Making us feel like ancient mariners being lured to a wallet-emptying doom is Sigma’s all-seducing siren of a dSLR, their stunningly delicious SD15 digital SLR.
First announced way back in 2008 at the Photokina exhibition, the high end 14MP snapper packs a large FOVEON X3 which can “capture all primary RGB colours at each and every pixel location arranged in three layers.”
The SD15 also comes with Sigma’s “TRUE II” image processing engine, providing “high resolution power and reproduces high definition images with impressive three-dimensional detail, rich in gradation.”
Click, click, click x 100,000
There’s a large 3.0 inch LCD monitor on the back, 77-Segment AE sensor, AFE (Analogue Front End) and SD card storage, and in line with its high price, the shutter mechanism comes with a minimum claimed life of 100,000 actuations.
The camera will start shipping in the UK from July, with the price set at £899.99.
Scroll down for more details and a long list of technical bits and pieces that should please even the spoddiest specs-fiend.
X3 Full-color image sensor
The Foveon X3® direct image sensor featured in the Sigma SD15 digital SLR camera captures all primary RGB colors at each and every pixel location, ensuring the capture of full and complete color. Using 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, it 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 needed because full information of light and color can be captured with a three-dimensional feeling.
TRUE II image processing engine
The SD15 incorporates the “TRUE (Three-layer Responsive Ultimate Engine) II” image processing engine which improves the processing speed and overall image quality. The unique image-processing algorithm provides high resolution power and reproduces high definition images with richly graduated tones.
The SD15 adopts the SD card (compatible with SDHC) which is also used with the DP series of Sigma cameras, improving convenience to users of both camera systems.
21 frames can be captured continuously in RAW mode
The SD15 is equipped with DDR II buffer memory which is twice as large in capacity as the SD14’s buffer. The camera’s high-speed image processing circuits are capable of handling the large data files generated by the high-resolution 14 megapixel sensor. The SD15 features a continuous shooting speed of 3 frames per second with up to 21 RAW Images that can be captured in continuous shooting mode.
AFE（Analog Front End）
AFE (Analog Front End) converts the color data, which full-color capture systems record, to a digital signal. This enables the camera to reproduce high definition and richly colored images.
77-Segment AE Sensor
The SD15 features a new 77-segment AE sensor which allows advanced AE algorithms, improving exposure accuracy. Exact control and collaboration with the AF point ensures the camera exposes accurately even in difficult lighting conditions.
Large, highly visible 3.0″ TFT color LCD Monitor
The SD15 camera features a 3.0 inch TFT color LCD monitor. This 460,000 pixel resolution LCD monitor benefits from a wide viewing angle, making it easy to check focusing and composition. It is possible to review the captured images with a Contact-Sheet View (nine thumbnail images), Single-Image View or Zoomed-In View (it is possible to select the magnified area by using the 4-way controller). While reviewing images, it is possible to display the detailed shooting information such as shutter speed and F-value by pressing the INFO button.
New, intuitive user interface
The improved user interface provides faster and more convenient operation of the camera. The Quick Set button activates the display of the most commonly used camera functions such as Color Mode, White Balance, Image Quality and Image Size on one screen. The 4-Way Controller ensures faster operation of these features. The FUNC button enables functions such as Flash Mode and Synchro Mode.
RAW format recording
The SD15 includes a RAW recording mode for retaining full image capture detail of the utmost quality plus a JPEG recording format for convenience. The RAW data format uses lossless compression for more compact, yet uncompromised, data files. The RAW data format of the SD15 keeps brightness and color data in a 1:1 ratio without relying on interpolation. Each pixel location captures the full color RGB data which, when processed in SIGMA Photo Pro, will preserve the balance of the natural data for the best photos with the best image quality.
SIGMA Photo Pro 4.0 (supplied)
The supplied image processing software of “Sigma Photo Pro 4.0″ converts RAW data quickly and easily. Incorporation of a new noise reduction algorithm reduces Chroma and Luminance noise when processing X3F files taken at ISO400 or more. It is possible to adjust the level of reduction for noise just by moving the slider in the control pallet.
This software is compatible with multi core CPU’s, ensuring high speed image processing. It also incorporates functions such as Loupe, slideshow, Printing, JPEG conversion and batch white balance settings.
Reliable and durable shutter with life cycle of over 100,000 exposures
The durable focal plane shutter mechanism has a life cycle of over 100,000 exposures and dramatically reduces the amount of dust and dirt from the shutter mechanism.
The photographer can enjoy taking pictures without worrying about dust and dirt adhering to the image sensor either from inside or outside the camera.
