Sigma unveils radical DP2 Quattro with re-thought ~19.6MP Foveon sensor
Sigma has revealed the next generation of its DP series of APS-C sensor, fixed focal length cameras, with the dp2 Quattro. The latest, 45mm-equivalent, model features dramatic styling and a fundamental re-think of the company's Foveon multi-layer sensor design. The Quattro sensor still uses three layers to detect color information but now only captures its full, 19.6 million pixel resolution in the top layer, with lower two layers capturing 4.9MP of information each. The sensor will also appear in 28mm and 75mm equivalent dp1 Quattro and dp3 Quattro models.
The company says the 4:1:1 ratio maintains most of the color resolution advantages of the existing Foveon design while reducing the amount of data that needs to be handled - speeding up processing and improving the noise characteristics. The idea is that the top, 19.6MP layer will capture the majority of the luminance information, that is interpreted as resolution, with the deeper layers providing the color information.
|The Foveon X3 'Quattro' sensor samples 19.6MP of data at its top layer, but only 4.9MP at the two lower levels, meaning it captures higher luminance resolution than color resolution (something that's also true of conventional 'Bayer' sensors).|
In principle we'd expect this to lose a little of the color resolution that Foveon chips have been known for, but until we've had a chance to play with one, we won't know how much difference it'll make. The company promises 'the same exacting standard of image quality' as its existing models. In addition to offering JPEGs at its 19.6MP luminance resolution, a 'Super-High' 39MP JPEG mode will also be offered (14-bit Raw files will include full 16.9+4.9+4.9MP data).
The dp1, dp2 and dp3 Quattro models will continue to feature 19mm, 30mm and 50mm F2.8 lenses, offering 28mm, 45mm and 75mm equivalent fields of view, respectively. The lens specifications, in terms of numbers of elements and groups, and minimum focusing distances, remain unchanged from the existing 'Merrill' models. All three models will have 920k dot rear LCDs and 9-point contrast-detection autofocus systems.
At 395g (13.9oz), without battery or memory card, the dp2 Quattro will be 40g heavier than its predecessor. However, it is based around a new, BP-51 battery, so the difference in shooting weights may be greater.
Price and availability have not yet been announced.
Reinvention of camera, reinvention of dp
SIGMA dp Quattro
The Sigma Corporation is pleased to announce the new generation of high image quality compact cameras “SIGMA dp” that incorporates a newly developed Foveon X3 direct image sensor (generation name: “Quattro”).
Unique and without peer among image sensors, the Foveon direct image sensor is similar to traditional color film in that its multiple layers capture all of the information that visible light transmits. Along with Sigma’s proprietary image processing technology, this sensor produces incredible resolution, precise gradation, gorgeous color, breathtaking realism with a 3D feel. In other words, full-bodied image quality.
For the new dp series, we rethought and redesigned every aspect of the camera, including the sensor, engine, lens, and body. While retaining its famous textural expression, which seems to give form to the air itself, the updated Foveon direct image sensor produces images that are more colorful, rich, deep, and faithful than ever before.
To a radical degree, the new-generation dp series embodies Sigma’s philosophy of creating cameras that produce works of art. Featuring the highest level of fundamental performance, this series unites artistic expression and daily experience as no other cameras can.
With every element optimized for image quality, this camera is ready to produce works of art
Thanks to its optimized design featuring a fixed focal length lens and integrated body, the dp series offers both sensor and lens performance at the highest level. The result is full-bodied image quality.
In addition to superior holding performance, the camera body offers a balanced shape, layout, and weight distribution. With all of its elements designed for image quality, the dp offers highly intuitive operation. Its complete and robust specification allows the photographer to concentrate fully on photography itself and leverage the camera’s potential to produce outstanding images.
In everyday life, the dp series lets photographers find unexpected opportunities for experiencing emotion and enjoy photography and personal expression in exciting new ways. It is an outwardly simple yet extremely powerful embodiment of Sigma’s philosophy of photography.
Wide-angle, standard, and medium telephoto options
All of the fundamental photographic approaches in one lineup of three cameras
The dp series comprises three fixed focal length cameras, each of which features a different basic focal length for a different fundamental photographic approach: the wide-angle dp1 Quattro at 19mm, the standard dp2 Quattro at 30mm, and the medium telephoto dp3 Quattro at 50mm (respectively equivalent to 28mm, 45mm, and 75mm on a 35mm lens). Moreover, the three models share an exciting new camera body that brings out the best performance from the lens and image sensor.
It’s a simple but powerful lineup that delivers medium format-level image quality anywhere, anytime. Take all three with you and select as needed for the perfect shot. Only the dp series puts so much luxurious photographic potential in your hands.
The world’s only image capture system to use vertical color separation technology
Starting with our very first digital camera, we have featured the Foveon direct image sensor, which offers radically better image quality than any other sensor available. Leveraging the light absorption characteristics of silicon, the sensor comprises three layers of photodiodes, each at a different depth within the silicon and each corresponding to a different RGB color. Since it is the only sensor to use this superior vertical color separation technology, it is also the world’s only direct image sensor.
Almost all other image sensors are mosaic sensors, which use an array of RGB color filters in a single horizontal plane to capture color information. Each pixel is assigned only one of the three colors and cannot capture all three colors at once. In contrast, the Foveon direct image sensor captures color vertically, recording hue, value, and chroma accurately and completely for each pixel.
In the Foveon direct image sensor, there are no color filters, which cause a loss of information transmitted by light. Moreover, there is no low-pass filter needed to correct the interference caused by a color filter array. Finally, unlike the data from other sensors, which requires artificial interpolation to “fill in” missing colors, the data from the Foveon direct image sensor is complete for every single pixel and requires no interpolation. The unique technological principle of this sensor produces consistently outstanding image quality.
Newly developed Foveon X3 Quattro direct image sensor
Now featuring 39 megapixel-equivalent ultrahigh resolution
Capturing the information transmitted by light vertically instead of horizontally, the full-color image capture system of the Foveon direct image sensor is the only one of its kind in the world. This system makes possible the sensor’s full-bodied image quality, which is characterized by rich tone and gradation and texture that one can almost touch.
The newly developed Foveon X3 Quattro is the latest generation of this unique sensor. While retaining the distinctive characteristics of its predecessors, it offers an even higher level of image quality. In addition to 30% higher resolution, the volume of image data has become lighter, and it enables much faster image processing and lower current consumption.
At the same time, Able to maintain the same exacting standard of image quality while increasing megapixels and enhancing noise characteristics, this 1:1:4 solution was the inspiration for the name of the current generation of Foveon sensor: “Quattro.”
Newly developed TRUE III image processing engine
Optimized for processing Foveon X3 Quattro direct image sensor data
The new dp series cameras feature the newly developed TRUE (Three-layer Responsive Ultimate Engine) III. This image processing engine has evolved in pace with our Foveon direct image sensor and incorporates all of the image processing expertise we have developed over the years. Thanks to new refinements, it is the ideal engine for processing the rich and complex image data produced by the new-generation Foveon X3 Quattro direct image sensor. Our proprietary algorithm makes possible ultrafast processing of an immense volume of image data without any deterioration of the final images. The result is high-definition, 3D-like photographs with outstandingly rich color detail.