Sigma DP2 Quattro Hands-On Field Test

  By Jordan Drake

 

Music Provided By BeatSuite.com

Special thanks to Nicole Santerre and Toby Parker

Shot and Edited By Jordan Drake
Filmed on the Sony F5 

The Sigma Merrill video we did over a year ago has long been one of my favourite episodes of TCSTV. After playing with the camera a bit in the store, Chris and I both determined it was one of the worst cameras we’d ever seen. Looking at the JPEGs and watching the battery drain within a few dozen shots, reaffirmed our thoughts. Then we went out with Nick Devlin, shot and printed some images, and we were absolutely floored by the results. If Sigma could just out their issues with usability, they would have something truly compelling on their hands.

The Quattro is Sigma’s answer to those issues, and it comes as Sigma has been producing knockout lenses on a consistent basis. Chris and I had high hopes for the Quattro, especially when we saw the new look. Would this be the camera equivalent of the 18-35 F1.8?Since the Sigma is a camera that rewards a more deliberate shooting style, I decided to forego my usual monopod based shooting style. Everything would be locked and carefully composed. Since mobility wasn’t key, I could use a larger camera and make producing beautiful footage my top priority. That meant I took out the Sony F5, into the field for the first time since our D7100 TV commercial. It was also a great opportunity for me to test the new Tokina 16-28 T3 Cine-Zoom lens. I also brought along the Sony 135 T2 lens for closeups, as it is easily one of the nicest lenses I’ve ever had the pleasure of using. The F5 was supported by the Miller Compass 12 Tripod kit, and audio was recorded with the Sony UWP-V130 wireless system. Our friends from across the ocean at BeatSuite.com provided the music in the episode.

When using a larger camera kit, especially one with PL lenses, having an someone to help you operate the camera and change lenses (Assistant Camera) is a must. Fortunately, Nicole Santerre, who shot my AX100 video earlier this summer, came out to help. She even brought her fiancé Toby Parker, who was a huge help with packing the gear and his deadly reflector skills. The shoot went beautifully, as we had a great location (Confederation Park), gorgeous light, and I successfully managed to bring all the essential gear (a TCSTV first)!

The Quattro is a difficult camera to quickly explain. The awful, uncomfortable grip and terrible but completely mandatory Sigma Photo Pro software should be enough to keep me from recommending it. But the usability has hugely improved from the Merrills in terms of menus, battery life, and camera response. The main thing to recommend the Sigma cameras has been the incredible picture quality, and the Quattro maintains the best traits of the Foveon cameras. The per-pixel resolution is spectacular, and there is a distinct aesthetic that Foveon chips produce without having to do much post processing. That said, I was disappointed at the reduced resolution, the Quattro files simply don’t pack as much detail as the ones from the Merrill. For this reason, I’d expect a continued demand for the Merrill cameras while they can still be found.

If your photography style is very deliberate, and you like to bring your tripod and shoot at the lowest ISOs, the Sigma Quattro produces files that are among the best you can get for the price, especially if you prioritize resolution and colour over dynamic range. It’s great to see the continued improvements in Sigma’s products, but the Quattro is still not a camera I could recommend to the majority of photographers.