I know Mike has been agitating for a DMD and has mixed feelings about the Sigma DP-1.* That said, I believe it's the first large-sensor fixed focal length "compact" out there. It also looks like Sigma has listened to initial knocks against the camera, adding an external hot-shoe and optional optical viewfinder. I believe that decision speaks volumes about Sigma's attitude and responsiveness towards its customer base.
The DP-1 is an interesting release from Sigma. Even more interesting when you take a look at their newest lens—a 200–500mm ƒ/2.8 (!!). I think these two products are design statements more than anything else. Sigma must be aware that the market for these products is extremely small, yet they've gone ahead and created them anyways. Good for bragging rights and raising their stature among serious photographers. I think they want to be seen as more than just a "third-party lens maker" and these products are steps towards that goal.
There's an interview at LetsGoDigital in which Kazuto Yamaki, the COO of Sigma Japan answers some questions about the DP-1. His comments make for interesting background reading.
Posted by: ALLEN GEORGE
*Mike Comments: Hey, I try not to have reservations about cameras I've never seen. I think it's very interesting that the latest pictures of the DP-1 show a hot shoe and an accessory finder, and there's no question that the DP-1, when it gets here, will be the closest thing by far—I mean by far—to the "DMD" I proposed more than two years ago. I say, bring it on—I can't wait to see it and try it.
ADDENDUM: José S. has found an online "prix non contractuel" in France for the DP-1 of €779.
Featured Comment by Austin: Keep in mind, this is a digicam. ƒ/4 is by no means a bright lens, but if you consider the fact that mirror slap is not a factor with this camera, it really isn't too bad. Would you honestly rather your catch-all, be-all DMD had something like the new Leica 25mm ƒ/1.4 monstrosity dangling off the front of it? Or, worse, that Sigma went the way of the Ricoh GR-Digital, and promised marvellous specs only to deliver the mediocre?
I guess my point is, props to Sigma for at least being realistic, and trailblazing the DMD market. I personally am not that turned off by the dim lens (I've got pretty steady hands), especially with that beautiful sensor, so I guess at the very worse it makes a fun little experiment we can play around with.