Sigma Quattro

Ever the ones these days to spring surprises, this is the update to the DP Merrills. Extraordinary design with the huge lump on the right of the camera housing what Sigma say is a new more powerful battery.

So that addresses one of the major drawbacks of cameras using the Foveon sensor. Obviously no information yet as to how many shots you can get from the camera per battery, but with my DP Merrills I was carrying 5 spares for a days shooting so it won't be difficult to improve on that.

There is another huge difference as well. The three layer Foveon sensor has been altered in terms of the proportion of information from each layer. Instead of equal weight given to each Sigma have changed this to a 4:1:1 ratio, which they claim leads to faster processing and much better high ISO performance. The file size is also increased from 14MP to 19MP. 

Now Sigma claim that this will still give the same image quality, sharpness and colour depth of the previous Sigma sensor while addressing the issues that made the DP Merrills both wonderful cameras and incredibly frustrating ones at the same time. It's still the same line-up as with the previous models. There are three with 19mm, 30mm and 50mm lenses. This is from the Sigma press release:-
'The dp series comprises three fixed focal length cameras, each of which features a different basic focal length for a different fundamental photographic approach: the wide-angle dp1 Quattro at 19mm, the standard dp2 Quattro at 30mm, and the medium telephoto dp3 Quattro at 50mm (respectively equivalent to 28mm, 45mm, and 75mm on a 35mm lens). Moreover, the three models share an exciting new camera body that brings out the best performance from the lens and image sensor.

It’s a simple but powerful lineup that delivers medium format-level image quality anywhere, anytime. Take all three with you and select as needed for the perfect shot. Only the dp series puts so much luxurious photographic potential in your hands.'

So they are very much pushing the line that suggests you use and think of them more or less as buying three separate lenses with image capture and a processor bolted on. Maybe this means they might be cheaper than the Merrills??

Obviously no-one has the faintest idea, apart from Sigma, as to whether this will all work as advertised. But Sigma have a good track record these days in terms of innovation that lives up to expectation and if that is continued we could end up with a pretty unique set of cameras and a different way of approaching picture-taking. I was a huge fan of the DP Merrills image quality at base ISO but found it difficult to deal with pretty much everything else, so this is something that looks very interesting indeed. The 14MP images that the previous cameras produced when upsized to D800E (and now of course Sony A7r) pixel counts looked virtually the same, so you can get an idea of just how good they were.

 However the images from these new cameras will need show a significant improvement on that to make me jump in and buy them again. Medium-Format quality from something that looks that bizarre? Who knows. But you have to give Sigma a lot of credit for trying to make this work. Oh and by the way, can I PLEASE have one to test?

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