Sigma Introduces New Camera Lineup: The dp Quattro

Sigma Introduces New Camera Lineup: The dp Quattro

Sigma today announced the new generation of high image quality compact cameras “SIGMA dp” that incorporates a newly developed Foveon X3 direct image sensor (generation name: “Quattro”). Sigma is saying it is unique and without peer among image sensors, the Foveon direct image sensor is similar to traditional color film in that its multiple layers capture all of the information that visible light transmits. Along with Sigma’s proprietary image processing technology, this sensor produces incredible resolution, precise gradation, gorgeous color, breathtaking realism with a 3D feel. In other words, full-bodied image quality.

For the new dp series, Sigma rethought and redesigned every aspect of the camera, including the sensor, engine, lens, and body. While retaining its famous textural expression, which seems to give form to the air itself, the updated Foveon direct image sensor produces images that are more colorful, rich, deep, and faithful than ever before.

To a radical degree, the new-generation dp series embodies Sigma’s philosophy of creating cameras that produce works of art. Featuring the highest level of fundamental performance, this series unites artistic expression and daily experience as no other cameras can.

Sigma dp foveon 1

Sigma dp foveon 2

Sigma dp foveon 3

Sigma dp foveon 4

Wide-angle, standard, and medium telephoto options
All of the fundamental photographic approaches in one lineup of three cameras
The dp series comprises three fixed focal length cameras, each of which features a different basic focal length for a different fundamental photographic approach: the wide-angle dp1 Quattro at 19mm, the standard dp2 Quattro at 30mm, and the medium telephoto dp3 Quattro at 50mm (respectively equivalent to 28mm, 45mm, and 75mm on a 35mm lens). Moreover, the three models share an exciting new camera body that brings out the best performance from the lens and image sensor.

It’s a simple but powerful lineup that delivers medium format-level image quality anywhere, anytime. Take all three with you and select as needed for the perfect shot. Much like with the DP Merrill series, Simga intends for you to have all three cameras at your disposal when using them. It's a very different outlook on the industry, where photographers often look for one body and multiple lenses, not multiples of both. But Sigma insists this way is better. The lens and the body are designed to work perfectly together, which means better quality in the end.

The world’s only image capture system to use vertical color separation technology
Starting with their very first digital camera, Sigma have featured the Foveon direct image sensor, which offers radically better image quality than any other sensor available. Leveraging the light absorption characteristics of silicon, the sensor comprises three layers of photodiodes, each at a different depth within the silicon and each corresponding to a different RGB color. Since it is the only sensor to use this superior vertical color separation technology, it is also the world’s only direct image sensor.

Almost all other image sensors are mosaic sensors, which use an array of RGB color filters in a single horizontal plane to capture color information. Each pixel is assigned only one of the three colors and cannot capture all three colors at once. In contrast, the Foveon direct image sensor captures color vertically, recording hue, value, and chroma accurately and completely for each pixel.

In the Foveon direct image sensor, there are no color filters, which cause a loss of information transmitted by light. Moreover, there is no low-pass filter needed to correct the interference caused by a color filter array. Finally, unlike the data from other sensors, which requires artificial interpolation to “fill in” missing colors, the data from the Foveon direct image sensor is complete for every single pixel and requires no interpolation. The unique technological principle of this sensor produces consistently outstanding image quality.

Newly developed Foveon X3 Quattro direct image sensor, Now featuring 39 megapixel-equivalent ultrahigh resolution
Capturing the information transmitted by light vertically instead of horizontally, the full-color image capture system of the Foveon direct image sensor is the only one of its kind in the world. This system makes possible the sensor’s full-bodied image quality, which is characterized by rich tone and gradation and texture that one can almost touch.

The newly developed Foveon X3 Quattro is the latest generation of this unique sensor. While retaining the distinctive characteristics of its predecessors, it offers an even higher level of image quality. In addition to 30% higher resolution, the volume of image data has become lighter, and it enables much faster image processing and lower current consumption.

At the same time, able to maintain the same exacting standard of image quality while increasing megapixels and enhancing noise characteristics, this 1:1:4 solution was the inspiration for the name of the current generation of Foveon sensor: “Quattro.”

There are three of these cameras, at 19m, 30m and 50mm attached lenses (in case any of that was confusing).

Screen Shot 2014-02-10 at 6.28.43 AM

No date of availability or pricing has been released.

Jaron Schneider's picture

Jaron Schneider is an Fstoppers Contributor and an internationally published writer and cinematographer from San Francisco, California. His clients include Maurice Lacroix, HD Supply, SmugMug, the USAF Thunderbirds and a host of industry professionals.

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Sorry left eye shooters, going to be the most awkward camera for you to hold. Going to have to chicken peck the shutter release.

There's no view finder that I can see....

