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Just Posted: Sigma SD1 / SD1 Merrill review

By dpreview staff on Apr 10, 2012 at 17:07 GMT

Just posted: our review of Sigma's SD1 Merrill, the company's flagship 15MPx3 DSLR. The SD1 is the first camera to use the latest APS-C Foveon sensor, which detects three-color data at each location, giving what Sigma says is resolution equivalent to a 30MP conventional Bayer design. We've used both an original SD1 and SD1 Merrill, which are identical in terms of function and output, and the review reflects the behavior of the latest firmware for each. So does the no live view, no video SD1 deliver enough to carve out its own niche?

Comments

Total comments: 388
123
bigdaddave
By bigdaddave (Apr 11, 2012)

I cannot imagine why anyone would buy one

7 upvotes
Joseph S Wisniewski
By Joseph S Wisniewski (Apr 11, 2012)

I would never brag about lacking imagination on a public forum.

12 upvotes
utphoto
By utphoto (Apr 11, 2012)

The downloaded images reveal more to me than the standard DPR studio shot. It's pretty obvious optics and depth of field vary quite a lot over the provided images. Look at the weave detail in the fabric draped around the right side of the bowl. Clearly, the Leica and Pentax deliver the most detail. Look at the fabric detail at the bottom of the frame. Again, Leica and Pentax deliver the most detail. The others deliver mush. Look at the fine whiskers on the edge of the corn husk....same story. As someone else said, "nothing to see here, move along".

1 upvote
Domolo
By Domolo (Apr 11, 2012)

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/72548507/SDIM6084.jpg
As usual Dreview don't show the doubled version of the SD files that really show the impressive detail of the camera... Put it against the 645D file. There's NO MATCH the SD1 gives a fine detailed image. If you don't use the doubled size you can't see on monitor the fine detail.

1 upvote
HSway
By HSway (Apr 11, 2012)

As for the comparisons, they aren’t easy but still best done in this standardization fashion via the adobe’s acr for general purposes and basic idea (resolution, noise). - Except perhaps serious conclusions about the colours. Nikon and Canon native convertors do deliver simply very different and higher quality colours (accuracy) as against adobe standards (also seen using DP comparison tool of that). Using the ACR there is a need (or/and options for it) to be selective when choosing a particular profile/mode and other tools to achieve the original look. Not to mention WB and the ways of applying it. As with any comparison one has to always look what exactly is compared. I guess 60% of users don’t understand it. This could be pointed in comment section of any review.

Hynek

Hynek

2 upvotes
HSway
By HSway (Apr 11, 2012)

Very good review, interesting, truly useful as an intro to otherwise less known systems, an insight and a source of information. I find reviews here broader view based with a lesser tendency of applying subjective points that used to be more frequent in comparison. Whether the P7100 review or this one, it’s an enjoyable read - great work.
Quite a pity the camera has no LV. Some critical function for landscapes with precise focus-aperture-dof relation in mind and an ultimate control over the focus in row of situations.
Nice those sigma users got this (great) option but the company’s steps resemble a trafficker. - likely to leave a strange taste for some time.

0 upvotes
veroman
By veroman (Apr 11, 2012)

Same old, same old. By the time you get to ISO 400, all of the detail advantages of the sensor and the lack of AA filter are pretty much lost. ISO 800 and beyond seems practically useless. Same blotches I saw with my first Foveon, the SD9. I used to think the Foveon sensor had great potential. I don't any more. After all these years, the best that has happened is the resolution has been increased. Unfortunately, the rest of the camera's features and performance have left it in the dust of the competition ... same place it's been for several years now. At this point, I have to assume that the noise level at higher ISOs is an inherent major flaw of the Foveon sensor concept and cannot be remedied. Otherwise, it would have been by now. Even my Nikon P7000 does better at ISO 800! The SD1, like its predecessors, is an ISO 100-400 camera. Given that, if you like the clarity and sharpness of the Foveon sensor, then just go find yourself a good condition SD9 for about $200.

4 upvotes
Michel Aristegui
By Michel Aristegui (Apr 11, 2012)

Outdoors, ISO 100 is usually enough. In extreme cases, ISO 400.

0 upvotes
dopravopat
By dopravopat (Apr 11, 2012)

A BIG thank you to DPReview for this in-depth review. However, I would like to see some long exposure samples, 4, 8, 15 and 30 seconds. With various lights, artificial light, low ISO, combination of ISO 800 and 15 seconds.

Low light performance is not as bad as I initially thought, I like the almost "film like" fine grain. Also the detail level remains high. The problem is not the grain, but the blotching at ISO 1600 and above.

I like the "washed out", low saturaded look. It is no problem to boost colors in PP.

RAW headroom at ISO 200 will most likely mean that ISO 200 is the standard to go with. The noise difference between 100 and 200 is marginal.

