REVIEW SNAPSHOT®

by PowerReviews
SigmaSD1 Merrill Digital SLR Camera
 
3.9

(based on 14 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (6)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (5)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (1)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (0)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (2)

79%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Good image quality (9)
  • Easy to use (7)
  • Fast shutter speed (4)
  • Image stabilization (3)
  • Quiet (3)

Cons

  • Noisy at high ISO (6)
  • Poor in low light (6)
  • Short battery life (4)

Best Uses

  • Landscape/scenery (11)
  • Travel (7)
  • Wildlife (5)
  • Family photos (4)
    • Reviewer Profile:
    • Photo enthusiast (8), Pro photographer (4)
    • Was this a gift?:
    • No (14)

Most Liked Positive Review

 

Great color rendition

So, I have this camera, and a Nikon D800. The short review is that I love this camera for color rendition on still subjects, such as flowers or scenics... even if...Read complete review

So, I have this camera, and a Nikon D800. The short review is that I love this camera for color rendition on still subjects, such as flowers or scenics... even if getting there requires jumping through the hoops of a slightly quirky camera, and Sigma's software. Outside of that niche, the D800 (or most of the other Nikon or Canon offerings) are better general purpose cameras.

The longer review, there are things I like about this camera. It is simple, which does imply a lack of features, but there is a certain elegance in having the essential photo settings easily accessed, without needing a 400+ page manual to operate the camera. The images it produces -- especially of fine textures on bright colors is at times stunning. The even resolution across all color spaces gives images what some describe as a 3D appearance.

A note on resolution -- this camera is not a 45MP camera on even footing with a 45MP bayer camera... it's also MUCH better than the 15MP spatial resolution would imply. Compared to a D800 -- well take a picture of a Zebra and the D800 will win easily, take a picture of a bottlebrush flower against a blue sky and the SD1 will win. In between, both cameras have so much resolution that it's like saying Warren Buffet has more money than Bill Gates -- both cameras have so much resolution that any difference in resolution is mostly moot. Of course if you're debating the D800 to the SD1, you should also consider that the SD1 produces very comparable images for significantly less cost, but more importantly you should look at the output of both cameras and decide which looks more pleasing... the cameras render color differently -- which is "better" is a matter of taste.

The camera does have some drawbacks... it's best at ISO 100 -- above that, the SD1 does WAY better than the SD15 did... but it's still happiest at ISO 100. The AF in my D70 of yesteryear was better (the D70 could auto select focus point -- the SD1 is pick one focus point and like it). The camera is slow to process the huge 50MB RAW files and write them to the card, and some camera functions are blocked while this happens. Last, the in camera JPGs are not in the same playing field with the processed RAW -- some would argue this is true universally, but the D800 in camera JPGS look WAY better as a matter of comparison. The short of these drawbacks is that if you shoot moving action where shutter speeds (and thus high ISO), focus speed, and agility (ability to quickly change camera settings or immediately post results) is key, this is not your camera of choice. On the other hand, if your shooting is more deliberate in pace (studio, scenic/landscape), this camera can be a viable option.

To close, one of the stock questions that is usually easily answered, is not in this case. Ultimately, I said I "would recommend this to a friend" because I would -- but in actual truth it would depend on the friend's level of photographic skill, what he intended to take pictures of, and possibly if this was going to be a primary or secondary camera. I want to be clear, that I actually am really liking this camera. I see what makes the Sigma fan base passionately love their brand. At the same time, I am not a fan boy. I will be honest -- as much as I am liking the camera, if I had to give up one of my cameras, I'd keep the D800 and lose this one. As gorgeous as the flower shots I'm getting are, the Nikon cameras are just much more versatile and rounded. Anyway, what that means to you, is that if you know why you want a Foveon camera, and understand that this is an "artsy" camera that is aimed at the deliberate and calculating photographer, I will give you a nod of affirmation that the images produced are always great, and at times awe inspiring. If you don't know why the Sigma is unique, and you're just trying to decide between this and the Nikon or Canon camera you've been researching, you probably would rather have the Nikon or Canon camera.

