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Author Topic: What chance has Sigma's SD1?  (Read 26825 times)
jhmaw
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« on: May 20, 2011, 08:15:08 AM »
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So there it is. Sigmas SD1. And that price.

But I don't see the price as the main stumbling block. Really it's more the lenses. Now I'm not saying that Sigma doesn't make some decent lenses, but here's the thing. As they move towards higher resolutions the lens quality becomes more of an issue. Sigmas big problem is their quality control (or lack thereof). I am not the only one to have had vastly differing image quality from what should have been near identical products. Sigma cameras are also in the poor position of having to rely only on the body manufacturer for lenses. There are no third party lenses with a Sigma mount (as far as I am aware). A bit ironic when you think that Sigma is best known as a maker of third partly lenses for other people's cameras.

So with unreliable quality control for their lenses and an increase in image resolution can the SD1 be considered as the foundation of a good working cameras system? I wouldn't put money on it and they want an awful lot of money.
« Last Edit: May 20, 2011, 08:19:49 AM by jhmaw » Logged

roanjohn
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« Reply #1 on: May 20, 2011, 08:40:15 AM »
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If this camera is an epic fail - the SA mount is not to blame - it will be the Price 100%.  Even I, a Canon/Leica shooter, showed some interest in this camera after a brief experience with the DP1 and seeing how the Foveon sensor renders fine details etc.. but for $9700!  I would sooner get an M9 with some cash leftover for the 5DMKIII!
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deejjjaaaa
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« Reply #2 on: May 20, 2011, 09:09:05 AM »
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As they move towards higher resolutions the lens quality becomes more of an issue.

they need to deliver the light to just 15mp photosites (remember that 3 sensels are "stacked" vertically) on APS-C sized sensors... the same lenses that are being used right now on FF bodies from C&N&S w/ up to 24mp photosites and on APS-C bodies that are up to 18mp photosites (7D, etc)... so where is the problem ?
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Sheldon N
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« Reply #3 on: May 20, 2011, 09:36:16 AM »
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No chance at all... it will fail. Perhaps its only purpose is to be a "showpiece" camera to try and lift perception of the rest of their product line.

But really... 1.5 crop, non-gripped body, and you're stuck using Sigma lenses.. for ten large? I laughed.
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deejjjaaaa
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« Reply #4 on: May 20, 2011, 09:53:41 AM »
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and you're stuck using Sigma lenses.
that is if you want AF... if not, then SA is pretty much a Pentax K-mount with Canon registration distance (and the lens electronic protocol is the same as Canon, differs only in IS part - so people were modding Canon lenses to work on it and autofocus too)...
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Christoph C. Feldhaim
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« Reply #5 on: May 20, 2011, 10:55:18 AM »
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The price is a bad joke.
The claim of 46 MP is a bad joke, if not a blatant lie.
(The X3 RAW image does definitely NOT transmit the same amount of information than a real 40 MP DB).
Though the working principle behind the X3 sensor is a cool idea, the price and disinformation they practise along with the feeling they give us ("Am I an idiot?") will make it fail along with the other quirks mentioned above.
Its a pity they 're shooting themselves in the knee for such stupid reasons.
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Robert Roaldi
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« Reply #6 on: May 20, 2011, 11:32:35 AM »
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Maybe they figured it's Armageddon day tomorrow anyway (May 21), so what the hell, let's go out with a splash.
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Doug Peterson
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« Reply #7 on: May 20, 2011, 12:00:17 PM »
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I have to admit I don't follow this segment of the market very much (my expertise being medium format capture and software). But I love new cameras and new ideas and am a tech-nerd in general so I went ahead and read through several pages of various sourced info/opinions I am left in utter confusion.

Given that we sell camera kits anywhere from $5k-$60k and to a broad range of kinds of customers I'm the first to tell you that price is not always a stumbling block. But I'm finding it very hard to find the unique selling points that would compel any of our customers to spring for this compared to the other options out there.

I make this post honestly in hopes that someone will chime in with some compelling reasons.

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JLK
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« Reply #8 on: May 20, 2011, 12:37:20 PM »
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Doug,

There are several compelling reasons for this camera. The resolution and acutance should completely surpass any APS-C camera, and probably give some FF dSLRs a run for their money. The body seems to be competitive with dSLRs in the mid to upper prosumer range. FPS is decent, but the 7 image buffer might be a problem for some.

It's an extraordinarily compelling camera. For $1500. A good deal for $2000. A reasonable buy at a first-released price of $2500. But 4X??? I can't fathom what they're thinking. And I've owned SD10's, SD14's and SD15's---and I'm a huge fan. The fact that they indicated that the release price would be around the price of a 7D (not a pallet of 7D's) has really alienated their customer base.

