Summary: There's not denying that the dp2 Quattro is a camera which can excel in the right conditions. In good light and at lower ISO settings the level of detail and general image quality is outstanding
Conclusion: The DP1 was a difficult camera to review - resolutely niche in its outlook, it was a brave, if not wholly successful, attempt to do something that no large manufacturer seemed willing to risk. We tried to give Sigma credit for taking that risk and producing an interesting, if distinctly esoteric, product.
Pros: Excellent levels of detail in ISO 100 images (irrespective of pixel count), Dynamic range comparable with its peers, Good lens with only minimal distortion and little chromatic aberration, Attractive minimalist styling, Good build quality, Greatly improved user interface (though still has its foibles), Usable Manual Focus mode (it's not fantastic though), Comprehensive range of accessories available (but no conversion lenses), Optional live histogram and highlight war...
Cons: Sluggish performance, Desaturated and 'flat' JPEG output, Unreliable White Balance, Green and magenta tints to parts of many images, Continuous mode only allows four shots per burst (three in RAW), Auto Focus struggles in low light (and there is no AF help light), Image quality drops sharply above ISO 800, Lens a little prone to flare (using the optional lens hood helps), Low resolution screen that is also prone to reflections and smearing, Low refresh rate results in...
Summary: Sigma made a bold move with the DP1. They stole a march on other manufacturers by inserting a DSLR-sized sensor into a compact body, and really caught the imagination of the market. The DP2 followed on where the DP1 left off, packing the same sensor with a slightly altered specification. The only issue with this continuation of the camera's identity is that a range of niggles that were existent of then previous model, as Sigma seem to have not attended to them.
Summary: Sigma's cameras have been designed for imaging geeks – and will only suit photographers who are prepared to shoot and work with X3F.RAW files. No other sensor can match the output from the latest Foveon chip, which is noticeably superior to the sensors in the DP Merrill series of cameras that pre-date the Quattro models.
Summary: It is clear that Sigma has created a niche camera in the DP2 Merrill. For its intended audience, the
camera works very well indeed. In good-contrast light, I have not seen such a high standard of performance from a camera at this level, and the DP2 outperforms many cameras above it, too. Furthermore, its handling when using the command dial is intuitive.