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85out of 100

Sigma 14.06 Megapixels SD15 Camera Review by PR

2011-04-06 03:54 | Source
686 reviews
Originally announced in the fall of 2008, the Sigma SD15 DSLR features a 14.06 Megapixels Foveon X3 direct image sensor, which collects all three colors (red, green and blue) at each pixel for smoother, more natural image quality than traditional Bayer sensors. Although the new Sigma SD15 DSLR uses the same sensor as the SD14, the camera does have a bunch of design and performance improvements. It has an updated user interface, a new TRUE II engine for faster image processing and a larger buffer so it can capture up to 21 RAW images before saving to the memory card. The SD15 also has a new metering sensor, a new 3-inch 460k-dot LCD display, the sensitivity range has been increased to ISO 3200 and it now uses SD memory cards instead of Compact Flash.

The Sigma SD15 also comes with the new Sigma Photo Pro (SPP) 4.0 software, which features new, user-controlled noise sliders that allow for greater control over detail rendering in images taken at ISO 400 and higher, and special algorithms for processing SD15 raw files. SPP 4.0 also contains the X3 Fill Light function, which allows users to easily add light to shaded areas of an image, without overexposing highlighted areas. The Sigma SD15 is currently selling at around $989. Here's the summary of a review by PhotoReview Australia, giving the camera a rating of 8.5 out of 10:

"Since the SD15 has been designed for raw file capture, unless otherwise specified, all test shots were taken as X3F.RAW files and converted with Sigma's Photo Pro 4.2. We deliberately carried out our white balance tests with JPEG files because colour balance is easily adjustable when raw files are converted into editable formats. We also used JPEGs for the lens focal length/aperture tests to maintain consistence with tests of other lenses. We reviewed the camera with Sigma's AF 17-70mm f/2.8-4 DC Macro OS HSM, which is a good performer and has build quality to match the SD15. A review of this lens conducted with the Canon EOS 40D body, is available here. As expected, performance in our Imatest tests was similar to the SD14. Differences between X3F.RAW and JPEG files were relatively small and both exceeded expectations for the sensor's resolution by a generous margin that was maintained through most focal length and aperture settings. Best performance was between f/4 and f/8, with diffraction kicking in at around f/11. slight edge softening was noticeable at wider apertures. The graph below, which is biased towards wider apertures, shows the results of our Imatest tests, based on JPEG files. Lateral chromatic aberration was mainly negligible, wandering into the 'low' band at longer focal length settings. The graph below shows the results of our Imatest tests, based on JPEG files.

Many features in the SD15 have been improved in the three years that have passed since we reviewed the SD14. However, the Foveon sensor remains the same and, even though JPEG performance has improved dramatically, this camera only delivers its best results from  X3F.RAW files. And you must be prepared to work on them, both with the supplied raw file processing software and subsequently in a capable image editor. Relative to other DSLRs on the market, the SD15 remains pretty pricey. Potential purchasers will need to weigh up the advantages of this camera against the many functions that are either missing or limited when compared with DSLRs from some other manufacturers. In September, 2010, Sigma announced a new DSLR camera, the SD1, which uses a new Foveon sensor measuring 24 x 16 mm. This sensor has a 1.5x crop factor, the same as Nikon, Pentax  and Sony's APS-C DSLRs and produces 4800 x 3200 pixel images (just under 15.4 megapixels in size). As with the SD15 and its predecessors, Sigma combines the resolution of each colour layer and is claiming a resolution of 46 megapixels for the new camera. The TRUE II image processor used in the SD15 is included in the SD1, which also has the same LCD monitor."