It'll be interested to see how the camera works and fares in real life, but I'm not buying at that price. I was in at $2K, and would have considered it at $2500.
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feppe
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« Reply #9 on: May 20, 2011, 12:43:13 PM »
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For those who claim Sigma's MP counts are way off, it can also be said of Bayer arrays - the technologies are very different, it's difficult to compare them fairly. I've read knowledgeable people here claim Foveon MP count equaling about [raw Foveon pixel count] x [their advertised multiplier of 3] x [real-world adjustment of 2/3], ie. SD1 would equal roughly 15 x 3 x 2/3 = 30MP of Bayer-produced pixels.

You read it on the internets from some random guy based on hearsay, so this is the gospel and the whole truth Tongue

I would really like Sigma/Foveon to succeed. We need more competition in the sensor-segment, and new tech is always welcome to push everyone to better achievements. The concept is sound, and am dying to see what DXO and other technical tests say.

Price sounds way too high, but that's what people said about S2 as well and it's killing in its market segment. Unfortunately for Sigma, they don't have the same brand equity as Leica.

I make this post honestly in hopes that someone will chime in with some compelling reasons.

Foveon zealots talk about the tonality, micro-contrast, color discrimination and 3D-quality of pictures produced by the sensors - not unlike the unfalsifiable, ill-defined and/or untested claims many MFDB zealots make.

fredjeang has a Sigma camera, and has given some reserved support for it in the past, with strong caveats on color accuracy in certain situations and colors - maybe he can chime in.
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deejjjaaaa
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« Reply #10 on: May 20, 2011, 12:51:27 PM »
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that would compel any of our customers

Doug, did any of your customers buy Pentax 645D ? but it sells and it seems good enough to pay off the amount of sensors that Hoya ordered from Kodak

as for SD1 - well, may be somebody who will think that cheap and IS optics on a body that is not that big/heavy to hike in some obscure Japanese wilderness (really not bigger than any FF from C&N&S) and still get around 30mp+ bayer quality... plus as usual w/ Sigma MSRP price might get down by a few $Ks... may be they will sell less than Pentax does - but the mere fact that they still can sell their cameras w/ Foveon sensors for years shows that they probably are OK financially w/ that side of their business even if it is a fraction of the percent of the market - because they have a good cash cow like their lenses.
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LKaven
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« Reply #11 on: May 20, 2011, 01:53:00 PM »
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With the D4/D400 and the 1DsIV not yet released, and just possibly subject to delay, and prices elevated across the board, this seems like it was the only opportune time for Sigma to release this.  With full-frame sensors expected to top 30MP in the coming months, and APS-c sensors expected to reach 24MP, it's hard to see what place this camera has at its price point, and I have to wonder what their thinking is.  A vanity purchase for wealthy hobbyists and a "prestige" item for Sigma?
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BillOConnor
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« Reply #12 on: May 20, 2011, 02:53:31 PM »
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Simply making a bigger sensor won't cure Sigma's greatest weakness, its color gamut. I have used an SD-9 and an SD-14 for years copying paintings because I bought into the Foveon hype. It really has troubles with ochres and straw colors and with greens--oh--and often with certain blues. In other words, it has troubles with red, green and blue. A Canon T2i blows it out of the water in terms of color rendition.

Also, is the BIGGER? chip 14-bit color? It truly needs to be, but I'll be surprised if it is.

Then, as anyone who uses Sigma lenses knows, sharp glass is a hit or miss situation in every lens you buy and the focus mount in lenses like the sharp 50mm f2.8 macro is so sloppy that it will slip out of focus if you hold your mouth wrong.

Now that I shoot with the T2i and a 50 f2 Makro-Planar, my images are far better overall and require far less trouble to get there.

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DaveCurtis
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« Reply #13 on: May 20, 2011, 03:47:50 PM »
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Forking out 10K for a cropped camera and then tacking on Sigma glass doesn't appeal to me.

Im finding the lens issue more important as cameras grow in resolution.
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Josh-H
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« Reply #14 on: May 20, 2011, 06:21:25 PM »
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I suspect the Sigma will fail in the long term (and possibly even in the short term) and the simple reason is its price v. image quality.

Its fine to charge 10k for a camera (or even a lot more), but the image quality and resolution has to match the price tag. MFDB companies like Phase get away with charging completely obscene amounts of money for their backs - BUT, the image quality allows them to get away with it. Simply put those backs produce a file that is superior in quality to anything else on the market and there is always a market for those who want the best irrespective of price. That is not to say these backs are worth the money you have to pay for them; simply that people will pay the asking price because the quality is there.

