A User's Review of the Sigma DP2 Quattro


tomcat

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#1
The Sigma DP2 Quattro was quietly launched in Singapore on 25 Jun 14 (Fri) in limited quantities immediately following the official launch in Japan, making Singapore probably the second country in the world to sell it. I heard that it is also available in Malaysia since the sole agent is the same for both countries.

Locally, the camera comes bundled with an additional battery and a piece of wrapping cloth, something like the rainproof, multi-purpose wrapping cloth (CS-35) that Olympus sells for their OM-D cameras. The outer surface of the cloth is water-repellent while the inner surface functions as a cleaning cloth with water-absorbing properties. The inclusion of an additional battery (BP-51) is good as this is a new battery and there would be none available for sale for quite some time. But I do wish they would bundle the DP2Q with a small flash like they did with the DPxM cameras instead of the wrapping cloth (the reason why I would discuss later). The local price is not cheap but is similar to the current US pre-order price for the DP2Q.



Front

Back

DP2 Quattro Specifications[TABLE]
[TR]
[TD]Focal Length
[/TD]
[TD]30mm
[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD]35mm Equivalent Focal Length
[/TD]
[TD]Approx 45mm
[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD]Lens F number
[/TD]
[TD]F2.8-16
[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD]Number of Diaphragm Blades
[/TD]
[TD]9 Blades
[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD]Lens Construction
[/TD]
[TD]8 Elements in 6 Groups
[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD]Shooting Range
[/TD]
[TD]28cm-∞,
LIMIT Mode (For Macro, Portrait and Scenery)
[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD]Maximum Magnification Shooting
[/TD]
[TD]1:7.6
[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD]Dimensions
[/TD]
[TD]6.4in (W)x2.6in (H)x3.2in (D)/ 161.4mm (W)x67mm (H)x81.6mm (D)
[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD]Weight
[/TD]
[TD]13.9 oz/395g (without battery or memory card)
[/TD]
[/TR]
[/TABLE]

