New Foveon camera...what can we expect

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Oa9time Junior Member • Posts: 37
New Foveon camera...what can we expect

I’m patiently waiting for the new FF Foveon and I’ve been wondering what to expect in image quality.  The sensor is said to be 60.9mp.  Not much of a major increase over the current SD1 at 45mp.   I would assume there could be lower noise due to larger pixel size but will it make a decent usable iso3200?   I’m sure the rest of the camera will be leaps and bounds better then the SD1 in function and operation but is the small increase in megapixel going to make my SD1 become a shelf queen.   I would like other people’s thoughts on if they are looking forward to the upgrade path.

tom

Sigma SD1
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Scottelly
Scottelly Forum Pro • Posts: 14,212
Re: New Foveon camera...what can we expect

Oa9time wrote:

I’m patiently waiting for the new FF Foveon and I’ve been wondering what to expect in image quality. The sensor is said to be 60.9mp. Not much of a major increase over the current SD1 at 45mp. I would assume there could be lower noise due to larger pixel size but will it make a decent usable iso3200? I’m sure the rest of the camera will be leaps and bounds better then the SD1 in function and operation but is the small increase in megapixel going to make my SD1 become a shelf queen. I would like other people’s thoughts on if they are looking forward to the upgrade path.

tom

Yeah, I'm looking forward to the upgrade, but I won't be upgrading for a while. I need to concentrate on getting lenses first (and a couple of trackers, for shooting star-scapes and nebulae with my Nikon D810 or a Sony A7r II maybe). I think the new Sigma camera with the full-frame Foveon sensor will have really low noise levels at ISO 100 and probably ISO 200 too, offering a bit more flexibility in processing the raw files. I think ISO 400 will be usable, compared to the basically unusable photos I get from my SD Quattro H at ISO 400 (though I guess some would say I'm being too picky - I mean even ISO 1600 photos from the SD Quattro H are usable for SOME things). I don't think we'll see truly usable ISO 3200, but I do think ISO 1600 will be much more usable than any previous Sigma camera with a Foveon sensor. I'm also thinking detail in photos at ISO 1600 will be better than what I get from my SD Quattro H or my SD1 Merrill. Basically image quality will be better than ever from any previous camera with a Foveon sensor, and prints up to and including 24" x 36" will be really good, while huge prints, like 40" x 60" will be decent, and sellable (basically meaning that any size print will probably work, because larger sizes than 40" x 60" are not expected to be tack sharp).

I think the 20 MP photos from the new camera will offer about 35% more pixels than our SD1 Merrills produce, so we'll prefer using our full-frame Sigmas with their Foveon sensors . . . but the really significant difference will be in the better auto-focus, faster operation, and the ability to use a wide variety of lenses in auto-focus mode (even most Canon auto-focus lenses). I think that it will be really great to have not only all of Sigma's best lenses available to shoot with, but the ability to use to Panasonic's best lenses, and the option to use some of Leica's latest and best lenses. There has never been a digital camera system like that before, as far as I am aware. Being able to use Canon's TS 17mm f4 L and Canon's other tilt-shift lenses on a camera with a Foveon sensor will quite possible be even more awesome! What an amazing year 2020 will be.

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motionride Regular Member • Posts: 188
Re: New Foveon camera...what can we expect
1

If we think about the pixel size and think about it just being equal to the one in the Merrill Sensor, we can assume about the same light gathering capabilities as before.

However, if we take into account that the manufacturing capabilities increase every year by quite a lot, we can assume that the sensor electronics to be half the size within a year. Now the Foveon Sensor is special in that it has three layers, give it 4 years to cut the size in half. With that, we can assume at least a 4x higher light gathering capability with the new Foveon Sensor per pixel, less stress for the electronics because of a cleaner and faster signal, so that we can go back to processing speed that are equal or better than quattro (given that the quattro only has to process the top layer with full pixel count). This will also help with the heat that the new sensor develops. Less electronics (in size) means less heat generated by the sensor itself. This adds to the cleaner signal and signal separation.

I will go way over my head and just say what I think here. I guess we will have a very clean signal of up to ISO 800 (comparable to ISO 100 on the SD1) and a quite useable Signal at up to ISO 3200.

Approximated electronics size comparison of Merrill and FF Foveon with improved electronics...CMOS sensors have the electronics inside the pixel itself or very near by wich makes the sensory area smaller than the pixel size itself

Just my 2 cents...