VS

Most Liked Negative Review

 

A Lot More

Most of my friends are not pro photographers, and this camera is not for the technically challenged.
Unfortunately, with all the Sigma lenses I own the sharpest does not justify the...Read complete review

Most of my friends are not pro photographers, and this camera is not for the technically challenged.
Unfortunately, with all the Sigma lenses I own the sharpest does not justify the resolution of the sensor. To my knowledge there are no other lens manufacturers for these cameras. With my 24 MP Nex 7 and a 90mm Leica lens, small straight lines resolve as well defined stair steps when they are not horizontal or vertical. With the SD1 and the 105mm Macro lens I get a gradual shading from light to dark. Indicating light scatter or out of focus or motion. All photos shot at 1/500 to 1/4000 second. None are detailed and sharp at enlargements over 25%.
This camera is too large to carry for long periods. Casual photographers try the compact version if you are adventurous. It's is cheaper than a Nex 7, but you can't change lenses. Full frame 8x10s are very good 25% enlargements are ok but starting to fuzz out details, and 500% enlargements show fuzzy individual tiny pixels.
Expect slow focus times if the subject is slightly closer than your last shot. The programed focus mechanism first focuses to infinity then recycles to minimum range and restarts. It seems like hours.
OH well, Live and learn. RJL

Reviewed by 14 customers

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(4 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Specialised, but great at what it does

By Tom

from The Netherlands

About Me Semi-Pro Photographer

Pros

  • Amazing Iq
  • Easy to Use
  • Fast Shutter Speed
  • Great Resolution
  • Large Clear LCD
  • Tough Professional Body
  • Weather sealing
  • Well Thought Out Controls

Cons

  • Poor in Low Light
  • Takes 8s To Write A File

Best Uses

  • Architecture
  • Landscape
  • Macro Photography
  • Studio Work
  • Travel

Comments about Sigma SD1 Merrill Digital SLR Camera:

I bought this camera to get ultimate image quality. It annoys me when people criticise it because it is only really usable up to 400 ASA (Anyone old enough to remember when we used Fuji Veliva - 50 ASA - without IS and still got sharp shots), or because it does not shoot video, or because it is slow to write to the memory card.When I want to shoot a bit of video I use my little G12. If I want to shoot fast action then I use my Canon DSLR outfit.In the SD1 you get a very tough, well built, weather-resistant body with an excellently thought out and well-placed set of controls, and a bright viewfinder with 98% coverage and very little reduction in image size.But the main advantage is the unique sensor that imitates the way that film works. As a result we get accurate colour in each of the delivered 15Mp (rather than the approximation that a Bayer-Sensor has to make) , freedom from processing artifacts like Moire patterns, and as there is no anti-aliasing filter, can make full use of the resolving power of the lenses. And those 15Mp are higher quality pixels than those from most other DSLRs. The finished images are (in my opinion) better overall than those from such high-MP-count cameras as Nikons D800 and are more comparable to those from Medium Format digital cameras.The launch price of the original SD1 ($9000 MRRP) was absurd. Now (late 2014) at $[$]it is a bargain. And second hand, for as little as £600 or even $600, it is an even better bargain.I toyed with the idea of getting the DP1, DP2 and DP3 Merrills for their lightness, but chose the SD1 for its superior handling and flexibility. With Sigma's 17mm-70mm lens I can cover the same range as the little DPn's (it is equivalent to 24mm-110mm in 35mm format). I have just the one lens, it stays on the camera all the time, and it is all I need for all the book and magazine illustrations that I make. And on the rare occasion when I really needed a 200mm or longer lens the results from a shorter focal length are so detailed that I can crop out part of it and still have a beautiful final image.As for the "poor" battery life, I get just under 300 shots from a fully charged battery - about the same number as I can store on a 16Gb CF. With a spare battery and a second 16Gb card I can make IRO 600 images in an outing. In the old days that would be 17 rolls of film ... which would cost IRO $300 in purchase and processing costs ... not something you can do every day if you are not a successful professional (or independently rich).But if you need to make more than 600 shots in a day to get enough "keepers" perhaps you are in the wrong profession, or have the wrong hobby!One final point. There is a myth that to process Foveon RAW files (.xf3) you have to use Sigmas own slow, clunky, and limited "Sigma Photo Pro", or buy yet another third party converter. It is not true. I have Lightroom 4, with no updates or plug-ins, and it process .x3f files perfectly well - at least as well as SPP.

