Samstag, 28. Januar 2017

Sigma sd Quattro H vs. Sigma sd1 Merrill image comparison

Maro provided an image comparison between the sdQH and the SD1 with the 85mm 1.4 Art lens:

At first, the images look quiet similar. But the statements in the dpreview forum are pretty harsh:
  • "SD1 looks sharper!"
  • "Not only sharper. In Quatro I see a lot of color artefacts."
  • "If the SD1 had live view and an EVF, it would be the better camera.  Certainly it produces a better image."
  • "Merrill was/is clearly outstanding!"
  • "This just makes me think what sort of fabulous camera a mirrorless SD Merrill H would have been."
  • "Once again the comparison show that 1:1:1 layers structure of the Foveon Merrill of the SD1 wins over the poor and rubbish 1:0.25:0.25 structure of the Quattro"
  • "The SD1M will be my last Foveon camera unless Sigma resurrects the Merrill chip in an improved body."
While the Quattro in general seems to have an edge regarding luminance resolution, many people
seem to prefer the look of the Merrill generation.
So what is it?

Maybe these 200% crops help to understand:
(click images for full resolution)

Clearly visible how destructive the default luma-noise reduction setting works with Quattro files,
but then luma-NR off shows how noisy the Quattro is on pixel level. 
So, finding the balance between noise reduction and adding/lowering sharpness is the tricky part with Quattro, while the Merrill sensor seems to be more forgiving and stable.  


  1. Wow, impressive comparaison. I own all the merrill gears including SD1M and I'm still looking with envy at the SDQH for mostly the lack of liveview and the focus difficulties with SD1M. I tried to calibrate my ART lens and I still have some failures. Having a real mirrorless camera with Merrill and not the huge SDA flange distance to be like Sony or Fuji would be so sexy.

  2. I also own all Merrill cameras. I tried the Quattros but they're not for me.
    Yes the AF of the SD1 is (depending on the lens) quiet unreliable. I have consistent results with older lenses like 17-50mm 2.8, 70mm macro or the 120-300 OS, but i had terrible focus problems with the 18-35mm F1.8 Art.
    Looks like we have to wait for the next camera from Sigma. Maybe it will be a "real" mirrorless with dedicated lenses (and an adapter for SA lenses). And after all the criticism regarding Quattro i expect a better sensor in 2019.