Sigma SD14 Resolution: 14 MP? 4.6 MP?
How does the SD14 stack up against high end cameras like the Canon EOD 5D?
by Mike Chaney
On Sunday I had the chance to shoot a little with my “new” Sigma SD10 in a friend’s garden to see if the Foveon sensor really rocks when it comes to colours. What else but a garden in autumn can show the colour rendering of a sensor?
The lenses I used are a Vivitar 1.9/35, a Mamiya Sekor 1.8/55 and a Volna-3 2.8/80.
Here are some shots:
They say that a Foveon Sensor creates a high sharpness in the images due to the absence of interpolation. Well, sharpness is nothing I could complain about. 😉 Now, what about colour?
It seems to me that colour, especially when you shoot in sunlight, is boosted. The Foveon intensifies saturation to an extend that I’d say I tend to reduce it again in post-production.
So, did you like Fuji Velvia slides? Then I would bet you like the Foveon colours. Of course, since you only shoot in RAW with the SD10, colour rendition also depends on how you process your files to JPG.
The SD10 is a fascinating cam, but it demands some dedication. You need to take care of your images when processing them. In the same way it is no cam for the action shooter, it is no cam for quick’n’dirty image developing. If you take your time, you will get some fantastic results – quite a cam for today when we all need some “de-acceleration”…
Yes, I am a Canon EOS fan. Not because I don’t like Nikon or Pentax (I’ve always even had some kind of special fondness for the Pentax philospohy) or Olympus, but because the EOS 350D was the best affordable DSLR when I wanted to buy one some years ago. And then I stayed with Canon. My next cam was the 40D, later – after I had sold the 350D – the 5D as a fullframe camera (Yeah, finally 24×36 again!) and even a “manual focus” (broken AF) 300D arrived at my place.
But one day I started to be interested in the Foveon technology and if it really was that much better than the Bayer matrix. So I got a Polaroid x530, the only really “cheap” Foveon cam. I like the way it looks and I like the results at low ISO settings, but it is pretty slow, so I did not use it often.
Well, as it sometimes happens, I got the chance to get hold of a mint Sigma SD10. A Spanish friend wanted to sell his copy. I did not think about it for long. We quickly had a deal. And now I am the proud owner of my fourth (actually, fifth) DSLR. Gosh, that’s kind of decadent, isn’t it?
Well, anyway, here it is:
Since I do not own any Sigma SA/SD lenses, I only can use my M42-lenses on this cam. But I do like to take photos with manual lenses anyway and I do have several very nice M42-lenses, so that is not really a problem.
What do others think about the SD10?
Well, here is Wikipedia, always quite a good start for research. DPReviews is a really recommendable site when you need to find out something about digital cameras. And DCRP also offers quite extensive reports about digicams. Finally, here is what Steve and Ken think about this cam. (Ken is a very special type of guy, often provocative and polarizing but mostly entertaining 😉 but I still like Steve a little better.)
What do I think about the Sigma?
Well, I have to use it a little before I can judge on it. My first impression was one of a sturdy built and nice haptics as well as a rather slow image handling and a poor high ISO performance. But I really cannot summarise it now. I need some time to get used to it and to see the first real life results. And believe me, I am really looking forward to that! (Big boys – big toys, right?)