Field Review: Sigma DP2s (Day 3)

One hot evening in NYC, I took a walk around downtown Manhattan with a friend of mine to do some random shooting with the Sigma DP2s to try out the new and improved autofocus. Everything was shot in RAW and all photos were carefully metered. So how versatile are these raw files? They’re pretty damn good actually.

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Equipment Used

Sigma DP2S

VF-21: A viewfinder that attaches to the hot shoe. The VF-21 is, essentially, a 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 to protect the lens when retracted. The lens will retract into the lens hood. 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 is an awesome accessory. Like many of you professional photographers, a great compact camera is something we all yearn for.

RAW Files Performance

As you can see, some really amazing color can be retrieved from these files even with processing in Lightroom for the dark areas. For this photo, all that was done was some slight changes in the contrast and saturation bars as well as raising the lighting in the darker areas. Once again though, I shot in RAW. The Sigma RAW files are turning out to be on par with those of Canon’s and Nikon’s and even easier to work with than Leica’s.

In addition to the colors, lots of detail can be extracted because of the Foveon sensor in conjunction with the nice 24mm F2.8 lens which happens to be decently sharp for what it is. Before processing, the actual photo looked fairly bland—which is very rare for this camera. However, some contrast increase and clarity increase does wonders.

High ISO Test

This photo took quite a bit of color processing to look this way. There is still, however, some visible noise in it. The image was edited this way to make the noise look good: which is a common tactic used by all photographers if they just can’t get rid of it.

At times, the performance can be quite good and might not need much editing. While this can be common, it is more common with the Sigma DP2s because of the Green, Red and Blue photo-diodes that process the colors individually. Additionally, the lens is fast enough and the sensor large enough to make the out-of-focus area noise look rather film-like.

But there are some photos that no matter how hard you try to process all of the noise out of them, it just won’t be good enough. The above photo has lots of color noise in the water, boats, and darker areas.

Autofocus Test

This flower was moving quite a bit in the wind since we were right by the water. My friend actually said that this image was going to be blurry as hell because of it.

The Sigma proved him wrong because it took some great color and delivered great focusing results.

The camera doesn’t focus exceptionally well in low-light though. In fact, at this point, users are better off just switching the camera into manual focus mode and using the dial.

Amazingly though, it can focus on the minutest of details amongst many other objects and keep them well in focus. The focusing point was on the dead center plant here. The plants were moving about in the wind but the camera was still able to lock onto the little flowers in the middle.

But sometimes it can also be unreliable. This image took some work because the camera just wouldn’t focus on the center-most building. So the focusing point had to be changed to the one on the middle right—which focuses on the building right next to the center-most one. The camera finally switched into infinity focusing for this, but it took a number of tries.

As a constructive criticism though, I really wish that there were more autofocus points than the nine placed around the center and I also wish that they were placed differently, rather than in a square. It would allow for more versatility in the focusing methods.

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Chris Gampat

Chris Gampat is the Editor in Chief, Founder, and Publisher of the Phoblographer. He also likes pizza.