Sigma SD1, Buying your Dream SLR Camera

July 5, 2011

The long awaited Sigma SD1 is now in-stock in various distributors in the US. The new Sigma SD1 is Sigma’s flagship camera. It utilizes a brand new 15.3-megapixel (effective) Foveon X3 APS-C sensor.  It is being sold at $6,899 on B&H Photo (6/7/2011). As with its availability, the same debate has been raised, does it worth the high price that Sigma is asking for it?

Sigma SD1 SLR Camera

Sigma SD1, how much are you willing to pay for it?

The Sigma SD1 main attraction is the Foveon X3 sensor. Without it, I don’t think many people would have considered purchasing a Sigma camera. Why? Simply because Canon and Nikon have better cameras, lens selection and a wide range of accessories. However, after viewing some sample images on Carl Rytterfalk blog and downloading some Raw files and viewed them locally, I was quite impressed with the image quality. Some people on dpreview, including Carl Rytterfalk (Sigma Photographer and a member of the Sigma community)  himself recommended Silkypix pro 5 for processing the SD1 Raw file images. It seems that Silkypix pro 5 does a better job than the Sigma Photo Pro 5.0 raw conversion software, at least when it comes to sharpening results. You can see the difference yourself and observe how the sharpness differs between the two Raw conversion software.

Download Sigma Photo Pro 5.0 from here
Download Silkypix Pro 5 from here (Japanese website)

The Silkypix Pro 5 is available in its beta version in the Japanese version and will soon be available in English, according to website.

So you might as well be debating whether you should invest your money in this camera or wait for Nikon or Canon to show up their top guns (ie. Canon 5D Mark II, Nikon D800, Nikon D4s). The Sigma SD1 is far away from being  affordable as many photographers expect it to be. In fact, for $1700 less you can buy the Nikon D3s. So from what I can tell, people who buy the Sigma SD1 are those who really know how to appreciate or need its fantastic image quality.

I must admit that everything from composing your image, converting and editing it with photo editing software, all of this is pure enjoyment. I am talking from an enthusiast photographer perspective. I’m sure that there are many studio photographers who have been anxiously waiting for the SD1 to arrive. Before the SD1 was announced, and I’ve seen sample images of it, I was looking at SD15 images and I was blown away by its image quality. The pictures were tack sharp and the dynamic range was just superb.

The only problem with the SD15 was its IQ in high ISO. The SD1 improved upon the SD15 in this manner.  The only reason that I personally have decided not to purchase this camera was because of its high price. Nevertheless, this camera is certainly a worthy upgrade from the SD15 and SD14.  Some people might afford to buy it, but many Sigma photographers will stay ‘out of the picture’ because they just afford one. I feel sorry for those who cannot afford it.  They have been loyal Sigma customers for many years. They have waited years to see Sigma coming with such an excellent camera. They believe in Sigma and its vision – but now, all they left with is a bog disappointment. For them, the SD1 will be a camera to dream about. The one camera that they always wanted to hold in their hands (Am I being too emotional, not really, I can really understand how you feel).

If you can afford it and really want the Sigma SD1, you can buy the Sigma SD1 from B&H photo here.

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