Dick Merrill must be smiling! :)

For those that thought that the Sigma SD1 was a tad expensive and that the DP series had too few pixels, well, now it’s the time to think again! With Sigmas new CEO Kazuto Yamaki making the decisions we now have a quite different playground and to start of the new year Sigma yesterday presented the new Merrill series. The name Merrill as a hint to the one guy that once started Foveon back in 1997 and that invented the basics for the three layered sensor we now see.

The new SD1 Merrill is basically the same camera as the original SD1 only with a new name AND perhaps more importantly, a new price tag. Street price will likely land around $2.200 which makes it extremely affordable compared to just a few days ago. It’s also, thanks to firmware upgrades a much better camera today compared to the day it was released last summer.

The DP1 and DP2 Merrill now share the same, bigger sensor as the SD1 and they also received new optics including FLD glass (which is a as awesome as it gets type of glass).

But Sigma didn’t stop there! For those that already bought an SD1 Sigma will have a program in place that gives those buyers lenses for the extra amount payed. It’s not in place just yet but will likely be around the time the new Merrills are released in March of 2012. (Although I can’t find a specific release date for the two compacts)

This is good news. And according to my mailbox, lots of people like Sigmas new move! Now go save some money and let Sigma know how much we love this! :D

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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218 Responses to Dick Merrill must be smiling! :)

  1. Michaei says:

    Nice to see that you are back! Looking forward to more your shots with Foveon machines :)

  2. Ricky says:

    Now that Carl Rytterfalk said that, it’s real!

  3. Ludovic says:

    It’s nice to see you are back, as I like this blog very much.
    I’ve also noticed that the DP1m is now F2.8 which is a big improvement ! Might be a good companion to my DP2s !

    • Carl Rytterfalk says:

      Yes, making it 2.8 instead of 4 is a huge improvement! Those DP’s will be super fantastic I’m sure! Can’t wait to have one or two of them in my hands. The DP1 focal length has always been my first choice for documentary style photography – and making it faster is so so welcome! My only hope now is that they made those tricky to remember controls better.

      • Bob van Ooik says:

        Well at least the interface has changed quite a bit. So i have hopes it will be better :) You can see it in action here: http://lepidi-photo.blogspot.com/2012/02/sigma-dp1-et-dp2-merrill-vitesse-de-laf.html

        • Carl Rytterfalk says:

          Ahh.. looks like they’ve improved them quite a bit – and if what’s on the lens is what I think it is, a focus ring, then that’s just what I wanted and needed! :D Hopefully there’s some type of auto magnify thing as well. It looks really responsive too – had a look at quite a few videos from CP+ and altogether – I’m very excited!

          Did anyone mention movie mode? My japanese isn’t that good..

          Thanks Bob! :) Btw, yes – I’m alive.

          • Toby says:

            Another interesting Interview:

            Seems like a dual core cpu is working in the DP’s (:

          • Robin says:

            Hey Carl,

            sorry for off topic: there’s a comment awaiting moderation, my reply to Joshua in 120-300 OS Part III …

            @Bob and Toby: Thanks for linking video and interview. Nice too see it in action, and some nice questions to Sigma (especially the behavior of the focus ring … switching to MF by using it, would be great, with switching to a zoomed-in view on the selected focus field would be even greater). Would also like to know what the closest focus distance will be … =)

            Looking forward to these DPxm so much! :D

          • Bob van Ooik says:

            pfew, we were a bit worried ;) I heard btw Emmy is going to live in Germany for some months? Any chance you will be visiting her?

            Movie mode is now at 640×480… better but nothing spectacular unfortunately :( Else, I am so excited about those cameras.

          • lainer says:

            There is a peak function.

  4. Bill says:

    Wow, Carl is back. Very glad to get one more news except sigma merrill cameras released :-)

  5. Jon says:

    Its good to see you back Carl. Hope these new cameras will rekindle your enthusiasm

  6. Henry says:

    The Dp’s are gonna be killer, a compact camera, creating a real high quality document, allowing for lovely large prints. The ultimate fine artists accessory. This is really what I was looking for *for ages* (and ages). Bravo Sigma, it’s nice that you’re back on track, congrats for this ‘tour de force’.

  7. Mano says:

    Superb move, but had they done this even 6 months ago it would have had great impact in my opinion. Now the market is crawling with mirrorless compacts with Pentax joining in with the APS-C

  8. Henry says:

    For the DP1 pricing, somewhat upper is ok but play it nicely Sigma, please ; ) you still need to recruit customers ; )

  9. Mehdi says:

    Thank you Sigma!

    DP1 brought me so much joy!

    The new SD1 pricing is now perfectly fine for my budget.

    I tested NEXes, and other Bayer recent cams. Was consistently horrified by the pixel rendering at low ISO. I can’t swallow anything else than Foveon, even with the limitations.

  10. Jesper Hansen says:

    Wow where did you emerge from ?

  11. Mehdi says:

    While much better than previous tiny sensor non sense, the new Bayer APS-C compacts remains in a different category. Apple and Orange.

  12. Domenico says:

    Nice to see that you are back! I am happy to wish for a new Sigma camera. Do you know if Sigma thinks about a camera ( DPxm :-) ) with interchangeable lenses?

  13. Stefan says:

    Welcome back Carl! The DP Merrills look very interesting… are you planning to try one out at some stage?

  14. Welcome back to mix Carl – we missed ya! The new series of cameras are a fantastic way to honor Mr. Merrill – I’m smiling with him and the other Sigma-ites! Look forward to reviews and pix as always!

  15. Andre says:

    Welcome back Carl! Hope you see and read more of you. Many people missed you, your stories, and photographs – me included. Are you going to test the new DP Merrills? Looking forward to it!

  16. Ben says:

    Haha welcome back, Carl, and I am looking forward to seeing this website buzz with lots of chatter! :D

    Haha its nice to see the guys at sigma have finally gotten it! Hope they price the new DP1m and DP2m well! :D

    On a side note, I have been trying to look for high ISO images for SD1 online but to no avail. Any samples to upload, Carl? :)

  17. KrisRRR says:

    Welcome back, Carl

    I agree – Sigma did really great move. I especially like the announcement of the new Sigma compacts – DP1M & DP2M.
    These compact promise to be an amazing photo tool… :-)

    Best regards, Kris

  18. Adrian says:

    Welcome back! I knew you’d comeback when things get better. :p

  19. disney says:

    This is brilliant news. I owned a Canon 500D, which was a joy to use. Then, one fine day, I stumbled upon the Dp2. Bought it, used it and never used the Canon 500D again. Finally, I sold my 500d. I’m loving every bit of the dp2. Out of the blue, I hear this news and I’m completely blown away. Can’t wait to get my hands on the new DP cameras!

    • Toby says:

      Great shot disney!

    • Robin says:

      Yep, nice pic. And great to hear … I bet this is what a lot of users would experience. The biggest advantages of the Sigma DP are its clean dynamic raw images (Foveon + excellent build-in lens) and its simple focus on basic photographic modes (PASM) within a small case. There are those people like you and me expecting only this, without need to be as quick as possible, as flexible and easy as possible … and we had a closer look.

      The problem is, there were and are a lot of users expecting more … and these unsatisfied users tell others the DP is almost unusable .. slow, unflexible, noisy/blotchy at high ISO … a lot of people therefore don’t even look for full res images and don’t compare them … therefore don’t experience the clean details. That’s a pity. And at least in Germany the Sigma Corporation fails to advertise with its special characteristic. They try to do usual marketing with overall nice images and I’ve got the impression they do not even know about the strengths of Foveon. They should consider that an average amateur would be not quite satisfied, but a lot of users like us are more satisfied than with other cams. The latter ones have to be advertised, they will buy and spread the word.

      Well, at least in the last to years DP is known to produce likely good images. But there are too less recommendations yet, I think. Rarely someone tells people, they may have a look at Sigma DP if it fits their needs. Usually a scmall DSLR or a S95, LX3, LX5, EX-1, and so on is recommended without mentioning Sigma. That’s a pity …

      • joselito says:

        That’s true, when I got my compact. LX5 seems to be what I was looking for, but it’s true that sigma and the foveon are really confidential.

        I am really interesting by the DP1M or DP2M, so I wait for a review and see.

        • Ricky says:

          yeah. however I bet it’s difficult to price them. Unluckily I switched from IQ lover to prefer capturing the moment, like a camera with a fast and accurate AF can do. But I really want to see foveon evolving in a nice body.

  20. Toby says:

    True words!
    Thank you Robin for this great conclusion.

  21. Luís Vives says:

    Karl, with the exception of the resolution, do you think that the SD1 is better than the SD15 or DP1? I have doubts. Now, we need more RAWPACK of SD1 to practice and learn. It would be great to see good pictures of landscape.
    Would be great compare DP1 with SD1.
    Looking ahead to make decisions.
    [img]http://www.rytterfalk.com/wp-content/3 Adobe RGB SDI SDIM2943.jpg[/img]
    [img]http://www.rytterfalk.com/wp-content/3 Adobe RGB SDI SDIM2943.jpg[/img]

  22. disney says:

    Toby & Robin, Many thanks for the appreciation. Many thanks Robin for that great narrative. One of the problems I observed is that websites and youtube channels out there promote consumerism rather than photography as an art. Hence, I’m not surprised that Sigma Cameras don’t receive enough coverage. Look at the test shots posted on these websites, and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realise that there is no art in these so called test shots. I came across the DP2 only because I browsed the sigma website looking for lenses for my canon 500d. It’s a pity that a most watched channel hasn’t even gone through the trouble of giving one of the sigma cameras at least a 5 minutes review, while some of the cameras that don’t even deserve to be out there receive surprisingly high amount of accolades. The Sigma Cameras are for true artists.

    • Warren says:

      Disney, fantastic photo that really shows the strengths of the X3 sensor, detail and dynamic range!

      I agree with the comments here, Sigma is terrible about marketing their cameras outside Japan. Fujifilm has really stepped up their online marketing techniques by releasing “leaked” photos and specs for upcoming cameras and dropping little bits of information in interviews. All this creates quite a frenzy of anticipation which has worked well for them. They also have the “Fuji Guys” in Canada who on the day of a new announced product release a youtube video that runs down the cameras features and operation. They are also on Twitter and answer people’s specific questions. Brilliant! Sigma could learn a lot from them, as they make absolutely stunning cameras for artists, though admittedly they are perhaps not the best for professional or casual users.

  23. Foveonic says:

    Well I’ll be…..I did not see this one at all. New CEO thank-you for resurrecting the Foveon Sensor and SD1 DP series. I sincerely thank you from the bottom of my heart. Thanks Carl for all the informative input leading up to this grand and intelligent move.


  24. Andre says:

    Disney, very impressive shot. That’s one sweet lens and sensor. I couldn’t agree more with the other posters as well – Sigma should change and improve their marketing strategy. They should focus, IMHO, on the value-added properties of their cameras. Make the public aware that these amazing Sigma cameras are not “me-too” contraptions (with a perceived “lack” of features such as HD video nonsense) but specialized tools for careful and deliberate stills captures of the highest possible technical and artistic quality.