  • Was this a gift?:
  • No

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(7 of 15 customers found this review helpful)

 
1.0

I would not recommend this camera

By constance the unhappy photographer

from montvale, va.

About Me Photo Enthusiast

Verified Reviewer

Pros

  • Small / Compact

Cons

  • Complicated Controls
  • Poor Image Quality
  • Poor Image Stabilization
  • Poor in Low Light
  • Short Battery Life
  • Un-real Colors

Best Uses

  • none

Comments about Sigma SD1 Merrill Digital SLR Camera:

SD 1 Merrill is difficult to use. There are no words on the body to tell you what to do. The worst thing is, the color it produces. The color of images is horrible. Green is recorded as grey. Pastel pink records as white. There are a lot of underexposed areas and shadows, exposures are just not right. I paid a lot of money for this camera and two lens and my previous, cheeper cameras did 100% better. I am ready to throw this camera in the trash. One good thing I can say about this camera is that when the flash is attached to the body and camera is set to auto focus, you do get a very good picture. But who uses a flash 100% of the time? Finally, the battery has a very short life. Must keep two or three batteries around.

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  • No

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(3 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

THE SHARPEST

By none

from south florida, north east

About Me Semi-pro Photographer

Pros

  • Easy To Use
  • Fast / Accurate Auto-Focus
  • Fast Shutter Speed
  • Good Image Quality
  • Good Image Stabilization
  • High ISO Performance
  • Large Clear LCD

Cons

  • Not a thing

Best Uses

    Comments about Sigma SD1 Merrill Digital SLR Camera:

    I USE SONY AND NIKON….I went to a sigma shoot and used this camera with their 24-70mm f2.8 lens…..l was astounded, i have never experienced such total clarity……….lf i wasn't heavily invested with the other brands i would have bought into Sigma's SD 1 Merrill……..

    • Ease of Operation:
    • 10
    • Was this a gift?:
    • No

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    (6 of 6 customers found this review helpful)

     
    5.0

    Incredible level of details

    By X3Man

    from Toronto, Canada

    About Me Photo Enthusiast

    Pros

    • Easy To Use
    • Good Image Quality

    Cons

    • Noisy At High ISO

    Best Uses

    • Family Photos
    • Landscape/Scenery
    • Travel
    • Wildlife photos

    Comments about Sigma SD1 Merrill Digital SLR Camera:

    Owning this camera for a year, now, I am very impressed with the level of details this camera can produce. At the price it is selling now, the IQ\price ratio is hard to beat. The IQ is up to the level of semi-pro cameras from the Canikon world.

    Of course, the camera features do not compare with those find on these higher priced cameras, but if you don't mind working a bit harder for your photos (while taking the photo and in post-production), you will be astonished sometimes by the results you'll get. At the same time, these limited features could turn out to be a plus if, like me, you slowly start to appreciate the overall easy-to-use nature of the camera. The simplicity of the SD1 has not been a drawback for me, so far.

    The body ergonomics is also greatly improved over the SD14-15 generation. Photos in low light condition has never been bad and in the rare cases of colour blotching, the problem is easily solved in Sigma PhotoPro.

