• Price: £520

  • Company: Sigma

  • Pros: One of a kind device; sharply focused, shallow depth of field images.

  • Cons: Pricey; confusing menu system; occasional operational freezes; slow-to-respond AF system; stiff shutter release button; strange colour casts; low resolution video option only suitable for online.

  • Our Rating: We rate this 7 out of 10 We rate this 7 out of 10

Sigma may be better known as a supplier of affordable third-party lenses, but it has been developing digital cameras that make the most of its heritage and deliver digital SLR quality within compact casings. Its latest release is the boxy DP2, which, like the Ricoh, is fixed-lens, but with a 41mm lens.

The Sigma feels indulgent from the outset, but the price is partly justified by a triple-layered SLR-sized sensor, with layers for red, green and blue. Sigma claims this system delivers results so realistic they appear almost three-dimensional. A knock-on effect is that despite a total resolution of 14 megapixels, the images work out at just 4.6 megapixels each.

At times the Sigma is tricky to use, thanks to a stiff shutter release, complex menus and black-on-black labelled buttons.

Worse was the Sigma’s stubborn performance and occasional freezes. This demanded the removal and re-insertion of the battery to get it back up and running. The auto focus was lethargic, and came with a noise like an upset stomach.

Once past these quirks, we began to enjoy the challenge of using the Sigma. It works best for shots with a shallow depth of field – for example, portraits or still-life images, where you want the subject sharp but everything else a blur.

Above ISO 800 noise intrudes and every image required post-production work. At the end of the day, this is a specialist camera for those who enjoy the process as much as the outcome.