First Look: Production-ready Sigma DP1
by David Rasnake -  1/31/2008

After all of yesterday's rumor and speculation died down, there it was, just sitting out in the open this morning when the PMA doors opened. The long-awaited Sigma DP1 compact concept is, in fact, production ready, and we've got the shots and the specs to prove it.

Sigma DP1

For those who haven't been following the saga, the Sigma DP1, which has been in the concept stage for awhile now, promises DSLR-like image quality (using a DSLR-sized sensor) in a compact camera.

Sigma DP1

Chained to a display under the watchful eye of the nice folks at Sigma, I wasn't able to sneak a memory card into the DP1 for some test shots. What I can say is that the overall experience seems to be even better than anticipated. The camera, with its fixed 16.6mm (that's roughly a 28mm wide-angle in the traditional 35mm-equivalent format) f/4 lens and unique three-layer, 14 megapixel Foveon X3 sensor sourced from Sigma's DSLR lineup, is a an incredibly responsive performer.

In terms of build, there's a lot more metal here than was seen on earlier prototypes, giving the whole thing the feeling of a precise photographic instrument. Mode choices are basic and familiar (Auto, Program, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, Manual, etc.). In many ways, the vibe is more classic than high tech: like a Leica, but with less pretense. ISO range is limited by compact-camera standards, but with that wide-angle lens, potential DP1 buyers are probably thinking more about the camera's potential as the ultimate portable outdoor shooter.

Per the rumors from yesterday, the most definitive answer coming from the Sigma reps on a release date was still "spring," but given how refined the demo units looked, this seems more and more like a strong possibility.

Update: After further discussions with Sigma, we were able to get some firm release information: it looks like the DP1 could begin showing up in US retailers' inventories by mid March.

Sigma DP1 specifications:

Sensor14.06 megapixel, 20.7x13.8mm Foveon X3 CMOS sensor
Zoom16.6mm (28mm) fixed, f/4
LCD/Viewfinder2.5", 230K-pixel TFT LCD
SensitivityISO 100-800
Shutter Speed15-1/2000 seconds
Shooting ModesAuto, Program, Manual, Shutter Priority, Aperture Priority, Movie
Scene PresetsN/A
White Balance SettingsAuto, Daylight, Shade, Cloudy, Incandescent, Fluorescent, Flash, Custom
Metering ModesEvaluative, Center, Spot
Focus ModesManually Selected Point
Drive ModesNormal, Continuous Hi, Continuous Low
Flash ModesNot Specified
Self Timer Settings
10 seconds, 2 seconds, Off
Memory FormatsSD, SDHC
Internal Memory
File FormatsJPEG, RAW
Max. Image Size2640x1760
Max. Video Size
Not Specified
Zoom During Video Not Specified
BatteryRechargeable lithium-ion
ConnectionsUSB 2.0, video output, DC input
Additional FeaturesSigma wide-angle lens, Foveon X3 sensor