Capturing the world with Photography, Painting and Drawing

Archive for June 10, 2013

A car boot sale camera – sigma dp1

Sigma Dp1 front

I found this little camera at the kilkenny car boot sale a couple of weekends ago, it just looked up at me from one of the tables and had a price tag of €50 with the Voigtlander viewfinder.

Its the original 2009 sigma DP1 , (follow the link for details). The stall it was on was a charity stall collecting for Africa so I felt I just had to put my hand in my pockets and hand over the €50.

I had always wanted to try out one of these little cameras but when new they cost a good €800, the reviews never put it in great light but I always had a feeling that it was a little better then the reviewers reported them to be. The somewhat bad reviews have left the second hand prices low.

Sigma Dp1 back

Last week I put the camera in my bag along with some other of my kit and on the way home stopped off at a local tourist venue. The images below are three images from about fifty I took just as a test of this little camera. I have to say just like the reviews always said its a little old fashioned to use and the poor LCD screen ( in the sun ) makes you use the external viewfinder a lot but it still felt very good to use, a little like using a good film compact camera. The focus is good and the controls and functions are simple to find and quick to change if your use to any high end compact system.

Image quality

So what about the results, well the big reason I had to try this camera was for its sensor, ( A Foveon X3 sensor ) You can read all the details from the link, its the only sensor on the market that captures pure colour at each and everyone of its mega-pixels. All other sensors are monochrome only, with a filter that cuts out (Red, green and blue in turn) for each of a set of three mega-pixel locations in a row, repeated. Thus they do not record colour but only a signal that some colour has come through a filter to them.

The sigma sensor however records pure colour in full and at the intensity at which it reaches the pixel point. This system is as close to film as it comes.

The images below show the results and I have to say I am very impressed, quality wise they are sharp and the colour is wonderful but it was when I did a colour conversion to black and white my eyes were truly opened, if you have done any black and white conversion from raw digital files you will know the work you need to do to get some true film like monochrome contrast back into your images. Not here. The images even at default setting are just wonderful.

I have started each of the below image pairs with the black and white conversion from the original colour image.

Sigma Dp1 sample 1 black and white
Sigma Dp1, iso50

The contrast is just wonderful here, yet nothing is lost between the black of the trees and the sun on the grass…

Sigma Dp1 sample 1
Sigma Dp1, iso50

The green in the sun-lit grass, along with its detail is fully retained, yet the sky behind the trees has retained a light blue colour and not just overexposed into white.

Sigma Dp1 sample 2 black and white
Sigma Dp1, iso50

Again just look at the contrast in this black and white image, the dynamic range is just amazing, the shadows have just the right detail for a good image, yet the bright areas are not over exposed. This was a very sunny and thus contrast filled day.

Sigma Dp1 sample 2
Sigma Dp1, iso50

Just look how the colours really pop out of the image, this is as good as landscape slide film was without any photoshop colour post processing. All I did was set what I felt to be the correct exposure in the camera itself. Again and unlike slide film none of the image detail is lost due to the high contrast of this sunny afternoon.

Sigma Dp1 sample 3 black and white
Sigma Dp1, iso50

Sigma Dp1 sample 3
Sigma Dp1, iso50

Again none of the detail is lost in the above two images and a full range of tones and colours has been recorded.

Image print size

One issue is the actual image size out of the camera, this only being some 5 mega-pixels, but as with many peoples comments on mega-pixel size, more does not equal good quality big prints if the sensor is not recording enough detail, this sensors pixels are recording both sharp images (with as much details that the lens holds) and full direct colour detail. I feel very confident that these images could be printed at least A3 in size and beyond, all you need to print landscape books or books that record a holiday or family event for example.

All in all not a bad find for €50, one I don’t think I will be finding every weekend 🙂


Monday morning

Monday Morning starts 2
Nikon D700, iso 100
Monday Morning sky over kilkenny
Nigel Borrington

Monday morning and well its a slow one in my mind anyway, empty of plans and reasons to get going and I don’t truly know why.

So maybe its time to go hunting for a poem or two and have a Monday morning coffee :

Monday Morning Coffee

Most people don’t look forward to Monday mornings…
I do.
It’s the start of something new…
It’s a clean slate
I like my Monday morning ritual
I wake up extra early.
Well,
It’s early for me.
I get ready for work.

Monday Morning starts 1
Nikon D700, iso 100
Monday Morning sky over kilkenny
Nigel Borrington

Hopeful,
That it will be a pretty good week.
I don’t even have to ask anymore
An extra large coffee waits for me
And a
Perfect
Cloud
Melt in your mouth
Beautiful in it’s simplicity
Glazed Doughnut
Friendly faces and a delicious treat
It’s a great way for me to start my week..

My Monday morning
Look forward to it treat.