Sigma DP Quattro in the house!

 Sigma DP Quattro in the house! 


Today the UPS guy brought me a package from B&H Photo with a shiny brand new Sigma DP Quattro, so this is an EARLY 1st look with a few snaps from around my house in the past 30 minutes. THIS IS NOT MY REVIEW, that will be coming soon.

In the past I have used the Sigma DP cameras and while I have always enjoyed the image quality from these little powerhouses I always hated the design, the cheap feel, the super slow operation, the cranky autofocus, awful high ISO performance and the awful battery life. The DP2 Merrill was jaw dropping for static subjects in good light but everything else, forget it.

When Sigma announced the DP2 Quattro and shown everyone what it would look like the reactions were split in the photography world. Some thought it was super cool and others thought it was ridiculously ugly. I was in the “super cool” camp, but hey, I am cool, so what can I say? Lol.

As soon as I saw the design and read that many of the issues were fixed with the Sigma DP cameras I had to take a look because I LOVE when camera manufacturers think outside of the box, and there is nothing like the design of the DP2 Quattro. In fact, it may be one of those cameras that end up as a classic just due to the design. I would not be surprised to see it in a camera museum in 30 years.

One thing that really irked me with the previous DP2 Merrill that I reviewed (see it here) was the AF speed. It was a camera only good for static subjects, period. I can state that after just taking 20 snaps with the Quattro, the AF is indeed faster than the previous DP cameras. Is it fast enough? No, not really. It will not be a camera one grabs to snap their running kids. Instead, it is really made for things like beautiful landscapes and colors, along with portraits. The Foveon sensor is very special for thing such as this as the detail and quality of file it can pump out at base ISO in good light is extraordinary.

High ISO also suffers with the Sigma DP series and I can say that the Quattro looks better at ISO 800 than the previous model but at the same time, I have noticed that for color work, nothing over ISO 800 will do. For B&W, even ISO 3200 can look good. Even so, I can tell that the Quattro will not be a threat to the amazing Sony A7s for low light shooting.

In the hand the Quattro feels good, looks cool but different and is faster than any previous DP series camera. While still slow, the new Foveon sensor inside is pumping out beautiful color and details even when shooting JPEG mode (all I have tested so far). One thing I already dislike is the fact  that there is no viewfinder of any kind, no swivel LCD and the side SD card door is not a door but a piece of rubber that will break off eventually after so many card changes. Not sure who thought up that design but for me, it is a fail. I can already tell that if the DP Quattro had an EVF, swivel LCD and an SD card door, I would buy one without hesitation.

A few images below, all JPEG from the Quattro within 30 minutes of it arriving to my house. My full review will be up in about two weeks. You can order the Quattro HERE.

ALL JPEGS from the Sigma DP Quattro





Below an image resized to 1800 pixels wide, shot in B&W mode with the Quattro, JPEG..then a 100% crop! Click them for larger, how they were meant to be seen. 


and the 100% crop (you MUST click on it) in JPEG mode. Pretty damn good for JPEG mode!


The color right from the camera in 1X1 mode


and another 1X1 shot with 100% crop embedded. Must click it to see it correctly. ALL JPEG!


iso 3200 B&W mode




    Mimic the way you hold a camera (non medieum format)
    You cock wrist up = stress point lower wrist
    You bend thumb behind camera = stress point base of thumb to wrist
    You cock index finder for shutter – stress point on index finger.


    imagine NONE of these stress points when you hold camera
    No cocking No bending


    When you extend you camera holding hand look at your hand in its natural position.
    See how the thumb naturally wrests.
    See how the your fingers naturally fold in
    See how your palm makes a groove.


  2. Agree with Steve.

    Handled Quattro yesterday in london.
    If it had swivel lcd it would an instant buy …
    really they way the grip sits in hand with thumb falling on shutter
    it begs to have a swivel lcd.

    Gorgous design and feel and fit in hand.

  3. Handled Quattro in London yesterday.
    Wonderful design.
    Very easy on the hand when placing thumb on shutter ..
    thats the way to hold and shoot quattor (NOT index finger).

    Vertical horizonal very easy snug fit on hand.


  4. I love the way these cameras render!! I think these Foveon cameras are the ONLY cameras where I see the image, and I can kinda tell they are from a Foveon sensor….

  5. I can say that even with your quick snapshots I am looking at something special. It has been a while since I shot my DP1. It does its thing under its favored conditions extraordinarily well.

  6. I have looked at the other reviews: with my big hands this looks as a better option than many other cameras (I like big cameras. A mamiya 7 feels about right). There is a method available of turning the x3f files into .tiff and then processing further for those of us who use macs reluctantly and refuse to use windows (see ).

    But this is one time I really want to see the real life reviews: whatever I get next has to replace the Ricoh GXR as a lightweight camera for tramping (hiking) in all weathers. And there better be an arca plate available for it 🙂

    • You can’t. Luckily its not like you really need an OVF for studio shooting as your not going to have harsh sun that makes the LCD hard to read etc. Additionally, given the parallax errors on OVF causes, I would think you’d want to be shooting with the LCD for accurate framing anyways. Not knocking OVF’s, as they are a nice tool for hyperfocal street style shooting, but I just don’t equate a “dumb” OVF with studio work.

