Sigma SD1 to Cost $9,700 in June and Take Title as Priciest APS-C DSLR

Sigma announced today that its flagship SD1 DSLR will be available starting in June 2011 with a hefty price tag of $9,700. The unique thing about the camera compared to its competitors is the 15MP Foveon sensor that uses 3 stacked sensors, giving each photo 46 million pixels of color data — this supposedly helps provide sharper pictures, truer colors, and fewer artifacts compared to traditional sensors (but also means 45MB Raw files). The camera will shoot at 5fps, use 11 autofocus points, and have a 3-inch LCD screen.

Sigma is reportedly targeting existing medium format shooters with this camera, but the sensor had better be out of this world to justify shelling out nearly 10K on a 1.5x crop factor 15MP DSLR, since photographers can pick up the 40-megapixel medium-format Pentax 645D for the same price.

Update: Sigma has released a number of sample photos here. Be patient with the site though — it seems to be under a heavy load.

  • Brad Trent

    $10 Grand for only 15MP, a limited lens lineup and a 1.5x crop factor besides? They must be smokin’ the good shit at Sigma, ‘cuz unless that Foveon chip has hypnotic powers that will lull prospective buyers into a dream state, I can’t imagine anybody lining up for this thing. 

  • Anonymous

    Sigma offers 50 lenses for their camera mount, so the size of the lens lineup isn’t really a problem in my opinion.

    Foveon really is nice, but I agree that it is probably not $10k nice.

  • Paul Pomeroy

     Not sure what your source was on this. Their site shows it with a 30mm f/1.4 kit lens at $7359. (possible, I suppose, that the price there is not US$ but there’s no indication it isn’t.

  • Brad Trent

    I was an early believer that Foveon chips would be an industry leader, but that never panned out, and ‘limited’ probably wasn’t the right word to use when describing the stellar selection of Sigma glass…..but if I was gonna pay $10 Grand for a body, I would want either ‘Canon’ or ‘Nikon’ or ‘Schneider’ stamped on the damned lenses!

  • Michael Zhang

     It’s the price they give in the press release put out today:

    Not sure what’s going on with that page…

  • Mark Fiorani

    I was an early adopter of the Foveon Sensor, the image was really awesome, but the noise and super slow speed of the imaging processor turned me off. Also, JPeg had weird color on the reds. 

  • Wing Wong

    I’m still failing to see the point of the SD# line from Sigma… sure, triple layer sensor can produce better images, but only if the algorithms managing the data are up to snuff. Depending on what you are shooting or what your goals are… that’s ALOT of nice rentals…

    The problem with Sigma’s “our sensors are actually 3x resolution” claim is that the resulting image is still only a 15MP image. It’s perhaps a much cleaner 15MP image, but 15MP nonetheless. Rezzing it up in-camera or with their processing software is still software interpolation.  One could potentially just get a 24MP bayer-filtered APS-C DSLR (Sony/Nikon/Canon) and rez up to 45MP as well. The difference is that with the bayer-filtered bodies, you also get the better handling, ergonomics, higher iso, fps, lens selection, etc.

    Like others, I was cheering the foveon sensor when it was first announced, when it was a module you attached to your laptop. It promised amazing images. However, the technology never delivered. There are issues with stacking, ie. light sensitivity and color response curves. It is also much more expensive to build a sensor like that vs the normal cmos/ccd and even compared to BSI sensors.

    But who knows, maybe this is the iteration that will bring them to the forefront. Not holding my breath though.

  • Ughridk

     I would never buy this thing. But if the result is as high as the price, I would imagine wildlife photographers using this camera with the Sigma Big Bertha (200-500mm f/2.8) with the 2x extender. It will give a 1600mm focal length (35mm equivalent) in 45 Mpx!!!

  • Leonidas

     i want one 

  • Zxz


  • Anonymous

     Man that Foveon sensor better be amazing. It’s not like Sigma to demand such a big price tag.

  • Justshootmeimaging

     This is a waste of R&D money for Sigma. If you want to talk $10K, I choose Canon’s FF or Pentax Medium Format, or the Leica Rangefinder.  They are putting themselves in “high cotton” with this price.  Pretty ballsy for a company that never really established themself as a player in the camera market.  Sigma should have priced it around $1500, and focused on flooding the market and realizing increased revenue in the sales of their proprietary lens mounts.  I’m not usually one to predict the end of the world (LOL), but for Sigma it may be near if they have pissed enough people off with this crap move. We waited months for the release of this news…and for what??!!  To conclude that Sigma has lost its mind. And don’t be fooled by the sample images. Every manufacturer produces crystal clear images to display on the net.  I’m out.  Canon 60D here I come.  Sigma I had $2K saved for you…now you get nada!!!!! 

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  • Cfischer

    At $2,000, I would have my order already in.  At $2,500, I would have may have paused.  At $3,000, I may not have ordered the camera.  At $6,899 (B&H real price) I will have to win one.  It could have been a game changer.

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  • Eric

    Interesting, the thing is: Does Foveon deliver in terms of a “non-interpolated” true color image using a single pop? If so, I dont care about pixel counts, handling, frames per sec, sensor size, slowness of processor, etc….it now competes with scanning backs ($20K+) and multipop medium format backs ($40K+).
    Sooo….the question is “Does Foveon deliver on that?”

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  • Guest

    Actually, considering the quality I think that is a reasonable price, I love the image it produces, it has such a unique organic look, almost bought a DP2 Quattro just for the amazing portraits you can shoot with it. A SD1 tat can use all my canon lenses would be perfect (or e-mount lenses because I have started to move to a7s / a7r last week)

    Stop looking at numbers at look at the images it produces, nothing comes close to this, well maybe a nikon 810 but Canon.. yes my canons, look like video compared to this camera.