Feeds
75%
Sigma SD1 Merill DSLR camera

Sigma SD1 Merill 46Mp DSLR

Cut-price, hi-res hot shot

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Remote control for virtualized desktops

Dare to be different

That said, there is one feature that will surely meet the favour of most photographers: the SD1’s ability to produce infrared images straight out of the box. The SD1’s unique personality shows in the clever idea of placing the IR filter, which also doubles as dust filter, at the front of the lens mount in a position where it can easily be removed to produce infrared images, something no other mainstream camera I know of can do.

Sigma SD1 Merill DSLR camera

Just a few lenses...

The SD1 ships with its own supplied software – Sigma Photo Pro – to process its X3F RAW files, which is an integral and essential part of the imaging system of the camera. The software is not very user-friendly to start with or very fast either, but it complements the camera’s image output brilliantly and is capable of fixing some of the issues affecting native files.

For example, the raw processor is capable to recover almost all the highlight details lost in the above mentioned overexposure problem and to perfectly convert the infrared shots, taken with the filter removed, into quirky Black and White images.

Sigma SD1 Merill DSLR camera

A unique sensor with unique characteristics – ideal for photographers with unique talents

Sigma uses its own lens mount, which means that the SD1 is only compatible with Sigma lenses. These are plentiful though – over 40 to choose from – and usually of very good construction, so the brand-specific mount should not be too much of a problem. I tested the DS1 with the Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8 EX DC OS HSM lens which is a very decent standard zoom. Enjoying a f/2.8 constant aperture and a smooth zooming operation it is a solid and useful optic.

Battery life is nothing to write home about and considering the lack of video mode or Live View it is far shorter than I expected with less than 200 hundred shots per charge.

Verdict

So what’s the final word? Is the Sigma SD1 worth the premium price tag it carries and the attention of professional and enthusiast photographers? There is actually no definitive answer to these questions. For landscape and studio photographers the SD1 will be an outstanding, unique camera worth every single penny.

But for most other photographers the numerous limitations of this camera will outnumber the advantages of the Foveon sensor and the superior image quality it delivers at low ISO. At best the SD1 will be a sought-after niche product but for all its weakness I truly believe it could be a great investment for the right photographer and I commend Sigma for trying walking a different path. ®

Catherine Monfils is a professional photographer specialising in portraiture, lifestyle and fashion.

More Camera Reviews…

Lytro
Light field
camera
Canon
PowerShot G1 X
Sony
NEX-7
Nikon
One V1
Hasselblad
H4D-200MS
200Mp camera

Intelligent flash storage arrays

75%
Sigma SD1 Merill DSLR camera

Sigma SD1 Merill 46Mp DSLR

DSLR camera with a unique sensor technology that notches up 46Mp images.
Price: £1840 (body only) RRP

More from The Register

next story
Hi-torque tank engines: EXTREME car hacking with The Register
Bentley found in a hedge gets WW2 lump insertion
What's MISSING on Amazon Fire Phone... and why it WON'T set the world alight
You fought hard and you saved and earned. But all of it's going to burn...
Trousers down for six of the best affordable Androids
Stylish Googlephones for not-so-deep pockets
Download alert: Nearly ALL top 100 Android, iOS paid apps hacked
Attack of the Clones? Yeah, but much, much scarier – report
Fujitsu CTO: We'll be 3D-printing tech execs in 15 years
Fleshy techie disses network neutrality, helmet-less motorcyclists
prev story

Whitepapers

Go beyond APM with real-time IT operations analytics
How IT operations teams can harness the wealth of wire data already flowing through their environment for real-time operational intelligence.
10 threats to successful enterprise endpoint backup
10 threats to a successful backup including issues with BYOD, slow backups and ineffective security.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Website security in corporate America
Find out how you rank among other IT managers testing your website's vulnerabilities.