Common Specifications
[TABLE="width: 595"]
[TR]
[TD="width: 128"]
Image Sensor​
[/TD]
[TD="width: 468"]
Foveon X3 Direct Image Sensor (CMOS)​
[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD="width: 128"]
Image Sensor Size​
[/TD]
[TD="width: 468"]
23.5×15.7mm​
[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD="width: 128"]
Color Photo Detectors​
[/TD]
[TD="width: 468"]
Effective Pixels: Approx.29MPT (Top):5,424×3,616 / M (Middle):2,712×1,808 / B (Bottom):2,712×1,808Total Pixels: Approx.33MP​
[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD="width: 128"]
Storage Media​
[/TD]
[TD="width: 468"]
SD Card, SDHC Card, SDXC Card​
[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD="width: 128"]
File Format​
[/TD]
[TD="width: 468"]
Lossless compression RAW data (14-bit), JPEG (Exif2.3), RAW+JPEG​
[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD="width: 128"]
JPEG Image Quality​
[/TD]
[TD="width: 468"]
FINE、NORMAL、BASIC​
[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD="width: 128"]
Aspect Ratio​
[/TD]
[TD="width: 468"]
21:9、16:9、3:2、4:3、1:1​
[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD="width: 128"]
Number of Recording Pixels​
[/TD]
[TD="width: 468"]
RAW​
[TABLE="width: 429"]
[TR]
[TD="width: 51"][/TD]
[TD="width: 94"]
HIGH​
[/TD]
[TD="width: 284"]
T:5,424×3,616 / M:2,712×1,808 / B:2,712×1,808​
[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD="width: 51"][/TD]
[TD="width: 94"]
LOW​
[/TD]
[TD="width: 284"]
T:2,704×1,808 / M:2,704×1,808 / B:2,704×1,808​
[/TD]
[/TR]
[/TABLE]
JPEG[21:9]​
[TABLE="width: 429"]
[TR]
[TD="width: 51"][/TD]
[TD="width: 94"]
SUPER-HIGH​
[/TD]
[TD="width: 284"]
7,680×3,296​
[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD="width: 51"][/TD]
[TD="width: 94"]
HIGH​
[/TD]
[TD="width: 284"]
5,424×2,328​
[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD="width: 51"][/TD]
[TD="width: 94"]
LOW​
[/TD]
[TD="width: 284"]
2,704×1,160​
[/TD]
[/TR]
[/TABLE]
[16:9]​
[TABLE="width: 429"]
[TR]
[TD="width: 51"][/TD]
[TD="width: 94"]
SUPER-HIGH​
[/TD]
[TD="width: 284"]
7,680×4,320​
[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD="width: 51"][/TD]
[TD="width: 94"]
HIGH​
[/TD]
[TD="width: 284"]
5,424×3,048​
[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD="width: 51"][/TD]
[TD="width: 94"]
LOW​
[/TD]
[TD="width: 284"]
2,704×1,520​
[/TD]
[/TR]
[/TABLE]
[3:2]​
[TABLE="width: 429"]
[TR]
[TD="width: 51"][/TD]
[TD="width: 94"]
SUPER-HIGH​
[/TD]
[TD="width: 284"]
7,680×5,120​
[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD="width: 51"][/TD]
[TD="width: 94"]
HIGH​
[/TD]
[TD="width: 284"]
5,424×3,616​
[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD="width: 51"][/TD]
[TD="width: 94"]
LOW​
[/TD]
[TD="width: 284"]
2,704×1,808​
[/TD]
[/TR]
[/TABLE]
[4:3]​
[TABLE="width: 429"]
[TR]
[TD="width: 51"][/TD]
[TD="width: 94"]
SUPER-HIGH​
[/TD]
[TD="width: 284"]
6,816×5,120​
[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD="width: 51"][/TD]
[TD="width: 94"]
HIGH​
[/TD]
[TD="width: 284"]
4,816×3,616​
[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD="width: 51"][/TD]
[TD="width: 94"]
LOW​
[/TD]
[TD="width: 284"]
2,400×1,808​
[/TD]
[/TR]
[/TABLE]
[1:1]​
[TABLE="width: 429"]
[TR]
[TD="width: 51"][/TD]
[TD="width: 94"]
SUPER-HIGH​
[/TD]
[TD="width: 284"]
5,120×5,120​
[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD="width: 51"][/TD]
[TD="width: 94"]
HIGH​
[/TD]
[TD="width: 284"]
3,616×3,616​
[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD="width: 51"][/TD]
[TD="width: 94"]
LOW​
[/TD]
[TD="width: 284"]
1,808×1,808​
[/TD]
[/TR]
[/TABLE]
[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD="width: 128"]
ISO Sensitivity​
[/TD]
[TD="width: 468"]
ISO100~ISO6400 (1/3 steps for appropriate sensitivity), AUTO: High limit, low limit setting is possible between ISO100~ISO6400. When using with flash, it changes depending on the low limit setting.​
[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD="width: 128"]
White Balance​
[/TD]
[TD="width: 468"]
10 types (Auto, Auto (Lighting Source Priority), Daylight, Shade, Overcast, Incandescent, Fluorescent, Color Temperature, Flash, Custom)​
[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD="width: 128"]
Color Mode​
[/TD]
[TD="width: 468"]
11 types (Standard, Vivid, Neutral, Portrait, Landscape, Cinema, Sunset Red, Forest Green, FOV Classic Blue, FOV Classic Yellow, Monochrome)​
[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD="width: 128"]
Auto Focus Type​
[/TD]
[TD="width: 468"]
Contrast Detection Type​
[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD="width: 128"]
AF Point​
[/TD]
[TD="width: 468"]
9 points select mode, Free move mode (It is possible to change the size of Focus Frame to Spot, Regular and Large.) Face Detection AF mode​
[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD="width: 128"]
Focus Lock​
[/TD]
[TD="width: 468"]
Shutter release halfway-down position (AF lock can be done by AE lock button from menu setting)​
[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD="width: 128"]
Manual Focus​
[/TD]
[TD="width: 468"]
Focus Ring Type​
[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD="width: 128"]
Metering Systems​
[/TD]
[TD="width: 468"]
Evaluative Metering, Center-Weighted Average Metering, Spot Metering​
[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD="width: 128"]
Exposure Control System​
[/TD]
[TD="width: 468"]
(P) Program AE (Program Shift is possible), (S) Shutter Speed Priority AE, (A) Aperture Priority AE, (M) Manual​
[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD="width: 128"]
Exposure Compensation​
[/TD]
[TD="width: 468"]
±3EV (1/3 stop increments)​
[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD="width: 128"]
AE Lock​
[/TD]
[TD="width: 468"]
AE lock button​
[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD="width: 128"]
Auto Bracketing​
[/TD]
[TD="width: 468"]
Appropriate, under, over; 1/3EV steps up to ±3EV for appropriate exposure​
[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD="width: 128"]
Shutter Speed​
[/TD]
[TD="width: 468"]
1/2000* - 30sec. (*Depending on the aperture value, shutter speed changes)​
[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD="width: 128"]
Drive Modes​
[/TD]
[TD="width: 468"]
Single, Continuous, Self Timer (2sec. /10sec.) Interval timer​
[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD="width: 128"]
LCD Monitor Type​
[/TD]
[TD="width: 468"]
TFT color LCD monitor​
[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD="width: 128"]
Monitor Size​
[/TD]
[TD="width: 468"]
3.0 inches​
[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD="width: 128"]
LCD Pixels​
[/TD]
[TD="width: 468"]
Approx. 920,000 Pixels​
[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD="width: 128"]
LCD Monitor Language​
[/TD]
[TD="width: 468"]
English/ Japanese/ German/ French/ Spanish/Italian/ Chinese (Simplified)/Chinese (Traditional)/ Korean/ Russian/ Nederlands/ Polski/ Português/Dansk/ Svenska/ Norsk/ Suomi​
[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD="width: 128"][/TD]
[TD="width: 468"][/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD="width: 128"][/TD]
[TD="width: 468"][/TD]
[/TR]
[/TABLE]

