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Sigma announces Foveon-equipped SD14 digital SLR | Digital Camera Resource Page News

Sigma announces Foveon-equipped SD14 digital SLR

Date posted: Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Sigma today announced the SD14 digital SLR, which uses the one-of-a-kind Foveon X3 image sensor. While the sensors in most cameras have the red, green, and blue pixel sensors side-by-side, the X3 sensor has each of the primary colors in its own layer. This allows for greater resolution and more accurate color than a traditional CCD or CMOS sensor.

Here are the specs:

SD14 [specs]

  • Uses new 14 total effective Megapixel Foveon X3 image sensor; resolution is 2652 X 1768 x 3 layers (roughly 4.7MP per layer)
  • Produces RAW images at 2640 x 1760 as well as JPEGs that can be interpolated as high as 4608 x 3072
  • Sigma SA lens mount; 1.7X focal length conversion
  • 2.5" LCD display
  • Pentaprism optical viewfinder with 98% frame coverage
  • Full manual controls; shutter speed range of 30 - 1/4000 sec; ISO range of 100 - 1600
  • Can take up to 6 high quality images in a row at 3 frames/second
  • 5-point autofocus
  • Hot shoe for external flash
  • Uses proprietary li-ion battery
  • Optional battery grip
  • USB 2.0 High Speed supported
  • Pricing and availability unknown

ADDITIONAL IMAGES:

PRESS RELEASE:

The SD14, 14 megapixels (2,652×1,768×3 layers) Digital SLR camera

The Sigma Corporation is pleased to announce the launch of the new Sigma SD14
Digital SLR camera.

The new SD14, powered by the 14 megapixels Foveon X3® direct-image-sensor, can
reproduce high definition images rich in gradation and impressive three-dimensional detail.
The SD14 Digital SLR camera features four JPEG recording modes, large and bright
pentaprism viewfinder with 98% coverage, a built-in flash with a Guide Number of 11,
5-point AF system, a large 2.5” 150,000 pixel resolution LCD monitor as well as high
resolution and user friendly design. The durable shutter mechanism has over 100,000 cycle
life and is ideal for the demands of digital photography.

Development

Sigma introduced its first digital SLR camera, the SD9, to the market in October 2002,
and has established strong support from a wide range of photographers both amateur and
professional alike. The second model, the SD10, released on to the market in November
2003 continued to build on the support of loyal photographers. However, demand for
JPEG’s greater convenience in image handling has increased and in order to meet this
demand the new SD14, powered by Foveon X3® direct image sensor, now includes JPEG
mode with high image quality, high performance and versatility.

Product Summary

1. 14 megapixels Foveon X3® direct image sensor

The Foveon X3® direct image sensor featured in the Sigma SD14 digital SLR can capture
all primary RGB colors at each and every pixels arranged in three layers, insuring the
capture of full and complete color. Using three silicon-embedded layers of pixel sensors,
stacked 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.
Until now, all other image sensors have featured a just single layer of pixels and each pixel
captures only one color of light, which has been filtered through a single color filter. Since
mosaic-based conventional image sensors capture only one-third of the color, complicated
computation is required to interpolate the color they miss.
Interpolation leads to color errors, color artifacts and a loss of
image detail. Low pass filters must then be used to reduce
color artifacts. The use of low pass filters adversely affects
sharpness and resolution of the final image captured.

* Foveon X3 is the registered trademark of Foveon.

2. In-camera JPEG mode offers added convenience

The SIGMA SD14 incorporates both RAW and JPEG image recording formats enabling
photographers to capture the highest possible picture definition and small file sizes.
There are four JPEG recording modes: Super High (14.15 million pixels: 4608×3072
pixels), High (4.64 million pixels: 2640×1760 pixels), Medium (2.1 million pixels:
1776×1184 pixels), Low (1.03 million pixels: 1296×864 pixels).

Super High can be used for A3 (297x420mm/11.6"x16.5") or larger prints. High for A4
size (210x297mm/8.2"x11.6") printing. Medium can be used for regular size printing. Low
can be used for web-page and e-mail transmission. There is a choice of three JPEG
recording quality: Fine, Normal and Basic.

3. Versatile and easy to use SIGMA Photo Pro 3.0 exclusive software, supplied with
the SD14

The SD14 comes complete with SIGMA Photo Pro 3.0 software, a RAW image
developer that converts all RAW data quickly and easily. Adjustments can be made in
three separate modes. The X3F Mode stores the original settings of the image at the point
of capture. In the Auto Adjustment Mode, the software analyzes and automatically makes
adjustments to the RAW data. The Custom Mode allows the photographer to make
individual adjustments (exposure, contrast, shadow, highlight, saturation, sharpness and
fill-light for example). Subtle or dramatic changes can be made by the photographer easily
and quickly by simply adjusting the slider controls within the software.

The X3F Mode stores the original settings of the image at point of capture.
Photographers` personal modifications can be saved to the RAW, X3F file for future use.
SIGMA Photo Pro 3.0 supports 8-bit TIFF, 16-bit TIFF, and JPEG file formats and also
outputs images in color space (s.a. sRGB and AppleRGB). The default setting for
resolution is the same as the resolution selected when
capturing the image on the camera (High, Medium, or Low). It
is also possible to half, (for sending via e-mails) or double (for
high quality enlargements, max. 18.58 million pixels:
5,280×3,520pixels)the resolution when processing the image.

