SIGMA DP1 Review(ish) / by Ben Hay

 Yes, I've lost my mind. It was only a matter of time, to be honest.

I stumbled across this camera back in 2012. It had just been released and everyone was more or less head scratching trying to figure out why Sigma had released a slow, clunky compact with an APS-C Faveon sensor.

Funnily enough in 2016 the market is full of camera's like this, the full frame Sony RX1R being the best example, however in 2012 nothing like this was on the market. The handling reports alone were enough to put me off investing the best part of £1000 on a camera with a fixed 28mm lens. I picked up a mint example for £235.

Surprisingly, it has a fairly loyal following out there. A group of people who can apparently overlook the terrible write speeds, slow autofocus, difficult ergonomics, awful screen and horrendous battery life. It appears I'm one of them.


The clarity of the lens and sensor is impressive, but the how the chip expresses and reads color is what has led some to compare this little compact to medium format. That's a big claim, but it certainly punches above its weight.

There is something lovely about this camera renders out color. Its one of those things its hard to put your finger on, just a nuance that is lacking from a lot of other camera's out there.

This camera takes a long time to do most things. Focusing is not terrible, it just feels very much like a 2012 camera. If the lighting isn't optimal, expect it to spend a significant amount of time hunting. This is fine when shooting landscapes, but for anything street related you'll need clear skies and sunny days to get anything worthwhile.


There is no viewfinder, rather a very overpriced additional hotshoe finder. This is a big issue for me. I've always struggled to hold a camera away from my face, I find it harder to move, compose. It forces me to feel akward.

If you can overlook all of its quite dire quirks, its a camera that rewards you with very nice final images.