Sigma has renamed its flagship digital SLR camera, the SD1, to the Sigma SD1 ‘Merrill’ which is in honour of Richard Merrill, inventor of the Foveon sensor technology on which the SD1 is based. The Sigma SD1 Merrill includes the same features, performance, and specifications as the original Sigma SD1, however, the price is substantially revised. The revolutionary image capture system features a 46 megapixel Foveon X3-type image sensor to ensure outstanding resolution and natural rendering with rich gradation as well as a three dimensional feel. The Dual True II image processing engine and DDR buffer work together for high speed processing of images without lowering the quality. The SD1 Merrill adopts a lightweight yet solid magnesium alloy body along with buttons and connected parts sealed with O-rings, enhancing durability as well as preventing dust and water from getting inside the camera.
- 46 megapixel 24×16mm APS-C sensor
- Lightweight yet solid magnesium alloy body
- Weather-resistant O-ring sealing connections
- Dual ‘TRUE II' image processing engines
- 11 Point Twin Cross AF Sensor
About the generation-name “Merrill”
The Foveon X3 Direct Image Sensor uses technology originally developed by the late Dick Merrill (1949-2008), a brilliant engineer and talented photographer. This revolutionary image capture system reflects both the artistic and technological sides of Merrill’s personality. As an expression of Sigma’s passion for photography and in honour of Dick Merrill’s genius, we have named the latest generation of the Foveon X3 Direct Image Sensor the Foveon Merrill.
The key features in detail
46 megapixel 23.5×15.7mm full-colour X3 Merrill sensor
The 23.5×15.7mm full-colour FOVEON X3® direct image sensor featured in the SIGMA SD1 Merrill, incorporates 46 effective megapixels (4,800×3,200×3 layers) and 44 recording megapixels (4,704×3,136×3 layers). The FOVEON X3® direct image sensor captures all primary RGB colours at each and every pixel location with 3 layers, ensuring the capture of full and complete colour.
Dual TRUE II image processing engine
The SIGMA SD1 Merrill incorporates a dual “TRUE (Three-layer Responsive Ultimate Engine) II” image processing engine dedicated to the FOVEON X3® direct image sensor. This improves the processing speed and overall quality of the final image. By incorporating two TRUE II processors, Sigma’s unique image-processing algorithm provides high resolution power and reproduces high definition images with richly graduated tones as well as a three-dimensional feel.
Advanced DDR III buffer
To handle large volumes of colour data at high speed, the SD1 Merrill uses DDR III buffer memory technology which delivers class-leading performance. The SD1 Merrill features a continuous shooting speed of 5 frames per second and can capture up to 7 RAW images per sequence in continuous shooting mode.
Intuitive user interface
The improved user interface provides intuitive operation. Aperture and shutter speed can be changed by their own dials. The functions such as exposure compensation button and exposure mode button are on top of the body for quick access. A Quick Set (QS) menu lets you easily change commonly used functions
The SD1 adopts the TYPE I CF Card and is compatible with UDMA enabling fast processing of large amounts of data.
The Sigma SD1 Merrill adopts a lightweight yet solid magnesium alloy body designed to withstand rough use and shocks in harsh conditions. Buttons and connected parts are sealed with O-rings to prevent dust and water from getting inside the camera body.
Using a two-motor system with dedicated motors for mirror-drive and shutter charge reduces the vibration of mirror movement, thereby preventing camera shake. A mirror lock-up mechanism prevents further vibration when the shutter is released. Preventing camera shake is especially important for macro photography and when using ultra-telephoto lenses.
The SD1 Merrill features a pentaprism viewfinder with 98% (vertical and horizontal) coverage, 0.95x magnification and an 18mm eye point. Dioptre adjustment is provided over a range of -3 to +1.5.
11 point twin cross sensor
The autofocus system features an 11 point twin cross sensor. The shifted twin cross type sensor improves AF accuracy. The AF point can be selected automatically or manually.
Four metering modes
The SD1 features 77-segment Evaluative Metering, Centre Weighted Average Metering, Centre Area Metering and Spot Metering. When difficult lighting conditions make appropriate exposure unclear, auto bracketing lets you take a sequence of shots of the same subject at three or five different exposure levels. Bracketing can be set in 1/3EV increments up to ±3EV(3levels) or ±1.7EV(5 levels). The 77-segment AE sensor is coordinated with the 11 AF points to achieves accurate exposure even in difficult lightning conditions.
Most digital SLR cameras are vulnerable to dust entering the body. If dust and dirt adhere to the image sensor, it may appear in the photos. The lens mount of the SD1 Merrill is equipped with a dust protector and the area around is sealed to prevent dust from entering the body. Even in the unlikely event of dust adhering to the image sensor, the dust protector can be removed easily for sensor cleaning.
Focal Plane shutter
The durable focal plane shutter mechanism has a life cycle of over 100,000 exposures and dramatically reduces generation of dust. The photographer can enjoy taking pictures with confidence that the image sensor is clean and protected from dust or dirt originating inside or outside the camera.
Large, highly visible 3.0” TFT colour LCD Monitor
The SD1 Merrill camera features a 3.0 inch TFT colour monitor which ensures a great visibility even outside in the daytime. This approximately 460,000 pixel resolution LCD monitor benefits from a wide viewing angle, making it easy to capture detail and to check focusing and composition.
Built-in flash with 17mm angle of coverage
The Sigma SD1 Merrill camera’s built-in flash has a guide number of 11 to cover a 17mm lens angle (equivalent to 25.5mm on a 35mm camera). The built-in flash can be synchronized to a shutter speed of up to 1/180 sec. The S-TTL automatic exposure system enables control of advanced flash photography.
SIGMA Photo Pro
The supplied image processing software, “SIGMA Photo Pro”, converts RAW data quickly and easily. While looking at photographed images, it is possible to render desired photographic expression by moving the slider from side to side. It incorporates functions such as a loupe, exposure picker, print, JPEG conversion, and batch white balance settings.