Monday, May 19, 2008


The review of the DP1 hit the web today and the Sigma forum has been buzzing.  The rating of Above Average was surprising for folks like me who actually enjoy using this camera and thought it might be higher.  Some of the reasoning / explanation was suspect but after some thought about it I figure they're right.

We are all anxious to have approval for the decisions we make, validation I suppose is the buzz word.  But.  When I think about it, I would never make a large time and $$$ decision based upon what web sites write.  None of the photographers I know would either.  So who does, and what are they looking to discover in a review.  I imagine it's bench tests, comparison images, technical info and conclusions.  This is where reviewers shine.  They know their market.  Their market has complained long and hard about missing shots due to shutter lag (slow focus) and slow write times.  To have a new camera bring these exact same things to them just won't do. 

This camera brings back a feeling of quality in images that is becoming lost.  I get the most enjoyment from my old folding cameras.  Medium format with outstanding 4 element german glass and all of the modern conveniences of the 1940's (none).  They don't even take batteries.  They're nothing at all except IQ

In 1971 after saving for over a year I bought a brand new Nikon F.  It has a center weighted meter with a needle showing in the viewfinder.  Completely mechanical except for the light meter I used it for 30 years.  Now my digital Nikon does everything from focus to shutter setting to auto iso etc etc and shoots 10 or so RAW images rapid fire.  If I'm missing a shot I'm just not facing the right way.  The images it produces when manipulated slightly are wonderful. As proof I point to the 5 star images I have cataloged by Apple's Aperture.  I bought the DP1 because I was hoping it would be like the Nikon in a small package and indeed it is.  The user functionality I expected is perhaps more like the film Nikon and surprisingly so is the image quality.  So it is like the Nikon in a small body but the old Nikon.

Someone in one of the forum threads mentioned that there is more to a camera than IQ.  It doesn't really matter if the writer was serious, it's a great question.  I think the answer is situational and photographer dependent.  Action shots, while life goes on all around, An "OK" IQ in a great users camera is perfect.  Other times though it's all about the IQ.  Spend thousands on glass and use the equivalent of expired film???  Nope!

As an example.  I made a photo book of a week spent with the grand daughters. Aperture makes this quite easy and the result was wonderful.  Now I've started to pull together my 5 stars, looking to make another book.  After several weeks with the DP1 though I'm just not happy with altogether too many of them.  The IQ on digital just wasn't there.  I didn't see that clearly because my images are either DSLR or film which is scanned and digitized.

The DP1 reminds me of what I've been missing.


Ronald said...

I can only but complement that! I love the fact that I have to do something to make that picture great, think about focus (manual is great), to me there is no shutterlag (coming from canon G7). So, There is only one thing that counts and that's the output. A camera is a tool and i think that sigma had photographers in mind designing this camera. Sure, like they state, it is not for everyone. But for the enthousiast it is revolutionary. I love it to dead

obakesan said...

So, are you happy with the DP1 or not? I'm intersted in one of these to replace my old (and so far) reliable Nikon Coolpix. They also make handy meters for my LF camera too ...

still ... if the image quality is not there (as you appear to say) then its not worth the leap