The Sigma SD1 is now scheduled for a June availability. This DSLR features an all-new APS-C Foveon X3 sensor with around 15 million full-color photosite. Technical details on the SD1 are sketchy but we already know it includes many firsts for Sigma:
- The new Foveon X3 sensor, described as having 46 megapixels based on the custom of multiplying the number of sub-pixels by three to calculate megapixels.
- 1.5X Crop APC-S size sensor rather Sigma’s traditional 1.7X crop. This brings it inline with typical DSLRs while giving a wider-field of view.
- Weather-sealed body. Sigma already has a few weather-sealed lenses to go with it. This gives it a more professional level specification.
- ISO 100-6400 at full-resolution.
- Outputs a 15 megapixels image without Bayer Interpolation with excellent sharpness due to the lack of an anti-alias filter.
The press release indicates a suggested retail price of $9700 USD. This makes it the most expensive DSLR on the market even surpassing the top-of-the-line full-frame models from Canon and Nikon, the 1Ds Mark III and D3x. Of course, neither of these claim a resolution above 25 megapixels, so the premium for such an ultra-high resolution digital camera possibly makes sense to Sigma. This price point-puts it close to the price for the medium-format Pentax 645D which features a 40 Megapixels CCD.
While this has shocked a number of people, it is worth noting that Sigma boats some of highest MSRP permiums of the industry. Take the 8-16mm F4.5-5.6 DC lens with a suggested price of $1100 is available for $699 USD at BHPhoto. This is over a 33% discount from the MSRP. Sigma is also selling 4 kits with high-performance lenses between $7359 and $8649 USD. Given these prices, I strongly suspect the ‘9‘ to be an upside-down ‘6‘… meaning the suggested price should be much closer to $6700.
Despite the prestige afforded by such a unique camera, professionals are expected to be reluctant to adopt the SD1 as it uses Sigma’s own proprietary lens mount, meaning all new lenses will be required. For an unproven system, this is a steep slope to climb or slide, depending on your perspective.