Sigma SD1 Merrill offers medium-format resolution in a DSLR
TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Sigma SD1 Merrill offers medium-format resolution in a DSLR

By Kevin Ames

The latest DSLR camera from Sigma Corporation is the SD1 Merrill, named for Richard "Dick" Merrill, inventor of the X3F CMOS chip, which uses a type of layering that splits light into red, green, and blue at every one of the 4,800×3,200 photo sites on the sensor.

A RAW file yields a 45-megapixel capture. Sigma Photo Pro software processes the Foveon Merrill files into 8- or 16-bit TIFFs or 8-bit JPEGs in half, standard, or double file sizes. A 16-bit TIFF opens as a 337.7-MB file, or 35×52″ at 180 ppi. This APS-C cropped-format camera is the equivalent of a 30-megapixel, medium-format digital back.

The dual TRUE II (Three-layer Responsive Ultimate Engine) chips render colors with smooth gradations at high resolutions. The SD1 Merrill is practically moiré-proof, making it a great choice for shooting fashion where detail counts and high-frequency patterns abound.

The ISO range is 100–6,400 on the SD1 Merrill. As with most cameras, lower ISOs produce significantly less noise and the SD1 Merrill delivers acceptable results at ISO 800. Shutter speeds range from 1/8000 to 30 seconds, plus a Bulb setting. Exposure modes include three programmable custom modes along with the standards: program automatic exposure, aperture priority, shutter priority, and (my personal favorite) manual exposure. The camera connects to the computer with a supplied USB 2 cable. It has video out for NTSC/PAL monitors, a flash sync PC socket, power in, and a remote-release plug as well.

The SD1 Merrill is splashproof with improved seals in its magnesium alloy body that guard it against harsh weather conditions and dust incursions.

You can set autofocus (AF) points automatically or with the four-way controller. AF is activated by depressing the shutter release half way or separated to a “back-focus” button by using a custom function. Unique to the SD1 Merrill is the Quick
Set menus button that accesses eight critical photographic functions. Press once to set ISO, metering mode, AF mode, and built-in flash settings. A second push opens white balance, image size, color mode, and image quality. Each is adjusted by pressing its corresponding button on the four-way controller. Quick Set menus, image information, and playbacks display on the bright 3″ TFT LCD monitor.

A single supplied rechargeable battery powers the SD1 Merrill for several days of shooting to a CF card. Tethered shooting requires a battery change every three hours or so. Sigma Capture Pro software (free!) for Mac or Windows controls the camera remotely via USB. The photos open in Sigma Photo Pro for review and processing. Shooting RAW + JPEG allows Bridge to open the JPEGs. (Note: At this writing, the SD1 Merrill X3F format isn’t supported in Adobe Camera Raw.)

Using the SD1 Merrill reminded me of shooting film with a motorized Hasselblad because, while the SD1 Merrill shoots up to 5 frames per second, the buffer fills completely after seven shots. Depending on the speed of the CF card, it can take a minute to clear completely. When buffered out, the SD1 Merrill is usually ready for a single shot in about 10 seconds. The price for the ultrahigh detail is waiting for massive files to transfer to the card—much as I had to change film in the ’Blad every 12 frames.

I recommend the SD1 Merrill as a medium-format alternative for serious photographers who want both high resolution from a cropped-sensor camera and an extensive choice of lenses at a reasonable price. It’s great for doing high-quality work where capturing fine detail and color fidelity counts. And it’s wonderful outdoors with landscapes or in the studio for products, portraits, fashion, and fine-art photography.

The SD1 Merrill is not a camera for high-volume photography like sports, where a sustained high-speed frame rate is required.

Note: As a matter of full disclosure, I’m one of four Sigma Pros. I also shoot Canon 1Ds Mark III and 5D Mark II cameras.

Company: Sigma Corporation of America

Price: US$2,299

Web: www.sigmaphoto.com
Rating: 4.5

Hot: Medium-format color and resolution at a DSLR price

Not: Doesn’t offer live view or video capture capabilities

(This review is brought to you courtesy of "Layers Magazine": http://layersmagazine.com/ .)

 
AAPL
$102.50
Apple Inc.
+0.25
MSFT
$45.43
Microsoft Corpora
+0.55
GOOG
$571.60
Google Inc.
+2.40

MacTech Search:
Community Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

VueScan 9.4.41 - Scanner software with a...
VueScan is a scanning program that works with most high-quality flatbed and film scanners to produce scans that have excellent color fidelity and color balance. VueScan is easy to use, and has... Read more
Cloud 3.0.0 - File sharing from your men...
Cloud is simple file sharing for the Mac. Drag a file from your Mac to the CloudApp icon in the menubar and we take care of the rest. A link to the file will automatically be copied to your clipboard... Read more
LibreOffice 4.3.1.2 - Free Open Source o...
LibreOffice is an office suite (word processor, spreadsheet, presentations, drawing tool) compatible with other major office suites. The Document Foundation is coordinating development and... Read more
SlingPlayer Plugin 3.3.20.505 - Browser...
SlingPlayer is the screen interface software that works hand-in-hand with the hardware inside the Slingbox to make your TV viewing experience just like that at home. It features an array of... Read more
Get Lyrical 3.8 - Auto-magically adds ly...
Get Lyrical auto-magically add lyrics to songs in iTunes. You can choose either a selection of tracks, or the current track. Or turn on "Active Tagging" to get lyrics for songs as you play them.... Read more
Viber 4.2.2 - Send messages and make cal...
Viber lets you send free messages and make free calls to other Viber users, on any device and network, in any country! Viber syncs your contacts, messages and call history with your mobile device,... Read more
Cocktail 7.6 - General maintenance and o...
Cocktail is a general purpose utility for OS X that lets you clean, repair and optimize your Mac. It is a powerful digital toolset that helps hundreds of thousands of Mac users around the world get... Read more
LaunchBar 6.1 - Powerful file/URL/email...
LaunchBar is an award-winning productivity utility that offers an amazingly intuitive and efficient way to search and access any kind of information stored on your computer or on the Web. It provides... Read more
Maya 2015 - Professional 3D modeling and...
Maya is an award-winning software and powerful, integrated 3D modeling, animation, visual effects, and rendering solution. Because Maya is based on an open architecture, all your work can be scripted... Read more
BBEdit 10.5.12 - Powerful text and HTML...
BBEdit is the leading professional HTML and text editor for the Mac. Specifically crafted in response to the needs of Web authors and software developers, this award-winning product provides a... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

