Not for Everyone

The party is more state of mind than event. Foodies, political types, writers, thinkers, endless PhD’s. Every six months. A blast and a fascinating slice of Madison.

Six years ago. Around the time that I took this photo at Glacier National Park:



The camera that captured this image was a Sigma DP1, in 2008 (one year post iPhone, more on that later). I remember being astonished at the DP1′s sharpness and rather unique color expression.

I “like” to carry a small, high quality walk around camera.

Oh, the party. I brought the DP1 to collect a few images of friends enjoying wine and a myriad of food. Our friends are deep, serious foodies. A blast every six months.

Not more than 30 minutes into the party, a long time, now retired art and portrait photographer spotted the DP1. He ran over and waxed on and on about the “foveon sensor”. “May I?”. Yes, of course. Off he went to collect some great people shots.

So, the DP1.

I kept it, despite its operating flaws, including poor battery life, notoriously slow camera and post processing software and lack of file format support from the large image processing software vendors.

Two years ago information about the DP2 Merrill or “DP2M” arrived in my newsreader. I managed to find a great price and bought it, then sold the DP1 to an Atlanta photographer.

The camera responsiveness was somewhat improved, though the post processing software was still terrible. Image quality was and is fantastic, including low light opportunities:







That said, the camera’s responsiveness, battery life and occasional lockup during a “decisive moment” is annoying. The battery and memory card flap died 6 months ago – not great on a two year old camera.

However, the image quality continues to appeal.

Now comes the DP2M’s replacement, the DP2 Quattro or #DP2Quattro.

I had an opportunity to collect some images with it over the past few days while walking around Madison. I’ve made no attempt at deep, technical comparisons. Rather, I was interested in how well it performed when walking around – my DPx use case.















The camera’s responsiveness and build quality are substantially better than previous iterations. Sigma’s post processing software is somewhat improved, but still much too slow. It is a very good walk around camera.

But.

The camera market could not be more different than the DP1 era, 6+ years ago. Today, iPhone is the “camera” of choice for many. The iPhone’s image quality, connectivity and incredible software environment has decimated much of the entry and mid range camera market.

I took the following image with my iPhone 5s moments after capturing the same flowers with the DP2 Quattro (above). The iPhone image can be quickly shared (and edited if necessary).



The new DP2 Quattro lacks an interesting wireless interface for apps. DP2Q users’ must collect the image and somehow move it from the SD card to their computing device. For most of the market, that device is a smartphone. Currently, the images must be post processed using Sigma’s software for Windows or Mac. Nothing exists – as far as I know – for iPhones, iPads or Google Play devices.

Ideally, Sigma should have included an iOS app to control the camera and move images. Reasonable editing should also be available on these devices. Sony has taken a few steps into this space with “PlayMemories Mobile”.

I asked our college student children if they were interested in trying out the DP2 Quattro. “No.” Both, along with millions of others do quite well with their iPhone cameras + apps.

I hope that Sigma introduces apps to create and use the beautiful images on iPhones, iPads and Google Play devices. Time is of the essence. The iPhone 6 introduction is just around the corner.

Oh, that party? It’s days away, again.

Notes:

Foveon Sensors.

Sigma Photo USA

Most popular cameras on Flickr.

Canon’s 2014 Q2 financials: dslr sales -19%, compact digital cameras -38%.

Sony’s PlayMemories Mobile in the App Store and Google Play.

#DP2Quattro

My iPhone 6s log.

iPhone 5s & Sports Photography.

P.S. A further wish: A tilt-shift version of the DPx series.