    In short, the SD1 is a camera underrated that needs to be discovered. And with some of the very good lenses recently released by Sigma, prepare yourself to be blown away by the IQ of your photos, at half the price of semi-pro camera and lenses sold by other manufacturers.

    • Ease of Operation:
    • 8
    • Was this a gift?:
    • No

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    (4 of 22 customers found this review helpful)

     
    1.0

    Caveat Emptor

    By THG

    from Papua New Guinea

    About Me Photo Enthusiast

    Pros

      Cons

      • Greenpurple Blotches
      • Iffy Exposure
      • Iffy Focus
      • Innacuarate Color
      • S L O W

      Best Uses

      • Door stop

      Comments about Sigma SD1 Merrill Digital SLR Camera:

      I have owned two of these cameras. The irst bought immediately they were released and the second only a week ago.

      The first camera was a shocker. Purple and green blotches in shadow, very poor exposure, uncertain focusing and unrealistic colors.

      I got rid of it but bought another only a week ago because the forums stated Sigma had sorted out the problems.

      That is not true. The camera is still a poor performer.

      The green and purple blotches still exist as vividly as before, the focusing is no better and is still hit and miss, likewise exposure and colors are inconsistent and false. It is still as slow as cold treacle writing to card too. You can age waiting for a group of 7 shots to clear the buffer.

      If you have endless time to play with images in post processing in at least two different applications, then consider one of these things.

      If you are after consistently well exposed, well focused, accurate colored photos, and you like a high percentage of "keepers", then don't bother. It will drive you nuts.

      • Ease of Operation:
      • 2
      • Was this a gift?:
      • No

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      (13 of 14 customers found this review helpful)

       
      4.0

      Best Sigma camera ever

      By X3MAN

      from Toronto

      About Me Photo Enthusiast

      Pros

      • 2 Dials For A-s Settings
      • Easy To Use
      • Good Image Quality

      Cons

      • Huge Raw Files

      Best Uses

      • Family Photos
      • Landscape/Scenery
      • Travel
      • Wildlife photos

      Comments about Sigma SD1 Merrill Digital SLR Camera:

      This is a first impressions report; got my SD1 for 2 weeks now, with firmware 1.03.

      I own Sigma SD14 and SD15 cameras, so this SD1 is my third Sigma camera. I use Sigma cameras since 2008 and can say than the SD1 is the best one I have used so far.

      I bought the SD15 last year, believing that the SD1 was just a SD15 with a bigger sensor, and I wasn't ready to spend the extra money for a camera I thought was in no way better. But B&H was selling it recently at a special price, so I decided to give it a try. After only 2 weeks owning this SD1, I now consider buying the SD15 was a mistake.

      The SD1 is easier to use, feels more strongly built in my hands and I believe is a big step ahead for Sigma, in terms of ergonomics and easiness of use.

      PROS
      - Shutter speed and aperture have now their own dial. Much easier to use than the former C-dial on the SD14/15, that was controlling both.

      - Thought I would miss the LCD panel on top of the SD14/15 cameras. But on the SD1, all the main information is now displayed in the viewfinder, which, IMHO, is a better place to have it. And the line of information at the bottom of the viewfinder doesn't feel overloaded.

      - The menu is now organized in a more logical way and you won't feel lost if you have used previous Sigma cameras.

      - Image quality is still there, with an incredible level of details and colors. With good glass in front of it, this camera can produce amazingly sharp photos. It gives Sigma the first place again in terms of IQ/price ratio, compare to Canon, Nikon or Sony.

      - Autofocus is now way more accurate.

      CONS
      The real drawback of this camera isn't related to the body itself. I shoot 100% RAW and files are just huge. So, in post-production, you'll need a computer with a lot of chip power, otherwise, you'll have to become patient. Mine has an Intel core 2 duo and working on a RAW file with Sigma Photo Pro is real slow. Newer and faster chips are required with this camera. That is the reason why I give 4 instead of 5 stars to the camera.

