Prediction: FF SD on Photokina 2012

Started Sep 2, 2012 | Discussions thread
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yvind Strm
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Prediction: FF SD on Photokina 2012
Sep 2, 2012

As we approach Photokina, its time to predict what will be announced from Sigma.

History of SD announcements:

Photokina 2006 - SD14. 4,6x3 (14Mp) LCD:150.000 3fps, buffer 6 frames, 96 % coverage

Photokina 2008 - SD15. 4,6x3 (14Mp) LCD:150.000 3fps, buffer 15 frames, 96 % coverage

Photokina 2010 - SD1. 15,4x3 (46Mp) LCD:460.000 5fps, buffer 7 frames, 96 % coverage

Sigma executives has told us that when Sigma bought Foveon (around photkina 2008), they planned the SD1 from where they expected the competition to be 2 years ahead. That means that they PICKED an resolution from where they thought the others would be. When they announced the SD1 Sigma said that the competition was a little behind what they had predicted.

These are the scenarios I see for a top model:

1. They cannot make the sensor larger, or more dense, so they improve the top model camera instead. This means a SD1x, an improved SD1, same resolution but with several or all of these features:

  • Video

  • live view

  • less noise

  • better high ISO

  • better fps

  • larger buffer

  • better screen.

2. They cannot make the sensor larger, so they go for more density. This means a new camera, with higher resolution. Highly unlikely.

3. They use the same sensor, but makes it larger. This means a new camera, with higher resolution.

Since I, prior to Photokina 2010 predicted a 15x3 camera, I give it a shot again.

I think Sigma launch their first FF camera, with the same pixel density as the sensor in SD1:

Photokina 2010 - SD2. 36x3 (108Mp) LCD:960.000 5fps, buffer 7 frames, 96 % coverage. It will cost 20.000 USD. And no promises will be made about a low affordable price.

The reason is that I am sure Sigma/Foveon made plans beyond the SD1. Maybe not in 2008, but at latest as they announced the SD1.

Why would they not use the same strategy? Predict where the competition will be at a certain time in the future, and beat that.

If we accept the premises that Sigma again wanted to "outresolve" the competition, they had two options.

1. Develop a new sensor, with even more pixel density. I doubt that, after reading the interviews given after launching the SD1 where they talked about pixel size.
2. Same pixel density, but a larger sensor. Question is: How big?

To beat the D800E, they would need to go from 1.5 to 1.3 or so. But the D800E will probably not have the highest FF resolution a year from now. So, therefore I think they will go FF.

Of course, Foveon will anyway have worked with noise and high iso, but this would also benefit a larger sesnor.

What about a replacement for the SD15?

1. Keeping the body, but downsize the SD1 sensor. So, more resolution than SD15. Possible.

2. Put a SD1 sensor in it, but with lesser feature set. This is highly unlikely, as the SD1 has such a limited set of features. What features should be reduced? Slower fps? Smaller buffer? Less capable AF? Worse High ISO? More noise? So, no.

Nikon D800E Sigma SD1 Sigma SD14 Sigma SD15
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