Sigma’s fixed-lens DP2x takes a rather different approach to the high-quality compact camera. Designed for keen enthusiasts, it’s most definitely a camera for those who know what they’re doing: Its purist approach leaves no room for automatic scene modes or built-in help. Instead a sparse, pared-down design places all the most important manual controls at your fingertips allowing the more experienced photographer to adjust exposure quickly without having to jump in and out of cumbersome menu system.
Most significant of all, however, is that the DP2x does not support interchangeable lenses. Not only that, but the 24.2mm (equivalent to a 41mm on a 35mm camera) has no zoom function. This may seem crazy in a world where compact cameras are often sold on the strength of their zooming capabilities, but as any photographer will tell you – a fixed or ‘prime’ lens will deliver far superior optical performance and enable a wider aperture, which in turn improves low-light performance. At f/2.8 the DP2x lens is considerably brighter than any of the provided kit zoom lenses.
The 41mm lens sees the world in a way that’s very similar to the human eye, making the DP2x ideal for street photography and people shots. You just have you be prepared to move your arms or indeed your whole body in order to frame the shot you want.
The differences don’t stop there: unlike every other camera reviewed here, the DP2x uses a Foveon full-colour sensor. While its physical size matches that of an SLR, its 14Mp are divided into layers of red, green and blue placed on top of each other rather than side-by-side in a checkerboard pattern. This means that, at the maximum resolution, your final image will only contain about 4.6Mp, but that each individual pixel will contain three times the amount of colour information.
Unfortunately with ISO limited to 3200 in RAW mode and only 800 in JPEG mode, the DP2x doesn’t have the sensitivity to compete in very low-light situations. However under more forgiving conditions, the camera’s high-quality prime lens and unique sensor allow it to produce sharp, detailed images with great colour reproduction.