Most digital SLR cameras are vulnerable to dust entering the body. If the dust and dirt adhere to the image sensor, it may appear in the pictures. The mount of the SD 15 is equipped with a dust protector and the sealing parts are incorporated around the mount, preventing dust from entering the body. Even if dust adheres to the image sensor, the dust protector can be removed easily for sensor cleaning.
Bright viewfinder image by the incorporation of a pentaprism
The SD15 features a pentaprism viewfinder with 98% (vertical and horizontal) coverage, 0.9x magnification and an 18mm eye point. A diopter adjustment is also equipped which can be adjusted from -3 to +1.5 dpt.
It is possible to select ISO sensitivity value from 100 to 1600. When the camera is in the extended mode, ISO 50 and ISO 3200 can be selected.
The auto focus sensor features 5 focusing points (center, left, right, up and down) ensuring consistently fast and precise focusing. The AF metering features a cross type sensor in the center of the screen. Selecting the AF point can be done manually or automatically.
Four metering modes
The SD15 is equipped with four metering modes: 77-segment Evaluative Metering, Center Weighted Average Metering, Center Area Metering and Spot Metering.
When it is difficult to determine the exposure setting due to variable light conditions, the Auto Bracketing function enables the photographer to take a sequence of pictures of the same subject at three or five different exposure levels. The shift value can be set in 1/3EV increments up to ±3EV(3 stops)/±1.7EV(5 stops).
Improved Auto Bracketing function
In addition to the usual three frame bracketing, five frame bracketing has now been added to the Auto Bracketing function. It allows users to get a more detailed and accurate exposure.
Two motor systems for the prevention of camera shake
Two motor systems are driven by the mirror-drive and shutter charge which lowers the vibration of the mirror movement, preventing camera shake.
Mirror lock-up mechanism prevents camera shake
The mirror lock-up mechanism raises the mirror, preventing vibration when the shutter is released. This prevents camera shake and is especially effective for macro photography or when using extremely long telephoto lenses. Use of the dedicated Remote Controller RS-31 (optional) also reduces the possibility of camera shake.
Built-in flash with 17mm angle of coverage
The Sigma SD15 camera’s built-in flash offers an angle of coverage of 17mm (equivalent to 28mm with a 35mm camera) lens with a guide number of 11. The Built-in flash can be synchronized to a shutter speed up to 1/180 sec. Incorporation of S-TTL automatic exposure ensures the control of advanced flash photography.
Backlight top LCD panel
The top LCD panel allows the photographer to quickly check camera information such as resolution setting, metering mode, battery status and the number of images that can be recorded on the SD card. It also incorporates an orange backlight, which enables the camera to be easily controlled in low light conditions.
Dedicated rechargeable battery with a large capacity
The dedicated BP-21 Lithium-ion battery is supplied as standard with the SD15. It is possible to shoot approximately 500 images on one full charge. The battery takes about 120 minutes to fully charge with the supplied BC-21 Battery Charger. The optional AC Adapter SAC-4 enables the Sigma SD15 to obtain power from the main supply.
The SD15 can be used with over 45 Sigma lenses such as ultra-wide, ultra-telephoto, macro and fisheye. In addition, other accessories include dedicated flashguns (EF-530 DG SUPER, EF-530 DG ST and EM-140 DG) which offer fully automatic S-TTL flash dedication, a Power Grip (PG-21), Cable Release (CR-21) and Remote Controller (RS-31).
These many optional accessories are available for the SD15 to complement the user’s style of photography. They ensure ease of use and comfortable shooting.
