new SD1 Sample images!

And, as some of you might have guest – I HAD IT! :D and Sigma has selected a few for public viewing and they are all available at the SD1 Sample gallery .

I’m not allowed to publish any of my photos taken using the SD1 and that’s because they enhanced things since I had it – soon I will have a production unit and then I will give you more than you can handle.

About Carl Rytterfalk

Welcome to my blog! I'm Carl Rytterfalk, a swedish photographer who loves everything that is interesting in the world of photography. In 2002 I fell in love with the three layered Foveon sensor and has since then been an addicted user of Sigma cameras. Though I use Canon and Nikon as well. :)
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94 Responses to new SD1 Sample images!

  1. Richard Box says:

    Loving the shots Carl, I always love to see Sigma’s sample shots as they aren’t the usual put out by other manufacturers (random shots by production staff). Grats on being featured in the gallery :)

  2. Erik Höglund says:

    im going to have a nerdgasm

  3. Mauersegler says:

    Put the price beside for a second. Carl, I can`t access the Sigma Website anymore, (maybe stormed by an angry mob ;-) but as far as I remember you were the only one shooting at ISO 200. The photos looked very nice, no colour bloobs, nothing. Where you allowed to use higher ISO? Any hints?

  4. Boris says:

    Do you get the SD1 for all the advertising you´re doing here?

    Seriously, at 10.000 $ no one will buy anyway. Not even at 5.000 $.

  5. Hulyss says:

    100 % of the readers of this blog, I say 100 %, will never buy this camera at this price. Even at lower price I must say. Even if they have said 5000 $ I would have said f**k off too.

  6. kamihunter says:


    I really like my SD14 and I had a dream for 6 months. Now it’s broken :(
    I’m sure the SD1 is something wonderful but I won’t buy something that expensive just for my hobby. $9700 no way.

    I’m depressed!


    • r_jak says:


      You can buy a Canon 7D/5D and convert your lenses from SA to EF mount. It is possible to change the SA by an EF mount and still have AF and other electronic functions, they use the same protocol.

      Then you don’t have to wait Sigma to develop a new affordable semi-pro camera. And, the best: you will have a revenge feeling that will help you overcome the depression. ;-)

  7. Thomas says:

    Hi! It’s somehow sad, but …. who’s gonna be really exited to see all the nice images out of a camera that is *so much* out of reach for anyone. It’s like looking at marvellous files of Hasselblad or Leica DSLR cameras. Sure, they are all nice (and I suspect that Hasselblad or even Pentax 645D images are even quite a bit nicer than those of a SD1, but that’s another story), but just so much out of reach that they are, frankly, of no real interest to most photogs.

    No one’s exept a very few is going to buy such an expensive camera. And most of these very few who are to spend 5 digit prices on a camera system are probably rather going for a Leica M9 or something, to get *really* superb lenses and a beautiful camera body to go along with the beautiful high res images. And the pros can already get the high res Nikon or spend just a little more for an entry into the Hasselblad system. I just don’t get it where there should be a real niche for such a vastly overpriced Sigma camera….?

    cheers, Thomas

  8. Nico says:

    Hello Carl

    Your images are great as always but I am sorry to say that the camera image quality is not that amazing with a magenta cast in the shadows and a bit of noise too- and the price is a joke. No professional photographer will invest in an untried new system – advertising and fashion photographers need large files to work with and medium format backs are ideal for that. An up scaled crop factor SLR image will stand out a mile . Has the radiation gone to Sigma’s sales guys heads or is the company trying to alienate their existing loyal customers. This is a PR disaster and no doubt the SD1 will fail spectacularly at this price.

  9. guy says:

    I agree with nico, magenta cast is ugly and IQ without added light (ie studio applications or bright sunlight) isn’t anything like per pixel resolution of the sd9-sd14 due to pretty heavy noise reduction. at iso200 it doesn’t even look like foveon used to look, I expected more processing involved due to reduced photosites pitch but at this price tag IQ is nothing to get excited about imo

    landscapes on tripod seems to be the use when sd1 could shine

    revolution? rather a try to get into large markup area of the market

    with it’s 1/4 efficiancy of light use when compared to bayer sensors x3 will ALWAYS be a niche product. nevertheless 2,5-3k usd priced SD1 would have rised sigmas market share for sure, now we know it won’t happen

    guess they’re fine with their lenses-for-other-systems income

    MF ? well it could have been some sort of MF-look-a-like in great light when priced at 3k usd max (I expect it to fall to this price within a year, sigma just try to get some of the MF considering folks/645d buyers interested in their products) just as 1.7x crop x3 was FF-look-a-like in terms of details

  10. Person says:

    The sample images on the site so far show one thing:

    Sigma lenses and Sigma mount will kill this thing!

    Only the best primes they make are good enough.

  11. konradmaciej says:

    I am checking out that site for some time. I own a dp1s sigma. There are some things that do worry me.
    1. all the sigma SD1 samples are base ISO or photoshopped retouched whatever you may call it.
    2. form what i can make out the noise levels on higher ISO ale pretty much the same as on previous cameras with faveon sensor (sd14/15 dp1/dp2)
    3. the same old problems with white balance noise magenta green casts only there is a higher count of pixels and the photo-diodes-pixel size is actually smaller.

    I was a vier do who send tons of time on RAW’s X3F format from sigma cameras to produce some excellent Jpg or tiffs. But only because the price for the of the camera compared to the image quality you could get was very very nice. Clearly thats not the case now.