The worst thing from my point is the slow card write speed and no live view. Waiting 15 seconds to check the focus will drive me crazy.

Too bad that I have so many Sigma lenses with canon EOS mount + two flashes. If Sigma would remount all of them for their system at a symbolic price (100 € for all), I would pay the 2100 € for the SD1.

0 upvotes
Domolo
By Domolo (Apr 11, 2012)

The file saved in the 45 megapixel mode through Sigma SPP shows more detail and 3dish effect than Pentax 645d file as appears on DPR. (Not so much more, but it's quite clear it makes better. Look at the leather texture behind Pluto)

Ireally don't know how The luminous landscape people can say that the SD1 gives the same detail level of an A77 or a Sony A850.
This camera is really a medium format camera. IMHO.

Check it out:
http://dl.dropbox.com/u/72548507/SDIM6084.jpg

BEWARE NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGIMENT INTENDED, ALL RIGHT RESERVED TO DPREVIEW, file used just for studies proupose.

Comment edited 10 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
cinefeel
By cinefeel (Apr 11, 2012)

I agree- and that is a 60MP mode, not 45MP!

1 upvote
SeeRoy
By SeeRoy (Apr 11, 2012)

However this camera performs (and quite honestly, who really cares except people with a financial or emotional commitment to the company?) the fact that Sigma that could first release it with a positively insane price, then slash the price to a level that's still unattractive to most users, and then rename the camera without making ANY changes to the specification... well, Sigma's management is in a hopeless mess. Which squares with generally reported and my own, limited, experience of Sigma's lens QC.
Having a different approach to sensor design is to be encouraged - as Fuji are currently demonstrating more effectively - however unless Sigma or someone else comes up with a more attractive camera to put the sensor in, and improves its performance significantly, it doesn't have a future when compared with the overwhelming value represented by its competition.

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
1 upvote
cinefeel
By cinefeel (Apr 11, 2012)

I think now that old man Sigma died and his son has taken over, the company will show a lot of improvements.

They also bought Foveon so the sensor development will speed up. It seems they improved their QC considerably with the SD1 and recent lenses, too. All companies start somewhere.

1 upvote
brittonx
By brittonx (Apr 11, 2012)

It is important to note that Sigma chose to take care of those of us who purchased the SD1 at it's original price. For example, I am getting the 120-300mm OS, 12-24mm II, and the 17-50mm OS lenses from Sigma from the "Points Support Program" at zero additional cost to me.

0 upvotes
CameraLabTester
By CameraLabTester (Apr 11, 2012)

If this camera were branded in a different name (the brand where there are at least 40+ lenses that you could choose to mount)... this would be swamped in a heartbeat and sell pretty darn well.

There are buyers out there who really want this, they could afford it, they want to use it... but they are loyal to their array of lens assets they have accumulated in their professional and amateur adventures, over the years.

Sigma should partner with one of the big 2 (or 3).

.

1 upvote
B64
By B64 (Apr 11, 2012)

Still don't know how they get 48 megapixels... The sensor has 4,704 x 3,136 = 1,475,744 * 3 = 44,255,232 pixels. I just can't figure out where the other 10% comes from.

2 upvotes
Revenant
By Revenant (Apr 11, 2012)

48 MP is the total amount of photo sites on the sensor. The numbers you report are the effective pixels.

1 upvote
kadarpik
By kadarpik (Apr 11, 2012)

You have to understand that Bayer 5d mark II is only 5.5 megapixels in some situations when only blue sensors are in operation, ind sd1 you have15 megapixels of blue. Imagine blue object on red and its borders. I have seen problems also in hair when magenta bacgeound is used, 5d IInhair give color artifacts in studio light in some bacgrounds.

sd1 and fuji x1pro are both rethinking our sensor world, canikon is just incrementally developing very old idea of sensor which is coming from very limited resources and tech available at the beginning of digital era. Bayer sensor is not ideal and will eventually will be replaced with better sensors not demanding AA and color interpolation.

From color resolution point of viiew d800 seems to be similar to sd1.

1 upvote
RStyga
By RStyga (Apr 11, 2012)

I could live with the high ISO limitation but I cannot accept a $2K+ DSLR in 2012 lacking LV, exhibiting significant AF accuracy and AF speed issues, and the rest of the so-called quirks... If Sigma (or any reseller) ever drop the price below $1.3K it'll be worth considering. For now the only cost-benefit Foveon camera looks like any of the DP2 series (including the DP1/2 Merrill ones, provided their price will not exceed $600 or so, which is very doubtful). It seems that for now my DP2 will be the one to stick around.

1 upvote
danniii
By danniii (Apr 14, 2012)

I can't say I have had any AF issues so far with the camera. The AF seems quite good it's just not as good as the current Canon Nikon Flagship models.

