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SIGMA DP1

I have followed the development of the Sigma DP1 for over a year and wondered if it would ever be released or if it was just a great idea that would never see the light of day.  Well, the waiting is over.  The DP1 was finally released and it is a great idea!   The IQ of a DSLR in the small profile of a point and shoot.

In a nutshell the camera is a small profile compact camera with a fixed focal length and F4 lens.  The beauty of the camera is its sensor.  It uses the Foveon X3 sensor and it is the largest sensor available in a camera of this size. 

I don't like to lug around my big DSLR and lenses all the time but I feel it important to always have a camera with me. That being the case, I want a camera that is small yet produces the best images possible for its size.

I've been using the Leica D-Lux 3 for the last year because it is very small, offers 16:9 aspect ratio, RAW and full manual control.  The DP1 looks very much like the D-Lux 3 but is about 5 to 10% larger.  Let me put it this way, it fits in the same case on my belt that the D-Lux 3 goes in.

After one day and night of using the DP1 I was stunned.  I would not have believed anything short of a DSLR could produce some of the images I have captured with this camera.  It's not a Point and Shoot and it's not a DSLR.. it's in a class by itself.  A class I hope to see grow.  I have been asking why such a camera does not exist for the last three or four years and now, here in the DP1, is the first of its kind.

Is the DP1 perfect?  No, it's not, but it is ground breaking and at the moment, one of a kind.  I am very impressed.   I would not consider this an entry level camera.  I do not believe it was designed for beginners and it should NOT be considered a consumer grade point and shoot.  It's in a class by itself.  The images are wonderful.  The dynamic range is great and the quality you get out of the DP1 is probably matched only by a DSLR.

Enough of my thoughts. I'll add more later as I become more familiar with the DP1.  Below are the beginnings of  a gallery of photos taken with the DP1.  The small thumbnails below, when clicked will open a larger version.  To return to this page simply click on the larger version or use the back arrow in your browser.

I will continue to post my latest images here in chronological order so check back every now and then to see the new stuff. 

Related Interest: 
Click here for my Leica D-Lux 3 gallery
Click here for my Leica D-Lux 4 gallery
Click here for my Leica M8 gallery


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Update: February 17, 2008
 
The DP1 is definitely not a Point and Shoot camera.  You must have patience to use it.  The images it produces are some of the best you will get from the current crop of compact cameras.  It is slower than most compact cameras but the images it produces are in class by themselves.  

Update: May 29, 2009 - Get A Grip!

I have to admit upfront that I love boxy, black cameras. Much of the appeal of the design of the DP1 and the D-Lux 4 is due to their boxiness.  Having said that, my DP1 has not always been easy to handle due to its boxy shape and lack of a built-in contour grip... resulting in what I call "camera slippage".

Richard Franiec makes add on grips for both the DP1 and the DP2 that when applied to the camera looks like it was part of the original camera design.  The grip is finely machined from metal with an anodized black finish that matches the finish of the DP1 perfectly. The most important thing is that it DOES make the camera more manageable, especially when you are one-handing the camera as I often do.  The grip completly covers the SIGMA name on the camera and I find that to my liking.. now I have a totally black camera with a custom grip. I like the looks and the functionality even more now that the grip has been added. I'll certainly add one to the DP2 if I purchase it.
Click here to visit Richard's website.

Click here!
Looking for Add-ons for your Sigma DP1? 
Click on the button above and visit the Lensmate site.  High quality stuff for your compact cameras.  I use their products and the quality is outstanding.


California - Big Sur - May 5, 2009

I took a trip to California for a week of photography in San Francisco, Santa Cruz, Monterey, Carmel and Big Sur.  I love driving down the Pacific Coast Highway from San Francisco to the lower section of Big Sur.  On the way you pass through Santa Cruz, Monterey and Carmel.  It's some of the most beautiful scenery you will ever see.  If heights and winding roads bother you, don't bother going. Here are a few from the DP1.

 


Renaissance Festival - Waxahachie, Texas - April 25, 2009

I have not touched my DP1 in six months.  I became disenchanted with it due to the shot to shot delays of the camera.  But this weekend I decided to give it another chance.  I used it along with my Leica M8 today at the Renaissance Festival in Waxahachie, Texas.  Below are some of the photos I took with it.  After working on these photos tonight I am convinced that the DP1 is worth holding on to.  It did a better job than my M8 in several situations and costs only a fraction of what the M8 sells for.  In fact, the lens on my M8 cost twice as much as the original price of the DP1.  I have said it before and I will say it again.. the DP1 concept (small format camera, large sensor, great glass) is what Leica should be working on.  Sigma has the right idea and with refinements the DP line could become a very viable alternative to the M line from Leica.  It's not a rangefinder and that's ok.. but it produces superb images with great dynamic range and detail. 



