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Sigma's new CEO, Kazuto Yamaki has announced the re-branding and re-pricing of the company's flagship camera. The SD1 DSLR will now be know as the SD1 Merrill, in honor of Dick Merrill, inventor of the Foveon sensor technology on which it is based. The price will also be revised, falling to what should be a street price of around $2,299, which Yamaki attributes to work conducted to reduce production costs of the sensor. Despite these changes, his letter promises the performance and characteristics of the sensor have not changed. To avoid disappointing existing SD1 customers, Sigma will offer a support program with 'points' that can be exchanged for Sigma products.
($2,299 is the Minimum Advertised Price quoted by the Sigma Corporation of America - the price that suppliers agree not to publicly advertise the camera below - and can be expected to be the street price shortly after cameras become available)
DSLR takes Foveon technology creator’s name, undergoes manufacturing improvements to reduce price
Ronkonkoma, NY, Feb. 8, 2012 – In a personal letter to the company’s loyal customers, Sigma Corporation CEO Kazuto Yamaki today announced that, starting next month, Sigma’s 46-megapixel SD1 DSLR will be renamed the SD1 Merrill in honor of Richard “Dick” Merrill, the late co-creator of the Foveon X3 Direct Image Sensor technology. The otherwise unchanged DSLR will also be sold at a lower price that reflects new efficiencies in the camera’s production.
The SD1 Merrill will be sold for approximately $3,300 MSRP in the United States.
Today Yamaki wrote:
To our valued customers,
We would like to express our appreciation for your loyal patronage of Sigma products.
Today, we announced our new digital single lens reflex camera, the Sigma SD1 Merrill. This product has the same features, performance, and specifications as the Sigma SD1, however, the price is substantially revised. We are gearing up for its release in March 2012, and the market price is expected to be approximately $3,300 MSRP.
At the time of its introduction, the Sigma SD1 was a revolutionary product incorporating a 46MP* direct image sensor which provided the highest resolution in a digital SLR camera. As the world’s only full-color sensor capturing all three primary color components (R, G, and B) within each pixel location, the Foveon X3 Direct Image Sensor made it possible for the image quality of SD1 to not only demonstrate improved resolution, but also to obtain richer expressions of gradation, as well as to enhance the three-dimensional impression which is specific to Foveon sensors. *Resolution equivalent to 30MP on a color filter array sensor
However, even with this revolutionary image sensor, we could not solve issues related to some of the manufacturing methods before the start of mass production, and the production cost ended up substantially exceeding our originally expected price. As a result, we had no choice but to set the price of the SigmaSD1 high. This caused great discouragement to all of you who looked forward to its release, and wished to experience the very unique image quality of the Sigma SD1 in person; this has become our biggest disappointment and pain.
Since then, overcoming this situation has become the first priority for us and Foveon, and we have together made improvements to reduce production cost substantially. Even though this effort took nearly a year, at last, we achieved a reduction target close to the price we originally planned. Therefore, we decided to release Sigma SD1 as a new product, and were able to make our recent announcement.
The Sigma SD1 Merrill keeps the best image quality of the Sigma SD1, which has a unique identity, but comes with a substantially revised price. Although some of the manufacturing methods have been enhanced, the performance and characteristics of the sensor itself have not changed. There is nothing more pleasurable for us than enabling our valued customers to experience the Sigma SD1 Merrill in person, as a digital SLR camera of a new era which inspires photographers’ inner artistic sensitivity, providing “high image quality” and changing current perceptions of what is possible.
On the other hand, we fully understand that it is not acceptable to current Sigma SD1 users that a new product with exactly the same specifications as their camera is being released with a substantially revised price a year later. After all, those customers committed to purchasing the Sigma SD1 with great expectations.
During this period, we have seriously considered how we can express our appreciation for our Sigma SD1 customers. Currently, we have a plan to offer a support program for current Sigma SD1 owners. This support program will provide points that can be exchanged for our products. This program is expected to be valid after the release of Sigma SD1 Merrill and it will last until the end of this year, 2012. It will be applicable for all Sigma products including both current and new products to be released this year. More details will be available soon; we appreciate your kind understanding as we finalize this program.
We would like to once again express our appreciation to current Sigma SD1 owners, and other customers who are looking forward to our next DSLR camera, for your loyal patronage to Sigma. We will continue doing our best with the aim to design and manufacture ideal photographic equipment that inspires the artistic hearts of photographers everywhere. We sincerely value your continued support.
Chief Executive Officer