Initial DP2 review with full size shots..

Hi all, you probably wondered where I’ve been hiding – some of you know about me moving and trying to build a new home (repairing that is) and it’s taken more energy than I hoped for. Now – one bright light lately have been the Dp2. I will be making this very short and let pictures speak loud – as the camera that I used isn’t the final production unit.

Click on picture for “large” flickr size.
Click “original” for full resolution version.

First DP2 examples!
Not sure how Sigma makes this possible but this insane 24,5mm F2.8 lens wants to be used wide open. And working in monochrome white balance in Sigma Photo pro is just a joy! Look at these tones! (and yes, that’s my grand mother!)

First DP2 examples!
Original. Another shot wide open. Not sure you understand how useful and cool this is. Look at rendition of the fabric and her skin. And how sweet isn’t the bokeh? and and and..

First DP2 examples!
Original. Strong spring sunlight ISO100, wide open. :)

First DP2 examples!
Original. The blue “sky” is water – and this is a good example of the new color modes within the DP2. To get the very best color dynamics Sigma created different color modes that really brings life into every shot. Of course these color modes can be changed later in Sigma Photo Pro if RAW is used.  This particular picture is slightly overexposed but I think it managed this bright sunlight well. Oh, and slight hand shake included! :)

First DP2 examples!
Original. Please take a closer look. admit it’s a really insane lens!

First DP2 examples!
Original. 15 second exposure. Trying those color modes. I do have a “real” looking shot with correct white balance and another color mode but I liked the look of this one. It came out way dark and that’s why 100-200 ISO (was shot at ISo50) – Also my only picture with tripod used.

First DP2 examples!
Original. Bokeh / close up test. And this is F5.6 and ISO50 which does burn highlights if not careful. Amazing detail even at lens corners. Here’s a recent post with more DP2 ISO50 shots and comments.

First DP2 examples!
Original. The Dp2 now has a ISO1600 and 3200 mode – which I think should be considered monochrome modes as they don’t really look good in color. But as soon monochrome white balance is selected in Sigma Photo Pro they really come to life!

dp2 just added!
Original. Just processed. ISO200 and F2.8. And NO, no saturation added, only the magic Landscape mode. ;)

Ok, main pointers.

And negatives? Well, I’ll get to those later as well. First I need to get my hands on a “real” production unit so I don’t give you rubbish. UPDATE! But a little something is now made with both good and bad. Link to High ISO.

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 All, High ISO/ASA (400+), ISO50, Review, Sigma DP2, Sigma Photo Pro and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

79 Responses to Initial DP2 review with full size shots..

  1. ThePanda says:

    Wow Carl! Those look great! I always go to your site and look when I need a bit of inspiration.

    Your making the DP2 very tempting… I was planning on purchasing one anyway but not until I get my finances straight. And your not helping!! haha

    Anyway, How do you like the focal length compared to the 30mm? Have you seen a fair improvement in the 400-800 ISO range yet?

    Congrats and good luck on your new home and thanks for sharing these.


  2. TJ says:

    Hi Carl! Nice!! Thank you for posting. What’s the whole color mode thing, anyway? Hope all is well.



  3. Isiah says:

    Carl… what can I say you really know how to bring out the character of the technology… You have a master hidden within you


  4. Jason says:

    Thanx for posting and review. This seems to be a first that someone publishes photos from a pre-production unit.

  5. Rich says:


    Great shots, mini-review! Mmm..makes me think more and more about getting a DP1, perhaps if Sigma offers it with a TRUE II processor.

    Take care

  6. Geoffrey says:

    Wow those are some amazing photos! Thanks for posting these. Have long been quitly lusting afer a camera such as this. The DP1 seemed to be a very interesting camera but with to many annoying compromises. From the specs I’ve seen, and now from your pre-view, many of the quirks of its predecessor seem to have been adequately addressed. The DP2 lens is also more usefull fore my style of shooting. I like to take pictures of people and 41mm equivalent is probably as short as I’d want to go on a camera with a non-changeble prime. For wider lanscape photos i can alwas stich later! Your right about the colors and bokeh, simply gorgeous. Very pleased to see your sample at 3200. Many of my portraits are indoors in available light, and if your B&W sample is representative of the production version I would be more than happy with that. One thing I’m curious about is build quality. I can be quite rough on my possessions (due to being a lazy slob) and have been spoilt by the excellent sturdiness of my Pentax K20D and K10D. Being so small I’m sure this would be with me almost anywhere I go.

    Again, Many thanks

  7. Tom K. says:

    This could be the ultimate digital street shooters camera (besides a M8 of course)…at an affordable price. 41mm is perfection for street shooting. I cannot wait for the final release of this gem.

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  9. Don says:

    Negatives? well I’ll get to those later???? Why??? you are promoting the good?

