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Sigma SD15

Sigma SD15The Sigma SD15 is a new 14 megapixel DSLR camera. Using the same 14 megapixel Foveon X3, APS-C sized sensor as the SD14, DP1 and new DP2, the Sigma SD15 incorporates the “TRUE II” new image processing engine, a large 3.0 inch LCD monitor and improved processing and operational speed. The SD15 is still very early in development, being shown at Photokina as a non-working prototype under glass. Sigma are giving very little away about the SD15, but Sigma UK’s Paul Reynolds confirmed that it will use SD Cards instead of Compact Flash (as on the previous SD14 model), and that it would be launched in Spring 2009.

Update: We have a gallery of photos of the Sigma SD15 - click the continue link below…

Sigma Press Release

Sigma announce the development of the SD15, a 14 megapixel (2,652x1,768x3 layers) Digital SLR camera.

2008.9.23 - The Sigma Corporation (COO: Kazuto Yamaki) is pleased to announce the new SIGMA SD15 digital SLR camera. This camera is the latest model in Sigma’s digital SLR camera SD series, powered by the 14 megapixel Foveon X3 direct-image-sensor it can capture all primary RGB colors at each and every pixel location arranged in three layers. The developing SD15 incorporates the “TRUE II” new image processing engine. It provides high resolution power and reproduces high definition images rich in gradation and impressive three-dimensional detail. Incorporation of the large 3.0 inch LCD monitor and improved processing speed provide ease of operation of the camera.

This product is showcased at Photokina 2008 in Koln, Germany

Development of the SD15
Since October 2002, Sigma has introduced three digital SLR cameras, the SD9, SD10 and SD14 to the market. In March 2008 Sigma also introduced a high-end compact digital camera, the DP1 which uses the same large image sensor as is featured in Sigma’s digital SLR cameras. They have established a strong following from a wide range of photographers, both amateur and professional. Photographers expressed a desire to incorporate the image processing engine “TRUE”, which is used in the DP1, into a digital SLR camera. In order to meet this demand, the SD15, with high resolution direct image sensor, has been designed around the new “TRUE II” image processing engine. This combination delivers superior image quality as well as improved processing speed, operation and performance.

Sigma SD15

Sigma SD15 Sigma SD15
Sigma SD15 Sigma SD15

Published: Wednesday, September 24, 2008

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Reader Comments

  1. Please do not continue to publish Sigma's lies. The SD15 is NOT a 14 Mpixel camera - it is less than 5 Mpixels - just very good pixels.

    It seems that marketing people still have us in their grip if intelligent sites like yours publish such headlines.

    Andrew at 10:25am on Tuesday, September 23, 2008

  2. Please ignore Andrews comment and read up on sensors and their differences. Take a look at photos taken with this camera.

    Mark at 12:13pm on Tuesday, September 23, 2008

  3. 14MP?
    OMG, that's more resolution than my 1Ds.
    I think I'll even exchange my p45 for the SD15!

    No man! It's less than 5mp. Which is tonnes if you are printing up to A3... and overkill in newspring, but still no match for any camera with real resolution. And non-green shadows. And a full frame not 1.69999 repeating crop or whatever.

    (I don't really own a p45; if I did, I wouldn't be commenting on this site right now. I'd be waking up with supermodels)

    dario at 01:21pm on Tuesday, September 23, 2008

  4. at Andrew: did you ever notice that your 8 Mpx DSLR Canon camera is NOT really an 8Mpx camera? It might just be 4Mpx, depending on the mosaic used.
    Each sensor is just sensitive to a single color (r/g/b), so each "pixel" in the final image is obtained using several sensors. Actually the color resolution is much lower

    Sigma puts them in 3 parallel layers, others put them in series. It's exactly the same thing. Wake up and check your facts

    pixel0rs! at 11:50pm on Tuesday, September 23, 2008

  5. What's worrying is that they haven't improved the sensor at all in such a long time.
    Digital image processing can't help IQ further than the limits set by hardware.

    The Sigma SD14 was announced in Sept 2k6, and after two years have passed, they haven't developed any new technology.


    pixel0rs! at 11:57pm on Tuesday, September 23, 2008

  6. What You expect from a lens company that has limited budget to make a rival aginst poplular DSLRs friends? Faveon sensors made people more exited in past.Someting revolutionary.Sigma is a good 3rd party lens company for our wallets sake. When Sigma bought the patent (I think from Swiss company-probably wrong) I lost all my hope to develop that brilliant idea in photo technology.(The idea of simulating film layers still good to get better stops about DR) Cause developing tech has huge cost.It is absolutely seen just Canon can handle developing new technology and providing innovations about sensors(Maybe Sony will come after soon)

    My grandpa said me when I was young; Being a good player on field never means being a good coach out of field...

