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Sigma SD-1

alaTest has collected and analyzed 112 reviews from magazines and websites. Reviewers are impressed by the usability and color. The image quality and portability also get good opinions. There are some mixed views about the performance. Some have doubts about the focus and video.

design, portability, image quality, color, usability

screen, low-light, value for money, video, focus

We analyzed user and expert ratings, product age and more factors. Compared to other Digital SLR Cameras the Sigma SD-1 is awarded an overall alaScore™ of 92/100 = Excellent quality.

Review analysis

(Based on 112 reviews)

Expert Reviews  

User Reviews  

Showing 14 review(s)

Expert Reviews User Reviews
Showing 1 - 10 of 14 Show Reviews: in English | in other languages (21)

Expert review by:

Sigma SD1 Merrill


The Sigma SD1 Merrill is built around the uniquely designed image sensor, but a high price, sluggish performance and a time-intensive Raw workflow make it a difficult sell to all but the most devoted Foveon disciples.

Excellent build quality. High-quality viewfinder. Good control layout. Unique sensor design. Infrared shooting capability

Expensive. Sluggish performance. Subpar LCD. Substandard JPG output. Difficult Raw workflow. No video support

The Sigma SD1 Merrill ($2,299 direct, body only) probably isn't the first D-SLR that comes to mind when you think of a high-end shooter, but it is the one that's the most different from others in its class. It's priced as much as some full-frame...

Expert review by:

Sigma SD1 Merrill


Note: Most of the material in this review was prepared using the 'original' SD1 rather than the 'Merrill' model. Sigma assures us that the two cameras are identical in all practical respects, and we've verified this in key areas of image quality, speed...

Exceptional image quality at low ISO, especially in Raw mode ; Very good build quality (including weatherproofing) ; Straightforward operation, with external controls for all key functions ; Large, clear viewfinder ; Excellent grip, extremely...

Extremely slow file write speeds, with erratic control behaviour while writing ; Poor image quality at high ISO, with green and purple colour blotching in shadows ; Evaluative metering somewhat prone to highlight clipping ; Overly-conservative...

The SD1 is a non-frills SLR with a very basic feature set that offers exceptional image quality at low ISOs (100-400). However it's let down by slow file write times and erratic control behaviour during this process. High ISO image quality is...

Expert review by:

Sigma SD1 Merrill Review


The Sigma SD1 Merrill is a DSLR produced by Sigma Corporation, a well-known Japanese firm that specializes in creating lenses for other camera manufacturers. However, Sigma also produces digital cameras, such as the DP2 Merrill that was recently...

Excellent build quality ; Useful quick-set menu ; Excellent image quality

AF problems in low light ; Frequent writing to the memory card ; Lacks video, live view, top LCD

The Sigma SD1 Merrill is a contradiction. It's a well-constructed DSLR with good ergonomics, a useful quick-set menu and great image quality thanks to its use of Foveon technology. However the camera's performance is hampered by auto focus problems in...


Expert review by:

Sigma SD1 Merrill


The SD1 Merrill is practically moiré-proof, making it a great choice for shooting fashion where detail counts and high-frequency patterns abound.

Medium-format color and resolution at a DSLR price

Doesn’t offer live view or video capture capabilities

Note: As a matter of full disclosure, I’m one of four Sigma Pros. I also shoot Canon 1Ds Mark III and 5D Mark II cameras.

Expert review by:



The new Sigma SD1 uses a new Foveon sensor with a nominal resolution of 14,8 MP which is referred to by Sigma as nearly a 46 MP resolution (nominal resolution x 3 color channels RGB). The new camera has a lot of professional features. The SD1 is...

Excellent crisp and clear, richly detailed images ; Very good handling system (two mode dials, two setup dials and many function buttons)

Very long time required for processing and saving raw images (55 MB per image) ; Very high noise results in higher ISO speed settings (higher than ISO 1600) ; No live preview on LCD screen, no video capabilities

Consumer review by:

Amazon review summary for Sigma SD-1


alaTest has collected and analyzed 12 user reviews of Sigma SD-1 from The average user rating for this product is 2.0/5, compared to an average user rating of 4.5/5 for other Digital SLR Cameras on

sensor, software, portability, design, build quality

performance, usability, value for money

42% of the reviews on give this product a positive rating.

This summary is based on the products: Sigma SD1 Merrill Digital Camera C26900Sigma SD1 SLR

Expert review by:

Sigma SD1 Merrill review


The Sigma SD1 Merrill offers a cutting-edge 45MP sensor in a basic body at a new, knock-down price. Is it worth shelling out for?

Excellent IQ at low ISOs ; Images contain bags of detail ; Robust build

Frustratingly slow write times ; Noise at high ISO ; No live view or video ; Sigma raw software slow

Expert review by:

Sigma SD1 (Merrill) review


Upon launch in 2011 the Sigma SD1 was an oddity: its 46-megapixel sensor mainstay demanded, or so the company thought, a £5000 price tag. Ouch.

Detail and sharpness (at ISO 100), removable IR filter; well matched to serious studio pros using ISO 100 & controlled light

Expensive; very poor high ISO quality; poor auto white balance; slow processing; no live view; unlikely to meet amateur users’ demands

The SD1’s poor high ISO results, unpredictable auto white balance, lack of live view and slow processing make it one to avoid for the casual user. But pros in the know will be impressed with the rich colour and staggering detail possible at ISO 100....

Expert review by:

Sigma SD1 Merrill + Prototype At Sigma Stand


We have a look at the Sigma SD1 Merrill + Prototype and Sigma Stand at Photokina 2012.

Expert review by:

Sigma SD1 Merill 46Mp DSLR


Review The Sigma SD1 might not be a household name but some of you will certainly be familiar with it. Launched at Photokina in 2010, the SD1 was the first and only DSLR to show off a sensor based on an entirely new technology. Albeit akin to an APS-C...

So what’s the final word? Is the Sigma SD1 worth the premium price tag it carries and the attention of professional and enthusiast photographers? There is actually no definitive answer to these questions. For landscape and studio photographers the SD1...


Product Specifications


Autofocus: Yes
Built-in Flash: Yes
Changeable Lens: Yes
Image Stabiliser:No / Optical Image Stabiliser
Integrated GPS Module: No
Touchscreen: No
View Finder Type:LCD Monitor / Optical / Electronic Viewfinder


Bluetooth: No
HDMI Interface: No
PictBridge: No
WiFi Connectivity: No

General Features

3D: No
Bridge Camera: No
Chip Type:CMOS
Product Type:DSLR Camera
Sensor Size:23.5 x 15.7 mm
SLR / Compact:SLR Camera


Longest Shutter Speed in s:30
Shortest Shutter Speed in s:1/8000


Compact Flash Card: Yes
Memory Stick / Memory Stick Pro: No
Memory Stick Duo / Duo Pro: No
Memory Type:External
Micro Drive: No
Multimedia Card: No
SDXC Card: No
Secure Digital Card: No
Secure Digital High Capacity Card: No
XD Card: No

Power Supply

Battery Model:Sigma BP-21
Battery Type:Sigma BP-21


Aperture Priority:No / Yes
Face Detection Mode: No
Movie / Voice Recording: No
RAW Format:No / Yes
Serial Shot Mode:No / Yes
Shutter Priority:No / Yes