Sigma is releasing a new set of cameras called the dp Quattro 1,2, and 3. Similar to their dp Merrill lineup, the Quattros will have a single focal length for each camera. The dp1 Quattro will have a 19mm lens (28mm in 35mm standards). The dp2 Quattro will have a 30mm lens (45mm equivalent). The dp3 Quattro will have a 50mm lens (75mm equivalent). All three cameras will be the recipients of a new Foveon X3 sensor. This new sensor has three layer (like the Foveon sensor in the dp Merrill cameras), however, the top layer of this sensor is divided into 4 quadrants. Sigma states that this new sensor will offer a higher level of image quality, 30% higher resolution, and will have faster image processing. This is very exciting to current Foveon enthusiasts. The current dp Merrill cameras have a tendency to be slow with autofocusing and image processing. If Sigma has found a way to retain the amazing image quality of the Foveon sensor while making the processing faster, the camera will have a much wider appeal.
The new Quattros will feature a 39-megapixel (equivalent) Foveon X3 sensor. Foveon sensors are known for their almost 3-D feel. If you haven’t used one, they are simply amazing. The main drawback with the Merrill cameras is their AF capture speed, high ISO performance, battery life, and image processing speed. In order for Sigma cameras to become more streamlined, the new Quattro cameras need to fix these issues. To move that direction, the Quattros feature a newly developed TRUE (Three-layer Responsive Ultimate Engine) III. Sigma states, “Our proprietary algorithm makes possible ultrafast processing of an immense volume of image data without any deterioration of the final images.”
The Quattros cameras are very similar in size and weight. Only the depth of the camera will change due to lens. The First camera to be released will be the dp2 Quattro. The camera will have an aperture range of f/2.8-f/16. The lens will have 8 elements in 6 groups. It will have a 9 blade diaphragm. It will be able to shoot from 28cm to infinity. However, you will be able to choose from a Macro Mode if desired. That being said, the maximum magnification is 1:7.6, so I’m not sure how “macro” the images will really be. The ISO sensitivity will be from 100-6400. Autofocus is contrast detect and there will be 9 AF points.
Besides the Foveon sensor, the most distinctive aspect of this camera is its appearance. It is very thin and looks like it has been designed to uniquely balance the lens weight with a large curved handgrip.
I can’t wait to take the dp2 Quattro for a spin. I love the image quality of the Foveon sensor. So far, Sigma has not released a price or date of release.