So what are the differences between the DP2 Quattro and DP2 Merrill?
They are:
(1) Large image size: 5,424 x 3,616 pixels (DP2M: 4,704 x 3,136 pixels)
(2) Super high Resolution in JPEG mode: 7,680 x 3,296 pixels
(3) 14-bit Lossless compression RAW data (DP2M : 12-bit)
(4) New TRUE III image processing engine (DP2M : TRUE II)
(5) More aspect ratios besides the normal 3:2 (21:9, 16:9, 4:3, 1:1)
(6) Additional Color Modes : Cinema, Sunset Red, Forest Green, FOV Classis Yellow
(7) Auto ISO now ranges from ISO 100 to ISO 1,600 (DP2M : ISO 200 to ISO 800)
(8) Electronic level display
(9) Filter Size: 58mm (DP2M : 49mm)
(10) New and larger battery BP-51
(11) Requires Sigma Photo Pro 6 for RAW conversion (Note: Currently, SPP 6.01 only supports the Merrill cameras. Other older Sigma DP cameras would only be supported in SPP 6.1)
(12) DP2Q does not support video recording ! (Shocking omission ! :eek:)
 

Last edited:
Likes: catchlights

rhino123

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#3
My popcons and diet coke is in hand and I am on my sofa waiting :p
 

rhino123

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#6
But I have not really started posting the review proper yet..... :)
Saw the cat photo you took in the Sigma subforum... really really tempted...
 

rhino123

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#8
If you want image quality like that, the Merrill cameras will do already. ;)
True... but the Quattro is newer and kind of a head turner... Hahahaha. ;)
 

tomcat

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#9
DP2 Quattro Review...

Flash Compatibility Issues

As I mentioned earlier, the local DP2 Quattro was not bundled with a free flash unit unlike the DP Merrill cameras. So I thought of testing out the small flash EF-140 DG SA-STTL which I got with my DPxM cameras on the DP2Q.... and that ruined my mood for the entire weekend.

I was perplexed to find that the EF-140 DG did not seem to work on the DP2Q in TTL mode at all. Almost every shot came out severely under-exposed with this flash. I was getting worried that there is something wrong with my camera. Then, I read the user manual again and found that the mini flash that would work on the DP2M is the EF-140S SA-STTL which has not been released yet and not the EF-140 DG SA-STTL.

