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The Complete Sigma DP2s (and Accessories) Review

by Chris Gampat on 08/03/2010

While the Field Review is over for the Sigma DP2s, Features Editor Vincent Pastore will be taking over my time with the camera and will be trying it out for street photography while testing it out against his entry-level Olympus DSLR. Here’s the rundown for you though.

Equipment Used

There are a number of items that can be used with the Sigma DP2s:

VF-21: A viewfinder that attaches to the hot shoe. The VF-21, essentially, is piece of glass that helps with composition.

HA-21: The lens hood. If you put the HA-21on, you can get rid of the lens cap that comes with the camera because it will protect the lens when retracted. It offers some extra sexiness and bulkiness to the camera.

EF-140: A flash that can attach to the hot shoe.  The Sigma EF-140 performs very well.

Testing Compilation

Day 1- Getting a feel for it.

Day 2- Tested the EF-140 flash.

Day 3- Did some walkaround shooting.

Ergonomics

The Sigma DP2S has the feel of a small brick in some users’ hands and that of an old compact in others. I thought it was actually pretty darn good. It feels comfortable in the hand and with the HA-21 hood attached, it is even more comfortable to shoot because it feels as if you’re holding onto a lens. This will be a great and familiar feel to professional photographers or those more used to the feel of a DSLR or rangefinder. What helps with the grip is the textured areas where your fingers are supposed to hold the camera. These areas also provide easy access to the buttons for manipulation of settings. Overall, the camera is very easy to use.

If the camera strap is wrapped around the wrist of the photographer, it will be snug and secure in your hands and there is no way that the camera could be dropped easily.

Be careful, though, when attaching the eyepiece to the hot shoe. While the connection is fairly snug, I couldn’t help but feel that it would fall out.

Autofocus

The autofocus on this camera is a bit slow, but bearable. It is slower than Olympus Micro Four Thirds cameras—which means that it is roughly on par with other point-and-shoot cameras. If you’re looking to shoot pictures of your kids, start feeding them more McDonalds. Perhaps they will slow down enough.

The camera has nine autofocus points  all towards the center of the camera. If focusing becomes problematic, users always have the option of switching to manual focusing mode. This works very nicely with the addition of the dial and pressing the “OK” button to zoom into the selected autofocus point for precise and accurate focusing.

Changing autofocus points is also quick, easy and intuitive with use of the back buttons.

Image Quality

It’s good. In fact, it’s very good. Coupled with the sharp 24.2mm F2.8 lens and the Foveon sensor, the RAW files retain large amounts of detail and are very versatile in programs like Lightroom. The Foveon sensor is famous for great colors out of camera, and this one doesn’t disappoint. For this reason, this camera is highly recommended for photographers who want a compact camera that can deliver great images but don’t want to get stuck in the potential investment of Micro Four Thirds cameras.

Further, the images out of camera sometime resemble Kodachrome or Fuji Velvia film. Film buffs will really appreciate this.

High ISOs

Perhaps the only problem with the camera is the High ISO output. I expected better quality from it, but its performance is almost on par with Micro Four Thirds cameras. This is strange since it has a much larger sensor.

Even stranger was that at ISO 800 and 1600, the camera seemed to be lagging behind the Canon G11 (full review here). I checked in with colleagues and former bosses for advice to see if I was seeing the same things that they were.

They all confirmed my findings, but that doesn’t mean that the images aren’t usable. Black and white conversions from this camera deliver some of the most wonderful contrast I’ve ever seen. They resemble Kodak BW400CN when pushed in darkroom processing.

Overall, the camera gets very high recommendations.

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