested, difference shall not stand in the way.
For complete product information and specs visit Sigma dp Series.