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First Impressions: Sigma DP3

by Chris Gampat on 01/09/2013

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sigma DP3 CES 2013 First Impressions (1 of 9)ISO 16001-240 sec at f - 4.0

Sigma’s DP3 was just announced at CES 2013. The new camera once again Sigma’s Foveon sensor technology and finds a way to differentiate itself from the other DP camera models. What’s so different about this camera is the fact that there is a 50mm f2.8 lens permanently attached to it: rendering the field of view to 75mm.

In my original news post, I bashed this a bit. And then, I tried it.

 

Tech Specs

Specs taken from our first news announcement

- 46MP Foveon X3 sensor (APS-C 1.5x)

- 50mm f2.8 lens with SLD glass (Special Low Dispersion)

- Dual TRUE II Image Processing Engines

- Minimum focusing of 8.9″

- Macro shooting at 1:3

- 9 point AF

- Face detection

- 3 inch TFT LCD at 920,000 dots

- Hot shoe and lens hood

- SD video recording

- ISO 100-6400 set in 1/3 steps

Ergonomics

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sigma DP3 CES 2013 First Impressions (9 of 9)ISO 16001-320 sec at f - 4.0

The Sigma DP3, and the DP series in general, tries to emphasize minimalism as much as it can. The result is a camera with lip-biting sexy looks that many could peacock around themselves like a piece of jewelry.

With that said, the front of the camera is very plain and almost devoid of controls. But there is that big lens.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sigma DP3 CES 2013 First Impressions (2 of 9)ISO 16001-170 sec at f - 4.0

And when I say big lens, I mean that the lens is thicker than the camera body itself. To be fair, this is a 50mm f2.8; so a long focal length needs to be this size.

Then there is the top of the camera. Hiding the hot shoe is a little cover, which is flanked by the power button and the mode button. That’s right, to change the camera mode (PSAM), you’ll need to press a button first. Next to this is the shutter/aperture control dial around the shutter release.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sigma DP3 CES 2013 First Impressions (3 of 9)ISO 16001-250 sec at f - 4.0

The back of the camera is where you run the show. There is an auto exposure lock button, QS button, menu button, focus selector, playback, delete, and directional controls that command different settings depending on what mode you’re in.

 

Build Quality

Of all the point and shoots I’ve tried, the solid build quality of this camera is only trumped by Pentax and Olympus’s weatherproof cameras. This camera isn’t weathersealed, but damn does it feel very well built. I am almost tempted to say that it feels almost Leica M like, but I won’t go that far.

Autofocus

In my previous experience with the DP cameras, the focusing was pretty darned slow. In my initial tests in the Sigma meeting room at CES 2013, the focus was right about on par with any standard point and shoot camera.

Now, let’s hope that this sticks with the production model: I tested a pre-production model.

Ease of Use

In the short time that I spent with the camera, I needed to re-familiarize myself with Sigma’s menus, nomenclature, and way the camera was set up. Here are some screen caps of what those all look like. When I get the review unit in, I will most likely customize it to my own liking.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sigma DP3 CES 2013 First Impressions (4 of 9)ISO 16001-200 sec at f - 4.0 Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sigma DP3 CES 2013 First Impressions (5 of 9)ISO 16001-350 sec at f - 4.0 Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sigma DP3 CES 2013 First Impressions (6 of 9)ISO 16001-210 sec at f - 4.0 Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sigma DP3 CES 2013 First Impressions (7 of 9)ISO 16001-240 sec at f - 4.0 Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sigma DP3 CES 2013 First Impressions (8 of 9)ISO 16001-170 sec at f - 4.0

Image Quality

Because I worked with a pre-production unit, I couldn’t stick a card in the camera. However, I saw prints made with it; and they’re stunning.

What I’d love to see are the prints made on Aluminum with White Gloss.

First Impressions

I was wrong–for the moment. I bashed the DP3 quite a bit in the initial news post; but it deserved to be played with. I walked away quite impressed with the DP3 and I may even be able to get used to shooting at 75mm. It’s a weird focal length though: too long to be normal and too short to be a proper portrait focal length in my opinion.

The build quality of the camera is what truly blew me away though; and that may also help to justify its high price tag.

This is going to be an interesting camera to see develop in the next coming months though because the big sensor point and shoot game is going to heat up quite a bit. You’ll just need to buckle up and stick along for the ride.

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