Sigma SD15 review

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

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Sigma sd15

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're 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 refreshing experience for experienced photographers who favour a thinking, methodical approach rather than complicated high-tech automation.

Where the SD15 does fall down is in the most mundane, straightforward areas of design and usability. It's big and tough, but also feels rather crude. And the controls are too muddled and confused: it's a simple camera that's been made unnecessarily frustrating.

And that's a shame. It's great to see such an innovative approach to digital imaging, and the quality of the Foveon X3 sensor's images is remarkable. We can only imagine what could be achieved if it could be developed into larger, higher-resolution versions.

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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.