    Carl you did not make a review of the SD15 and i suspect why-because actually it is not a lot different from SD14.

    Well i cant afford the SD1. But Business is Business as they say so stop crying you people. Cant afford a fancy restaurant than go buy a burger with fires ;-)

    • Those samples are not photoshoped in any way. I even wish they had, just a tiny bit. I also have lots and LOTS of magnificent images that I can’t show to you, some of which I will ask Sigma to publish.

      Sigmas people do all RAW processing so it’s out of my hands. I give them the RAW and they develop. But. All this will be in vein a bit, because most of you will not be able to play with it – no matter how good it is, it’s just too much $ for hobby and semi photographers which is likely 90% of their current user base..

      Hmm.. I still hope that the real price is something different – Sigma Japan has still not reveled the price on their page.

      • konradmaciej says:

        Some typical WB noise reduction sharpness adjustments probably have been made. I know that you used Sigma Photo Pro 5 Carl but in other samples you can see in Exif XMP data Windows photoshop CS3 soo.. as sigma stated same photos may have been retouched. I know the picture is grate form that SD1 faveon sensor but i guess the ISO performance is in par with SD15. .. and some other typical quirks of that sensor only in higher resolution.

        BTW i like your site Carl you really can make the best of the X3f format hope you will keep your SD1

        • Carl Rytterfalk says:

          Hi Konrad, I’m glad you like my site and the noise reduction you’re talking about isn’t there. I’m sure. It’s all done in SPP5. Not sure what they did inside PS – perhaps a final conversion from TIFF to Jpeg?

          Anyways. I don’t have the SD1 yet as it was a pre-release – But I will have a production version some time early june and that’s when I will be able to publish my own shots and stuff.

  12. Recale says:

    Hello Carl!

    Like most of us I was checking your site for the SD1’s availability and pricing nearly every day and was somehow sure, according to its price, it will be comparable to the actual FF models from Canikon. Well, I am not that disappointed from it’s IQ like others. Your (awesome) shots, especially from the girl in the wood and the horse, blew me away. The foveon touch, according to colors, may be missing a bit, but detail and resolution are astonishing – to me.
    But the pricing? I stared into the screen for about a minute. What’s wrong with the company’s management?? They can’t be serious! Imagine a setup with a 5D Mark III and, if you want, a bunch of Zeiss lenses? All for half the price of a SD1 body? Who really needs MF resolution?

  13. MrBig says:

    The SD1 looks great!
    But there’s 10K worth of great in that sensor.
    To be honest, I have no idea what the good people at Sigma are smoking, but placing a crop sensor camera in the same price bracket as the worlds best Medium Format players can’t possibly be taken seriously.

    But even if the camera delivered on all fronts, would the FOV really have a place in the studio?
    But something tells me Sigma is using the SD1 for a publicity stunt :)

  14. LionelB says:

    Girl in the wood ??? Recale needs glasses :-)

  15. LionelB says:

    My apologies. Carl’s wife. I meant the other :-)

  16. Greg says:

    price apart :-(

    i’m really not very impressed by samples, considering that “Some images may have been retouched by the photographer..”


    seems oversharpened files instead of details, much more than sd14 files….It is just my impression?

    i really need to manage a raw file taken with a good prime lens, to judge the SD1, this samples tells me few things.

    • Carl Rytterfalk says:

      Hi Greg!
      The over sharpening that you mention is there and it’s something that you need to take into account when playing with SD1 files in SPP5. I personally like sharpness set at -1.2 and you don’t loose any details by doing that – so It’s SPP that has a “standard” sharpening that’s set at a way to high level. (for SD1, not sure it’s the same with other cameras)

  17. r_jak says:

    Please, excuse me for a poor English writing.

    What an unfortunate way have Sigma to promote his own name.

    First the SD1 was announced with excessive anticipation allowing the potential consumers became anxious and discontented. Sigma finally announces the launch date of the product but at an exaggerated price (a sensor APS-C can never be so expensive as a FF and less as a MF, then the camera coul be lowered priced). In middle of that, they allow people to speculate with a date of presentation (February, 2011) and prices (similar to the Canon 7d), and they don’t gainsay that versions.

    This strategy only caused frustration between those in which earlier it had generated enthusiasm.

    Conclusion: Sigma seems to be a unreliable company and consumers can’t expect anything good from they. All of us that were in conditions to acquire a DSLR in about US$ 2000 and dilated our decision for months in expectation of the SD1 we will decide to acquire cameras of other brands. In my case I’m looking for high resolution and dynamic range, then I will get overturned a Sony A850, for the value that was ready to pay for the SD1.

    After this disillusioning experience, probably I will never consider to purchase a Sigma DSLR.

  18. Niko N. says:

    Im not really impressed by the samples. Blotchy noise everywhere.

    And yeah, the price is ridiculous. Man… imagine all the Sigma glass you could buy for the price of the SD1 body alone. :)

  19. aurin says:

    That forest scene with Lin blew me away, such life and depth, the magic is absolutely tangible, i just couldn’t believe it; after using a bayer for some months it feels like fresh air to inhale the sigma!

    Nice to see the 300mm lens used to the fullest, at 1/640 in the forest, i was amazed there was light to create this, you even took it in the evening, i would love to visit that magical forest:)

    Oh, there is spp 5 too!