Then I tried the EF-610 DG Super flash and luckily, it works on the DP2Q..... as well as it did on the DP Merrill and the SD-1 Merrill cameras anyway. Even on these cameras, the EF-610 DG Super had to be dialed down 2/3 EV to get proper exposure and that's in TTL mode. Similarly on the DP2Q, the flash compensation on the EF-610 has to be set at -2/3EV as well. :what: That DP2Q cat photo that I posted in the Sigma sub-forum was lit by flash light bounced from the EF-610.

Personally, I find the Sigma flash system to be poorly implemented. I had a similar problem with the SD-1 Merrill. Although the user's manual had indicated that older models of their flash units are supported, I found that my SD-1 just would not work with my EF-530 DG Super. Even the local service centre was at a loss to explain why as they couldn't find any fault with either the flash or the camera body. In the end, I had to buy a unit of EF-610 DG Super so that I could have the luxury of bounced flash photography (although I still have to set the flash compensation at -2/3EV as mentioned earlier). The little EF-140 DG worked properly on the SD-1 by the way.

So owners of DP Merrill cameras with the EF-140 DG, if you are considering buying into the DP2Q, please be forewarned that that flash will not work on the new camera. Who knows... maybe Sigma Singapore might bundle the new flash free with future stocks of the DP2Q when it is available. ;)
 

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tomcat

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#10
Comparison with DP2 Merrill

1. Operation

(a) Start-up
The DP2Q starts up much faster the DP2M. The camera is ready within about 1 - 1.5 sec from power-up, quite similar to most other cameras currently available. The DP2M takes a bit longer.

(b) Saving to SD Card
Although the DP2Q is touted to be able to process much faster than the Merrill cameras due to the different sensor and image processing engine, I find that it still takes a longer time to save to disk than other cameras in the market.. and I'm using a very fast card some more. It is better than the DP2M noticeably though.

(c) Autofocus capability
Under brightly lit conditions, there is not much separating the DP2Q and DP2M in AF speed. But under low light conditions, the DP2Q will still autofocus when the DP2M would have given up the effort. It also helps that the DP2Q now come equipped with an AF Assist lamp whereas there is none on the Merrill cameras. However this AF Assist lamp is only effective if the centre AF point is used. If any of the points on the 2 sides are selected, the AF Assist function doesn't work, mainly because the lamp's light coverage is mainly in the centre of the frame and does not reach the sides to illuminate the subject sufficiently for those AF points there to work their magic.

2 High ISO capability

Sigma's Foveon sensor-based cameras are long known to have poor high ISO capability. Apart from a higher image resolution, the new sensor in the DP2Q is supposed to improve the camera's high ISO capability as well. I don't recommend shooting at higher than ISO 1600 though.

In this respect, I'm happy to report that the high ISO capability of the DP2Q is indeed better than that of the DP2M but don't expect it to match that of the other Bayer sensor-based cameras in the market though.

For comparison between the DP2Q and DP2m, consider these 2 images taken under the same (horrible warm PL fluorescent) lighting condition...


Quattro: 1/8s f/2.8 at 30.0mm ISO 1600


Merrill: 1/13s f/2.8 at 30.0mm ISO 1600

Note: I can't shoot the subject as close in the case of the DP2M as it wouldn't focus that close.

I had hoped for much better high ISO capability in the DP2Q as I have been spoilt lately by the superb high ISO capability of my other cameras like the Nikon Df and even the Olympus EM1. But the improvement in high ISO capability in the DP2Q is now enough to allow me to do food photography under Auto-ISO mode with this camera. Take these shoots for example.


1/50s f/3.5 at 30.0mm ISO 800
Penang Char Kway Teow


1/60s f/3.5 at 30.0mm ISO 800
Buah Long Long Juice


1/60s f/3.5 at 30.0mm ISO 400
 

longj49

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#11
Very informative updates, tomcat, thanks for sharing. I guess my expectations were a little too high. Now I know I should have kept my two Merrills.
 

tomcat

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#12
Comparison With DP2 Merrill

3. Image Quality

Shot side by side, the OOC images out of the DP2Q and DP2M can look quite different. This is because of the difference in the respective camera's choice of default exposure, contrast, sharpness settings as well as differences in white balance. To my eyes, DP2M images look colder with slight magenta cast while DP2Q images seem to be warmer and more natural.

