Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Impact Review: Sigma DP1 gets hammer-tested by dpreview

Yes, the time has come, the Sigma DP1 got its much anticipated dpreview review, although it was a bit anti-climactic that neither founder Phil Askey nor super-reviewer Simon Joinson wrote the review. It was instead penned by one of the new reviewers. Nothing against them, it's just that one would hope that Askey or Joinson would have chosen to tackle the herculean task of dealing with a Foveon review and all that it entails :)

Ok, now to the review, it was a 22-page review, and a lot of the talk about the review will focus on the conclusions page (page #21), and the long and winding list of cons attributed to this camera. Yikes?

Reactions to the dpreview review
The non-denominational but heavily opinionated News forum at dpreview discusses the review, with some saying "no surprises", while others disagreed.

Reactions in the home forum of the reviewed camera (Sigma SLR Talk) are ranging and ranging. Disappointed Foveon fans decided to review and rate dpreview itself, and that elicited a couple of replies from the Founder! Not to be confused with the Star Trek DS9 Founders (we think).

If you are going to read only one thread or post from this lot, be sure to check this thread reviewing the dpreview review, by veteran dpreview forum user Petteri. Petteri just recently posted his own review of the DP1, quite possibly one of the best reviews of the year so far. Must Read!

The debate on what is the best use for the DP1, how it compares and how to weigh its advantages and disadvantages against cameras with old-school Bayer sensors continues in this thread. And the whole Foveon/Sigma situation does indeed create some interesting debates and also forces us to reconsider previous notions of ... Okay, read the posts :)

Some people are hoping for future improvements, calling the DP1 not a finished product. Ouch! But let's not forget, the Sigma founder himself said that two more DP-series cameras are coming, quite possibly one having a *gasp* zoom lens. He is the founder, but then again, unless the camera is formally announced and then it actually gets released, we can never really know. Look at what happened to the now-former Leica CEO.

And the discussions continue i this thread, with both sides repeating their arguments, and the pixel peepers have a new chart to peep about, resolution chart comparisons!

Meanwhile a DP1 fan points out that the DP1 got an image quality score of 9 out of 10, yet its overall rating is so low, not even recommended just barely! This is why I've been suggesting that dpreview moves to a weighted conclusion, where the reader's interests are factored in. For example, a camera would have a different rating for an advanced photographer/enthusiast, than a casual user or an absolute beginner. Plus this would have the pleasant side-effect of allowing everyone to get a more favorable rating that matches their own conclusions :)

More discussion on this in the non-denominational open-source Open Talk forum where defenders of the DP1 are building up a fortress around the image quality factor and using the archers to shoot down any other complaints. Meanwhile Gandalf's Staff is made of Foveon chips as he slays Bayer Dragons attacking from left and right ;-)

And a perspective from a Nikon fan, Nikon Watch opines on the Sigma DP1 and its dpreview review.

Don't forget the DP1 Shootout at Serious Compacts
Serious Compacts is already on episode #6 of their multi-part series Serious Compacts shootout that squares off the DP1 with other cameras, comparing it with related cameras big and small.

Sigma DP1 coverage here at 1001
You can check all our past, present and future coverage of the DP1 through the Sigma DP1 mania tag, currently having 17 posts.

Measurable impact of the review
The DP1 has made it to the Amazon "Movers and Shakers" Top 40, with almost a 200% increase in sales after the review was posted. Of course this is only relative, if they were selling one camera per day before, and now they are selling two, then it's a big percentage jump, but without having actual numbers, it's hard to really tell.

The DP1 is available at Amazon for about $800, along with about half a dozen accessories, bring the all-accessories package squarely above one thousand.

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