    • Carl Rytterfalk says:

      The 120-300 is a really nice lens. And it’s shot using OS as well. :) But it’s far from one of the sharpest images. They (Sigma’s ad) somehow didn’t select some of the “best” ones I have around.

  20. Andre says:

    A few things are very clear. This sensor is so incredibly good that only the very best glass will do. Another thing that’s clear is the fact that you are a incredibly talented photographer, Carl. Your (SD1 and SDxx) imagines are simply stunning, amazing, breathtaking. I am one of those that have been lurking here for quite a while just to keep track of the SD1 developments, and admire your work with other Sigma stuff as well. Your work is one of the -if not THE- best marketing assets Sigma has.

    I’ve been a Nikon shooter for over 35 years. And used (and still use) quite a few Sigma lenses as well. I know they make some fantastic glass.

    Likewise, this Sigma SD1 is something else. I was, thanks to you, already very seriously considering selling off some of my beloved Nikon gear to get one -maybe even two- SD1 bodies and have one remounted for Nikon glass. But at these prices? Oh yes, that sensor is incredible. But is it worth almost 10k dollars? No. They’ll sell a few hundred units at best, at these prices. Many were outraged over the grossly overpriced Nikon D3x when it came out. It still is overpriced and it’s still not selling in good numbers. The same will happen here, but worse.

    Mind you, that 3Dx is a full-frame, top-of-the-line camera. It absolutely is superb in every way. But it’s overpriced. I have one, but I didn’t buy it new. I could have, but I refuse to pay ridiculous, non-justifiable prices. No matter how good that SD1 is – it’s grossly overpriced in my opinion, almost completely absurd.

    Some already mentioned this, but if Sigma doesn’t have something up their sleeve in terms of a marketing stunt (like: YES, it’s worth 10k, but the price is…. $3000) or another camera, let’s say SD16 with this sensor at that price, then Sigma just killed not only their mount but also the Foveon sensor and it’s future.

    And that would make me very sad. It’s a fantastic sensor. I was ready to go the Sigma route. But it’s simply not worth this price. This is either a monumental mistake or a (not-so-brilliant) marketing ploy, or both.

    • Carl Rytterfalk says:

      Andre, thanks a lot for your very very kind introduction. :) And I second your thought about the pricing – it’s really sad that it came to this – I so hope that things will change. I’ve written letters to the people at the very top at Sigma to somehow make them change their mind. So here working hard behind the scene.

  21. PeteD says:

    I suggest that if this is indeed the price we all vote with our feet and leave Sigma to find some super rich mugs to buy the SD1.
    The plain fact is that you can get colour accuracy out of a Bayer sensor if you pile on enough megapixels and then there’s the advantage of DOF with full and medium frame camera systems especially for landscape use which is where my photographic interest is.
    Who in their right mind would purchase an APS-C sized sensor based camera at a price north of even US$4000 especially one that was limited to the lens range that Sigma can offer at present ?
    For example their 30mm prime is fast but the resolution nearer the edges of the frame doesn’t cut it for my applications. Same goes for their 24mm prime lens, neither lens is that great for the price in my opinion.
    See how easy it is to find a reason for not spending a truckload of money on an SD1.
    I’ll be phoning our local Sigma agent on Monday to find out if the price is for real and I’ll post an update on what is disclosed as I’m in New Zealand and the week starts here first.

  22. Richy says:

    PeteD- As someone who shoots crop, FF and medium format what advantage is there in DOF with the larger formats? Just curious. The larger the format the smaller the dof at any given fstop. Hence smaller formats having smaller fstop glass available. It tends to even out mostly because of the differing lenses with only ISO and relative grain being the differentiating factors.

    • PeteD says:

      Hi Richy,
      You are perfectly correct. What was I thinking? Must have been the shock of the SD1 price that paralysed my brain.
      The diffraction limited DOF does remain constant for all sensor sizes. When the DOF is held constant the diffraction limited pixel size for larger sensors increases.
      The part that seems to keep popping up in my memory is the diffraction limited aperture which for a 14 mp FF sensor is nearly f15 and for a 14Mp APS-C sensor is around f10 and for a 4/3rds sensor F8, but as you correctly point out the DOF remains constant.
      The numbers are theoretical and you would have a better idea than me from practical experience. Many of the lens for 4/3rds systems seem to start to lose it at apertures greater than f5.6.
      Sadly I’ve never had the opportunity to shoot anything larger than FF.

  23. Paul Paris says:

    Hi Carl,

    I have looked yesterday already to the samples and tomorrow once again. Sure, the detail is impressive (the dam of Kendal), but at the other side Foveon seems stil to struggle with the right colors. Most photos have a very unpleasant magenta-red colorcast, (skin tones ).
    Also the DR seems to be not more than middle of the road (the clouds of Rick).Gone are teh excellent Foveon clouds. My Pentax K-5 performs better in this regard.
    As a former user of the SD10 and 14, I have seen that Bayer sensors are performing even better over the years; and I believe that future bayer sensors, (FF without AA filter) wil getting the SD1 in the dust: better detail and colorfidility,
    Even if the price of the SD1 will drop to 1600-1800 euros , I’ll not buy this camera at the moment, first I have to see better samples.

