Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Sigma Announces SD1

Sigma, makers of the DP1 and DP2, have announced a DSLR-bodied camera centered around a Foveon X3 sensor. The sensor is ostensibly the same thing as the DP1 & 2, but the pixel count is higher, so it must be revised. That was the Foveon's smallest concern, frankly. I would have liked to see an untouched pixel count, indicating a focus on high-ISO performance.

Most people in the photo world were unimpressed with the Sigma. I wasn't. I'm a huge fan of what's called per-pixel accuracy. This means that a sharp line is accurately drawn as a sharp line on a photo, without blurring at the line. That's why, even after all this time, I use my old Canon EOS 20d more than newer cameras.

See in the comparison photo (from the amazing review site DPReview), how sharp and defined the pixels are in the Sigma photo. The Olympus is certainly resolving more detail, but not that much more considering the resolution difference.

The technology is certainly not ready for pro-level work, nor is it the best deal for consumers, but for a certain photographer, it was a tempting offer. The greatest risk for the technology was that Sigma wouldn't continue to develop it, but to many people's surprise, they've continued working, and aggressively so. After continued support for that DP1 and 2, this camera is confirmation that Sigma is all in.

I look forward to seeing what they've managed in the ISO department, and also to seeing what the sensor can do when paired with better glass. I'm glad to see that the digital photography market is starting to differentiate away from the old limitations of the film.

Sigma SD1 has a 15.3MP sensor, weather-sealed magnesium alloy body, and no video mode at all (Engadget.com)

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