Summary: The Sigma SD1 Merrill is a DSLR produced by Sigma Corporation, a well-known Japanese firm that specializes in creating lenses for other camera manufacturers. However, Sigma also produces digital cameras, such as the DP2 Merrill that was recently reviewed on our site.
Conclusion: The Sigma SD1 Merrill is built around the uniquely designed image sensor, but a high price, sluggish performance and a time-intensive Raw workflow make it a difficult sell to all but the most devoted Foveon disciples.
Pros: Excellent build quality. High-quality viewfinder. Good control layout. Unique sensor design. Infrared shooting capability.
Cons: Expensive. Sluggish performance. Subpar LCD. Substandard JPG output. Difficult Raw workflow. No video support.
Excerpt: The latest DSLR camera from Sigma Corporation is the SD1 Merrill, named for Richard “Dick” Merrill, inventor of the X3F CMOS chip, which uses a type of layering that splits light into red, green, and blue at every one of the 4,800×3,200 photo sites on the sensor.
Pros: Medium-format color and resolution at a DSLR price
Cons: Doesn’t offer live view or video capture capabilities
Summary: The SD1 is a no-frills SLR with a very basic feature set that offers exceptional image quality at low ISOs (100-400). However, it's let down by slow file write times and erratic control behaviour during this process.
Pros: Exceptional image quality at low ISO, especially in Raw mode, Very good build quality (including weatherproofing), Straightforward operation, with external controls for all key functions, Large, clear viewfinder, Excellent grip, extremely comfortable to shoot for extended sessions, Near-perfect i...
Cons: Extremely slow file write speeds, with erratic control behaviour while writing, Poor image quality at high ISO, with green and purple colour blotching in shadows, Evaluative metering somewhat prone to highlight clipping, Overly-conservative highlight clipping warning (can encourage underexposure)...
Excerpt: The SD1 is Sigma’s new flagship SLR system. It uses a brand new sensor with Foveon technology and a nominal resolution of 14.8 MP. This means that the camera is able to record RGB information for every single pixel.
Excerpt: By Michael Reichmann, with the assistance of Nick Devlinand the participation of Laurence Matson TheSigma SD1is that company's long-awaited APS-C sized camera using a Foveon X3 sensor. The camera was first shown at Photokina in late 2010 and started to ship in June, 2011.
Excerpt: The Foveon X3 Sensor
First announced at Photokina in September, 2010, theSigma SD1has finally become a reality. Scheduled to ship in early June at a MSLP ofUS $9,700 the SD1 is Sigma's new flagship model and features the largest and highest resolution Foveon sensor yet.
Summary: We were really excited to get hold of the Sigma SD1 Merrill, it's a lovely camera to hold and you can feel the workmanship that's gone into it. The magnesium alloy body ensures rigidity and the weather sealing means you don't have to rush out of the rain.
Summary: Now a fraction of its original price, but is a revolutionary sensor enough?
Pros: Excellent IQ at low ISOs, Images contain bags of detail, Robust build, The camera delivers on its picture quality promise at low ISO settings and, despite its lower 'true' resolution, it has the potential to outshine cameras with bigger sensors.
Cons: Frustratingly slow write times, Noise at high ISO, No live view or video, Sigma raw software slow, Images may be sharp, but the performance in other areas isn't. Picture noise debuts at lower ISO settings than we'd like, and the slow processing/write times can be crippling. There's no live view e...