Sigma SD10
This model succeeds Sigma’s revolutionary SD9, the first digital SLR to record a full color spectrum (red, green and blue) at each pixel location. Like the SD9, the SD10 captures color with the paradigm-shifting Foveon X3 CMOS sensor, which has a filmlike three-layer structure that lets different wavelengths of light penetrate its silicon to different depths. It shares its predecessor’s high resolution, 2,268x 1,512 pixels times three-better than that of competing six-megapixel designs. We found the SD9’s output to be amazingly smooth and vibrant, but its sensor’s design constrained the amount of light reaching the lower layers, which in turn limited its top effective speed to ISO 400. The SD10 neatly solves this problem by layering a light-intensifying microlens on top of each pixel; this raises maximum speed by two stops, to ISO 1600, and also reduces image noise. Other SD10 improvements include better autofocus; longer time exposures at all ISOs; power from one battery set instead of two; wireless TTL autoflash using two EF-500 DG Super dedicated flashes; and autoexposure compensation in finer, 1/3-stop increments. In addition, the SD10’s new Photo Pro 2.0 software now recognizes embedded image parameters in its proprietary X3F-format RAW files-the camera still won’t shoot JPEGs-and includes a “Fill Light” feature for increasing shadow detail after the fact. About $1,100.