    But, Carl, I appreciate your way of communicating and your efforts to get the best out of the Sigma cameras. Nevertheless I think that with the coming of the SD1, Sigma Company as a camera maker can better close the doors…



    • Carl Rytterfalk says:

      Hi Paul, I can’t emphasize enough that I’m not responsible for the development of these shots and that you can make them “picture perfect” or very close to when you’re on a calibrated system. But the blue sky differs from the SD in the past – it has less saturation – perhaps more correct? I have done lots of comparisons using the SD1 with same scene against the SD9, SD14 and SD15 and you can get more or less the same type of color if you just select the right color mode – and I have no idea about how they choose to develop my samples online.

      I will get back to IQ of SD1 once I have images that I’m allowed to show.

      • Mauersegler says:

        Hi Carl. How did you like the dynamic range of the SD-1 compared to the SD-14. I really struggle here. From what I see especially the canyon photos I would say the SD-1 is not as good as the SD-14 or a modern bayern sensor like the penatx k-5/Nikon D7000. Resolution is not everthing. I just always hated the washed out digital photos before I came to foveon.

        • Person says:

          Remember that the canyon photo is ISO 100 so it has clipped dynamic range. The base ISO of SD1 is 200, so ISO 100 is like the ISO 50 mode on the previous cameras.

          That photo was also shot with a very old version of the firmware, so take it with a grain of salt.

          I hope the reviews will impress us…

  24. marc says:

    Nice stuff ! I like the images … obvious that the resolution really calls for the best glass but Karl’s forest pictures follow through.

    Now for the price (if 9000$ confirmed) … I can see where they are coming from … HOWEVER :

    ++ There’s plenty of people who are very happy with 20MP Bayer resolution. Honestly, you do not need much more for editorial work.
    ++ Studio work : just rent a MF + Lenses for a shooting day, currently everybody rents 65MP backs and I doubt that the SD1 has the edge over them.

    PLUS if you consider that the Cannikon peops need to invest in new glass and give up on their fave lenses …

    Then this leaves VERY VERY little incentive to people to buy this.

    So Sigma, better get of your high horse, if you’re being realistic about the market :

    ++ Lower the price to at least 6000$ (Street price +- 4000$)
    ++ PLUS open the system to Canon and Nikon lenses.

    Otherwise this thing will never lift off. Other option is of course to stick to the initial 1500$ price, in that case such crazy good resolution for such a small price will offer plenty of incentive for people to buy into it. Hey c’mon didnt’t Canon win big on its 5D Mark II which, for its features and resolution was at a price unheard of before. Be agressive in your pricing and win market share.

  25. marc says:

    BTW what’s wrong with the portrait of the girl, IQ is really bad, what kind of crappy Sigma lens did the guy use, lol !!! This just so proves that you’re gonna need to navigate like through a minefield of their lineup to find the one or two lenses which will work with the Sensor. Still not on par what the other big houses have on offer.

    Sigma Sigma you’re not a pure-breed Pro company, better offer people TONS of incentive to get the community on board or you’ll just be left on the side of the road . As for now when I discuss with Pros nobody’s even aware of the SD1, it’s not as if people are in need and desperately waiting as all the needs are covered by existing systems be it killer-fast high-ISO Cannikons or high-res MF … So guys, if you want anyone to make the switch you better think INCENTIVE in a big way (ie. revolutionary, industry changing low price).

  26. marc says:

    GUYS HANG ON, here …

    It’s listed there as ¥70,000, which is about $860.00

    860$ would be sweet, very very sweet ….

  27. marc says:

    Geez, so it’s official, they’re really are bonkers.

    It’s frustrating to have hung in there waiting for that thing, it’s not very serious from a company to handle things in that way.

    This could have been the ‘Model T’ of photography, they could have hauled a bunch of new users on their platform, their lenses, a path for sustained growth. Instead they chose to go for short-term ‘monetizing’ option, this is going to be very damaging to them, not a lot of these are going to go of the shelves. At a super competitive price-point it would have been a sensation. But this is like Apple putting the iPad on sale for 1200$, it would have been a phenomenal flop, an obscure niche product. If at least they would have had the smarts to develop an intermediate version at the promised SD1 pricepoint, because the problem with their current lineup is this : There’s either not enough resolution (even just on a consumer perception level), or too much for too much money, so they’re not gonna hit any significant scalable market there.

  28. Yanko Kitanov says:

    Poor DR, noise floor high at basic ISO, terrible tonal gradations – look at the girls neck on the Bill’s studio portrait, look at the guys legs at your shot…and look at the green-magenta blotches in the underexposed areas of these shots – tragedy. Also any tonal transitions (in the shadows) initially turn to green before they finally become black. The tonal gradations are so limited that they look like posterizing in many places. Lifting the exposure of the samples by a little bit reveals even more trouble there….

    10k means a camera for those that earn back those money with a premium, e.g. pro-photographers and the people in this target group know what they need:

    a) Usually need tethering
    b) Need a comprehensive flash, remote lighting system support
    c) Need excellent support
    d) Need great Pro-level lens line up not suffering from focusing issues
    e) Need actually functional AF
    f) Need RAW support from ACR/Phase One

    g) Need FF as this gives the chance to use longer lenses in the studio, which is crucial very, very often

    h) Need support form many accessories and software developers for different purposes

    i) Need RAW writing time that allows you not to loose the models attention, and not to mention that it should allow the model not to fall asleep between shots.
    j) Need functional high ISO

    k) Need a cam that will support their existing lens line-up, and no actual, highly paid pro-photographer that I nave heard of has an S mount line up
    l) Need actually shallow DoF, when desired

    Now SIGMA LACKS ALL of these – of course it will not bean issue, no one will even look at it for this price.