  10. Miserere says:

    The DP1 received too many complaints on many fronts for me to consider it a contender to my pocket, despite how much I wanted it to succeed. It seems Sigma have actually listened to their customers and improved just about every aspect of the camera with this DP2.

    Seeing your ISO3200 B&W shot almost made me cry with joy. The quality is similar to that of my APS-C DSLR! Looking at the “original” size I can see a quite pleasing “grain” pattern, and am happy that Sigma decided to let the images be sharp by letting luminance noise be free while presumably restraining chroma noise. I hate smudgy high-ISO B&Ws, and the DP2 does too; that’s good!

    I think applying some minor noise-reduction would improve the IQ of your ISO3200 shot, but to be honest, I think it’s great as it is. The B&W ISO200 shot of your Granny is creamy beautiful in its tones–I don’t know how else to describe it.

    Looking forward to reading the rest of your review when you get a final production model in your hands.



  11. John_Amunet says:

    Carl… You’re truly on the top of your game again.. Love what you’ve done with the DP2 and it really just hurts to know I’ll somehow have to muster up the money needed for that thing. Beautiful.

  12. TJ, the color mode thing is a way to make colors look better when shooting landscape vs people. I know from past experience with the foveon sensor that it’s extremely sensitive for colors and therefore it could in some cases be tricky to get the right skin tone. So fixing that and suddenly you don’t have the amount of colors that would make a nature scene blast – what to do? Color modes! – Something like that. :)

  13. Don, It’s mainly is about how to reach magnifier (two clicks now), how to see exposure while in magnified mode and minor issues that might be down to the unit I’m using. I will get back to this. I have no “You can’t write anything bad” deal. But I want to be fair.

  14. Stills says:

    So how much faster Carl? The RAW write times were a bit of an issue on the what’s your estimate on a RAW capture with the 41mm version?

    Thanks and – as usual – excellent images.

  15. Carl @ work says:

    Hi Stills, Actually my initial response was that it felt very much the same as the DP1 – on daily basis you don’t normally think of the Dp1’s speed as an issue.

    But in the studio where I tried the DP2 the other day I know that DP1 was problematic and the DP2 shot to shot speed didn’t feel like an issue at all. I’ll get back to this with timing as I did none what so ever.

    Also the startup time is a bit improved.

  16. Yummy, looks like the camera I’ve been waiting for. Glad to see it coming to fruition.

    Btw, has the video mode been improved upon from the DP1? That would be sooo sweet!

  17. Klaus says:

    Carl, the pictures look promising.
    Hope they will get that camera published before summer vacation will come.


  18. thechebb says:

    Those are just awesome, the detail, and color are just amazing! I ordered my DP1 about a week ago from Amazon, it should be here shortly (I hope)…looking forward to maybe getting my hands on a DP2 in the nearer future…..

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  20. Ulf says:

    Carl, have you tried if the red blotches problem (IR-filter reflection) in direct (sun)light is delt with in the DP2?

  21. Carl Rytterfalk says:

    Oliver, Video is more or less the same as with the DP1 but you now have a few more options with AEL (button pressed) and also full manual focusing can be done before starting the recording – which is VERY welcome. Also sound is better – no clipping so far. Will post video too soon.

    Oh, filming at wide open (or at least close to) looks really cool! Too bad you can’t change focus on the run.

  22. Carl @ work says:

    Ulf, the funny color thingi is gone I think (I must say that it DID improve many shots with it inside!). At least I haven’t seen it yet.

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  24. Ulf says:

    Thats really good news, Carl! And if you ever want to spice up your images with some red blotches surrounding the sun, just use your DP1…

  25. Amin says:

    “Seeing your ISO3200 B&W shot almost made me cry with joy.”

    If you dig back in the archives, you’ll see that Carl posted ISO 3200 B&W SD14 and DP1 photos that look just as good. It’s always been high ISO color where Foveon sensors have a weakness. High ISO B&W is a strength. The DP2 ISO 3200 looks just like DP1 ISO 800 pushed two stops.

  26. Pingback: Initial DP2 review with full size shots.. | Carl Rytterfalk Fotografi | Nature Photography, Scenic Landscape, Prints for SALE

  27. martin says:

    Hi Carl!

    Great pictures! Where do you find Sigma Photo Pro 3.3? The only one I find on Sigma’s site is 3.2…

    Anyone knows any rumors about x3f coming to Aperture?

  28. Amin, you’re correct! The Dp1 can take the same BW quality it’s just a bit more complicated to do so. :)

    Martin, The 3.3 or whatever will be the final number is needed in order to read these new X3F RAW files. The added color mode is now an option that you can change inside Sigma Photo Pro. The new SPP will probably be out shortly.

  29. Clinton says:

    Ah…I’ve been wondering why so quiet and why no news on DP1 + SD15. Until I checked your site. DOH.