So you can't focus through the viewfinder on the back that says "focus"...

They probably are referring to the EVF, which is the whole back of the camera.

I get that, but then is there a point to the focus viewfinder? Is it an EVF or can the EVF even focus? Either way, not made with left eye shooters in mind, and still stupid design.

I'm sure the black thing saying "focus" is a button...

I think that's a button you're referring to. The camera doesn't seem to have an EVF on the camera body, just a back focus button.

OH I SEE. You thought the button was actually a viewfinder. No. That would be extremely poor design.

lol, that's a button

So they designed a button to loo like a viewfinder. Well, on that note, I wouldn't want it because of that too. No viewfinder is just as bad.

Do I win a prize?

The main point being missed is that if the button was a viewfinder it would be fine for lefties and bad for righties. Think nex line up, view finder is on the other side. ;)

Interesting. I'm glad they're still working with the Foveon technology, because it seems like it's been a while since Sigma put out a serious camera (I think one came out last year or something but...meh).

I am wondering how well it'll perform in different situations though.

From what I remember, the last Foveon entries had incredible color depth and decent dynamic range, but you couldn't shoot over ISO 400 before your images getting noticeably noisy.

Does the Foveon matter anymore? Such a great idea whose development languished for so many years. Perhaps Sigma was the wrong company to buy Foveon, it doesn't seem like they could put enough effort into it. Perhaps the technology was just too difficult to work with.

Seeing what Fuji has done wit the X-Trans sensor, perhaps Foveon doesn't even matter anymore.

The Fuji sensor is just a different take on the Bayer filter. The architecture is almost the same as the sensors in Canon and Nikon sensors, it's just that the pixel placement in the X-Trans is more irregular to try and replicate the look of film.

From what I've read, the only advantage to this is that the X-trans sensor does not require an anti-aliasing filter, because it's less likely to create moire.

The Foveon is an entirely different beast from both the X-Trans and Bayer sensors.

"From what I've read, the only advantage to this is that the X-trans
sensor does not require an anti-aliasing filter, because it's less
likely to create moire."

No, that's not the only advantage. Probably it's biggest advantage is lower luma noise and virtually zero chroma noise. It's an APS-C sensor that is easily compared to FF sensors from Canon or Nikon/Sony, except for the D4/1D sensors pretty much beats them in noise and detail. That's pretty impressive for an APS-C sensor. I wish Fuji would make a FF sensor like that and stick it into a FF version of their XT1. That would totally kill.

Here's raw noise at ISO 6400...

Is it the sensor that's creating less noise or the RAW processor that's more heavily editing the noise out of the image? Even Adobe had a difficult time with the RAF files because they were different enough that it required new backwards-engineered algorithms.

Early profiles for the Fuji cameras in LR4 if I remember correctly appeared to be quite noiseless, however, they were also soft.

I imagine LR still interprets RAF files a bit differently than more common NEF or CR2 files simply because the raws are a unique breed when it comes to the raw format.

If you look at the X-Trans sensor layout, the green sensors are grouped together, this allows for better luminosity sensitivity by using ganged results. This is why I belive it has much lower noise overall, and especially lower chroma noise.
Fuji just revised this sensor somewhat as well, the images I posted here are the X-Trans sensor, there is now the X-Trans II, Not sure what the differences are, hopefully even more improvement.

As a foveon fan, this is more compelling than the previous Merrill's.

It's a cool looking camera! They've done of a great job of upping the aesthetics of their products.

You know, other than completely forgetting about left eye shooters. No big deal though, right?

You're, what, like 5% of the population? I don't think they forgot about you, I'm sure they did the math and decided there's not enough of you to warrant a design change.

More like >20% and more then most people think, that's for sure.

Reminds me of Apple's "function following form" philosophy. Cool-looking. Dysfunctional.

Sure, in theory it sounds great. But I have yet to see one image from a Fovean sensor that wows me to where I consider it above and beyond what a CMOS or CCD sensor puts out. Toss up the same composition from a Fovean sensor as from, say, a Canon, and you won't be able to tell which is which.

I would disagree. I only say this because I used to shoot canon and my assistants and friends still do. The sharpness is pretty impressive. Unfortunately you may not know many people who use these types of cameras. You can tell in my eyes.

I recently shot work for AMC and the default detail is very amazing.

I showed the Sigma dp3 merrill with an A7r with wearing the Zeiss Otus.

I would be happy to share full size images with you if you would like.

Have a look.

Hope they can convince Adobe to add LR support. I still have the old DP2 which was support. Not having support for the Merrill generation was a total deal breaker for me.

Guys, this camera has no EVF, LOL. None of the new Sigmas have an EVF. That button is the menu nav button. These cameras use optical viewfinders just like the DP Merrills I use. That button on the side is not a viewfinder. Some of these comments have me cracking up.