Sigma Musings (Long) - Where Goeth Thou?

Started Oct 9, 2013 | Discussions thread
OvinceZ Senior Member • Posts: 2,725
Sensor evolution.

When I first heard about Foveon sensors some 10 or so years ago I felt that was the future. It seemed obvious this must be the best solution for light capturing sensors. So we waited and eventually saw some cameras released with the Foveon. Some of the images were superb but the size was limited. Yet there were followers who bought the product and endured the limitations of those offerings. The mood was buyer beware. This was not a proven technology.

Things changed when the SD1 was announced. Instead of penetrating the market it was seen as overpriced. Way overpriced. So they did not sell well. A year or so ago the SD1Merrill was introduced and at a fair price. Still limited by the Sigma lens mount. We wondered why this model wasn't released with all the mounts available. Heaps of enthusiasts might have bought one if they could have used their own lenses. Since Sigma was in the lens business there was no way they were going to release other mounts. What a shame that was. If the Foveon sensor is superior in landscapes and closeups then that will impact on the market and the word will be out and it would have made a huge difference.

Along comes the little DPM series and what a series it is. A real Foveon enthusiast might acquire all 3 models. Great value which includes the C sized sensor. Results have been mixed but I wonder if this has more to do with the quantity of photographers owning Sigma Merrills than anything else. If you have more people using a product some of them will deliver excellent results both in IQ and photographic quality.

So where to, Sigma? Those of us who have DPM cameras know the strengths and limitations. A quality zoom model is a must to compete in the market. A mirrorless would be even better. Having the DP3M is frustrating because it is great at some things but almost useless at others. Sometimes I can do panoramas but many times it is not practical. A model with something like 24-70 or 24-105 equivalents would be much more useful. The macro mode needs to be improved, too, so you can focus closer. The processor is not good enough and it takes too much time to review photos. I simply do not review many because it uses up the battery. I have ordered an additional 6 batteries and two chargers. That shouldn't be necessary. The DP3M isn't pocketable so a larger grip should have been made to include larger batteries.

Sigma need to not being seen as cheap and include lens hoods with kits.

At the moment the evolution of sensors sees Foveon as a minor competitor. If we remember how Apple was in a similar position years ago it is still possible that things might change in the future. The problem with reading the light at three levels in the sensors is all the wiring. That must cut down on the light reaching the red levels. I can't shoot at anything but ISO100 because of the noise. I haven't tried 200 yet but that might be okay. Still. this greatly limits what the camera can do.

If Sigma come out with a full frame Foveon sensor then it is a new ball game. If they offer other mounts then it will be a winner and have a future. Those of us who have seen what the Merrills can do are impressed and put up with querks, etc. The next two years will reveal what is going to happen.


 OvinceZ's gear list:OvinceZ's gear list
Sigma DP3 Merrill Canon EOS 5D Mark II Canon EOS 60D Sony a7R II Sony a7R III +15 more
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