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Old May 26, 2011, 5:09 PM   #1
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Default Resolution and cropped sensors - Foveon sensor

I've been really curious the last few days about Sigmas SD1 15MP Foveon based DSLR. The list price of $9700USD just put me off totally and makes the E5 at $1700 look mightly cheap in comparison but I was curious to see what the IQ of the new Foveon 15MP chip (supposedly equal to a 40MP sensor) and how it would compare to say Nikons D3X,, esp as the Foveon is only marginally larger than 4/3's.

Take a look at this sample images from the new Foveon altough its interesting that there are no high ISO shots.

http://www.sigma-sd.com/SD1/sample-photo/index.html

In particular this one really caught my eye (literally!)

http://www.sigma-sd.com/SD1/sample-p...SDIM7925AA.jpg

I've got no idea what the IQ of the lens used is or whether these are OOC Jpegs or converted from RAW but the detail in that single shot alone is staggering. I then compared it to a similar D3x fashion pic on Nikons website (http://imaging.nikon.com/lineup/dslr/d3x/sample.htm) and the Foveon based pic easily seems to hold its own against the FF sensor and possibly even beats it. Now from a 4/3 users point of view my thoughts were that Oly if they were aware of how good the new Foveon chip is should have approached Sigma and sourced a 10MP-12MP (equivalent to a 20-25MP FF) version of that Foveon sensor with a 4/3 mount. Paired up with HG and SHG glass , the combo would be staggering .. actually the E3 + the SHG in the studio shock me at times, so may be that might not be too good a thing. I think thats what Oly should be aiming regular FT at - top notch glass paired up with a Foveon chip (not at $9000 a chip though!) rather than attempting to go head to head in the high ISO race and unlike Sigma, the SHG/HG are possibly some of the best glass this side of Leica.

Cheers

Harj

Last edited by HarjTT; May 26, 2011 at 5:12 PM.
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Old May 26, 2011, 5:42 PM   #2
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I know I wasn't impressed with Sigma & Foveon back when...it was one of the three cameras in contention for me back in 2005...the other two being the Panasonic DMC-FZ30 & Olympus E-300*...guess which one won the competition?

*I had originally mistakenly said the E-330 when it should have been the E-300...the E-330 didn't exist in 2005.

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Old May 26, 2011, 6:36 PM   #3
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Hey Mike...

Yep .. the E330 is still a mightly good camera.. pretty easy choice if you ask me know!

Now looking at those samples ... it looks as if Sigmas managed to up the ante quiet a bit. I was sure that the D3 sample would have smoked the Sd1's pic but surprisingly it didn't.


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Old May 26, 2011, 10:57 PM   #4
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But the question still remains.....how much is anyone willing to pay for a Sigma SD1, and how many of those who can afford to, will? Sony had all the money in the world to put into a battle to try and take some of the high-end market share from Nikon and Canon, and we now see where that got them as they run behind new technology in the SLT and NEX models and leave the DSLR behind in not that much more of a time frame than it took them to dump the Betamax 30 years ago.

Image samples on most sites like this only put the camera in a best-possible light. I'm figuring the SD1 is dead before the first one hits a store. If money were no issue and it came down to a Nikon D3, Canon 1D series or Sigma SD1, I know which one would be my fourth choice.
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Old May 26, 2011, 11:03 PM   #5
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its funny you know, I just left a guy at dpr explaining why his K5 is better than SD1 and he used this very same photo FWIW I dont believe him. I think we've all had a look at the samples that apply closest to our unique photographic worlds and I dont know about you but I think it pretty easily challenges FF and then some, but then theres 'that' price. If it were circa $2k I'd be on the list already, but it aint . So theyve got a sub $1k camera with a $9k sensor, just weird and the boo boo of the year.

I would already have trouble convincing myself that Sigma glass would be ok, that I could control the WB some how, but the price, and I never thought I would have need to say this, makes it academic.
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Old May 26, 2011, 11:15 PM   #6
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isnt it a pitty they didnt do micro, then we could see how the same pixel architecture behaves on what would remain a 9Mp camera
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Old May 27, 2011, 5:57 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg Chappell View Post
But the question still remains.....how much is anyone willing to pay for a Sigma SD1, and how many of those who can afford to, will?
I agree, plus can you get glass with enough resolution to match the sensor?

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Originally Posted by Greg Chappell View Post
not that much more of a time frame than it took them to dump the Betamax 30 years ago.
I always chuckle when folks talk about Beta being dumped. Pro Beta machines were used by video pros (e.g. TV stations) for years, almost until pro digital cams came out. Those boys knew darned well how superior beta was, versus VHS.
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Old May 27, 2011, 9:32 AM   #8
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It's good to hear it was ratained at some level by someone. I remember my father having to have a betamax machine when they first came out. Then VHS hit the market and he had to have that and anything betamax didn't seem to be available commercially for long afterwards.

He still had that betamax machine when I went home last month to help my mother clean out the garage and attic where he seemed to hord everything any of us ever owned. I even tossed one of my old 8 track tape players
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Old May 27, 2011, 10:15 AM   #9
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That's funny. I went betamax even when people were saying VHS was the future, I wanted better.
I was smart enough to dodge 8 track though, first one I heard was like reading a story with all the lines hyphenated. The last line of the song was on the next track. Still have some cassetts that need to go!
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Old May 27, 2011, 11:56 AM   #10
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Never got a chance to use Betamax .. just ended up with VHS when we did get a VCR !

Back to the SD1 - the pricing is simply nuts and if it had been 2-2.5k then I think they wouldn;t have had a problem selling the SD1. The other issue is what lenses are going to provide the best IQ with that sensor and Sigma will have to up the ante on their QC across the board. Right now at that 9700 price even with what looks stunning IQ/resolution from the new sensor, I cant see how many they are likely to sell, esp when you can pick up a D3x or a 1D and at least two really good lenses for that price.

Looking at the sensor's physical size, is it possible the existing Ft lenses could cover that image circle without cropping ? If they had to reduce the Foveon down to FT size, we doubt we would see that much loss in either resolution but what about DR ? Anyway, now that weve seen what a 15MP Foveon is capable of producing, is that Oly for its cameras.. esp for its flagship should be looking at using a similar sensor even though the latest Pana Ft sensors are nice step up in IQ. It would instantly even up the playing field between FT and APS and possibly even FF when paired up with HG/SHG glass. The other question then would be, could the SHG/HG lenses be able to resolve that much detail as well ??




Cheers

Harj

Last edited by HarjTT; May 27, 2011 at 12:18 PM.
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