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Sigma's SD1 (Flagship) Foveon Camera - Prices tumble
  • Sigma seems to be finally generating attention for its Foveon range of cameras - so much the better if it generates for them the cash they'll needed for R&D if we ever want to see faster Foveon cameras.

    Many understand the Foveon advantage: you can get a prize-winning, unforgettable picture, just once in a while, because of the aesthetic edge the sensor gives. The processors are slow; you'll have to convert the RAW to get that super-real look. You wait up to 6 seconds for the camera to write to its SD card. There's no video.

    ( I can imagine the Hitler-in-bunker subtitles film excerpt where the fuhrer invites all who want fast, cheap cameras with video to leave the room - and only two remain. This then, is for those two of us remaining in the bunker ;-)

    The ~$600 DP1,2 and 3 series (Merril) produce fixed-lens shots which look as good as the (previously around $10,000) SLR Sigma SD1

    Now there are the newer, boxy looking Dp' s in the ring as well- with pretty much the same sensor/processor as the big SD1. So nobody much bought the expensive SD1 one unless they were rich - or else sure of a certain job or shoot which would recoup the purchase price in one go - as well as come up with the winning shots.

    But that's chanced recently; The same, once £5,3000 / $11,000 SD1 has starting popping up for sale at prices down by around 85% Off Now as low as$AUD1,400 !! (US$1250) Time to compare them again!



    Both the Sigma DP2m and SD1 are fine cameras which appeal to different target groups and which reach top forms under different conditions. The DP2m is a compact camera capable of astonishing image quality – the full format for the jacket pocket, so to speak. This compactness comes with disadvantages as well, lenses cannot be changed, one has to make do with a fixed normal focal length. The SD1 is equipped with the same Foveon sensor and performs similarly, but having a lens mount, it provides the possibility of changing lenses in order to be all geared up for any motif whatsoever. What happens, however, if one mounts the Sigma 30mm f1.4 onto the SD1, thus creating equal opportunities (as much as this is even possible with such different cameras) and let them compete against each other.

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  • The advantage ofthe SD1 camera is its exchangeable lenses (it's an SLR). Then we have to ask ourselves, is it worth investing in Sigma SA-Mount lenses? or forego the auto-focus and use adapters for our existing lenses?

    M42 -> Sigma SA-mount or even Hasselblad -SA adapters are readily available, but what chances are there for our beloved Samyang primes on an SD1?

    Or should we go so far as to even modify lenses?

    Some Sigma DSLR users have become adept at converting high quality manual focus lenses to fit the SA-mount. One such user in the UK has successfully converted Nikon, Contax Carl Zeiss, Minolta MD, Canon FL and FD lenses to fit the SA-mount. (Wikipedia)

  • With the Aussie dollar tumbling also - and a possible bigger sensor SD1-successor on its way, I've bit the bullet and ordered one of the increasingly rare, heavy and little understood, Japanese SD1's.

    At least I'm one user who knows exactly what it can do for me: that Foveon look: my one-in-a-hundred prize-winner images will increase to just one-in-maybe-thirty, thanks to zoom lenses and a viewfinder.

    I'll post a pic. Soon - but don't hold your breath (one-in-thirty-wise).

  • OK so here's a quick comparison of GH2 and Sigma SD1 with same lens: (note that the SA-Mount Sigma 17-50 only works in manual mode on the GH2 with SA-m4/3 adapter). That was as good as I could get a manual focus at f/8.0 - I'll try something else with plenty of light.

    GH2 1st, SD1 2nd