    Mustafa Ajlan Abudak-Turkey at 12:33am on Wednesday, September 24, 2008

  7. For my personal taste, IQ of Foveon sensor at lower ISO is much better that that of sensors with Beyer pattern. In fact the difference is quite obvious. I like the naturally saturated colours, the deep dynamic range and the three-dimensional-like livelyness of the pictures. I just can not get over the much poorer overall photographic experience of Sigma SD14 that the casual user like me (not a professional) holds for very important. Of course good high ISO IQ, speed, user interface, functionality, form factor, weight, customisability and compatability are KO kriteria which would drift me away from the beatuful IQ of Sigma cameras and make me chose Nikon, Canon, Oly...

    memonste at 03:44pm on Wednesday, September 24, 2008

  8. I have a Sigma SD14. In case of ASA50 and ASA 100 sensitivity it gives me true reach colours, that you cannot see on Bayer-method pictures.
    The real resolution of the SD14 and the SD15 is equal of a 10 Mpixel Bayer-sensor camera, but only in 4,7 Mpixel (check the SD14 reviews).
    The SD14 is really slow saving the pictures and there is no noise reduction in it for higher sensitivity, so it was necessary to get a faster processor unit.
    The Foveon has no new higher resolution sensor, that is why the SD15 gives you only (REAL) 4,7 Mpixels. I think it is not possible to get more pixels on DX size because of the noise, but it is possible on FX size.
    A good review and comparison of technology:
    My opinion is that the very low noise only possible at ISO 50 and ISO 100.
    The Foveon sensor is very good for human portraits because of its true colors.

    Janos Lucza at 08:51am on Tuesday, September 30, 2008

  9. To Andrew and the others who do not understand how pixels work; it's like this; A Bayer sensor uses 4 color detectors (pixels in ad-speak aren't really pixels, just detectors) red, blue, and two green to make one pixel which is a "picture element" also known as a pixel. In addition the processor algorithm samples adjacent detectors to determine what the final processed picture element will look like. A 10MP Bayer sensor then has 2.5M of red, 2.5M of blue, and 5M of green. The last time I looked that's really only 2.5M of true pixels that have image data.

    By the same token, the Foveon will have 3.43M of each color, so there's actually more data for the given size sensor. I regularly print 24x36 inch images without any interpolation, and they sell quite well. The continuing comments are that the detail is amazing and the images look three dimensional. I won't argue the noise issue as that's been the burden of the sd9 through the current model. The cameras are not intended for the fast action sports work, but within their limitations do an outstanding job. When coupled with the better lenses out of the Sigma stable, they do a good job, and for the ones who don't like Sigma glass, there are flange convertors for Leica, Canon, and Nikon that replace the factory SA mount with full functionality.

    Robert Wallis at 04:55am on Monday, October 06, 2008

  10. SD14 looked amazing. The pictures I saw taken with that camera looked surreal. That kind of detail - just wow! But, of course, SD14 was not a camera for somebody on a budget like me, who needed a jack-of-all-trades device for at a reasonably low price. You would use the SD14 exactly when you could take your time taking shots. For anything fast, anything else on the market you would feel like going for.
    Today I looked into what was new from Sigma again. SD15! The commotion, the excitement!... But then, the same 4.7 MP!? I do not get it. No going up in two years? Something must be going on. They must have some surprise in store for us. They just must!...

    TioPepe at 07:36pm on Friday, May 15, 2009

  11. I find it curious that Sigma has still not released any real info on the SD15, such as LCD pixel size or any specs on the TRUE II speed. The LCD on the SD14, at 2.5 inches and 150,000 pixels was coarse (the LCD on the DP1 is 230,000 pixels) and barely adequate for viewing exposure info let alone a histogram. So I should not be surprised if they fell below industry standards on the SD15. Unfortunately for those of us who love the Foveon color output there is no other game but Sigma.

    richmond at 02:53pm on Monday, June 01, 2009

  12. Guys,
    Do you think this camera fits pictures of flowers, trees, animals and landscapes even in extremely sunny or dark conditions? I'm fond of nature and need a camera able to manage the chromatic richness you find in nature.
    My experience comes from a Contax 167 that gave me outstanding performances from this point of view. My impression is that digital cameras are still far away from the chromatic reality. I'm afraid also Sigma SD 15 will not live up my expections.

    Sara at 08:18am on Tuesday, June 16, 2009

  13. Most of my Sigma experience has been with DP1 and SD14. Generally i find the color rendition of Sigma to be the best, but under certain conditions. For one, the Foveon sensor seems to love over or spot-on exposure. Shooting in dark conditions? Use a tripod since neither has image-stabilization.

    I’ve also been shooting with the Panasonic G1 and loves it’s handling, speedy focus, and generally it’s color quality. For nature photography I find the articulated, high resolution, 3 inch LCD of the G1 to be a huge bonus, allowing you to get really low or unusual angles not possible otherwise. The Lumix lenses are excellent.

