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Sigma UK ad cleared by ASA

Aug 3, 2004 at 14:04 GMT

Sigma UK today issued a press release detailing how they were cleared by the Advertising Standards Authority over a magazine ad which featured a high resolution photograph of a human eye. A complaint was made by a magazine reader who complained that the photograph had been retouched and was therefore misleading. Sigma UK managed to convince the ASA that the only modifications made to the image were the removal of the reflection of the photographer and some mascara blobs. The ASA agreed that the photograph was comparible in resolution to the un-retouched image.

Click here for the full adjudication on the ASA website

Press Release:

Sigma SD10 advertisement cleared by ASA

An advertisement for Sigma’s SD10 digital SLR has been cleared by the Advertising Standards Authority after a complaint from a magazine reader.

The ad, which showed a close-up colour photograph of a human eye, claimed "10.2 million pixels will open your eyes to the true colour reproduction and outstanding picture quality…Don’t compromise on quality. See the difference.”

The complainant, from Leicestershire, reckoned the photograph had been retouched with digital imaging software and claimed that the use of the image, without a suitable disclaimer, was misleading because readers would assume that the image represented picture quality achievable directly by the camera.

Sigma said the image was taken with a Sigma SD10 camera and then retouched by the photographer who removed his reflection from the eyeball and some blobs of mascara from the eyelashes. The company maintained that, because the image was captured by the camera as a RAW file, it was impossible to obtain a printed image directly from the camera without post-capture processing.

Sigma estimated that the advertisement had been seen by approximately 1,500,000 photographic and digital magazine readers with varying abilities from beginner to expert. Only one such reader considered the ad. misleading. Sigma was supported by letters from editors of three photography magazines, two directors of a regional press publisher and the President of The Royal Photographic Society who agreed that the image was a realistic representation of the Sigma SD10 camera's capabilities. Sigma also submitted an image similar to that used in the advertisement, but which had not been retouched.

The ASA acknowledged that post-capture processing was necessary to obtain a printable image with the SD10 camera, but noted it was not essential for an image to be retouched. It nevertheless considered that the retouched image used in the advertisement was comparable in resolution and definition to the un-retouched image sent by the advertisers and concluded that the image in the advertisement was a fair representation of picture quality achievable directly by the camera.