Sigma Announces the dp1 Quattro Digital Camera



Although Sigma was not keeping it a secret, the company has just formally announced the availability of the Sigma dp1 Quattro Digital Camera. What may be a surprise is that the dp1 has been released after the dp2 but that, too, makes sense if you recognize that the dp2 offers a standard focal length lens, while the new dp1 has a wide-angle lens. One is not meant to replace the other; they co-exist, and eventually they will be joined by the dp3. To paraphrase the old Car Talk radio show, when speaking about French-made cars, no one makes cameras like Sigma and Sigma doesn’t make cameras like anyone else. This I mean as a compliment.

The dp1 utilizes the same 29MP Foveon X3 image sensor and TRUE III processing engine as the dp2; however, it incorporates a 19mm f/2.8 lens, providing a 28mm focal-length equivalency in the 35mm format. The lens on the dp2 is a 30mm with a standard 45mm focal-length equivalency. The wide-angle dp1 offers a perspective more apt for inclusive interior shooting as well as landscape photography and any imaging that calls for heightened distortion for creative purposes. The lens features a 7.9" minimum focus distance and the f/2.8 maximum aperture is effective in low light, enabling moderate depth-of-field control. Its optical design contains nine elements in eight groups with “F” low-dispersion glass and two glass-mold aspherical lenses for reduced aberrations and clear, color-accurate imaging. A nine-blade diaphragm will produce pleasing out-of-focus background highlights.

The unique APS-C-sized Foveon X3 CMOS sensor captures full-color information vertically as opposed to horizontally. This means that each pixel has accurate and complete color information, resulting in rich tones and smooth gradations. Also, since it captures color vertically, there is no need for color filters or a low-pass filter, further increasing image quality for an equivalent resolution of about 39MP. For low-light shooting, the camera has an ISO sensitivity range of 100-6400 in 1/3 steps and it has P/S/A/M shooting modes for full control over your exposure. There is even 14-bit RAW image capture at a maximum resolution of 5424 x 3616, for excellent editing capabilities.

For focusing, the camera offers contrast-detect autofocus or a manual focusing ring for your preference. The autofocus system provides nine-point Select mode, Free move mode to adjust the size of the focus frame, and face Detection AF. Shutter Priority AF offers faster focus adjustment and, by stopping the live view and AF+MF mode, enables manual focus override for exacting precision. Up to seven RAW images at 3.5 fps per second can be captured, and the camera saves your images to an SDXC, SDHC, or SD card.

Optimized to process the data provided by the Foveon X3 Quattro direct image sensor is the TRUE (Three-layer Responsive Ultimate Engine) III image processor. This engine incorporates Sigma's proprietary algorithm, used to decipher the immense amount of image data created by the three-layered sensor, and produce a richly detailed image devoid of color aliasing or other image deterioration. The sensor-and-processor combination also produces images with noticeably reduced noise.

Several Color Mode options, such as Sunset Red and Cinema, enable creative expression, and ten customizable White Balance options are supported. With Filter Effects, advanced monochrome adjustments can be made for gorgeous black-and-white imaging.

The dp1 features a 3.0" TFT LCD screen with 920,000 pixels for shooting and reviewing your images. Its particular form factor, with its large, angular hand grip, is very comfortable and enables easy control over its minimal buttons and dials. A hot-shoe mount supports external flash units as well as an optional optical view finder.

Having used the dp2 and appreciated its uncommon form factor and DSLR-like image quality and color tones, I look forward to the dp1 and its wide-angle capture potential. 

Sigma dp Quattro Camera
Image Sensor Foveon X3 Direct Image Sensor (CMOS type)
Image Sensor Size 23.5 x 15.7mm (APS-C)
Color Photo Detectors Effective Pixels: Approx. 29MP
T (Top): 5424 x 3616 / M (Middle): 2712 x 1808 / B (Bottom): 2712 x 1808
Total Pixels: Approx. 33MP
Storage Media SD, SDHC, SDXC memory card
File Format Lossless compression RAW (14-bit), JPEG (Exif 2.3), RAW+JPEG
Aspect Ratio 21:9, 16:9, 3:2, 4:3, 1:1
Number of Recording Pixels RAW
High: T: 5424 x 3616; M: 2712 x 1808; B: 2712 x 1808
Low: T: 2704 x 1808; M: 2704 x 1808; B: 2704 x 1808
Super-High: 7680 x 3296
High: 5424 x 2328
Low: 2704 x 1160
Super-High: 7680 x 4320
High: 5424 x 3048
Low: 2704 x 1520
Super-High: 7680 x 5120
High: 5424 x 3616
Low: 2704 x 1808
Super-High: 6816 x 5120
High: 4816 x 3616
Low: 2400 x 1808
Super-High: 5120 x 5120
High: 3616 x 3616
Low: 1808 x 1808
ISO Sensitivity Auto (high and low limits); ISO 100-6400 (in 1/3 EV steps)
White Balance Modes Auto, Auto (Lighting Source Priority), Daylight, Shade, Overcast, Incandescent, Fluorescent, Color Temperature, Flash, Custom
Color Modes Standard, Vivid, Neutral, Portrait, Landscape, Cinema, Sunset Red, Forest Green, FOV Classic Blue, FOV Classic Yellow, Monochrome
Autofocus Type Contrast-detection type
AF Points 9 points (selectable), Free move mode, Face detection AF
Metering Systems Evaluative Metering, Center-Weighted Average Metering, Spot Metering
Exposure Control Systems Program AE (Program Shift possible), Shutter-Speed Priority AE, Aperture-Priority AE, Manual
Exposure Compensation +/- 3 EV in 1/3 steps
Shutter Speed Range 30 to 1/2000 sec.
Drive Modes Single, Continuous, Self-Timer (10 or 2 sec.), Interval Timer
LCD Monitor 3.0" 920k-dot TFT-LCD
Interface USB, Cable Release Switch
Power BP-51 rechargeable lithium-ion battery pack
  dp1 Quattro dp2 Quattro dp3 Quattro
Focal Length (35mm Equivalent) 19mm (28mm) 30mm (45mm) 50mm (75mm)
Aperture Range f/2.8 to f/16 f/2.8 to f/16 f/2.8 to f/16
Number of Diaphragm Blades 9 9 7
Lens Construction 9 elements in 8 groups 8 elements in 6 groups 10 elements in 8 groups
Focus Range 7.9" / 20cm to infinity; LIMIT mode 11" / 28cm to infinity; LIMIT mode 8.9" / 22.6cm to infinity; LIMIT mode
Maximum Magnification 1:8.3 1:7.6 1:3
Dimensions 6.4 x 2.6 x 3.4" / 161.4 x 67 x 87.1mm 6.4 x 2.6 x 3.2" / 161.4 x 67 x 81.6mm 6.4 x 2.6 x 4" / 161.4 x 67 x 101.8mm
Weight 15 oz / 425 g (without battery or memory card) 13.9oz / 395g (without battery or card) Not specified by manufacturer