The Sigma on the other hand (from the sample files on their website) does not appear to be significantly different from anything else in that 10k price bracket (and in that bracket there is quite a lot to choose from). I suspect that many photographers (myself included) shooting with 10k bodies (or thereabouts) already have substantial investments in glass to suit their current cameras. None of them are going to want to switch camps lightly and have to start from scratch with lenses. Taking myself as an example: I would rather buy another 1DS MKIII and put 3 grand in my pocket and be able to use all my existing glass. I suspect Nikon shooters will feel the same way. Pentax 645D users wont consider it either for the same reasons.

So who is this new Sigma camera for?

My best guess is someone entering the 10k body market for the first time is the only real candidate for this camera. And, anyone entering for the first time has quite a lot of options from which to choose. I would not imagine the Sigma would be at the top of the list.

The Sigma comes across like a 'Concept Car' -  "Here is what we can do and what we are capable of."
Only problem is concept cars rarely sell; despite the fact they are usually bristling with the latest in technology.

Edit - BTW: Has anyone else noticed that the camera doesnt do Live View?
« Last Edit: May 20, 2011, 06:54:10 PM by Josh-H » Logged

BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #15 on: May 20, 2011, 07:09:17 PM »
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The only rationale explanation would be that they have made some computations about potential market size, production capacity and margin and reached the conclusion that this price point would maximize their profit.

How is that different from Phaseone deciding to price the IQ180 at 43.000 US$? They would sell many more at 30.000 US$... or would they not?

If the SD1 cannot be sold below 3000 US$ for profitability reasons then they might as well go all the way. My prerogative is that the foveon sensor has a very devoted following in Japan. I have had interesting conversations with people when I was exhibiting 400 megapixel panos last year. One guy came and told me he tought his Sigma sd14 had at least medium format resolution and was probably close to my panos. Smiley

So those guys are typically elderly photo club gurus who need a differentiator gearwise. They will create their own myth and spread it around them. They have the cash and for them the SD1 costing 10.000 US$ is actually preferable as it adds some high end aura to something that was until now just a technical talk on their end. See... it has medium format quality and is priced at a level that corresponds to its abilities.

Considering the buzz this price point has generated, I think they have probably taken the right decision in the Japanese context. I don't believe they really care much about the foreign parts.

Cheers,
Bernard
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Josh-H
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« Reply #16 on: May 20, 2011, 07:21:21 PM »
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Quote
The only rationale explanation would be that they have made some computations about potential market size, production capacity and margin and reached the conclusion that this price point would maximize their profit.

Yup - it could go down in the Biggest ever Corporate Blunders Hall of Fame. Grin

Quote
How is that different from Phaseone deciding to price the IQ180 at 43.000 US$? They would sell many more at 30.000 US$... or would they not?

It is different I think. Phase already have a market of followers in that high end price bracket. They are devoted and willing to shell out big dollars for their backs. Sigma have no such captured market. They are effectively starting from scratch in the 10k bracket.

I dont think Phase would sell a whole bunch more IQ180's if they were 30k instead of 43k. More likely those ordering it would just be happier with the price.

Quote
So those guys are typically elderly photo club gurus who need a differentiator gearwise. They will create their own myth and spread it around them. They have the cash and for them the SD1 costing 10.000 US$ is actually preferable as it adds some high end aura to something that was until now just a technical talk on their end. See... it has medium format quality and is priced at a level that corresponds to its abilities.

High end aura normally starts with the brand sticker - does it not?
« Last Edit: May 20, 2011, 07:24:45 PM by Josh-H » Logged

uaiomex
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« Reply #17 on: May 20, 2011, 08:43:30 PM »
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If a prestige brand is what the SD1 needs, maybe an alliance with Zeiss is what they are lacking. Or maybe a Sigma-Contax body for this sensor.
Eduardo


High end aura normally starts with the brand sticker - does it not?
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stever
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« Reply #18 on: May 20, 2011, 09:28:27 PM »
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Sigma is a company that has been able to market product (particularly lenses) of attractive specification and reasonable price combined with poor reliability, generally mediocre performance and extremely inconsistent manufacturing (1 out of 10 meets specification).  there have always been plenty of buyers attracted by the specification and price who don't care/ aren't able to judge image quality.

the SD1 will put their management philosophy to the test, but i'm sure they have not invested enough money (just as they don't invest the money in other products to make them consistent or reliable) to suffer seriously if they've mis-judged the gullibility of the market this time 
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RobSaecker
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« Reply #19 on: May 20, 2011, 11:33:29 PM »
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WRT the price, I thought Michael's take was pretty good: it's likely proven very difficult to make those sensors. As for whether they can get any significant traction at that price, I'd be very surprised. But who knows, maybe the image quality is really outstanding, and they're just showing poorly converted jpgs on their site. 

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Rob
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