Tonight I surfed over to one of my 'other' photo hangouts, Imaging Resource. I like the website in particular because they not only put cameras through their paces, unlike practically EVERY OTHER camera review web site, they get to the bottom line: telling you after having made an exhaustive number of images and pixel peeping each one, the LARGEST acceptable print one can expect at every ISO. While not entirely conclusive, to me one of the best (if not THE best) gauges of comparison anywhere.
Tonight they posted an absolutely GUSHING review of the Sony RX1 which, is deservedly so considering the optics and technology Sony packed into it. IR went on and on about the lens, the handling, the form..blah blah blah... Not surprisingly, they were quite wowed by the image output (in the 'EXPOSURE' section of their review) and I quote...(at ISO 100 - 200) "...gorgeous, stunning 30 x 40 inch prints, and capable of excellent wall-display prints up to 40 x 60!"
Of course, as expected, there were impressive results well up to ISO 3200 and beyond. So I thought I'd look at their typical test shot which is ALWAYS some government building in Atlanta (boring, yes, but, everything else aside, a great way to compare image output from camera to camera). As I clicked the their image to view it at 100% what I saw was a reasonably sharp, contrasty Zeiss-made image but with...horror upon horror...moire in the bricks of this edifice (which the gushing reviewers at IR acknowledged but said was inevitable with 'man-made objects'--hmmmm). It confirmed what they had suspected that the AA filter was either weak beyond belief or gone altogether.
Oh well. Still I had to agree the images were quite stunning.
Now since I got my DP2M back in September, I'd been coming to the site regularly to see if finally they'd ever around to a review one of our beloved compacts. In all these years, they really hadn't done jack--on ANY Foveon-Sigma camera (which, to me, was kinda odd since you'd think any camera with buzz would be worth checking out). Nope, nada. Just the words 'Preview' and the specs (which are still there for practically all the Sigma cams). In November, however, I finally noticed some activity...with the SD1. Yes, some initial tests beyond sample images. But when it came to the printer section, just a line that said...STAY TUNED. Bummer.
Well that went on for weeks. Then, finally in January, they apparently got around to printing some images from the SD1. The results weren't too shabby to say the least. Their conclusion: from ISO 100-200 stunning, pixel-peepable images up to 24 x 36 and suitable for wall display up to 36 x 48 (30 x 40 @ ISO 200, though). Considering all the cameras they've printed output, a phenomenally impressive performance for an APS-C sized sensor. ISO 400 wasn't too shabby either at 20 x 30 max in their opinion. Of course (and not surprising to anyone here) the images made from files shot at ISO 800 or higher fell off exponentially.
But tonight after looking at the sample government building made with the RX1 I happened to check the DP1M. And lo and behold IR had prints where they (not surprisingly) came to the same conclusion they found with the SD1 for ISO 100-200. Vibrant, crystal clear images to 24 x 36 suitable again for wall sized displays up to 36 x 48 (30 x 40 @ ISO 200, though). But here's the kicker. With the RX1 shot of the City Hall fresh in my mind I checked out a similar image made with the DP1M. I don't know about you but I thought it was better than the RX1. And there was NO Moire (of course!).
Now mind you, the DP1M doesn't have the optical oomph of the DP2M. So I'd be curious to see how that fares.
Here are the links for your own comparison.
Digital Cameras, Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1 Digital Camera Test Image
DP1M (same subject)
Digital Cameras, Sigma DP1 Merrill Digital Camera Test Image
And, not to be excluded...the SD1. (Lens 17-50mm f2.8 Sigma)
Digital Cameras, Sigma SD1 Digital Camera Test Image