    Headlines, I would imagine, should say something like “Hate moire?” or “Want real resolution?” or something similar, pointing out the differences how the Sigmas are different and better because of a completely different technology and design philosophy.

    Not marketing fluff and “spray and pray”, not “me-too” stuff, but genuine photographic tools.

    I’m thinking very seriously of getting me a SD-1 now instead of a D800. And if the prices are right, one of these new lovely large sensor Merill compacts.

  25. Luís Vives says:

    Karl, with the exception of the resolution, do you think that the SD1 is better than the SD15 or DP1? I have doubts.
    Now, we need more RAWPACK of SD1 to practice and learn. It would be great to see good pictures of landscape. Would be great compare DP1 with SD1. The Same scene.
    Looking ahead to make purchasing decisions.

  26. Luís Vives says:


  27. Fabricio says:

    SD1 LCD monitor: 460,000 pixels
    DP1 LCD monitor: 920,000 pixels

    SD1 memory card: Compact Flash
    DP1 memory card: SD/SDHC

  28. Fabricio says:

    At the same time the SD1 price drop is good news for us, it makes me wonder about the business morality of Sigma. If less than a year after launch, they can now sell the SD1 at 23 hundreds and still make profit, I cannot do otherwise but to realize how unduly overpriced the camera was at the starting price of 9700$, or even after the first price cut, at 6800$.

    Should we now make it a rule to never buy a Sigma product at launch, otherwise it is guaranteed we are being robbed?

    • Anonymous says:

      I must admit, production efficiency is one thing, but such a massive drop does seem hard to believe. Lets hope Sigma have learnt from the whole experience.

      • PrebenR says:

        Originally I think the price was hinted to be around the current price. So when the camera arrived everybody was shocked. So it is more than just production, but that is fine.

        New firmware for SD15 is out!

    • Robin says:

      Well I’ve read this very often. But I always have problems with comprehending. Really can’t see the point. Sigma always has and had a fair pricing for their lenses. The cameras are different and special due to their foveon chip. So Sigma is the only company developing … that’s probably why progress seems slow sometimes. And that’s also why I think cameras are priced high when new on market. It’s not only a matter of pure production cost. It’s also a matter of the number produced and the effort to start producing. Selling products right after fixing hardware specification in low numbers and developing software while releasing it, seems not great, but surely was the only way to keep interest in the products. Few cameras produced and sell them immediateley for a bargain? Rather not. Until you’re not ready to offer large numbers of camera pieces you’ll try to sell the first few pieces at a high price and compensate your expenses.

      And compensating 4000$ with products of Sigma is very fair and a propitiatory gesture imo! Of course this is my opinion. It’s me believing in the answers in certain Sigma interviews, telling they’re so sorry that they couldn’t offer a lower priced cam for their users. But I simply see no reason to doubt. Only because their new cameras are highly priced in early times? No.

      • Jon says:

        This makes perfect sense, especially as we all understand that Sigma do not have the mass market sales of the largest manufacturers. However, the point stands that if Sigma create the precedent of large price drops then people will sit tight and wait for it to happen. It’s for Sigma to sort out the manufacturing processes before products are brought to market.

        Nevertheless, I’m as glad as anyone that they have finally done it.

      • Fabricio says:

        Sigma did it at the launch of SD14 and SD1, to my knowledge. Imo, none of the reason you give can explain the huge price drop in a short period of time seen at the launch of these two cameras. The problem here is not the high starting price, it’s the huge price drop shortly after launch. To me, it is very difficult to justify from a production, marketing, sales or whatever point of view you try to understand it. And imo again, if Sigma keeps doing it, they will make their customers distrustful, old as new.

  29. stefano says:

    it is all good news. i had taken a break from sigma cameras, just over a year ago i sold both my sd10 and my dp1, and bought (and sold) several other cameras since then.
    i kind of settled now, shooting mainly with rangefinders (leica m8 and rd1), but every time i looked at older images i had taken before, i was “missing” the sigma look, so i bought a dp2 as my travel/pocket camera. i find its image quality to be pretty close to what i am getting from my rf+m lenses, and it complements them well…
    i still would like to have a dslr for when the rf won’t perform best, and i was excited by the sd1 – although the bonkers price made it too extravagant for me to seriously consider.
    now that price is down to earth, the itch is back, HOWEVER, i am still on the fence because of the lack of support in lightroom.
    since i mainly use lightroom+nik to process all my images, i am not interested in getting a camera that will not work with it.
    should i just get an sd15 instead, and wait and see if/when adobe and sigma get their act together?

  30. Ricky says:

    Guys, stunning shots there http://www.x3magazine.com/photo-serie/night-scenes-of-maiko-ohkura/ ! Without our Carl it’s time to read also the X3 magazine!

    • Dan says:

      The night shots are great. I’ve looked at the other SD1 shots on this site, and they appear to have quite nice color, but are in general more contrasty when compared to shots taken by the other photographers on cameras prior to the SD1. Perhaps it’s a processing matter or personal choice of photographer, where shadows did not get bumped up enough in high contrast scenes such as strong daylight. Or perhaps the new sensor has a smaller dynamic range; it’s probably a combination of both.
      I was pleasantly surprised to see Carl’s photos with Brengt Werner on this site. The subtle color in his shots is a great addition, while everything else is covered in snow. Foveon sensor served its purpose quite well in those conditions.

      • Bob van Ooik says:

        Hi Dan,
        I think you saw that right in regard to the contrast. Especially in the first versions of SPP the default curve was very contrasty. This is better in the newer version but i’m still not completely happy. Hope they can find a way to improve it in future versions.

  31. Andre says:

    Thanks for the link, Ricky. Stunning shots indeed!

  32. Mason Lin says:

    I have to say with that price I will consider to buy Sigma SD1. However, it would be better if Sigma CEO is willing to make the adapter ring for different brands’ ring to be adapted on Sigma SD1, since most professional photographs have plenty Canon lens, Nikon lens or accessories made for Canon and Nikon, it is impossible to them to give up their existing lens and tools, but it is possible, doable and affordable to them to buy a SD1 as their backup gear with this price. To sum up, maybe Sigma should give up the idea of increasing their lens market by selling their own DSLR. Instead of that, they should use their X3’s characteristic to attract other brand users.

  33. Andre says:

    Mason, I agree – or give the customers options: a SD1 with SA mount, a Canon EF mount and a Nikon F mount. No doubt they can do that as they are able to develop (fully functional) lenses in these mounts as well.

    Personally, I would buy a SD1 with native F mount in a heartbeat. If I would buy a SD1 as-is, with SA-mount, I’d have it converted to F mount (see: http://www.sigmacumlaude.com)

  34. Henry says:

    Did a bit of additional research on the SD1 now that it is ‘within reach’, also took some time with SPP.

    – The APS-C sized sensor, coupled to this kind of resolution is still a deplorable decision, its 1.7 times the pixel density of a Canon 5D mark II for example … it isn’t ideal for from any point of view and puts a lot of ‘weight’ on the lenses which need to resolve quite a lot of detail on small area. Also regarding noise, low-light, light buckets etc. it would still be ideal if Sigma would release a Full Frame design at some point.
    – Still, if developed well you always get that Foveon-typical high ‘color resolution’ which seems unachievable with Bayer Designs and which gives that Film look. It’s not unachievable per se but to get a similar result with Bayer-files considerable amount of retouching expertise is needed to model the same ‘3D’ pop into images … so that’s kind of the strong point of the Sigma Cameras that it gives you this life-like quality out of the box.

    So … it’s kind of a tortured affair … a potentially ‘ideal technology’ (as sigma fans like to believe, yes, yes I know) but with some design/implementation shortcomings which are just a pity in regards to the potential of the foveon technology.

    I know that Sigma is a small company with limited resources (compared to the giants in that field). The Foveon technology still has a lot of strong points going for it. It’s just a pity that Sigma can’t move fast and bold enough to create a Canon/Nikon Killer, i.e. a full-frame camera which really ticks all the cases for high-quality image capture. IMO the APS-C format is a real shortcoming at these kind of resolutions.

    But hey, I’m still happy Sigma made the jump into a realistic price range and that darn Foveon look is still tempting enough that I will buy one of their cameras (especially if Louis from SigmaCumLaude is deciding to develop a EF mount for the SD1 ; )

  35. Foveonic says:

    I do have a concern…..I am hoping that the very contrasty oversharpened look that I am seeing repeatedly is caused by the photographer and not the software. Even the samples at Sigma show one landscape from the SD1 that looks pretty overworked. Please reassure me…..I am looking for the DP2m as soon as possible…


  36. Henry says:

    I think it’s all a question of post-processing …indeed SPP adds a lot of sharpening by default, best to follow Carl’s recommendation of setting it to -2. Also a lot of photographers tend to become a little to trigger-happy with contrast to increase pop, I often had the experience that ‘relaxing’ the image can actually create much more pleasing results, revealing a lot of low-level detail in the shadows, subtler gradations and so forth, all in all much better than the ‘fried out’ look you so often see.

    Going back to sharpening again one also really needs to ask oneself the question of ‘how much sharpness is good or necessary’. A lot of the over sharpening comes from pixel-peeping, it’s oftentimes better to sit back, look at the image from viewing zoom-level, often sharpening doesn’t add any added value from these distances. One should always consider that sharpening is ‘destructive’ … meaning that sharpening will almost always make the image look artificial.

    The big problem with sharpening is that it is linear by nature (as opposed to depth of field which is non-linear, i.e.. gradual), so sharpening will force-sharpen all areas of the image, even the out of focus ones which aren’t supposed to receive sharpening, this will create a artificial looking image, as you interfere with the optical coherence of the image,

    Oftentimes sharpening is used as a ‘cure all’ to make images look more 3D, however this is the wrong approach as sharpening only addresses pixel-level, and not larger zones and gradients which are responsible for the ‘modeling/3D’ aspect of the image.

    One workaround is to use Photoshops ‘Shadow/Highlight’ feature (carefully). Shadow Highlight > Set shadow between 10-20, highlight to zero > OK > The resulting Image will look a bit soft > correct contrast with curves tool (medium contrast preset should work fine, or do your own). This will create a image with slightly more dynamic range (detail in shadow) and more 3D-ish gradients without making it look overly contrasted.

