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Foveon and Sigma, back for more

Foveon and Sigma, back for more

Just when I'd almost forgotten about them, Foveon and Sigma are back for a third try at the digital camera market. Foveon's X3 sensor--a still-innovative design that stacks RGB filters on each pixel rather than scattering them across the pixels in a Bayer pattern--is now up to 14 megapixels, and is integrated into the new Sigma SD14. Previous Sigma dSLRs, the SD10 and SD9, have served well as proofs-of-concept for the low-noise, high-fidelity capabilities of the chip, but they were pretty much disappointments as cameras. Despite the ingenuously overstated claims for the SD14--five-point autofocus, 3fps continuous shooting for 6 frames at max resolution, a physical dust protector over the sensor, mirror lock-up capability, and so on--this model will have to have really amazing photo quality to make a dent in the market. I have to say, though, Sigma has a beautiful Flash site for the SD14.

Furthermore, Sigma's jumping in with both feet this time. Despite the dubious fate of the Foveon-based Polaroid X530 consumer camera, Sigma will be releasing a compact camera with the 14-megapixel X3, dubbed the DP1. There's little word on either pricing or availability for either camera, though.