This was a bit of a shocker to us as well: Kazuto Yamaki, Sigma's chief executive and lead design guru, doesn't want you to be distracted by the dp Quattro's strange shape. The extra-wide footprint is of course what first turned us on to this high-end camera, but the takeaway here should be the shooter's 29-megapixel Foveon X3 CMOS direct image sensor, which Yamaki says enables a reduced file size and better high-ISO performance. That refreshed chip operates similarly to traditional color film, using multiple layers to capture enhanced detail. That, along with a new processor, should produce sharper, more realistic images with vibrant colors -- something Sigma describes as "full-bodied image quality." Without an opportunity to review full-resolution samples, we can't really speak to the dp Quattro's performance, but there's no question that company reps are very excited about this new device.
The unusual design is what captured our attention, and judging by the long queue at Sigma's CP+ booth in Yokohama, Japan today, consumers are quite curious as well. Our first thought was that the company widened the body to accommodate a larger display, but the 920k-dot, 3-inch LCD is shockingly ordinary. The model seen here is the dp2, which features a fixed 28mm f/2.8 lens, but Sigma is also releasing the dp1, which includes a 45mm f/2.8 optic and the dp3, which sports a 75mm equivalent lens (yes, you'll need three cameras to take advantage of all three focal lengths). Since there's a lot of real estate to work with, the buttons and control dials have plenty of room to stretch out -- it literally couldn't feel less cramped, so if you're often accidentally tapping more than one button, you'll love what Sigma's done here. There's also a hot shoe, and once you attach a full-size flash, the dp may feel better balanced.
We liked the design overall, though we're still a bit puzzled, especially considering Sigma's plea to look past the extra-wide housing. It's also unclear how much each camera will retail for, or when they'll hit stores, but our money's on a price tag north of one grand. As for the internal design, Yamaki brings a bit of clarity in our video interview, embedded below.
Mat Smith contributed to this report.