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Sigma dp0 Quattro Review

Reviewed, the Sigma dp0 Quattro, with an ultra-wide 14mm f/4 lens equivalent to 21mm this is the first new Sigma lens with a Foveon sensor camera released since 2013.


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Features
Handling
Performance
Verdict
Specification

Sigma Dp0 Quattro (2)

The Sigma dp0 Quattro is the latest version of the Sigma dpx Quattro series, introducing a new ultra-wide-angle 14mm f/4 (21mm equivalent) lens, and brings the total number of cameras up to four. We'd recommend reading one of our previous Sigma dp1, dp2, or dp3 Quattro reviews to get an understanding of the Quattro sensor in use in the dp0, as all cameras use the same Foveon X3 Quattro sensor, which is designed to give true colour information for every pixel. 

Sigma dp0 Quattro Features

Sigma Dp0 Quattro (1)

The changes made to the Sigma dp0 Quattro compared to the previous dpx Quattro cameras is the lens, which makes the dp0 Quattro the largest of the cameras available with a long protruding lens. Here's a quick run-down of the lens specifications of each Quattro camera available:

    Lens Equivalent (in 35mm terms) Min Focus  
dp0   14mm f/4, 7 blades 21mm 18cm  
dp1   19mm f/2.8, 9 blades 28mm 20cm  
dp2   30mm f/2.8, 9 blades 45mm 28cm  
dp3   50mm f/2.8, 7 blades 75mm 22.6cm  

 

All four cameras feature the same Foveon X3 APS-C CMOS sensor, featuring multiple layers to capture all of the colour information that visible light transmits, something Sigma calls full-bodied image quality. Due to the sensor design, there is no low pass filter, and each pixel records full RGB colour information, thanks to a layered sensor, much like film. The dp Quattro series is said to give the equivalent of a 39 megapixel camera, from a 29.8 megapixel sensor (20mp + 4.9mp + 4.9mp), when compared to Bayer sensor cameras. (For more information have a look at the dp3 Quattro review)

The 14mm, 21mm equivalent ultra-wide angle lens has been designed to be a rectilinear ultra-wide angle lens, with minimal distortion (less than 0.5%), with high image quality into the corners of the frame, and this is partly the reason why the camera has a relatively slow aperture of f/4. The larger the aperture, the more difficult it is to create a lens with minimal distortion, and this has resulted in a lens with a long lens barrel giving the light as straight a path to the sensor as possible, further minimising the levels of distortion. The new lens uses an improved focus system compared to the previous dpx Quattro cameras, with less lens elements needing to be moved in order to focus, which should result in quicker focus speeds.

Sigma explain that the Foveon sensor needs more precise alignment in the camera body, compared to a standard sensor, and to get the best out of the sensor a fixed lens is neccessary, rather than developing an interchangeable lens camera or mirrorless camera. Although Sigma do offer the Sigma SD1 Merrill DSLR with interchangeable lenses, so in theory a mirrorless Sigma Foveon camera should be possible.

A wide-angle external optical viewfinder, the VF-51, is available for the dp0 Quattro for £179. There are no video recording capabilities, nor built in Wi-Fi, however the dp0 Quattro is compatible with eyefi cards. 

Sigma Dp0 Quattro (3)

Key Features

  • 29mp Foveon X3 Quattro APS-C CMOS sensor
  • Sigma 14mm f/4 lens, 21mm equivalent, 58mm filter thread
  • 3inch screen, 921k dots
  • P/A/S/M shooting modes
  • 21:9, 16:9, 3:2, 4:3, 1:1 aspect ratios
  • Lossless compression RAW data (14-bit)
  • ISO100 to ISO6400
  • 18cm minimum focus distance
  • Flash hot shoe
  • Dual-axis electronic level
  • Magnesium alloy body

Sigma dp0 Quattro Handling

Sigma Dp0 Quattro (4)
The Sigma dp0 Quattro handles in the same way as the other dpx Quattro cameras, with a somewhat odd or unique design, where the handgrip turns backwards, rather than forwards as you'd find in other cameras. This can make it feel awkward at first (and every subsequent time you pick up the camera). However, the two control wheels on top, along with the QS button on the back make it quick and easy to change settings, and the large lens barrel gives another area to hold on to. All of the buttons are neatly placed so they can be reached with your right hand. The build quality is very good, with a metal body, although the lack of weather sealing may disappoint landscape photographers in countries with inclement weather.  

