New Gear: Sigma SD1 Flagship DSLR

PHOTOKINA: The new boss in Sigma's DSLR line comes with a seriously upgraded Foveon X3 sensor.

sigma sd1 main

sigma sd1 main

FROM OUR EDITORS AT PHOTOKINA: In 2011, Sigma will be celebrating their company's 50th anniversary and they're bringing a brand new pro-grade DSLR to the party.

The SD1 is powered by Sigma's familiar Foveon X3 sensor, but they have bumped the size of it to 24x16mm, which makes it a true APS-C and also drops the crop factor to 1.5 from 1.7. They have also seriously cranked up the resolution, giving each layer about 15.3 megapixels (4,800×3,200) for a grand total of 46-megapixels. That's a huge step up from the 14.45-megapixel count of the previous model, the SD15.

Image processing is handled by the TRUE II image processing engine, which they say makes the camera faster while producing "richly granduated tones." That's paired with a new 11 point twin cross sensor AF system and a 3-inch 460,000 dot TFT display to make this a very worthy recpient of Sigma's flagship status.

Even the weathersealing has been stepped up, using a magnesium alloy body and O-ring sealed connections to keep out dust and moisture at all times.

While it has been clear for a while that Sigma has faith in the three-layered Foveoon sensor design — they did buy the company back in 2008 — now it seems they're starting to realize its full potential. The increased size and resolution should only act to increase the color accuracy and image depth, as the Foveon was already doing well at lower resolutions.

Sigma gave us a very tentative release date of February 2011, but don't be too surprised if that's shifted around a little before the final product hits shelves.