Every time I review a Sigma camera I find myself repeating the same explanation of its unusual Foveon X3 sensor technology. I'm sure regular visitors to TrustedReviews are getting a bit tired of reading it, so this time I'd first like to point you to this article that explains more about it. Anyone who's not familiar with the Foveon sensor should go and read that now. Don't worry about the rest of us, we'll wait here for you.
Today I'm taking a look at the DP1x, Sigma's latest Foveon-powered compact camera. If it looks a little familiar, that's because it's nearly identical to the Sigma DP2s that I reviewed in June. The only difference between the two cameras is the focal length of the lens. Both are fixed length (i.e. non-zoom), with the DP2s having an f/2.8 24.2mm lens, equivalent to 41mm, and the DP1x having an f/4 16.6mm lens equivalent to 28mm.
Both cameras feature the same sensor, and it's the same 4.6 megapixel 20.7 x 13.8mm Foveon X3 chip that has appeared in every Sigma camera since the original DP1 and the SD14 DSLR were introduced in 2006. Sigma has announced a new DSLR, the SD1, to be launched in 2011, which will feature a new higher resolution 15MP Foveon chip, but until then Sigma seems determined to squeeze every last bit of mileage out of its existing technology.
The DP1x is technically an advanced compact, since it has a full range of manual exposure controls, a flash hot-shoe and can shoot in Raw mode, but when you compare its specification and features to those of its rivals in that category, such as the Canon PowerShot S95 £315), the Panasonic LX5 (£330), the Canon G12 (£370), the Samsung EX1 (£380, review next week) and even the Nikon P7000 (£440), it looks rather primitive and massively over-priced. The DP1x is currently on sale at an almost unbelievable £600, give or take a penny. For the same money you could buy a good entry-level DSLR with a couple of lenses and still have enough left over for a spare battery and a memory card.