While planning a trip to Antarctica last year, I decided to use a Sigma DP-1x as a backup for my Nikons(D-700 and D5300). Originally I had assumed that the GoPro that I also was taking would be my backup, but decided that I needed a bit more of a camera. At that time the Sigma DP series cameras were getting amazing reviews--amazingly positive and amazingly NEGATIVE. They ranged from saying that the camera was the greatest thing since sliced bread to it being a piece of crap!  But the positive reviews were what won me over. Many of the negative reviews were about the unfavorable performance at over 200 ISO, that it drained batteries very quickly, that it was necessary to use Sigma's own processing program, etc.  But many of the positive reviews mentioned that the camera was NOT a point-and-shoot designed for the amateur market, but a camera that if used carefully by a skilled photographer under the right conditions could make gorgeous images that looked quite unlike those made with any other digital camera, that they looked more film-like. I purchased the DP-1x with plenty of time to put it through its paces before going on the trip and was very enthusiastic about the results. The images from Antarctica were stunning --almost indistinguishable from those taken with the Nikons, Some of them did have a look all their own--not easy to describe, but many of them did look film-like.

I was so enthusiastic about the results that when B&H made a pre-release announcement of the DP-2 quatro, I put in an order even knowing that I was going to have to wait approximately six months. The camera arrived almost exactly on the day that B&H had said that it would be released. I would assume that since the dp1 quattro is almost identical the dp2 quattro that the cameras would be ready for shipment in a far shorter time. I would also assume that the price would be very close to, if not identical to the dp2 quattro, which was $999.

The camera has exceeded all of my expectations. I find that the unusual shape of the camera makes it very easy to hold in many different positions including over my head to get that extra bit of height. It is somewhat heavier than the dp1x--just enough to make it feel really solid.  The resolution---mind-blowing................ I'm looking forward to seeing what I can do printing the files. One word of warning: the files can balloon very quickly when exported as tiff.s which I do so that the files are readable in Aperture.


Is this an unbiased and objective review, or is it an edited version of the manufacturer's sales pitch?

As with any new product, we have to reply on the manufacturer or US distributor from some technical information but we do not simply rewrite their press releases when posting new product information.  -- Henry Posner / B&H Photo-Video

How many frames per secound
And what is the price of the camera and lenses

The Sigma DP1 Quattro has a built in 19mm f/2.8 lens (35mm equivalent: 28mm).  We do not have a price yet from Sigma, nor have I found a specification about the burst rate.  Once Sigma provides us with more information, we will update our site with it.

About to go on trip to Antarctica. Was looking for backup, small camera, wide lens. It would have been nice to see a price here, however approximate. The small note at top of page says 'check back for pricing'  !

Do not have any idea what check back entails or means here. In 5 minutes I will be moving on to another choice I can actually call B&H

and order. Price is everything and I presume you did all this work to sell these. Why announce it like this and say it is now available without making it easy to purchase??

Sigma just announced this camera, and they have yet to provide us with a delivery date or price.  As soon as they do, we will update the camera’s page with this information.  I don’t know how long it might be before this information, or the camera might be available.  It’s not unheard of for manufacturers to announce products at or around photo expos without having an ETA or price set yet.  That being said, if you are looking for a camera for an upcoming trip to Antarctica, you might need to go with a different option.  If you would like recommendations, you could send us an email letting us know what you are looking for in a camera.  [email protected]

How different is this from DP1s?

The DP1 Quattro has a new processor and sensor.  Its lens also has a larger aperture: f/2.8 vs f/4.  It has a larger higher resolution LCD and a new body design.  These would be some of the big differences between the DP1 Quattro and the DP1 S.