The 3inch screen has a good resolution is 921k dots, however the display doesn't look as other cameras with a fairly slow refresh rate when taking photos. Photos look good in playback. There are 9 AF points selectable, Free move mode (It is possible to change the size of Focus Frame to Spot, Regular and Large.) There is also Face Detection AF mode. In manual focus you have the option of 4x or 8x magnification to aid focusing, however, the camera does not feature focus peaking.

Sigma Dp0 Quattro (5)
The menus on the dp0 Quattro are much improved over the dpx Merrill cameras, with the sections neatly colour coded and spread over several screens. The QS button gives quick access to the most commonly used options, and the mode button is used to switch between the main shooting modes: M / S / A / P plus three custom modes. 

Sigma Dp0 Quattro (6)
Battery life - Battery life is rated at 200 shots according to Sigma / CIPA test results, which is below average, however Sigma include two batteries in the box which gives you a total of 400 shots which is much more respectable, as long as you don't mind always carrying a spare battery with you. An Eco mode option should extend battery life.

Speed - We took a number of shots to test the camera's responsiveness, from switch on to first photo, shot to shot, focusing speed etc. We take a number of shots and then use the average to ensure accurate and consistent tests, making it easy to compare with other cameras.

Shutter Response 0.05secs
Wide - Focus / Shutter Response 0.3secs
Switch on Time to Taking a Photo 4.0secs
Shot to Shot without Flash 1.9secs
Shot to Shot with Flash N/A
Continuous Shooting - JPEG
(shots before slow down)
4fps (7 shots, JPEG, High, Fine)
Continuous Shooting - Flash N/A
Continuous Shooting - RAW 4fps (7 shots, Raw, High)


Focus speed is improved when compared to the other dpx Quattro cameras. Continuous shooting is reasonably quick at 4fps, however it can take a while for the camera to write the 7 shots to the memory card, particularly when shooting raw images, and a high speed memory card is recommended. 

Sigma Dp0 Quattro (8)
 

Sigma dp0 Quattro Performance

The performance section is where we look at the image quality performance of the camera. Additional sample photos and product shots are available in the Equipment Database, where you can add your own review, photos and product ratings.

Sigma dp0 Quattro Sample Photos

Sample Photos - Images taken with the camera on default settings come out as 5424x3616 JPEG or raw images, which are 19 megapixel images. However, Sigma say the image is more equivalent to a 39 megapixel camera, and exporting the raw files to Sigma Photo Pro you have the option to save as a 39 megapixel image. We compared the images from the Sigma dp3 Quattro to the 40 megapixel images taken with the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II, and 36 megapixel Sony Alpha A7R and found that detail levels were very similar, even when the 39mp Sigma images were used. When exporting images as 39 megapixel images the main difference was that noise becomes more noticeable.

Sigma dp0 Quattro Lens test images

Lens Performance - The lens has very low distortion levels even at the left and right edges of the frame. Detail is good even into the corners of the frame. Vignetting is quite high when shooting at f/4, although this does become less noticeable as the lens is stopped down. The camera sensor and lens combination is capable of recording excellent resolution and detail. The lens is resistant to flare even when shooting with the sun in the frame. Some chromatic aberration is visible in JPEG images, and this is easily corrected using the chromatic aberration correction option in Sigma Photo Pro from the raw file, or alternatively the JPEG images can be corrected in other software. The camera can focus on subjects quite close to the front of the lens, however as the lens has such a wide angle view, it's difficult to create frame filling shots of small objects. 

Sigma dp0 Quattro ISO test images

ISO Noise Performance - For the lowest noise and best detail possible we would recommend using ISO100 to ISO200, as images have low levels of noise and good levels of detail. For lower light situations ISO400 still provides good results, although noise increases and detail is reduced. At ISO800 noise levels become strong and we would recommend avoiding this setting if possible, although results may still be useful if resized and used on the web. ISO1600 and above is best avoided as noise is extremely high, and detail is very low.

Sigma dp0 Quattro White-balance test images

White Balance Performance - Auto White Balance (AWB) performs very well under tungsten lighting, with the tungsten preset giving a green colour cast. AWB performs very well under fluorescent lights, with the fluorescent preset giving a green colour cast.

