Sigma SD1 Packs a 46 Megapixel Sensor but Forgets Video

Apparently Sigma worked so hard on ensuring image and build quality on its new flagship SD1 DSLR that they forgot that overlooked the fact that video recording is pretty much a standard feature on new DSLRs these days. We forgive them, because they’ve included a 46-megapixel Foveon sensor that uses 3 stacked sensors of 15.3 megapixels each to capture red, green, and blue light. The resulting images are 15.3 megapixels in size with color resolution that’s superior to traditional sensors.

The camera also has a rugged magnesium alloy build, a 3-inch LCD screen, 11 autofocus points, 98 percent and viewfinder coverage. It’ll arrive in February next year at a price that has yet to be announced. If you’re looking for a rugged DSLR and don’t care about things like Live View or video recording, then you might want to add the SD1 to your list.

  • AB

    Screw video

  • Daniel Fisher

    Ditto. I think I’ve used Video on my D300s maybe once or twice. Who needs it?

  • Christoph

    What a stupid comment about a new camera. Was there nothing else you could think of than “missing” video?

  • Ante Vukorepa

    It didn’t “forget” video.
    Real time color space conversion from Foveon to RGB just isn’t feasible and probably won’t be for quite a while. It’s just too CPU intensive. The Foveon color space is highly non-linear.

  • Ante Vukorepa

    Maybe it’s just me, but the standard of Petapixel news posts is rapidly deteriorating…

  • Onyo

    They didn’t forget. It’s a still camera, not a video camera. I hope other major manufacturers follow Sigma’s lead.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t think there’s a lead to follow. Frankly, video is here to stay, except for very specialized cameras, and this qualifies as such. So far, I’ve yet to see a convincing case where the quality or usability of a digital still camera suffered or was compromised because of adding video recording. In many cases, video is tucked away well enough such that a still photographer wouldn’t notice it’s a feature there without being told.

  • Michael Zhang

    Thanks for the feedback guys, and for caring enough about PetaPixel to tell us when you think posts suck ;-)

    We try to convey key facts about new gear that the bulk of our readers would like to know, since there are so many sites online that dive into all the super technical specifications (e.g. dpreview). Since there’s a HD video craze going on now in the DSLR industry, we thought the fact that this “flagship” DSLR didn’t have it was interesting and worth highlighting for our readers.

  • Justin

    Having tried a Foveon myself I take serious exception to the portrayal of a 4 megapixel camera as a 12 megapixel camera, just because there are three stacked pixels at every point!!!

    But a 15 real megapixel Foveon… Now that’s worth writing home about but let’s not let them get away with calling it a 35 megapixel or whatever.

    And the still/video camera distinction will be long gone in a few years. Sigma just seem to do all their foveon stuff pretty basic from what I’ve seen.

    I’d love to see this sensor on a smaller camera that isn’t built on a Nikon body…

  • Clambake

    Ditto,ditto…video on a still camera…Why? On my forays into the wilderness I haven’t seen Sasquatch once. Video superheats the sensor anyway. Not my sensor. I will have one of these pups.

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  • Anonymous

    This relates to the 46MP versus 15MP discussion.
    People get their
    panties in a bunch over Sigma saying the SD1 is a 46MP camera. They say
    that it is only a 15MP camera. Fair enough… Yes, the SD1 natively
    produces a 15MP image. The important thing, however, is it is 32 bits
    of data for each of those 15MP. The spec’d 12 bit per pixel is for each
    of the 46 Million detector sites. This is a key reason the Sigma
    images have so much richness and depth (when properly processed).

    To me, this makes the SD1’s Foveon sensor vastly superior in color
    fidelity compared to any other sensor in the consumer / pro dSLR market.

    Below are some calculations on the amount of data collected by the SD1 and some other dSLRs:

    SD1 – 4704 x 3136 x 3 Layers x 12 bits per sensel = 531,062,784 bits of measured, non-interpolated data = 64.8 MBFYI: The largest RAW file I’ve had to date was 69.4 MB

    As a comparison here are some other cams:

    D3X – 6048 x 4032 x 14 bits per sensel = 341,397,504 bits of measured, non-interpolated data = 42.7 MB

    5D Mark II – 5616 x 3744 x 14 bits per sensel = 294,368,256 bits of measured, non-interpolated data = 35.9 MB

    A77 – 6000 x 4000 x 12 bits per sensel = 288,000,000 bits of measured, non-interpolated data = 36 MB