The Sigma cameras
14.12.11Today as I write this, there are a lot of digital cameras to choose from. So why did I choose to work with the cameras from Sigma? At the moment I have the DSLRs SD14 and SD15 and the two compacts DP1 and DP2.
I have taken photos since I was 13 and I have had different film cameras during the years. About 2004 I started using digital compact cameras, but in 2008 I started to think about the use of a DSLR. I was curious about the RAW-format and because I have had SLRs before in my life, I thought I wanted to go back to the possibility to change lenses and enhance my photography.
So I started reading ... a lot. Reviews, articles etc. mainly on the Internet but also in magazines. I discovered that there were some different technical solutions. As a Civil Engineer, I normally don't just buy something, but I like to know and understand what I am buying.
Somehow I discovered the existence of the Foveon sensor. Its design with three layers of silicon for each of the three colors RGB, seemed very convincing. Only Sigma would offer a DSLR with this unique sensor. I was really curious about it. I also started reading "dpreview", especially their forum on Sigma cameras.
After about six Months of studying, I decided to buy the Sigma SD14 at Fotovideo in Oslo. The first lens I bought was the 18-50mm F2.8 EX. Later I have added the 10-20mm wideangel lens, the 70-200mm F2.8 zoom lens and the 30mm F1.4 prime lens and the 105mm macro lens.
From the very beginning I was very pleased with the Image quality, and often really impressed. Also the sharpness of the images with all the details is a joy to discover.
I think one of the great advances of the Foveon sensor it is way of handling the colors, but also that the camera can be constructed more simple. It does not need the same amount of filters and software to generate the photos. If someone is interested I will recommend to read more about this very unique technique on other websites.
In January 2009, I bought the DP1, a compact version with a fixed lens of 16.6mm with F4. With a crop factor of 1.7, the lens equals 28mm. It has the same sensor as the SD14 and the Image quality is of equal standard. The lens is very good and sharp. The nice thing with the DP1 is its small size and easiness of carrying around.
This year I bought the DP2 which has a 24.2mm lens, equals 40mm at f2.8. So now I have to compacts with prime lenses …
Summer 2010 I bought the new SD15, still with the same sensor, but with new chips and software. Also the LCD screen is much better on the back. But is has no liveview. Still it is much better in the handling than the SD14. While the SD14 had a problem with a green cast in the colors, this is not the case with the SD15.
Meanwhile Sigma has started to use a bigger sensor with three times the resolution of the former sensor. The camera is called SD1. But Sigma has chosen to give it a price that not at all corresponds to what it offers. I have no possibility to buy it, or if I had that much money, I don’t think I would use it on a SD1.
The reviews of the cameras are often rather negative, especially because of lack of speed etc. although SD15 is much faster than the SD14. I do agree to all that, but when you see the Image quality afterwards, you can easy live with the cameras. My style of shooting so far does not demand speed and I am shooting my photos manually with auto white balance.
2nd version, revised and updated 14th of December 2011