Simple question:

Started Jan 12, 2013 | Discussions thread
marcus2137 Regular Member • Posts: 113
Yes, but...

I'm in a unique position for this question because I own a DP2m as well as a 5d3.

I have to say that I love the 5d3, but not because of the sensor. There isn't any big problem with the sensor, but it isn't 'special' either. But in general, I feel that the 5d3 is the most 'complete' camera body I've ever used. As a working photographer, I simply couldn't ask for a better camera body needed to capture 'instances' and 'moments' that will never be repeated. I also have a nice collection of Canon lenses that are basically irreplacable for me and some of the work I do.


I've had my eye on Sigma/Foveon ever since I saw some promotional prints in a local camera store in 2004. I was temped when the DP1/2 came out, but didn't have the money for an 'extra' camera then. Now, the DP2m was more that I could resist.

I LOVE my DP2m. "Baby medium format" really is the best way to describe it. Having a small but capable camera has also really brought a lot of photography joy and excitement back in my life. I also find that I look for different types of scenes to photograph because of this camera. Scenes with textures. Scenes with vast openness. Scenes with tiny details. With my FF Canon gear, I love to shoot wide open and let beautiful lenses paint a beautiful blur on the background. With the DP2m, I yearn for scenes with details. It's a departure to say the least.

The point:

Since picking up my DP2m, of course, I've been daydreaming about sensor in my 5d3 with similar qualities and potential.

My dream:

5d3 body, full frame X3 sensor

My conditions:

1. The sensor would have to play well with the lenses, and I'm not sure it would.  Maybe furture development of the microlenses could improve this issue.
2. As a working professional, I HAVE to have good high iso. Depending on the type of photography I'm doing, I won't hesitate shooting ISO 6400 on my 5d3, and even 12,800 gets the job done well. With the DP2m, I'm really only comfortable shooting up to ISO 400 normally, ISO 800 if needed. If I couldn't at least be confident with ISO 3200 producing 'client-pleasing' photos, I wouldn't trade my 5d3 sensor for an X3 sensor. I honestly don't mind the noise on the DP2m up to ISO 1600 currently, but I can't accept the banding I usually start seeing at ISO 800+ (and sometimes 400+)
3. Personally, I think the resolution of the DP2m is great. I would love to see those pixels stretched to a full-frame sensor. So a FF sensor, 15mp X3, could be an interesting start. Since it's full-frame, even a 20mp X3 sensor would still have larger photosites than the current APS-C sensor and would probably be sensor that satisfied photographers for at least a few years.

I have had, and still have, numerous wonderful Sigma lenses in the past. If Sigma delivers a body that meets my basic requirements (and things like pro-level AF, reliable metering, deep buffer and instantaneous review), I would definitely test such a body. And if such a body functioned well in a professional enviroment, and the 35mm f1.4 is the first of many such lenses, I would more seriously begin considering selling off my Canon equipment; although, there are still some lenses that Sigma probably won't have an answer to any time soon though, like my TSE lenses, so that puts me in a little bit of a tough spot as far as completely switching to Sigma is concerned. But I would consider mostly switching, and just keeping one Canon body to use those few irreplaceble lenses with.

So I would love to see how a Foveon 5d3 would work out, or a FF (and vastly updated) SD2 would work.

One of the issues with the current X3 sensors is sensitivity to the angle of light hitting the corners of the sensor. I can't help but think that there is something to Sigma releasing a beautiful 35mm f1.4 lens with such great corners, low coma, low abberations. I'm wondering if Sigma has designed a FF 35mm lens specifically for an upcoming FF X3 sensor that would place huge requirments on lenses, especially in the corners.


However, in the end, the body is more important than the sensor for many pros like myself. So even if the SD1 sensor HAD the high ISO capabilities (i.e. a more advanced and capable sensor), I think I still wouldn't trade it for my 5d3. Although I would probably pick up one for me to shoot recreationally, and perhaps occasionally for slower paced professional work. But a 5d3 body with a high-iso capable X3 20mp full frame sensor would be a dream come true.

I still wouldn't sell the DP2m though...

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