Qube Kingdom – Tips, Tricks, Strategies,...
Qube Kingdom is a tower defense game from DeNA. You rally your troops – magicians, archers, knights, barbarians, and others – and fight against an evil menace looking to dominate your kingdom of tiny squares. Planning a war isn’t easy, so here are a... | Read more »
Qube Kingdom Review
Qube Kingdom Review By Nadia Oxford on August 29th, 2014 Our Rating: :: KIND OF A SQUARE KINGDOMUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Qube Kingdom has cute visuals, but it’s a pretty basic tower defense game at heart.   | Read more »
Fire in the Hole Review
Fire in the Hole Review By Rob Thomas on August 29th, 2014 Our Rating: :: WALK THE PLANKUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Seafoam’s Fire in the Hole looks like a bright, 8-bit throwback, but there’s not enough booty to... | Read more »
Alien Creeps TD is Now Available Worldwi...
Alien Creeps TD is Now Available Worldwide Posted by Ellis Spice on August 29th, 2014 [ permalink ] Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad | Read more »
Dodo Master Review
Dodo Master Review By Jordan Minor on August 29th, 2014 Our Rating: :: NEST EGGiPad Only App - Designed for the iPad Dodo Master is tough but fair, and that’s what makes it a joy to play.   | Read more »
Motorsport Manager Review
Motorsport Manager Review By Lee Hamlet on August 29th, 2014 Our Rating: :: MARVELOUS MANAGEMENTUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Despite its depth and sense of tactical freedom, Motorsport Manager is one of the most... | Read more »
Motorsport Manager – Beginner Tips, Tric...
The world of Motorsport management can be an unforgiving and merciless one, so to help with some of the stress that comes with running a successful race team, here are a few hints and tips to leave your opponents in the dust. | Read more »
CalPal Update Brings the App to 2.0, Add...
CalPal Update Brings the App to 2.0, Adds Lots of New Stuff Posted by Ellis Spice on August 29th, 2014 [ permalink ] | Read more »
Baseball Battle Review
Baseball Battle Review By Jennifer Allen on August 29th, 2014 Our Rating: :: SIMPLE HITTINGUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Simple and cute, Baseball Battle is a fairly fun baseball game for those looking for something... | Read more »
Checkmark 2.1 Update Released, and it’s...
Checkmark 2.1 Update Released, and it’s on Sale for a Limited Time Posted by Jessica Fisher on August 29th, 2014 [ permalink ] | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Labor Day Weekend MacBook Pro sale; 15-inch m...
B&H Photo has the new 2014 15″ Retina MacBook Pros on sale for up to $125 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only. They’ll also include free copies of Parallels Desktop... Read more
Labor Day Weekend iPad mini sale; $50 to $100...
Best Buy has the iPad mini with Retina Display (WiFi models) on sale for $50 off MSRP on their online store for Labor Day Weekend. Choose free shipping or free local store pick up. Price is for... Read more
13-inch 1.4GHz MacBook Air on sale for $899,...
Adorama has the new 2014 13″ 1.4GHz/128GB MacBook Air on sale for $899.99 including free shipping plus NY & NJ tax only. Their price is $100 off MSRP. Read more
It’s Official: Apple Issues Invitations To Se...
Apple has issued one of its characteristically cryptic press invitations for a special event to be held at the Flint Center for the Performing Arts in hometown Cupertino on Sept. 9, 2014 at 10:00 am... Read more
Tablet Shipments To See First On-year Decline...
TrendForce analyst Caroline Chen notes that when the iPad launched in 2010, it was an instant hit and spurred a tablet PC revolution, with tablets so popular that that notebook PC sales stagnated and... Read more
SOBERLINK Releases Apple iOS Compatible Handh...
Cypress, California based SOBERLINK, Inc., creator of the first handheld Breathalyzer designed to improve recovery outcomes, continues to show prominence in the mobile alcohol monitoring space with... Read more
New 21″ 1.4GHz iMac on sale again for $999, s...
Best Buy has the new 21″ 1.4GHz iMac on sale for $999.99 on their online store. Their price is $100 off MSRP. Choose free shipping or free local store pick up. Price is for online orders only, in-... Read more
Smartphone Outlook Remains Strong for 2014, U...
According to a new mobile phone forecast from the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, more than 1.25 billion smartphones will be shipped worldwide in 2014,... Read more
Save up to $60 with Apple refurbished iPod to...
The Apple Store has Apple Certified Refurbished 5th generation iPod touches available starting at $149. Apple’s one-year warranty is included with each model, and shipping is free. Many, but not all... Read more
12-Inch MacBook Air Coming in 4Q14 or 2015 –...
Digitimes’ Aaron Lee and Joseph Tsai report that according to Taiwan-based upstream supply chain insiders, Apple plans to launch a thinner MacBook model either at year end 2014 or in 2015, and that... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the Read more
Senior Event Manager, *Apple* Retail Market...
…This senior level position is responsible for leading and imagining the Apple Retail Team's global event strategy. Delivering an overarching brand story; in-store, Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.