In recent weeks, I have been asked by a number of different people about the camera and lenses I use. In particular, I keep getting asked about the SD14 – Sigma’s latest DSLR which I have used almost exclusively since Easter of this year. In that time, I have shot images in Ireland, Morocco, Italy and London as well as the odd wedding. In this time, I have had a chance to get to know the camera well. I also must declare a little bit of bias with this mini review as I have arrived at the SD14 via the Sigma SD9 and then SD10. I also have a range of Sigma EX lenses in the Sigma SA mount.
To begin with, the SD14 is a fairly large step forward from the Sigma SD10. That camera, Sigma claimed was a 10.2 megapixel camera. The SD14 gets its title from the 14 Megapixel images it can produce. The figures can be a little misleading as the camera produces these images from its unique Foveon sensor. Unlike other cameras, the Foveon sensor is arranged with Red, Green and Blue photosites one on top of the other. Typical Bayer cameras have a Red, Green and Blue array placed over there sensors. You can read more about this by googling Foveon or Bayer. For me, in terms of image quality, the camera produces exceptionally sharp images. I was more than happy with the SD10′s quality but the SD14 is even more impressive. The images look superb at A1+ sizes. In order to do this camera justice, EX lenses must be used. These are Sigma’s flagship lenses and allow the camera to produce excellent images.
The camera comes with a JPG conversion engine built in – a feature missing on the SD10. To be honest, I am not particularly impressed by this and shoot exclusively in RAW. Converting from RAW is done by the Sigma Photo Pro software. The windows version of this is bug ridden to say the least but thankfully the Mac version (2.2) works very well indeed. Alternatively, Adobe Lightroom in its latest guise supports SD14 raw files.
The SD14 is also improved in terms of lower light performance. If you are looking to shoot at ISO 1600+, then this camera is probably not for you. However at ISO 200-800, the camera produces images with very little noise. The key thing here is to expose your image correctly. I usually use +0.3 EC as a matter of course as the meter in camera seems to underexpose images somewhat.
The camera’s shot to shot speed is not particularly quick by today’s standards. I think the buffer (6 frames) is the limiting factor. Again, there are other cameras out there that perform better in this area.
In terms of image quality, the camera really excels. In my opinion, with decent EX lenses the images produced are as clear and detailed as any camera I have every used. The new sensor has improved dynamic range and the raw images at times are jaw dropping. The camera does require the user to think about what they are doing and it is probably not the quickest on the market but for me the image quality is the most important thing. Some examples have been posted below. You can find more here:-
More examples are here… www.picturesforwalls.com
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