Is this a joke?

Sigma announce the SD1. From Dpreview:- $9700 or £6200. Sigma are claiming it is a 45MP Medium Format camera!!

This is frankly ridiculous. Firstly, its not a medium-format camera, Secondly, its actually a 15MP camera because thats the size of the files, Thirdly, its more expensive than a Leica M9 and I really want to see some samples that demonstate its better than that, Fourthly you have to use Sigma lenses on it, great value but hardly the best.

I used a Sigma SD14 and while if you shot multi-panoramas with it, it produced a decent file size, if you didn't they were very small and the equivalent of a 4MP camera, which interpolated very badly. The panoramas I created with it were good but they weren't that good. The colour was nice and they were quite sharp because of the lack of an an anti-aliasing filter, but again they weren't that sharp.

The results that I got from my Leica M8 were every bit as sharp, had equally good colour and were genuine 10MP files.

If the SD1 can't produce results that are genuinely the equivalent of a medium-format back or an M9 then it will get slaughtered, which strikes me as counter-productive because Foveon technology is interesting.

Finally, just who is going to buy this? I'm absolutely the target market for this and there's no way I'm paying £6200 for it. If it produced the same results as a Leica S1 or a Pentax 645D, which I suspect it will struggle to do, then I still wouldn't buy it. I can pretty much get the same results as those two camera by shooting multi-images on the M9, and in the case of the 645D, better results. I'm really shocked by this and keep thinking that the mistake will be corrected.

UPDATE is a site with some samples. Its working very slowly at the moment however. The files look sharp and the colours are good, but there's a great landscape that has really soft edges, showing the problems with the lenses you have to use. The results are certainly way better than the SD14, but they are still 15MP pictures in terms of resolution. Also everything is shot at ISO 100, and you ask the question why haven't they posted higher ISO images. Certainly the SD14 was only good at base ISO, anything higher was very disappointing. I would have happily paid £2000 for this camera that produces results like this, as its very suitable for what I do. However three times that is ridiculous. As someone said in the Dpreview forum. What have they been smoking?


Having looked at the sample images on an iMac 27" screen I'm not sure I would pay £2000 for this camera after all. Looked at big on a very sharp screen, there's something a bit "plastic" about the files. Viewed small they look sensational, but once you view at a larger size they are not so impressive. As before with the SD14 I don't think they interpolate very well either. I blew a couple up to around 71MB and compared them with similarly upsized Leica M9 files, and the latter looked superb, easily better than Sony a850 files, the Sigma files lost all their bite.

I do realise these are only jpgs, but Sigma have always put wonderful samples on their websites, and indeed their samples convinced me to buy an SD14.

Overall this has to be a huge mistake. Its clearly not a medium-format camera. How on earth can a 1.5 crop sensor be medium-format? Its not even up to the quality of a top of the range DSLR and its more expensive than anything else on the market at its level. It looks to me like the price charged is a reflection of just how much its cost them to develop this, which must have been very difficult and very expensive. Maybe they shouldn't have bothered. Sony are proving just what you can do with a Bayer sensor and the advantages, if there are any anymore, of the Foveon are being eroded.

I spent some time on the Dpreview Sigma forum and I've never seen such disappointment and anger. Every single post condemns the company for this pricing disaster and its obvious that people were waiting in great anticipation for what this camera might produce. Many I think would have been happy at what it produces if the price was realistic. I think Sigma are about to set some kind of precedent. How to loose your core market at a single stroke and at the same time fail to attract any new customers whatsoever. If they are still making cameras in two years time I'll be very surprised.