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Sigma SD1 Merrill mount

Ebay seller sigmacumlaude is offering mount replacement kits (Leica R, Nikon F and Olympus OM mounts) for the SD1/SD1M.

Although the viewfinder is not the best for manual focusing, and the screen is of no help whatsoever (no live view), there used to be a community of Foveon fans who were inclined to shoot Leica R lenses on the older SD bodies, so much that the replacement mount specialist Leitax took the plunge and issued a dedicated bayonet.

However, Leitax does not offer any adapter for the SD1. Sigmacumlaude’s solution seems to be the only way to mount non-SA lenses on Sigma’s latest DSLR.

Probably well worth a try is the Nikon F-mount adapter with Zeiss ZF2 lenses. Similarly to the sweet Leica R lenses, they are ideally crafted for manual focus, and some of them have no “equivalent” in Sigma’s lens lineup. In particular, I’m intrigued by what a 100mm f/2 Makro-Planar or a 135mm f/2 APO-Sonnar can do combined with the sensor of the SD1.

If you have tried or plan to try this mount replacement kit, a feedback would be greatly appreciated.

  • Antonio

    Leitax mounts are very well made. I bought 6 of them and they are machined perfectly and not expensive for what they are. Remember he makes one by one and it’s not chinese junk.

    There’s also a nice trick he told me. If you fit a Pentax-K mount on a lens it will also fit Sigma cameras. Just two reminds: 1) check if the rear part of the lens won’t hit the IR filter 2) It will be possible to focus at infinity but the distance scale of the lens will not be corret anymore due a small difference on the adapter thickness.

    If you have several lenses, go for the Sigmacumlaude camera mount, if not go for Leitax adapters.

  • Antonio

    Forgot to mention. You will need a decent focusing screen, and good ones for Sigma cameras are a nightmare to find, since Haoda went out of business.

    I have several Sigma/Foveon examples shot with alternative glass on my website photomysteries.com
    I’ll update the Foveon gallery with more images soon.

  • Antonio

    I have twho Sigmas converted to Leica-R with their mounts, but they are a SD9 and a SD15. Luiz makes the adapters with very high quality and they are easy to install. I use the cameres with several Leica-R lenses, including the super heavy 560 Telyt and Apo Makro Elmarit 100/2.8.

    You can also use M42 lenses on any SD camera. Adapters are cheap and plenty from e-bay. I use some cool EBC Fujinons and they are superb.

    Leitax adapters are for lens conversion, not camera body conversion.

  • I have had an SD-1 NikonF and LeicaR for awhile… also shot SD14’s with these mount replacements…

    Here are a few images…

    1st SD1-M Converted to Nikon-F w/Zeiss ZF 1.4/85
    2nd SD1-M Converted to Nikon-F w/Zeiss ZF 1.4/50
    3rd SD14 Converted to Nikon-F w/Voigtlander 2/40
    4th SD14 Converted to Leica-R w/Leica R 180 2.8

    5th SD14 Converted to Nikon-F w/Nikon Nikkor 200mm 2.0 ED-IF
    6th SD14 Converted to Nikon-F w/Nikon Nikkor 200mm 2.0 ED-IF
    7th SD14 Converted to Nikon-F w/Nikon Nikkor 800mm 5.6 ED-IF w/14b 1.4xTC

    8th SD14 Converted to Nikon-F w/Nikon Nikkor 800mm 5.6 ED-IF

    I still have all my conversions…. you can see more pictures at my two flickr sites…

    http://www.flickr.com/tc95 <– Work Safe
    http://www.flickr.com/studio5photos <– Not work Safe (NSFW)

    Now the mounts not being safe…never had an issue with the mounts… I have placed some of the heaviest Nikon/Leica lenses I have on them and they hold very well Luis-w/Sigma Cumluade is the one that I have purchased all my Mount replacements with…

    Sigma Art lenses have come a long way… but some of the older glass w/SD line of camera's just shines… take a look at the picture with the moon… the SD camera picked up colors in the moon… I was later told that it was a reflection of the earth on the moons surface… by a Nasa image-expert… I think it looks cool… if you have a spare SD and some old lenses… it's a way to revitalize the old camera…

    Thanks for looking… and I'm glad someone finally put up a Sigma-Rumors Site…!!!

    Tony C.

    • Antonio

      It depends… If you have a good set of Leica R lenses, I see no problem to make the conversion.
      The good thing about SCL’s mounts is the fact they are 100% reversible.

  • barmalini

    I know the guy who had the similar conversion done to his Sigma. All went well, no problem, but beware, mechanically this mount is not as strong as the original. You will need to be extremely cautious, especially with big heavy lenses.

  • Frank from Melbourne

    Now that Sigma have some of the finest lenses with their Art series, there is little need for mount change IMHO. With a 24mm F1.4 and 85mm 1.4 on the horizon too, you have the beauty of autofocus and manual focus if you wish with world class glass. All we need now is an ultra wide lens in the Art series.

    • Lea Tippett

      Hi Frank. I couldn’t agree more with you on both of your statements the now Global Vision lenses and especially the Art series look to be very high quality optics.
      I too can’t wait for a ultra wide Art lens with top notch optics to really get the best from Foveon sensor.

    • tom rose

      That is missing the point. The Sigma SD1 produces great results, but is a pain to use. If it had a Canon or Nikon mount it would be possible to use an SD1 alongside a camera with better performance and better low light capability … without having to double up on lenses. That means either converting the SD1 (to EOS or Nikon) or converting a Canon or Nikon camera to use SA lenses.

  • Henry Hiah

    Sigmacumlaude’s replacement mounts is probably the most stable one out of the 3 mount replacement sites I know of, the other 2 being Jtat’s SD-1’s Nikon mount and Leitax’s. And the old man handling Sigmacumlaude is one of the friendliest people in Sigmaforums(quite a reputable guy there too, he has been experimenting on SD14 since years ago).

    One way to solve the focusing issue is to get a split horizontal screen SD-1, which I got it real cheap from eBay
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/180-Split-Image-Focusing-Screen-for-Sigma-SD1-Merrill-digital-SLR-camera-/281147365137 and coupled together with a bresson viewfinder magnifier.

    I prefer to my m42 mount Super Takumar 50mm on my SD-1 though.

    • SigmaRumors

      Thanks Henry. M42 mounting is attractive too indeed. I contacted Jtat a while ago and got no reply; I thought the guy was not in the business anymore.

      • Henry Hiah

        It appears that Jtat has not been replying anyone for some time, myself included; I’ve been trying to email them to no avail. Good thing Sigmacumlaude’s still around.

        M42 lenses for the foveon is definitely one of the most interesting matchups, but the downside to it is the choices of wide angle lenses. That being said, Jtat’s m42 adapters for SA mounts are legendary(notably the best from what I researched on, with no infinity issues and light leaks).

        Hope Jtat gets back into business soon again, I’m really interested to see what the Japanese can do to challenge the current existing mounts for SA.

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