      • I think he was talking about an EVF since it’s 2014 and this is a mirrorless camera 😉

  7. The SPP software is not finished, version 6.1 will be the final … It is a bit worrying that Sigma brings out a camera with no finished fw or software, there are many problems with processing the Quattro raw files, I wish you good luck with those 🙂 ! But I think it will be a very good cam for landscape and product photography, looking forewards to your review.

  8. Hi Steve, I bought the OVF to use with the DP2Q. On a nice day I used A mode and the camera at F5.6 with auto iso, with lower speed limit to 1/60. I then switched off the screen and I just used the OVF while shooting in the street … it gave me the feel of “old” photography … and it went well.

    What I do like with the DP2Q besides IQ, is the rather well organized menu system, especially the quick menu. I also do like the form of the camera and the dials. It also has a nice finish and looks pro. And as you wrote, I do like a an idea of

    Of course it has it limitations. I use other cameras for high iso … but when the light is right, it is hard to beat the images from the Foveon sensor. I will try the high iso in B&W though …

    • Nikon was not interested in Foveon. Sigma saved foveon by buying them. Nikon, Sony and canon all have Foveon-like patents. Don’t expect much though.

  9. I love love love those Foveon colors. I think you also shouldn’t forget that this has unlimited sync speed, just like the X100, and this is probably much sharper due to the sensor, making it a superb studio flash camera.

  10. Agreed on the rubber SD card door, worst part of the camera. For something you need to access every time your shooting it makes no sense to have a rubber flap and little plastic retaining tab which surely will fail. I grew to be okay with the grip design, but that card door drove me crazy every time I used it.

    Tough call though as the Merrills can be had for around $400, so while I do like some things about the Q better, do I like them $1000 better ?

    Also be tough to pay $1000 for one because just as the Merrills did, the price will surely drop quick.

    Next year are we going to see these for $599 or so, brand new ? Maybe even in 6 months ?

    It is Sigma after all, brand that dropped a price from $9999 to what, $2999 for their Foveon DSLR LOL. Sure would hurt to have just paid $10k and find your new camera dropped $7k in value overnight. Yikes

    • Sigma gave those who bought the camera at initial price, the price difference in lenses etc. Which other company would have done that?

  11. I got to test the camera for a week recently, and there are some great advancements, but some seriously flaws with this setup.

    The shape…some may love the look, but the most important thing is how it feels in the hand. And it’s not good. The reverse grip thing just doesn’t work. It’s balanced, but it’s very awkward feeling and cramped. Supposedly you are supposed to hold it with two hands, but I didn’t feel that made it any better. The only way the camera felt comfortable in the hand was holding it vertical, pointing AT you in selfie mode. It was actually nice in that way.

    I am an owner of the original DP1 and DP2x and this camera is faster, but the images on the quattro are a bit grainier in my testing. And the Quattro is not a small camera. My DP2x is a great camera for trips, hiking, and biking, but this camera is not.

    Image quality is AWESOME…very “medium format” feeling. I prefer the look of the Merrill sensor, or the original DP2x Foveon, but the Quattro is a great compromise since it moves faster than the Merrill or DP2x. I love the menu system, very simple, very straight-forward, and I’ve always loved the DP’s “Quick Menu” system. Great stuff.

    But the biggest downfall, THE reason that I didn’t shoot very much after a bit was the software. Sigma Photo Pro is much maligned, but with the 5.5.x software, my DP2x and Merrill shots processed quickly and easily in SPP. The new SPP v6 software is just SO S-L-O-W. No, really…slower than you can imagine. Like go get a cup of coffee if you alter a slider, or go to Monochrome mode. Merrill files that zipped along on my i7 Mac with 16GB RAM ground to a halt in SPP v6. It’s very unfortunate too. Even though I am not a fan of the shape of the camera, or the size of it (the lens hood is ridiculously huge), the output is stellar, and shooting up to ISO 800 isn’t too bad, and BW up to 3200 is pretty darn good. But I’d wait to buy one until SPP gets to a proper state.

    I’d rather get a Merrill and just work slower on taking pictures than worry about processing.

    Here’s a shot I took with the Quattro with it’s awesome “selfie” grip.

    • Be careful about generalising. You say that for you the grip is not nice and can only be used for selfies(??!?) then I find this strange. Of course if one try to clutch this camera like a DSLR you will have a problem, but it is not meant to.

      I have used the camera every day for almost 2 months now and the grip is very nice and natural in my hand. It is even easy to shoot one handed if one need to. And while some say the handling takes some days to get used to, for me I got used to it right the moment I started taking photos and focusing on that rather on the grip.

      Yes the SPP is really slow now, but at least that is something that can be solved. 🙂

    • Yes, I agree, the design makes a very stable platform. It accomplishes that for sure..but the problem is it’s such an uncomfortable right hand solution that you get more fatigue than you should. Also, in my use I found myself constantly hitting the d-pad/menu button or the Quick Menu button with my thumb, missing a few shots because a menu was up.

      I like what they tried, but the bigger size and downsides outweigh the stable platform idea. Now, if Sigma made a TLR version or shape… 😉

    • Everyone will have a different preference for sure, but I played with one of these in a shop a couple of weeks ago and I couldn’t find a way to hold the thing comfortably. For me, on ergonomics alone I could never buy one.

    • I had one on the trial program for a week. For the first 30 min I didn’t care for the design, once I added the hood and used a two-hand shooting style I began to REALLY enjoy shooting with it. It grew on me.

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