A new shortcut button is by far the biggest modification. One press reveals options for ISO, flash, metering and white balance, while a second push brings up choices for file type, JPEG compression, colour profiles (standard, vivid, natural, mono, sepia, portrait and landscape), and drive modes. While this sounds like a good idea, instead of using what looks like a rear command dial to flick between settings you have use the direction pad. I must say it’s not very intuitive, and if you hesitate, the direction pad reverts to altering focus modes, AF point selection and exposure compensation.
Often I found myself really having to think of the correct sequence of buttons to push. What’s more, operation in general is made all the harder by not having each button clearly labelled. Familiarity will improve over time, but the controls aren’t particularly slick when compared to cheaper rivals. And in my opinion the manual focus wheel sitting behind the shutter release would make an ideal DSLR-style selector dial.
As you can see from the close-ups, the DP2 lacks an optical viewfinder, helping keep the body very compact, but an Leica-esque clip-on viewfinder, VF-21 is available as an optional extra. For grab shots it would seem ideal but for the fact the lens focuses very slowly indeed, and isn’t particularly quiet either. Although we didn’t have a DP1 available to compare side-by-side, it would seem that there’s has been little improvement in this respect.
Again, like the DP1, the auto-focus system has nine user selectable points overall, with the centre point being the default, and for the most part I can’t see users really changing this too often. It’s far simpler to focus with the centre point, lock with a half-press of the shutter release, then recompose.
A manual focus option using the aforementioned dial can be used for lightening fast shots, but this technique takes some practice. You won’t find yourself overlooking the manual override option though, especially when trying to focus in low light, as the DP2 auto-focus system isn’t particularly sensitive and also lacks an AF-assist lamp.
The DP2 has other issues too. Trying to judge focus accuracy on the LCD screen is a bit of a hit or miss affair, as it lacks both detail and clarity. Refresh rates are low too, meaning the screen can appear blurred or even lockup momentarily if the camera is moved during composition. I didn’t notice much in the way of noise in low-light, and it was reasonably legible in bright light, but it is prone to distracting reflections.
Writing to even a fast SD card isn’t particularly rapid, but on one occasion the camera’s activity light wouldn’t stop until I removed the battery. I’ve heard of the DP1 locking up, but it seems the DP2 is similarly prone. I would also recommend buying a second battery, as I barely got 50-60 images from a charge.