At this year's PMA show Sigma Corporation, known primarily for camera lenses, re-introduced its top-end SD15 DSLR as well as five new lenses and two new compact digital cameras. The SD15 features a 14MP Foveon X3 sensor and boasts a 21 shot RAW buffer (at 3fps). The lenses feature Sigma’s new “F” low-dispersion glass, fast speeds, and image stabilization. They will be available for Canon, Nikon, and other mounts. Sigma’s new DP1x and DP2s compact cams both feature 14MP large DSLR-size sensors and new autofocus capability.

Sigma SD15 Digital SLR camera

Sigma first announced the SD15 as the successor to its SD14 in 2008. Since then frustrated Foveon fans have been waiting for details about specifications, pricing, and availability. Well, Sigma has released the SD15 specs, but is still mum on the pricing and availability.

When it is available, the Sigma SD15 will be the company’s top-of-the-line DSLR. The SD15 runs a 14MP Foveon X3 direct image sensor. Sigma says that the three-layer sensor captures all primary colors (RGB) at each pixel location and features the TRUE II processor to handle the image data. The camera accepts SD/SDHC card storage media and offers a 3.0in. (7.6cm) LCD monitor.

The SD15 will also feature a 21 shot RAW image buffer, shooting at 3fps. In addition, the DSLR will offer ISO sensitivity from 100-1600 (50-3200 extended), and have five-frame auto bracketing (a bonus for HDR enthusiasts).

Sigma lenses

Sigma also unveiled five new lenses, including three that feature its new “F” low dispersion (FLD) glass. Sigma touts the FLD material’s extremely high light transmission, and claims that it has a performance equal to fluorite glass. The density of FLD glass is lower than typical optical glass, and helps ensure a lighter construction for large-aperture lenses.

Sigma says all of the lenses will available in Q2 of 2010, and will be offered in Sigma, Canon, Nikon, Sony, and Pentax mounts. Pricing information was not announced.

The five new Sigma lenses include the following models:

  • 8-16mm F4.5-5.6 DC HSM
  • 17-50mm F2.8 EX DC OS HSM
  • APO 50-500mm F4.5-6.3 DG OS HSM
  • APO 70-200mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM
  • 85mm F1.4 EX DG HSM

8-16mm F4.5-5.6 DC HSM

The Sigma 8-16mm F4.5-5.6 DC HSM ultra-wide zoom lens has an equivalent angle of view of a 12-24mm lens when used on digital cameras with an APS-C size image sensor. The wide-angle of view (from 121.2 degrees depending on which camera the lens is mounted on) produces images with exaggerated perspective.

The lens features six elements, including four FLD glass elements, an inner focusing system, and a Hyper Sonic Motor (HSM) for quiet and high speed auto focus, with full-time manual focus capability. The lens has a minimum focus distance of 9.4in. (23.9cm) throughout the entire zoom range.

17-50mm F2.8 EX DC OS HSM

The Sigma 17-50mm F2.8 EX DC OS HSM large-aperture standard zoom lens incorporates Sigma’s optical stabilization (OS) capability. At 3.6in. (9.1cm) long, this compact lens covers a focal length from a wide 17mm to 50mm and offers a large aperture of F2.8 throughout the entire zoom range.

Sigma says the OS function allows you to use shutter speeds about four stops slower than you would otherwise. For Sony and Pentax mounts, the built-in OS function of this lens can be used even if the camera body has an image sensor shift anti-shake system.

The lens features five elements including two elements made of Sigma’s new FLD glass, and a Hyper Sonic Motor (HSM) for fast and quiet auto focus. The lens has a minimum focus distance of 11in. (27.9cm) over the entire zoom range and a maximum magnification ratio of 1:5.

APO 50-500mm F4.5-6.3 DG OS HSM

The Sigma APO 50-500mm F4.5-6.3 DG OS HSM is a 10x high-zoom ratio, ultra telephoto zoom lens that includes Sigma’s optical stabilization (OS) function and Hyper Sonic Motor (HSM)for fast, quiet auto focus (as well as full-time manual focus capability). The OS lets you shoot up to four stops slower, according to Sigma. This lens has a maximum magnification ratio of 1:3.1 (at 200mm), making it ideal for close-up photography.

You can also add the optional Sigma 1.4x EX DG or 2x EX DG APO tele-converters to produce a 70-700mm F6.3-8 or a 100-1000mm F9-12.6 MF zoom lens, respectively.

APO 70-200mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM

The Sigma APO 70-200 F2.8 EX DG OS HSM telephoto zoom lens provides a large maximum aperture of F2.8 over the entire zoom range, and incorporates Sigma’s optical stabilization (OS) and Hyper Sonic Motor (HSM). The lens features five elements including two FLD glass elements, and has a whopping minimum focus distance of 55.1in. (140cm) across the entire zoom range. Its maximum magnification ratio is 1:8.

85mm F1.4 EX DG HSM

Sigma calls the view through its 85mm F1.4 EX DG HSM medium telephoto lens a “natural perspective”. Its large F1.4 aperture is well-suited to low-light photography and portraits. When used on digital cameras with a typical APS-C size image sensor, the lens is equivalent to a 127.5mm F1.4 lens.

The lens incorporates Sigma’s Hyper Sonic Motor (HSM) for quiet, fast auto focus, and also features full-time manual focus capability. It features a minimum focus distance of 33.5in. (85.1cm) and a maximum magnification 1:8.6. The lens also offers a round, nine-blade diaphragm for attractive blurring on the out-of-focus parts of an image.

Sigma compact digital cameras

DP1x camera

When Sigma introduced their DP1 compact digital camera in 2008, it was positioned as a “compact digital camera featuring the same technology as an SLR.” The company has continued in that vein with its new DP1x compact shooter, which is built around the same 14MP Foveon X3 direct image sensor and TRUE II image processor found in the SD15 DSLR and DP2 compact camera. The DP1x features a fixed 16.6mm (28mm equivalent) F4 lens with a 3x digital zoom. Other changes in the “x” model include a new AF algorithm for faster auto focusing, and a new user interface that replaces the old Set Up menu with the Quick Set (QS) button from the DP2 series.

DP2s camera

The Sigma DP2s compact digital camera is the follow-on to last year’s DP2. Like the DP1x and the SD15, the DP2s features a 14MP Foveon X3 direct image sensor (2652 x 1768 pixels x 3 layers). The DP2s features a fixed 24.2mm (41mm equivalent) F2.8 lens with a 3x digital zoom. The DP2s also incorporates Sigma’s new AF algorithm, a power save mode for longer battery life, and a new rear design with easier-to-read controls.

Availability of the DP1x and DP2s compact digital cameras is planned for Q2 of 2010. Pricing information has not been announced.

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