    • Foveonic says:

      Thanks for the very detailed and thoughtful answer in regard to the severely overworked, oversharpened looking photos I am witnessing. I do not own the SD1, but I have shot the DP2 for 3 years and loved it. I recently sold it in anticipation of purchasing the DPm. I am disturbed at the lack of “POP” that I am seeing from early examples of photos from the SD1. Now that this 15×3 sensor will be placed in the new DPm series I am wondering. The new Fuji sans AA filter is pretty nice… I have created an SD1 Landscape Flickr site. Carl seems to be a member as well as Seng Merrill and Bob Van OOik. Please view the photos there if you have time and comment here…….That goes to all of you bloggers that are interested in the SD1 and Merrill series cameras. I am wondering about what I am seeing, its radically different than what I am used to with the early DP series. Thanks




      • Foveonic says:

        Wow…that didn’t sound right. I like what I am seeing and submitted photos are wonderfully composed. Whats bugging me is the extremely tight detail that looks strange and different. I don’t think the terms severely overworked and oversharpened was a correct thing to say. I appreciate all submissions, I am just trying to wrap my brain around what I am seeing…..I don’t know if its the photographers or the camera. Thanks in advance for any comments…


        • Foveonic says:

          One last attemp at extracting my foot from my mouth. I am seeing radical detail, sharpness and contrast in some, but not all submissions at Flickr SD1 landscapes. I don’t even own an SD1, so I can’t evaluate my own results. In some, but not all photos this results in an otherworldly look. Are file sizes the issue? Is it the display medium? Like I mentioned earlier, the Sigma corporate site has a water fall landscape that looks the same as some of the submissions I am viewing in the group, while the portraiture looks very nice….can we adjust the “in camera” sharpening and contrast controls downward?…..is it SPP thats the problem? Or is there a problem at all?



  37. Jim Roelofs says:

    Welcome back, Carl! How’s the Apple job going? Have you got enough muscle there to hint that Aperture could do with Foveon compatibility? Hope so.

    Those of you who frequented DPReview Sigma forum since before the SD1 announcement remember the talk about a FF, 100MP sensor being the next Foveon iteration? I still remember!

    I sincerely wish this is still part of the Sigma plan!

    Sincere regards, JR

  38. Paul says:

    Why would he be hired by Apple? From a technical/engineering point of view he’s no expert on sensors and imaging, nor on software, which would I guess be prerequisite to fill any position at Apple or similar. He’s just a kid with a knack for Foveon running a forum. Can’t believe how blue-eyed the Sigma community is and what BS one needs to read.

  39. Dennis says:

    But that’s where he is so Apple must think he has something more than blue eyes and BS?

    My guess is that Apple already has expertise a plenty, but that sometimes expertise is not enough without “the knack” :-)


  40. Paul says:

    Ah yes? Official info?

  41. Dennis says:

    Carl’s post from 25 June 2011 ….

    ” … I’m truly sorry that my SD1 test and RAW pack hasn’t been posted yet but there are two pretty good reasons for that. The first being that my SD1 arrived to me very very late, the second that I’m now an Apple employee and my new job (which I will not go into details about) takes lots of my time…”

  42. Paul says:

    Yup well that doesn’t say much does it? Very unlikely that Apple is moving into the camera business except on their iDevices side, it would be quite a surprise if they’d judge Foveon to be of competitive advantage in that field, although possible that they would make a similar move than with the A3/4 processor where they decide to develop their own Silicon … BUT let’s note that image quality in iDevices is not really of any strategic importance unlike a optimized processor (speed, form factor, battery life).

    And as said unlikely that they move into the camera business, and for sure not into the prosumer market … Sony just scrapped their DSLR division, it’s just not the kind of business that is interesting to Apple.

    So let’s suppose it is a consulting job then the most that might come out of it is an enhanced version of Aperture, eventually with X3 support (not so sure about that, except if they throw it in as a goodie), maybe Carl’s eye (which is very good indeed) could intervene directly into the algorithms used for decoding the RAW data from Bayer-type sensors, this would indeed be interesting because so much depends on the processing and there could be room for potential enhacements. Let’s see.

  43. Dennis says:

    Aperture with X3F support guided by Carl’s Foveon eye would do me very nicely indeed thank you. If his other eye helps Bayer out a bit, well that’s a bonus :-)

  44. Paul says:

    Jaja lots of trade-off in quality of math in favour of speed in the usual converters just to create a nice ‘user experience’. Did you try RPP for Bayer? It uses 32-bit floating point. Quite honestly I would even be happy if Andrey who created RPP would work for Sigma SPP ; )

    RPP works as a raw base developer, you finalize curves in PSD.

  45. Dieter Bialon says:

    Great to have you back.
    Great that Sigma moved in our direction.
    I am reconsidering everything again. I was already on the search for new equipment but even my old SD10 and SD14 are still delivering and my iphone and the tons of apps kept me entertained.
    Keep rocking

  46. Mark Boehm says:

    I’m having a nearly impossible time believing in Sigma. I think that they are a Second-Rate company that shows no hope of EVER improving. It is my hope that someone purchases the company…someone who actually knows what they are doing. There’s no need to talk ‘specifics’ here…if you shoot with Sigma you are well aware of what an incredibly messed-up company they are.

    • Jon says:

      Think you’re being a bit harsh. I’ve made a few comments in previous posts regards them not being perfect but look at what they are trying to do, such as fighting a constant battle for market share whilst developing their own sensors at their own expense when they do not have the financial might of the Canons and Nikons of the world. They don’t have the finance of Sony, and they’ve apparently given up on DSLR’s all together. And they do all this to produce cameras aimed primarily away from the mainstream at people who aren’t so fussy about all the bells and whistles. The wonder is that they bother at all when they could just concentrate on their core lens business, but thankfully they do.

  47. Nico says:

    Wow Paul – jealousy brings out the worst in people. What exactly have you achieved in your life that gives you the right to be so derogatory about someone? Please just “shut up” and go and vent your frustrations somewhere else.

  48. Jim Roelofs says:

    Well, Mark, to allay your frustrations somewhat, you may want to take a peek at the Sigma Forum @ DPReview. The advances being made with the SD15 might be just the ticket to soothe those ripples in your karma.

  49. Dan says:

    I can only assume that Foveon is currently working on a full-frame sensor; that would be the next logical step in sensor development.
    There’s a lot to be desired, yet I can’t seem to find any images taken with other cameras or sensor technology that match full size the detail of a Foveon.
    Here are some good examples taken w/ the SD1 (sorry if you don’t like insects):

    I think the familiar Foveon ’3D’ pop has to do with the color reproduction capabilities in conjunction with the amazing detail which can be achieved by a Foveon sensor on a good (EX) lens.

    Even the D800 samples I’ve looked at, although of larger size, seemed rather soft at 100%, and more on the flat side:
    For example:
    They are perhaps a bit more pleasant to the eye due to lack of extreme sharpness, but something is missing to me in terms of clarity.

    I’m yet to find pictures of similar capabilities by other sensors. Perhaps CCD sensors are closest to the Foveon 3D-look in terms of some of the things discussed here.

    • Dougbm says:

      Dan The dragonfly image is one of the few I have seen that convince me of the ability of the SD1. I just haven’t seen the pop I used to get from my SD14. I think Sigma have tried hard to make the ‘Foveon’ sensor work more like others ie good at high ISO and more MP and maybe lost a little of the magic. Your image does appear a bit over-sharpened but I applied Noise reduction to it in Photoshop (Noise Ninja) and it was still super sharp so I conclude it is (mostly) the sensor. Of course others such as Leica and now Fuji (X Pro-1) have cottoned onto the fact that leaving out he Anti Alias filter really helps with sharpness (but can give weird colour moire effects over patterns). Fuji apparently have got around this with their ‘random’ colour pixel distribution.

  50. Bradley Kents says:

    Glad you’re back, Carl!

    I wonder if you or one of your readers would please comment on Lightroom compatibility with DP1 and the upcoming DP1-Merrill. I had a DP1 and rather liked it but eventually sold it due to it’s slowness, low-light performance and, especially, that Lightroom didn’t support it. Then LR did support it, but I don’t think very well? I’ve lost the thread on LR and the Sigma but am seriously thinking of returning to Sigma with the DP1-M. Does LR now work and work well with Sigmas? Or do I still have to convert to TIFFs, then import to LR? Thanks so much to anyone who might take a few minutes to try to answer this …

    • stefano says:

      i went through a similar path, first using a DP1 and and SD10, then selling them, to then return recently to Sigma (i did miss the sensor!!).
      i have a DP2 and an SD1 now; the DP2 files work flawlessly within Lightroom (it even has lens correction built in), and the same goes for the DP1 ( a friend of mine uses one now); unfortunately with the SD1 things are not as smooth, you have to convert to tiff and then import into Lightroom (at that point files will flow without issues).
      I do not think the DP1M is supported (yet), but i really hope that Adobe will add the DP1, 2 and SD1 to the list of supported cameras.
      Working on those huge files twice gets time consuming!

      This is a recent image taken yesterday with my DP2, processed with Lightroom and Color Efex.

  51. Bradley Kents says:

    Also, I wonder if the color (magentas, greens) in the shadows (storm clouds) in the attached photo is part of what Foveon delivers … or something that I’m doing on my end with my DP1.

  52. Gerald Peake says:

    Hi Bradley, I’m pretty sure I’m correct in saying Adobe Camera Raw, Bridge and Lightroom all use the same converter for .X3F files, which is basically ACR. I’ve done some comparison between ACR and SPP and found that SPP does a much better job at conversion than any Adobe product. Although your question is on the DP1-M I think it’s quite relevant to consider, before buying the SD1-M especially, what choice of raw converter will be available, if ACR doesn’t do a particularly good job, are users going to be left with only SPP for conversion? Ideally I’d like to see Capture One support for X3F files, considering the price of the camera!
    ACR left / SPP right

  53. Fabricio says:

    The best RAW Developer for the Foveon RAW files is Silkypix. Try it with one of your RAW files that show a magenta or green cast, and you’ll see by yourself that you can remove the cast completely with the Noise reduction palette. Unfortunately, Ichikawa Soft Laboratory has no plan to support the SD1 raw file. Supported cameras are:
    DP1 / DP1s / DP1x / DP2 / DP2s / DP2x / SD14 / SD15.

  54. Bradley Kents says:

    Thanks so much for answering my questions, guys! Really good info … appreciate it!

  55. Paul says:

    It’s not about jealousy, it’s about gratuitous hype that is being systematically cultivated on this site, this also includes all the disappointments we lived through with Sigma products. And all is plead for is to play it a little bit more objective and factual.
    Fact : He’s working for Apple in Sweden (so not in cupertino) from that perspective and the others enumerated, it’s more than likely that he’s not hanging out with Johnny Ive developing a new camera or a new killer app. As said, it’s kinda unlikely.However there’s a bunch of users on this forum who engage in fanboy style ‘hypism’ … I guess it’s all a question about how you want to live your life, believing fairytales or truth, it’s the red pill blue pill kind of affair, if you get my point.

    • Jon says:

      Ultimately, what point are you getting at? Who cares if Carl is working for Apple in Sweden or anywhere else? He’s perfectly entitled to work for whoever he likes, as are you

    • Nico says:

      Paul I am sorry I don’t get your point. You just come across as cynical, bitter, jealous and resentful. Does it matter if he works for Apple in Sweden or Cupertino? I really don’t think so.

      What matters is that he has put together a great site and kept us all entertained – try to do something constructive and attempt to do the same – you will find that it is a lot more difficult than you think.

