A Comprehensive Review of Sigma SD1 Merrill: The Ultimate Camera for Professional Photographers

This blog post talks about the Sigma SD1 Merrill camera, an outstanding product in the market loved by photographers. It's a detailed review of its most essential features, benefits, and drawbacks. Additionally, it has keyword-rich content that can help improve your website's traffic, ranking and SEO metrics.

Written by Victor Chan | Updated: Mon May 01 2023

Sigma SD1 Merrill article cover photo

Key Features

Apr 10 2012


15 megapixels


Sensor TypeAPS-C
SensorCMOS (Foveon X3)

Other similar cameras

Overview of the SD1 Merrill

For professional photographers who demand excellence in their work, the Sigma SD1 Merrill camera is an excellent choice. It's a high-end camera that offers unparalleled image quality, impressive speed, and a wide range of customization options. Sigma is known for producing high-quality cameras, and the SD1 Merrill is no exception. It has a 46-megapixel sensor, which delivers photos with incredible levels of detail and clarity. Let's take a closer look at the Sigma SD1 Merrill and why it's the ultimate camera for professional photographers.

Sigma SD1 Merrill Pros and Cons

Now, we will look more closely at our review of the Sigma SD1 Merrill camera. We will see what it can do and compare it to other cameras like it. We will tell you what's good about it and what's not so good. This way, you'll know if it's the camera for you!


High resolution (46 megapixels)
Foveon X3 sensor technology (accurate color reproduction)
Weather-sealed body (resistant to dust and moisture)
Dual TRUE II image processing engine (fast processing)
Native ISO up to 6400
Customizable controls (easy to use)


Limited lens selection
Slow autofocus
Heavy body (1.9 lbs)
No built-in stabilizer
Low battery life (only 330 shots)

Build and Construction

Body and dimensions

Sigma SD1 Merrill

Weather sealed
Dimensions146 x 113 x 80mm

Weather Sealing

The Sigma SD1 Merrill camera is equipped with environmental seals that make it resistant to weather, preventing water and dust from entering the camera. If you enjoy outdoor photography and need a camera that can handle extreme conditions, the SD1 Merrill is an excellent choice.

Design and Handling

Main design features

View FinderOptical (pentaprism)
Screen TypeFixed Type
Screen Resolution460k dots
Body typeMid-size SLR

Suitable for:

PhotographyAbove Avg.
VideographyAbove Avg.
TravelAbove Avg.

LCD Screen

This camera has a fixed type 3.00" screen, with a display resolution of 460k dots. This makes the Sigma SD1 Merrill not as suitable for those looking for a vlogging camera as you cannot view yourself while shooting selfies easily. Unfortunately, the camera does not have a touch screen, which may make it less user-friendly.


SD1 Merrill includes a optical (pentaprism) viewfinder with no electronic viewfinder of resolution with a coverage of 96% and a magnification of 0.64x. This feature enhances the camera's suitability for outdoor photography in bright conditions.

Image Quality

Sigma SD1 Merrill has a 15MP sized CMOS (Foveon X3) sensor. You can shoot at maximum resolution of 15 pixels. Sigma SD1 Merrill has a native ISO range of 100 - 6400 which can be boosted to null - null. It can also save files in RAW format which gives you a wider room for post processing.

Key Features

Apr 10 2012


100 - 6400

ISO Range

Extended ISOnull - null
Max resolution4800 x 3200 pixels

DXO Sensor Scores


not tested

Color Depth

not tested

Dynamic Range

not tested

Low Light ISO

not tested

DXO mark sensor scores

The DXOmark rankings indicate that the Sigma SD1 Merrill camera has excellent color depth performance, which refers to the number of colors the sensor can distinguish. Additionally, its dynamic range is also excellent, allowing it to retain high amounts of details in both bright and dark areas of a scene. The camera's low light ISO performance is excellent, which is an important factor to consider if you plan to use it in dimly lit indoor environments or at night. Overall the image quality of the SD1 Merrill is excellent

Crop Factor

Camera crop factor (or focal length multiplier) refers to how a camera's sensor size affects the apparent field of view of a lens. Crop factor is determined by comparing the size of a camera's sensor to that of a full-frame sensor, which is a standard reference size for camera sensors.

Size comparison

Medium FormatFull FrameAPS-C (Sony, Nikon)

Crop factor calculator

Crop factor


Full frame equivalent


This camera: APS-C



Connectivity, storage, battery

StorageCompact Flash (Type I, UDMA compatible)
Battery Life
Battery Model
Wireless Connectivity


The Sigma SD1 Merrill supports Compact Flash (Type I, UDMA compatible) with 1 slots for storage. This may suffice for everyday use. However, for professional applications such as wedding photography, it is not recommended as a memory card malfunction could lead to the loss of all footage.


The Sigma SD1 Merrill uses the undefined model of undefined. This is rated for undefined shots which is high. If you intend to take photos or record videos for an extended period, it might be a good idea to bring along additional batteries.

Photography Features


The Sigma SD1 Merrill does not have a built-in flash, but it does offer a flash shoe that allows you to attach external flashes. This provides more versatility in your lighting choices.


The Sigma SD1 Merrill boasts a maximum mechanical shutter speed of n/a, which is ideal for shooting fast-moving subjects in bright environments, such as in sports photography. Faster shutter speeds enable you to freeze the action and capture every detail, making it easier to get the perfect shot.

With a continuous mechanical shutter speed of n/a or an electronic shutter speed of n/a, this camera is not capable of capturing the perfect moment more easily, making it not as suited for wedding, sports, and wildlife photography. Higher shutter speeds make it easier to capture fast-paced action, ensuring that you never miss the perfect shot.


The Sigma SD1 Merrill includes phase detection autofocus (AF), with null number of focus points.

While contrast detection is generally more accurate and precise, phase detection autofocus is faster and more effective in most situations, particularly when photographing moving subjects.

Phase detection autofocus works by dividing the incoming light into pairs and then analyzing how they intersect on the camera's sensor. This method allows the camera to determine not only if a subject is in focus but also the direction and distance needed to adjust the focus to achieve perfect sharpness.

On the other hand, contrast detection autofocus works by analyzing the contrast of an image and adjusting the focus until the highest contrast is detected. While this method is very accurate, it can be slow, especially in low light conditions or when photographing moving subjects.

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What is the sensor size of the Sigma SD1 Merrill?

The Sigma SD1 Merrill features a CMOS (Foveon X3) sensor

Is the Sigma SD1 Merrill weather sealed?

Yes the SD1 Merrill does have weather sealing.

When was the Sigma SD1 Merrill announced?

The Sigma SD1 Merrill was announced on Apr 10 2012

Does the Sigma SD1 Merrill have in-body image stabilization?

No the SD1 Merrill does not have in-body image stabilization that can compensate for camera shake, making it easier to shoot handheld in low light conditions.

What is the ISO range of the Sigma SD1 Merrill?

The SD1 Merrill has a native ISO range of 100-6400, which can be expanded to ISO null-null for even greater sensitivity in low light conditions.

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