Looking for a compact to complement my DSLR. Please give your input



SO, I've already been to the introductions forum. If you haven't seen it yet, I'm Gonçalo, from Portugal. Cheers! :)

I'm looking to buy a compact camera.
Currently I have a 5D classic and a 350D.
I like them both. The 5D is great for IQ and Depth of field control. I really like the pictures it produces.
The 350d is good to carry when I don't feel like carrying the 5D, and still produces good files.
I know that tecnology has evolved a whole lot since my two current cameras where released, but I never felt the need to upgrade camera bodies, based on what i shoot.

The thing is that I've been feeling a bit lazy to take the DSLR out on some ocasions.
If I go shopping with my wife, to have a cup of coofee with my friends, or go for a walk or bike ride, or a family dinner, I just don't feel like carrying the camera bag with me all the times...
As a result, I find myself shooting less these days...
So, I started thinking about buying a smaller, more compact camera to have with me all the time, either in a jacket pocket, or in a small shoulder bag that also carries my phone and wallet sometimes.

So... Equipment frenzy all over again...
Came online, spend days and days on google, review sites, forums, flickr, you konw the drill...

After considering all options, from a m4/3 camera to a NEX, to a X100, to LX5, Ricoh GRD, etc...
I narrowed it down to two choices...

First, I'll say want I discarded and why...

- Micro 4/3 - Sounds good, has good cameras and lenses. But the fact that it is another system, throws me off. It would just be another system to spend money on and in the end, I would end up carrying a camera body, lenses and acessories anyway, so might as well stay Canon DSLR for system...

- NEX - Same reasons as M4/3 and add the fact that there is no small zoom lens or a pancake with a usefull focal lenght...

- x100 - Impressive camera, but I fear it is not the most pocketable and I think the asking price is too high for what I want it for...

- LX5 and Ricoh - Discarded in favor of my kept options below...

So, my current two contenders:

- Olympus XZ-1
- Sigma DP2s

Two pretty different cameras, like comparing night and day some might say... But I do feel they are the ones that tick most boxes for me...
Even if the Olympus thicks the rational boxes and the Sigma the emotional ones...

I do belive they are cameras that complement one another, but I currently can only afford one and will be buying just one...
What I came to so far:

- Convenient Zoom lens;
- Sharp and bright lens;
- Excellent LCD screen;
- Can take PEN accessories;
- Shoots RAW;
- it a 2011 camera with 2011 tech;
- Fast and reliable.
- It is however a small sensor camera....

- It's a fixed focal lenght, but a usefull one;
- Has an inferior LCD;
- Lens is slower, but sensor bigger;
- I read it can be slow and have glitches with AF;
- It is a Foveon sensor and APS-C size.
- it 2009 tech.

So... There you have it...
The may difference is of course the sensor....
So, my questions:

Is the IQ of the Sigma as far as colour, Dynamic Range, Noise, Sharpness that much better?
Or two years of camera development closed the gap?
If it where you, which would you take, and why?

So, this pretty much sums it up...
If you had patience to read this far, please help me out with your knowledge and experience.

Thank you.
Best regards!


I've never used an XZ-1 but I do have a DP2s.
I think the "old technology" thing is a bit of a non-issue.
I also think the speed/interface "problems" is overstated.
The colours, dr and sharpness really are quite remarkable - in fact, they can be quite extraordinary.
It does have problems, especially colour cast in low light, and noise at ISO above 400 (there are some ways round the latter which ameliorate it a bit)
Postprocessing can be frustrating: The SigmaPP software is weird and clumsy, and LR doesn't always bring out the best

I'd suggest you try to borrow one for a week or two and see how it feels - they just don't suit everybody.
Remember the DP2x is supposed to b a bit quicker and less quirky and is not hugely more expensive.

To complicate matters, Sigma are about to release a pair of newer DP cameras ...

DP1 Merrill Compact Digital Camera - Digital Cameras - SigmaPhoto.com
DP2 Merrill Compact Digital Camera - Digital Cameras - SigmaPhoto.com

good luck ...

Naveed Akhtar

London, UK
I completely understand why you not agreeing on new lens systems.

I love Olympus XZ-1 and it gave me excellent company in low light situations, specially the moments when I found my m4/3 ran out of battery or for some other reasons, I couldn't use it, loud shutter noise etc; the following photo set contains only photos of XZ-1, I took this christmas to Jerusalem, and some are very low light street shots, etc:

Camera - Olympus XZ-1 - a set on Flickr

I know am not helping you here, but I would still say, to look at new DP1/2 Merill editions, that carry 45MP chip from SD-1. They look amazing. Get the one that lacks in your current DSLR kit, otherwise to me both looks fantastic!



