PHILOSOPHY The world's first full-spec compact digital cameras, the DP series is the natural extension of Sigma principles

Superb image quality. Same compact body.

“A large sensor in a compact body.” Appearing all over the media, this phrase neatly summed up Sigma’s DP series of high-performance, high image-quality compact cameras.

Ever since digital cameras ousted film cameras from their mainstream status, the image sensors used in compact cameras had been far smaller than those used in SLRs. Of course, photo sensor size plays a crucial role in determining image quality. This was true in the days of film, and it’s just as true in the digital age. Yet compact cameras had been getting steadily smaller and lighter. Meanwhile, the all-important pursuit of higher image quality had become an afterthought, for reasons of cost and technological difficulties.

What’s more, digital compacts were all about extra functions and more megapixels. Higher pixel-counts were achieved simply by making the pixels extremely small, so that more of them could be crammed in, while the sensor itself remained as small as ever. In terms of the essence of photographic expression, pixel counts don’t really count. Yet competition on this front had reached fever pitch by the spring of 2008, when the Sigma DP1 made its long-awaited debut.

Creating a whole new category: top image quality, plus portability

The DP1 was introduced as a compact digital camera with an SLR-sized image sensor. It was a camera that satisfied the artist’s need for top image quality and yet was compact enough to take anywhere. This had always been the amateur photographer’s dream. And a dream it remained, until Sigma boldly took up the challenge and overcame numerous technical difficulties to make it happen.

At Sigma, we have strong views about what a camera should be. Sensor size isn’t our only obsession: we’re also big on pioneering sensor design. That’s why our DP cameras feature the Foveon X3® direct image sensor, which breaks new ground by capturing the full complement of colors at each individual pixel location. Thanks to this sensor, our DP cameras produce distinctive images that combine exquisite vividness with astonishingly high definition, outclassing conventional digital image quality.

Thanks to the unique 3-D feel plus the clarity and sharpness, delivered by Sigma’s proprietary three-layered Foveon X3® direct image sensor, the images created by the DP1 won acclaim from photographers all over the world. Their image quality was compared to that of a medium-format film camera rather than that of a DSLR. The rest is recent history: the DP1’s formidable descriptive power not only made a worldwide splash, but also transcended the existing distinction between SLRs and compacts, creating the new “full-spec compact” category. There’s just no doubt about it—the DP1 created quite a buzz in photographic circles.

A unique embodiment of Sigma’s philosophy

You wouldn’t carry an SLR around unless you intended to shoot some serious photos. Pictures taken with an SLR have to be carefully set up, framed and posed. All sorts of complicated settings have to be fiddled with. That’s how most people would think of an SLR. Yet Sigma took the essence of an SLR, and packed it, unabridged, into a compact body. We also included a generous dollop of extra high-performance functions. We gave the photographer more artistic control, and left more scope for creative expression.

With the introduction of the Sigma DP series, serious photography can now be part of your everyday routine. And that’s not all: these cameras are the perfect fit for today’s increasingly nonconformist, free-spirited users. They awaken the creativity within many photographers, often causing them to fall in love with photography all over again.

In its forms and workflows, photographic equipment changes with the times. Photographic expression is also subject to passing trends. What stays unchanged is the way a camera should be. A camera should slavishly follow your direction. It should respect your intention. And it should do this without losing sight of the essence of photography, namely, capturing your own personal sensory experience, the picture in your mind’s eye—a single image only you could create. This is the fundamental concept underlying all of Sigma’s evolving technological innovation.

SIGMA DP1x Special Contents

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