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07-17-2012, 05:48 AM   #1
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Foveon sensor

Anyone try one? More MP than a D800. Why are they not more mainstream? I never heard about one till today.

07-17-2012, 06:37 AM   #2
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It's more MP because it counts pixels for each of the three colors, but it technically forms an image of 1/3 the MP is my understanding.
07-17-2012, 06:43 AM   #3
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Yeah, they have the same horizontal and vertical pixel count as a ~15MP regular sensor camera, but since each pixel/sensel is sensitive to all three colors they market it as a 45MP camera. Resolution wise it may or may not have an advantage over a D800, depending on the subject.

Not more mainstream because Sigma keeps putting an interesting and capable sensor in horrible camera bodies.
07-17-2012, 07:31 AM   #4
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and to expensive.

07-17-2012, 07:59 AM   #5
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exactly Ron... I've been hopeing to try out a Foveon sensor for years now... my final conclusion? Not in this lifetime. I'm willing to spend 3-4 hundred dollars on a point and shoot just to get a sense of how it might work and if it has capabilities I might be able to exploit. I'm not going to pay the big bucks to experiment with a technology that I've yet to find any discernible advantage for. I look at their website and I think... I don't need a Foveon sensor to produce those images... but until I have one in my hands for a comparison I won't know. As of right now, I plan on it being one of those questions I haven't answered on my death bed. There have just been too many times when I though I had a shot that for one reason or another didn't pan out, starting with the cheaper Polaroid camera that never went into production years and years ago.

I wonder, when you die, will you find out if Foveon sensors were really better?
07-17-2012, 08:07 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by JinDesu Quote
It's more MP because it counts pixels for each of the three colors, but it technically forms an image of 1/3 the MP is my understanding.

Ohhh..I saw some sample pix on the web and they did not impress me as 40 something MP....that is why!

Everyone keeps saying Sigma cams are bad. Whyn is that?
07-18-2012, 03:29 PM   #7
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I've seen some impressive images from a Foveon sensor and I think they would be very interesting to use for landscape images. Before MILCs came up, I was considering the purchase of a DP camera, but their price kept me away. They still don't pack enough features to be compelling, but maybe one day Sigma will figure out what they need to build.

I wrote a bit about how Sigma's handling of Foveon cameras is puzzling me here.

07-18-2012, 03:51 PM   #8
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I have a friend who shoots a Sigma SD14 and he really likes it but it does have some stains on the sensor. He was able to produce good results with it but nothing that stood out as all that impressive or unique. The camera really doesn't do much for me but if Sigma's whole lens catalog comes in their own mount, I suppose that kind of available selection would be nice. Good luck finding third party options though when you are already third party.

Last edited by TomTextura; 07-19-2012 at 03:10 PM.
07-18-2012, 10:48 PM   #9
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The key comparison is to take a scene with lots of microdetail and compare the Foveon result with the Bayer one. The Leica-Monochrom will achieve similar levels of resolution by dropping the Bayer filter, but will be black and white.

Here's a comparison:
Digital Images: Foveon X3 versus Bayer

And this is the image that impressed me years ago:
http://www.sigma-dp.com/DP2x/sample-photo/img/SigmaDP2-011.jpg

You will get such detail from an excellent lens combined with a good Bayer sensor, but this was shot with a 2009 compact camera model - the Sigma DP2.
07-19-2012, 12:44 AM   #10
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Tests with the old 4.7Mpx Foveon showed it to resolve at roughly twice its dot count compared to a conventional sensor with a Bayer filter, for example:
Sigma SD14 Resolution: Can it Hang with the Big Dogs?

Not quite the 3x that Sigma would have you believe.

Since there's only one company manufacturing the things, there isn't the rapid pace of advancement that you see with CMOS sensors. The current DP compacts are using technology that's close to five years old.

The Merrill 15.4Mpx sensor is quite a bit newer, of course. However, it lags behind current CMOS sensors in a number of ways. Reviews of the SD-1 show poor high ISO performance, for example:
Sigma SD1 / SD1 Merrill In-depth Review: Digital Photography Review

I don't think I'd consider a Sigma DSLR even at a much lower price than they sell for - you'd have to really, really like Sigma lenses. The forthcoming DP Merrill compacts are rather more tempting. Assuming the sensors still punch at twice their weight, that would be a 30Mpx equivalent, large sensor compact that fits in your pocket. The 30mm would make a pretty decent carry-round camera. Were the fixed lenses F2 rather than F2.8, they'd be almost compelling.

I don't know what the prices will be like either. The old DP models were expensive for a fixed lens cameras. I can't see the new ones coming in below a Fuji X100, for example.
07-19-2012, 04:53 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by top-quark Quote
The Merrill 15.4Mpx sensor is quite a bit newer, of course. However, it lags behind current CMOS sensors in a number of ways. Reviews of the SD-1 show poor high ISO performance
I own the most recent model - the Sigma Merrill; and luckily not the one that retailed for more than the price of the flagship Nikon or Canon models.

I've thoroughly tested it out as well.

It does do better than most any non full frame for perhaps two different fields; more so than any non full frame. Those fields - portraits and landscape. Otherwise it's difficult to tell much of a difference. So in those two fields; the Sigma would win against any non full frame - any camera with a 16mp sensor - and even the newer line of (about) 20mp sensors. But for most people out there (including professionals) the cost difference and also the Sigma lens mount would not justify the difference.

Also noting; in the newest Canon and Nikon flagships... That in those two field mentioned above... The results in both portrait and landscape are darn close in Sigma compared to even their full frames - but also noting - at the better iso settings.
07-19-2012, 11:26 AM   #12
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Warehouse Express in the UK are taking pre-orders for the DP2 Merrill. £799, so not cheap. For comparison, the same place is selling the Fuji X100 for £150 less. K-30 with two WR kit lenses is £829. Assuming one forks out for the optional lens hood and optical viewfinder, you're looking at more like a grand.

Found a preview too:
Sigma DP2 Merrill First Impressions Review - DigitalCamerainfo.com

I think that Sigma missed a trick in not making the fixed lenses F2. Presumably, they're optically identical to the 19mm and 30mm lenses available for NEX / m4/3. Since those lenses are budget items - £150 or so - it's a shame that the DP cameras don't carry higher-end optics.
07-19-2012, 02:36 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
I wonder, when you die, will you find out if Foveon sensors were really better?
LOL wow, that has to be the best single sentence I have read on this forum so far, and there were quite a few gems.

Foveon is an interesting idea, at least. I like that there are alternatives to the current mainstream sensors. I always get excited about different technologies, different ways to achieve the same thing. Even ridiculous ideas like the Leica Monochrom.
07-19-2012, 05:01 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by top-quark:
Presumably, they're optically identical to the 19mm and 30mm lenses available for NEX / m4/3.
they are not, for example 30mm :

DP2M : Number of Diaphragm Blades 9
8 Elements in 6 Groups

vs

30/2.8 : 7 Elements in 5 Groups
Number of Diaphragm Blades 7
07-20-2012, 02:34 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by top-quark Quote
Found a preview too: Sigma DP2 Merrill First Impressions Review - DigitalCamerainfo.com
Wow, and people said the K-01 looks odd.. look at that thing!
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