Sigma DP1x - Design and Features


As with previous Sigma compact cameras the overall build quality is quite good, although there is room for improvement. The DP1x has an all-metal body and does feel quite sturdy, but there are some pretty big gaps between some of the body panels and the controls feel surprisingly cheap for such an expensive camera, and the battery/card hatch has no latch and can slide open quite easily. The body is very flat and box-like, with only small textured areas on the front and back to provide any grip, and despite the camera’s large physical dimensions the handling leaves a lot to be desired.

The DP1x has a relatively small 2.5-inch LCD monitor with a resolution of 23k dots. The refresh rate is a bit slow, it’s not terribly bright and the reflective surface makes it difficult to see in bright daylight, but it does at least offer a nice wide angle of view.

In terms of features the DP1x is, unsurprisingly, identical to the DP2s. It has the common manual exposure controls, including program auto, aperture and shutter priority, and full manual exposure. Shutter speeds from 15 seconds to 1/200th of a second and aperture settings from f/4 to f/11 are available in the usual 1/3EV increments, and ISO settings range from 50 to 800 ISO. Exposure settings are adjusted, somewhat counter-intuitively, by the left and right buttons on the D-pad and by the two buttons on the top right of the rear panel that look like zoom controls. There is a data entry wheel, but it is only used to adjust manual focus. Compared to its main market rivals the control interface seems clunky and primitive.

Other camera adjustments are made via a basic quick menu system, including white balance, ISO setting, drive mode, metering mode, a small range of colour options, and image size and quality settings. There is also a main menu that redundantly duplicates all of these settings, as well as adding a few more, such as adjustable contrast, saturation and sharpness. The simple three-colour menu with its blocky, poorly aliased text looks crude compared to the slick gradient-filled menus of rival cameras.

While keen photographers prefer the creative control afforded by manual settings, it’s always good to have some automatic options to fall back on. Even advanced compacts such as the Canon S95 and Panasonic LX5 offer features such as automatic scene scene recognition, face detection and subject tracking AF, and scene mode settings for most common situations. The DP1x has none of these features, and in fact barely has any features at all. When many of its much cheaper rivals are equipped with full 1080p HD video recording with stereo sound, the DP1x can only offer 320 x 240 pixel video resolution with mono audio. Most cellphones can do better than that.