Featured: 'Sigma DP2 Quattro Test Shoot Pics and First Impressions' by ggibson

Discussion in 'Open Gear Talk' started by ggibson, Jul 11, 2014.

  1. ggibson

    ggibson SC Regular

    Sep 14, 2011
    My test shoot DP2 Quattro arrived the other day and I've played around with it and grabbed some shots--enough to give a first-look impression of the camera and the images it can produce.

    The camera itself is a strange, modern design, that much is plainly obvious from just looking at it. I think Sigma wanted this camera to look as different on the outside as they feel it is on the inside! Ergonomically, the design is pretty poor, in my opinion. The "grip" does not really fit the hand well, and is shorter than I would really like it to be to get a firm hold on it. It's usable enough, but don't imagine that it conforms to your hand in some unforseen way. On the plus side, the dials are relatively accessible with one hand (more the front dial than the rear) and operate with nice clicks. In fact, despite the awkward shape, the camera feels extremely well-made. The material has a coarse, but high-quality feel to it, and the camera has a nice heft to it. Unfortunately, the weight of the Quattro combined with the unstable grip means it's pretty difficult to operate one-handed. That's fine though, since this is not a run & gun camera...

    So what's it like in use? Pretty much like all Sigma cameras have been, in my experience (I had a DP1X at one time). Slow to focus and slow to take the shot, and slow to take the next one. In practice just for walking around, the shot-to-shot is fine, but compared to anything else on the market this camera doesn't know what "burst rate" is. Make no mistake, this camera will dissappoint you many times if your subject is moving around at all. Like all Sigma cameras, this camera asks if you would please slow down and just take your time?

    If you do move at Sigma's pace however, the camera will reward you with what can only be described as stunning image quality. Rich colors, amazing details, and creamy "bokeh"! The 30mm f2.8 lens on this camera is incredibly sharp and provides nice opportunities for close-focus. The foveon sensor is where the real magic happens, however, and I do believe that the Quattro is Sigma's best yet. The color tones are accurate and capture the feeling of the scene well. Some have complained that the Quattro sensor can't match the Merrill in micro-contrast, but I find no shortage of details in the images that I'm reviewing. All-in-all, if there's a tradeoff in micro-contrast, I think it may be worth the improvements in color, resolution, and ISO performance.

    I do have a Sony A7 that I'll be comparing with the Quattro shortly, but I'll save that for later. So enough of my first impressions, here are some images of what the Sigma can do!

    More here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/grahamgibson/sets/72157645675562273/




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  2. Fiddler

    Fiddler SC Veteran

    Dec 5, 2010
    Edinburgh, Scotland
    Real Name:
    They look fabulous to me.
  3. pniev

    pniev Student for life

    Jun 10, 2013
    Indeed. Thanks for sharing your impressions
  4. ReD

    ReD SC Hall of Famer

    Mar 27, 2013
    Thanks nice to see

    are these all hand held?
  5. Andrewteee

    Andrewteee SC All-Pro

    Jul 8, 2010
    Thanks for the write-up; like many, I'm very curious about this camera. The design has always looked odd and not quite right. But inside, sounds like it's there. What I am most curious about is the B&W conversions. BTW how is the latest version of SPP - any improvement in speed and stability?

    Is that a reservoir East of the Bay area behind Tilden Park?
  6. ggibson

    ggibson SC Regular

    Sep 14, 2011
    Yep, all hand-held. I've left it on Auto-ISO so far. It seems to decrease shutter speed to 1/60 and then increase ISO, which I've found to be pretty good for handholding this lens and achieving sharp results. I took a couple throwaway shots at ISO 800 and 1600 to test out the other night. ISO 800 was so-so in color, but the 1600 shot was pretty bad. Both converted very well to black and white using SPP's monochrome settings. Any banding or blotchy-ness in the color versions goes away, and the results look very nice.

    Speaking of SPP, version 6 seems to be working about as well as any version I've ever used before (I've used v3-6 now). It's still pretty slow to load all of the changes when you bring up a new image or change color modes (std, vivid, natural...), but adjusting the sliders is fast if you're viewing the non-full-size version. No crashes so far, and I've edited probably 30-40 images. The workflow of bringing the files into SPP, exporting them as TIFFs, importing into Lightroom, and then exporting the final JPGs to upload is still very cumbersome though. I've been shooting RAW+JPG so that I can preview and cull the JPGs quickly, which helps to cut down on time spent waiting for SPP to load! The JPGs do come out pretty nicely, though not as flexible for post-processing.

    Andrew--Good eye on spotting where the reservoir shot was taken! I live in the East Bay and took a drive around yesterday morning to take some of these shots. I'll probably go out again tonight for some sunset/night shots and compare to my A7.
  7. retow

    retow SC All-Pro

    Jul 24, 2010
    With all due respect, how can you conclude on improvement in colors, resolution and iso performance with having owned a DP1x at some time but not a DP2 Merrill?
  8. ggibson

    ggibson SC Regular

    Sep 14, 2011
    Ah, sorry for any miscommunication. I don't claim to compare it to the Merrills on my own (as I've only edited others' Merrill RAW files), but I'm only repeating Sigma's and other's claims of improvement in these areas. If there is a tradeoff, I think the output I'm seeing has plenty of micro-contrast.
  9. retow

    retow SC All-Pro

    Jul 24, 2010
    All one can conclude yet, is that the M renders quite a bit more micro contrast as a number of direct and online accessible comparisons demonstrate and that the Q offers a slightly higher resolution. Better iso performance and improvements in color have yet to be seen. Some early testers, who are experienced Merrill users conclude that iso performance is not improved.
    Your pics are very nice, but the one with the dog could have been taken e.g. with a Sony RX1r. It seems that the Q looses some of the Foveon sensor`s uniqueness and becomes more "interchangeable" with an excellent bayer sensor, yet without offering the advantages of the latter. It`s too early to jump to conclusions, but if the Q is doing what a Sony Rx1(r) can do without a sweat at lower iso (i.e. the Sigma output may be competitive at lower iso but only starting at f4 FF equivalent shallow dof and inferior DR), it will be a tough sell imo.
  10. Garylh

    Garylh SC Veteran

    I was thinking maybe Briones area when I saw the shot.


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  11. ggibson

    ggibson SC Regular

    Sep 14, 2011
    In my comparisons, the output is definitely very different from my A7, with the characteristic micro-contrast/detail of a Foveon image. So it looks good, but yes some might prefer the Merrill sensor more it seems. Anyways, there are definitely a lot of people out there who can provide their comparison and opinion on that. I'm just here to say that Quattro hasn't lost all of that "Foveon magic." :smile:

    Anyways, here are two last shots that I took before sending the camera back on Monday:

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