Sigma dp0 Quattro Digital filters

Digital Filters - In standard (and other) colour mode(s) you can alter the contrast, sharpness and saturation, and the camera includes 11 colour modes are available: Standard, Vivid, Neutral, Portrait, Landscape, Cinema, Sunset Red, Forest Green, FOV Classic Blue, FOV Classic Yellow, Monochrome. In the mono shooting mode on the camera, you can alter the contrast, sharpness, filtering effect (Off, Yellow, Orange, Red, Green, and Blue), and toning effect (B&W, Red, Warm tone, Sepia, Green, Blue Green, Blue, Cold Tone, Blue Purple, and Purple). You can apply these effects in playback mode, in the raw editing mode on the camera.

Value For Money

The Sigma dp0 Quattro is available for £899 which gives it the same RRP as the other Quattro cameras, which have since dropped in price to around £679. If the Sigma dp0 Quattro follows in the same way, then it would make it good value for money, as many wide-angle lenses on their own cost a similar amount to this.

Alternative lenses that would give you a 21mm equivalent or wider view:
Fujifilm XF 14mm f/2.8 R (X-Mount), £648
Canon 20mm f/2.8 (FF), £385
Nikkor 20mm f/1.8 (FF), £649
Voigtlander 20mm f/3.5 (FF), £514
Carl Zeiss 21mm f/2.8 (FF), £1449

Alternative Compact cameras with an ultra-wide angle lens:
Panasonic Lumix FZ72, 20mm wide-angle equivalent (60x optical zoom), 16mp, £199
Canon Powershot SX60, 21mm wide-angle equivalent (65x optical zoom), 16mp, £322
Olympus Tough Stylus TG-850 (860), 21mm wide-angle equivalent (5x optical zoom), 16mp, £175
Or you could look at the Ricoh GR (28mm with wide-angle adapter available), 16mp, £359 plus £149 for the adapter

You'll also need to buy a memory card and a case or bag to keep your camera safe and protected - have a look at our complete guide to camera bags.

Sigma dp0 Quattro Verdict

Compared to some of the ultra-wide lenses available the Sigma dp0 Quattro offers quite good value for money if you consider that you are buying an ultra-wide rectilinear lens with a camera that has a sensor capable of delivering 35+ megapixel images. Perhaps the biggest problems facing the camera are the rather unusual design of the camera (which has made it larger than the Sigma dp Merrill series), as well as the slow and awkward to use Sigma Photo Pro software. Without doubt, the camera is capable of recording an excellent level of detail, we just wish, as do many others, that the camera was released as a mirrorless camera, with interchangeable lenses, so that you could have the choice of different lenses without having to buy another camera every time.  

Due to the noise performance of this camera, you don't really want to use ISO400 or above, which means that the relatively slow f/4 aperture also becomes a bit of a hindrance, as you begin to need to use a tripod (or other steady surface) with the self-timer in order to take photos indoors or in low-light, whereas with other camera systems you could happily use a higher ISO or a brighter lens. Whilst other compact cameras offer similar wide-angle (or wider) options, none of them offer anywhere near the same high resolution images that the dp0 Quattro offers, making it a somewhat unique and rather quirky camera. 

The Sigma dp0 Quattro offers an excellent 14mm f/4 (21mm equivalent) ultra-wide angle lens, along with some of the best image quality output from the Sigma dp cameras, with much better white balance performance than previous versions (such as the Merrill series), however, at times we felt that to get the best results, you need to use the Sigma Photo Pro software to convert the raw files. This leads to slow image processing times, and then after this you may then want to process the images in another image package, as other software such as Adobe Photoshop doesn't support the Foveon raw files. If you have the patience and time to master the Sigma dp0 Quattro, then this could make an excellent landscape camera.

