One great advantage of D-SLRs over digital compacts is that their physically larger sensors can accommodate bigger pixels, which usually results in less image noise, particularly at high ISO settings. That's the idea behind the Sigma DP1, a compact camera that uses a D-SLR sensor. The sensor isn't a run-of-the-mill CCD or CMOS chip, however; it's the same Foveon X3 Direct Image sensor found in the new Sigma SD14 D-SLR. (See Imaging Essentials.) Rather than create color with a grid of tiny filters overlaying the sensor, the Foveon chip captures it with a "stack" of separate red-, green-, and blue-sensitive layers, not unlike color film.
To keep the DP-1's size relatively small, Sigma opted for a single focal length lens. Fortunately it's a wide-angle, the equivalent, in 35mm, of a 28mm f/4. This is a serious shooter's compact, so you won't find a dozen silly modes -- and you can even shoot in RAW mode in addition to the standard JPEG capture. (Photo Pro software is provided for converting RAW files.) Other features include nine-point autofocus and a hotshoe that accepts Sigma's EF-500 DG Super accessory flash, for when you want more power than the built-in flash provides.