- Great colour reproduction, robust build quality
- Pictures not as crisp as some competitors, fiddly menu
The Sigma SD14's Foveon sensor manages to capture exceptional colour, however in terms of image noise, sharpness and general ease of use, it is a little lacking. Considering the price tag there are much better buys in the SLR space unless extremely strong colour reproduction is your focus.
Price$ 2,499.00 (AUD)
It's rare these days to get a camera into the office that has the potential to be something really different. Sure new models come out with improved megapixel counts and better feature sets, but for the most part the basic technologies don't change. Enter Sigma's latest SLR, the SD14. The only SLR manufacturer to use the new Foveon X3 sensor, Sigma has eschewed the typical CCD and CMOS sensors for something a little different. While it does pay off in some regards, in other areas the SD14 is clearly behind the competition and considering the cost there may be better options elsewhere.
The Foveon X3 sensor is the key attraction of the SD14. A typical CCD uses filters to direct the appropriate colour to the appropriate pixel; however, the Foveon operates differently. It is constructed of silicon and works on the principle that different colours will be absorbed at slightly different levels within the sensor. Thus there are three separate levels of pixels, one for each colour. In theory, this allows for much brighter, more vivid hues and better detail in colourful areas.
We typically test using a combination of test shots and our Imatest software, unfortunately we found that Imatest was largely unsuitable to properly evaluate this model as its strengths and weakness are so distant from conventional CCD-based SLRs. The sensor is quoted at 14.1 megapixels, but due to its design, it is difficult to compare directly to other models.
Sigma has acknowledged that the SD14 won't perform as well as competing SLRs when rendered black and white subjects, however its colour performance should be much sharper. In our test shots we found this was the case to some degree, although there was a little softness evident even in high colour areas. Chromatic aberration was minimal, with no haloing in high contrast areas or blurring towards the corners of the frame while purple fringing was kept under control. We'd still give the edge in terms of sharpness to the new crop of 10-megapixel models from Canon and Nikon, regardless the SD14 is a reasonable performer.
Where the SD14 really shines is in colour reproduction. If you're looking for bright, strongly saturated hues then this model may be right up your alley. Everything looked extremely vivid, particularly in some of our outdoor shots. We'd almost go so far as to say our shots were over saturated on occasion, but a little software tweaking should help remedy that.
Noise performance was a mixed bag. At ISO 100 our shots were clean and smooth; however, as we ramped the sensitivity up, the images took a turn for the worse. SLRs typically can shoot up to at least ISO 800 without many issues and sometimes higher, but the SD14 is probably best kept at ISO 400 or below.
In our speed tests it performed reasonably well, starting up in 1.8 seconds and taking just half a second between shots. The burst mode operated at a healthy four frames per second. However, operating times were a little sluggish, with the unit often pausing between basic functions such as navigating the menu and deleting pictures.
Features wise this is a fairly standard affair. For the first time Sigma are offering JPEG shooting in addition to RAW which has been a long time coming. White balance presets and custom mode are on offer, but disappointingly you can't adjust by kelvins. ISO sensitivities extend to 800 by default although ISO 1600 can be accessed via the menu.
Unfortunately the control scheme is a little irritating. There is a shortcut key that brings up ISO, white balance, image quality and format options, but they can only be adjusted in one direction using the D-pad, so if you want ISO 400 and accidentally skip past it, you have to cycle through all the options again to get back there. Similarly, if you want to alter other settings like metering and auto focus mode, you use the function button, but it requires a complex combination of button presses and button holds to achieve the desired result. You can wind up hitting the key seven or eight times to make a single change, and if you accidentally release it at the wrong time you have to start from scratch.
The body is constructed of a combination of rubber and stainless steel and feels extremely sturdy. Meanwhile the 2.5in LCD display only has 150,000 pixels and thus doesn't render preview images as well as some competing units.
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Linksys AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit router
Epson EcoTank Expression ET-2500
Smart LED Bulb LB130
UE Boom 2 Bluetooth speaker
Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive
Samsung portable 1TB T3 drive
Epson WorkForce ET-4550
Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop
Google Daydream VR headset
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
Huawei Mate 9
Epson WorkForce DS-360W
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
Acer Swift 7
Lexar® Portable SSD
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
HP Pavilion x360 13”
Dell XPS 13 laptop
Surface Pro 4
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Gigabyte Aorus GA-AX370-Gaming 5 AMD Ryzen AM4 motherboard review
- 2 Kogan curved 4K UHD 55-inch LED LCD TV review
- 3 Panasonic Blu-ray recorder PVR set-top box review
- 4 Garmin Fenix Chronos fitness tracker smartwatch review
- 5 Star Wars Death Star Bluetooth levitating rotating speaker review
Latest News Articles
- Boom: SanDisk just dropped the world's largest SD card
- Camera app makers tap into RAW power with iOS, and look forward to dual lenses
- Google Camera 3.2 lets you snap pictures while recording video
- CES 2016: Top 10 trends
- Sony α7S II aimed film-makers and low light photographers
PCW Evaluation Team
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
- Behind the scenes with Team Walkinshaw at V8 Supercars Melbourne 2017
- And the 2017 winner of the Formula 1 Best Pit Lane Boom Gantry is...
- First look at the Formula 1 2017 pit lane in Melbourne, Australia
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- FTSocial Media ExecutiveNSW
- FTDatabase DeveloperACT
- CCChange ManagerNSW
- CCFrom Security Operations to Technical Business Analyst, make the move now!NSW
- CCChange AnalystQLD
- FTApplication Team Lead - ERP & Microsoft TechnologiesNSW
- FTTechnical Consultant - ApplicationsSA
- CCProduct Design AnalystNSW
- CCFirewall EngineerNSW
- CCData AnalystNSW
- CCOracle WebLogic AdministratorNSW
- FTAGILE Implementation Manager ContractNSW
- FTSnr Salesforce Technical Consultant/Architect Global IT Company - SydneyNSW
- FTProduct Manager / Business Analyst Clinical Solutions (Lorenzo)QLD
- FTQA LeadNSW
- FTCloud Infrastructure Specialist - Azure/AWSNSW
- FTDevops / Technical Support AnalystVIC
- FTC# (Full Stack) DeveloperNSW
- FTSeeking all Java Developers!QLD
- FTTechnical Business AnalystNSW
- FTFront End .Net Developer. Permanent jobACT
- FTBillings Integration ArchitectVIC
- CCSenior C++ .Net DeveloperWA
- TPProcess Business Analyst - Digital InnovationNSW
- CCChange and Communications ManagerQLD