0 upvotes
Franka T.L.
By Franka T.L. (Apr 11, 2012)

Pretty much what I expected. I have always find the X3F capture to be pretty much ISO 400 Max and to be fair, the color is not that great. it would require radical tone mapping from the RAW. Making might be very punchy contrast, but in reality lacking the fine tonality for real. That's what I am seeing in old SD series and this review re-affirm that.

2 upvotes
h2k
By h2k (Apr 11, 2012)

The low-iso quality is truely impressive. Cristal clear! Now i am a quality-concerned landscaper and holiday snapper and i'd love that sensor - but not in its current wrapping.

0 upvotes
sadwitch
By sadwitch (Apr 11, 2012)

very nice quality, it sure looks crisp and clear at low iso. Just that I notice there seem to be some corner softness in the lenses use for some photos. The center is super sharp but deteriorates when your view move to the sides.

0 upvotes
Mannypr
By Mannypr (Apr 11, 2012)

It's been a long time I don't see images with the resolution and detail this camera is capable of . The sample images at low iso were stunning to say the least . Even the ones with high iso weren't all that bad . Seems to me that the faveon sensor works wonders .

5 upvotes
jj74e
By jj74e (Apr 11, 2012)

Sigma has had plenty of time to fix many of their typical issues...AF performance, lack of features (movie mode, live view, etc.), relatively slow performance...

But indeed, it's a beautiful camera, with the grip and build quality being particularly attractive and velvet-tank looking, and the sensor is incredible. combine a sony sensor with a foveon sensor and the possibilities are endless!

0 upvotes
the great fiction
By the great fiction (Apr 11, 2012)

I'm usually looking for the best camera for low-light situations, which this clearly is not; but for detail and sharpness at low ISO's, it's stunning. Absolutely stunning.

I'll keep my fingers crossed that by the time I'm finally in the market for a semi-professional/professional camera (5 to 10 years from now), the Faveon sensor will have progressed enough to be able to handle high ISO.

0 upvotes
Albino_BlacMan
By Albino_BlacMan (Apr 11, 2012)

The next gen FF faveon with live view and a decent write speed might actually be worth buying! Reminds of an x100. Both just needed a few loose ends tied up that the developers never seemed to get around to.

0 upvotes
Clint Dunn
By Clint Dunn (Apr 11, 2012)

The Sd1 was such an epic fail I wouldn't hold your breath waiting for a full frame version....

0 upvotes
Michel Aristegui
By Michel Aristegui (Apr 12, 2012)

The SD1 can't be an 'epic fail' since its career is just beginning.

0 upvotes
Clint Dunn
By Clint Dunn (Apr 18, 2012)

Michel...the SD1 was released a year ago.....so yeah...epic fail.

1 upvote
thejohnnerparty
By thejohnnerparty (Apr 11, 2012)

The sample gallery on this camera was probably one of the best I've seen for a review. The images were all A+, save one - the one at ISO 6400. It may be a quirky camera, but if you have the time to take the pic, it is going to be great.

2 upvotes
iae aa eia
By iae aa eia (Apr 11, 2012)

I remember when I asked for the brochure of the SA-300 in 1995, the first attempt to enter into the camera business. It's funny because today they provoke in me the same feeling of that year. A piece of equipment that calls the attention, that really has a thing in it, but which, after all, seems to be stuck in the tryout phase.

0 upvotes
Provia_fan
By Provia_fan (Apr 11, 2012)

The Sigma Mark I was an M42 mount camera made in the 70's if I am not mistaken and it was a very good M42 camera indeed. Some occasionally show up on Ebay for very above average M42 camera prices. As for the SD1, the SD series cameras have always to me been about concentrating on picture taking and this is exactly what I feel when I use my SD9 and SD10 which are part of my gear comprising of other 5 DSLRs and 20 film cameras. Whenever I use one, I pretty much just snap away and I believe that their traditional look doesn't scare people so much as they pass for traditional cameras easily (the same can't be said about their shutter sound though). I also believe that for years photographers have been able to work without live view in the studio, it's only with the advent of digital photography that this became a necessity.I wouldnt hold that against it. It's again as the other Sigmas a camera for the purists.If I want to use high ISO I use something else.To each task their suited tool.

0 upvotes
iae aa eia
By iae aa eia (Apr 11, 2012)

Wow, so actually they tried much time before. That's great. I agree with you that the SD cameras are aimed to a specific public and I myself think it produces the best colors (right out of the camera) when exposed properly. I feel the picture deeper. If you consider they do not aim at high ISOs, only coming up with live view and some tweaks related to speed, the SD line is definitely stablished, and I think the right maturity, the right balance (for its niche), may happen in the next SD.

0 upvotes
cinefeel
By cinefeel (Apr 11, 2012)

Not unless you plan to use controlled lighting.

