The long-awaited Sigma SD14 DSLR boasts a unique sensor and a whole lot of megapixels. But how well does it perform?
If patience is a virtue, photographers shopping for a new Sigma DSLR are saints. After all, it’s been three years since the last Sigma digital (the SD10), and it was more than six months between the announcement and availability of the new Sigma SD14 ($1,600, street, body only).
Clearly, a truly unique camera takes time. And the SD14 is unique. It’s the first and only DSLR to use a second-generation Foveon X3 sensor, which has a 1.7X lens factor, boasts 14.1 megapixels, and is promoted as a color-accurate, detail-obsessed, low-noise alternative to the CMOS and CCD sensors used in other DSLRs.
Imaging: 14.1MP (effective, based on X3 sensor that has three
RGB-sensitive layers of 1760x2640 pixels each). 12 bits/color in RAW
Storage: CF Type I and II, Microdrive. Stores JPEG or RAW.
Burst rate: Up to 6 Hi-quality JPEGs at 3 fps (tested using a SanDisk Extreme III 8GB card and LCD turned off).
AF system: TTL phase difference with 5 selectable AF zones with center cross-type. Sensitive down to EV -1 (at ISO 100, f/1.4).
Shutter speeds: 1/4000 to 30 sec plus B (1/3-EV increments).
Metering: 8-segment evaluative, limited-area, and center-weighted average metering. No true spotmeter. EV 1-20 (at ISO 100).
ISO range: 100-800 (in 1-EV increments) plus ISO 1600 via custom setting.
Flash: Built-in pop-up with S-TTL metering and GN 38 (ISO 100, feet). Flash sync at 1/180 sec. Dedicated hot-shoe.
Viewfinder: Fixed eye-level pentaprism.
LCD: 2.5-in. TFT with 150,000-pixel resolution.
Batteries: Rechargeable BP-21 Li-ion; 500 shots per charge (CIPA rating).
Size/weight: 5.7x4.2x3.2 in.; 1.8 lb with card and battery (body only).
Street price: $1,600, body only.
For info: www.sigmaphoto.com.
Accuracy: 98% (Excellent)
Magnification: 0.90X (Excellent)
• Canon EOS 30D ($1,120, street, body only): Has tough magnesium-alloy
frame and faster AF system with better motion tracking, and faster (5
fps) burst rate. Produces less shadow noise at ISOs above 400, though
the Sigma’s RAW files show similar resolution and color accuracy.
• Nikon D200 ($1,340, street, body only): Tougher body with water and
dust seals, superior AF system with better tracking, higher burst rates
and NEF RAW + JPEG mode. Has superior noise control and dynamic range,
plus smart Li-ion battery, but doesn’t shoot infrared.
Hands on and In the Lab Test by PopPhoto
Flickr Sigma SD14 Sample Photo
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