Have you got $10,000 weighing down your wallet and want 45 million pixels crammed onto a camera sensor? Then check out the Sigma SD1 below.
Sigma has announced the SD1 will go on sale next month for the eye-wateringly high price of $9,700 – and you don’t even get a case for that money. We first got our eyes on the Foveon-based DSLR at Photokina last September and people have been predicting that the SD1 could finally see the Foveon X3 sensor as a real rival to the conventional CMOS and CCD sensors. Foveon sensors stack red, green and blue pixels on top of each other instead of arranging them in patterns on a flat plane. This gives accurate color info for each pixel site. Sigma has uploaded some images to its website which are indeed impressive though you’d expect nothing else from the official Sigma SD1 site.
While the 45 million pixel sensor may be the stand out feature of the SD1, the rest of the camera if not exactly cutting-edge. The ISO only goes up to 6,400, there is an 11-point AF system with two centre cross-type sensors, a 3.0-inch LCD monitor with 460k dot resolution, and dimensions of 145.5 x 112.5 x 80mm. The main criticism of previous Foveon-based cameras has been that while they excel at colour rendition, they lack the total resolution to compete with modern conventional sensors. However the completely new Foveon sensor in the SD1 should finally silence the critics, because it has an equivalent resolution of a massive 46 megapixels, in other words 4,800 x 3,200 pixels (15.36MP) in each of three layers. The sensor is APS-C size, with a crop factor of 1.5x.
While we won’t be seeing many Sigma SD1s round the necks of tourists craning their necks to snap a picture of Big Ben, there will surely be a number of professional photographers out there looking to get their hands on this beast – despite the high price.