Compared to the Canon EOS-D30 and EOS-D60

It's difficult to choose a camera with which to compare the SD9. There aren't any other X3 sensor cameras out there yet and the promise of X3 is more resolution than the same 'pixel count' Bayer sensor. Thus I have chosen to use the EOS-D30 as a Bayer sensor camera with similar resolution and the EOS-D60 which is fairly well accepted as the best current six megapixel digital SLR.

Features compared to the Canon EOS-D60

Sigma SD9

Canon EOS-D60
Kit price (street) US: $1799 [check] US: $2199 [check]
Sensor Foveon X3 Canon CMOS
Photodetectors 10.3 million (3 photo detectors per pixel) 6.3 million (1 photo detector per pixel)
Total pixel locations 3.4 million 6.3 million
Final image size 2268 x 1512 3072 x 2048
Image formats RAW (X3F) JPEG, RAW (CRW)
FOV crop (approx.) 1.7x 1.6x
Lens mount Sigma SA mount Canon EF mount
Sensitivity ISO 100 - 400 ISO 100 - 1000
Exposure modes Program AE
Aperture-Priority AE
Shutter-Priority AE
Program AE
Aperture-Priority AE
Shutter-Priority AE
Scene modes
Metering 8 Segment evaluative
Center metering
CW Average
8 Segment evaluative
Center metering
CW Average
Shutter max 15 sec (1 sec at ISO 200,400) 30 sec
Shutter min 1/6000 sec 1/4000 sec
Exposure steps 0.5 EV 0.3 or 0.5 EV
Bulb Yes Yes
Flash X-Sync 1/180 sec 1/200 sec
Exp. compen +/- 3EV in 0.5 EV steps +/-2 EV in 0.3, 0.5 EV steps
Auto Focus TTL, 1 AF area TTL, 3 AF areas (selectable)
AF assist lamp No Yes
Self-timer 2, or 10 secs 10 secs
Continuous 2.4 fps, max 6 images 3 fps, max 8 images
White balance Auto, 6 settings, manual Auto, 5 settings, manual
image params
White Balance Contrast
Color Tone
White Balance
Built-in Flash No Yes, Pop-up
Flash hot-shoe Yes Yes
Mirror lockup Yes, 'UP' mode Yes, 'Mirror lockup'
PC Sync terminal No (only via adapter) Yes
LCD monitor 1.8" 130,000 pixel 1.8" 114,000 pixel
LCD cover Yes, supplied No
Status panel Yes, not illuminated Yes, illuminated
Viewfinder Sports finder (98% coverage) 95% coverage
User memories No (not required) 1 (up to 3 image param. sets)
Storage CF Type I/II (Microdrive compatible) CF Type I/II (Microdrive compatible)
Connectivity USB 1.1
Firewire (IEEE 1394)
USB 1.1
Custom functions None Yes, 14
PC Remote control No Yes, supplied software
Portrait grip Unknown Optional
Power 2 x Lithium CR-123A
4 x AA or 2 x Lithium CR-V3
Supplied Lithium-Ion 1100 mAh
Body dimensions 152 x 120 x 79 mm (6.0 x 4.7 x 3.1 in) 150 x 107 x 75 mm (5.9 x 4.2 x 3.0 in)
Weight (no lens) 918 g (2.0 lb) 855 g (1.9 lb)
RAW conversion Yes, Sigma Photo Pro Yes, Canon File Viewer Utility
RAW conversion
JPEG (12 quality levels)
TIFF (8 or 16 bit)
Same, Half, Double size
JPEG (4 quality levels)
TIFF (8 or 16 bit)
RAW conversion
color space
Adobe RGB
Apple RGB
ColorMatch RGB
RAW conversion
image params
White Balance (7 settings)
Exposure (+/- 2.0 in 0.1 steps)
Contrast (+/- 2.0 in 0.1 steps)
Shadow (+/- 2.0 in 0.1 steps)
Highlight (+/- 2.0 in 0.1 steps)
Saturation (+/- 2.0 in 0.1 steps)
Sharpness (+/- 2.0 in 0.1 steps)
Color Adjustment (CMY + eyedropper)
White Balance (6 settings + eyedropper)
Exposure (+/- 2.0 in 0.1 steps)
Contrast (3 levels)
Sharpness (4 levels)
Saturation (3 levels)
Color Tone (3 settings)

As you can see on paper the EOS-D60 offers a lot more for the money, it's more flexible and easier to use, smaller and slightly lighter. There's also the issue of lens mount, while we understand completely that a Sigma digital SLR will have a Sigma mount that reason alone may be enough to steer some people away from this camera, there is a lot of brand loyalty among Nikon and Canon shooters. The SD9 does of course have the groundbreaking X3 sensor and a far superior RAW conversion application (Sigma Photo Pro).

Color compared to the Canon EOS-D60

Below is a standard shot of a GretagMacbeth ColorChecker chart shot by the Sigma SD9. If you place your mouse cursor over the image it will change to the same shot taken by a Canon EOS-D60. These two exposures were taken within a minute or so of each other, both cameras set to ISO 100, manual exposure, manual white balance. Both cameras were fitted with a Sigma 50 mm F2.8 lens.

As you can see the SD9 has a very similar grayscale response to the EOS-D60 but that the D60's color appears to be richer (and warmer), especially noticeable in the darker foliage green (fourth from the left, top row) which is important for the proper reproduction of greens in landscape shots.

Place your mouse cursor over the image above to see a
comparison of color reproduction with the Canon EOS-D60