Sigma SD1

September 21, 2010 | Mark Goldstein | Digital SLR Cameras | 7 Comments | |
News image

The Sigma SD1 digital SLR features a 46 megapixel 24×16mm APS-C X3 direct image sensor. The 46 megapixel (4,800×3,200×3 layers) X3 image sensor used in the Sigma SD1 captures all primary RGB colours at each and every pixel location, ensuring the capture of full and complete colour. The SD1 is Sigma’s flagship digital SLR model, adopting a lightweight yet solid magnesium alloy for its body and O-ring sealing connections to make a weather-resistant design. Other key features of the SD1 DSLR include TYPE I CF Card support, 11 point twin cross sensor AF, and a 3.0 inch TFT colour monitor.

Sigma Press Release
SD1 Digital SLR Camera

Flagship digital SLR with 46 megapixel Foveon X3 sensor

The Sigma Corporation is pleased to announce the new SIGMA SD1 Digital SLR Camera, incorporating a 46 megapixel 24×16mm APS-C X3 direct image sensor. The SIGMA SD1 is Sigma’s flagship digital SLR model, adopting a lightweight yet solid magnesium alloy for its body and O-ring sealing connections to make a weather-resistant design throughout for use in harsh conditions.

The SIGMA SD1 incorporates a 24×16mm APS-C X3 direct image sensor and dual “TRUE (Three-layer Responsive Ultimate Engine) II” image processing engines. The combination of the 46 megapixel sensor and dual TRUE II processing engines ensure the high resolution images are processed quickly with high definition and smooth and subtle graduation of colour. The SD1 is SIGMA’s latest digital SLR camera which meets high requirements of professional and enthusiast photographers for all types of photography.

SD1 Special site:

Product Summary

46 megapixel 24×16mm APS-C X3 Full-colour image sensor
The 46 megapixel (4,800×3,200×3 layers) 24×16mm APS-C X3 direct image sensor featured in the Sigma SD1 captures all primary RGB colours at each and every pixel location, ensuring the capture of full and complete colour. Using three silicon-embedded layers of photo detectors, stacked vertically to take advantage of silicon’s ability to absorb red, green and blue light at different respective depths, it efficiently reproduces colour more accurately, and offers sharper resolution, pixel for pixel, than any conventional image sensor. Since colour moiré is not generated, the use of a low-pass filter is not required, meaning light and colour, generated by the 46 megapixel APS-C X3 direct image sensor, is captured with a three-dimensional feel.

Dual TRUE II image processing engine
The SD1 incorporates a dual “TRUE (Three-layer Responsive Ultimate Engine) II” image processing engine which improves the processing speed and overall quality of the final image. The unique image-processing algorithm provides high resolution power and reproduces high definition images with richly graduated tones. 

CF card
The SD1 adopts the TYPE I CF Card. This camera is compatible with UDMA Mode6, enabling fast processing of large amounts of data.
* It is not possible to use Microdrives and TYPE II CF cards.

11 point twin cross sensor
The autofocus system features an 11 point twin cross sensor. The shifted twin cross type sensor improves AF accuracy.

Magnesium body
The Sigma SD1 adopts a lightweight yet solid magnesium alloy body designed to withstand rough use and shocks in harsh conditions.
Weather-resistant design
Buttons and connections benefit from O-ring sealings to prevent dust and water getting inside the camera body.

Large, highly visible 3.0” TFT colour LCD Monitor
The SD1 camera features a 3.0 inch TFT colour monitor. This 460,000 pixel resolution LCD monitor benefits from a wide viewing angle, making it easy to check focusing and composition.

Optional lenses
The SD1 can be used with over 40 Sigma lenses such as ultra-wide, ultra-telephoto, macro and fisheyes which adopt the latest technology such as FLD and SLD glass, Aspherical lenses, Sigma’s unique Optical Stabiliser function, Hyper Sonic Motor and Sigma’s Super Multi Layer Coating. They meet the various and demanding requirements of all types of photographers.


