Sigma SD15 review

Sigma's Foveon X3 sensor design is unique, but does the SD 15 move it any further forward?

TODO alt text

Sigma sd15

You immediately notice the SD15's heavy, slab-like body. It feels tough and durable, but the plastic finish feels like it belongs on a cheaper body. There are some neat design touches, though.

There's a mirror lock-up mode for cutting shake with macro shots and extreme telephoto lenses, and inside the lens throat there's a glass Dust Protector designed to prevent dust getting into the mirror box and on to the sensor.

Glass cover

The controls are a little patchy. Some are very good, such as the main mode dial, which has just four positions for the camera's Program, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority and Manual exposure modes. There's no idiot-proof auto mode, no scene modes and no movie mode.

Mode dial

On the left-hand side of the pentaprism is another dial, this time for setting the drive mode. Again, it's plain, straightforward and simple.

Drive mode dial

On the top of the grip on the right-hand side is a single control dial. It's a mild disappointment that there's only one, and it means that in Manual mode you have to hold down the exposure compensation button to toggle between shutter speed and aperture adjustment. Most SLRs in this price bracket have two dials.

control dial

This control dial has quite a heavy action, too, and it would have been better if it had overhung the front of the camera because it would be easier to get a proper grip on it.

Tech Specs

Product TypeDigital SLR Camera Body Only
Battery Size SupportedProprietary Battery Size
Effective Camera Resolution14.1 Megapixel
Wide AngleNo
Product FamilySD
Memory Card SupportedSecure Digital (SD) Card, Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) Card, MultiMediaCard (MMC)
Brand NameSigma
Screen Size7.6 cm (3")
Viewfinder TypeSLR
Weight (Approximate)680.4 g
Maximum Image Resolution2640 x 1760
Display Screen TypeLCD
Height106.7 mm
Width144.8 mm
Depth81.3 mm
Product SeriesSD
Image FormatsJPEG, RAW
External FlashOptional
Focus ModesAuto, Manual
ManufacturerSigma Corporation
Product ModelSD15
Product NameSD15 Digital SLR Camera
Exposure Control
  • (P) Program AE (Program Shift is possible)
  • (S) Shutter Speed Priority
  • (A) Aperture Priority AE
  • (M) Manual
Manufacturer Part NumberC24900
Manufacturer Website Address
Marketing InformationSigma's SD15 SLR camera is the latest model in Sigma's SD series. Powered by the 14 megapixel Foveon X3 direct image sensor it can capture all primary RGB colors at each and every pixel location arranged in three layers. The new SD15 incorporates the "TRUE II" image processing engine which processes the large amount of data from the 14 megapixel direct image sensor. It also provides high resolution power and reproduces high definition images with impressive three-dimensional detail, rich in gradation. The camera adopts the SD card and incorporates a highly visible 3.0 inch LCD monitor, 77-segment AE sensor and AFE (Analog Front End). It provides high image quality and user friendly design. In addition, the durable shutter mechanism, which has a life of over 100,000 actuations, is ideal for the demand of digital photography.