Scroll down and look at the blue sweater crops:
http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/readflat.asp?forum=1027&thread=41183193

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
0 upvotes
Edmond Leung
By Edmond Leung (Apr 11, 2012)

Money for value, no point to buy it.

Comment edited 10 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
jon404
By jon404 (Apr 11, 2012)

15-second write time for a RAW file? Wouldn't work for me... although this may be a great studio camera for product shots.

0 upvotes
cinefeel
By cinefeel (Apr 11, 2012)

The white balance is off, not the colors. Has great color and skin tones actually. Just have to process properly, and Foveon is a little different

Comment edited 54 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Cipher
By Cipher (Apr 11, 2012)

So this camera has one thing going for it. Resolution...and only at ISO 400 or lower. The colors are way off (must be the "Foveon" look). AF isn't that great. Slow write speeds. Too many negatives. It wasn't worth $10K...$6.9K...nor the current $2.3K. It should be priced at $1100.

3 upvotes
Gary Dean Mercer Clark
By Gary Dean Mercer Clark (Apr 11, 2012)

Would you buy this camera for $1100.00 if it were available today? Or are you just complaining? I just ordered one. Of course I shot with one for 30 day on loan to me from Sigma--it sold me on buying one.

0 upvotes
psn
By psn (Apr 11, 2012)

Sigma made a big mistake selling it at $7K to start with. It probably would have sold a lot more at $2K when it first came out. I would still buy it at $1200 for the novelty but the Nikon D800 and Canon 5D mkIII are pretty much going to sink this camera. It's just not competitive feature-wise.

I hope they fire the person(s) responsible for coming up with the initial price. I really want the Foveon sensor to succeed but Sigma's not helping the cause.

0 upvotes
KAllen
By KAllen (Apr 11, 2012)

If bells and whistles make a camera good then right it stands no chance.
I'm thinking about it, nothing else does what it does best, even though by todays standards that is a narrow band of goodness.
Honestly though for everything except the night aerials I have to shoot two or three times a year it looks to outperform nearly everything else. The slow times could be a problem.
I'm thinking I might give one a whirl.

0 upvotes
cinefeel
By cinefeel (Apr 11, 2012)

Jkoich: not true at all.

Also, the camera costs 2k now, not 10!

Comment edited 59 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Manalive
By Manalive (Apr 11, 2012)

Well not worth $10,000, but the detail in some of those pictures is just plain amazing.

0 upvotes
jkokich
By jkokich (Apr 11, 2012)

There are SO MANY cameras that can produce great shots at low ISO in studio settings. SO WHAT? For this much money, it is simply not a good camera.

3 upvotes
Gary Dean Mercer Clark
By Gary Dean Mercer Clark (Apr 11, 2012)

Photographers will spend large amounts of money to get that high level of moire free resolution and the camera should work perfectly controlled studio lighting--even shooting .jpegs. Imagine super high resolution .jpegs of fabrics and patterns--something that is very difficult to do with Bayer censored cameras. It is not a bad camera---it is a very specific camera aimed at studio and landscape photographers---thats all and worth it. I ordered one.

0 upvotes
Raist3d
By Raist3d (Apr 11, 2012)

@Gary - which photographers? Working photographers care much more about workflow than what you suggest, by far. The SD1 + SPP is a workflow clog. As for high resolution of fabrics with Bayer both any camera Bayer without AA filter and in particular the new Fuji X1 Pro are proving rather well you can have fine resolution for fabrics and landscapes.

Never mind the Nikon D800E with much more megapixels, outresolves the Sigma. And people were saying that the SD1 would match the Pentax 645- not even reasonably close from what I saw in the comparison image.

1 upvote
Ilkka Nissilä
By Ilkka Nissilä (Apr 11, 2012)

Fabrics are precisely what can easily trigger moire, so that'd be the last place I'd use a D800E.

0 upvotes
mgblack74
By mgblack74 (Apr 11, 2012)

Just read the review. Wow. People paid nearly $10,000 for that?

6 upvotes
rikyxxx
By rikyxxx (Apr 11, 2012)

No, that's why now it costs a lot less.

Comment edited 52 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
zodiacfml
By zodiacfml (Apr 11, 2012)

I thought the resolution is just hyped but after looking at the studio shots, it really has that. Someone already posted this below but if you looked at the fabric under the fur, all Bayer cams resolved it as mush.
If you also looked at objects around Odie, you can also find it resolves better than a Nex7 or D800 (even considering OOF).
Good job for DPR for the effort on this especially on the LOW resolution modes and highlight recovery.
The Medium resolution mode is a revelation that it is crap. I believed it is done through pixel binning two pixels vertically, distorting the image. The Low resolution mode is the correct way since it bins four pixels.

