The Sigma DP2s vs. The Olympus E-510

With the review of the Sigma DP2s complete, it can go head to head with another camera. The camera I chose to pit it against was my own Olympus E-510. While the Olympus E-510 is considered an entry level DSLR and the Sigma DP2S is considered a high end point and shoot, what will even the playing field for these two camera are their respective lenses. The lens on the Sigma DP2s is a 24.2mm f2.8 fixed lens, while my Olympus has an Olympus Zukio 25mm f2.8 Pancake Lens. This makes them about level for this review.

Reviews of the DP2s

Day 1– Getting a feel for it.

Day 2– Tested the EF-140 flash.

Day 3– Did some walkaround shooting.

Round up


The autofocusing on the Sigma is relatively slower than the Olympus E-510, but it still can keep up with other point and shoots. This doesn’t bode well, however, if you’re looking to get action shots of kids or animals. I say this because I tried to catch shots of my puppy running around and the Sigma could not keep up. This all makes sense though if you really think about it. The Sigma DP2S uses a contrast detection focusing system while the DSLR uses a phase detection system. Phase detection far outpaces contrast detection.

The Olympus’ autofocus is relatively faster than the Sigma’s. It’s able to keep up with moving objects and can adjust accordingly most of the time. There are the occasional hiccups, however, with Olympus’ autofocusing system. When you’re shooting, the camera will sometimes just go in and out of focus a couple of times ending with the camera attaining focus on the subject, or it will just continue to focus endlessly. The other hiccup is that the camera will have the lens go out of focus and then come back into focus but it will not tell the user whether the subject is in focus or not. It will just sit there.

When it comes down to deciding which system is right for you, it is important to keep in mind that like everything, these two systems have their strengths, weaknesses, and in this case, common drawbacks. For the person that finds themselves photographing events such as the kids’ soccer games, then you want to go with the Olympus system because it will be able to efficiently keep up with the action while the Sigma would not be able to react fast enough to the constant changes within its view. When it comes to low light situations I have found that the Olympus, while may take a bit to focus, can focus in low light. The Sigma however I was not able to get to focus until I pointed towards a source of light. This puts Olympus on top when it comes to the focusing systems. Because of this, despite Olympus E-510‘s occasional struggle to focus in normal and low light, Olympus wins.

Winner: E-510

Image Quality

One thing I had encountered while uploading the images to my computer was the Sigma software would auto-adjust every image I give it.  This made things a little hard as I wanted to compare an image from the Olympus and Sigma in their RAW forms.  I have yet to figure out how to disable this option but the issue should be noted.

Anyhow, the Sigma DP2S right off the bat looks richer in color and the images brighter. This is because the Sigma come equipped with the famous Foveon sensor which gets its notoriety from the fact that it is able to deliver images that are rich in color.  Couple that with the 24.2mm F2.8 lens and you have a camera that can deliver great images without the hassle of something like a DSLR.

The Olympus however I feel lacks the color richness in this area, and that’s because the Olympus E-510 sports a smaller sensor than the DP2s.  While the lens can deliver the same amount of sharpness, I do find that most of the time the color in my images is coming from editing them in post-production and adding color in places that are lacking.

Winner: DP2s


When it comes to low light, the user usually turns up the ISO so that more light can come in and make the image brighter. There is a trade-off, though, because you get noise that needs to be cleaned up in post-production. When I tested the higher ISO settings in low light on the DP2s, I expected noise but I also didn’t expect a mess. When you bring the camera to ISO 3200 the images look awful. ISO 1600 doesn’t look that much better. Another point to make is because the sensor is so big on the Sigma you may find yourself actually lowering the ISO in daylight. Generally, I shoot with my Olympus at ISO 400, and my images come out fine because of the smaller sensor.

Winner: Olympus


What I thought was awesome about the DP2s was its compact size. I can literally put this thing in my pocket and go. The feel of it in my hands is comparable in my opinion to a Nintendo DS Lite. It has a brick-like feel, but it doesn’t feel awkward. All the buttons are within reach and feels comfortable to operate. Another thing I liked about this camera is the lens hood because it gives the DP2s a DSLR feel.

The Olympus E-510 feels and looks like a DSLR. There is no contest. It feels natural in the hands and is easy and comfortable to operate all the way down to holding the lens just as you would with the Sigma. A big difference here, though, is the Olympus has a fully functional viewfinder. Now the reason why I call it fully functional is because you see the focal length changes when looking through the Olympus viewfinder. The Sigma however has an attachable viewfinder, but to see how the focus is changing you still need to look at the LCD screen.

For those who like to feel like they have a good grip on their camera, the Olympus’ ergonomics are much more pronounced. Now I had no problem holding the Sigma, but the Olympus’ body has more of a natural hold. However, if you don’t mind having to hold the Sigma the way you would then the Sigma would be fine for you.

Point and shoots for a long time have been used by everyday individuals because of their ease of use, and easy to understand functionality. This is what makes point and shoots most commonly used, especially when it comes to touristy photos. However if you’re going for more shots where the potential for movement is present then the Olympus would serve you well as it can keep up with moving objects when trying to focus.


Both lenses are fixed F2.8.  Olympus being a 25mm and the Sigma being a 24.2.

Winner: Tie – It comes down to personal preference.


Sigma – approx 230,000 pixels

Olympus – approx 230,000 pixels

Winner: Tie

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