Sigma SD1 Merrill Digital SLR Camera

Model #C26900

USA Version
Sigma c26900 1
Sigma c26900 1
Sigma c26900 3
Sigma c26900 2
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Diopter adjustment - 3 to +1.5 m
Screen coverage 100%
Display screen 3" Rear Screen LCD (460000)
Viewfinder type Pentaprism
Viewfinder coverage 98%
Viewfinder magnification Approx. 0.95x


Ac power adapter SAC-4 (Optional)
Battery 1x BP-21 Rechargeable Lithium-Ion Battery Pack


Dimensions (wxhxd) 5.7 x 4.4 x 3.1" / 14.48 x 11.18 x 7.87 cm
Weight 24.7 oz / 700 g Without batteries and memory card


Connectivity AV Output, USB 2.0


Aspect ratio 4:3
File formats Still Images: JPEG, RAW
Max resolution 46MP: 4800 x 3200 @ 3:2
Memory card type CompactFlash
Other resolutions 44.4MP: 4704 x 3136 @ 3:2
21.3MP: 3264 x 2176 @ 3:2
11.1MP: 2336 x 1568 @ 3:2
Pixels 46 Megapixel
Lens mount Sigma SA
Bit depth 12-bit
Sensor type / size CMOS, 23.5 x 15.7 mm
Camera format APS-C / (1.5x Crop Factor)
Camera type Digital SLR with Interchangeable lenses

Focus control

Focus mode Single-servo AF (S), Continuous-servo AF (C), Manual Focus (M)
Focus type Auto


External flash connection Hot Shoe
Built-in flash Yes
Flash modes Flash On
Max sync speed 1 / 180 sec
Continuous shooting Up to 5 fps

Exposure control

Exposure modes Modes: Aperture Priority, Manual, Program, Shutter Priority
Compensation: -3 EV to +3 EV (in 0.33 EV steps)
White balance modes Auto, Flash, Fluorescent, Incandescent, Manual, Overcast, Shade
Shutter 30 - 1/8000 sec
Iso sensitivity 100-6400
Metering method Center-weighted average metering, Multi-zone metering, Spot metering
Expert Reviews
Digital camera review.32822754
31 January 2012

The SD1 is well-built and produces excellent images with its Foveon sensor. Unfortunately, it's slow write times, AF issues and lack of several features leaves us wanting more.

  • +

    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

Dp review.32823956
10 April 2012

The SD1 is a no-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.

  • +

    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 comfortable to shoot for extended sessions, Near-perfect...

  • -

    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 highlight clipping warning (can encourage underexposure),...

Layers magazine.34752053
12 July 2012

The latest DSLR camera from Sigma Corporation is the SD1 Merrill, named for Richard “Dick” Merrill, inventor of the X3F CMOS chip, which uses a type of layering that splits light into red, green, and blue at every one of the 4,800×3,200 photo sites on the sensor.

  • +

    Medium-format color and resolution at a DSLR price

  • -

    Doesn’t offer live view or video capture capabilities

The luminous landscape.32833859
18 July 2011

By Michael Reichmann, with the assistance of Nick Devlinand the participation of Laurence Matson TheSigma SD1is that company's long-awaited APS-C sized camera using a Foveon X3 sensor. The camera was first shown at Photokina in late 2010 and started to ship in June, 2011.

Photography blog.34420874
11 December 2012

We were really excited to get hold of the Sigma SD1 Merrill, it's a lovely camera to hold and you can feel the workmanship that's gone into it. The magnesium alloy body ensures rigidity and the weather sealing means you don't have to rush out of the rain.

Techradar uk.32817471
13 August 2012

Would you pay £6,200 in the UK, or $9,700 in the US, for an APS-C DSLR that didn't offer live view or video shooting, wasn't compatible with third-party lenses and captured raw files that weren't widely supported? That was the question posed by the 46 megapixel Sigma SD1 in June 2011.

Pocket lint.32824928
29 February 2012

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. Fast-forward to the beginning of 2012 and what is essentially the very same camera, albeit rebranded as the SD1 Merrill, is available for a fraction of that...

  • +

    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

13 February 2012

The Sigma SD1 is capable of taking some gorgeous photos with excellent detail at the pixel level, however to get the best from the camera it is necessary to take everything as RAW and process the files.

