Boasting a 14MP Foveon sensor, found in the brand's DSLRs, as well as a fixed focal length 41mm lens, the DP2X promises excellent images. However, how does the rest of the specification shape up and the retro design shape up when tested?
Sigma DP2X review – Features and Design
The Sigma DP2X features the 14-megapixel Foveon X3 direct image sensor seen on the previous incarnations in the series – it boasts three layers that capture colour information at different levels and at 20.7 x 13.8mm it’s significantly larger than most competitor compacts. The large sensor is accompanied by a TRUE II image processor which takes care of processing speed and image quality.
What improvements there are between the DP2s and DP2X are found underneath the hood. The model features a new analogue front end (AFE) which, Sigma claims, will improve image quality, as well as an improved and faster autofocus system.
The large image sensor is one of the characteristic features of the DP series, with the other being the fixed-focal-length lens. The DP2X offers a 24.2mm, or 41mm in equivalent terms, focal length lens with a maximum aperture of f/2.8. There’s an ISO range of 50-800 that is extendable up to 3200 in Raw capture, a 2.5in LCD screen with a disappointingly low resolution of 230k-dot, while the only shooting modes are PASM – quite apart from the intelligent auto and scene modes found on most compact cameras these days. Also missing is HD video capture.
The Sigma DP2X is slightly larger than a typical advanced compact, although it is markedly smaller than other cameras boasting a similarly-sized sensor. The body design is markedly utilitarian with more than a hint of cameras of yore – the top is relatively sparsely populated with a hotshoe, sturdy mode dial, power and shutter release buttons, while the back houses the remaining controls, including a manual focus selection wheel. The body sits well in the hand, while the black finish with white markings and red highlights is refreshingly clean.
Image Quality, Value and Verdict
Sigma DP2X review – Image Quality and Value
combined benefits of the fixed lens and large sensor, as well as the
AFE system, all combine to produce some excellent images. Sharpness is
consistent throughout the frame with very little softening appearing
towards the corners. Images display a fantastic tonal range that’s
really striking, as well as a good dynamic range. One criticism is that
ISO performance isn’t as good as it could be at the top end of the
scale, although up to ISO 800 is perfectly usable.
At some £450, the
DP2X has a pretty high price tag considering the specification. Outside
of the large sensor and high-quality lens, the spec is very much on the
Sigma DP2X review – Verdict
The Sigma DP2X has a lot of holes in its specification and improves very little on the DP2s with regards to a feature set and specification, but if you’re an enthusiast and you’re willing to make sacrifices for great image quality, the DP2X could well be an advanced compact for you.
Auto, custom, 6 preset
2.5 in, 230k-dot
20.7 x 13.8 mm Foveon CMOS sensor
Evaluative, centre-weighted, spot
Program, aperture, shutter, manual
USB 2, AV, Audio out
Forced, red-eye, slow-sync
Li – ION BP-31
100 – 800 (extendable to 3200)
113 x 60 x 50 mm
1/2000 – 15 sec
JPEG, Raw, QVGA