      It sounds like you are not having much fun in real life – there are always professionals out there that can help you with how you feel but please do not use this forum to vent your anger and frustrations as it will not get you very far.

  56. Paul says:

    I was just referring to a certain preponderance of this site to build up hype. I know that I and Carl and you have the freedom to do and work wherever we like … thank you.

    • Jon says:

      If the hype to which you refer is regarding Sigma’s products, which I presume it is, then where is the big suprise? This is a blog dedicated primarily to Sigma cameras and lenses, catering primarily for Sigma enthusiasts. If you get excited by something else, or you don’t thing Sigma’s products are worthy of the ‘hype’, such as it is, maybe you would be better off elsewhere.

  57. Paul says:

    Yes that might be it I’m really coming to terms with Sigma products, I started out really enthusiast about the technology, but IMO and after a couple of product cycles the only thing is I see is a company which pains to get things done right (APS-C anyone?). It’s not that there’s no potential, but you know with the slow product cycles each and every time something is not formulated right about a product you’re doomed for another couple of years. The ‘Sigma wait’ is just killing me I guess and in the meantime I need a professional, reliable system and I’m sorry to say that my cash is not going to Sigma.
    In that sense if this forum would be more about relating the expectations of customers instead of a certain fanboy/’waiting for the light’ attitudes (i.e. the Sigma ‘wonderland’ that some people live in here, where ‘Foveon is the best’/ ‘Bayer is shit’ and that’s that) I think it would be helpful to everybody including Sigma. And I happen to think that there is not enough of that criticism being advocated here.
    Fact : there are 36 MP Bayern cams out there now, and yes you can even get ‘em without AA filter, they’re full-frame, provide fast frame-rate, great AF, can shoot tethered, have great software support (I won’t go into video, it’s not the topic here) AND photographers can use their existing lenses lineup.
    There is not much Sigma can do about that much firepower, the best thing there is would be that they assume their ‘niche’ status and offer the camera with Nikon/Canon mounts, and ideally port the platform to FF. Then it would also be a very wise idea to open up their RAW format.

    • Jon says:

      Much of the criticism is fair. IMO Sigma have this opportunity with the ‘Merrills’ to get things right, or at least pretty close. I’m not looking for them to make a camera with all the fancy, nonsense gadgets on, and I’d never complain that they are not there, but yes, this time the basics need to be done exceptionally well.

  58. Paul says:

    To sum it up, I just think Forums should serve as places where customers can voice their opinions to guide manufacturers to make right choices. I don’t see this encouraged here, on the contrary people shout ‘heresy’ as soon as somebody dares to voice the slightest criticism. And quite honestly I never saw Carl voicing any criticism against Sigma because he prefers to be the darling of the Foveon world and maintain everything in a state of ‘foveon wonderland’, I’m just afraid that there’s no such place and that you guys will end up with a defunct technology five years from now.

  59. Paul says:

    Sorry Jon, messages crossed, yes agree would be reassuring if Sigma managed to get a foot down.

  60. Dennis says:

    But this isn’t a forum is it? There is DPReview if you want a forum and critical (and sometimes downright distasteful) discussion seems rife over there?

    This is Carl’s blog and I for one appreciate and enjoy his pleasant tone and am inspired by his photography.

    Maybe posters comments here have not always been fully rationalised or well expressed but they are seldom jumped on and torn to shreds. I’d like to think that shows tolerance (which is not the same as a lack of critical faculties). Surely better that than the excesses of DPReview?

    I just look forward to a time when Carl will be able to post more regularly and think we should allow him to set the tone of his blog

    Kind regards,

    • Jon says:

      It’s also worth remembering not everyone who posts here uses English as a first language. They can hardly be criticised for not waxing lyrical in what amounts to being a foreign language.

  61. Jon says:


    No problem

  62. Fabricio says:

    I am under the impression that you criticize Sigma enthusiast users for their lack of objectivity, but aren’t you yourself the opposite image of Sigma enthusiasts, trying to make your disappointment regarding Sigma looks like objectivity?

    As for me, I do like Sigma cameras precisely because they lack all the “auto” functions of all the other brands. My SD14 has forced me to learn photography principles way more than my previous Panasonic, which was full of auto settings and programs, and I know that I am now a better photographer, at least technically speaking, than I was when I started.

    I know that the Canons, Nikons and Sonys of this world are good cameras, but I like Sigma just because they are different from them, in a way that served me well. And I do believe that they offer the best price/image quality ratio on the market.

  63. Fabricio says:

    Let me add something. The Foveon “wonderland” you keep refering to exists only in your mind. If you read this blog on a regular basis, or any other Sigma forums, in this connection, you should notice, if you are unbiased, that nobody is “blind” to Sigma’s shortcomings, as well as they are not to other brands.

    The perfect camera does not exist, even when you pay an astronomical amount of money. According to many critics, the ergonomics of the PhaseOne camera body is a joke for a camera that can sell up to 50 000$. The Leica S2 system sells at 30 000$ (body and one lens), but go see sample photos on the Net at ISO higher than 800. It is quite disastrous. And both aren’t sport cameras.

    So Sigma cameras are not perfect? They have drawbacks? Fine with me. I know what I am buying. The day I will wish to do like 80% of Canon or Nikon or Sony’s owners, that is to say take the best picture ever by just pressing the shutter button, that’s what I’ll buy. For the moment, my SD14 is the best photography school I could wish for. And I am quite happy with it.

  64. Paul says:

    @ Fabricio
    I work with Phase Ones and those are ‘studio’ cameras and you can’t really compare the technical brief of such a camera to a DSLR as the workflow is very different. The same goes for Leica S2 … it’s a camera designed for professional shooting conditions with managed lightning, so you wouldn’t consider shooting at ISO 800 anyhow. However they deliver when shot in that context.

    As for the Foveon wonderland it has been conjured more than enough on this site and I even remember some more ‘triumphant’ times when the tone of voice was decidedly disdainful in regards to Bayer with a little bit of technical gibberish as backup. Clearly these opinions weren’t backed up by any relevant technical and in-depth knowledge. I think that the Foveon concept looks good as a concept, it’s a ‘obviously good design’ on paper … however what we don’t KNOW is the trade-offs of the technology : penetration of light through the three layers, sensitivity of angle of incidence and so on, and Sigma does a very good job on hiding these ‘not so nice’ things. There’s however a couple of people who wrote code for converting sigma raw files and they in their opinion the files do not look so great when out of the camera and they need a lot of correction and tweaking (which can’t be good or ‘true’), for instant binning all the red information which is in excess … so behind the beautiful facade it ain’t looking that great, and you can’t really refer to the technology as being the only ‘true’ sensor design as Sigma and Carl often did.

    • Nico says:

      Paul I am sorry I don’t get your point. You just come across as cynical, bitter, jealous and resentful. Does it matter if he works for Apple in Sweden or Cupertino? I really don’t think so.

      What matters is that he has put together a great site and kept us all entertained – try to do something constructive and attempt to do the same – you will find that it is a lot more difficult than you think.

      It sounds like you are not having much fun in real life – there are always professionals out there that can help you with how you feel but please do not use this forum to vent your anger and frustrations as it will not get you very far.

  65. Fabricio says:

    My point, when I said no camera is perfect, was that no matter how much money you can pay for a camera, you will always get limitations. You just agreed on that: PhaseOne or Leica S2 are “studio” camera and not that good at high ISO.

    So it seems you can accept limitations for any brand other than Sigma. Fine then, don’t buy one if you prefer to work with much more expensive cameras which deliver at low ISO and in the studio, no doubt, but obviously not outside these limitations, and please avoid trying to convince us that your biased assessment of Sigma cameras is objective… It just looks more and more like a kinda frustration, if you ask me…

    And finally, it seems you don’t read the same blogs as everybody. Cause I remember the recent launch of the SD1, with critics all over the place regarding the insane price, and then about the oversharpening problem of SPP. Can you tell us how you arrived at the Foveon wonderland concept reading this shower of complaints, mostly from Sigma’s forums? Quite frankly, I just don’t get your point at all…

  66. Paul says:

    I point out however that both P1 and Leica S2 deliver the goodies when ‘shot right’, which means they attain their goal regarding ‘high-end expectations’. I’m sorry to say that when testing SD1 files I was somewhat underwhelmed. I don’t care about ISO, but I do not understand the design choice to keep the sensor APS-C size, IQ would have benefited from larger photo sites as on FF, lenses would have resolved higher as well on a larger sensor, so FF would have been the logical choice to match the ‘crazy’ 45 MP ambition.

    So that’s what bugs me … it’s a great sensor technology but constantly crippled by board-room decisions. Also the fact that the system is not open to other lens-mounts, I of course get the ambition of Sigma to create their camera system, but I think if the SD1 would have been FF with the option to mount Canon/Nikon/Leica lenses. My feeling is that many professionals would have fallen in love with the option to be able to use a SD1 with their existing ‘lens-park’ for conditions where the SD1 would have been the right choice ie. low ISO, kinda ‘slow’ shooting mode, average AF speed … but with the Foveon delivering superb results, I think in that case the sensor technology would have made a place for itself, certainly a niche product, but one with true potential.

    What Sigma needs to realize is that it is difficult to make a pro-photographer switch a entire system, specially putting that much money toward a unproven niche player like Sigma. In a pro context reliability becomes a issue. So let’s say I’m on a shoot, intrigued by the foveon technology I bought a SD1 and want to give it a try … now let’s imagine the camera does not perform well due to XYZ outside conditions (light, weather, battery … whatever). If I have the ability to just switch back to my trusty Canon body by just swapping bodies, no problem. However as things are now I would be obliged to buy and bring two complete systems to a shoot, this is simply not an option, especially not in a travel / abroad context.

    So : if Sigma decides to release a SD1 with FF, Canon / Nikon lens mount option and decent tethered-mode functionality I will be buying one.

  67. Jon says:


    Well done for not rising to some of the more personal comments that have flown your way. This last comment is best on this particular thread.

  68. Paul says:

    Thanks Jon. I just can’t imagine myself investing in a APS-C lens line-up … Nikon attempted that 10 years ago and anybody who bought into it ended up switching to FF, it just reeks of bad investment and the approach is just hopelessly outdated, that was back in good old ‘small sensor days’ (like the 90’s?).

    Maybe my wish for Canon/Nikon mount is utopian. Still if it is legally possible I would recommend that strategy (I would even be willing to pay up to 1500USD more if it existed as a upgrade option only) . But if not … at least do it FF. And keep the APS-C sensor for the DP1M/DP2M, where it fits the bill.

  69. Fabricio says:


    Below is the first comment Paul wrote regarding Carl, on February 29:
    « He’s just a kid with a knack for Foveon running a forum. Can’t believe how blue-eyed the Sigma community is and what BS one needs to read ».

    Again on March 8:
    « It’s not about jealousy, it’s about gratuitous hype that is being systematically cultivated on this site […]. However there’s a bunch of users on this forum who engage in fanboy style ‘hypism’ … I guess it’s all a question about how you want to live your life, believing fairytales or truth, it’s the red pill blue pill kind of affair, if you get my point ».