      Overall, I am very pleased with the SD1 and now believe I should have bought it instead of the SD15.

      • Ease of Operation:
      • 8
      • Was this a gift?:
      • No

      Share this review

      (30 of 30 customers found this review helpful)

       
      4.0

      Great color rendition

      By Josh

      from San Jose, CA

      About Me Photo Enthusiast

      Verified Buyer

      Pros

      • Good Image Quality
      • Quiet
      • Simple Feature Set

      Cons

      • Limited Feature Set
      • Noisy At High ISO

      Best Uses

      • Landscape/Scenery

      Comments about Sigma SD1 Merrill Digital SLR Camera:

      So, I have this camera, and a Nikon D800. The short review is that I love this camera for color rendition on still subjects, such as flowers or scenics... even if getting there requires jumping through the hoops of a slightly quirky camera, and Sigma's software. Outside of that niche, the D800 (or most of the other Nikon or Canon offerings) are better general purpose cameras.

      The longer review, there are things I like about this camera. It is simple, which does imply a lack of features, but there is a certain elegance in having the essential photo settings easily accessed, without needing a 400+ page manual to operate the camera. The images it produces -- especially of fine textures on bright colors is at times stunning. The even resolution across all color spaces gives images what some describe as a 3D appearance.

      A note on resolution -- this camera is not a 45MP camera on even footing with a 45MP bayer camera... it's also MUCH better than the 15MP spatial resolution would imply. Compared to a D800 -- well take a picture of a Zebra and the D800 will win easily, take a picture of a bottlebrush flower against a blue sky and the SD1 will win. In between, both cameras have so much resolution that it's like saying Warren Buffet has more money than Bill Gates -- both cameras have so much resolution that any difference in resolution is mostly moot. Of course if you're debating the D800 to the SD1, you should also consider that the SD1 produces very comparable images for significantly less cost, but more importantly you should look at the output of both cameras and decide which looks more pleasing... the cameras render color differently -- which is "better" is a matter of taste.

      The camera does have some drawbacks... it's best at ISO 100 -- above that, the SD1 does WAY better than the SD15 did... but it's still happiest at ISO 100. The AF in my D70 of yesteryear was better (the D70 could auto select focus point -- the SD1 is pick one focus point and like it). The camera is slow to process the huge 50MB RAW files and write them to the card, and some camera functions are blocked while this happens. Last, the in camera JPGs are not in the same playing field with the processed RAW -- some would argue this is true universally, but the D800 in camera JPGS look WAY better as a matter of comparison. The short of these drawbacks is that if you shoot moving action where shutter speeds (and thus high ISO), focus speed, and agility (ability to quickly change camera settings or immediately post results) is key, this is not your camera of choice. On the other hand, if your shooting is more deliberate in pace (studio, scenic/landscape), this camera can be a viable option.

      To close, one of the stock questions that is usually easily answered, is not in this case. Ultimately, I said I "would recommend this to a friend" because I would -- but in actual truth it would depend on the friend's level of photographic skill, what he intended to take pictures of, and possibly if this was going to be a primary or secondary camera. I want to be clear, that I actually am really liking this camera. I see what makes the Sigma fan base passionately love their brand. At the same time, I am not a fan boy. I will be honest -- as much as I am liking the camera, if I had to give up one of my cameras, I'd keep the D800 and lose this one. As gorgeous as the flower shots I'm getting are, the Nikon cameras are just much more versatile and rounded. Anyway, what that means to you, is that if you know why you want a Foveon camera, and understand that this is an "artsy" camera that is aimed at the deliberate and calculating photographer, I will give you a nod of affirmation that the images produced are always great, and at times awe inspiring. If you don't know why the Sigma is unique, and you're just trying to decide between this and the Nikon or Canon camera you've been researching, you probably would rather have the Nikon or Canon camera.