Top Veteran
Paris, France
Hi again Gonçalo. I think you did a good job narrowing your choices to these two cameras. As other members mentioned before I think you should take a look at the new Sigma DPs which were announced today, and wait for a price/release date before buying. Since you're considering the XZ-1, you may also want to have a look at the Fuji X10 (the little brother of the X100).


I think you already answered your question by concluding that the XZ1 and the DP2 complement one another. So buying both to have a versatile and compact set up makes sense. Start with one and add the other over time.

Naveed Akhtar

London, UK
.... you may also want to have a look at the Fuji X10 (the little brother of the X100).

Hi Julien, x10 is a good recommendation, I would say, I like it myself when I got it 2 months ago. I returned it for its wierd orb problem and for the fact its higher priced and not exactly as pocketable. Also the fact that the new member mentioned both of these issues related to x100:

x100 - Impressive camera, but I fear it is not the most pocketable and I think the asking price is too high for what I want it for...

Naveed Akhtar

London, UK
I think you already answered your question by concluding that the XZ1 and the DP2 complement one another. So buying both to have a versatile and compact set up makes sense. Start with one and add the other over time.

Good point, I would suggest get XZ1 as its cheaply and readily available now and then wait for the new DP1/2 M models, to get reviewed and available.


You guys don't kid around...
4 replies in this short amount of time... wow...

I appreciate your coments and sharing of your experiences.

I did consider the NEX. I even went out to a store and played with a NEx-C3 and a NEX-5N.
They are indeed great cameras. Loved the LCD screens and the IQ from what I see on the net, really look promising.
I didn't really liked the shutter sound. It is a bit loud, and I think I can get a stealthier camera to complement my dslr.
Also, the kit zoom is indeed a sharp and good lens, but it is too big to turn a NEX into a pocket camera.
If I have to take a small camera shoulder bag to take a NEX, i might just take a toploader lowepro with my rebel and ef28 1.8 or tamron 17-50 and don't spend the money on a new system.
I didn't ditch the NEX for lack of quality, but rather for thinking it would just overlap my dslr kit and not really complement it the way I would like.
I know it is has excelent cameras, and sony will no doubt evolve the system in the future, but right now, as it stands, I think it is not for me.

The New Merrills sound really sweet!
But two things get me thinking...
One is the price... Currently, I can get DP2s under 300 Euros and XZ-1 at 310.
I don't have a clue about Merrill prices, but it can certanly double these values...
Other is availability... Sigma is know for announcing great products but only make them available in 6 months time...
But no doubt, it will be two excellent cameras!

I know the internet has the habbit of exagerating flaws... And I never handled a DP2 before...
So, is it really that much of a performance difference in operation between XZ-1 and DP2s?

Naveed Akhtar, really enjoyed your pictures. No doubt the XZ-1 is a capable camera!
Does the DP2s bring too much difference in Dynamic range, noise and IQ to the table?



Hall of Famer
S W France
You've got a DSLR

so to complement - get a used M8 and some Zeiss ZM or VC glass - 28mm or 35mm

plus a canon S95 - now replaced by the S100, so it's a bargain price


Does the DP2s bring too much difference in Dynamic range, noise and IQ to the table?

Thanks Gonçalo - again I can't speak for the XZ-1 but I do have an E-P2 - the DP2s far far exceeds DR and somewhat exceeds th e IQ; Noise is rather tricky to judge as the noise "quality" from the Foveon sensor is rather different to that of normal sensors. As I said, I found noise at 800 or above on the DP2s a bit difficult - but only in colour! In B&W, it tends to look more like film grain and can actually enhance the image ...
We have a good selection of images in the Sigma DP forum here,

plus there's plenty of groups on Flickr for Sigma cameras.


Top Veteran
Paris, France
You're right Naveed about the X10 price and size. That being said I'm not sure the new DPs will be more affordable or smaller, than the X10. If size and cost are the two major criterias I think the XZ-1 is probably a very attractive choice (I have no direct experience with it though).



I did thought about the X10.
But like it has been said, it is more expensive than the XZ-1, I just didn't think it added enough to justify the added cost.
I did like the zoom ring on the lens instead of the power-zoom on the Olympus, but I also like the ring control dial on the XZ-1.
The X10 has an optical viewfinder, but it only cover 85% of the frame and has no shooting info. It's use is limited. For the X10 price I could get a XZ-1 with VF-3 and I think it is a better combo.
As far as sensor, lens, IQ, from what I saw, I thought it was pretty even...



Hall of Famer
If you want to wait until the sigma's come out.. the price of the older sigma will go down even further if you decide you can't afford the newer model. If it's going to take 6 months and you want a camera now though, you can always buy, then sell and upgrade if you aren't happy.