Another quirktastic camera from Sigma....... Locked

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absquatulate Senior Member • Posts: 7,417
Another quirktastic camera from Sigma.......

Firstly, let me say this isn't going to be a standard review comparing this to Bayer cameras, that would be like buying a Landrover and complaining it doesn't do 0-60 in 6 seconds. Secondly I have all 3 DP Merrills and the SD15, so I'm very familiar with Foveon sensors and Sigma's way of doing things. I am new to the Quattro sensor but I'll come on to that.

So what about the SD Quattro? I bought an open box SD Quattro, (as new), with the 30mm F1.4 Art lens for £739, that is an absolute steal in my book. I'm not sure what happened to the previous buyer, he only took less than 200 shots with it, I'm guessing he didn't know what he was buying, or maybe SPP was too much to bear. I knew exactly what I was buying and I know all about the downsides of shooting with foveon, so I'm not going to labour the point on that, they're all well known to Sigma afficionado's, personally I don't care about them, I bought a camera that does certain things better than anything else IMHO, though I wasn't entirely sure about the Quattro sensor and how SPP would work the files on my computer.

Anyway, the camera itself is typically Sigma quirky, which I actually love. Give me something original all day long, standard cameras are ten a penny. The build quality for the price is phenomenal, utilitarian but functional. I read a hilarious review on this camera in which the reviewer pretty much criticised everything, I guess he doesn't get Sigma, I do. There are lots of excellent touches to this camera, from the pop up diopter, to the clever placement of the power switch, to the side LCD for settings, very original and very cool for me. No video - excellent (never use it) and no scene mode gimmicks (never use them), but lots of useful features for just shooting stills, all good so far. It has a lovely chunky grip which I also like, and excellent quality robust buttons, another plus, twin configurable dials are also nice. Yes the EVF is lower rez but I understand why, however it does the job, and if you're used to using DP Merrills then it's a big bonus - definitely good enough. The LCD itself is lovely and excellent for confirming sharpness.

In operation the camera is exactly what I expected, pedestrian is fine with me, who's in a rush when using this type of camera? it's still faster than using film (which I still do occasionally). Focusing is also pedestrian but accurate, just like my Merrills, no issues for me there either, give me accuracy over speed all day long. 0.05 seconds blurry focusing doesn't really work for me personally and landscapes tend to stay where they are. You can also reduce the focusing box to a very small size, similar to the Merrills, and focus peaking? I'll definitely take that.

Another newsflash - it's not great at high ISO, Landrovers aren't good for road racing as well...imagine my shock. I also can't track a swallow in flight with this camera, another shocker.

So, the image quality? well I was pleasantly surprised by both the Quattro sensor and how SPP 6.5.2 dealt with its files, excellent is all I can say. It's not a Merrill, it's not better or worse, just different, I love both for certain things. SPP is clunky as always but on my laptop it chugs through the raw conversions as expected. Converting the files to 16 bit tiffs after minor tweaking I can process them more fully in Capture 1 Pro no problem, which sharpens the files much better than SPP. I haven't played much with DNG yet but I'll give them a go at some time. The colour is outstanding from the SD Quattro, very accurate to my eyes, more accurate than the Merrills unless you stick the Merrills on a tripod and give them some time (don't ask me why but that's how it works with the DPXM's for me). I also love the choice of aspect ratios, give me some of that 1:1 & 4:3 goodness please.

I stuck the old Sigma 18-50mm F2.8-F4 on the SD Quattro and was pleasantly surprised, though it has some field curvature and fades at the edges, the results were incredibly sharp where it really matters, I can only imagine how the superb Sigma 17-50mm F2.8 will perform on it. The 30mm F1.4 art is also very sharp centrally at F1.4. I'm not interested in the 18-35mm F1.8 before anyone mentions it, it's too big and heavy for what I want this camera for (I've already owned one).

The other point that is never mentioned in the reviews of this camera is its infrared capability, I love black and white and black and white using a red filter with the IR filter removed, a big plus for this camera for me and the reason why I never tried the "compact" Quattro's. I'll be getting the Sigma 10-20mm F3.5 to go with the SD Quattro, I can't wait to do some wide angle IR black and white with it.

So in summary, only pleasant surprises for me, it is what it is, digital medium format for £739, what's not to like? The Sigma quirkyness just adds to the fun of using a camera like this for me. If Vivian Maier can shoot street using a Rolleiflex I sure as hell can get used to shooting most things with this camera, isn't testing yourself all part of the fun?
With Sigma and foveon you either get it or you don't, I look forward to never seeing anyone else using this camera where-ever I shoot, you can't beat those puzzled Canikon eyes, that "WTH! but I won't ask because I'll look stupid" kind of look, it's all part of the rich tapestry of shooting Sigma, the results ain't half bad either

Sigma sd Quattro
29 megapixels • 3 screen • APS-C sensor
Announced: Feb 23, 2016
absquatulate's score
5.0
Average community score
4.6
bad for good for
Kids / pets
acceptable
Action / sports
acceptable
Landscapes / scenery
excellent
Portraits
excellent
Low light (without flash)
weak
Flash photography (social)
acceptable
Studio / still life
excellent
= community average
Sigma sd Quattro Sigma SD15
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