Price When Reviewed: 468 . 510
Pros: Large DSLR-like APS-C size Foveon sensor and high-quality 28mm f/4 wide-angle lens; compact dimensions; excellent picture quality at lower ISOs.
Cons: Noise levels higher than current crop of DSLRs; menu-driven operation for most features; poor battery life.
Picture quality is exceptionally high for a compact, but noise levels aren’t equal to the latest crop of sub-frame digital SLRs. Sensitivity runs from a low minimum ISO 100 to just ISO 800, but images look gritty and speckled in shadows well below that maximum. Left to auto, the DP1 easily overexposes scenes, so careful metering is necessary to prevent blown-out highlights.
To get maximum control over exposure, colour and detail, we found shooting Raw was preferable to JPEG, but writing large files to SD cards was sluggish. It also means getting by with Sigma’s bundled Photo Pro software, as there is no support for the DP1’s X3F format files in Photoshop, Lightroom or Aperture at present.
There are countless uses for a camera of the DP1’s capabilities. The ultra-portable DP1 would make a superb choice for travel photographers. It would be fair to say Sigma’s DP1 is the digital compact camera equivalent to Canon’s full-frame EOS 5D. It’s a momentous advance that’s bound to invite imitators. Sure, the DP1 has some weaknesses, but they’ll be largely forgotten when you see the prints.