Something's long with this picture.
Yes, it might be a bit of a stretch, but we're rather taken by Sigma's crazy new compact. It's long, thin and bent at one end, like a hockey stick that can take photographs. And as if that unusual shape wasn't enough, Sigma refuses to give it a zoom or an interchageable lens mount. Instead, it's one of three, each of which sports a fixed-length lens (the one you're looking at is the 30mm version, with 19mm and 50mm versions to follow).
Sounds like they're trying to put people off.
In a way, they are. Sigma has made a range of difficult-to-use, fixed-length compact cameras before. For a lot of people they made eactly no sense, but for some their singularity of purpose, their good optics and their clever sensors made them exceptionally good.
Why do I get the feeling you're going to mention vertically stacked photodiodes?
Because the unorthodox nature of Sigma's gloriously insane compacts doesn't stop at an unusual design. The sensor itself is unlike anything else you'll see in a compact, or an SLR for that matter. It's a Foveon sensor. Other camera sensors have one layer of photo-receptors which just sense light, in black and white, with some filters about to create colour. The Foveon sensor, which is only used in Sigma cameras, has three layers of photoreceptors. Sigma says this makes it work more like colour film, and photographers that love their cameras say it creates images that are sharper than a new razor, with incredible levels of detail.
I want one but I don't want one!
Frustrating, isn't it? You know that it wouldn't be suited to 96% of your photos, but that remaining 4% would be absolutely superb. Luckily, you don't have to worry about that, because you can't have one - there's no price and availability yet, and when they do go on sale they'll probably be prohibitively expensive for all but a minority of professional photographers. Oh, now we want one even more.
SNAP 'EM UP: Stuff's Top 10 Compact Cameras