1 upvote
atamola
By atamola (Apr 11, 2012)

I agree. The way it resolves detail at low iso is impressive. The little furry puffy balls, the fabric, the feathers... really impressive. It's a pitty that is not that good at high ISO.

0 upvotes
psn
By psn (Apr 11, 2012)

That's primarily the reason I like this camera. Alas, it's not the only reason people buy cameras... Sigma had a chance to make this a mainstream camera chose not to do it. I'm sure there will be photographers who will buy it for the reason you mentioned but most people won't.

Let's hope they make enough money to continue making Foveon-based cameras and learn from their mistakes.

0 upvotes
Raist3d
By Raist3d (Apr 11, 2012)

@Zodiac- I don't know about that- the comparison image with the Pentax 645 clearly shows the Pentax out resolving it. Oh yeah, the 645 is $10k, so was the SD1 not so long ago.

0 upvotes
cinefeel
By cinefeel (Apr 11, 2012)

I have been using the SD1 for work and find the results excellent:

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/readflat.asp?forum=1027&thread=41183193

The files have a very special feel that is especially strong when printed. The colors are also great, you just have to get the white balance set correctly.

0 upvotes
zodiacfml
By zodiacfml (Apr 11, 2012)

The fabrics look very nice. I want your job.

0 upvotes
nicolaiecostel
By nicolaiecostel (Apr 11, 2012)

The samples are very sharp, granted, but the colors are awfull. Muted, shifted, casts. For me this camera would be a nightmare in PP. And I don;t know what this camera's aim is, cause it lacks professional features like a top LCD. I think the Fuji XPro1's sensor is much more desirable than the marketing gimmick in this Sigma.

2 upvotes
trungthu
By trungthu (Apr 11, 2012)

It's only 15 M positions to receive light to record image, not 15X3=45Mp as Sigma said. But when they don't use AA filter, the detail is better (than other 15Mp camera).
When other camera use two green pizels for one blog to equal to human eyes, Sigma can't do that, so the color is not good.
If Sigma says SD1 with 15Mp, and add one more position to detect green, I hope, it is better. The price stagery is so bad, it's unreal!

0 upvotes
FritsThomsen
By FritsThomsen (Apr 11, 2012)

You got everything backwards .....
The Foveon has 15 M blue , 15 M green and 15 million red sensing points ... merging together to 15 M RGB pixels...yes ..but a 15MP Bayer sensor has 7,5 M Green , 3,75 M reds and blues... The REAL advantage of the Foveon ...and why we users often says that 15 Million Foveon pixels equals at least 30 MP bayer-pixels shows when printing ... you can easily enlarge a foveon file to the size of a 30 MP bayer -file ..print it.... and get superior prints. The bayer-pictures are allready stretched to the limit by interpolating those 7,5 +3,75 +3,75 reading to create a 15 MP output.

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
3 upvotes
trungthu
By trungthu (Apr 11, 2012)

Thanks.
I have known Sigma Foveon X3 from SD9, and I knew about it with the more "sharpness of the details" than other 6Mp camera, but, with the less of green in it.
By unused AA filter, SD1 can deliver more detaisl than other camera at 15Mp, that noone have any critique.
Foveon has really "three colors in one position", and other has to interpolate "three color in one position", and Foveon has to "interpolate" to have the size of 15x3Mp, other has really 45Mp in size. The only better one from Foveon is the unused AA filter.
And please wait to see some comparisons between SD1 and D800e (Nikon) in sometime later.
Thanks for your reply.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 10 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
danniii
By danniii (Apr 11, 2012)

hardly. The Foveon records Green at every position as opposed to every second position on a traditional sensor. This would be true if you scaled the image on the bayer sensor to 50%.
Where the Foveon runs into trouble is that there is a reasonable amount of leakage between layers in the sensor which results in poorer color separation than should be theoretically possible. Its also part of the reason that the sensor is slow and doesn't perform so well in low light.

1 upvote
Visualiza
By Visualiza (Apr 11, 2012)

The resolution is nothing short of astounding. While I'm not too crazy about the muted color, these days it's all too easy to get the palette you want so that's a wash. ISO performance isn't nearly as bad as people have been letting on; talk about hyperbole. This thing crushes the D7000 for resolution all the way up to 1600; check the purple and green fabric to the left of the playing card for the best example, although it certainly is apparent throughout the entire scene. 3200 does indeed look atrocious, however.

Regardless, that is still FOUR stops of usable sensitivity above the base and I don't see how anyone can reasonably complain about that. It's obvious by the recent FF offerings by Nikon and Canon that you either get a body that's biased towards resolution or sensitivity, not both. This Sigma is evidently a resolution-centric camera and it accomplishes that in spades. Feature set seems a bit lacking, but again, not unusable.

