The SD9 has a fairly conventional SLR design with a logical mix of digital controls and the regular photographic. The body is finished in a high impact plastic, under this skin is a metal substructure. The hand grip and a small portion of the rear of the camera are coated in hard rubber. The thickness of the camera and the hand grip makes it feel chunky and slightly boxy, although not uncomfortable to hold or use. Control layout is good and easy to understand, it's not hard to get to work with the SD9 quite quickly. Build quality is good, buttons (the majority of which are rubber) work well although don't have a definite click feel. Overall the SD9's body is a little chunky but easy to understand, functional and robust enough to take the odd knock.
The camera has very similar dimensions to the Canon EOS-D30/D60 apart from in height where the SD9 is 13 mm (0.5 in) taller, this primarily due to the AA battery cartridge. Weight wise the SD9 is approximately 50 g lighter without batteries or lens, but slightly heavier once loaded with its four AA batteries (the D30/D60 use a smaller, lighter Lithium-Ion).
Size and Weight
As you can see from the table below the SD9 is larger than both the Nikon D100, Fujifilm S2 Pro and Canon EOS-D30/D60, also don't be deceived by the weight listed below, the SD9 is heavier than the D60 once you've loaded it up with its array of batteries. Its size makes the SD9 feel larger than the D100, S2 Pro or D30/D60 but in reality this is never an operational issue.
|Camera||Weight (no battery)||Dimensions|
|Nikon D100||700 g (1.5 lb)||144 x 116 x 81 mm (5.7 x 4.6 x 3.2 in)|
|Fujifilm S2 Pro||760 g (1.7 lb)||142 x 131 x 80 mm (5.6 x 5.2 x 3.1 in)|
|Sigma SD9||805 g (1.8 lb)||152 x 120 x 79 mm (6.0 x 4.7 x 3.1 in)|
|Canon EOS-D30||855 g (1.9 lb)||150 x 107 x 75 mm (5.9 x 4.2 x 3.0 in)|
|Canon EOS-D60||855 g (1.9 lb)||150 x 107 x 75 mm (5.9 x 4.2 x 3.0 in)|
|Kodak DCS-14n||907 g (2.0 lb)||131 x 158 x 89 mm (5.2 x 6.2 x 3.5 In.)|
|Canon EOS-1Ds||1265 g (2.8 lb)||156 x 157.6 x 79.9 mm (6.1 x 6.2 x 3.1 in)|
Side by side
Here is the SD9 beside Nikon's D100. As you can see the D100 does make the SD9 seem big, both cameras here with the manufacturers 50 mm lens (although the Nikon is the F1.4, the Sigma F2.8 Macro). Despite the way it looks in the image below you won't be able to tell once you start shooting.
In your hand
As mentioned above the SD9's larger-than-normal dimensions don't affect the usage or comfort of the camera. All controls are logically laid out, those most used within reach of your right hand.
Rear LCD Display
The SD9's 1.8" monitor is bright and detailed, it appears to be one-up on the normal 1.8" LCD as this particular unit has 130,000 pixels. The screen is bright enough to see outdoors although an anti-reflective coating would have helped in direct sunlight. Also provided with the camera is the clip-on shaped LCD protector shown below. Once on it covers all of the LCD buttons except delete which is left available for deleting images in record review mode.
Top LCD Panel
The LCD panel on the top of the camera provides a summary of current settings as well as a readout of exposure. It includes information such as the currently selected image size, white balance, battery status (both 'camera' and 'digital' batteries), frames remaining, metering mode and shutter speed / aperture. Note that ISO sensitivity is not displayed unless you press the ISO button.
Below is a diagram of all information displayed on the top LCD panel: