Sigma DP1 first impressions.

Sigma DP1 @ ISO400

It’s been lots of buz lately about the much anticipated Sigma DP1 – the every mans Leica that finally is ready to ship (or very close to) and I, as maybe the most happy guy on earth right now I HAVE ONE! :D And of course I will have to write a little something about it – from an SD14 users point of view.

Sigma DP1 image

Build quality is very good, front and back made out of metal and nothing is flimsy. Very sturdy feeling. Should be at almost 300g. Almost too much when it comes to the MSAP wheel. The other wheel is the one for manual focusing and it’s very easy to turn without any clicks – easy to fast manual focus and this feature was one that I was afraid of being bad – is very good and very very useful. I use it 100% of the time. (at least at day one. ;)

Lens is superb. Bokeh is wonderful. F4 works very very well much thanks to the great sharpness wide open. Remember that common lenses such as 10-20 and 12-24 is the same or slower and much bigger! Do I dare say that this little DP1 16.5mm lens is sharper? I think it is. More or less all my shots this first cloudy day has been taken at F4.

DP1 @ ISO400+

Speed was another thing that scared me some. In order to make it less painful I bought the fastest SD card I could find, the SD Extreme III from SanDisk and I have no idea if it helps but I have yet to miss a shot because of save times. It’s a bit faster than my SD14 I think but with smaller buffer. About half I guess. There is two ways of taking shots. One in continues mode – about three shots in less than a second (RAW mode) – and a “normal” shot mode that will give you about two-three seconds between shots. – this is no SLR and will not be used as one either.

Flipping thru images, zoom in to see 100% etc is very fast and interestingly enough much faster and better implemented than in my SD14.  Feels instant.

Sigma DP1 at night club

The external flash is extremely cool looking. I had it to one of my night club sessions and people wowed it many times. I had to lend my little camera to many people. Never did that with my SD14. :) – one good thing here is that you can turn the focus wheel to 1m and leave it there. It’s pretty easy to learn how far away 1m is and keep it that way. :)

LCD is 230 000 dots and OK. It’s not the brightest in the business but works great. Better than the LCD on my SD14. Colors looks accurate and gives me a good feeling for sharpness etc. It’s also possible to see histogram etc as you would expect. In dark enviroment the “live” flow becomes very grainy – look cool but isn’t very useful to judge sharpness from at those times knowing how far one meter is, is good. :)

Battery life is yet to be known. First impression is that it’s similar to my SD14, maybe a bit less.

Final word from day one – I like it – it’s going to be where I go. :D  and now some images. Experimental ISO3200 and others.

Sigma DP1 @ ISO3200

Sigma DP1 @ ISO3200

Sigma DP1 image

Sigma DP1 image

Sigma DP1 @ ISO1200

Dpreview thread.
Video example

About Carl Rytterfalk

Welcome to my blog! I'm Carl Rytterfalk, a swedish photographer who loves everything that is interesting in the world of photography. In 2002 I fell in love with the three layered Foveon sensor and has since then been an addicted user of Sigma cameras. Though I use Canon and Nikon as well. :)
This entry was posted in 16.5mm, Full size, Review, Sigma DP1, Sigma Photo Pro. Bookmark the permalink.

34 Responses to Sigma DP1 first impressions.

  1. Britton says:


    These images are terrific. It’s also great to read your opinions on the camera.

    I’ve ordered a DP1 a few days ago. I can’t wait until it shows up.
    BTW the DP1 will be my first Foveon-sensor camera.

    Best Regards and Thanks!

  2. Thanks for the review. Great images to show off the capabilities of this little wonder. The DP1 will bring a bunch of new users into the fold.

    Just out of curiosity, have you tried the digital zoom? I hear when you zoom in digitally, it will interpolate the image up to the full resolution. Just curious on how useful that would be.

    Also, have you tried the EF-500/530 flash gun on the little guy? It’s odd that Sigma’s site says it will only operate in manual mode and not TTL. When you talk about the “external flash” above do you refer to the new EF-140(?) flash that Sigma has for the DP1?

  3. spalbird says:

    Now, after I have bought a SD14 you tell me you like the DP1 even more… It is such an expensive experience to know you… The dP1 is definitely a must have camera. Thanks for the nice pictures and comments, they were very helpful…

  4. Thank you for the B&W asa 3200 examples. This is exactly what i was hoping for when I pre ordered one. I regularly shoot 3200 and 6400 B&W’s with my D-80 and your examples appear to be as good as mine…at least as good.

  5. Hi Scott!

    I tried my 500DG super on the Dp1 – looks very strange but cool. Flash is huge. :D And works but not in TTL – it’s a firmware thing I guess and maybe in the future they will change that. But the small flash is very cool looking and works good. Yes EF-140. :) the bar shot is made with 140.

  6. Very nice Carl!

    You do make it really hard not to go out and get one right now.

    Are you going to be doing a video review of the DP1?

  7. Pingback: Sigma DP1 first impressions. | speed camera

  8. Carl: You mention the external flash. I think you mean the new small flash. Do you know if this is a TTL flash or manual?

  9. Carl, thx for sharing this information and the photos with us. Hope to have soon also the DP1 in my hands for testing.
    It would be also great if you could give us one or two RAWs to download, because that would be great to see the direct workflow with the DP1 and SPP 3.1 on my mac.



