There’s a lot of richness to the colour of the images from the DP1, an area that’s caused arguments among reviewers and users of the previous Sigma cameras. I rather like the general look of the images produced. I wouldn’t call them wrong, just different. However there are times when things do go to pot, and colour and lack of detail combine to produce occasional blobby, fuzzy detail. As for white balance I found no problems to speak of.
Generally the DP1 gets it right where exposure is concerned, with no poorly exposed images in most conditions. High-contrast subjects proved to be a tricky, with the camera occasionally struggling to decide to save the highlights or the shadows, resulting in different exposures of the same subject.
The 16.6mm lens is brilliant though and in combination with the larger sensor produces excellent detail and sharpness, though when used at high ISOs, the noise reduction can reduce this.
When it comes to image noise, it’s pretty low at ISO 100 and 200 with a very smooth structure. Unfortunately this doesn’t last long and by ISO 400 noise becomes apparent, while increasing the gain to the maximum ISO 800, noise gets obtrusive, with a grid like pattern. The noise reduction also produces softer and lower contrast images.
With an SRP of £600, the DP1 is hardly a cheap compact, in fact it costs more than a DSLR, but it is a unique proposition both in terms of its design and its sensor. There are other cameras with similar handling, but the sensor size is sure to appeal to a certain type of photographer. Whilst it has certain charms, it’s by no means perfect and minor adjustments to the design of the camera would make it more usable, while Sigma also needs to look at the flash and fix those problems for any subsequent models. Without getting into the sensor debate I can say that the files from the DP1 are generally okay but inconsistent which puts a dampener on the whole experience.