      • Ease of Operation:
      • 8
      • Was this a gift?:
      • No

      Share this review

      (6 of 6 customers found this review helpful)

       
      4.0

      Greater resolution not greater colors

      By DLGimage

      from Pittsburgh, PA

      About Me Pro Photographer

      Pros

      • Good Image Quality

      Cons

      • Noisy At High ISO
      • Poor In Low Light
      • Short Battery Life

      Best Uses

      • Landscape/Scenery

      Comments about Sigma SD1 Merrill Digital SLR Camera:

      I really want to love this camera for its superb sharpness and 3d image quality. Its definitely got the Sigma look to it. Much improved over the SD15 except in one area; Color. The colors don't pop like they did on the older models, including the DP series. Maybe its all those pixels. Colors can always be fixed but that's not what I bought this camera for.
      Other than the off greens and blown highlights if you dont stop down the EV its spectacular, especially under studio lighting and it really shines when you get an adapter and get those Sigma lenses off it. I have a Mamiya adapter and a Zeiss adapter and I find these lenses to be superior and not only give me better color results but really bring out the sharpness especially with the Mamiya 645 120 F4 Macro, this lens really shows the full potential of this almost great camera. A few more steps (maybe a purchase of Foveon by Sony) and this would be the ultimate in low iso shooting.

      I recomend it for people who are willing to experiment and take their time.

      • Ease of Operation:
      • 6
      • Was this a gift?:
      • No

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      (5 of 11 customers found this review helpful)

       
      3.0

      A Lot More

      By Bleary

      from Brooklyn, NY

      About Me Photo Enthusiast

      Pros

      • Quiet
      • Super saturated colors

      Cons

      • Super saturated colors
      • Very Slow to Focus

      Best Uses

      • Flower Portraits
      • Landscape/Scenery

      Comments about Sigma SD1 Merrill Digital SLR Camera:

      Most of my friends are not pro photographers, and this camera is not for the technically challenged.
      Unfortunately, with all the Sigma lenses I own the sharpest does not justify the resolution of the sensor. To my knowledge there are no other lens manufacturers for these cameras. With my 24 MP Nex 7 and a 90mm Leica lens, small straight lines resolve as well defined stair steps when they are not horizontal or vertical. With the SD1 and the 105mm Macro lens I get a gradual shading from light to dark. Indicating light scatter or out of focus or motion. All photos shot at 1/500 to 1/4000 second. None are detailed and sharp at enlargements over 25%.
      This camera is too large to carry for long periods. Casual photographers try the compact version if you are adventurous. It's is cheaper than a Nex 7, but you can't change lenses. Full frame 8x10s are very good 25% enlargements are ok but starting to fuzz out details, and 500% enlargements show fuzzy individual tiny pixels.
      Expect slow focus times if the subject is slightly closer than your last shot. The programed focus mechanism first focuses to infinity then recycles to minimum range and restarts. It seems like hours.
      OH well, Live and learn. RJL

      • Ease of Operation:
      • 3
      • Was this a gift?:
      • No

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      (6 of 8 customers found this review helpful)

       
      4.0

      Not for everybody

      By zevio

      from Poland

      About Me Pro Photographer

      Verified Buyer

      Pros

      • Easy To Use
      • Fast Shutter Speed
      • Good Image Quality

      Cons

      • Noisy At High ISO
      • Short Battery Life

      Best Uses

      • Indoors/Low Light
      • Landscape/Scenery
      • Travel

      Comments about Sigma SD1 Merrill Digital SLR Camera:

      It is the best classic DSRL camera on the market. The most important is an excellent image quality this camera provide. It has user-friendly and classic interface and bright screen. Moreover, it provides the possibility of infrared photography.
      LCD, however, could be bigger and with better resolution. Furthermore, the protective anti-dust screen is very fragile and easy to break.

