Sigma SD1 Camera release date confirmed for June; priced as $9,700

Sigma SD1 Camera release date confirmed for June; priced as $9,700

If you’re looking to buy a new DSLR and you don’t mind forking out almost $10,000, then the recently announced Sigma SD1 DSLR might be the perfect camera for you. Sigma has announced it’ll ship its SD1 camera in June for $9,700, a price that suggests it’s aiming its new flagship SLR almost exclusively at professional photographers.

First announced last year, the 46-million-pixel DSLR is billed as Sigma’s most sophisticated SD camera yet. The SD1 will be the sixth Sigma camera to use the Foveon X3-type imaging sensor. It uses an APS-C sized sensor and is equipped with 15.3 million pixels, each with three photosites buried at different depths in the silicon structure of the sensor.

The rest of the specs are equally as confusing in light of the new price tag. ISO maxes out at a paltry 6400, which is two stops more than the 1600 cap on its predecessor, the SD15, but equal to or even less than most other DSLRs on the market. The AF system uses 11 points when most other pro DSLRs have well over 40. The 3-inch screen only manages 460,000 pixels, while even mid-level DSLRs now top a million.

The Sigma SD1 DSLR also comes with dual ‘Three-layer Responsive Ultimate Engine (TRUE) II’ image processing engines that not only improve processing speeds, but also produces high definition images. The SD1 also enables simultaneous JPEG and RAW recording, a first for Sigma cameras. Users also have the option of selecting either full-size, half-size or quarter-size RAW files, which makes the SD1 more versatile for a wider range of photographers. The SD1 also features an ISO sensitivity range of 100 to 6400 and a 3.0-inch TFT color monitor with a wide viewing angle.

The SD1 pricing, though, indicates that Sigma is trying to leapfrog Canon’s top-end, $7,500 1Ds Mark III and Nikon’s competing $5,900 D3x SLR. The head-to-head rival would be Pentax’s 645D, a medium-format model with a sensor larger than the “full-frame” chips in Nikon and Canon’s top-end models and much larger than the SD1’s.

Apparently, though, Sigma believes the Foveon X3 sensor in its SD1 is a cut above the rest. It measures just 23.5×15.7mm, about the size of sensors on mainstream digital SLRs.

The SD1 adopts the TYPE 1 Compact Flash Card, and is UDMA-compatible enabling fast processing of large amounts of data. The autofocus system features an 11-point shifted twin cross type sensor, which improves AF accuracy. The SD1 features a 3.0 inch TFT color monitor. This 460,000 pixel resolution LCD monitor benefits from a wide viewing angle, making it easy to check focusing and composition. The SD1 can be used with more than 40 Sigma SA mount lenses such as ultra-wide, ultra-telephoto, macro and fisheye.

Sigma’s image processing software, Photo Pro 5.0, comes bundled with the camera and its simple operation allows quick and easy capture of the desired imaged.  Additional functions such as Loupe, Slideshow, Print, Convert to JPEG file and Batch White Balance settings are also incorporated into this software.

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