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Sigma's Foveon-based SD1 unveiled (photos)

Sigma, a lensmaker determined to become a camera maker, reveals its upcoming SLR at the Photokina show. Here's how it and two new lenses look.

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Stephen Shankland
Stephen Shankland has been a reporter at CNET since 1998 and writes about processors, digital photography, AI, quantum computing, computer science, materials science, supercomputers, drones, browsers, 3D printing, USB, and new computing technology in general. He has a soft spot in his heart for standards groups and I/O interfaces. His first big scoop was about radioactive cat poop.
Stephen Shankland
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1 of 7 Stephen Shankland/CNET

Sigma's Foveon-based SD1 SLR

COLOGNE, Germany--Sigma announced its SD1 SLR at the Photokina trade show here yesterday, and here's how it looks in person. The magnesium-alloy chassis, which the company itself said it makes, comes with a deep handgrip for the right hand. This version is shown with a Sigma 18-200mm zoom lens. Sigma's earlier SLRs haven't fared well in the marketplace, but the company hopes the SD1 will fare better in part through a larger and improved Foveon image sensor. The new model, measuring 24x16mm, has a 15.3-megapixel resolution, but unlike the vast majority of cameras, each pixel captures red, green, and blue light, not just one of those three.
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2 of 7 Stephen Shankland/CNET

Sigma's Foveon-based SD1 SLR

The back of the camera has a 3-inch, 460,000-pixel LCD and the usual array of button controls. Dials on the top control shooting modes. The camera is set to ship by February.
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3 of 7 Stephen Shankland/CNET

Sigma's Foveon-based SD1 SLR

Jacks for video output, DC power, and a USB cable are located behind a rubber panel on the side of the camera. The camera uses a splashproof, dustproof design.
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4 of 7 Stephen Shankland/CNET

Sigma's Foveon-based SD1 SLR

The SD1 includes a pop-up flash.
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5 of 7 Stephen Shankland/CNET

Sigma's Foveon-based SD1 SLR

The side-mounted memory card slot accommodates CompactFlash cards, the format preferred by professionals at least for the present for their convenient size, large capacity, and fast data transfer rates. One reason for that performance is to accommodate video better, but the SD1 won't have video support.
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6 of 7 Stephen Shankland/CNET

Sigma's APO 120-300mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM lens

Along with the Sigma SD1 SLR, the Japanese company also introduced a high-end telephoto zoom, the APO 120-300mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM lens. Compared to its predecessor, it gains FLD glass, which Sigma says has fluorite-grade low dispersion when transmitting light, and image stabilization.
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7 of 7 Stephen Shankland/CNET

Sigma's the APO Macro 150mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM

Sigma's APO Macro 150mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM is a new macro lens due to ship in January or February. Macro lenses are geared for close-up use, typically with a magnification of 1:1. That means an insect 15mm long in real life will create an image on the camera sensor that's also 15mm long. Telephoto macros are geared for such subjects that can be spooked by the close approach of a camera. The new macro has image stabilization its predecessor lacked and also has a splashproof, dustproof design.

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