  • +

    Foveon Sensor, Weather sealed magnesium body, Removable IR Filter / Dust Shield for IR Photography, Very high pixel level detail, Strong colour available from the camera

  • -

    Noise on JPEGs, High price, Only 1 Memory card slot (unlike other Pro cameras with dual slots), Lacks top LCD screen, or eye detection, Lacks video mode / live view, Sigma Pro Photo 5.0 Raw Conversion software slow, Slow to write to memory card, Poor battery life

The register.34295998
18 January 2012

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.

Photography blog.34420874
6 December 2011

We were really excited to get hold of the Sigma SD1, it's a lovely camera to hold and you can feel the workmanship that's gone into it. The magnesium alloy body ensures rigidity and the weather sealing means you don't have to rush out of the rain.

User Reviews
B h photo.32817553
24 February 2015

Great camera very high Quality built.It has great Dynamic Range due to its unique image Sensor processor designmy only problem is that you can't use this camera as main camera in indoor/low light photography due to its LOW ISO range and even in above 1000 you see grainother than that its a great...

20 April 2016

I'm upgrading from my trusty old Canon 40D 57.000+ frames and my choices was the new 80D, 7Ds and the popular 6D Canons. The thing is I don't like videos in a still camera (compromises).

Dp review.33575663
25 May 2013

In a first time excuse me for my bad english wrtitten... i'm a french old professionnal photographer and i used more than half of my career the argentic system... When i used for the first time the numeric sensors i had to see that the colors are not really precise when you compare them to the...

19 November 2016

I love it! Everything was as advertised. Delivery was extremely fast! Customer help, great!!!

29 June 2016

I have been using the Sigma Foveon cameras exclusively since the SD14 and currently use both the SD1 and SD15. I would not be without these, somewhat quirky, but wonderful cameras. The realised image quality is simply breathtaking and Sigma have a fantastic range of lenses with which to exploit this...

28 December 2014

To be able to change ISO looking through viewfinder. Autofocus button on rear of camera as well as exposure lock on rear. Leaves me free to compose and shoot.

  • +

    Easy To Use, Excellent In Low Light, Fast Shutter Speed, Good Battery Life, Good Sized Screen, Great Resolution, Nice Features and Settings, Rugged

23 November 2014

Best camera on the market if you appreciate image quality! No brainer. The photos produced by the SD1 are stunning, period! Now you can get landscapes with lush greens, no more muddy gray trees in a distance. I also use Canon 5D Mark III, Sony 7R and Panasonic GH4.

B h photo.32817553
12 July 2014

SD 1 Merrill is difficult to use. There are no words on the body to tell you what to do. The worst thing is, the color it produces. The color of images is horrible. Green is recorded as grey. Pastel pink records as white.

19 June 2014

I really wanted to like this camera. I find the idea behind the Foveon sensor appealing. Most cameras use a Bayer sensor, with the individual pixels laid out like a checkerboard - every alternate one green, with the remainder divided equally between red and blue.

6 June 2014

The Sigma SD1 Merrill is something else entirely: This is a machine that cannot conceivably be used as an all-around imaging device, a product that lacks many of the basic features we've come to expect from modern digital cameras. Need usable high-ISO images? Too bad..

Product Highlights
  • 46MP Foveon X3 CMOS Direct Image Sensor
  • 3.0" TFT Color LCD Monitor
  • Lightweight, Solid Magnesium Alloy Body
  • 24 x 16mm APS-C Image Sensor
  • Weather Resistant
  • True II Image Processing Engine
  • 11-Point Twin Cross Sensor Focus System
  • JPEG and RAW Files
  • Up to 6400 ISO Sensitivity
  • Shutter Speeds to 1/8000s
Average Expert Score
Average User Score
In The Box
  • Sigma SD1 Merrill DSLR Camera (Body Only)
  • BP-21 Rechargeable Lithium-ion Battery
  • BC-21 Battery Charger
  • USB Cable
  • Video Cable
  • Neck Strap
  • Eye Cap
  • Body Cap
  • Eyepiece Cap
  • SIGMA Photo Pro Disc
  • SD1 Instruction Manual
  • Limited 1-Year North and South America Warranty Against Manufacturing and Workmanship Defects.
  • Limited 3-Year U.S.A. Extended Warranty Extension Against Manufacturing and Workmanship Defects.
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