Thursday, December 5, 2013

My Sigma Wish List

On A Brighter Day - Tehachapi, California
Captured using a Sigma DP2 Merrill.
In the spirit of the holiday season, I have created a wish list for Sigma. As you may know, Sigma is known for their lenses, which they make compatible for most camera makes and models. What you may or may not know is that they also make digital cameras that have a unique sensor that can produce exceptional results.

I only own one Sigma product, the DP2 Merrill, which I purchased a few months back. While the camera certainly has shortcomings, it also has some major advantages that blew me away. I think once you use a camera with their Foveon sensor, it is difficult to be pleased with what a "normal" Bayer sensor produces.
Old Yield Sign - Boron, California
Captured with a Sigma DP2 Merrill.
Sigma is on the outer fringes of camera manufacturers, and so they do not have the resources to create new models every few months. The choices are limited. So below you'll find my wish list for new Sigma cameras over the next couple of years.

First, I'd like to see a DP4 Merrill. The DP1 Merrill has a 19mm lens, the DP2 Merrill has a 30mm lens and the DP3 has a 50mm lens. The DP4 Merrill would have an 80mm lens, providing a telephoto option and rounding out the series. I've been considering the DP3 Merrill, but I'd certainly buy the DP4 Merrill.
Rolling Dough - Tehachapi, California
Captured using a Sigma DP2 Merrill.
Next would be a compact interchangeable-lens camera. Sigma has compact fixed lens cameras (the DP series) and they have DSLRs (the SD series), but something in between would be very nice. With their 46-megapixel (sort of, anyway) APS-C sized sensor, this compact interchangeable-lens camera could compete well with the new Sony Alpha 7 and Sony Alpha 7R cameras.

Some have suggested that Sigma make a Micro 4/3 compact interchangeable-lens system, but I don't think Sigma should waste their time with that. They already have an APS-C sized Foveon sensor, why create a smaller one?
Butterfly - Bakersfield, California
Captured using a Sigma DP2 Merrill.
What Sigma should do instead is create a full-frame Foveon sensor. The image quality at low ISO from this sensor would surely surpass all full-frame and most medium format Bayer sensors. A new full-frame Foveon DSLR from Sigma is my next wish.

After that Sigma should work hard to unlock the key to better high ISO performance from Foveon sensors. This is one of the big disadvantages of the sensor, so if it can be improved, that would be great. At the same time perhaps they could work on faster overall speed and other improvements to bring their cameras up to date.
A Light In The Dark - Tehachapi, California
Captured using a Sigma DP2 Merrill. 
With those improvements, Sigma should unveil updated versions of the DP and SD series. Perhaps the DP1 Merrill would become the DP1A Merrill, etc.

And, finally, with all of those new cameras, the SD1 Merrill DSLR would finally be available for a reasonable price. Yes, Sigma has lowered the MSRP significantly, but it still seems to be in my estimation overpriced by several hundred dollars.
Autumn Tree Leaves - Tehachapi, California
Captured using a Sigma DP2 Merrill.
If Sigma's working on new cameras, that's what I hope is in store. Time will tell, and, with Sigma, it may be a year or more before we see anything brand new. 

Beyond cameras, I would also like to see a more versatile photo editing software. Sigma Photo Pro is a lot better than it was, but I'd like to see curves and layers added, as well as other useful tools. Maybe in the next update....
Abandoned Bathroom - Mojave, California
Captured using a Sigma DP2 Merrill.

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