Sigma SD1 Priced at $9700, Arrives in June

I’m not sure what fantasy world Sigma is living in; however, the company just dropped a press release detailing the availability and price of its “46-megapixel” DSLR – the Sigma SD1.  It will be here in June at a whopping price of $9700.

That’s Nine Thousand Seven Hundred Dollars – or roughly the same price as a 2007 Ford Taurus.

Chuck Norris has three on pre-order.

The Sigma SD1 is spec’d as a 46MP DSLR; however, the files generated from the camera are only 15MP resolution.  Sigma makes the 46MP claim based on the Foveon APS-C sensor that captures 15MP worth of info for each primary color – as opposed to the traditional alternating Bayer design with one color per pixel.

I think it’s an understatement to say that we’re interested to see what kind of image quality the SD1 will produce.  I know there are some big Foveon fans out there; however, I’ll be interested to hear any justifications for choosing this camera over an $8000 Nikon D3X or the $300 more expensive Pentax 645D.

[UPDATE: The street price is $3K less, but still doesn’t change much about the overall sticker shock.]

Check out the full press release below.

Sigma SD1 Availability Press Release

Ronkonkoma, NY, May 20, 2011 – Sigma Corporation of America, a leading researcher, developer, manufacturer and service provider of some of the world’s most impressive lines of lenses, cameras and flashes, is pleased to announce that its flagship DSLR, the Sigma SD1, will be available for purchase for the MSRP of $9,700 in early June.

This 46-megapixel DSLR is delivered in a splash-proof, easy-to-handle build that is similar to that of a classic 35mm camera. Professional and high-end enthusiast photographers will utilize the SD1’s exclusive Foveon 23.5×15.7mm APS-C X3 direct image sensor to capture exceptionally rich and detailed images that have a film-like quality. Users will also benefit from Sigma’s wide selection of interchangeable lenses that are compatible with the SD1.

“The SD1 will carve out a new category in the marketplace by providing high-end photographers with an alternative to very expensive medium-format cameras and digital backs, while offering unrivaled image quality,” said Mark Amir-Hamzeh, president of Sigma Corporation of America. “By embracing the SD1, serious photographers will also be able to take advantage of Sigma’s extensive lineup of affordable lenses, which are compatible with this new camera. The selections of lenses for medium-format cameras on the market are somewhat limited, so this will be a huge advantage for SD1 users. This is undoubtedly a very special camera, and we’re thrilled to share it with the photo community.”

In addition to the 23.5×15.7mm APS-C X3 direct image sensor, the Sigma SD1 features dual “Three-layer Responsive Ultimate Engine (TRUE) II” image processing engines, which improves processing speed, provides high resolution power and produces high-definition images with richly graduated tones. It also allows simultaneous RAW and JPEG recording, which is a first for Sigma cameras. Additionally, the photographer has the option to select full-size, half-size or quarter-size RAW files making it a more versatile camera for a wide range of photographers. The Foveon sensor uses three silicon-embedded layers of photo detectors, stacked vertically to take advantage of silicon’s ability to absorb red, green and blue light at different respective depths. This technology efficiently reproduces color more accurately and offers sharper resolution, pixel for pixel, than any conventional image sensor. Since color moiré is not generated, the use of a low-pass filter is not required.

The optical format of the Foveon sensor has been upgraded from that which was used in previous SD cameras, and has increased from 1.7x focal length to the 1.5x focal length multiplier. The SD1 also benefits from improved image processing and noise reduction algorithms, with an ISO sensitivity range from 100 to 6400. This is two full stops more sensitivity than the SD15, which has a maximum 1600 ISO. An intuitive user interface and an impressive lightweight, yet solid magnesium alloy body and O-ring sealing connections that make the camera durable and splash proof are also key feature upgrades of the flagship SD1.

The SD1 adopts the TYPE 1 Compact Flash Card, and is UDMA-compatible enabling fast processing of large amounts of data. The autofocus system features an 11-point shifted twin cross type sensor, which improves AF accuracy. The SD1 features a 3.0 inch TFT color monitor. This 460,000 pixel resolution LCD monitor benefits from a wide viewing angle, making it easy to check focusing and composition. The SD1 can be used with more than 40 Sigma SA mount lenses such as ultra-wide, ultra-telephoto, macro and fisheye.

Sigma’s image processing software, Photo Pro 5.0, comes bundled with the camera and its simple operation allows quick and easy capture of the desired imaged. Additional functions such as Loupe, Slideshow, Print, Convert to JPEG file and Batch White Balance settings are also incorporated into this software.

The Sigma SD1 will be available for the MSRP of $9,700 through select authorized Sigma dealers. For information about Sigma Corporation of America, visit For more information about the Sigma SD1 DSLR, visit or view the camera’s special page at



  1. says

    I think this price is a good marketing joke – everybody is now talking about this crazy company in almost every forum. That`s advertising ;-)

  2. Jim P. says

    For that price I would pay another $99 and get the Pentax 645D medium format instead.

  3. Ricky says

    Carl Rytterfalk: “The 5D Mark II is a really nice camera but it’s no SD1. There are times when the SD1 produces mind blowing images for sure. Just saying.”

  4. Nicola Pavese says

    I have SD 14 and 15 and many lens Sigma for Cameras dsrl.
    SD1 is too expensive and is no correct rapport price /quality after a good software for images .

  5. says

    Upon a french web site , “ “(standing for “Le Monde de la photo . com”, that is -The world of photography .com- also a paper photography review like “Popular Photography ” – the SD1 by Sigma would be sold in France 7,000 € -( 9,400$)-
    There would be no street price, because no retailer would sold that camera with such a high price – does it compares with best Nikon, Canon or even Sony full frame SLR ?

  6. paddy says

    Paddy B S.A.
    The foveron chip is magic ultimate sharpness. What about the soft tones eg. the graduation across the face. I would like to see how that works. At 46 Meg it might do.
    You can see why Sigma are looking for a good IS