advertisement for Sigma's SD10 digital SLR has been cleared by the Advertising
Standards Authority after a complaint from a magazine reader.
The ad, which showed a close-up colour photograph of a human eye, claimed "10.2
million pixels will open your eyes to the true colour reproduction and outstanding
Don't compromise on quality. See the difference."
The complainant, from Leicestershire, reckoned the photograph had been retouched
with digital imaging software and claimed that the use of the image, without
a suitable disclaimer, was misleading because readers would assume that the
image represented picture quality achievable directly by the camera.
Sigma said the image was taken with a Sigma SD10 camera and then retouched by
the photographer who removed his reflection from the eyeball and some blobs
of mascara from the eyelashes. The company maintained that, because the image
was captured by the camera as a RAW file, it was impossible to obtain a printed
image directly from the camera without post-capture processing.
Sigma estimated that the advertisement had been seen by approximately 1,500,000
photographic and digital magazine readers with varying abilities from beginner
to expert. Only one such reader considered the advert misleading. Sigma was
supported by letters from editors of three photography magazines, two directors
of a regional press publisher and the President of The Royal Photographic Society
who agreed that the image was a realistic representation of the Sigma SD10 camera's
capabilities. Sigma also submitted an image similar to that used in the advertisement,
but which had not been retouched.
The ASA acknowledged that post-capture processing was necessary to obtain a
printable image with the SD10 camera, but noted it was not essential for an
image to be retouched. It nevertheless considered that the retouched image used
in the advertisement was comparable in resolution and definition to the un-retouched
image sent by the advertisers and concluded that the image in the advertisement
was a fair representation of picture quality achievable directly by the camera.