Sigma unleashes 46 megapixel compact updates

Sigma DP2
Sigma's new compact camera features a 46 million pixel Foveon sensor

Sigma has announced updates of two compact digital compact cameras, both featuring a 46 million pixel APS-C size image sensor.

The new Sigma DP1 Merrill and Sigma DP2 Merrill feature a Foveon X3 direct image sensor that was originally developed by the late Dick Merrill. The cameras are named after him in his honour.

Foveon X3 sensors are actually constricted using three layers of 15.3 million pixels. The technology is shared across Sigma's camera line, including its flagship DSLR, the SD1 and the SD15.

Able to capture each of the primary RGB colours at the same pixel location within the three layers, the company says that this enables full and complete colour capture.

Furthermore, because colour moiré noise is not generated, the use of a low-pass filter is not required. It is said that this gives both light and colour captured a three dimensional feel. Our camera tests show that the Foveon X3 is capable of producing images with a quality unlike any other sensor.

The cameras in Sigma's DP Merrill series will incorporate a dual "TRUE" (Three layer Responsive Ultimate Engine) processor which will work directly with the sensor to improve processing speed and overall quality of the final image.

Sigma says that the company's unique image-processing algorithm provides high resolution power and reproduces high definition images with rich tones.

Two versions

The two cameras feature different lenses, both developed to maximise the sensor performance. The Sigma DP1M includes a 19mm f/2.8 lens (equivalent to 28mm on a 35mm camera), while the DP2M features a 30mm f/2.8 lens (45mm equivalent).

Both lenses feature F Low Dispersion and moulded glass aspherical lenses to correct aberrations. They also include Super Multi-Layer Coating to help combat flare and ghosting.

Shooting in raw, along with JPEG, is available on the DP series, allowing for maximum flexibility for creative photographers. The supplied image processing software "Sigma Photo Pro" can convert raw data.

A focusing ring can be found around the lens of both cameras and can be used to alter manual focus. Magnifying the display while focusing is also available.

Custom quick set menus and a metallic command dial have been incorporated in a bid to improve usability. Shutter speed and menu options can be changed quickly using the dial.

On the back of the camera is a 3.0 inch TFT colour monitor featuring 920k pixel resolution, while a hot shoe allows for external accessories such as flashguns to be used. An optional lens hood for the DP1 & DP2 can also be purchased to block out light.

Video recording is available in VGA at 30fps. The cameras take SD (and SDHC) cards.

The Sigma DP1M and DP2M UK prices are not yet confirmed, nor is availability.

Amy Davies

Amy has been writing about cameras, photography and associated tech since 2009. Amy was once part of the photography testing team for Future Publishing working across TechRadar, Digital Camera, PhotoPlus, N Photo and Photography Week. For her photography, she has won awards and has been exhibited. She often partakes in unusual projects - including one intense year where she used a different camera every single day. Amy is currently the Features Editor at Amateur Photographer magazine, and in her increasingly little spare time works across a number of high-profile publications including Wired, Stuff, Digital Camera World, Expert Reviews, and just a little off-tangent, PetsRadar.