    And on March 9:
    « In that sense if this forum would be more about relating the expectations of customers instead of a certain fanboy/’waiting for the light’ attitudes (i.e. the Sigma ‘wonderland’ that some people live in here, where ‘Foveon is the best’/ ‘Bayer is shit’ and that’s that) I think it would be helpful to everybody including Sigma ».

    Another post on March 9:
    « I don’t see this encouraged here, on the contrary people shout ‘heresy’ as soon as somebody dares to voice the slightest criticism. And quite honestly I never saw Carl voicing any criticism against Sigma because he prefers to be the darling of the Foveon world and maintain everything in a state of ‘foveon wonderland’ […] ».

    So Jon, you really consider Paul as not voicing harsh and personal comments against Carl and the Sigma users who happen to like Sigma cameras, unlike him?? As I said, if he doesn’t like Sigma products anymore, he has the entire freedom to choose something else and avoid to unload his frustration on people who have taste and ideas different from him. Paul is just reaping what he has sown. If he believes this forum is always praising Sigma, well, as one says, there is no worse blind person than the one who does not want to see.

    Last post for me on this matter, as I consider to have lost enough time.

  70. Jon says:

    I consider you have as well

  71. Fabricio says:

    Considering the only personal comment I made was on March 15:
    « It just looks more and more like a kinda frustration, if you ask me… », it seems you have double standards….

  72. Paul says:

    Well there it is again … shouting ‘heresy’ ; )

    As everybody probably knows using excerpts taking out of context is not exactly a fair way to judge a person, that it a little too easy, just take the bad parts and ‘design’ a personality out of it. Personally it’s a way of discussion I’m not particularly interested in because it lacks coherence and substance.

    Hey, I am a big fan of Foveon, just not a fan of the current implementation (for all of the aforementioned reasons which Fabricio didn’t even bother to get into). And I do honestly believe that if you voice your opinion on a product maybe it provides manufacturers with a opinion base which allows them to develop better products, in that sense I think criticism should be encouraged … there’s enough gloss and sugar in marketing brochures.

    Wouldn’t you be happy to have a Foveon cam in Full-Frame? So you can invest in a lens-lineup which is actually worth the investment ? But you literally seem to insist to splurge it all out into something that will have no value 5 years from now on … your call.

  73. Fabricio says:

    I just can’t believe you…

    The excerpts I gave are long enough to be a perfect representation of what you said. Go ahead and tell me what is the context I supposedly distort that would make your statements say something else than what they say. Oh yeah, I’m going to swallow that childish excuse of quoting out of context…

    Furthermore, you are now trying to make us believe that you are a fair critic of the Foveon technology and the Sigma manufacturer, while you first show in this thread like a dog in a bowling alley, yapping that Carl is « just a kid with a knack for Foveon running a forum », that he « prefers to be the darling of the Foveon world and maintain everything in a state of ‘foveon wonderland’» that Sigma users who join him on his civilized blog are « blue-eyed », that they « believe fairytales » and so on. And on top of that, I would be the one shouting heresy!!!

    Jesus Christ, you really take people for half-witted, don’t you?
    Enough of you.

  74. Paul says:

    Fabricio you need to relax a little, lol … just go on and buy your camera and live in wonderland forever. No worries I won’t be joining the party, so you guys can rock it out in Foveon Valhalla for all eternity ; )

  75. Jon says:

    After all this nonsense, lets just hope the new cameras live up to people’s hopes and expectations. ‘Coz if they don’t it’s probably time to look elsewhere.

  76. Fabricio says:

    Talking of nonsense, how can you describe a guy who can write the same day:
    « Hey, I am a big fan of Foveon »

    and then:
    « just go on and buy your camera and live in wonderland forever. No worries I won’t be joining the party, so you guys can rock it out in Foveon Valhalla for all eternity ».


  77. Jon says:

    Get over it

  78. Paul says:

    Fabricio, I won’t be joining your APS-C party, I think I made my points clear in all previous posts, and going over them they do seem to be valid from a technical point of view. The fact that it is a APS-C with such a high pixel count was the first thing that was being criticized by professional reviewers, so how come that it was never discussed here? Also, as the Nikon-case shows, APS-C lenses are not exactly a good and viable investment as from a ‘trending’ point of view they’re on their way out, and most certainly APS-C is not a professional format with all the benefits of high resale value. In that sense it is true that I was unnerved in the beginning that on this blog there is a certain lack of factual discussion about fundamental technical data, hence my critical comments towards the community and yes even Carl, I won’t deny that … but it wasn’t my intention to just gratuitously spray poison all over the place. Maybe my style is a little provocative and emotional, there’s no denying that as well, but all in all I believe that my analysis is correct and constructive from a general point of view.

  79. Pianowerk says:

    Gosh, we seem to have wandered of the point here. In fact I can’t remember the point. Leica don’t make cameras with mounts for Nikon/Canon/Sony, do they? Leica make very fine lenses but thier digital camera offerings leave a lot to be desired, and they are grossly overpriced – if you want marketing hype look at Leica – their one and only showroom in the UK is in Mayfair, quite the most ridiculously overpriced area of London – case of substance over form?

    I have a Sigma SD14 (and use a canon,Sony and Pentax DSLR as well). There is something eyepopping about Sigma when you get it right, thats different from the other bayer sensors I use. Whether bayer is better than Foveon, I personally don’t care – theres a place for all.

    Paul, I’m concerned about your health as you come across as very angry – please calm down. I think you flatter yourself if you think your analysis of what Sigma ought to be doing IYHO is actually read by anyone at Sigma. “but it wasn’t my intention to just gratuitously spray poison all over the place” but you have – take a chill pill and stop bullying others in this forum.

  80. Paul says:

    I’m not doubting about the specifics of the Foveon and that it’s ‘nice’ … just some elementary stuff about Sensor Size, the impact that has on optical qualities of the system, its physical limitations, as well considerations regarding viability in investing into a APS-C system.
    Read something about it :

  81. Philippe says:

    I have to back Paul though, what’s wrong with asking for a high-end implementation of the technology? If they would have a FF version on offer (ideally with a 14 bit pipeline), tethered shooting with liveview, I think Sigma would make a more credible impression on pro’s or advanced amateurs.

  82. paul says:

    Uhm … even if it’s true that all the other camera manufacturers offer closed systems, it’s somewhat ironic that Sigma as a third party lens manufacturer locks down their system, they should be all about open standards shouldn’t they? Also their in-lens electronics are by definition very easy to adapt to Canon / Nikon as they have been designed that way from scratch ; )

    Seriously though and concerning APS-C with a proprietary Sigma mount: The big risk with this is if Sigma once decides to release a FF camera, say the SD2 or SD3 a bunch of you guys will be stuck with a devalued and outdated lens collection, specifically because they’re Sigma mount only. If they were Canon/Nikon mount you could at least trade them with people shooting APS-C with these brands, but as they are proprietary mount the moment Sigma decides to go FF these lenses will become virtually useless, at least for the people who wish keep their gear updated.

    Of course if you decide that you’re gonna stick with your system for 10 years this is not a problem, but if you’re one of the users who likes to adopt new cameras this might become something of a issue at some point. You never know what the future holds, but one thing is for sure there won’t be a larger sensor than Full-Frame so it’s the most viable platform to invest in long-term.

    IMO Sigma should have done the switch to FF with the SD1, it would have made sense in many ways.

  83. Ricky says:

    It’s a matter of costs, a FF sensor is much much much more expensive. However a DP full frame would be a bit like a Leica ;)

  84. pianowerk says:

    I don’t think Sigma is big enough to do the tooling for making say an SD1 in Nikon,Sony, Canon and Pentax flavours-and I think the money they put into developing the Foveon has probably put paid to such developments. It would be good to see Canon/Nikon/Sony/Pentax taking a Foveon sensor into thier own range of cameras but I think thats unlikely to happen as well. It seems to me that the development of the Foveon was a very personal decision of Sigma – rare in such an industry and they have really got their fingers burnt. So good on them for putting anSD1 within my reach – in a couple of years!
    On the FF issue – if Sigma can continue to develop the Foveon (an SD2/SD3 who knows) then I believe they could produce an FF Foveon, and that might just be worth the original cost in the SD1 price debacle.

  85. Fabricio says:

    Tethered shooting is allowed on the SD1 with the addition of the CapturePro software v1.0.1 by Sigma, that you can download for free for both Windows and Mac systems:


  86. Fabricio says:

    And BTW, the Pentax 645D, a MF camera worth 10,000$, does not allow either Live View shooting, video shooting and the viewfinder has also a 98% field of view. The write time on card is also consider slow, but the camera does not have “bashing” reviews like the SD1 has to suffer.

    So does the SD1 get fair reviews, or is it unfortunately subjucated to what has become the Sigma bashing fad, disguised as “objectivity”?

  87. Philippe says:

    But it’s Medium Format camera, apart from Live View being absent the specs are pretty much in line with other offerings and the advantages of MF are really related to pure physics, meaning sensor size and so the disadvantages (slow shooting speed and so on) are accepted trade-offs when a photographer judges that, on the other hand he needs to leverage the advantages which come with MF. I think Paul’s point was really related to sensor size as well of viability of APS-C format. Here’s some more background info on why ‘size matters’

  88. Jon says:

    Thats the thing. I’ve no doubt APS-C will be fine in the DP’s, of which I will be buying one. Paul was questioning their viability in DSLR’s where the expense is vastly higher when you include lenses, only to find the lenses become worthless if and when Sigma design a full frame camera.

  89. Jon says:

    While we’re at it, does anyone know when these things will be released?

  90. Pierre says:

    Nikon D800E anyone ? ; ) ; ) ; )

  91. Pingu says:

    I have a D800 and an SD1m.

    At low ISO, I can report that the SD1m has better IQ than the D800 at print sizes up to A2.

    It is important that NR and sharpening in Sigma’s raw converter is turned off and then done in photoshop. There is also a slight yellow hue shift that must be corrected, which makes the camera seem noisier in the shadows than it actually is unless you correct it. I use Yellows -15, Reds +5.

    Sigma have created an amazing camera but they clearly have not optimised their software for the SD1 yet.