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      • No

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      (49 of 53 customers found this review helpful)

       
      5.0

      Fantastic Foveon Quality

      By Stateless

      from Calgary, AB

      About Me Pro Photographer

      Verified Buyer

      Pros

      • Easy To Use
      • Good Image Quality
      • Quiet

      Cons

      • Small LCD Screen

      Best Uses

      • Art Photography
      • Family Photos
      • Landscape/Scenery
      • Sunsets
      • Travel
      • Weddings/Events
      • Wildlife photos

      Comments about Sigma SD1 Merrill Digital SLR Camera:

      Up until the SD1 I primarily shot medium format film cameras for my personal work, and used a Sony A900 for commercial work. I do photography to make images, not to use cameras, so the image quality is my most important concern. The current crop of DSLRs and MF digital backs really don't cut it for me, and until recently I had resigned to sticking with film. The Sony A900 is good for what it is (I use it for advertising photography), but it doesn't interest me when it comes to making serious work.

      It seems a lot of digital cameras are built to look good as a list of specs and not with image quality as the primary concern. The Sigma SD1 does the opposite: it doesn't look amazing in spec yet it produces fantastic images. The Foveon sensor is a breath of fresh air in a market clouded by generic, lifeless images produced by Bayer sensors. There is more to image quality than noise and resolution: the most important aspect for my work is how light is rendered. When I make an image, I want it to look greater than what I originally saw, like on film, not less, like the images other DSLRs yield. The magic is in the transformation. In this respect the SD1 creates a slide film-like rendering, and this effect is amplified in the right conditions, like when shooting at dusk. At full resolution it is completely sharp and film-like as well, which allows the prints to be ultra-detailed and 3D looking.

      In a Bayer sensor DSLR, green is very limited in hue. That's why grass in sunlight always turns a nasty neon green. The problem is that Bayer sensors contain many more green filters than red and blue color filters because the green channel is what enhances the appearance of sharpness. This leaves much fewer red and blue filters to tell the sensor what hue of green is actually being captured. This was one of the big reasons I have stuck with film. The SD1 by contrast renders many distinct hues of green (and more of other colors too) and the color appears much more realistic. Skin tones are greatly improved as well.

      The SD1 doesn't have great super high ISO performance (which is illusory on other DSLRs anyway, as it's just fancier algorithms that smudge detail) though it is usable up to ISO 800. One doesn't buy a camera that is focused on image quality to shoot high ISO anyway, and I don't exceed ISO 200 (that's what tripods are for), which is its native ISO.

      You need a steady hand or tripod when using the SD1 because its images are so sharply detailed that slight motion blur will be noticeable much sooner instead of being lost in smudgy details as it would on a Bayer sensor, even at speeds like 1/500 if one is not careful. Proper technique is important and a lens with stabilization doesn't hurt in getting ultra sharp images (I should mention that mild motion blur still yields usable images which are better than those made with a standard DSLR that just hides the blur, but I'm after the best image quality possible).

      RAW is the best way to shoot this camera. The LCD screen isn't great for checking images, but then the RAW images don't show their true potential until opened on a computer anyway. I shoot it like film and only check back on images if I want to see what was shot or check exposure/histograms.

      The provided software for converting RAW files, Sigma Photo Pro, is slow but easy to use and to get good results from. Turning the sharpening off (to -2.0) and sharpening in another program like Photoshop will yield the best and sharpest results.

      I still shoot with film and enjoy it, but that shooting is now augmented by the SD1. If you take pictures to get great images and not because you simply enjoy pressing buttons and playing with hardware, this is a camera you should strongly consider.

