Sigma Rethinks DP Series with the New DP Quattro Line of Powerful APS-C Compacts


As of yesterday, Sigma has shaken up its point-and-shoot line with a major refresh of the powerful-yet-strange DP Series of cameras. Dubbed DP ‘Quattro’ (the old ones were Merrill) the new line of Foveon compacts from Sigma represents a significant visual redesign and some minor (but important) changes on the inside.

Sigma’s DP Series of compact cameras have made a name for themselves as powerful APS-C compacts that offer phenomenal color reproduction thanks to the Foveon APS-C sensor at their heart. That sensor didn’t come without some pitfalls though, and it’s some of those pitfalls that are addressed in the Quattro model line.


The DP Quattro cameras — which will come in DP1, DP2 and DP3 models with 28mm, 45mm and 75mm f/2.8 lenses, respectively — feature the newest Foveon sensor. A sensor that has been redesigned in such a way as to deliver images that are “more colorful, rich, deep, and faithful than ever before.”

It does this by staggering the sensor resolution unevenly over the Foveon’s three layers. The top layer captures 19.6-megapixels, while the bottom two capture 4.9-megapixels a piece. That, paired with an updated TRUE III image processor promises that same stunning color reproduction at much more acceptable speeds.



Other than the sensor and processor, the rest of the specs are unchanged, but all of those internals are packed into a radically different casing that you’ll either find really cool or really ridiculous (most people seem to be leaning towards the latter, with the kindest descriptions being ‘striking but odd’).

So far, no pricing or availability info has been made available for the DP1, 2 and 3 Quattro cameras, but we’ll keep you updated as news drops. To learn more about this strange-looking redesign and the new sensor tech inside, head over to the Sigma Press Room here.

(via The Phoblographer)

  • John

    Sigma is one of few camera companies with a true innovative spirit. Finally a unique design, paired with a hopefully fantastic sensor. Keep it up, Sigma! You the MAN!

  • Patrick

    NO, Better fuji’s cameras!

  • John

    I like Fuji, I think they are doing a terrific job with their x-line and their XT1 looks very promising. Comparing them with Sigma makes not a lot of sense, but since you bring it up: Sigma is just on another level to me. The design language is pushing forward, they acknowledge it’s 2014 and not 1970. Plus their sensor technology is unique. X-trans is very nice, no doubt, but Foveon is just something else (not because it’s necessarily the future – I don’t know that – but because of Sigma standing by it and believing in their vision and in the vision of Dick Merrill.) THAT is “pure photography”.

  • Joost

    I think the design does a great job by adding stability, furthermore it’s refreshing to see something new and let’s be honest: Why not?

  • tarena1991

    I love the daring design and cant wait to see how it performs. im sick of Camera companies going backwards and being nostalgic instead of being innovative. Bravo Sigma

  • Mike

    Must be Sigma’s way of testing the waters. This looks like a “beta test” for the sensor, by using a camera and design that not too many would buy- so no need to manufacture too many units.

  • Ilkka

    It sort of misses the two benefits of the original system. It has to interpolate color data. Sigma was supposed to be so good for two reasons, no Bayer mosaic and no need to interpolate data. The sharpness destroying anti alias filter has already been removed by many competitors.
    The original DP1 and 2 were small cameras with DSLR quality (at the time), Merrill almost medium format quality. This is not a small camera anymore. The body is slim but the lens sticks out so even that benefit is lost. It looks to be wider than most DSLRs. And with the lens and handle sticking out like that, it is an odd shaped thing to put in a bag, not in a pocket.
    It is good to be innovative and different, but not just for the sake of it. There is a reason why most cameras look alike. We need to carry them around and our hands are all about the same size and shape.

  • Kaufmann56

    Actually Foveon always interpolated color data: It’s not like the three Foveon layers capture one color each, but rather they each capture different portions of the spectrum, then build an image from this. The top layers essentially collects luminance.

    So having a 20 MP top layer plus two 5 MP middle and bottom layers could lead to better images. In other words: The idea that somehow the lower res middle and bottom layers had to be “scaled up” or “interpolated” is technically incorrect and stems from the (wrong) assumptions that the color channels were captured per layer.

  • Patrick

    yea xtrans is another “bayer sensor” like foveon is another “bayer sensor” same tec differt layers …. mah!

  • Abraham Pak

    I like the design… but I REALLY wish they added a viewfinder. Only actual test will tell how much they’ve improved on the previous foveon sensors.

  • Matt

    xtrans is a different color filter array, on top of a tradtional bayer. I like Fuji they have done some great departures from the norm, and until the Feveon hit the market they had the best results. I can only say the Merrill has the best IQ I have seen in digital. I love my DP2 Merrill.

  • Matt

    I can’t wait. I hope it does better in low light. And maybe the Auto Focus could use some help. But, my DP2 Merrill is the best IQ I have seen, so it is a pretty high bar for the new sensor. But, I’m very optimistic. And, I hate to admit it, but video would be nice…

  • Matt

    I think the hood is adding some size to the look. I really like it to be honest. You correct that it is not a pocket camera, and I do agree that I have not found a great way to carry my DP2 Merrill, but very small price to pay IMO. Less than lugging around my 5D II.
    The reason most cameras look the same is that people expect them to look that way. Not because they work better that way.

  • Ilkka

    Yes, viewfinder would be perfect for a set of fixed lens cameras so can have good, optimized finder for each. Fuji already does that so well with the x100. Another reason to support the three lens/body combination instead of interchangeable lenses which would make much more sense in general.

  • Mike

    Thumbed down by Sigma’s CEO!

  • Ilkka

    I don’t know the details, but this is what Sigma says about their (previous) sensor:
    Sigma uses three layers of photodiodes to gather the entire red, green and blue color information of light, forming the world’s one and only full color capture system. Downstream processing of color and luminance information is minimized. Full RGB light information is captured at each pixel location. The image sensor in most conventional digital cameras uses an RGB color filter array over a monochrome sensor. Each photosite receives just one of the RGB colors, so downstream interpolation processing is required to create a full-color image.
    At least they claim that full color information is captured at each site and no interpolation is needed, unlike in other cameras. Of course advertising is not always truthful.
    I still have the original DP1 and it has very nice image quality. I have been waiting for Merrill prices to drop to get a higher resolution sensor. Maybe now they will.

  • JackBox

    There are a couple of patents that explain the process, e.g. 7,339,216. If you are interested in the details you may want to check out the quattro thread over in the luminous landscape forum.

  • Serge Frolov

    If this will be faster and have longer battery life than previous DP series, it is a must have for me, replacing the D800e when space and weight is restricted. Wonder how it i will look mounted on a tripod, old version was useless with out it.

  • Fed Up with weirdos like you

    I believe that this camera represents the End of Sigma. thank you