Sigma SD10 SLR Review

Steve's Digicams

Sigma SD10 SLR

First Look posted 10/27/03
Full review posted 11/28/03

Click to take a QuickTime tour of the SD10

The Sigma SD10 SLR is the first digital camera to use the enhanced version of the Foveon X3 PRO 10M image sensor. The improved 10.2 megapixel (approx. 3.43 million each red + green + blue pixels) image sensor doubles the sensitivity and maximum exposure times and offers increased dynamic range over its predecessor. The new Foveon X3 PRO 10M image sensor will allow users to capture outstanding photographs at higher shutter speeds ideal for sports action as well as in low light situations requiring longer exposures.

With the RAW data recording system of the SIGMA SD10, it is possible to obtain high picture definition and compact file size. The lossless compression system of RAW data, eliminates image deterioration, provides superior pictures, without sacrificing original image quality and retains full image capture details. The SIGMA SD10 allows photographers to select one of three resolutions: 2268x1512, 1512x1008 or 1134x756.

The SD10 comes with SIGMA Photo Pro 2.0 software for modifying recorded RAW data image files. It is easy to make adjustments (white balance, exposure, color balance, and contrast for example) in three modes. The X3F mode stores the original settings of the image at point of capture. In the auto adjustment mode the software analyzes and automatically makes adjustments of RAW data. The custom-mode allows the photographer to make individual adjustments to exposure, contrast, shadow, highlight, sharpness, and saturation.

The latest addition to Sigma Photo Pro 2.0 software is X3 Fill Light. This easy to use facility corrects tones on images of high contrast exposure or back lit pictures. The under exposed areas of the image can receive extra exposure without "burning out" the highlight regions. Conversely, more detail can be obtained from over-exposed sections without plunging the more shaded areas into darkness. SIGMA Photo Pro supports 8-bit TIFF, 16-bit TIFF, and JPEG file formats and also outputs images in four-color space (sRGB and AppleRGB). The default setting for resolution is the same as the resolution selected when capturing the image on the camera (High, Medium, or Low). It is also possible to select one half, or double the resolution for the processed image.

Sigma SD10 Improvements Over SD9

Foveon X3 Pro 10M CMOS Sensor2nd generation with MicrolensesFirst generation
ISO Range100 - 1600100 - 400
Long Exposure30 secs at all ISO15 sec ISO 100
1 sec. ISO 200, 400
Battery Power2xCRV3 or 4xAA2xCRV3 or 4xAA and 2xCR123
Exposure Adjustments1/3EV increments1/2EV increments
Wireless TTL FlashYesNo
Rendering data stored in X3FYes with SPP v2.0No
X3 Fill LightYes with SPP v2.0No

Sigma SD10 SLR

Sigma SD10 Features:

  • 2nd Generation Foveon X3 Pro 10M CMOS sensor with Microlenses for improved sensitivity, increased dynamic range, reduced noise, improved color accuracy
  • Image sizes up to 2263 x 1512 pixels (3.43 Megapixels)
  • Images stored as lossless compressed RAW, 3:2 aspect ratio
  • Sigma SA-mount lenses (1.7x multiplier)
  • Program AE w/shift, Shutter priority, Aperture priority and Manual
  • Continuous Advance: 6 frames HI, 14 frames MED, 30 frames LOW
  • AE Bracketing, 3 frames +/-3EV in 1/3 steps
  • 8-segment Evaluative, Average or Center area metering
  • Single AF or Continuous AF w/Predictive AF
  • 1.8-inch color LCD with 130,000 pixels
  • Onscreen menu for Shooting and Setup
  • Review with zoomed-playback & pan, histogram and highlights
  • ISO sensitivity 100, 200, 400, 800 and extended 1600
  • Shutter speeds from 1/6000 to 30 sec, Bulb, X sync 1/180
  • TTL white balance, 7 presets and custom set
  • CompactFlash Type II storage, Microdrive compatible
  • Selectable video output, NTSC or PAL format
  • Both FireWire and USB 1.1 data interfaces
  • Powered by 2xCRV3 or 4xAA batteries

The Sigma SD10 will be available in late November 2003 as a kit bundled with the Sigma 18-50mm and 55-200mm zoom lenses, the MSRP is about $1999. (Street price could be as low as $1599.)

