Sigma DP1 Quattro Review

November 11, 2014 | Mark Goldstein |


Sigma continue to take a solitary path with the new DP1 Quattro, remaining the only camera manufacturer to use the Foveon sensor technology. Despite some improvements to the processing speed, the Sigma DP1 Quattro is still a rather slow camera that's really only suited to static or slow-moving subjects, while the rather radical new design favours image quality over usability (apparently moving the memory card and battery away from the sensor helps to improve the former) - suffice to say, we didn't really get on with the much bigger DP1 Quattro with its awkward grip.

Despite those misgivings, though, the images that the DP1 Quattro produces are simply outstanding, by far the best images that we've seen from a mere compact camera and even rivaling a high-end DSLR with an equivalent and expensive prime lens. The DP1 Quattro may take a lot of getting used to, but it certainly takes great pictures.

The Foveon X3 Quattro sensor, whether you believe it to have the 39 megapixels that Sigma claim or or the native 20 megapixels of the top blue/luminance layer, and the prime 19mm lens deliver stunningly sharp, high-resolution images that are better even than the previous DP1 Merrill. Chromatic aberrations are once again non-existent on the DP1 Quattro, testament to the excellent prime lens, which is also the reason for the almost complete lack of pincushion or barrel distortion, and the fast maximum aperture of f/2.8 is very welcome.

So once again, it's a case of image quality to the rescue for the DP1 Quattro - the 3-layer Foveon technology really does deliver a different look to cameras with Bayer sensors, a look that we like a lot. Only you can decide if this is enough to persuade you to splash out quite a lot of cash for an undeniably quirky, pared-back camera with a fixed focal-length lens that is really only suited to a slower, more considered approach. If that sounds like your cup of tea, then you won't be disappointed by the breath-taking images that the Sigma DP1 Quattro is capable of...

4 stars

Ratings (out of 5)
Design 3
Features 3.5
Ease-of-use 3
Image quality 5
Value for money 3.5