Format Interchangeable lens SLR camera
Storage Media Compact Flash (Type I, UDMA compatible)
Image Sensor Size 24×16mm
Lens Mount SIGMA SA bayonet mount
Compatible Lenses SIGMA SA mount interchangeable lenses
Angle of View Equivalent to approx. 1.5 times the focal length of the lens (for 35mm cameras)
Image Sensor X3 direct image sensor (CMOS)
Effective Pixels 46MP (4,800×3,200×3 layers)
Aspect Ratio 3 : 2
Viewfinder Typ Pentaprism SLR viewfinder
Viewfinder Frame Coverage 98% vertical, 98% horizontal
Viewfinder Magnification 0.95x (50mmF1.4 - ?)
Eye point 18mm
Diopter Adjustment Range -3.0 dpt - +1.5 dpt
Auto Focus Type TTL phase difference detection system
AF Point 11 points twin cross sensor
AF Operating Range EV -2 to +19 (ISO100)
Focus Mode Single AF, Continuous AF (with AF motion prediction function), Manual
Focusing Screen Fixed, all matt screen
Mirror Quick return
Depth of Field Preview Depth of field preview button
AF Point Selection Automatic Selection, Manual Selection
Active AF point indicator Superimposed in viewfinder
Focus Lock Shutter Release Halfway-Down position
Built-in Flash Manual Pop-up Built-in flash, GN11 (17mm lens angle covered)
Flash Metering System S-TTL Auto Flash
Flash Compensation ±3EV (1/3 stop increments)
Compatible Flashguns EF-610 DG SUPER, EF-610 DG ST, EM-140DG
Sync Terminal Available
Flash Connectivity Hot shoe (contact X synchronization at 1/180 sec. or less, with dedicated flash linking contact)
LCD Monitor Type : TFT colour LCD monitor, Monitor Size : 3.0”, LCD Pixels : Approx. 460,000
Dimensions 145.5 mm/5.7” (W) × 112.5 mm/4.4”(H) × 80.0 mm/3.1”
Weight TBA
* The appearance and specifications are subject to change without notice.

Tracker Pixel for Entry

Your Comments

7 Comments | Newest Oldest First | Post a Comment

#1 French country furniture

SD1 captures all primary RGB colours at each and every pixel location, ensuring the capture of full and complete colour, and its looks so cool also it has many good features Magnesium body, Optional lenses, 11 point twin cross sensor and many more, so i think this is going rock.

2:23 pm - Tuesday, September 21, 2010

#2 Bill McToff

Yeah, being as you could interpolate the image to double size and still retain the pixel detail of a Bayer they need to cram the new sensor into the DP series!

3:45 pm - Tuesday, September 21, 2010

#3 Antony Shepherd

Good to see the Foveon sensor has had some further development - would have been nice to see a full frame version, though.

Hopefully the new sensor will find its way into a DP-3, pitched against the MFT brigade!

4:30 pm - Tuesday, September 21, 2010

#4 Tim Welch

The quality of the current foveon image is beyond doubt when not interpolated up to double size, but this is achieved by having a dot pitch of 10 microns coupled with full spectrum colour capture. At 15 megapixels over 24x16 mm the dot pitch will be around 5 microns or a little less. This kind of information density will test a lens to a far greater extent, explore it's limitations with ruthless effectiveness. It says a great deal for the confidence Sigma has in it's optics, particularly since no-one else makes lenses in the Sigma mount. While Canon and other top manufacturers are going backwards in their build quality Sigma is still going forwards, the planned specifications for the SD1 will make it a direct competitor for the very best models available from Canon and Nikon. But only the best EX lenses will satisfy this sensor's demand for accurate detail. I thank Sigma for their commitment to Foveon technology and to build quality despite sales figures which put this marque into the 'boutique' category of cameras. I shall not hesitate to order mine as soon as it becomes available.

12:31 am - Sunday, September 26, 2010

#5 Jonny Kant

Tim Welch says that the current (SD15..) pixel pitch is 10 microns. In fact it is 7.8 microns according to Foveon's website.

5 micron for the new sensors : this is what I've read.

Limitation of optics ? IMO, since the lens will send an image on a surface with 15,3 million of pixels, this should be less demanding for a lens than the new Nikon D7000 - 16,2MP, the Pentax K5 - 16.3MP or the Canon EOS 60D with its 18MP sensor. Less demanding + much better image quality (I hope so) !

4:08 am - Monday, October 4, 2010

#6 Mark Pinder

£6000 for an APS c chipped sensor? The Foveon chip might be good, but one thing that differentiates MF or full frame aesthetic from APS is the depth of field charectiristic and you aint gonna get that from this.

Anyone in this market with this kind of money is going to pay the extra for a phase one/Hasselblad/Mamiya. Obviously, I may be wrong, but I sincerely think that had the camera been £1500 or £2000, there might have been a market, but £6000 for an APSc sized chip? If it was a Hasselblad branded product, there might have been takers from a few buyers after the name cachet, but Sigma?

2:03 pm - Friday, May 20, 2011

#7 Tom Rose

Mark Pinder: APS-C suits this camera better than full frame. The more closely spaced photosites gives a higher Nyquist frequency. As the camera is now (2015) affordably priced it should now have the market you envisioned.

Also, I do not understand why you think it is okay to pay over the odds for something from Hasselblad, yet not for Sigma. Overcharging is overcharging. The name of the company does not alter that. In any case Sigma today is producing far better goods than (say) 20 years ago.

The biggest problem I have had with conventional (Bayer Sensor) cameras is that reds often look fuzzier than they ought to. Obviously that is because only one in four photosites captures red data, whereas twice as many capture green and no amount of clever de-mosaicing can fully compensate for the lack of information. Strangely the problem does not appear with Blue. In any case, I am sure that this is one of the main factors, and probably more important than the amount of sharp detail, that makes Foveon images look so real.

11:15 am - Wednesday, January 28, 2015