4. Image Sensor Dust Protector

Most digital SLR cameras are typically vulnerable to dust entering the body especially
when the lens is removed for changing. Dust and dirt entering through the lens mount of a
digital camera can be seriously detrimental to image quality.
The dust protector of the SIGMA SD14 prevents dust from
entering and adhering to the image sensor. Even if dust adheres
to the dust protector it will not have an adverse influence on
image quality as the dust protector is located away from the
image sensor and is therefore out of focus.

5. Large and bright pentaprism viewfinder

The SD14 is equipped with a newly developed pentaprism
viewfinder, which has 98% (vertical and horizontal) coverage
with 0.9x magnification, an 18mm eye point and –3 to +1.5 dpt
dioptric adjustment.

6. Large 2.5” LCD monitor

The SD14 camera features a new, large 2.5 inch, 150,000 pixel resolution LCD monitor.
The LCD monitor displays 100% of the image, allowing the photographer to easily and
accurately confirm the image composition. It features playback options including single
frame, thumbnail display (9 images), and three types of
magnification (which is achieved by use of the 4-way
controller). Shutter speed, aperture and other settings can be
seen by pressing the INFO button. The large menu interface
makes reviewing images and navigating menu options easy.

7. Reliable and Durable Shutter

The durable focal plane shutter mechanism has life cycle of over 100,000 exposures.
The shutter is ideally suited to the requirements of digital cameras. This new shutter
dramatically reduces the amount of dust and dirt from the shutter mechanism. The
photographer can enjoy taking pictures without worrying about dirt and dust adhering to
the image sensor either from inside or outside the camera.

8. Fast and precise focusing with 5-point AF

The new 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
automatically or manually by photographer.

9. High speed continuous shooting

The SD14 features a continuous shooting speed of 3 frames per second. Continuous
shooting can be accomplished in conjunction with the camera’s predictive auto focus
function when photographing fast moving subjects. The camera’s high-speed image
processing circuits are capable of handling large data files generated by the high-resolution
14 megapixels high quality sensor. The number of images that can be captured in
continuous shooting mode is dependent upon the resolution setting; High - 6 frames,
Medium - 12 frames and Low - 24 frames. These figures apply in either RAW or JPEG
mode.

10. Built-in Flash

The Sigma SD14 camera’s built-in flash offers an angle of
coverage of 17mm (equivalent to 28mm with 35mm full size)
lens with a guide number of 11 (ISO 100). Built-in flash can
be synchronized to a shutter speed up to 1/180 sec. This
built-in flash enables automatic S-TTL shooting, which allows
simple, easy control of advanced photography techniques.

11. Easy to use multifunction interface

The new layout of control buttons insures quick
identification of the desired functions and easy use of the
multifunction interface in operating camera settings. Clearly
marked buttons make it easy for the photographer to display
and adjust the most important settings, namely ISO, resolution, JPEG quality and file type, and white balance, on one screen, using one button. The top
LCD panel incorporates a backlight, which enables the camera to be easily controlled in
low light or dark conditions.

12. Mirror lock-up mechanism prevents camera shake

The mirror lock-up mechanism raises the mirror thus preventing vibration when the
shutter is released. This prevents camera shake, and is
especially effective for macro photography, using extremely
long telephoto lenses or scientific work. Use of a remote
controller (sold separately) or cable release (sold separately)
also reduces the possibility of camera shake.

13. Three types metering mode

The Sigma SD14 is equipped with three types of metering mode: 8-segment Evaluative
Metering, Center Area Metering and Center Weighted Average Metering. This enables
the photographer to select the metering mode depending on subject and situation.
Exposure compensation function allows the photographer to override the exposure value
set by the camera’s exposure meter.
Auto Bracketing function allows the exposure to be adjusted by 1/3 EV increments up to
±3 EV from the exposure automatically set by the camera. In
situations where it is difficult to determine proper exposure,
the auto bracketing function allows a sequence of pictures to
be taken of the same subject at three different exposure levels;
Appropriate Exposure, Under Exposure and Over Exposure.

14. Power Source

The Lithium-ion Battery BP-21 (included with the camera) can shoot approximately 500
images on one full charge. It takes about 120 minutes to fully charge with Battery
Charger BC-21 (also included). The optional power grip PG-21
has a vertical shutter release button and can hold two BP-21
batteries, supplying more than enough power for most shoots.
The AC Adapter SAC-21 (sold separately) enables the Sigma
SD14 to obtain power from the mains supply.

15. The top LCD panel

The top LCD panel allows the photographer to quickly and
accurately confirm information such as resolution setting,
metering mode, battery status, and the number of images that
can be recorded on the CF card. It also incorporates an orange
backlight, which enables the camera to be easily controlled in low light or dark conditions.

16. Optional accessories

The SD14 can be used with over 40 Sigma lenses such as ultra-wide, ultra-telephoto,
macro, and fisheye. The EF-500 DG SUPER, EF-500 DG ST, and EM-140 DG flashguns
offer fully automatic S-TTL flash dedication. Other accessories include the power grip
(PG-21), cable release (CR-21), remote controller (RS-31) and the AC adaptor (SAC-21).
These accessories ensure that the SD14 system is both user-friendly and versatile.