Sigma has finally launched its DP1 ?high-end? compact camera after a redesign and image quality issues led to lengthy delays.

The DP1 features the same 14-million-pixel Foveon X3 imaging sensor as featured in Sigma?s SD14 DSLR. The DP1?s sensor measures 20.7mmx13.8mm.

First unveiled in 2006 – as the world?s first digital compact to feature a near APS-C-size imaging sensor – the DP1 prototype underwent a redesign last year when a hotshoe was added.

Billed as a ‘high-end’ model the camera had been expected out in the UK last May but, in a bid to make image quality on a par with Sigma?s DSLR range, the firm then changed the digital compact camera’s ‘entire image-processing pipeline’ – further delaying its launch.

?The DP1 is a completely new type of camera, offering the full spec and high image quality of a DSLR in the body of a compact camera,? said the company in a statement released today at the PMA show in Las Vegas, Nevada, United States.

It includes a new Three-layer Responsive Ultimate Engine (TRUE) image processor, specifically designed for the Foveon sensor?s ?three silicon embedded layer direct image sensor?.

Sigma claims that the camera delivers ?high-definition images rich in gradation and impressive three-dimensional detail?.

The DP1 sports a 16.6mm f/4 lens, designed to deliver the 35mm viewing angle equivalent of a 28mm lens on a 35mm SLR.

The kit will include Sigma PhotoPro raw image conversion software.

Photographers can record images in raw or JPEG, in a choice of four resolution modes.

Features also include a built-in ?pop-up? flash, a hotshoe and a 2.5in LCD screen (230,000 pixel resolution).

Optional accessories will include an optical viewfinder (VF-11) and external flash (EF-140 DG).

A spokesman explained that the camera was developed to meet increasing consumer demand for this type of compact digital camera.

Sigma launched its first DSLR, the SD9, in 2002.

Last year Sigma UK?s office told us that interest in the DP1 has been ‘dramatic’ despite continued delays to its launch.

A UK price for the DP1 had yet to be confirmed at the time of writing.

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