Friday, September 5, 2008

Sigma SD14

When it was announced in February 2002, the Foveon X3 sensor was seen by many as the future of digital photography because (unlike almost every camera on the market which uses a color filter array), the X3 sensors measure color information for all three colors at every pixel location. Sigma's SD9, announced alongside Foveon's X3, was the launch camera for the technology, and was followed by its successor the SD10 and Polaroid's x530 compact - the only three commercially available (to consumers, anyway) digicams with full-measured color. The Sigma SD14 and its sibling the Sigma DP1 mark the fourth and fifth cameras to be able to make this claim, and they both share an identical imager.

The Sigma SD-14 will have a 4.69 effective megapixel resolution from 14.1 million photodiodes arranged in three layers, as per Foveon's by-now famous layout which records full color information at every pixel location. (Traditional Bayer-sensor cameras capture only one color at each pixel location, and interpolate the other two colors from surrounding pixels, leading to somewhat reduced luminance resolution, and a significant reduction in chrominance resolution and other color-related problems). Maximum resolution is 2640 x 1760 pixels, with a 3:2 aspect ratio, though the SD14 offers an interpolated "Super High" JPEG mode with 4608 X 3072 pixels. The Sigma SD14 captures either JPEGs or .X3F Raw images.