2 upvotes
Raist3d
By Raist3d (Apr 11, 2012)

I think you miss the fact that by ISO 1600 the Sigma has some rather serious color constancy problems with color spotches in many places including shadows. I don't buy the resolution is better at that point- it depends on the type of shot.

0 upvotes
canonpro
By canonpro (Apr 11, 2012)

Not so impressed at the high ISO, but wow, the low ISO is amazing. It would be great for use in my studio. The detail for the 15MP Foveon sensor is remarkable!
Even next to the D800 and 5DMkIII its impressive:
http://img43.imageshack.us/img43/8053/screenshot20120410at520.png

0 upvotes
photo nuts
By photo nuts (Apr 11, 2012)

What a disaster. Yikes.... Sigma should stick to lens manufacturing.

Move along... nothing to see here...

2 upvotes
smileblog
By smileblog (Apr 10, 2012)

Hmm.. Obviously the camera and lens have high resolution :)

However, Honestly, some of sample pics are not so good. Some pics have a cyan cast and in others I can't get where the focus is. I guess it's not the photographer, it's the camera. Poor AF system and still hard to control its color even for pros.

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
4 upvotes
Sergey Borachev
By Sergey Borachev (Apr 11, 2012)

Agree. And some other pics have a magenta cast. With its outdated software and inadequate support from the independent software tools, I shudder to think of the time spent in the dark room and what would remain of the hair on my head.

While the price seems right now, it is too late. There are all so many other interesting cameras with a proper body and support now for people other than fanatic believers to want to get this and invest in Sigma mount lenses, even if they do not mind spending time to get around the limitations of the body and its images.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
4 upvotes
rusticus
By rusticus (Apr 10, 2012)

the resolution at low ISO range is huge

0 upvotes
Paulo Ferreira
By Paulo Ferreira (Apr 10, 2012)

Once again dpreview has missed a simple test on Foveon sensors and kept on talking about "false" detail on and on and on... frankly missing the point.
Take a photo of your chart with a good lens preferably the 50mm f1.4
Expose correctly... the one you showed is at least 1/2 under ex
Correct levels on SPP only
Output on "double" to TIFF
See how much "false" detail you are able to capture on the 60MP image ABOVE 4000 LPH... around 4500 LPH maybe if your chart would go that far...
Thanks

2 upvotes
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Apr 10, 2012)

Q: "So does the no live view, no video SD1 deliver enough to carve out its own niche?"

A: In a couple of words: Nopie-dokie.

0 upvotes
Ernest M Aquilio
By Ernest M Aquilio (Apr 11, 2012)

Not everybody needs live view and video. The masses are getting spoiled here. This is a still photographers camera, and a camera in a market that is very specific. Nonetheless your answer is correct, however moot. Everyones needs are unique.

3 upvotes
micahmedia
By micahmedia (Apr 10, 2012)

Nice to see some files side by side finally. The hype about detail compared to Bayer sensors seems to be a myth still. It's a 15mp sensor--no more, no less. In some testing it has better color resolution. But if you want to see those 30-40mp claims fall flat, pull up the D800 on the studio comparison and have yourself a laugh. Even the D7000 is doing better with fine detail. Maybe its the glass. But in these shots, the SD1 isn't looking mind blowing. I'm a fan of underdogs, so I kinda wish it had a surprise for us.

5 upvotes
zzapamiga
By zzapamiga (Apr 11, 2012)

From the review "Low ISO detail is exceptional, with a degree of pixel-level sharpness that conventional Bayer sensors simply can't match." This is confirmed by the comparison images. It is clearly capturing much more detail than the D7000.

1 upvote
KAllen
By KAllen (Apr 11, 2012)

The D800 on any furry or feathery bits on the tests looks mushy compared to the Sigma. Just because the D800 produces a bigger crop is not the same as more detail.
The Sigma is out resolving most cameras on the planet, you would need decent MF to get near it looking at the DP samples.
If I have a problem wanting this camera it comes down to the lenses you can use....only Sigma.

1 upvote
micahmedia
By micahmedia (Apr 12, 2012)

...I find my own results are always sharper by comparison, because of DPR's insistence on not using the in-built sharpening in ACR/LR. And they don't sharpen Bayer stuff as much as I would. Then again, I'm geared for prints and DPR caters to pixel peepers.

I don't find my D7000 lacking in the sharpness department. And I certainly get better color since the Adobe workflow is geared for that. Once the SD1 gets Adobe support, we'll know more, but for now, the SD1 is not ready for a pro workflow when it comes to color OR detail.

I'm not saying it's bad gear, I'm just saying it's not fully supported yet, so it's not really even comparable, let alone usable. This is very likely to change, but we're not there yet.

0 upvotes
Sergey Borachev
By Sergey Borachev (Apr 10, 2012)

The end of many photographers' dreams.