    • Pierre says:

      Thanks for your insight … hmmm it would actually be fantastic to be able to compare two identical shots as RAW files from both cameras. That would really be interesting, maybe also for other people on this forum. Do you think that would be possible?
      All the best,

    • Ricky says:

      yes, it would be fun

    • stefano says:

      i have an sd1(m), and yesterday a friend of mine came along with the d800e and we took lots of shots side by side, with similar lenses (to compensate for the cropped focal length, i had the 50/1.4, he had the 85 1/4, not perfect but close enough).
      it was a bright sunny day, they were all taken at 200 ISO.
      the nikon raw files could not be processed directly in LR either, so we were both handicapped in that segment; i took converted tiff files from both and processed them in LR and NIK Color Efex, in order to get consistent results.

      when i compared them afterwards, i could not really tell if one could be considered ‘better’ than the other. i prefer the color rendition of the sigma (even though there is a slight yellow/warm hue, correctable).
      overall, it was interesting to see a cropped sensor by an often maligned camera maker holding up to well to the best camera that nikon has at the moment!
      considering that i did not have a stash of nikon lenses to use (actually, with the d800 one has to upgrade the lenses too, in order to get the best out of the sensor), and that i find the ‘movie’ feature an utter and absolute waste of time, i am more than happy with my choice. i am sure over time there will be additional improvements to the firmware (they will probably activate liveview, which may be handy at times in the studio, for example) and the camera will be even better to use.

      the funniest part however was when i compared some additional shots i took with the small DP2 and noticed how GREAT they were against those two megapixelmonsters!

      at the end of the day, i believe that once you get beyond a certain point, one should stop obsessing over the camera and its technology and start focusing on the subject and on how to take pictures!

  92. John says:

    I realise that it is more than 2 months that sigma has announced their DP1m and DP2m…but there aren’t much details about the pricing and availability. WHEN IS IT COMING OUT !?

  93. richard says:

    Piece of junk SD1 Merill and SD1 1.04 and up purposely destroys jpg images if you use non sigma lenses / manual m42 or any adapted lenses. Although it works fine if you are shooting raw on non sigma lenses. But who wants to use raw if you require a quick photo for web/email.

  94. richard says:

    Piece of junk SD1 merrill and sd1 1.04 and up requires you to use sigma lenses if you want jpg files, using manual/adapted lenses result in corrupt loosing jpg photos. Adapted lenses work fine if you shoot raw all the time.

  95. Ricky says:

    Happy easter Carl

  96. Pierre says:

    I’m currently hesitating between SD1 and Nikon D800E (the one without a AA filter, so not the D800 as Pingu mentioned). Looking at D800E samples I have to say that I actually find a ‘3d pop’ just like Foveon, so part of the Foveon-Look really seems to be due to the absence of AA filter and better micro contrast resulting from this, a fact which has also been noted by Leica M9 Users (also not using the AA filter). Besides the D800E sensor has stellar measurements when it comes to dynamic range, excellent sensor developed by Sony. IMO Sony will be a driving force when it comes to quality sensor design in the coming years (and it’s deplorable that Fuji left the pro-market as they have excellent non AA sensor designs as well). Anyhow I might just wait for the next Sony FF camera release before deciding, but IMO the gap between Foveon and Bayern will narrow over the next sensor iterations so I might just stick to Bayer-type sensors.

  97. Dan says:

    You may be interested in reading the following technical paper:

  98. Fabricio says:

    The JPEG processing problem with the SD1 Merrill and non Sigma lenses occurs only with firmware v1.05, not v1.04 (the former being the firmware that allows tethered shooting). If you intend to use your SD1 Merrill with a foreign lens, make sure to check which firmware is it sold with, because if it comes with 1.05, it seems that the SD1 Merrill does not allow to revert to firmware 1.04. This problem isn’t going to concern many camera users, though.

    The Nikon D800E photos (RAW or JPEG) display sometimes a moiré color pattern that will need to be removed in part or entirely by post-processing filtering in a RAW processing software. Be aware.

  99. Pierre says:

    Dan, the paper dates from between 1998 and 2005 and has been issued by Foveon, it is not up to date in regards to actual resolution figures, in direct correlation with moiré (and to a certain extent sensor technology, as for instance the Fuji X-1 pro sensor allows to circumvent moiré even with a bayern-type sensor)

    From a practical point of view and with current resolution figures, moiré needs to be put into perspective as it will only occur at certain specific frequencies and in very fine details, Steve Huff stated that among thousands of shots he had one occurrence of the phenomenon when using his Leica M9, and most other Leica M9 users never reported any significant problems. In controlled situations it will never be an issue anyway as it is sufficient to move a bit closer or further from the subject to make the moiré disappear. As said the fact that none of the M9 users reported any issues really puts the whole thing into perspective.

  100. Pierre says:

    I would also really monitor Sony closely for any upcoming FF releases, indeed the fact that they sold their already excellent 36 MP Sensor to Nikon might indicate that they even have something better up their sleeves for their forthcoming FF releases (even if it’s ‘just’ a square sensor, as rumored). But more important, the fact that their top of the line lenses are Zeiss, with impressive resolution figures might really make for a platform where the glass is totally up to standards in regards to the Sensor’s resolution, which is paramount in this context.

    Also Sony has really put a lot of ambition in their photography business, invested heavily in Sensor development and production, so IMO they will really be a driving force in that field and will be able to deliver significant new developments with every product iteration over the years to come.

  101. Pingu says:

    You can use Zeiss with the SD1, there’s a new adaptor for it that allows aperture changes.

  102. tsiklonaut says:


    Oh, forgot a pic :)

  103. Dennis says:

    DPReview’s report on the SD1 / SD1 Merrill is just up ….

    • Ricky says:

      yeah, and I think it’s the first time they don’t use ACR in the studio scene comparison… this is a privilege, and it says also that the most famous software still doesn’t support it

  104. Casper says:

    * yawn *

    when’s stuff coming out?

  105. Jon says:

    Rang Sigma UK to ask them the very same question, even yawned at them on the phone, and they said HQ Japan hasn’t told them anything. Sounded a likely story if I’m honest, the “I know nothing” routine. It’s not exactly great PR is it?

  106. I think the SD1 Merrill is STILL over-priced, compared to what Sigma originally stated. Maybe it was a marketing tactic they used to make people forget about their original statement that the camera would be under $2,000. Frankly, Sigma makes a camera that is not that much different from the SD14/SD15 models, and they price it at about twice the price, just because they have a new processor and sensor? Frankly, I’m not convinced that the camera should be priced where it is priced. I’m not saying that it is not worth the money. In fact, I believe that the SD1 was worth $7,000 – believe it or not. When the D800E is available, maybe not so much, but the only camera that could beat it and compete in image quality was over $20,000! (the Leica S2) The SD1 was selling for less than the next-best competition (the Nikon D3x), and Sony’s A900 is a system that, like the Sigma system, is lacking lenses. Still . . . the SD1 had/has advantages over the competition. It has a smaller sensor, for one. That is a BENEFIT. It produces less noise than the competition (including the D800 and the D3x) at ISO levels that most phtographers shoot most of their photos (ISO 100, ISO 200, ISO 400, and ISO 800). The SD1 is STILL better in many ways, even with the cheaper D800 coming on the market. Now that the SD1 has dropped in price to a significantly lower price point than the D800 I am finding myself having to decide which to buy. I have a fast-shooting camera (the Sony A55), so for landscapes and highly detailed images, I just might get the SD1. I have yet to do all the research. I don’t believe the 36 MP Bayer pattern CFA sensor is that much superior to the SD1 Foveon sensor. I’ve heard this BS before. The reality is that the SD14 sensor captures as much detail as my Canon full-frame 12.8 megapixel sensor in my Canon 5 D. Now if that is the case, then the 14 MP claim that Sigma made was very close to reality, and to me that means that the new 46 MP claim they are making just might be close. Is the SD1 really capable of out-performing a 40 MP Bayer pattern CFA sensor in a full-frame camera? It certainly produces less noise, just like my SD14 produces less noise (at ISO 100) than my Canon 5 D did. I find that shocking, considering the fact that the sensor is so much smaller. The dynamic range of the SD1 is yet to be tested fully, in my opinion. I hope to see what it is capable of producing, when compared to the D800. Then I will make my decision, but for the money, I am leaning toward the SD1, since it costs less and the Sigma lenses cost less than Nikon lenses. If I’m going to be buying Sigma lenses, I might as well get the benefit of having a lighter lens to get the same telephoto shot, right? Besides, I don’t want to have to spend the money for a 500mm lens, when I can just get the lighter, smaller 300mm f2.8 and have the advantage of a wider aperture.

    Yes, the Sigma SD1 and the new DP series cameras are really great. That’s not HYPE. It’s FACT. Still, I do LOVE some of the Nikon lenses, like the 14-24mm f2.8 and the 135mm f2 DC. I have some decision making to do.

    Thank you Carl. Please keep up the good work!

  107. BTW, the SD1 gets five stars, just like the D800 (at B&H). It costs $700 less, and it is more available. To me, that alone is very significant.

    I’ve read that Sigma didn’t get it right, or there are downfalls of the SD1. Sure, there are downfalls of EVERY camera. It doesn’t shoot a lot of photos and clear its buffer as fast as the D800, but it shoots at full resolution at 5 fps. The D800 only shoots at 4 fps, when using it at full resolution (sure, there is a low-res mode, but that’s not why someone buys a high-resolution camera, is it?). Neither one has a fold-out screen that allows the use of live-view for many situations.

    Is the SD1 a more traditional camera? Yes. Does it shoot video? No. But the D800 doesn’t shoot 1080 at 60p, like the Sony A77, so maybe you would see THAT as a downfall of the D800. Does the D800 have some advantages over the SD1? Sure. But the SD1 has some advantages over the D800 too. What else is there that competes with the SD1 in image quality? NOTHING that is even close to the same price point. It’s image quality that we’re talking about in all this. If you weren’t looking for ultimate image quality, you would get a Nikon D7000 or Sony A77 or Canon 7 D. It would probably be stupid to get something other than one of those or a cheaper camera, like the Sony A57 or Canon T3i. Even the Nikon D5100 would be a great camera in many ways, and has advantages over the D800 and the SD1.

    Hype? What hype? Speculation, yes. Appreciation for something good that is coming, yes. Appreciation for something good that has just arrived? YES. I don’t think Carl’s blog is about hype at all.

    This issue of hype and worship reminds me of my brother’s comments about Apple. He believes that everyone who says Apple makes the best computers is just a fan-boy or something. He says stuff like, “Apple users are like religious nuts!” Well, he just doesn’t get it. He doesn’t see “the light” yet. When he finally gets an apple computer and starts to use it and get used to the way it works, he too will realize that Apple computers are “just better” – like Foveon cameras. Of course, there are the disadvantages that go along with their use. Everything is a trade-off.

  108. Fabricio says:

    Regarding the purchase of the SD1 with the new PG-31 battery grip (the only one that fit the SD1), it is for the moment quite a challenge. Sigma USA confirmed that they have it stock, but sell it to US resident only through their web site. If you are a non US resident, then you have to buy it from a retailer, but no one has it yet.

    I have inquired at Adorama and B&H, both have replied to wait until they advertise the PG-31 on their web site. Which has not happened yet.

    In short, you cannot buy the SD1 with the PG-31 battery grip for the moment, unless you live in the USA and even though Sigma claims to have it stock… What a silly situation!

  109. Paul says:

    Wouldn’t directly compare Apple to Sigma, even if true that both share similarities, namingly :

    – Off the beaten path approach, idiosyncratic
    – Having the tendency to regularly frustrate their user base by certain choices/limitations : Lack of Blue-ray, refusing Apple Flash and so on.