    I recently put the DP1 to good use in Cuba. Very very pleased how it performed in both colour and pushed to iso1600 in BW.

    Check out my flickr:

    DP2 looks promising esp the shallow DOF and the fix to skin colour and infared funny problem.

  30. j says:

    What’s going on with the window/door panes of the red house? That looks horrible even for digital over exposure. Otherwise the cam is exactly what I’ve been waiting for. Let’s hope Olympus doesn’t ruin the party with their coming retro micro four thirds.

  31. Carl @ work says:

    Hi J
    That’s overexposure that comes with the usage of ISo50, it’s not the perfect condition for a such low ISO but gives very creamy color on the rest. Well, I’ll add some ISo50 shots where there is no blown highlight. :)

  32. Anonymous says:

    Clinton! Great stuff! :D

  33. hoo says:

    Thanks for the review, Carl!


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  35. Ed says:

    Hi Carl,

    Could you give us a sense of the usability of ISO400-800 in general with the DP2? To me a good ISO640 coupled with 2.8 should give decent exposure times for most general lower light situations

  36. titus says:

    Hello Carl Rytterfalk,

    very interesting fist look of the new sigma compact camera. Years for years i was waiting for a camera, to replace my Rollei 35 T and now, perhaps i have found it.

    Good look to you.


  37. Chia-Chen says:

    Hi Carl,
    Thanks for the nice test. Perhaps you’ve mentioned, but are these photos converted from RAW files?

  38. Steven says:

    Oh crap. I was thinking I could have given the DP series a miss but after seeing what the DP2 can do I might just have to give it some consideration at some point in the future. Nice to see that sort of bokeh in a compact.

  39. Clinton says:

    Carl – I still prefer 28mm to 41mm but would LOVE Dp1 mk2 with the faster processor/firmware fixes. Any idea if one is on the way? Or at least, will they release the firmware (with fixes) to current DP1 users?

  40. Anton says:

    Looks absolutely stunning! Love the pics.
    Why don’t you come down here and play? :)

  41. Norm says:

    Thanks for this review Carl. The DP2 appears to be a wonderful tool in your hands. By the way, your grandmother is an absolutely beautiful subject.

  42. Hi Ed, To be honest with you I don’t like the way Sigma Photo Pro handles higher ISO when in color. As soon as you turn over to monochrome mode then everything looks fantastic! I written Sigma about this and hopefully they’ll come out with a fix on the new SPP. What happens is that “Sigma Photo Pro” right now applies too heavy noise reduction when using higher ISO’s. Some will most likely like it, but I’m more of a noise loving guy. ;)

    My favorite “Raw Developer” has no native support yet for DP2 and there you can fine tune noise reduction to your own taste.

  43. Chia-Chen, yes, I’ve always enjoyed the RAW thing but the DP2 actually cranks out very nice looking JPEG’s too. :)

  44. Anton! :D My man! I always wanna be there and you know it. I miss you guys so much!

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  46. Srecko Krasan says:

    Hallo Mr.Carl,

    First i like to say,your web site is great.
    I am impressed with Sigma DP2 camera particularly with sharpness.I am interested to see raw file from that camera and just curious how big can i print when translated in Tiff file?
    I hopeyou will be willing to help me!

    Best regards and have a good light,

    Srecko Krasan
    Tivat, Montenegro

  47. Srecko Krasan, If you like, take one of these high quality JPG’s and print at A2, A1 or even A0 and see what they look like. I’m sure you will be impressed with what you get!

  48. Srecko Krasan says:

    Mr. Carl,

    Thank you for informations, i will try to print a bigger!
    DP2 can be a nice camera for street photography!

    Best regards,

    Srecko Krasan
    Tivat, Montenegro

  49. jbm0305 says:

    사진 색감 좋습니다.
    내공도 뛰어나고요.^^*

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  51. BLAME! says:

    Wow DP2!!! Thank you for informations

    …인 척했지만 정말 잘봤습니다.

  52. John Cox says:

    Thanks for the opportunity to download your raw photos.

    My DP2 has arrived in Ireland but I have not yet got delivery. It was great to have an opportunity to play with your photos and they are indeed great. I have a DP1 but I am delighted to see that the “Reds” have been fixed. Lovely to be able to get a great Bokeh out of the DP2 lens.

    Keep up the good work,


    John cox

  53. Stuart Cryer says:

    Dear Carl,

    The Foveon sensor certainly gives fine results in your hands. My questions are about viewfinders and shutter response.

    I like to shoot in the documentary style – people especially. I like to look through an optical viewfinder. Have you tried the add-on finder for the Sigma DP1/2? Can you rely on autofocus when you do? Is framing a problem?

    And how fast does the camera take the photo after the shutter is depressed? Is it almost instantaneous after having depressed it halfway in advance of finally plunging it to take the exposure?