    One thing that SIGMA is offering here is great spatial resolution, what Pentax is offering for the same price is much better spatial resolution emoticon – smile – Issue solved.

    I wouldn’t pay anything for such output. And no high ISO images…wonder why… ;)

    Anyway this would be clearly a dead project at 3k valuation and at 10k it will be a spectacular and epic fail for Sigma and will put them in even deeper financial trouble.

    I hope my message will not get censored!

    Have a great day/evening! ;)
    Yanko Kitanov

  29. Yanko Kitanov says:

    How does this 100% crop look to those willing to pay 10 000 USD for a camera?
    How about the posterized tonal gradations, the noise and the colour sensitivity and hue?
    What about the green cast and magenta blotches….or may be it’s just time for me to wake up from my bad dream that the camera that I wanted to own and love turned out to be just another immature in terms of IQ product from Sigma with an outrageously hilarious pricing?


    • Person says:

      HOLD ON. Look at the filesize of the original – that’s a JPEG compression issue!

      Far too few MB for the image dimensions compared to full-quality JPEGS from SPP4.0 with current cameras!! Wait for TIFFs and raws.

      • Preben says:

        But why would Sigma release these Sample images that are being critisied when they are asking ~ $7.000 for the camera? If they want to show the quality of the sensor I cannot understand why they release JPGs with poor quality and made by not finished prosessing software. The ONLY selling point of the camera is the sensor. The camera itself is nothing special.

    • Don Cox says:

      I see no green-and-magenta blotches. Here is your sample with the saturation turned way up in Photoshop – no green or magenta in the skin, just posterisation.

  30. Person says:

    This is so bad that I can only assume that it’s some kind of error.

    I noticed that (as far as I can tell) they recently changed the processing of Carl’s shot with the boy – removing the magenta cast among other things.

    I sure hope that these samples do not reflect the final hardware or the final software.

    If so, they will not sell even 10 cameras!

    Any thoughts on these issues, Carl?

    • konradmaciej says:

      Alright for those who don’t believe it i got a sample a bit exaggerated from SD1 site. You can see where the sensor struggles to reproduce color at a base ISO. So there is a greenish HUE really.

  31. Sandy Fleischmann says:

    The announcement of the SD1 at US$9700 is a very decisive moment, and I’m afraid for Sigma.

    Sigma has an enormous hole…. the upgrade hole… in the Sigma ‘system’ and model offerings. (Costs cited in US$)

    The DP cameras are the under $1000 cameras. SD15 is the DSLR around $1000.

    ?? what is the upgrade camera for us, the SD9/10/14/15 users who want more RESOLUTION … realistically in the $2000 range

    but obviously cannot or will not pay $9700 because the SD1 is not worth that amount to our photography needs.

    To say “the price will come down” is a no-starter… it would be totally a loss of face for Sigma if, announced at $9700, it would come down to even $2500.

    So, question for Sigma, what do the SD14/15 users who need or wish to upgrade buy, say in the next year timeframe??

    And those of us pro’s or prosumers who could… and are willing to… pay in that (missing) $2000 – $2500 price range. I won’t even go into the competition offerings open to us. I have a lot of Sigma SA lenses and was happily planning to buy more (for the SD1). Obviously that’s now cancelled.

    Sigma makes profit from lenses, not just camera bodies.

    This is why the Sigma loyal user base is very frustrated.
    Please feel free to pass this along to Sigma US and/or Sigma Japan.

    Best regards, Sandy

  32. Ricardo Hernandez says:

    Carl, I hate to say this but as you probably read, I am not seeing the image quality from these images and it’s quite frankly disappointing (I am not even going to touch on the price which is the obvious issue). I am with what Yanko wrote here.

    Not a single one of even your own images shows a typical Foveon (not even Dp2) sharpness. I see posterization issues everywhere for the most part. And Rick’s landscape has some serious issues that go well beyond the lenses.

    I am going to wait for final product to come out to conclude that the image quality is, but if I see spotty color Foveon issues at this low ISO, I can’t even begin to imagine how it will look once you hit ISO 1600.

    And quite frankly, what I am seeing can’t hold a candle to a Pentax 645D which is in the USA at pretty much the same price. Not even Full Frame top Nikon or Canon. I hope this is again the issue of the BETA software/firmware state and not the new Foveon.

    Now given this price, my hopes of a DP2 with the new sensor evaporate. And I really wonder what Sigma is planning for the rest of the crowd. Another iteration of the old Foveon sensor in their camera line in this time and age is quite frankly at this point unacceptable.

  33. Mike says:

    I too feel bad for Carl. Sigma has placed him in an awkward situation. I just hope a mass exodus from Sigma Cameras and loss of interest in Sigma products does not harm his great website and the great amount of information he has shared with us.

    As for Sigma… wow… how can we say “Bunch of stupid dumbasses” in Japanese.

    My Canon gear stays. My Sigma gear goes. It’s as easy as that. Sigma has no interest in my business or helping me build my business around their unique system.

    The images I have seen on the sample website leave a lot to be desired. I don’t see much that warrants this kind of price and as Sigma can see the amount of nit picking and negative fall out from this $9700 decision is going to do nothing to help their business.

