Compared to the Canon EOS-D30

Outdoor scene comparison

This comparison was made on a cold November morning along the banks of the river Thames. The primary difficulty here was producing the same frame coverage and exposure brightness. The difference between the D30's 1.6x multiplier and the SD9's 1.7x multiplier was more than I'd expected and in reality meant the SD9 shot was taken from at least 12 feet (3.7 m) further back than the EOS-D30. It's not perfect, if you look closely you'll see that the SD9 still wasn't far enough back but this difference won't give the SD9 much of an advantage (if any).

Due to differences in sensitivity and / or tone curve the SD9 exposure was 0.3 EV slower to produce an image with the same brightness. All JPEG's provided in this section of the review were saved at the 95% quality level, click here for more information.

Camera settings:

  • Sigma SD9: manual exposure, High resolution, Manual WB, Sigma 50 mm F2.8 EX macro lens
  • Canon EOS-D30: manual exposure, default params, Manual WB, RAW, Sigma 50 mm F2.8 EX macro lens

Raw converter settings:

  • Sigma Photo Pro: default processing, output 8-bit TIFF (sRGB)
  • Canon File Viewer Utility: default settings, output 8-bit TIFF (sRGB)

Crops below were taken directly from TIFF files converted as per the notes above, these crops were then magnified 200% (nearest neighbour interpolation).

Sigma SD9, 2268 x 1512 Canon EOS-D30, 2160 x 1440
ISO 100, F11, 1/125 sec ISO 100, F11, 1/160 sec
2,537 KB 1,513 KB

The EOS-D30 is still representative of the best of its sensor resolution, thus this is a good comparison of X3 versus Bayer at the same output image size. As you can see the SD9 performs much better than the EOS-D30, delivering more detail, sharper detail as well as elements which have become invisible on the D30 image. That said the D30 does an admirable job considering the considerable difference in the number of photo detectors, the SD9 has 10.3 million, the D30 just 3.1 million. The important difference here is that where the D30's clever interpolations algorithms have to guess details the X3 simply captures.