      • Ease of Operation:
      • 10
      • Was this a gift?:
      • No

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      (9 of 11 customers found this review helpful)

       
      4.0

      Great resolution but only OK color

      By Landscape Phtographer

      from Boston, MA

      About Me Pro Photographer

      Verified Buyer

      Pros

      • Very sharp images

      Cons

      • Must correct warm bias
      • Noisy At High ISO
      • Poor In Low Light

      Best Uses

      • Landscape/Scenery
      • Travel
      • Wildlife photos

      Comments about Sigma SD1 Merrill Digital SLR Camera:

      I own both the Sigma SD14 & Sigma SD15 and have been very happy with the way they handle color.I do fine art landscape and nature photography so I looked forward to having the higher resolution of the Sigma SD1 Merrill. I just tested the camera on a trip to Costa Rica. The resolution is indeed superb with at least the performance of a 30 megapixel Bayer pattern camera. The color is a bit muted and biased towards redering images too warm. I shot a combination of RAW & JPEG. Even in landscape mode the in-camera JPEG images were too warm and unusable for my purposes. The Sigma Pro 5 software is a bit tricky to work with but I did end up with good results by developing the RAW images. Exposures of 1 second or longer gave very reddish and washed out images that couldn't be corrected due to severe warm/cool cross-over. This is not an all purpose camera but at ISO 100 and short shutter speeds it can be induced to perform well. Cramming three times the pixels into a sensor that is only marginally bigger than previous models sacrifices the truly lucious color redition of older models. It can still pick up subtle colors and allow them to be enhanced during development without looking unatural, just not quite as well. With a full frame sensor this could be a really great camera.

      • Was this a gift?:
      • No

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      (18 of 22 customers found this review helpful)

       
      5.0

      Dick Merrill will be smiling

      By Aussie Nick

      from Melbourne Australia

      About Me Photo Enthusiast

      Verified Buyer

      Pros

      • Easy To Use
      • Good Image Quality
      • Good Image Stabilization

      Cons

      • Noisy At High ISO
      • Poor In Low Light
      • Short Battery Life

      Best Uses

      • Family Photos
      • Landscape/Scenery
      • Travel
      • Weddings/Events
      • Wildlife photos

      Comments about Sigma SD1 Merrill Digital SLR Camera:

      I still own my SD9, SD14 and SD15 and get great pictures from them under the right conditions but my new SD1 is a much improved and forgiving camera
      The pictures produced are fantastic in both detail and depth colour
      I have always shot in RAW and tweeked in SPP (and can still get 400 shots per 16G card)

      PRO: incredible IQ
      3D effect especially when shooting clouds and landscapes
      the grip of the SD1 is comfortable but takes a little getting used to

      CON: fairly heavy but so are most of the competitors
      slow saving files but much better when using a fast CF card
      large files need a fast PC for SPP to work
      Batteries only last for 1 to 2 hundred shots depending on flash use (batteries are cheap and I already have 4 so not a problem for me)

      A lot of internet chatter about lack of video - but most high end and full frame cameras also do not have video - video cameras are cheap enough and small enough now that if you need (want) one then just buy one and don't force the still camera makers to compromise IQ to give it to you

      anyone who has lenses with the Sigma mount and can afford the new (much cheaper) price would be crazy not to get the SD1

      Those Canikon users out there should really give the SD1 consideration at this price they can afford to buy it and a few good lenses for the price of a new Canikon body

      • Ease of Operation:
      • 8
      • Was this a gift?:
      • No
      • Similar:
      • DP2S

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      (7 of 10 customers found this review helpful)

       
      5.0

      Pro Quality Compact SLR

      By Great White North

      from Canada

      About Me Photo Enthusiast

      Verified Buyer

      Pros

      • Fast Shutter Speed
      • Good Image Quality
      • Good Image Stabilization

      Cons

      • Poor In Low Light

      Best Uses

      • Landscape/Scenery

      Comments about Sigma SD1 Merrill Digital SLR Camera:

      Based on my test photos this camera will be perfect for landscape photography. It is fairly light wait even with a 18-250mm lens. I'm looking forward to hiking season.

      • Ease of Operation:
      • 7
      • Was this a gift?:
      • No

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