Friday, October 20, 2006

High-end fixed-focal length P&S digicam

It seems like a wacky idea at first. Sigma recently launched its Sigma DP1 at Photokina. It's billed as a "high end point and shoot digital camera" which sounds very much like an oxymoron. Even wackier is that this camera has a fixed focal length lens, i.e. no zoom. Didn't such P&S digicams die out in the '90s?

But a closer look at the specs reveals some impressive components. The DP1 has a Foveon X3 image sensor, and an f4 28mm (film-equiv) lens. Sigma likes to describe the Foveon X3 as "14MP" sensor, but it is actually only about 4.6MP. They arrive at the "14MP" figure by adding up all three layers in the sensor (2652×1768×3 layers) .

Still, the DP1 might come in handy as a backup camera/lens replacement for those who use prosumer digicams or even DSLRs. Most digicam lenses only go down to 35mm, while for DSLRs, the wide-angle lenses are expensive, and the superzoom lenses are really expensive. No pricing has been announced for the DP1, but it probably won't come cheap.

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