There have been much discussions on dpreview concerning the differences in the image quality between the DP2Q and DP2M. Generally, it has been observed that the DP2M images tend to have more micro-contrasts while the DP2Q images have nicer colours and smoother tonality. It has also been reported that the loss of micro-contrasts in the DP2Q might be due to the application of too much noise reduction in SPP 6.
http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/53938066
http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/53929603
http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/53943393
http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/53955459

I do agree that the DP2Q images can look overly processed straight out of SPP 6 and the default noise reduction of DP2Q RAW files can be a bit too much resulting in the loss of micro-contrasts and smearing of details in the converted jpeg files. Turning off noise reduction during RAW processing can certainly help to retain more micro-contrasts and fine details in DP2Q images.

For those who like to pixel-peep Foveon images to see all the itsy-bitsy little details in their full glory, here's are a couple of images taken with both the DP2Q and DP2M in reduced and full resolution.for comparison. The DP2Q images were converted from RAW with noise reduction turned off in SPP 6 and their size was reduced to that of DP2M for better comparison.


Quattro
Full resolution: http://www.pbase.com/pschia/image/156396391/original.jpg


Merrill
Full resolution: http://www.pbase.com/pschia/image/156396392/original.jpg


Quattro
Full resolution: http://www.pbase.com/pschia/image/156396394/original.jpg


Merrill
Full resolution: http://www.pbase.com/pschia/image/156396395/original.jpg

 

Last edited:

longj49

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Jul 3, 2005
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#13
Thanks for the comparison photos tomcat. To my very bad eyesight the Merrills do seem to pull more detail. For now I will give the Quattro a pass, and hope for a better iteration in the not so distant future.
 

tomcat

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#15
Despite what people may say about the resolution of details between the Quattro and the Merrill, the Quattro still managed to pack quite a wallop in detail resolution in its images.
Take for example this image and the 100% crops of 2 portions of it:



 

tomcat

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#16
4. JPEG Image Processing Engine

The JPEG image processing engine of the DP2Q is very much improved over that of the DP2M. Gone are the days when Sigma Foveon sensor based cameras cannot be depended upon to produce good jpeg outputs and must only be used in RAW mode.

Take for example this jpeg image from the DP2Q.



Both the DP2Q and DP2M were used to shoot this subject from the same position. The output from the DP2M tended to be more under-exposed and had a poorer auto white balance. After correcting for levels and colour balance and reducing the output from the DP2Q to a size similar to that of the DP2M, a 100% crop was compared and the results speak for themselves.



Clubsnap reduces the size of image posted, so to see the 100% crops in their proper proportions, use this link instead.
http://www.pbase.com/pschia/image/156487313/original.jpg
 

Last edited:

longj49

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#18
Thanks for the very informative reviews and pin-sharp images, tomcat. You have really put in a lot of effort with these.

As a seasoned user, would you recommend owners of DP2M to switch/upgrade to the DP2Q?

Since I enjoy shooting landscapes and architecture, I may be looking to the upcoming DP1Q.
 

tomcat

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#19
Thanks for the very informative reviews and pin-sharp images, tomcat. You have really put in a lot of effort with these.

As a seasoned user, would you recommend owners of DP2M to switch/upgrade to the DP2Q?

Since I enjoy shooting landscapes and architecture, I may be looking to the upcoming DP1Q.
If the decision is just based purely on image quality, there is not much justification to get the DP2Q if you have the DP2M.
But the Quattro has some improvements or enhancements over the Merrill:
(a) Better AWB and colours
(b) Better OOC jpeg
(c) Higher resolution
(d) Improved high ISO performance
(e) Faster image processing and file saving
(f) RAW processing with SPP6 has more functions:
(i) Can store up to 3 different settings for each RAW file
(ii) Over-exposure Correction
(iii) Additional colour modes - Forest Green, Sunset Red, Foveon Classic Yellow & Cinema
If these are also desirable to you, then the decision may be harder to make. ;)
 

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rhino123

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#20
Excellent review Tomcat. Yeah... and you didn't make things easier for me... now I am torn between Merrill and Quattro ;)

Both have excellent IQ and great handling, although the Quattro are a bit more 'futuristic' in look. I would prefer Merrill for being more discrete though... and not too much of a head turner...

Anyway, to the shop again...
 

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