PC Magazine Technical Excellence Award 2003

The Foveon X3 CMOS Direct Image Sensor won PC Magazine's 2003 Technical
Excellence Award in the Digital Input Devices category.

Physical Views

Sigma SD10 SLR

Sigma SD10 SLR

Sigma SD10 SLRSigma SD10 SLR

Sigma SD10 SLR

Sigma SD10 SLR

Compare the Sigma SD10 and Nikon D100

Fujifilm FinePix S2 Pro SLR

Fujifilm FinePix S2 Pro SLR

Compare the Sigma SD10 and Canon Digital Rebel

Fujifilm FinePix S2 Pro SLR

Fujifilm FinePix S2 Pro SLR

Go to
Page Two

Sigma SD10 Specifications
Camera type Interchangeable Lens SLR Type Digital Camera
Storage media CompactFlash (CF) (Type I/II), MicroDrive
Usable lenses Sigma SA Mount
Angle of view 1.7x the focal length of lens used on 35mm SLR camera.
Image sensor FOVEON X3 (CMOS) Pro 10M
Size: 13.8 x 20.7mm
Total pixels: 3.54 Megapixels x3
Effective: 3.43 Megapixels x3
Aspect ratio 3:2
Image recording format Lossless compression RAW data
Resolution HI: 2268x1512 x 3 layers (approx. 8MB)
MED: 1134x756 x 3 layers (approx.4MB)
LOW: 756x504 x 3 layers (approx. 2MB)
Continuous Advance HI: 1.9fps up to 6 frames
MED: 2.4fps up to 14 frames
LOW: 2.5fps up to 30 frames
Interfaces IEEE1394, USB 1.1, Video out (NTSC/PAL)
White balance Auto, Sunlight, Shade, Overcast, Incandescent, Fluorescent, Flash and Custom
Viewfinder type Pentaprism SLR viewfinder
Viewfinder frame coverage 97% vertical, 98% horizontal
Viewfinder magnification 0.77x (50mm F1.4 at infinity)
Eye point 18mm
Diopter adjust range -3dpt ~ +1dpt
Focusing screen Fixed, Full matte screen
Auto focus type TTL phase difference detection system
AF operating range Ev2 ~ +18 (ISO100)
Focus mode Single AF, Continuous AF, with predict function
Metering systems 8 segment evaluative metering, Average metering, Center area metering
Metering range Ev1-20 (with 50mm f1.4 at ISO 100)
Exposure mode P: Program AE (with program shift function),
S: Shutter speed priority AE,
A: Aperture priority AE
M: Manual exposure
ISO sensitivity ISO 100, 200, 400, 800. Extended mode: 1600
Exposure compensation +/-3Ev (in 1/3 steps)
AE Lock AE Lock (Exposure settings are locked while the shutter button in depressed.)
Auto bracketing Three different exposure levels: Appropriate, Under and Over exposure: Maximum variation of +/-3Ev
in 1/3 EV steps.
Shutter type Vertical traveled metal focal plane shutter, electronically controlled through entire speed range.
Shutter speed 1/6000 to 15 sec. (ISO 100, 200)
1/6000 to 4 sec. (ISO 400, 800)
Bulb (ISO 100, 200 up to 15 sec.)
Extended mode: 1/6000 to 30 sec.,
Bulb up to 30 sec. (ISO 100 to 1600).
External flash synchronization Hot shoe (contact X synchronized at 1/180 sec or less with dedicated flash linking contact)
LCD monitor display 1.8" Color TFT LCD with 130,000 dot low-temp polysilicon
Reviewing images Single-image display, Zoom-in display, 9 image thumbnail display, slide show
Language Japanese/English/French/German
Power source Battery Lithium CR-V3 x 2 pcs. or "AA" x 4 pcs NiMH or AC adapter
Dimensions and weight 152mm/5.9"(W) x 120mm/4.7"(H) x 79mm/3.1" (D)
Weight: 785g/27.7oz

*The appearance and specifications are subject to change without notice.

Optional accessories for SD10
Remote controller RS-21
Dedicated flash Sigma EF500 DG Super or EF-500 DG ST
Battery grip Power pack SD
eight AA cells or
four CR-V3 type
Cable Release CR-11
PC Synchro adapter ST-11

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