  10. Carl, thx for sharing with us this informations and photos. Some very nice work and the lens looks indeed as it should be – crisp!
    Hope to have soon also the hands on a DP1 to test it a little bit further.
    Can you post also one-two RAWs of the DP1; it would be interesting to view them directly in SPP 3.1. on my mac with a SD14 RAW next to it.

    Greetings from Germany


  11. Carl, thx for sharing with us this informations and photos.
    Some very nice work and the lens looks indeed as it should be – crisp, great colours and sharp to the edge! Though there seems so distorting in the edges – but that could be normal with a 16mm lens :-)
    Hope to have soon also the hands on a DP1 to test it a little bit further.
    Can you post also one-two RAWs of the DP1; it would be interesting to view them directly in SPP 3.1. on my mac with a SD14 RAW next to it.

    Greetings from Germany


  12. Carsten Ranke says:

    Thank you very much, very impressive ! Just curious: DP1 goes to ISO 800, so how did you make your high ISO shots, tweaking underexposed RAW ?

  13. Carl R says:

    Chris: Yes, I will do a video review. :) Need to have it a few more days though.

    Charles: It’s a TTL flash (EF-140DG) and you can use it in M mode too.

    Benjamin: The DP1 lens is very very good – better than any of my wide angle zoom’s (10-20 and 12-24) at least my gut tells me this – I have yet to do a real test. Will do that later. When the time is right I will put DP1 RAW’s on my site. Hopefully soon. They’re worth looking at! :D (nothing to hide)

    Carsten: It’s easy and done the same way you pushed film in the old days. You put the camera at highest ISO, in this case ISO800. Then you underexpose by two stops. (done with the /- symbol, should say -2) then inside SPP the picture will look very dark – then you use the exposure slider to bring back light and by doing this you gain the extra ISO. Shadows etc will of course look noisier etc and changing it to monochrome white balance inside SPP you get this magic noise and perfect black and white feeling.

    Hope you understand. :) If not, come here and I’ll show you or you find me on iChat and I can show you with screen share. (everyones invited)

  14. Brian Mosley says:

    Hi Carl, thanks for these fantastic samples… just a quick question – is it possible to dial back a little on those reds in PP? they look too luminous to me – is this a characteristic of the foveon sensor?

    Kind Regards


  15. Ankur says:

    Wow, thanks for the review, very useful. this is exactly the camera i am looking for.

    Would it be possible for you to do a speed test with a more “normal” SD card? Just to get an idea if you’re not using the best card what the shot times are?


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  17. re: flash info. thank you Carl. I had planned to use a small Nikon or Metz flash which appear to be more powerful in the same size. The convenience of not having to estimate distance with each shot however is hard to pass up.

  18. Eden says:

    would like to know your view on its out of camera JPG vs RAW…

    and how about the focusing speed and shutter lag?

  19. Hi Eden.. Shutter lag? There is none that I can feel. From the point that you have found focus and have the shutter half pressed – then when you press to get the shot. It’s instant. If you manual focus (which I do most of the time) then you will not feel any lag at all. It’s more about how fast you can press your finger. :D

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  22. analogue man says:

    superb vibrant colours, I need to sell my Lumix soon until is some chance ;) the bw looks almost as a film (but grain is still better on Ilford)

  23. Pingback: Sigma DP1 first impressions | ppause

  24. Gert-Jan says:

    Thanks for these first impression shots. I ordered two DP1’s which will be connected in April into a stereo camera. The results of your test shots are just the reason I wanted to have this camera. Very impressive high ISO B&W shots!

  25. Rad says:

    I would like to thank you for your great site, very informative. I hope you continue exploring this camera and share your findings. I only have one question regarding this camera, I’ve been experiencing some vertical banding in iso 400, i would like to know if you have the same experience. thank you and hope to hear from you soon.

  26. Fajar says:

    Carl, your photos are beautiful! I like the one made by DP1, its unimaginable that such images it taken with a small p&s sized camera.

    Btw, how did you make those iso3200 photos? i heard that dp1 max iso is at iso800?
    And i watched your hdr iso 3200 video tutorial, and you fixed a couple or more of dust from the photos. Is it from a DP1 camera?
    Does it attracts dust to its sensor?
    Because unlike slr, you can’t clean your own sensor in a fixed lens camera. (CMIIW)

    thank you for your time.

  27. Mike C says:

    Just wondering whether you know what is the maximum flash sync speed for the camera. I’ve been googling whole night, and no one mention anything about the maximum sync speed. The x-sync. I know SD14 is 1/180s, but with DP1, I was hoping something a lot faster like 1/500 or 1/1000 since no mechanical shutter is involved.

    Thanks. Mike

  28. HI Fajar!

    First off, I never saw any real dust on my sensor (DP1) – not sure if I take any away from the DP1’s image? I did clean some from the SD14 thou. :D (the video you refer to shows DP1 style shooting with SD14 10-20 lens at 16.5 I think.

  29. Hi Mike!

    Sync speed is as you say – a none issue. I tried 1/1250 and hat worked out ok. Not sure here the roof is. :) But it’s fun in the studio anyhow!

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  32. sal says:

    real nice pictures but the dp1 only goes up to iso 800…??

  33. sal says:

    aaah yes…i see above…very interesting.

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