At Sigma, camera design has always been guided by one principle: a camera is a precision instrument that should respond faithfully and directly to the photographer's intention. The SD1 Merrill takes this to new heights of perfection, offering even greater possibilities of sophisticated, nuanced expression, while serving the artist as a career partner.
The SD1 Merrill has a magnesium alloy body for rugged durability and resistance to water and dust. This represents a comprehensive approach to maximizing camera performance, just as the internal circuitry is optimized for processing high-resolution data. The user interface is ergonomically engineered to provide intuitive control with extended operational convenience to help the photographer concentrate on the photographic task at hand.
More than any words or specifications, it is only by taking the SD1 Merrill in your hands that you can understand how this camera represents the latest evolution of Sigma's dedication to pushing digital camera design into new dimensions of practical performance.
The SD1 Merrill features magnesium alloy-clad body construction. This rigid, tough yet lightweight body securely protects the interior from shock and electromagnetic interference, while adding strength and durability to withstand challenging conditions.
Controls and joints are sealed to block dust and moisture from entering the card slot, battery room and other parts of the camera interior. This enhances reliability in harsh professional usage situations.
The SD1 Merrill accepts TYPE I CF cards. UDMA mode6 compatibility enables fast processing of large amounts of data. *It is not possible to use TYPE II CF cards or microdrives.
The SD1 Merrill captures light effectively and ensures noiseless image processing. The image sensor provides high definition with rich, graduated tones.
The improved user interface provides faster and more convenient operation. Aperture and shutter speed can be set by their own dials. The exposure compensation button and exposure mode button are on top of the body for quick access.
A Quick Set (QS) menu lets you easily change commonly used functions. To display the QS menu, simply press the QS button. QS menu 1 is for ISO setting, flash mode, metering mode and AF mode; QS menu 2 offers white balance, image quality, image size and color mode.
You can allocate certain functions to the OK button for added convenience. These functions include Review Image, Rotate Image and Mark Image.
The SD1 merrill features a pentaprism viewfinder with 98% (vertical and horizontal) coverage, 0.95x magnification and an 18mm eye point. Diopter adjustment is provided over a range of -3 to +1.5 dpt.
The dedicated BP-22 lithium-ion battery is supplied as standard with the SD1 Merrill. It takes about 150 minutes to fully charge with the supplied BC-22 battery charger. The optional SAC-4 AC adapter lets the Sigma SD1 run on AC power from a wall socket.
The 46MP direct image sensor of the SD1 Merrill is a breakthrough that triples the 14MP resolution of the sensor used in Sigma cameras up to now, while retaining the "emotional image quality" that is unique to a full-color capture system. We enlarged the sensor to APS-C size (1.5x focal length equivalent), while narrowing pixel pitch, thereby dramatically raising the pixel count to 46MP (4,800 x 3,200 x 3).
Using a two-motor system with dedicated motors for mirror-drive and shutter charge reduces the vibration of mirror movement, thereby preventing camera shake. A mirror lock-up mechanism prevents further vibration when the shutter is released. Preventing camera shake is especially important for macro photography and when using ultra-telephoto lenses.
The durable focal plane shutter mechanism has a life cycle of over 100,000 exposures and dramatically reduces generation of dust. The photographer can enjoy taking pictures with confidence that the image sensor is clean and protected from dust or dirt originating inside or outside the camera.
The SD1 Merrill incorporates a dual TRUE (Three-layer Responsive Ultimate Engine) II image processing engine which improves processing speed and overall image quality. The unique image-processing algorithm provides high resolving power and reproduces high definition images with richly graduated tones. In addition, the SD1 Merrill can record both RAW and JPEG files simultaneously.
To handle large volumes of color data at high speed, the SD1 Merrill uses DDR III buffer memory technology, which delivers class-leading performance. The SD1 Merrill features a continuous shooting speed of 5 frames per second and can capture up to 7 RAW images per sequence in continuous shooting mode.
The autofocus system features an 11-point twin cross sensor. This shifted twin cross type sensor improves AF accuracy. Selecting the AF point can be done manually or automatically.
The SD1 Merrill features a new 77-segment AE sensor using advanced AE algorithms to improve exposure accuracy. Exact control coordinated with the 11 AF points achieves accurate exposure even in difficult lightning conditions.
The SD1 Merrill features 77-segment evaluative metering, center weighted average metering, center area metering and spot metering.
77-segment evaluative metering
Evaluative metering is suitable for general photography. Even in strong back lighting situations, the camera will give you the correct exposure.
Center weighted average metering
The camera will measure the average luminance of the entire picture area with additional emphasis on the center area. This is ideal when using optional exposure compensation.
Center area metering
The camera will measure the luminance of 10% of the entire picture area. This is ideal for metering backlit subjects.
The camera will measure the luminance of 1% of the entire picture area. This mode is suitable when you wish to set the exposure for a small portion of the scene and ignore the influence of the rest of the area.
Exposure can be manually adjusted to suit your needs. When difficult lighting conditions make appropriate exposure unclear, auto bracketing lets you take a sequence of shots of the same subject at three or five different exposure levels. Bracketing can be set in 1/3EV increments up to +-3EV(3levels) or +-1.7EV(5 levels).
The Sigma SD1 Merrill camera's built-in flash has a guide number of 11 to cover a 17mm lens angle (equivalent to 25.5mm with a 35mm camera). The built-in flash can be synchronized to a shutter speed of up to 1/180 sec. The S-TTL automatic exposure system enables control of advanced flash photography.
Most digital SLR cameras are vulnerable to dust entering the body. If dust and dirt adhere to the image sensor, it may appear in the photos. The lens mount of the SD1 Merrill is equipped with a dust protector and the area around it is sealed to prevent dust from entering the body. Even in the unlikely event of dust adhering to the image sensor, the dust protector can be removed easily for sensor cleaning.
The SD1 Merrill camera features a 3.0 inch TFT color monitor. This 460,000 pixel resolution LCD monitor benefits from a wide viewing angle, making it easy to check focusing and composition.