Opinions folks.


Link Posted 03/03/2007 - 04:25
How do you rate the Sigma SD14?

I picked up a brochure at Focus on Wednesday and it's quite an impressive camera. It's about twice the price of a K10D and looks almost as though it could have been designed by Pentax.

There are a few omissions from the specifications - no SR (although it does have Mirror-Lockup), no redeye reduction for the built-in flash and there's no mention of extensive weather proofing.
Nevertheless, it looks like serious competition for the K10D/GX10 and the two main features that stand out for me are the high-eyepoint viewfinder (Pentaprism 98% x 98%) and the 14 mega-pixel Foveon x3 sensor.

The Foveon sensor has been around for a while and I'd heard the name before but didn't know anything about it and it sounds incredible!
It's a CMOS sensor that's cheaper to produce than CCD and has three colour (RGB) layers. According to the brochure, this sensor captures 100% of the red, green and blue light at every pixel location, unlike the standard Bayer-filter system that only captures 25% of the red and blue and 50% of the green light.

Apparently the Foveon sensor is unique in that it has all the colour sensitivity of film whereas the Bayer-filter requires interpolation.

Here's a quote from the brochure:

".......each pixel (Bayer-filter) only captures a third of the colour data, and the remaining two thirds have to be extrapolated using complex algorithms. Interpolation using a colour filter and artificial color synthesis results in a loss of detail, so in the conventional system, no matter how many extra pixels it has, a conventional camera can only record artificially-generated images by calculating colours that weren't even there in the first place."

At present, the Foveon is only available to Sigma and it's a pity that their cameras are not PK fit because I'd love to see some comparisons between the results from a K10D and an SD14, with perhaps a Pentax Ltd. prime lens fitted to both - I suppose a PK-fit Sigma lens on a K10D would serve that purpose though!

Also, I read an article by the developer of the Foveon system who said that the 16.8 mega-pixel sensor that they had developed was very close to the effective maximum that could be achieved. The limitation is due to the frequency range (or was it wavelength?) of visible light, so I guess we'll never see a benefit above 20 mega-pixels per square inch!

Hope you found that as interesting as I did
Die my dear doctor, that's the last thing I shall do!


Link Posted 03/03/2007 - 05:16
It's about twice the price of a K10D

no SR (although it does have Mirror-Lockup), no redeye reduction for the built-in flash and there's no mention of extensive weather proofing

It's a CMOS sensor that's cheaper to produce than CCD

Sounds like a bargian...not.
Still a fine camera though....just doesn't compare to Pentax in my books.

There's a subaru wrx, out there with a funny looking front end and Saab emblems, a high price tag, if you still got money to burn after buying the sigma.
Fired many shots. Didn't kill anything.

Rodger Fooks

Link Posted 03/03/2007 - 07:53
Doesn't sound like a bargin to me.

Couple of Q's

Do you really need 14mp? How large do you need to print?

The K10D is excellent at colour reproduction - will you see any difference with the naked eye?

I would imagine you'll get about 30% less images per card as well!

I'd buy the K10D every time and use the spare cash for lenses, flash etc...
Old wood best to burn, old wine to drink, old friends to trust, and old authors to read.


Link Posted 03/03/2007 - 09:26
The Foveon priciple seems logical, but don't forget that the actual pixel dimensions are quite small, one third of the 14MP quoted. The RGB layers are just superimposed, like film, rather than being side by side as in a standard Bayer array.

Of more concern is the limitation to using Sigma lenses only (which means I personally would not buy it) and the prospect of it being an expensive market faulure if it fails to catch the imagination.

Another small player is of course Fuji, but I would consider their wide dynamic range SuperCCD as it does have advantages for the portrait and landscape photographer. Also, being based on the Nikon D200, the new S5 Pro does have a tremendouse backup of fine Nikon lenses.

However, as we know, overall, the best logic lies with the Pentax K10D, with superb performance, lovely lenses and now a terrific price point as well.
Best regards, John


Link Posted 03/03/2007 - 10:13
Also the Sigma SD10 was truely abysmal in low light.

There was a test of Astro photography performance in Sky at Night magazine a few months ago, Canon 350D vs Nikon D50 vs Pentax *istDL vs Olympus E-330 vs Sigma SD10.

The results came out in that order, mainly due to noise issues. The reviewers noted that the Canon, Nikon and Pentax all performed pretty well, the Oly's small sensor was a handicap but produced useable images and they actually gave up testing the Sigma.

I would also echo John's concerns about having to use Sigma lenses, not even the other 3rd party makers support the Sigma mount. If the reviewers think the Pentax has limited accesories available, they should be going mental over the Sigma.

If it used Pentax K, Nikon F or even Canon EOS lenses it might be a contender, but without access to a decent lens catalogue it's just an expencive paperweight.


Link Posted 03/03/2007 - 19:00
Well, I've never been overly impressed with Sigma products, some of the lenses are superb and the cameras are OK but I wouldn't switch.

For my money, Pentax do and always have offered the most complete package, with genuinely useful innovations and there is very little if anything missing from the K10D.

Specification wise, the SD14 is a pretty good effort and I think the Foveon sensor certainly has it's benefits. I dare say that the design is patented but we'll eventually see similar systems in other cameras - perhaps the next generation DSLRs from Pentax!

Thanks for the comments folks
Die my dear doctor, that's the last thing I shall do!
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