Sunday, February 24, 2013

Sigma DP1 (original model) a personal favorite

I can tell if a camera is a favorite. I buy it and keep it. But sentimental favorites come and go multiple times. I've bought and sold Sigmas over and over. They frustrate but they also dazzle. The reason the only Sigma I have left is still here is I got it cheap and can only sell it cheap. The other reason is I really like the RAW files it produces. Sharp. Plenty of detail. Not a big sensor as sensors go (big for a small camera, of course, which is it's main claim to fame) and it can blow out highlights fairly easily. Can produce good DR though, which sounds contrary but that's the DP. The first DP1 I bought and sold I sold to a photographer in Spain. Even though the camera is metal, it can dent fairly easily and somehow I managed to dent it which reduced its value. He sent me a BW he took in a Haagen Daz? in Madrid looking out the front doors and the DR range was very, very good and he was excited. Here's the shot he sent me.

 Oh yeah, anything over ISO 400 starts to look washed out so you shoot monochrome high ISO. Actually you shoot RAW and select monochrome in Photo Pro. The good news is it's a great monochrome camera. There is also a strange yellow cast now and again in low ISO. The camera is slick, so I cover it with gaffer's tape where my hands interact with it, including the shutter button. The original DP1 is slow to focus and slow to write RAW. It has a fairly poor screen so you can't get much of an idea what you've shot. When you get home, however and power up Sigma Photo Pro and look at the shots, you've got to smile. I like the DP1 and DP2 and of course the S and X models are improved, particularly the X models. I still like the images the DP1 provides.

When it's all said and done, I really like the camera. It produces one of a kind output and is a joy to develop from RAW. Not a joy to shoot but a joy to develop. That's the Sigma DP1.


  1. Nice camera. I just bought the same original DP1 model (for a cheap price off the 'bay from Japan) and have always liked Sigma cameras, even from the film days. Mine even has the same auto lens cap as shown above. Simple and to the point, the whole thing.

    I am only just learning to use it. Slow to use, but seems like it gives good output. I tried to like an interchangebale lens compact I bought a while ago but JPEGs leave me cold. Can't wait to do some B&W work with it...

    I only ever once developed 1 reel of B&W film back in the day, but it was like magic watching the image appear. Sadly that just came as digital overtook film and working with chemicals and film is way slower than the DP1 ever is! But maybe one day we will all go completely retro...

    I like your gaffer tape idea. I added a cheap $10 grip and that definitely helps too.

    1. Great comments, Andrew. Developing the DP's RAW files is a lot easier than developing film but almost as magical as you watch the files develop in front of your eyes in Photo Pro (and apply your settings). Some camera jpegs can be tasty. The Sigma really needs RAW files. Maybe one day you'll find a DP2 cheap. The 40mm f2.8 lens is a step up but I still really like the 1. Cheers...