2 upvotes
tmurph
By tmurph (Apr 10, 2012)

Well done Sigma for bringing out a camera with nothing else on it just a pure picture taking machine.
Shame about the write speeds and all that but in RAW up to 400 iso its stunning.
Like others on here I rarely take my camera off its base iso so high iso speeds I can take or leave.
I hope Sigma can iron out some of the problems with a firm ware update because it deserves to do well.

2 upvotes
Photomonkey
By Photomonkey (Apr 10, 2012)

I can not bear to hear the comment "It would be easy to...(insert complex feature here) and it wouldn't cost anything.

If it were so simple,easy and cheap it would be done by anyone of the kibitzers on these boards in their garage.

I feel that the shortcomings that so many carp about in the Sigma are proof that the creation of a high performance DSLR is a daunting task even for those companies that are in the business.

5 upvotes
Ashley Pomeroy
By Ashley Pomeroy (Apr 10, 2012)

Damn shame they didn't go for broke and put this sensor in a medium format body. Most of the objections would become irrelevant in that context and, heavens, no-one would miss the SD lens mount. Three good new lenses, that's all they'd need.

2 upvotes
draschan
By draschan (Apr 10, 2012)

compare the fabric just right under the fur. the top piece of it. the sigma seems to be the only camera to show every single fibre. this looks really amazing and to me the only little piece so far in the test sample that shows the advantage of the sigma clearly. the other details look very crisp indeed. if this makes it worth buying the camera is another question. it is very very interesting. my thought would be: WOW what could this do in full frame ! this could really be something. hopefully sigma will keep working on this and come up with a mirrorless fullframe with 3 x 30 (at least this is what I'd wish for landscape :-)

8 upvotes
ARTASHES
By ARTASHES (Apr 10, 2012)

It would be interesting to see how Sony made Foveon sensor would look like

Comment edited 6 minutes after posting
1 upvote
MichaelEchos
By MichaelEchos (Apr 11, 2012)

D7000 noise performance + SD1 resolution = not awesome and really expensive.

0 upvotes
Kelvin L
By Kelvin L (Apr 10, 2012)

Very nice ISO100 images in the RAW samples - amazing resolution. A shame about the write speeds and lack of current third party RAW software support though, otherwise it would be in the running on my wishlist.

0 upvotes
happy snapper uk
By happy snapper uk (Apr 10, 2012)

just compared 800 iso and above with the fujifilm x10.that has a tiny sensor and was beaten by miles ..Is the x10 so good or is the sd1 so bad?

0 upvotes
Louis_Dobson
By Louis_Dobson (Apr 10, 2012)

Depends if you care about high ISO. I rarely take my cameras off base myself.

1 upvote
happy snapper uk
By happy snapper uk (Apr 10, 2012)

yes amazing if used in that way

0 upvotes
micahmedia
By micahmedia (Apr 10, 2012)

"rarely take [your] cameras off base [iso]"?! I'm truly shocked at the number of people who don't know how to use high ISOs.

Wait, no...no I'm not surprised. Not when I think of all the idiots I see with Gary Fong tupperware. Lemme guess, you bought Olympus back when they had mirrors, huh?

0 upvotes
Gary Dean Mercer Clark
By Gary Dean Mercer Clark (Apr 11, 2012)

Professional Photographers that use flash photography are idiots and don't know how to shoot high ISO? When did the use of flash diffusers, bounce and other flash techniques become the realm of idiots? You have an interesting take on professional photography.

0 upvotes
candido dessanti
By candido dessanti (Apr 11, 2012)

kidding? there more detail in a raw taken@3200 iso with sd1 than the same taken @100 iso with x10. and that's because the x10 is quite bad

0 upvotes
Louis_Dobson
By Louis_Dobson (Apr 11, 2012)

There are some odd people about... I do seascapes and landscape mainly. I don't need high ISO OR a flash, I need a tripod and neutral density filters mainly.

A least, that's the sensible answer, but perhaps I should respond in the spirit of the chap above:

Only people who have trouble capturing motion, can't manage light, or lack the ingenuity to balance the camera use high ISO, which ALWAYS reduces quality, on ANY camera. Not only are they lousy photographers, but notoriously badly endowed, and their mothers are ugly.

1 upvote
micahmedia
By micahmedia (Apr 12, 2012)

Dear Louis_Dobson,

I had to click "like". ; D

That said, you've hit the nail on the head: when you can't use flash or a tripod, you bump up the ISO. Bumping up the ISO actually increases quality when it means you get the shot. My D700 ain't much different from 100-1600. And everything but that last 25 million is absolutely usable all the time.

