Sigma DP3: the large-sensor Foveon camera with a portrait prime lens


posted Thursday, January 17, 2013 at 10:37 AM EST

For several generations now, there's been a clear pattern to Sigma's DP-series of fixed-lens, large-sensor cameras. Each generation has had just two models, closely related and differing mostly in their choice of lens. For the first time in a half decade, the pattern has changed with the introduction of a third DP-series camera, the Sigma DP3 Merrill.

Previous DP-series cameras have provided the choice of either a 28mm or 41mm lens, the latter being replaced by a 45mm optic in the DP2 Merrill. The new Sigma DP3 uses a new 50mm f/2.8 prime lens, which -- after accounting for the 1.5x focal length crop of its APS-C image sensor -- is the equivalent of a 75mm optic on a 35mm camera. Unsurprisingly given its focal length and aperture, the lens is much larger than those of the other two current models.


At 75mm-equivalent, the DP3's lens is a medium telephoto that's rather closer to the classic 85mm portrait lens than the wide-angle lenses of its siblings, so it'll likely make for a good portrait shooter. It will also work nicely for street shooting if you don't mind being further back from your subjects than typical, but it may prove rather tight in confined spaces. 

In other respects, the Sigma DP3 is again very closely-related to its current siblings. It shares the same 15.4-megapixel Foveon X3 CMOS image sensor as seen in both previous fixed-lens Merrills, as well as the SD1 DSLR and its rebranded variant, the SD1 Merrill.

The Sigma DP3 will be available in the US market from February 2013. No information on pricing was available at press time. More details in our Sigma DP3 preview!