 


State Fair of Texas - Dallas - October 18, 2008

I almost did not go to the fair this year but at the last minute decided to go since the weather was so good.  At the fair you are bombarded with color so I decided to use the DP1 to shoot BW.  Shooting these as BW almost seemed to turn the clock back in time.  These shots could have come from the 50s or 60s.  The only giveaway being a kid holding a cell phone and Homer and Bart Simpson prizes hanging from the rafters.


The Carnival - Coppell, Texas - September 6, 2008
The summer heat and work has kept me inside my office and home this year and I am just now getting out for a bit of cool weather photography.  There was a little carnival in town over the weekend and I decided to take the DP1 to shoot it, hand held, no flash, just to see what it could do.  I was not dissappointed.  The DP1 works very well under these lighting conditions.  ISO 400  1/30 F4

 


Memorial Day - Dallas - Carrollton, Texas - May 26, 2008
It's rare that I get a Monday off so I tried to take advantage of the Memorial Day Holiday. I got up early and decided to visit a few "memorials" of a different kind. The Old West heritage of Dallas in bronze and an old train depot, now boarded up in Carrollton, Texas.  The humidity was oppressive and the temperature was heading to the mid-nineties.  I had to cut the outing short today as I just don't tolerate the heat as well as I used to.  So, here's a few from today, both series a memorial to a different past.


Divine Light - Dallas, Texas - May 24, 2008
Traffic held me up as I tried to get to Dallas before the sun set and I lost the light. I wanted to photograph a church I had driven by several times but never stopped to shoot. I had lost the light and had to shoot at ISO 800. These were hand-held because in my haste to get to Dallas I forgot the tripod again. I really hate tripods but they are a necessary evil at times. One would have been welcomed on this occasion. I did not like the color versions so I took them to black and white.. it just feels right, plus there was quite a bit of color noise and the black and white conversion worked well with what now appears as grain in these photos.  I also like the lens distortion.  I did a test correction but found I preferred the photos as rendered by the camera.


The Love Bus and Night Lights - Dallas - Fort Worth, Texas - May 3, 2005
I decided that Saturday night would be a night to experiment with the DP1 and lights. I just wanted to see what the camera could do under a variety of conditions so I began my drive into Dallas where I decided to stop at a local Biker Bar known for it's colorful characters and old hippie love bus, now converted to a beer stand, and numerous beer signs. Then it was on to downtown Dallas for twilight and on to Fort Worth to look for night lights.  No tripod was used, all photos were handheld at ISO 400-800.


A Plant From Another Planet - Alien Visions - Coppell, Texas - May 1, 2005
This plant caught my eye as I walked through a park to clear my head from an overload of work today. It looked totally alien to me. The afternoon light was working its magic and I pushed the shutter speed a bit to make the light a bit richer in post-processing. The plant, all twisted and full of thorns, like the teeth of some alien entity is apparently benign and decorates many yards in the Southwest. Sorry, I don't know what it is called. I could look it up but prefer to think it simply fell from space and is slowly invading our planet.


Black & White Sunday - Dallas - Grapevine, Texas, April 27, 2008
I started the day by traveling to Dallas to shoot a few old buildings and wound up in Grapevine to reshoot some old rail cars I had shot in the past both with my 5D and my D-Lux 3.  This was the first chance I've had to shoot the railroad with the DP1. I was just experimenting with the DP1 on Sunday.   I went out with the intention of shooting for BW conversion but as you see below, I could not wean myself totally off color for one day so below you have a mix.


How I Spent My Saturday - Texas - Saturday, April 26, 2008
There was a lot going on today.    There was An early morning visit to the park, later in the day an art festival and a bit of art of my own, TexMex food, shopping for lamps and dinner with my wife.  Just another beautiful day in Texas.

 


Lunch Break At The Lily Pond - Carrollton, Texas - Tuesday, April 22, 2008
I always like to try to find something to shoot during my lunch break. More often than not I find nothing of interest but occasionally, like today, I find a bit of nature worthy of trying to capture. The macros were shot using +4 diopters, sometimes stacked as in the shot of the frog. All shots were post-processed in Photoshop CS3. The dark shot of the water lily was purposely underexposed so that I could give it a bit of artsy look in CS3.  The BW conversion was also done in Photoshop using the BW photo filter tool.  All shots were handheld, ISO 200 - 400.


