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Dennis Hissink : October 27th 2003 - 01:00 CET

Sigma SD10

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SigmaSigma SD10 digital camera introduction : Back in early 2002 Sigma announced their first Sigma SD9 digital camera equipped with the revolutionary Foveon X3 sensor technology. During the PMA 2003 event and later on during the Photokina event Sigma caused quite a sensation with the final end-product, the Sigma SD-9. "What is the end result with the Foveon technique?" and "Exactly how many Megapixels are we talking about?", those questions have been answered back then. But now Sigma unveils their second DSLR camera, the Sigma SD10. Again this new digital SLR model features a Foveon X3 image sensor. This sensor can capture all RGB colours at each and every pixel. The design of the Foveon X3 sensor features three layers of pixel sensors.
Sigma SD10Sigma SD10 - Foveon sensor
The Foveon sensor is able to directly capture full colour and detail without any interpolation. Other conventional image sensors feature just a single layer of pixel sensors. Each pixel detects only one colour, which had been filtered through a single red, green or blue colour filter. As a result, two thirds of the colour information at each pixel is blocked out. To compensate, the missing colour is estimated through a complicated process of colour interpolation, leading to colour errors, colour artifacts and loss of image detail.

Sigma SD10 - Raw image format
The new Sigma SD10 powered by Foveon X3 direct image sensor, however, captures all three colours at every pixel location, ensuring the capture of full, complete colour. It efficiently reproduces colour more accurately, and offers sharper resolution, pixel for pixel, than any conventional image sensor. 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.

Sigma SD10 - Three resolution settings
Depending on the intention of the photographer, the Sigma SD10 allows photographers to select the resolution of RAW data images in one of three resolutions. HI mode (2268x1512x3 layers) delivers highest resolution image performance. MED mode (1512x1008x3 layers) has high definition and recording capacity. LOW mode (1134x756x3 layers) for capturing the most images per given memory capacity.

Sigma SD10 - Exclusive Sigma Photo Pro 2.0 software
The Sigma SD10 digital camera comes with Sigma Photo Pro 2.0 software for modifying recorded RAW data image files. It is easy to make adjustments (white balance, exposure, colour 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 (s.a. 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 - ISO100 - 1600 setting
In Default or normal mode the ISO sensitivity of the Sigma SD10 digital camera can be set to 100, 200, 400 and 800. If Extended Mode is selected, it is possible to use ISO 1600 sensitivity. In any ISO sensitivity setting, it is possible to select a high shutter speed from 1/6000 sec. to a slow shutter speed of 30secs.

Sigma SD10 - Image sensor dust protector
Most digital SLR cameras are typically vulnerable to dust entering the body especially when the lens is dismounted for changing. Dust and dirt entering through the lens mount of a digital camera, can create serious defects in image quality. The dust protector of the Sigma SD10 prevents dust from entering and adhering to the image sensor. Even if dust adheres to the dust protector it will not have an influence on image quality, because the dust protector is located away from the image sensor and is therefore out of focus.

Sigma SD10 - Sports finder
The coverage of a viewfinder of a digital SLR camera with interchangeable lens is almost the same as the picture seen on its image sensor. However, the coverage of viewfinder can be maximum 100%, and no portions of the outside area projected on the image sensor can be seen. The Sigma SD10 is equipped with a "sport finder" which offers a view that extends outside of the frame. The area that is out of the image sensor coverage range is marked by transparent light grey, to distinguish it from the active picture taking area. It is also important to monitor the area surrounding the photographic subject. In this respect, the sports finder makes the photographer aware of imminent photo opportunities.

Sigma SD10 - Intuitive interface
Clearly marked operation panel buttons make it easy for photographers to identify and use desired functions. Each button of the Sigma SD10 is devised and arranged to provide a functional and easy-to-use setting. The Sigma SD10 is probably the most user-friendly digital SLR. It is always ready to shoot, even when reviewing earlier images.

Sigma SD10 - Mirror lock-up
The mirror lock-up mechanism raises the mirror thus preventing vibration when the shutter is released. This prevents camera-shake, and is especially effective for macro photography, shooting scenes using telephoto lenses or scientific work. Use of a remote controller or cable release (sold separately) also reduces the possibility of camera-shake.

Sigma SD10 - Exposure compensation and Auto bracketing
It is possible to adjust exposure in 1/3 EV steps increments up to +/-3 EV from the auto- exposure level set for the scene. In situations where it is difficult to determine proper exposure, the auto bracketing function allows a sequence of pictures to be taken of the same subject at three different exposure levels; Appropriate Exposure, Under Exposure and Over Exposure.

Sigma SD10 - Power source
The Sigma SD10 digital camera can be powered by two CR-V3 lithium batteries or four AA NiMH batteries or four Nickel Zinc primary batteries or a dedicated AC adapter (included with the camera). An optional battery pack can hold four CR-V3 batteries or eight AA batteries more than enough power for most shoots. When using the Sigma SD10 indoors for an extended period of time or transferring the imaged to the computer, it is advisable to power the camera from a socket using the AC Adapter (provided).

Sigma SD10 - CompactFlash and Microdrive
The Sigma SD10 records on reliable, high capacity Type I and Type II CF (CompactFlash) cards or a Microdrive to hold larger volumes of data. The Sigma SD10 can transmit the images from camera to computer with high-speed IEEE1394 (Firewire) and widely available USB interfaces. IEEE1394 (Firewire) interface delivers super-high-speed image data transmission rate. The Sigma SD10 camera's video output system can be switched between PAL system (used in Europe, etc.,) and NTSC system (in Japan and the U.S., etc.). This means that video output of Sigma SD10 pictures is possible in many parts of the world.

Sigma SD10 - 1.8-inch TFT Monitor
The Sigma SD10 is equipped with a large 1.8-inch appr. 130,000 dot low temperature polysilicon TFT-LCD monitor with white LED on the back panel, which displays images, menus and histogram. The coverage area of the LCD monitor is 100%, of that seen from the viewfinder and thanks to the LCD-monitor, the composition can also be seen easily. By operation of +/- Controller, three types of screen display can be chosen; thumbnail display (9 images simultaneous display), Single-Image display, and a Zoom-in display (the area of magnification can be freely chosen by the 4-Way Controller). By pressing the INFO button, detailed image information can be displayed on the TFT-LCD monitor, such as shutter speed, aperture value etc.

Sigma SD10 - Other features
It is possible to enjoy the S-TTL Wireless Flash, if two optional electronic Sigma EF-500 DG SUPER flashguns are used. In the "Wireless Flash" mode, the camera will control the flash power level automatically. A high-speed CPU and high-volume buffer memory enable the SD10 to shoot at 2.5 frames per second for up to 30 consecutive frames in LOW mode, up to 14 consecutive frames in MED mode, and up to 6 frames in high-quality HI mode. The Sigma SD10 is bundled with SIGMA Photo Pro disk, dedicated AC adapter SAC-1, AC cable, dedicated USB cable, dedicated IEEE1394 (FireWire) cable, dedicated video cable?LCD monitor cover, strap, eyepiece cup and body cap.

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