Sigma DP1 Review

 
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Sigma DP1 Performance


Timing and Performance

Generally very slow speed for a current model digital camera.

Startup/Shutdown

Power on
to first shot

3.9 seconds

Time it takes for camera to turn on.

Shutdown

1.9 seconds

How long it takes to turn off

Buffer clearing time
Large Fine JPEG

11 seconds
(after 3 LF JPEGs)

Worst case buffer clearing time. -- This is the delay after a set of shots before you can remove the card. Some cameras won't shut down until the buffer is cleared.

Buffer clearing time
Small Basic JPEG
10 seconds
(after 3 SB JPEGs)
Buffer clearing time
RAW
16 seconds
(after 3 RAW frames)

The Sigma DP1's start-up and shutdown times were very slow, a little surprising considering the lens is fixed and doesn't have to zoom to deploy. Buffer clearing times are quite slow as well, and depend on the image size and quality, burst length and how fast the card can be written to.

 

Mode Switching

Play to Record,
first shot

0.2 second

Time until first shot is captured.

Record to Play

6.5 seconds

Time to display a large/fine file immediately after capture.

Display
recorded image

1.4 seconds

Time to display a large/fine file already on the memory card.

Mode switching was also quite slow, except for Play to Record, which was exceptionally fast.

 

Shutter Response (Lag Time)

Full Autofocus

1.534 second

Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture.

Full Autofocus
with flash enabled

1.711 second

Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture with built-in flash enabled.

Pre-focused

0.132 second

Time to capture, after half-pressing and holding shutter button.

Manual focus
0.160 second
For most cameras, shutter lag is less in manual focus than autofocus, but usually not as fast as when the camera is "pre-focused."

Full autofocus shutter response is very slow at over 1.5 seconds, probably the slowest of all current digicams we've tested. Enabling the flash slows it to 1.7 seconds. Prefocused isn't bad, but 0.132 second is still slow compared to most point & shoots and SLRs. Manual focus shutter lag is pretty good though, at 0.16 second.

 

Cycle Time (shot-to-shot)
Single Shot mode
Large Fine JPEG
5.70 seconds

Time per shot, averaged over 8 shots, 4.5 seconds to clear.

Single Shot mode
Small Basic JPEG

5.73 seconds

Time per shot, averaged over 8 shots, 4 seconds to clear.

Single Shot mode
RAW

6.47 seconds

Time per shot, averaged over 7 shots, 8 seconds to clear.

Early shutter
penalty?

Yes

Some cameras refuse to snap another shot if you release and press the shutter too quickly in Single Shot mode, making "No" the preferred answer.

Continuous mode
Large Fine JPEG
0.27 second (3.77 frames per second);
3 frames total;
11 seconds to clear
0.27 seconds for the first 3 frames, then 13 seconds for the fourth, then back to about 0.27 seconds for the next two, then 13 seconds, then back to about 0.27 seconds for the next two.
Continuous mode
Small Basic JPEG
0.27 second (3.77 frames per second);
3 frames total;
10 seconds to clear
0.27 seconds for the first 3 frames, then 12 seconds for the fourth, then back to about 0.27 seconds for the next two, then 12 seconds, then back to about 0.27 seconds for the next two.

Continuous mode
RAW

0.27 second (3.77 frames per second);
3 frames total;
16 seconds to clear

0.27 seconds for the first 3 frames, then 18 seconds for the fourth, then back to about 0.27 seconds for the next two, then 18 seconds, then back to about 0.27 seconds for the next two.

Flash recycling

8.15 seconds

Flash at maximum output.

*Note: Buffer clearing times measured with a Kingston Ultimate 133x SD memory card. Slower cards will produce correspondingly slower clearing times. Slow cards may also limit length of bursts in continuous mode. ISO sensitivity and other settings can also affect cycle times and burst mode performance.

Shot-to-shot cycle times are also very slow, at about 5.7 seconds for large/fine JPEGs, and 6.47 seconds for RAW. Our lab technician only had the patience to test 7 or 8 consecutive frames at this rate. Continuous speed was pretty good though, at 3.77 frames-per-second regardless of resolution or quality, though buffer depth was limited to only 3 frames before the camera seemed to stop capture entirely to flush to the card, which took anywhere from 12 to 18 seconds, depending on the resolution and quality. The flash takes 8.15 seconds to recharge after a full-power shot, which is quite slow, especially since it is quite weak.

 

Download Speed

Windows Computer, USB 2.0

4,359 KBytes/sec

Typical Values:
Less than 600=USB 1.1;
600-769=USB 2.0 Low;
Above 770=USB 2.0 High

Connected to a computer or printer with USB 2.0, download speeds are surprisingly speedy.


Bottom line, the Sigma DP1 is one of the slowest (if not the slowest) digital cameras on the market today. It's fine for photographing static subjects such as landscapes, but forget about any action shots unless you manually focus or pre-focus, and remain within the 3 frame burst limit.

Battery and Storage Capacity

Battery
Slightly below average battery life for a lithium-ion design.

Operating Mode Number of Shots
Lithium-ion Rechargeable Battery,
(CIPA)
250

The Sigma DP1 uses a custom rechargeable lithium-ion battery for power, and ships with a charger. Battery life is slightly below average for a compact with a lithium-ion battery (and much lower than average compared to an SLR), so we recommend you pick up a spare battery and keep it freshly charged and on-hand for extended outings.

The table above shows the number of shots the camera is capable of (on either a fresh set of disposable batteries or a fully-charged rechargeable battery as appropriate), based on CIPA battery-life and/or manufacturer standard test conditions.

(Interested readers can find an English translation of the CIPA DC-002 standards document here. (180K PDF document))

Storage
The Sigma DP1 accepts SD/SDHC cards, though no card is included.

Image Capacity vs
Resolution/Quality
1GB Memory Card
Fine Normal
Basic
RAW
(12-bit)
2,640 x 1,760
Images
(Avg size)
298
3.4 MB
514
2.0MB
678
1.5 MB
52
19.7 MB
Approx.
Compression
4:1 7:1 9:1 1.1:1
1,872 x 1,248
Images
(Avg size)
582
1.8 MB
990
1.0 MB
1,292
793 KB
-
Approx.
Compression
4:1 7:1 9:1 -
1,312 x 880
Images
(Avg size)
1,133
904 KB
1,878
545 KB
2,404
426 KB
-
Approx.
Compression
4:1 6:1 8:1 -

The table above shows the approximate capacity of a 1GB card, file sizes and compression ratios at each image size/quality setting. We strongly recommend buying a large capacity SD/SDHC memory card at least a 1GB card, preferably a 2GB or larger one, to give yourself extra space for extended outings or when shooting in RAW mode. (Check the shopping link above. Cards are really cheap these days, so there's no reason to skimp.)

 

Sigma DP1

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