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D Cox Forum Pro • Posts: 24,592
Re: New Foveon camera...what can we expect
1

I expect a slight increase in image quality compared to the SD1, and about the same resolution as the sdQ.

Usability at various ISO settings is not a cut-and-dried thing, but there could be an improvement of as much as a whole stop in noise levels. So it might be quite good at ISO 800, which is 3 stops of underexposure, at least in images that don't need much shadow detail.

If you want to shoot at ISO 3200 or even higher, in colour, the fp is the camera to use.

The big step forward will be being able to use adapters for classic lenses.

I suppose it's too much to hope for a tilting LCD for low level work and waist-level portraits.

Oliver_B Contributing Member • Posts: 866
Re: New Foveon camera...what can we expect
1

I have no idea what's realistic to expect. What I would love to see is truly usuable color range increased to ISO 1600. Meaning getting current ISO 100 level quality at up to ISO 800 and current ISO 400 quality at up to ISO 1600. That would be amazing. Better performance in the shadows, improved dynamic range and, as usual: speed, speed, speed.

Overall daylight results have to outshine the FP of course, otherwise what's the point. Which should not be that hard. FP daylight pictures I have seen so far look pretty ok for Bayer but they are very much not Foveon, especially looking at hair/fur and foliage.

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ChristianHass Veteran Member • Posts: 3,095
Re: New Foveon camera...what can we expect
1

I'm expecting it to be about the same size as a sd Quattro, minus the big lens mount collar since L mount has a shorter flange distance.

I'd expect it to have great image quality up to around ISO400, good at ISO800, decent in a pinch at 1600 and B/W only from 3200 and up. Basicly around 2 stops better than a Merrill since it has newer tech and larger photosites.

Menus and such probably much like the Quattro and fp, it works really well. I'm not expecting the EVF to be super smooth, I think the issue is basicly rendering video from the Foveon sensor to display in the EVF, maybe they could do a "top layer only" readout for the EVF and display that in B/W as an option.

I'm also expecting it to be around $2500 for the body only, so it needs to be really good for me to consider spending that much, but I know I will be tempted.

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fusoexplorer Regular Member • Posts: 106
Re: New Foveon camera...what can we expect
2

I speculate it will be an excellent camera. But I am speculating. And speculating is all you are going to get. Because we are all speculating. But it is fun to speculate when you are excited about something. So go ahead keep speculating.

Scottelly
Scottelly Forum Pro • Posts: 14,212
Re: New Foveon camera...what can we expect

motionride wrote:

If we think about the pixel size and think about it just being equal to the one in the Merrill Sensor, we can assume about the same light gathering capabilities as before.

However, if we take into account that the manufacturing capabilities increase every year by quite a lot, we can assume that the sensor electronics to be half the size within a year. Now the Foveon Sensor is special in that it has three layers, give it 4 years to cut the size in half. With that, we can assume at least a 4x higher light gathering capability with the new Foveon Sensor per pixel, less stress for the electronics because of a cleaner and faster signal, so that we can go back to processing speed that are equal or better than quattro (given that the quattro only has to process the top layer with full pixel count). This will also help with the heat that the new sensor develops. Less electronics (in size) means less heat generated by the sensor itself. This adds to the cleaner signal and signal separation.

I will go way over my head and just say what I think here. I guess we will have a very clean signal of up to ISO 800 (comparable to ISO 100 on the SD1) and a quite useable Signal at up to ISO 3200.

Approximated electronics size comparison of Merrill and FF Foveon with improved electronics...CMOS sensors have the electronics inside the pixel itself or very near by wich makes the sensory area smaller than the pixel size itself

Just my 2 cents...

Why do you think the Merrill and full-frame sensors are similar? With just 35% more pixels, but more than twice the area, the full-frame sensor will have lots of room for "bigger pixels" to make a sensor that can capture/produce a much cleaner image. Wouldn't you agree?

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Scottelly
Scottelly Forum Pro • Posts: 14,212
Re: New Foveon camera...what can we expect

ChristianHass wrote:

I'm expecting it to be about the same size as a sd Quattro, minus the big lens mount collar since L mount has a shorter flange distance.

I'd expect it to have great image quality up to around ISO400, good at ISO800, decent in a pinch at 1600 and B/W only from 3200 and up. Basicly around 2 stops better than a Merrill since it has newer tech and larger photosites.

Yeah, that sounds about right, I think.

Menus and such probably much like the Quattro and fp, it works really well.

Yep.

