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.