The Sigma SD1 was an APS-C DSLR that featured the then-new 15MP (times three) Foveon X3 sensor. Previous models, such as the SD15, had 4.7x3MP sensors with a 1.7x crop, so this was a pretty big jump in resolution as well as a move to a more common sensor size. Foveon sensors capture color in a completely different way than Bayer sensors, with each 15MP layer capturing different color information. Thus, 45MP of total data is captured at 15 million locations, to give what the company claimed was equivalent to a 30MP Bayer sensor.

Other features on this SA-mount camera include an 11-point 'twin-cross' AF system, 3" 460k-dot LCD and a weather-sealed body. The SD1 was originally announced in 2010 with an MSRP of $9,700 but the company then emphasized that it expected it to have a 'street price' nearer $7,000 by the time it hit the market in mid 2011. Early the following year, the camera was renamed the SD1 Merrill and relaunched for a more down-to-earth $2,300.

As with all Foveon 'X3' sensors, while the SD1's low ISO resolution was great, image quality fell apart quickly as the sensitivity climbed.

For those who wanted to carry around something a bit more 'classy,' Sigma released a model with a burl wood veneer, which was priced at €10,000, at least in Germany, where it was announced. The body was described as 'emphasizing the camera's premium appeal by adding a casing made from Amboyna Burl, an expensive and decorative veneer taken from complex growths on a Southeast Asian tree. The case takes around 60 hours to cut, mill and polish.' Wow.

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