Sigma DP1s review

A solid camera at a keen price, but speedy it ain't

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sigma dp1s

Sigma/Foveon claim rich colour resolution from their sensors, and it's certainly the case that colours came through rich and punchy in our test images (more so than we expected, thanks to the drab-looking rear LCD).

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sigma dp1s
AUTO-FOCUS: The AF hunts around a bit and can be hit and miss at wider apertures. We wanted the Sigma to focus on the main flower in the foreground here but it missed it by a country mile

Higher ISO performance was pretty good too, certainly comparable with similarly priced CMOS/CCD sensors. ISO only goes up to 800 however, which is a bit restrictive when you are shooting in low light and need fast shutter speeds. There is a built-in flash, however.

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sigma dp1s
COLOURS: Don't be fooled by the drab rear LCD, colour rendition is very good, without blowing out highlights too much. The Sigma seems to have oversharpened the edges in JPEG mode though

We did notice that the metering system has a tendency to underexpose, so be prepared to adjust exposure compensation.

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sigma dp1s
LENS: The lens performance is impressive for the money. It's sharp, accurate and with minimal distortion, though at f/4 max, it's not the fastest

But the big problem with the Sigma DP1s is speed. It can take around five seconds for the camera to process and save a RAW image to a typical memory card, and you can't do anything else while the electronics are whirring away.

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sigma dp1s
WIDE ANGLE: The 28mm fixed lens is fine for wide angle work. Note the punchy colours, a benefit of the 14Mp Foveon sensor and the smart image processing technology

Even saving a high-res JPEG takes two or three seconds, and it's noticeably slower than a Canon or Nikon equivalent camera.

Needles to say, shooting in burst mode completely locks the camera up while the seconds tick away (and photo opportunities disappear). Another niggle is the sluggish AF, which hunts around way too long before locking on to where you want to focus.

Whatever the virtues of the Sigma DP1s, the sluggish write-times render it impractical for high-speed action and wildlife photography. Sigma can't blame the card either, as we were using a brand-new 2Gb SanDisk card – very similar to what most of the target market will be packing.

Tech Specs

Product TypeCompact Camera
Battery Size SupportedProprietary Battery Size
Maximum Video Resolution320 x 240
Effective Camera Resolution14.1 Megapixel
HD Movie ModeNo
Memory Card SupportedSecure Digital (SD) Card, Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) Card, MultiMediaCard (MMC)
Digital Zoom3x
Brand NameSigma
Screen Size6.4 cm (2.5")
Video FormatsAVI
Viewfinder TypeNo
Weight (Approximate)250 g
Maximum Image Resolution2640 x 1760
Display Screen TypeLCD
Height59.5 mm
Width113.3 mm
Depth50.3 mm
Focal Length16.60 mm
Image FormatsJPEG, RAW
Focus ModesAuto, Manual
ManufacturerSigma Corporation
Product ModelDP1
Product NameDP1 Compact Camera
Manufacturer Part NumberC7S900
Manufacturer Website Address
Marketing Information

The DP1 uses the same 14 megapixel (2652×1768×3 layers)direct image sensor as the SD14. Utilizing the special features of silicon, which is penetrated to different depths by different wavelengths of light, this direct image sensor succeeds in full-color capture with the full RGB in a single-pixel location. Just like film, each photodiode captures all the RGB data, so no final-stage demosaicing is required.