Sigma SD1 / SD1 Merrill review at DP Review

"At low ISOs - say 100 to 400 - the SD1's image quality is simply stellar. Detail resolution and rendition is remarkable, thanks to the lack of an anti-aliasing filter in front of the sensor, and the default colour output is subtle and natural-looking. Of course there's always an argument that for many purposes photographers don't really want natural colours - Fujichrome Velvia would never have sold a single roll if

they did - but the SD1's files also provide a good start point for boosting colour to your heart's content. Image quality quickly deteriorates at higher ISOs though, with unpleasant green and purple colour blotching in the shadows that spoils files at ISO 1600 and higher.

The SD1's out-of-camera JPEGs are full of detail but they're really best treated as proofs, with their main problem being a propensity towards highlight clipping. This is due to a combination of slightly limited highlight range and evaluative metering that's very strongly linked to the selected AF point, and therefore prone to overexposure if you focus in a dark region of the frame. Of course when shooting Raw files you can recover some 'lost' highlight data, particularly at ISO 200 and above.

However, the SD1's unique sensor means that Raw processing support is limited to Sigma Photo Pro. This is basic but competent software that's capable of giving excellent output, however it takes far too much of your time to do so, with a workflow that feels hopelessly outdated, and a limited feature set that virtually guarantees a trip into Photoshop. The SD1/Sigma Photo Pro combination is not one we'd recommend if you have to process hundreds of images quickly."

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