    Keep up the good work … Stuart

  54. Hi Stuart Cryer,

    If you use the thumb wheel to focus (see pictures of camera to understand) then there is more or less no lag – shutter response is instant. A good thing about the thumb wheel is that it has distance marked so if you turn off display and decide to shoot on 1m, just roll it and you’re good to go with whatever viewfinder you have. There is plenty of brands – old and new that fits and works with sigmas DP cameras.

  55. Enzo says:


    As soon i knew about the f2.8 41 mm dp2 i wanted to
    see it´s bokeh!!!!

    Thanks a lot Carl!!!

    Sweet dreams are made of great bokeh and small cameras.


  56. Hatef Yamini says:

    Thank you Carl. I really enjoyed reading your review and appreciate the sample photos.

  57. Julian Phillips says:

    Thanks Carl for posting these images.
    This could finally be the first compact camera that I’m tempted to buy – I would really like to see some ISO400 and ISO800 colour shots – OK so the RAW noise processing is agressive – would still be interesting to see the results at these ISOs if possible.

  58. Wolfgang Kuechle says:

    Hi, thanks for the photos and the great review. Looks like a very promising camera.

    Is the XF3 file format of the DP2 the same as that of DP1? It’s an important question for me, since I want to process the files in Lightroom and Photoshop and I don’t want to wait for an upgrade.


  59. Leo says:

    Very nice pictures! I already own the DP1 wich is also inpressive, but 28 mm has never been my favorite. For a compact a 35 or 40 is the classic way to go. The DP1 gives beautiful pictures, there is no match in compact land. The reds need some ajustment, I always shoot in RAW. I can live with the DP1, I can imaging not everybody could. The beautiful lens on the DP2 is for me the main reason to going to save the money to buy it.

    Wolfgang Kuechle: CS4 latest versions process XF3 for the DP1. I also would like to know if this is the the same for the DP2.

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  61. Michael says:

    Hi Carl,
    thanks for sharing your experience about the DP2 with us.
    I read the DP1 has a complicated way for setting the exposure compensation and is loosing the adjustment after switching off the camera. How does the DP2 handle this?
    Regards, Michael

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  63. Peter says:

    Hi Carl,
    Thanks for your site! I have just posted the first installment of my DP2 review on my own blog here:

    This is an interesting little camera, and it is great to see what you’re accomplishing with it.

  64. Michael, exposure comp etc is very easy to achieve now – it’s more or less a click away (press right or left arrow) and everything is back as you left it when turned off. Not sure I had any problems with this with the DP1 either. Perhaps with older firmware?

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  70. dierk lohmann says:

    hello !

    awesome pictures with the dp 2. i am wondering how you sharpen your pictures….can you tell us the little trick ? or the software you are using ?

    thanks a lot for the great blog. and sorry for my bad english.

    from germany


  71. dierk,

    Sometimes and that’s probably most of the time, I don’t add any sharpening at all. (I’m not a huge fan of sharpening artifacts such as darker halos around objects often seen in digital photography) – in the hand shot I know I applied some smart sharpen in Photoshop. And tat I did only in a pre selected feathered area. That way you can control sharpening so it only applies where you want it to.

  72. dierk lohmann says:

    ok, thank you :)

  73. Tsunang says:

    It’s great to see the wonderful images this camera can take. I had been doing some photo browsing of images taken by Sigma DP1, DP2, and Leica X1. I am a beginning enthusiast in street and architectural photography, and have narrowed my choices of getting an only camera. I would prefer a 35mm lens (35mm equiv), but the Leica is out if the question (price). Which of the other two do you strongly recommend for my purposes? I had thought the 24mm lens would be too wide, as every cellphone camera now shoots wide only. 40-42mm just seems fitting, based from your images, but I bet they can be hard for me to get from my experience. Shooting people, places, urban settings is my area of interest. I would like to buy a camera soon, as I have saved up.

  74. Hi Tsunang,

    I saw your email / comment and I have replied but not sent. :) anyways – dp2 will be perfect for you, it’s also much nicer to work with than dp1. 42mm is just a bit wider than old days “normal” focal length (around 50mm) and perfect for everyday life stuff. You will be amazed on how good these images look in reality – liked scanned film. :)

    Good Luck

  75. Tsunang says:

    Awesome, thank you so much for replying. Away with my order for the DP2s.

  76. Giammarco says:

    Hi Carl,
    you made up a very good & interesting site. Just a question: I’m accustomed to P&S cameras. I would really like to buy a DP2x. Do you think is it good for me? I have no experience about PASM modes, I’m afraid it may teke forever before getting a decent shoot out of the camera. In other words, is it suitable for beginners (even if I shot more than 8k pics) or should I go for a, say, Nikon D3000 first?

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