    Still have the feeling that with Apple there where regular ground breaking engineering highlights, and a kind of total dedication to quality and user experience which offset these frustrations, kind of a push-pull, turn on / turn off thing. I don’t say that Sigma does not want to achieve this but their ‘push’ isn’t quite as giving ; ) ; )

    Ahhh … a square sensor format full-frame Foveon … I could only imagine the headlines that THAT would make. Maybe even in a cool retro casing? A bit like ‘medium format reinvented’ (If I go all crazy I’d dare to evoke universal lens support for the other, you now brands … and same for software support ; )) I know I know I’m only dreamin ‘

    • kex says:

      exactly what was the groundbreaking invention by apple?

      • Paul says:

        uhm … Windows? You know like visual GUI and stuff … au lieu de command-line computing. Ah yes, also the mouse …

        • Dezzmo says:

          For the record, Apple (Steve Jobs) didn’t invent the idea of a GUI incorporating windows and a mouse, Xerox did. Apple just claimed it as their own and brought it to the masses.

          • Paul says:

            True, however, as my ex boss always pointed out ‘the idea is nothing’, meaning that to make a good idea work out in real world, let alone realize it’s true potential is the main challenge. Inventions are ‘nothing’ unless they are taken out of the drawer and brought to the public in a efficient way. The mouse and GUI might just have gathered dust in Xerox drawers if it hadn’t been for the likes of Jobs and Woz. That’s why I feel quite comfy in attributing them the merit of invention.

  110. Anonymous says:

    Looks like Paul feels “comfy” to twist the history the way it suits him. Steve Jobs, as we all know, did not feel “comfy” at all about other companies “borrowing” his “ideas” and “inventions”. Following Paul’s logic the “invention” of “windows and GUI stuff and the mouse” should be attributed to Bill Gates, the king of thieves.

    • Paul says:

      Hello Fabricio is that you? ; )

    • Paul says:

      Just for the sake of coherence … I was of course referring to the fact to be able to project a certain vision on such or such device. Bill Gates copied the mouse and GUI when it was already at a development stage where it’s full potential was already properly contextualized. For Gates I think in terms of visionary performance his is very inferior to what Jobs and Woz were able to deduct from their first visit to Xerox, and therein lies the key.

      Somebody’s still a little angry at me … poor kiddie ; )

      • kex says:

        the only invention that can be attributed to Jobs is bringing mass appeal marketing to IT sector

        making apples from oranges can work for some time, until you’re convinced you’re selling apples! ;)

        • Paul says:

          ‘only’ … ?

          I think that issuing that on a blog dedicated to a camera company which hasn’t been able AT ALL to bring a very promising technology to some kind of mass-market relevant level of maturity … I mean this ‘only’ is really quite ironic in this context, don’t you agree?

          I would have loved if Sigma would ‘only’ have brought the Foveon technology into a capable mass – or preferably -pro market formulation, none of this did happen.

          • kex says:

            I said marketing not technology

            the problem is the technology has matured but the majority of users have not

            each technology has its shortcomings – foveon has and always will have high dark current and will require a lot more processing power than bayer solutions (for those interested and technically inclined http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1027&message=41333467)

            so don’t expect instant review on a camera

            whether you’re willing to pay the price for hi fidelity color resolution, lack of moire and blurring filter should be up to you

            If you want acceptable auto results that you can sell with minimal effort from your side, sigma isn’t for you. It’s the solution for those seeking HI-FI results

            SD1 with 46 mpix data is still faster than nikon d800/800e 36mpix FPS wise ! now is that immature?

            there isn’t going to be a layered solution with better low light performance than single layer CFA ever!

  111. Christian R. says:

    *Yawn too*
    So what’s the release date?

  112. Jon says:

    They seem to be rumouring about a June date, but it’s all rumours I’m afraid.

  113. Paul says:

    Hi kex, yes agree the analogy to hi-fi is relevant as we’re referring to a solution which accurately records info on pixel site and this is also what shows in the final image, it’s about ‘getting it right’ on a acquisition level, just as would be a well-mastered recording. It’s the kind of stuff no post-processing/correction can emulate. The Foveon technology also behaves like hi-fi stuff from a marketplace point of view : most people do not actually care to get ‘that’ foveon look, just like in hi-fi where most people will be content with a Bose speakersystem which sound fun and ok but are not at all about fidelity.

    My personal problem with Sigma was that there are some decisions on product level which did not really fit into my requirements to buy into a system. Lens line-up is so-so from a measurements point of view (with some exceptions) and if you look into the ones which really measure up to the SD1 ‘hi-fi’ capabilities options get even more scarce. IMO if Sigma had opened up their system to other lens manufacturers it would have been more in coherence with the requirements of pros to be able to carry over their trusted glass to a new platform.

    Eventually, and after months of internal struggle ; ) I did get around to accept that. The SD1 is a unique camera, with unique ‘hi-fi’ properties but also coming with a severe set of limitations, for a pro photographer it can only be a addition to his set, for situations where the properties of this camera specifically call for, but won’t replace any pro photographers equipment set. The D800 will make people sell of their Canon lineup, but not the SD1, too nichy.

    Anyways … I finally fell for it (last but not least for Foveon’s outstanding capbilities in B&W photography) and actually did order my SD1 plus the 70mm Macro today … at last ! ; )

    • kex says:

      “The SD1 is a unique camera, with unique ‘hi-fi’ properties but also coming with a severe set of limitations, for a pro photographer it can only be a addition to his set, for situations where the properties of this camera specifically call for, but won’t replace any pro photographers equipment set.”

      Well put together – I can fully agree

      • Ricky says:

        More or less but as always it depends on your form of photography, frankly I don’t think that Steve Chong needs a high-iso and fast camera. Guys, it’s not about perfection, who want D4 high-iso with medium-format foveon sensor and zeiss lenses (in Leica M9 body ;>)? Probably all, but we can’t and the best trade-off depends on what you do more, and usually it’s a Nikon or a Canon :P. (Mine, now, it’s a micro four thirds.)

  114. Jon says:

    Let us know how you get on with it Paul

  115. Paul says:

    Yup, really got my head around it … it’s really a niche concept camera and you should take it that way …

    I’ll only shoot this one with the 50mm Macro, which should deliver fantastic resolution, just don’t feel like shooting this sensor with a zoom lens with lesser MTF figures. I’ll get back with initial findings, pretty confident it will all pan out.

  116. Pit Hermann says:

    Funny , funny…
    I seems to be a human problem to everytime tell and discuss
    my XXXX is better or my YYYY is better etc
    a cam is like a lot of other things a tool
    and if someone is lucky with his tool (in case of a cam with the resulting image) then it is the right tool for him.
    no tool fits for every belongings but on the other hand no one has all belongings which are avaiable.
    I’m lucky with MY results of the sigmas since i got to them with SD9 actually i own and use 2 SD14 and one SD1M.

    Have a great day and creative results


    • Paul says:

      Yes, might be true that it’s not about ‘what’s best’ … which anyhow is more often than not in the domain of marketing rhetoric, or rhetoric in general. Ideal systems do not exist in the technical domain (as matter in itself is never perfect, there’s no ‘perfect’ conductor, or ‘perfect’ glass, they all have resistance or refraction indexes and so on, there’s also no ‘perfect’ senor) … so in the end it comes down to the fact that foveon presents specific advantages and specific trade-offs compared to bayer and vice-versa and you need to decide which one’s suit your requirements or artistic goals best.

  117. Johny says:

    This site is dead. Without Carl, Sigma will die too…
    [img]http://www.rytterfalk.com/wp-content/hrady 017.jpg[/img]

  118. SD1 Point Program makes Sigma still alive.
    Four good lenses for the cost of an inland postage stamp.

    Some Foveon pictures, cropped and/or scaled, with exif:


    Don’t worry about the Norwegian texts.

  119. Fabricio says:

    Johny says:
    This site is dead. Without Carl, Sigma will die too…

    Jon says:
    Unfortunately you’re right

    I have heard that comment so many times with Apple, especially in the early 1990s. And guess what, Apple is now the richest company in the world.

    Guys, stop trying to predict the future. Cause there’s one thing for sure that will happen: you’ll miss target.

  120. Paul says:

    Bon, have the SD1 for 1 month now, suffice is to say that this camera is a ‘poor man’s medium format camera’ the optical quality is outstanding and trickles down right to downsized images for internet, also clients DO notice the difference.

    The good :
    – Optical quality : Medium Format on 15 crazy well resolved megapixels (you won’t need more actually, I worked with P65 files and believe me it’s a good thing to be able to stance more optical resolution with less file size). If you’re into shooting fabrics or beauty the SD1 will extract every fibre, completely moiré free.
    The bad :
    a. The camera WON’T work in low light. Just forget about it.
    b. ISO 100/200 ONLY
    c. The camera is PAINFULLY slow, it’s a far cry away from ‘modern’ trigger happy snapshot shooting modes a la Canon/Nikon. So if you need that for your work, forget about it.
    d. You need to know what you’re doing when developing the files, I upgraded my mac to 16 Gigs of ram and it is reasonably stable. Moreover you need to develop a very methodical workflow, first selection of the good shots via thumbnails, then defining a initial color curve to develop the selection, finishing files in Photoshop.

    Conclusion :
    This camera is outstanding and unparalleled value for professional, controlled shooting situations, studio, still-life, landscape and for all these which manage to develop a very methodical approach to their shooting and development process. Again, if you need to shoot fabrics, jewelry the SD1 will deliver optical quality which is almost only achievable with MF, specially in regards of fabric there is very little that can resolve so truthfully than the Foveon (no interpolation … it just shows). For commercial work there’s also a ‘juiciness’ to the colors which sells great (clients love it).

    For the snapshooter/street photographer I think this might be a very frustrating camera to use and the amount of missed shots will make you consider the tradeoffs between IQ and speed very (very) quickly.


  121. Fabricio says:

    Paul’s review of the SD1 seems fair, but as we say, nothing new. The pros and the cons he puts forward are the same from the SD9 onward.

    On the other hand, what it shows is that development teams at Sigma have never been able to overcome the main drawbacks of their cameras, SD1 included. So the question remains: what will it takes for Sigma to finally produce a camera that would deliver the same IQ, but in a body that could stand modern standards? I just don’t understand why is it so difficult for them to make a decent camera, in every aspect of the issue…

  122. Pit Hermann says:

    i do not really understand you
    talking about sigma is not suitable for every situation ..
    did you ever find an analog cam suitable for all situation ?
    did you ever find a car for winning highspeed races, driving cross country and uses less than 5 l/100km of benzin ?

  123. Paul says:

    I’ll just sum it up more easily. If you happen to be a aspiring fashion/beauty/fine art or studio/still life photographer with no access to expensive MF systems the SD1 will deliver the same visual impact and perceived IQ in you hands for just under 1800 Euro. You will have to work around the drawbacks, get things rigorously right in all the aspects (a good school), but once you stance that you’ll end up with work that has considerable visual impact and sophistication. So it’s really that ‘MF quality on a buck’ idea which stands out.

