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When it was announced in February 2002, the Foveon X3 sensor was seen by many as the future of digital photography because (unlike almost every camera on the market which uses a color filter array), the X3 sensors measure color information for all three colors at every pixel location. Sigma's SD9, announced alongside Foveon's X3, was the launch camera for the technology, and was followed by its successor the SD10 and Polaroid's x530 compact - the only three commercially available (to consumers, anyway) digicams with full-measured color. The Sigma SD14 and its sibling the Sigma DP1 mark the fourth and fifth cameras to be able to make this claim, and they both share an identical imager.

The Sigma SD-14 will have a 4.69 effective megapixel resolution from 14.1 million photodiodes arranged in three layers, as per Foveon's by-now famous layout which records full color information at every pixel location. (Traditional Bayer-sensor cameras capture only one color at each pixel location, and interpolate the other two colors from surrounding pixels, leading to somewhat reduced luminance resolution, and a significant reduction in chrominance resolution and other color-related problems). Maximum resolution is 2640 x 1760 pixels, with a 3:2 aspect ratio, though the SD14 offers an interpolated "Super High" JPEG mode with 4608 X 3072 pixels. The Sigma SD14 captures either JPEGs or .X3F Raw images.

As well as the new image sensor, the Sigma SD14 has a completely new body which is quite a bit smaller and lighter than that used in the SD9 and SD10 models, and we have to say is rather more modern looking as well, thanks to a less angular styling aesthetic. The Sigma SD14 now offers five-point autofocusing, and a larger 2.5" LCD display that's pretty much the standard size these days, although at 150,000 pixels it is slightly lower resolution than most. Two other changes of note in the Sigma SD14 are a built-in flash strobe with a guide number of 11, and power from a proprietary Lithium Ion battery. The SD14 also has a newly developed pentaprism viewfinder with 98% coverage and 0.9x magnification. There's also a 3 frames-per-second burst mode for up to 6 frames at full resolution, and a new shutter mechanism rated for 100,000 cycles.

The Sigma SD14 comes with Photo Pro 3.x software. With an MSRP of US$1,200 ($400 less than originally announced), the SD14 ships in the spring of 2007.

 

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