Stock Photography - EVF for the Sigma DP2 Quattro - It's ugly, it's almost as big as the camera, but it works.


A somewhat less glamorous view of the English canal system, but one that has proved successful for me in terms of stock photography sales. I used the Sigma DP2 Quattro and tried out the very odd combination below to give myself a decent viewfinder.

As you can see the addition of my Carry Speed Video Loupe makes the Quattro look more like a video camera. But then it's a pretty odd looking camera anyway. It is a somewhat ugly solution, not because of the aesthetics of it, which I quite like, but because of the lack of elegance and efficient design that a built-in or even add-on EVF would provide. However again, the Quattro isn't a particularly elegant camera anyway.

Operationally this does actually work very well. Those of you who have never used a video loupe on a live view screen won't really appreciate that you get a BIG viewfinder images. Not quite the quality you might expect from a dedicated EVF, but for composing it's seriously good. 

However, the problems start when you consider how Sigma choose to put this Foveon system together. If, for example I was tempted by the DP0 14mm wide-angle or DP3 50mm + adapter, what do I do? Do I buy three Carry Speed loupes and a really big camera bag or take the viewfinder off every time I want to use a different camera / lens? Using the Sigma optical viewfinders throws up the same problem. If I want three cameras / lenses do I buy three viewfinders? Or do I just use the cameras like compact cameras or smartphones, holding the thing out in front of me? If I do that of course, I will suffer in terms of the slowest shutter speed I can use because the camera has no IBIS. 

So is this a tripod only camera or one that can only be used in good light with high shutter speeds? Well I guess it is and that's why, much as I'd like to try the two options I mentioned above, I will probably follow the same course I've always done with all Sigma Foveon cameras I've owned, Buy it > rave about the IQ > get fed up with the compromises I have to make > sell it! The point being that it really shouldn't be this way. Sure the IQ at low ISO's is fabulous, but if I want other options than this one lens, things get unnecessarily difficult. 

Now I've got a lot of time for Sigma, both for their current lens range and the Foveon sensor, but I believe they have got this seriously wrong and are struggling to get the best from this Foveon technology. There was the debacle of the SD1 and it's ridiculous pricing and the consequent huge price reduction and compensation for the (few) people who actually bought it at almost £6000. They then seem to have decided to go the compact route. But this idea of three (or now four) different cameras is hardly likely to increase sales dramatically. In fact I'm sure it will put most people off.

I really wasn't going to buy the Quattro, but seeing some images made me think again. However the same frustrations are there as with the DP Merrills. And like with those cameras, I'm more or less having to force myself to go out and use this one. And yes I get great results and it's actually fun using the camera, but all the time I'm thinking 'Wish I had a wide-angle here' or 'This really needs a telephoto.' And as I wrote in my Open letter to Sigma yesterday I really do not want to carry two, three or four cameras around with me and I can't really see who would. You have to be really dedicated to the 'Foveon look' to put up with what is after all a poorly thought out and inconvenient way to design a camera system. 

I may yet hang on to this camera, I may even buy one or more of the other options, but if I do I will do that in spite of the way the system has been put together, rather than because of it. I don't think that's a good way to establish a long term relationship with photographers and ensure 'customer satisfaction' in fact I think it's making that very difficult. Particularly when you realise that there ARE alternatives. There is no reason why the cameras can't have EVF's, interchangeable and / or zoom lenses. The way it's done currently is Sigma's choice. The problem with that is potential customers will make their choices too. And the general consensus seems to be 'I can't be bothered with that.' Because creating images shouldn't be as difficult and complicated as Sigma seem to want it to be with this system.

And it is a real shame and for me a missed opportunity and loathe as I am to write this, maybe Sigma should consider selling this technology on to someone who can market it in a way that will attract rather than repel potential buyers. In other words, do it properly!!