ManufacturerSigmaSigma
ModelDP2sSD15
StyleAdvanced CompactDigital SLR
Megapixels14.014.0
LCD Screen2.5-inch TFT Color LCD Monitor, 230,000 dots3-inch TFT Color LCD Monitor, 460,000 dots
Memory CardsSD Card / Compatible with SDHC, Multi Media CardSD Card/Compatible with SDHC, Multi Media Card
ResolutionRAW High Approx 15.4MB (2460x1760) JPEG High Fine: Approx 3.3MB (2640x1760) Normal: Approx 1.9MB (2640x1760) Basic: Approx 1.4MB (2640x1760)RAW High 2,640 x 1,760 (Approx.15.4MB) JPEG High Fine 2,640 x 1,760 (Approx.3.3MB) Normal 2,640 x 1,760 (Approx.1.9MB) Basic 2,640 x 1,760 (Approx.1.4MB) Medium Fine 1,872x1,248 (Approx.1.6MB)
File FormatsLossless compression RAW data (12-bit), JPEG (High, Wide, Medium, Low), Movie (AVI), Voice memo to still image (10 sec./30 sec.), Voice recording (WAV)Lossless compression RAW data(12-bit), JPEG(High,Medium, Low)
Shutter Speed1/2000-15 sec.1/4000 - 30 sec., Bulb (up to 30 sec. With Extended Mode: 2 min.)
ISO SensitivityAUTO (ISO 100-ISO 200) : With Flash (ISO 100-ISO 400),ISO 50, ISO 100, ISO 200, ISO 400, ISO 800, ISO 1600,ISO3200 (ISO 1600, ISO 3200 in Raw mode only) AUTO(ISO 100-200) : With Flash (ISO 100-400) Equivalent to ISO100, 200, 400, 800 and 1600 (ISO50 and ISO3200 with Extended Mode)
White Balance Settings8 types (Auto, Sunlight, Shade, Overcast, Incandescent, Fluorescent, Flash, Custom)8 types (Auto, Sunlight, Shade, Overcast, Incandescent, Fluorescent, Flash and Custom)
Flash ModesPop-up (Manual)Manual Pop-up Built-in flash
Flash Range28cm-3m(ISO200)17mm lens angle covered
Shooting Modes7 types ( Standard, Vivid, Neutral, Portrait, Landscape, B&W, Sepia)Standard, Vivid, Neutral, Portrait, Landscape, B&W, Sepia
Maximum Movie ResolutionQVGA 320x240N/A
Maximum Movie Frames Per Second30 fpsN/A
Maximum Movie Duration30minutes is possible with a 1GB SD CardN/A
MeteringTTL Full Aperture Metering [1]Evaluative Metering, [2]Center Weighted Average Metering, [3]Spot Metering77 segment Evaluative Metering, Spot Metering, Center Area Metering, Center-Weighted Average Metering
Image StabilizationN/AN/A
Self TimerYes, 2 or 10 secYes, 2 or 10 sec
Video Out (TV Playback)Yes, NTSC/PALYes, NTSC/PAL
BatteriesDedicated Li-ion Battery BP-31, Battery Charger BC-31, AC Adapter (Optional) Li-ion Battery Pack BP-21, Battery Charger BC-21, AC adapter SAC-4(optional)
Dimensions113.3mm/4.5"(W) x 59.5mm/2.3"(H) x 56.1mm/2.2"(D) 144mm/5.7"(W) X 107.3mm/4.2"(H) X 80.5mm/3.2"(D)
Weight260g/9.2oz. (excluding batteries and card) 680g/24oz (without batteries)
Other InfoContinuous (3 Frames/second)Continuous shooting speed 3 frames/second Maximum number of frames for continuous shooting 21 frames
Release Date2010-02-212010-02-21

Sigma SD15 Sample Photos on Flickr



Sigma SD15 Camera Reviews Roundup


Trusted Reviews - Oct 22 2010
"The main drawback with the SD15 is the sheer lack of resolution. Sigma can call it 14.06 megapixels until they're blue in the face, but there's no getting away from the fact that the final image size is only 2640 x 1760 pixels, 4.64 megapixels, and that's where it counts. The vastly superior resolution of most modern APC-C CMOS sensors, as well as their sup..." More »
70out of 100
Pocket-lint - Oct 06 2010
"In practice we found that busier scenes could befuddle the camera's AF system, with focus being deferred to the background rather than intended subject. Switch to manual then for more consistent results; though we missed being able to use Live View as an aid to check critical focus on a larger scale than that offered via the camera's optical viewfinder.&nbs..." More »
70out of 100
PhotoRadar - Sep 08 2010
"Some might see the Foveon X3 sensor as the SD15's weak point, but it isn't. It produces small files, true, but they have such astonishing clarity and sharpness that they are in fact a fair match for any regular APS-C format D-SLR. The lack of features isn't really a problem, either. Using a D-SLR that's been stripped down to its basics will be a refres..." More »
60out of 100
CNET - Sep 01 2010
"The Foveon X3 sensor is both this dSLR's main selling point and its Achilles heel. Sigma claims its triple-layered composition -- one silicon-embedded layer of photo detectors each for red, green and blue -- delivers more accurate colour reproduction, and, therefore, more life-like results. That's a big claim, especially since, when you open up a fine-..." More »
60out of 100

Sigma SD15 Reviews Roundup [Total 6 Reviews] »



Sigma SD15 Camera Recent User Reviews

The SD15 will teach you a few things about photography., BSI Eric - Dec 10 2011
I have gained the most from this camera in the form of education. I am a beginner in digital photography. I didn't know much about shutter speed, etc... I had to learn these things to get images from this camera. I am satisfied with the results I get and the more I learn about photography the better my images get. I really enjoy using the EF 610 DG Super Flash also. It is a must have...


The SD15 will teach you a few things about photography., BSI Eric - Dec 10 2011
I have gained the most from this camera in the form of education. I am a beginner in digital photography. I didn't know much about shutter speed, etc... I had to learn these things to get images from this camera. I am satisfied with the results I get and the more I learn about photography the better my images get. I really enjoy using the EF 610 DG Super Flash also. It is a must have...


Best, if you're willing to work for it, Thomas J. Schum - Feb 13 2011
I received my copy of the SD-15 in July 2010 after waiting for it for 2 months. It came with over 1000 shots already in the shot counter, but with a new camera warranty from Sigma USA. Don't settle for anything less than a totally "legitimate" purchase from a real dealer. I didn't: the Sigma USA warranty was the important thing. When I got it, I also got a Sigma 50-200...


Best, if you're willing to work for it, Thomas J. Schum - Feb 13 2011
I received my copy of the SD-15 in July 2010 after waiting for it for 2 months. It came with over 1000 shots already in the shot counter, but with a new camera warranty from Sigma USA. Don't settle for anything less than a totally "legitimate" purchase from a real dealer. I didn't: the Sigma USA warranty was the important thing. When I got it, I also got a Sigma 50-200 F...


More Sigma SD15 User Reviews »


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