On location with the Sigma DP2 Quattro - shooting jpgs.

Shooting with the Sigma DP2 Quattro mounted on a tripod using the base ISO of 100 gave me some idea of just what this camera is capable of. Even on a dull day the images produced are rich in colour with superb resolution.

Life is far too short to bother with Sigma Photo Pro. I have tried it and it gives a very marginal quality advantage over the out of camera jpgs. which are very good indeed. That advantage virtually disappears when I turn off raw file selection and opt for the double sized interpolated jpgs. 

Now how people can assert that these are anything other than seriously sharp is beyond me. This is from an APS-C sensor producing an interpolated file in camera and as you can see from the above 100% blowup the camera and 30mm lens turns out jaw dropping files. 

I did come up with some parameters for tweaking the jpg. files in Adobe Camera Raw, but I've pretty much given up on that idea because the camera jpgs. are so good, which I find difficult to better. This has the advantage of speeding up the whole process of shooting, editing and uploading my images to the picture libraries who sell my work.

It's also possible to select a variety of image sizes from 1:1 to a rather nice 7:3 panoramic ratio. Even the 1:1 crop produces a huge 75MB file, so this internal upsizing is VERY useful for me. These crop selections increase the options for a fixed lens camera and while it's possible to crop in post production I always prefer to select the crop when shooting for the purposes of getting the composition right. 

This is the somewhat 'old school' option of getting everything right in camera and cutting down the editing workflow to a minimum. This process therefore turns the camera into a fast operator, somewhat surprisingly. This is achieved by the fact that firstly the metering is spot on and secondly by the fact that the internal jpg. processing turns out files that require very little levels adjustment in terms of contrast, that is much more akin to shooting transparency film than the 'elasticity' of digital. 'Buy a Sigma Foveon sensor camera and cut down on your editing time' is hardly something I expected, but I'm pleased to say for me that is indeed true. 

A couple of other things to report. The screen is nice and bright outdoors and is actually a pleasure to use. Access to the camera controls and menus is also 'fiddle free' which was just as well considering it was very cold and after only a few minutes my fingers started to loose sensation. 

This kind of work is probably where the Sigma DP2 Quattro excels. Slow considered landscape work using a tripod. When sigma brought out the SD1 DSLR they contended that this was Medium Format quality (and of course initially priced the camera accordingly) and while that is still somewhat of an exaggeration the Quattro gives a pretty good impression of a high MP large sensor camera capable of producing very high resolution files. 

As you can see from the above diagram these upsized jpgs. are huge and probably capable of A0 reproduction. Certainly good enough for any printing needs that my pictures will be used for. 

I've certainly noticed an improvement in jpg. files from virtually all the cameras I've using recently and I'm certainly appreciative of this. It cuts my workload down considerably without compromising on quality and while in the past I was very much a RAW only photographer that has certainly changed. And far from the jpg. files from the Quattro not doing the sensor justice, Sigma have obviously put some thought into creating theses interpolated files and come up with a very welcome alternative to the appallingly slow Photo Pro software. This does come at a price since these 39MP jpgs, are pretty large for storage purposes mostly coming out at 20+ MB's. But considering that the raw files are 50+ MB's this is a saving.

So a very encouraging first batch of images and I know I'm going to like what this camera turns out. The fact that it can do this in a way that actually cuts rather than increases the time I have to spend processing is a very welcome bonus.


As a full-time photographer I make my living from selling images on Stock Photography sites. Writing this blog and doing the comparison tests takes time away from that and earns me very little. If you find what you read here of interest, then you can help me to fund the gear I buy to review, by clicking on the adsense banners, donating and / or buying your gear from the affiliate links. You don't pay any extra, I get a small commission. 

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There is an interesting article on the BBC website HERE, which deals with many of the issues above.

Many Thanks

David Taylor-Hughes