    But overall, I lean towards Sigma because of its color quality, even with all it’s shortcomings. That said, I will buy the Sd15 when it comes out.

    I’ve posted some of my DP1 photos on pbase

    Rich at 04:40pm on Tuesday, June 16, 2009

  14. I should also clarify that in my experience the DP1 outperformed the SD14 in the shadow detail rendition and "noise," especially when shooting at ISO 200 and 400. Given the changes that Sigma has employed in the DP2 since the DP1, it will be interesting to see how many of those technical innovations find their way to the SD15.

    Rich at 03:30am on Wednesday, June 17, 2009

  15. I think yoy are all fixated on "pixels". The main object in taking photos is detail. I have a Canon SLR and SD14. I photo everything, I have an L canon lens, and a "bigma". When I photograph birds with both cameras, the sd14 beats the 400d every time. The sensor is big enough for me to crop out all the bits I dont want, and just have a bird, and still print A4. I want sigma to put the sensor in something like a bridge camera. Fixed lens at least 12x optical zoom, pivoting LCD and shoot raw. Light wieght to carry about.

    Pat Munro at 02:39pm on Tuesday, August 11, 2009

  16. Actually none of the cameras publish true megapixel resolution. It's actually tree times more of the actual resolution. All CMOS and CCD censors have to guestimate colors just look at the design of the sensors. Sigma is able to produce image that's comparable to 14 megapixels from competing sensors.

    Oleg at 07:40pm on Wednesday, October 14, 2009

  17. I gotta say, I sold my XSI and bought the DP2. I love the size of the camera and the IQ. It beats or meets my XSI output no problem. All the complaints about this camera are true. However, the commnents on image quality are also true. Stunning. Read the Nov 09 shutterbug review, especially the last 3 paragraphs. The DP2 was compared to some very high end cameras and it held its own admirably.


    FF at 06:56pm on Saturday, October 31, 2009

  18. I have been using the SD14 for nearly a year and despite its slugish focusing and slow memory saving raw images, it shoots far sharper than Cannons $800 12MP cameras. I have personaly printed raw images saved as 16bit tiffs as large as 4'X 5' with no noticable pixels. At 5'x 7'you can see pixels but only if you look close. How may people are going to view a 5'x7' closer than 18"?
    I was and still am a big fan of Cannon autofocus and wish Sigma would upgrade thiers, but for what I can afford, the SD14 and soon SD15 work great for me. You cant beat the Foveon technology.

    I worked with high $ 12MP Cannon photographer who had to barrowed my camera because his battery died. Using the same memory card he took out of his Cannon, he later told me the pics he took with my camera were sharper. And to think I can make them sharper with the sigma softwear.
    He did complain about its slow operation though.

    Andrew Phillips at 03:39am on Monday, November 23, 2009

  19. Although I'm not in the market for the SD-15, I have been using the SD-10 with EX lenses for six years and thought it might be useful to give my opinion based on my use of the camera and not on what somebody somewhere said about the science behind the cameras.

    Arguments about "pixels" aside, the SD-10 has consistently delivered to me high quality images. I primarily do art nude work, converting to B&W using Retouche and Photoshop. The information captured by the Foveon method is noticeable in this process and a plus is that for the same final image quality the file sizes are smaller than those from Bayer type sensors. Too many people are hung up on pixels when this is just one aspect of image quality. In days of film one could buy several types of 50 ASA slide film, but nobody would seriously suggest that Agfa was the same as Kodachrome. Dynamic range on the Sigmas was, and may still be, higher than that of others. Colour saturation also has a great deal of potential.

    The camera itself is a love-hate sort of thing. I love the simplicity of a camera that isn't too different from the film cameras I used. Others will find that limiting. I frequently use it in fully manual mode, metering with a hand held incident meter with the camera on a tripod. It's good for this.

    The ugly bits. The camera is slow by Nikon/Canon standards. Actually, really slow. Noise is definitely a problem although Retouche helps quite a lot. You can buy any lens you like as long as it's Sigma. Some are very good while others are mediocre. Focussing with better lenses is good, but definitely not as advanced as the competitors. One real niggle has been the flash system. Using Sigma's expensive flash I have yet to get consistently good exposures unless I was using studio flash and, again, hand metering.

    I can't comment on the SD-14 because I haven't used on and couldn't see any great advantage over the SD-10. I don't seem the image sensor at pseudo 14 being a big deal (after all, my G11 is backed down to 10 from 14 so Canon thought that might be a good idea). Nevertheless, Sigma could have improved a great deal on the sensor in the supporting electronics and firmware by controlling noise better and refining. Time will tell. Afterall, Kodachrome didn't change substantially for decades.

    My feelings on the Sigma remain, if you can buy it at a good price and live with the limitations, it's a very satisfactory camera. If you are going to earn your living as a photographer--I'd look elsewhere for a lot of reasons.

    S van Scoyoc at 02:48pm on Wednesday, January 27, 2010

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