D800E vs Sigma SD1 Merrill: the saga begins!

Feb 19, 2006
San Ginesio, Italy
Hello everyone,

after working with it for a while and getting familiar with my new SD1, I decided time has come to do a comparison between it and my workhorse Nikon cameras, in particular with the D800E - today's king of high-resolution DSLRs. As always, I approached the problem from an user's point of view, so I didn't start shooting charts and the like but I used "real world" subjects and light. I couldn't find any such comparisons on the web, and I thought that publishing one might be of great help for those trying to figure out whether the SD1 is the camera for them or not, and whether they really need to fork out D800E money to get such high IQ out of their camera and camera system.

In the first instalment of what will be a long comparison, I choose to deal with the classic, "fast normal" 50mm f/1.4 lens (35mm f/1.4 on the SD1, of course). My conclusions are very positive for the SD1, which turned out to be a very impressive camera - though with many caveats - and for the 35mm f/1.4 as well: both by themselves and when compared with the King Of Resolution, the D800E equipped with Nikon 50mm f/1.4.
For those interested, you can read my article


Hope you'll find it interesting. Best,

Jan 13, 2006
Columbia, Maryland
Real Name
Walter Rowe
Reading it now ...

So, interesting comparison, though not surprising conclusion. Also decided to read your SD1 Merrill post. Again, not too surprising results. In essence, within it's bounds of performance the Foveon technology is excellent. When you exceed its bounds of performance, it really falls apart. And the bounds of performance aren't very wide.

Thanks for sharing your writeup. It is always nice to hear additional perspectives and see what other paths people take in evaluating and comparing photography equipment.
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