I'm not expecting the EVF to be super smooth, I think the issue is basicly rendering video from the Foveon sensor to display in the EVF, maybe they could do a "top layer only" readout for the EVF and display that in B/W as an option.

They did this in the DP Merrills a long time ago. I don't see why they couldn't do it with the new camera quite efficiently.

I'm also expecting it to be around $2500 for the body only, so it needs to be really good for me to consider spending that much, but I know I will be tempted.

I agree. I don't see them selling the fp for $1,899.00, and then selling their larger, full-frame Foveon sensor camera for less than that. I think it's more likely to launch for $2,499 or maybe a little more or less (possibly something like $2,799 or $2,199). Of course, I'm hoping they make it closer to $2,199. At this point, with the popularity of the fp, I'm thinking Sigma might decide to go a different direction, and not worry about trying to sell a lot of Foveon bodies, which means they might place a high price on the first Foveon camera with an L mount. After-all, Sigma has plenty of Panasonic and Leica owners to sell their expensive L-mount lenses to, right?

I think the rules have changed for Sigma now. They don't have a lock on their camera customers, so they don't need to sell a lot of cameras to get more lens sales in their camera mount, so I don't think they will care now about the price of their cameras so much. They can finally price their cameras to make a profit on their camera sales (on a per-camera basis), and they will still sell plenty of lenses, even if they don't sell many cameras. I think they will sell more cameras, even at higher prices, because they will be selling to a bigger crowd of people, such as Leica owners, who are looking for a different look from their lenses. Maybe I'm mistaken, but that's what I suspect, and that's what I think Mr. Yamaki may have thought (among other things, like the savings on mount development cost), when he considered adopting the Leica L mount.

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motionride Regular Member • Posts: 188
Re: New Foveon camera...what can we expect

Scottelly wrote:

motionride wrote:

If we think about the pixel size and think about it just being equal to the one in the Merrill Sensor, we can assume about the same light gathering capabilities as before.

However, if we take into account that the manufacturing capabilities increase every year by quite a lot, we can assume that the sensor electronics to be half the size within a year. Now the Foveon Sensor is special in that it has three layers, give it 4 years to cut the size in half. With that, we can assume at least a 4x higher light gathering capability with the new Foveon Sensor per pixel, less stress for the electronics because of a cleaner and faster signal, so that we can go back to processing speed that are equal or better than quattro (given that the quattro only has to process the top layer with full pixel count). This will also help with the heat that the new sensor develops. Less electronics (in size) means less heat generated by the sensor itself. This adds to the cleaner signal and signal separation.

I will go way over my head and just say what I think here. I guess we will have a very clean signal of up to ISO 800 (comparable to ISO 100 on the SD1) and a quite useable Signal at up to ISO 3200.

Approximated electronics size comparison of Merrill and FF Foveon with improved electronics...CMOS sensors have the electronics inside the pixel itself or very near by wich makes the sensory area smaller than the pixel size itself

Just my 2 cents...

Why do you think the Merrill and full-frame sensors are similar? With just 35% more pixels, but more than twice the area, the full-frame sensor will have lots of room for "bigger pixels" to make a sensor that can capture/produce a much cleaner image. Wouldn't you agree?

It was a thought experiment if everything else assumed equal. With this alone the light gathering capabilities could be 4x as high with current gen foveon sensors. if we scale this up to FF it would be even better with 20 mp spatial resolution. My assumption was more like how it would be on a 30mp foveon FF sensor with current gen technology. And that already would be absolutely fantastic!

Who knows what exactly they´re cooking up in their labs.

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joe173 Regular Member • Posts: 432
Re: New Foveon camera...what can we expect

Scottelly wrote:

ChristianHass wrote:

I'm expecting it to be about the same size as a sd Quattro, minus the big lens mount collar since L mount has a shorter flange distance.

I'd expect it to have great image quality up to around ISO400, good at ISO800, decent in a pinch at 1600 and B/W only from 3200 and up. Basicly around 2 stops better than a Merrill since it has newer tech and larger photosites.

Yeah, that sounds about right, I think.

Menus and such probably much like the Quattro and fp, it works really well.

Yep.

I'm not expecting the EVF to be super smooth, I think the issue is basicly rendering video from the Foveon sensor to display in the EVF, maybe they could do a "top layer only" readout for the EVF and display that in B/W as an option.

They did this in the DP Merrills a long time ago. I don't see why they couldn't do it with the new camera quite efficiently.

I'm also expecting it to be around $2500 for the body only, so it needs to be really good for me to consider spending that much, but I know I will be tempted.