    So, why has this gone unnoticed? Well Sigma did a slop-job at putting out representative images, for instance emphasizing heavily on perfectly executed studio shots would have helped. The camera is also very sensitive to camera shake and the right lenses, plus you need to handle the files right (sharpness at 0.8, neutral color mode) so consequently it didn’t really survive the mediocre reviewers photograph hurdle. Personnaly I got the ‘cues’ about the capability of this cam from a couple of select sample shots, plus a guy in the US who does street photography à la Eggleston/Stephen Shore … on a tripod, and carefully executed. It’s a fine art camera, not a butcher’s tool really.

  124. Fabricio says:

    Paul wrote:
    « The camera is also very sensitive to camera shake and the right lenses… »

    Would be interested to know what have been the right lenses for you so far. Thanks.

  125. Paul says:

    Actually … the new 17-50 2.8 is absolutely amazing (courtesy of FLD glass). I also bought the 50 2.8 Macro, and the 85 1.4. But the 17-50 is really incredibly sharp, except maybe in the corners, and it has slightly more distortion but as long as you don’t need a ‘studio lens’ (no distortion, corner sharpness) this lens really really makes a fantastic general purpose lens which measures up to the sensor. I was always a prime lens kind of guy but this little zoom really makes me leave the primes at home with good conscience.

  126. Stoneage says:

    i actually don’t like the 17-50 so much. in the middle it is ok, but corners are soft and it suffers from CA.

    Lenses i have that i can recommend are:
    8-16mm (good)
    70mm macro (outstanding)
    150mm macro (outstanding)
    120-300mm (outstanding)

    I don’t recommend the 10-20mm
    and the 17-50mm (in my opinion) is just “ok”, although there is no option.

  127. Paul says:

    @Stoneage …
    Bof … dunno what is not great about the 17-50, it’s the best and sharpest zoom lens I ever used (after coming from Canon professional L zooms) how more resolution do you need? … Blablabla … at some point it just becomes idle pixel-peepers talk …

    Fact is in terms of center resolution performance the 17-50 is totally there … or maybe you have a bad copy.

  128. Stoneage says:

    Hi Paul
    As i said: The lens is sharp in the center but soft in the edges.
    This is not a big issue with the SD14/15 (crop 1.7) but getting worse with the SD1.
    Chromatic aberration is another problem.
    Also a bit annoying for me is the slightly moving viewfinder while working on a tripod. (OS is off!)
    So, in my opinion, the lens is not the best choice for landscapes.

  129. Paul says:

    No, of course as a pure ‘studio’ or ‘landscape’ lens (as I pointed out) it’s not the first choice and primes / macros of course preferred. But as a walk around lens and regarding the question of wether it measures up to the sensors resolution, in the center it definitely does, and IMO amazingly well for a zoom lens. Actually you can look up the MTF charts on Sigma’s website or the independent measurements on Photozone, the center performance being absolutely stellar for a zoom lens, quote :

    ” The Sigma lens has a rather unusual but generally impressive resolution characteristic. The center performance is excellent straight from f/2.8 and it’s nothing short of outstanding at f/4″

    With unusual they do mean corner performance which is a tad dish lagging behind, but until now I saw nothing shocking (I always shoot > f5.6, never tried at f2.8 though). So as far as zoom lenses go one (again in terms of center performance) is the first one I own which I use with confidence. I mostly did people photography so it’s true that I am not that much concerned about the corners, with studio (product) or landscape I’d of course use one your mentioned options.

  130. Paul says:

    On another note I just received a small catalogue I shot for a designer friend of mine (A5 single page size). It’s printed in offset and the awesome SD1 resolution hits right through, it’s sh*** sharp. Given the fact that in offset you parse the image with screen with a limited resolution (usually 88-135 lpi (lines per inch)) and that the ink-dots tend to expand (specially on uncoated paper as was the case here) and given the small print size, the perceived resolution and sharpness was still way North of everything I saw from regular cameras …. to some extent it is uncomparable, the resolution just seems to ‘hit through’ even on uncoated paper where usually you’d expect the image to soften up a little, not the case here. So, again, amazing tool this SD1.

  131. Pit Hermann says:

    Hello, please let me ask you something:
    What do you think about Adobe’s behavor on not supporting
    cams newer than SD14 in camera raw ?

  132. John Driggers says:

    Not sure why it’s important what we think about it. It’s pretty obvious that the number of cameras sold didn’t warrent the effort needed to do the RD and QA needed to support the SD15, et al in Camera RAW.

  133. Pit Hermann says:

    SPP 5.2.1
    OS: Win 7 / 64bit Ultimate
    Somebody outside to do a cross check ?

    I used a test with 600 raws, no matter if SD14 or SD1M,
    seleceted convert all to tiff , no matter on tiff 8 or 16,

    if i use a cpu with more than 2 cores (i tried intel Q9650 and Intel I7 960) some of the tiffs ccontain no exif data

    converting to jpg no problem
    installing a winxp 32 no problem

    it does not depent on amount of memory and not on the speed of cpu (i dropped the i7 down to 1600 GHZ for a try)

    the same os on a intel P4200 (2 cores / 2.13 GHZ ) on a laptop
    no problem.

  134. D1000 says:

    I’m very sorry because I did like this blog but this site is dead. Please Carl write the end of it at least….

  135. Pit Hermann says:

    A info to my above reported SPP error:
    just got a feedback from Sigma Japan
    saying that this error will be solved with the next updated SPP version

  136. Isiah says:

    OK… Carl, let us know how you are doing or write a final post and end the site…. I and others feel like we are in limbo. Do we continue to follow or drop the site from our list? :(

  137. Carl, oh Carl, where are you Carl? What are you up to? Have you been shooting anything interesting with your SD1 Merrill? What have you learned lately? Do you have a DP1 Merrill yet? How about a DP2 Merrill?

  138. Ricky says:

    Hi Carl, I never read this blog for foveon sensor tech geeking, I read this blog because I like a lot your photos, and I liked your soft retouching and also learned your nice workflow from your youtube videos. So if you’re shooting more with a Nikon or Canon beast, you have to know that I’m here for you as photographer :).

  139. Micha says:

    Hello Carl,
    I hope you read this?! I want to say thank you for all the time
    you took me with you in your sigma world – a fantastic time!
    Yes, you are the reason why I buy my first DP2 and fell in
    love with the foveon-sensor. Now I have a DP2 Merrill and
    it would have been great to read something from you about
    this (in my eyes great) camera. But wherever you are, what
    ever you doing, I wish you all the best! Maybe one day I hope
    I read something new (about the DP3 ?! :) ) from you here again.
    In the meantime I go out and take pictures and wait for your
    Thanks Carl for the great time, with your posts, pictures, tests,
    reports, videos and so on!
    Have a good time,

  140. GENE HACK says:

    Your total lack of communication shows that You were never really interested in the people, otherwise You would react different.

  141. Pit Hermann says:

    Hello Micha
    just read your note
    a movie taken with foveon must be interesting
    can you post one ?


  142. Rnadom says:

    Too bad here wasn’t review of new DP2…

  143. Jon says:

    well, new DP’s are out and still no word from Carl. Must be the end……

  144. After comparing images from the D800E and Sigma SD1 Merrill cameras, I am convinced that the SD1 Merrill is comparable in image quality to the Nikon D800E. This makes me wonder. I would have previously thought that the SD1 might be comparable to a 40 MP camera, but maybe the lenses are its main limitaion. I did notice that the sharpest looking prints on the SD1 print tour were shot with Sigma 70mm f2.8 macro lenses. I hope Sigma produces some new, World-class lenses, such as a 16-50mm f2.8 DC OS HSM EX APO and an 8-16mm f2.8 DC HSM EX APO and a new 24mm f1.4 HSM EX APO.

  145. george lee says:

    wonderful site, as a relative newbe to Sigma, I am sorry there is a recent loss of optimism by some. I would love to see more from Carl but I guess he has his own reasons. I am interested in joining with others to talk sigma but would love to hear from others if this is the best place to do that.

    Best wishes

    • Jon says:

      Hi, all the best in here but the place has been very quiet for some time. Remember, it’s Carl’s blog, not a forum, so no Carl, no blog……..

  146. Pit Hermann says:

    Hallo Carl
    and hello to all the others outside, i don’t know where you are but i hope you all are fine.
    So i wish you all to have a wonderful chrismas time

  147. Jean Claude says:

    hi Carl

    I’m a french man and my english is very bad but i try to write something for you. first, happy new year.
    I buy a SD14 in 2008 because i was subjugated by your shots. Now, i have a SD1. I’m very sad because you gave up this site. Why ????
    Carl, please come back, give us dream like you gave some to us before.

  148. Ricky says:

    Has been a while but I still miss Carl. I have found no photography blogs so pleasant like this… in the meantime ordered the e-pl5, so I am not interested in Sigma cameras like before, but still… I miss Carl Rytterfalk!

    • DennisV says:

      Me too Ricky, this was always an enjoyable place to visit.

      I’ve added a DP1x to the DP1s and DP2x as I still find those original cameras have something very special, and for me the images are “more Foveon” than the Merrills. I thought I’d better stock up while still available and at a reasonable price, £199 for the DP1X brand new from a main dealer with 2 year warrantee.

      The DPs still get lots of use despite also acquiring a Canon 6D for my dslr needs. The 6D is really an excellent camera and even ISO 12,800 is perfectly useable, but there still are times when the light is nice and I’d take the DPs over anything else :-)

      I hope Carl comes back someday, whether under the Sigma banner or any other?

      Kind regards

  149. DennisV says:

    Just for fun, here is an ISO 12,800 image PP in Aperture from the 6D. I stick with 200 max on the DP’s :-)

  150. adrian says:

    he will not come back as the Merrill’s are not what is the Foveon is all about. all it has is resolution at the expense of the Foveon quality to it. it’s gone. i don’t care if you don’t believe a bit.

  151. Bickus Dickus says:

    Yeah … but excellent resolution though … just shooting high-jewelry with the SD1 + 105 Macro and my retouchers ask me with what ‘thing’ I did the shots as they are so bleeding sharp. Mind you that these are people used working with Hasselblad and Phase One files … so if you ask me it’s not such a bad deal Sigma is offering here … given that the camera comes in for a handy 1800 Euros ; ) ; ) ; )
    Sigma not that you come into temptation to price your camera again in the upper market because you are reading this … it still has tons of tradeoffs, smallish viewfinder, small sensor size, unreliable software, partially unreliable operation and so on. So the price is about right ; )

  152. Antonio says:

    Recently I ordered my 4th Sigma camera, a DP2 Merrill and I was completely shocked with the images. It’s an image monster capable of turning into dust almost any dslr. The next one will be a DP3 Merrill. It’s like shooting a Provia 100F with a Leica Minilux.

  153. Andre says:

    For fun, I’ve been browsing the old posts (and pictures). I miss Carl, his posts and excellent work. Wherever he may be, I wish him well.

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