    I vote with my money. If Sigma can not explain why they want to sell a Yugo for the price of a Ferrari with in the next 2 weeks all of my Sigma gear will be sent off to the sellers. One can only worry that this is an indication of Sigma’s future business plans, plans where the customer is not a factor.

    • Yanko Kitanov says:


      I am afraid that the Yugo was valued in such a way due to some economical factors back at Sigma, which just shows that they are in a desperate financial position which will get even worse very fast….

      An overvalued product on a clearly bearish market is a 100% guarantee that they are going down.

      Not only the customer is not present in their strategy, but Sigma DSLRs will disappear from there too very soon.

      A price that clearly aims for one exact target group with specifications that clearly show that this group will never buy more than a dozen SD1 around the world.

      As I said the Sigma users and those that wanted to enter the Sigma system all in high dudgeon all over the world – every single forum/site where people discuss or mention Sigma.

      I haven’t read 1 Single post saying – I will buy it.

      And the worst part – the minuses/drawbacks that were present with previous Sigma models are all not solved and this means that they are here to stay.

      A future Sigma strategy might be to make a FF block based on this very same sensor, but not a new R&D product for sure, which based on the current price and specs. means that Sigma actually does not have a single chance with the new 24 MP excellent quality APS-C coming out this year and the new MUCH improved FF sensors coming in 2012 in Canon, Sony, Nikon and Pentax bodies….
      I hope the shareholders in Sigma have an idea of the market situations and will defend their investments by saying RIP to current Sigma management and marketing and making some HUGE changes to save what they have.

      Yanko Kitanov

  34. Steven says:

    I was so looking forward to seeing your SD1 samples Carl, but then I came home from work on Friday night to check out your blog to see the news of the SD1 price for the first time I was so dumbstruck I couldn’t respond. I have been a SD14 user for years no thanks to Sigma advertsing (or lack of it in the UK) but your own early photos with the 30mm 1.4. That work is what sold be on a Sigma Dslr not the 200 rebate I got when I was tossing up between that and the Fuji S5. I never regretted the decision.

    I was never one to be totally pulled along by the ‘3d’ness of the foveon images that some see but I did recognize a unique look that I personally liked from the camera and others who saw my pictures would be impressed too, which I also liked. When I moved to the USA from Scotland to be with my wife she liked the camera also but she didn’t want a DSLR, however when it came to upgrading her camera last week I bought her a DP2s, which she loves for the image quality despite her initial misgivings over having a complicated camera to learn.

    Ever since the announcement of the SD1, like many here, I was blown away by what appeared to be huge development of the sensor so I was eagerly waiting for its arrival. Things at Sigma had seemed to be going in a good direction recently. I had my eye on the 50mm 1.4 and the 85mm after they got such good reviews, I had already long longed for the 50-500mm but couldn’t justify the expense at the time because I was trying to settle into a new country. I also looked at the 70-200mm enviously from afar but that purchase would have to wait. Before the announcement of the SD1 I did consider purchasing the SD15 but looking at the images I saw around I preferred the look of the SD14 images even if it meant putting up with the quirks of the camera. I have to say though I was ultra excited about the SD1 because I thought finally I could have a camera which could earn me money. I was at a stage where my portraits were improving and I was being asked to do weddings with my SD14. However with the SD14 I felt like I couldn’t charge for it because its operation was so slow at times that I felt like if I missed a shot I might ruin the couple’s day. However the announcement of the SD1 sounded like there should be some good improvement there and with the compliment of the 50mm1.4 and the 85mm which I already had my eye on I was confident that I could have a package to impress. I was all the more excited by the thought that the camera would be similarly priced to a Canon 7d, although when the Japanese exchange rates went wobbly a couple of months later I thought it might be adjusted upward by $200 or $300. And then I thought it might be adjusted upward again when the earthquake happened. However to be 4 times the price that people had been expecting is like a slap in the face.

    Its almost like a car manufacturer that only makes family cars having their engineers design a sports car and showing that sports car on TV shows like Top Gear to show how clever their engineers are, only to say after the presenters are suitably impressed with their new model that they aren’t going to make it because they only make family cars. If Sigma couldn’t make this camera at a price that was affordable why did they do it at all? They may as well went have back to making lenses only.

    I can’t even bring myself to look at your samples Carl that I had been so eagerly waiting, because I can’t see myself ever affording the camera that took them. I do still see myself getting the fast lenses I have mentioned but that might be where it stops for me which is a shame because I had plans on buying those along with the SD1 this year, followed by the 50-500 and the 70 -200 next year. And 2 or 3 lenses the following year and so on by which time I might have to look to replace the 17-70, 50-150, and the 10-20 that I currently have.

  35. PeteD says:

    As promised I have checked the price of the SD1 with the agents in New Zealand (CR Kennedy Ltd). They advise that the SD1 will not be held in stock in New Zealand and will only be available on an indent basis from Australia where it is being offered at a body only price of A$9600.00 which is about the same as the US price of $9700. The indent arrangement gives the lie on how many SD1’s they think they would sell at the bottom of oceana.
    The same agents could not explain how the Sigma in the USA could be offering the camera with various kit lenses at a lower price than the body only price.
    I’m now looking at buying a Pentax K5 or Nikon D7000 or perhaps even a Sony 850 full frame (from HK) which are all selling now for close what we had understood the the SD1 was going to be listed at.
    The 16.3 Mpix APS-C sensors made by Sony which feature in the Pentax and the Nikon have incredibly low shadow noise figures making them ideal for HDR imaging.
    Goodbye Sigma dream, hello real camera realities.