|Format||Interchangeable lens SLR camera|
|Compatible Lenses||SIGMA SA mount interchangeable lenses|
|Lens Mount||SIGMA SA bayonet mount|
|Angle of View||Equivalent to approx. 1.7 times the focal length of the lens (for 35mm cameras)|
|Image Sensor||FOVEON X3® Direct Image Sensor (CMOS)|
|Image Sensor Size||20.7×13.8mm (0.8 inch×0.5 inch)|
|Number of Pixels||Total Pixels 14.45MP(2,688×1,792×3 layers)|
|Effective Pixels 14.06MP(2,652×1,768×3 layers)|
|Storage Media||SD Card/Compatible with SDHC, Multi Media Card|
|Still Image Format||Exif2.21, DCF2.0|
|Recording Mode||Lossless compression RAW data(12-bit), JPEG(High,Medium, Low)|
|Color Mode||7 types (Standard, Vivid, Neutral, Portrait, Landscape, B&W, Sepia)|
|Number of Pixels (File Size)||RAW||High||2,640 x 1,760 (Approx.15.4MB)|
|JPEG||High||Fine 2,640 x 1,760 (Approx.3.3MB)|
|Normal 2,640 x 1,760 (Approx.1.9MB)|
|Basic 2,640 x 1,760 (Approx.1.4MB)|
|Medium||Fine 1,872ｘ1,248 (Approx.1.6MB)|
|Normal 1,872ｘ1,248 (Approx.0.9MB)|
|Basic 1,872ｘ1,248 (Approx.0.7MB)|
|Low||Fine 1,312ｘ880 (Approx.0.8MB)|
|Normal 1,312ｘ880 (Approx.0.5MB)|
|Basic 1,312ｘ880 (Approx.0.3MB)|
|White Balance||8 types (Auto, Sunlight, Shade, Overcast, Incandescent, Fluorescent, Flash and Custom)|
|Viewfinder Type||Pentaprism SLR viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Frame Coverage||98% vertical, 98% horizontal|
|Viewfinder Magnification||0.9x (50mmF1.4- ∞)|
|Diopter Adjustment Range||-3dpt to +1.5dpt|
|Focusing Screen||Fixed, all matt screen|
|Depth of Field Preview||Depth of field preview button|
|Auto Focus Type||TTL phase difference detection system|
|AF Point||5-points (center AF point:cross type)|
|AF Operating Range||EV 0 to +18 (ISO100)|
|Focus Mode||Single AF, Continuous AF (with AF motion prediction function), Manual|
|AF Point Selection||Automatic Selection, Manual Selection|
|Active AF point indicator||Superimposed in viewfinder|
|AF Assist Light||White Color AF Assist Light|
|Focus Lock||Shutter Release Halfway-Down position|
|Metering Systems||77 segment Evaluative Metering, Spot Metering, Center Area Metering, Center-Weighted Average Metering|
|Metering Range||EV 1 to 20 (50mm F1.4：ISO100)|
|Exposure Control System||(P) Program AE (Program Shift is possible), (S) Shutter Speed Priority AE, (A) Aperture Priority AE, (M) Manual|
|ISO Sensitivity||AUTO(ISO 100-200) : With Flash (ISO 100-400)
Equivalent to ISO100, 200, 400, 800 and 1600 (ISO50 and ISO3200 with Extended Mode)
|Exposure Compensation||±3EV (in 1/3 stop increments)|
|AE Lock||AE lock button is pressed or shutter release button is pressed halfway|
|Auto Bracketing||With 3 frames bracketing : 1/3EV Stops Up to ±3EV
With 5 frames bracketing : 1/3EV Stops Up to ±1.7EV
|Shutter Type||Electronically Controlled Focal Plane Shutter|
|Shutter Speed||1/4000 – 30 sec., Bulb (up to 30 sec. With Extended Mode: 2 min.)|
|External Flash Sync.||X-Sync(1/180)|
|Flash Type||Manual Pop-up Built-in flash|
|Built-in Flash Guide Number||GN11|
|Built-in Flash Coverage Range||17mm lens angle covered|
|Flash Metering System||S-TTL Auto Flash|
|Flash Compensation||±3EV(1/3 stop increments)|
|Compatible Flashguns||EF-530DG SUPER, EF-530DG ST, EM-140 DG|
|Connectivity||Hot shoe (contact X synchronization at 1/180 sec. or less, with dedicated flash linking contact)|
|Top LCD||Shutter speed display, Aperture value display, Exposure meter display, Shooting capacity display, Exposure mode display, Battery status display, Remote controller mode display, Exposure compensation value display|
|Drive Modes||Single, Continuous, Self-timer (2 sec./10 sec.), Mirror Lock-up|
|Continuous shooting speed||3 frames／second|
|Maximum number of frames for continuous shooting||21 frames|
|LCD Monitor Type||TFT Color LCD Monitor|
|LCD Pixels||Approx. 460,000|
|Reviewing Images||Single frame display, Multi display [9 frames], Zoom, Slide Show|
|LCD Monitor Language||English/Japanese/German/French/Spanish/Italian/Chinese (Simplified)/ Korean/ Russian|
|Interfaces||USB (USB2.0), Video Out (NTSC/PAL)|
|Battery||Li-ion Battery Pack BP-21, Battery Charger BC-21, AC adapter SAC-4(optional)|
|Dimensions||144mm/5.7″(W) X 107.3mm/4.2″(H) X 80.5mm/3.2″(D)|
|Weight||680g/24oz (without batteries)|
|Operating Temperature||0 – +40℃|
|Operating Hunidity Range||85% or lower|
|Accessories||Li-ion Battery Pack BP-21, Battery charger BC-21, USB Cable, Video Cable, Neck Strap, Eye Cap, Body Cap, Eyepiece Cap, SIGMA Photo Pro Disc, SD15 Instruction Manual|
|Optional Accessories||Battery Grip：Power Grip PG-21
Cable Release Switch：CR-21
Electronic Flash：EF-530 DG SUPER, EF-530 DG ST, EM-140 DG