Foveon has released details of its latest X3 sensor, the X3 Pro 10M, which will be featured in a soon-to-be-released Sigma SD10 digital SLR camera.


October 2003: Foveon has released details of its latest X3 sensor, the X3 Pro 10M, which will be featured in a soon-to-be-released Sigma SD10 digital SLR camera.
The new sensor is based on CMOS technology and features the same stacked pixel design as the original Foveon X3 sensor that was used in Sigma’s SD9 digital SLR. The same size as the sensor in the SD9, it has three layers of photodetectors in a 2268 x 1512 pixel array: 3.4 million in each layer. The top layer picks up light from the blue band of the spectrum, the middle layer is green sensitive and the bottom layer responds to red light. This structure eliminates the need for colour interpolation and delivers high image resolution with increased sharpness and negligible artefacts.
The new X3 Pro 10M sensor features VPS (Variable Pixel Size) capability, which supports on-chip grouping of neighbouring pixels to simulate the effect of a larger pixel. This allows it to offer higher sensitivity at lower resolutions, reduced noise and ultra-low power consumption and enables flexible video capture at a variety of resolutions plus dual mode still/video applications. It also resists the blooming that is common in many CCD sensors.
The new Sigma SD10 camera features several significant improvements over the SD9, including increased sensitivity levels (up to ISO 800 in standard shooting mode and ISO 1600 in extended mode), longer exposure times (up to 30 seconds in extended mode) and finer tuning for exposure compensation (1/3 EV steps instead of ø‚ ½ EV). It also features a new, lighter and smaller battery system that replaces the dual battery system of the SD9 with a single tray that takes 4x AA cells or 2x CR-V3 lithium batteries. Wireless TTL flash has been added and improvements have been made to the supporting Photo Pro software.
Like the SD9, the SD10 only supports RAW format capture, which means images must be downloaded to a computer for viewing and editing. The latest version of Photo Pro is the only application that can view, manipulate and convert the SD10’s RAW files. Like its predecessor, it is both Windows and Mac compatible and contains a browser interface, file conversion utility (TIFF and JPEG are supported) and comprehensive metadata display. White balance, colour balance and parameter adjustments are provided in the Review mode and the adjustment window contains under- and over-exposure warnings that show areas in which detail is likely to be lost. A new Fill Light tool lets users apply local tone corrections to extract maximum dynamic range from shots. You can also assign and memorise adjustments on an image-by-image basis.
The new sensor and camera were announced jointly by Foveon and Sigma on 27 October and no details have been released yet on when this camera is likely to be available in Australia. Watch this site for updates, which will be posted as soon as they are available.