About light spheres: diffusing is sometimes useful, I've never seen anyone with the tupperware use it right. Yes, I'd say they're idiots, because even if they get their shot, they make me want to punch them in the mouth when they try to bounce light off my face in portrait orientation (especially as I'm not their subject). Mostly what the idiots using tupperware want is less powerful flash, not a diffuse light source. And they're not getting a diffuse light source if they aren't hitting a light colored ceiling anyway. They're just being obnoxious idiots. Just like the idiots who hold their iphone up for an entire concert--fvck that.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
micahmedia
By micahmedia (Apr 12, 2012)

...and if you're one of these people and think I'm rude, redirect that back on you: popping a flash in a bystander's face or ruining someone else's view at a concert is rude, inconsiderate crap. Light sphere's and iphones...horridly abused crap.

EDIT: OHH...Louis_Dobson is butt hurt because he owned an Olympus back when they had mirrors. Meh, no hard feelings. We all make mistakes.

EDIT 2: But you've certainly paid your penance in good shots--nice work! Truly!

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 5 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
micahmedia
By micahmedia (Apr 12, 2012)

...although, geez, you know I can steal your stuff full res from flickr, ya? You might want to keep some of those from being available full sized and sell them. Or at least I would. But hey, I'm selfish.

0 upvotes
Prognathous
By Prognathous (Apr 10, 2012)

It's amusing that dpreview considered Live View to be "a solution looking for a problem" when they first encountered it in a DSLR - the Olympus E330. Now they consider it to the "The missing feature". How things have changed.

11 upvotes
Roland Karlsson
By Roland Karlsson (Apr 10, 2012)

Yes, but it has mostly to do with the revelation that phase detection auto focus sux. You focus at something other than the actual sensor and - even more important - using strange optical paths through the lenses and through the phase detection optics, making focussing very error prone.

Exact focussing is only made at the sensor with contrast focussing.

And the reason this has not been a problem before is that high resolution digital cameras are more demanding than earlier ones and film.

1 upvote
Gesture
By Gesture (Apr 10, 2012)

Yes. Said the same thing below. I think the next advance must be a dual eyepiece viewfinder for the best cameras, as Fuji is doing.

0 upvotes
Roland Karlsson
By Roland Karlsson (Apr 10, 2012)

Another thing was that the LiveView usage in E330 was really bad. I tried to use it and got only frustrated.

0 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Apr 10, 2012)

Simple - live view became useful when it became usable.

6 upvotes
Louis_Dobson
By Louis_Dobson (Apr 10, 2012)

LiveView on the E330 was brilliant - a revelation! Strange angle shots suddenly became simple...

The LiveView on my D3, by contrast, was pointless.

6 upvotes
amblepath
By amblepath (Apr 10, 2012)

DPReviews coment on the E330 was a supreme lack of insight. However I think it's about time we forgave them and let it go. Of course if they acknowledged it I guess it would make it easier for some to do that. We all make mistakes.

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
Prognathous
By Prognathous (Apr 11, 2012)

Barney, I have the E330 and it has all the Live View functionality you guys are asking for studio work with the Sigma (when used in Mode B). Or are you asking for fast AF in Live-View, because if you do, then no-one else other than Sony offers that in a DSLR. In fact, the E330 Mode A was more usable for general photography than any current non-Sony DSLR. But my main point is that Mode B had everything that one would need for studio work, which is basically another way to say that it had magnified MF that allows ultra accurate focusing.

0 upvotes
Raist3d
By Raist3d (Apr 11, 2012)

@Prognathus - while I agree that the e-330 live view is/was great and it worked, I think it's kind of lame to keep bringing up something dpreview said years ago, when the guy that said it- Phil Askey- changed his mind and admitted it. At this point really, it's just a bit childish.

@Barney- the live view on the E-330 was more than fully functional. In fact in some ways, it was better than what's done right now, in some aspects.

0 upvotes
Roland Karlsson
By Roland Karlsson (Apr 11, 2012)

The LiveView on 330 was nothing even near to brilliant. It got quite bad review comments. Now ... looking at the cameras ... I have to admit that it was 410 or 510 I personally tested - and on that camera LiveView was only a cause for irritation. Slow and generally hard to use.

Then - of course - if you at last masters the clunky thing - then it helps you at hard to reach angles. You might call the brilliant if you so wish. But that actual implementation was far from brilliant.

Comment edited 50 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Louis_Dobson
By Louis_Dobson (Apr 11, 2012)

There was LiveView "A" mode. That worked quite brilliantly. The 410 and 510 didn't do the same sort of thing at all.

What later LiveView did was what I still use it for - taking clever, angled shots where you couldn't get to the VF.

Only later on did it start being a way that people who didn't know how to use a camera could cope with a dSLR.

My E330 was sold on many years ago - but I remember it with huge affection. I've never before or since had a camera so clearly superior to anything else you could get. And the DPR assessment of it had me either foaming with rage or hooting with laughter depending on mood.

0 upvotes
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