Sunday Morning Market - Afternoon Mall - Dallas and Lewisville, Texas - Sunday, April 20, 2008
My wife surprised me by not only agreeing to go out for breakfast on Sunday but to visit the Farmers Market as well.. and then, a trip to the mall where we purchased a new vacuum cleaner to replace the antique we have been using for the last 5 years.  Here some photos from that small slice of my life.


Saturday Night In Cowtown - Rodeo - Honky Tonks & Tattoos - Saturday, April 19, 2008 - Fort Worth, Texas
Every now and then I travel to the Fort Worth Stockyards to take in a lifestyle that is somewhat foreign to me.  Cowboys, rodeos, honky tonks and tattoo parlors are not my normal fare but they are colorful and provide many photo-ops.   Indoor pictures and night shots were taken with ISO set at 800.  This was an experiment to see what I could do with the DP1 even though I new my DSLR would handle some of the shots better.  I left the DSLR at home and ventured out with just the DP1, two batteries and a 2 gigabyte memory card.  All shots were hand held, shutter speeds varied from 1/20th of a second to 1/200th of a second.  Where shots have been converted to BW I found them to be more appealing in that format for the subject.  The Rodeo shots, for the most part, brought a me a sense of nostalgia that was further enhanced by the use of BW.   All shots were post processed in Photoshop CS3. Here then, in photos, is how I spent a Saturday afternoon and night in Fort Worth, Texas.  It was a long day but it took me back to a much simpler time.  Yawl come back now, ya hear!   Read more about the Fort Worth Stockyards here.

 


Texas Roadkill - Tuesday, April 15, 2008 - Beside Highway 121

A dead Armadillo is almost as synonymous with Texas as a cowboy.  The Armadillo is a strange animal and quite beautiful as well.  It has terrible eyesight, allowing photographers to get rather close to them before they sense their presence.. maybe it's their bad eyesight that results in so many of them ending up as Texas Roadkill.  I spotted this one today and decided to not let its untimely death go without purpose.  So I took out the DP1 and took a few shots of this beautiful little animal.  Look and read about an animal that has become a Texas icon. 

Armadillos are small placental mammals, known for having a bony armor shell. In the United States, the sole resident armadillo is the Nine-banded Armadillo, which is most common in the central southernmost states, particularly Texas. Their range is as far east as Florida and as far north as Kansas, and while cold winters have slowed the expansion of their range (due to a lack of sufficient body fat), they have been consistently expanding their range over the last century due to a lack of natural predators.  Read more at Wikipedia.


Scarborough Faire Renaissance Festival - Sunday, April 13, 2008 - Waxahachie, Texas

Every year I go to the renaissance festival in Waxahachie to watch people dress up as if they were in another land and another time.  The colors are wonderful and Texas accents are traded for British and any number of accents that at least sound like they are from the British Isles.  So on this Sunday I made the trip of about 60 miles to pay my $20 for a day of wenches, tarts, lords and ladies, jokers, knights, and peasants.  I felt quite at home with all of this.  You can read more about Scarborough Faire here.


Macro Using The DP1 with a $5 Close-Up Lens Set - Thursday, April 10, 2008 - Carrollton, Texas
When my lens hood finally arrived I had to see if the DP1 had the ability to do macro shots. The DP1, by itself is NOT capable of macro work but with the addition of a 46 to 52mm step up filter adapter and a $5 box of close-up diopters made by Quantaray scrounged from a clearance box at one of my local camera stores and I was set to begin having a little fun with macro on the DP1.  All shots were hand held and all of them could have been sharper if the wind had not been blowing and if I had brought a tripod.. even a monopod would have helped.   I stacked all three diopters on the DP1 at the same time.  I need to experiment more with the diopters to see what works best but as you can see, you can do macro with the DP1.  All of the shots below were taken in about a 30 minute period.


Green Stuff - A Walk In The Park - Carrollton, Texas - Tuesday, April 8, 2008


Looking For Glass - Grapevine, Texas - Sunday, April 6, 2008


 

B.B. King Concert - Fort Worth, Texas - Saturday, April 5, 2008


 

Farmers Market - Dallas, Texas - Saturday, April 5, 2008


 

Deep Ellum - Dallas, Texas - Saturday, April 5, 2008