Sigma is pretty much a household name when speaking to photographers. Being one if the largest (if not the largest) third party lens manufacturer, Sigma has made a name for itself in just about any photography circle. Sigma produces both enthusiast and professional grade lenses for just about every DSLR mount available. But I’m sure there are a few of you out there that are not aware that Simga produces glass for the Sigma DSLR camera mount. Yes, that’s right, Sigma also makes DSLR cameras, but it seems that they go mostly unnoticed under the shadow of Nikon, Canon, Pentax, Olympus, and Sony. But all that may soon change. Sigma is introducing the Sigma SD1 DSLR camera.
Sigma produced it’s first DSLR in 2002. It was dubbed the S9. What made this camera special was that it used a newly developed image sensor called the Foveon X3. The Foveon is a bit different from standard image sensors in that it captures ful RGB data at each pixel location. Most camera sensors use a “Bayer Array” sensor which does not. If you want to learn more about Bayer vs Foveon you can read more at this Wikipedia article. I’m sure it will do a better job explaining it than I can.
The Simga SD9 was followed by the SD10 DSLR in 2003 and the SD14 in 2007. Most recently Simga released the SD15 in 2010. The SD15 boasted a new “True II” image processing engine and several other improvements and enhancements. Now, in 2011, Sigma is getting ready to release its new flagship DSLR, the Sigma SD1.
The SD1 will sport an APS-C sized (24x16mm) Foveon X3 CMOS sensor. Sigma rates this sensor at 46 megapixels but that’s based on it’s 3 layer Foveon sensor so in effect it should have a pixel density similar to cameras with a normal 15.3 megapixel sensor. The camera will use a pentaprisim type viewfinder with 98% coverage and 0.95% magnification. Auto focus features an 11 point TTL phase difference autofocus system with the standard Single, Continuous, and Manual settings. Continuous AF will have a motion prediction function. Flash sync speed is being listed at 1/180sec. The SD1 will use a 3 inch 460,000 pixel LCD screen to give you a preview of your images on the back and will capture your digital files on Compact Flash media. For more specs and photos of the SD1 you can download the PDF flyer from Sigma at this link. And one of the nicest features about the SD1 is that you’ll never have to worry about finding the right lens. All the lenses made by Sigma are available in Sigma’s own SA bayonet mount. Pricing in the US is expected to be in the $1500 range. and Sigma says that availability is “Soon”.