  36. Dan says:

    Judging from the samples, looks like Sigma probably asked photographers who took these sample shots to use ISO100 and process at an interpolated 48Mp. If I were to make such decision I would’ve chosen something like 30mp such as to show image quality instead of resolution.

    • Person says:

      that’s certainly what it looks like…. but then why are the spatial dimensions of the image 15MP and not 46MP ???

    • Ehum? Look at the sample with the guy in the forest wearing jeans – Does that look upsized to you? Just asking.. It’s not even ISo100. ;)

      • Person says:

        i’m certainly exaggerating, and the jeans detail is impressive. what bothers me is that it seems a lot of the ‘foveon magic’ seems to be lost. minimal 3d feel.

        what are your thoughts on this?

    • Dan says:

      I must correct myself, as Person pointed out they are indeed 14751744 pixels. I also notice that the images do look somewhat flat. I was expecting the trademark Foveon look as seen on the company’s page from older sensors:
      or as we’ve seen from many of Carl’s past works.

      Moreover, the samples look on the soft side. I wonder if the auto-focus is not yet optimized, or the lenses used are not working properly with the SD1…

      Also Carl’s photos are the only ones at higher ISO200, but still they didn’t show any samples at high ISO (over 800).

      Thanks for your thoughts.

  37. pawel says:

    it is just sad that they finally killed SD cameras. If the price of sigma is even close (not to mention higher) then 5D mk II than there will be no people buying it. Seriously why would anyone buy a camera with a smaller sensor for more? Doesn’t make any sense to me.

  38. Dennis says:

    Sigma states: “The DP sensor is 20.7mm x 13.8mm with 4.6 million pixels and 3 layers. The large photodiodes give the DP high resolution and richly-graduated tones”.

    We know the SD1 sensor measures 24mm x 16mm with 15.3 million pixels and 3 layers.

    So the SD1 photodiodes are only 40% of the surface area of the photodiodes on the current sensor. Keep the current individual individual photodiode area and the SD1 sensor would have given 6.2mp and 3 layers. (Or 18.6mp as Sigma would no doubt have it).

    Something fundamental to the Foveon image appeal has been lost through that individual photodiodes area reduction. Maybe they think they can put the magic back in through processing rather than in the initial capture?.

    I’d have been happy with Sigma’s new DSLR if it had a Sigma rating of 18.6mp priced above Nikon’s D7000 but a bit below the D700, but then again Sigma obviously finds the enthusiast market unprofitable and too tough a nut to crack and is leaving the likes of me behind to court the MF Pros.

    That’s OK, but I can’t help thinking they are barking up the wrong tree. Having now decided to stay with Nikon DSLR’s and get my Foveon fix from my DP it will be fascinating to watch the story unfold from the sidelines

  39. Dennis says:

    Preview of the SD1 now up on DPReview

  40. Filip U. says:

    Just a quick article on what others thought about SD1 pricing…

  41. konradmaciej says:

    Alright for those who don’t believe it i got a sample a bit exaggerated from SD1 site. You can see where the sensor struggles to reproduce color at a base ISO. So there is a greenish HUE really.

    • Don Cox says:

      There is no “greenish hue” in the crop you posted. The white dress is slightly magenta and the out-of-focus background is reddish.
      The nearer tree seems about right – grey with a touch of yellow.

      Load it into Photoshop and use the dropper to check the colours.

      Don’t rely on what you see on a monitor.

      • konradmaciej says:

        so there is no “monitor issue” and im not paranoid. Look at tahat sample i did cut the grenisch bit of the hue in that photo took a crop. Now color is relativ to human eye something colud seem more green or grey depending on the color serounding it. So the hue is not quite green mayby but its going to green colour. The colour gradation and rendrition is poor but its “hidden” buy the amount of the pixels taht sd1 has got. Well my friend named the SD14 a green monster if you foveon users know what i mean … An that will setend mor or less for SD1

        • Don Cox says:

          I’m guessing you painted in the grey to show which parts you claim are “green”. Check with the dropper in Photoshop (or a similar program). All the colours on the neck are in the red-orange range of hues.

          Which is how they look on my monitor. I see no greenish hue or tinge at all.

          • konradmaciej says:

            I picked a very narrow part of the hue and desaturated only that color so no paining in gray was made. The color isn’t green but it is strange and its visible in the shadows. its more brown really i guess but i don’t think that the model had brown spots anyway. Because of the neighboring colors its seems kin of greensich. I rest my case

  42. konradmaciej says:

    sorry for posting twice but opera browser has some qiurks whan uploading images on to the site so a changed to chrome. And I would not be so picky if the price of the camera wouldn justify my pickness

    • Person says:

      I think the problem there is just the White balance setting. The other images with AWB don’t have this issue.

  43. konradmaciej says:

    if you wont a comparison here is a link to a photo ( .jpg) from a medium format camera. Is a quite a nice sample

  44. Foveonic says:

    I read the Luminous Landscape rationalization. Quickly fixing the price would be wise and quickly forgotten in the face of great IQ if it were so…..the samples suck. Someone at Sigma has done great damage to the future of this technology and the reputation of Sigma, if that were possible with all the late product launches with lenses and cameras already in the past. Combine all of this with the inferior camera operational attributes of prior models and you have to wonder…..who, is in charge of this division at Sigma? I mean this behavior is edging close to delusional insanity. How could any one at Sigma with authority to set a price point have professionally analyzed current market conditions, competitor products and their existent client base and come up with this issue price? Its time for to put someone else in charge of the future of this technology if it is to survive. If the individuals responsible for this fiasco are to high up and to insulated to touch then Sigma is completely doomed as a camera maker. It is a shame….I so completely love the look of the Foveon result. Many have tried to describe it, not everyone can see it…..But I know this, if this technology dies it will be a great loss.