I agree. I don't see them selling the fp for $1,899.00, and then selling their larger, full-frame Foveon sensor camera for less than that. I think it's more likely to launch for $2,499 or maybe a little more or less (possibly something like $2,799 or $2,199). Of course, I'm hoping they make it closer to $2,199. At this point, with the popularity of the fp, I'm thinking Sigma might decide to go a different direction, and not worry about trying to sell a lot of Foveon bodies, which means they might place a high price on the first Foveon camera with an L mount. After-all, Sigma has plenty of Panasonic and Leica owners to sell their expensive L-mount lenses to, right?

I think the rules have changed for Sigma now. They don't have a lock on their camera customers, so they don't need to sell a lot of cameras to get more lens sales in their camera mount, so I don't think they will care now about the price of their cameras so much. They can finally price their cameras to make a profit on their camera sales (on a per-camera basis), and they will still sell plenty of lenses, even if they don't sell many cameras. I think they will sell more cameras, even at higher prices, because they will be selling to a bigger crowd of people, such as Leica owners, who are looking for a different look from their lenses. Maybe I'm mistaken, but that's what I suspect, and that's what I think Mr. Yamaki may have thought (among other things, like the savings on mount development cost), when he considered adopting the Leica L mount.

I don't think they will ever make a profit for their cameras. Not with the amount of effort (money) needed to create and maintain their oddball sensors. They sell them at a loss to be called a camera company and make up the difference with lenses. Not unlike other business models like ink for printers. The printer is being sold at a loss.

Selling thousands of Sigma FF cameras, making a profit does not make sense.  It won't boost bottom line much at all. Sell it at a loss, give the team the ability to make interesting designs without making them justify every little cost.

I expect no frills, no folding display, no wifi, none of that, and don't want it. I hope they go for simplicity. Noise isn't all about the sensor. The more electronics you stuff in there, the more heat and noise you get.

OP Oa9time Junior Member • Posts: 37
Re: New Foveon camera...what can we expect

+1 on the simplicity.  Leave out Video, leave that to the FP to handle.  the DSLR format will keep down heat and noise.  Im ok with that format over the mirrorless

xpatUSA
xpatUSA Forum Pro • Posts: 16,024
Re: New Foveon camera...what can we expect
1

Scottelly wrote:

ChristianHass wrote:

I'm not expecting the EVF to be super smooth, I think the issue is basicly rendering video from the Foveon sensor to display in the EVF, maybe they could do a "top layer only" readout for the EVF and display that in B/W as an option.

They did this in the DP Merrills a long time ago.

Top Layer Only?!! Got a reference, Scott?

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Ted

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MalcolmD99 Regular Member • Posts: 476
Re: New Foveon camera...what can we expect
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Scottelly,

Would you say the new camera will be approaching the quality of a medium format camera?

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DMillier Forum Pro • Posts: 21,467
Re: New Foveon camera...what can we expect
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Facts? Evidence? We live in a post-truth era.

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Jim Roelofs Forum Member • Posts: 81
Re: New Foveon camera...what can we expect
1

My feathered friends have advised me to ensure that the EVF is many times better than the one on the Q that I looked through outside the store door on a rainy, dim day in Melbourne. It took me a while to regain my composure after seeing it flicker relentlessly.

Oh, and they also advised me to check that the AF can keep up with their unpredictable, skittish antics, whilst acceptable grain at 1600 ISO deeply appreciated.

Then there's the hope that the data transfer time to  the card puts a smile on my dial.

All other things considered, I'm time rich, so I can wait patiently til the cows come wandering home and continue to exercise my current Bayer hardware fitted with wonderful (made in) Aizu optics.

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BarrytheB Veteran Member • Posts: 3,559
Re: New Foveon camera...what can we expect
1

Jim Roelofs wrote:

My feathered friends have advised me to ensure that the EVF is many times better than the one on the Q that I looked through outside the store door on a rainy, dim day in Melbourne. It took me a while to regain my composure after seeing it flicker relentlessly.

Oh, and they also advised me to check that the AF can keep up with their unpredictable, skittish antics, whilst acceptable grain at 1600 ISO deeply appreciated.

Then there's the hope that the data transfer time to the card puts a smile on my dial.

All other things considered, I'm time rich, so I can wait patiently til the cows come wandering home and continue to exercise my current Bayer hardware fitted with wonderful (made in) Aizu optics.

well said Jim, my feelings exactly except for the time rich part

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