Sigma dp0 Quattro Pros

Foveon APS-C CMOS sensor
Excellent resolution possible
Ultra-wide angle rectilinear lens
Dual-axis electronic level
Improved focus speed
Easy to use QS menu system
2 batteries included
Much improved white balance performance

Sigma dp0 Quattro Cons

Unique design means it's a large camera
Slow Sigma Photo Pro image processing software
Poor noise performance
f/4 aperture
No electronic viewfinder option
No video mode

FEATURES  
HANDLING  
PERFORMANCE  
VALUE FOR MONEY  
VERDICT  

 

Sigma dp0 Quattro Specifications

ManufacturerSigma
Lens
Max Aperturef/4
35mm equivalent21mm
Optical Zoom0x
Image Sensor
Pixels29.8Mp (Megapixels)
Pixels (W)5424
Pixels (H)3616
Sensor TypeFoveon X3 CMOS
Sensor SizeAPS-C
Sensor Size (width)23.5mm
Sensor Size (height)15.7mm
Aspect Ratio
  • 3:2
  • 4:3
  • 16:9
  • 1:1
  • 21:9
LCD Monitor
LCD Monitor3in
Screen resolution920,000 dots
Touch ScreenNo
Focusing
Min Focus18cm
Focusing modes
  • Autofocus
  • Manual
  • Centre
Exposure Control
Shutter speeds shortest1/2000sec
Shutter speeds longest30sec
Bulb modeNo Data
Exp modes
  • Program
  • Aperture-Priority
  • Shutter-Priority
  • Manual
Metering
  • Centre-weighted - Average
  • Multi Pattern
  • Centre Spot
ISO sensitivity100 - 6400
White balance
  • Auto
  • Manual
  • Outdoors/Daylight
  • Cloudy
  • Incandescent
  • Fluorescent
  • Shade
  • Flash
Exposure Comp+/-3
Shooting Options
Continuous shooting4fps
Video
Movie modeNo
Video Resolution
    Video FPSNo Data
    Stereo SoundNo
    Optical Zoom with VideoNo
    Other Features
    Image StabilisationNo
    Interface
    HDMINo
    USBUSB 2
    Wi-FiNo
    Storage
    Card Type
    • SD
    • SDHC
    • SDXC
    File Type
    • RAW
    • JPG
    • RAW + JPG
    Power Source
    Battery TypeLi-ion Battery Pack BP-51
    Battery Life (CIPA rating)200shots
    Box Contents
    Box ContentsLens Cap (on the camera) / Hot shoe cover (on the camera) / Strap / Li-ion Battery BP-51 (2 pieces) / Battery Charger BC-51 / Battery Charger Cable / USB Cable / Instruction Manual
    Dimensions
    Weight500g
    Width161.4mm
    Height67mm
    Depth126mm

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    Photographs taken using the Sigma dp0 Quattro

    WiltedAutumn invertedWaterfall 10stop

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    Comments


    dannyr 10 46 United Kingdom
    31 Jul 2015 1:44PM
    Always find these interesting cameras but why have they never released one with a 35mm equivalent lens! Surely there must be a market for it.

    Every Leica fixed lens camera has been 35mm and you cant say the Fuji X100 has not been rather popular!

    I know 35mm is more of a street photography focal range, but if they made a 23mm lens they could release it as one of their DN art lenses, which would make a much needed 35mm for the Sony system and a slightly odd but still useful 46mm for M43 cameras.

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    Niknut Plus
    9 2.3k 78 United Kingdom
    31 Jul 2015 5:12PM
    Interesting review........incredible image quality, particularly in the WB studio shots !!

    Thanks for the camera shot resting on the hand....didn't realise it's so small, but still
    looks 'ungainly' to hold.......I'll reserve judgement till I can handle one ??.Grin
    27 Nov 2015 5:59PM
    This could be an ideal compact single focal length architectural camera, just the right angle of view for most scenes. The sharpness and micro contrast appear to be superb, although I suspect one must be very careful to avoid highlight blowout and then after post correction noise in the shadows could be a problem. Color balance seems a bit yellowish, although that is easily corrected.

    I am curious as to how well the optical LCD viewfinder attachment works in the field compared to the hot shoe optical viewfinder attachment. I rather like the idea of handing a little scope to an architect during the shoot to show what we can get in the shot, because often they expect miraculous super wide views but later complain of excessive volume deformation.

    I learned from another photographer that these Quattro camera lenses have leaf shutters, so I guess flash sync is possible at any speed. That may be significant for some purposes such as balancing interior lighting. It also may be one reason for the super keen sharpness (no shutter shock).

    It would be nice to see some LCD screen shots showing the info provided; and one with the left side port door open. A sample shot for lens flare would also be useful, since this flaw often afflicts wide lens IQ. Benchmark RAW processing time with computer specs would also be useful.

    Thanks for a good initial review.

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