  45. Garrit says:

    Hi there,

    the first MSRP price of $9700 is again displayed on the USA website of SIGMA. So this is obvious the official price. I will maybe buy the SD

  46. Garrit says:

    uups I’ve pushed the “enter”key to fast


    I will maybe buy the SD1 on a clearence buy, like my SD14 with a cheap SIGMA lens from Media Markt for together 269 EUR. Something I never regreted.

  47. Sam says:

    In the Netherlands it’s quite difficult to find a dealer still willing to sell Sigma cameras. Cameras are not in stock and they actually try to convince you to buy a different brand.

    The reason for this seems to be the need to send in a Sigma camera at least twice for repair during its lifecycle. I think the 10k $ pricerange will only contribute to the inavailability and unwillingness to sell these cameras. From niche product to nill product?

    Really interesting to see how this issue evolves.

  48. we’re all crazy? if this are real price for body $ 9700, anyone who can explain to me cost of the kit?
    i copy to SIGMA USA site this kit (that we can tell fun, but are fake):
    SD1 + 30mm F1.4 EX DG HSM Price:$7,359.00 MSRP
    SD1 + 17-50mm F2.8 EX DC OS HSM KitPrice:$7,529.00
    SD1 + 85mm F1.4 EX DG HSM KitPrice:$7,819.00
    SD1 + 24-70mm F2.8 EX DG HSM & 70-200mm F2.8 EX DG HSM KitPrice:$8,649.00
    if you read, know immediatly that if i choose a kit with 30mm f.1.4 i’ll pay it $ 2341 minus.
    i think only that marketing staff of SIGMA are asshole, never other.

  49. Erich says:

    Is the Sigma-SD1 sample gallery realy offline?? Couldn’t access with any browser …

  50. Oliver says:

    The sample images look interpolated and just as flat as any other bayer image file. I see magenta and green splotches even at ISO100.

    My realisation is that Sigma can’t be trusted with my money in the future. Just compare Sigma compacts to the Fuji X100 – the latter being a really nice to operate camera.

  51. Patrik Emmoth says:

    I must agree that the samples dosnt look impressive to me! I think that my DP1s has a nicer image quality! The SD1 has to perform better than that for that price!

    • Person says:

      It’s generally agreed that there’s something wrong with those samples. People who have seen prints and raws have been wowed.

      Let’s wait for real samples and reviews before jumping to conclusions!

  52. konradmaciej says:

    who won the sigma sd1 giveaway ?

  53. Longfei says:

    How about the operation of the SD1, process speed, back LCD quality, etc?

  54. Lucky man!!
    When we’re all waiting, you get one prior to us. I hope it will match the promises. If yes I’ll buy it for next year weddings.

  55. ideon says:

    konradmaciej, what kind of middle format camera was used for the sample you have reffered to?

    • Robin says:

      Well, have a look at its EXIF: Leaf Aptus-II 12(LI301733 )/Phase One 645DF/645AF =)

      But I’m not impressed. There are fine halos along with hairs, flat pixels, the iris really looks terrible … of course it’s a real nice resolution over all … but it’s not satisfying at 100%. We’ll have to switch sharpening off and reduce it to a smaller size, I think.

  56. Robert Cook says:

    Hi Carl,, My name is Robert ,, I have been viewing your information on the Sigma Cameras since the SD 14 body was released. I learned more from you than any one else or any other web site on the Sigma camera,, Thank you . ! I did purchase the SD 14 , because of you. And I have to say the I Q on the camera really is beautiful. The SD 14 was a bit new in the learning curve, and features and speed are not the fastest but the Raw captures can be very worth while. It really is a close up camera shooters dream. The lens I purchased with the camera is the 70 mm Macro. The only thing I have to say about that lens ,, is it is one of the finest lens on the planet! I just got thru looking at the Horse picture you have in the Sigma sample images. That images madme write you. That image quality on that horses eye is just staggering!!!! It says you shot it with a 50 mm lens. Was that a macro ,, or was it a normal lens?? That Image Quality seen is THE BEST I have seen from any camera ever. I really am amazed ! ! I hope Sigma makes a full frame camera soon,, it would be worth more than a Phase One! That Horse SD 1 result looks better than the Phase One Image I have seen!!! Thank You for you reply .. Roberte

    • Hi Robert,

      It’s shot using the Sigma 50mm 1.4. It’s a really nice lens but not without it’s faults. As with all Sigma that utilizes the 1.4 aperture, it has a not so nice looking bokeh when it comes to colorization. Especially wide open you see green CA like effects in the background. But, sharpness, contrast and the “feel” of bokeh is very nice indeed. But I find my self drawn more to lenses such as the one you have, the 70mm 2.8 which is just wonderful – it’s sister lens would be the 150mm – which also produces amazing results.

      Now I’m hoping to be able to lay my hands on one of those DP’s with the magic M.. that’s my type of camera. :) Small and useful.

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