Sigma SD15 review

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

Sigma SD15
The detail captured by the Foveon X3 sensor is excellent

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Rear panel

There are a couple of issues on the back of the camera, too. There's a cluster of buttons at the top right for altering the ISO, metering and focus point, but these are a little too easy to press by accident if you rest your thumb in the wrong place. In addition, the functions of some of the buttons aren't clear.

There's a red 'asterisk' button alongside the LCD, which is used in playback mode for marking, rotating or locking images – building this into the main menus would be simpler. Plus, there's a Cancel button below the navipad on the right with no immediately obvious purpose, since you can cancel your way out of menus using the Menu button.

There's more than one way to change camera settings, too. The Quick Set button is in charge of the photo style (Standard, Vivid, Neutral, Portrait, Landscape), file format (RAW or JPEG), white balance and image quality (if you're shooting JPEGs). But there's also a Func button, which lets you select the flash and AF mode.

Func button

This button also displays a focus grid showing you the currently selected AF point, plus sundry other camera settings including the exposure mode, ISO, shutter speed and aperture. And yet this isn't the information display itself. This is another screen, showing some of the same information, which is activated by the 'i' button alongside the LCD. Frankly, it's a bit of a mess.

There's not much to say about the SD15's features that hasn't been said already. There's no movie mode, Live View or special scene modes to talk about. The 3fps continuous shooting speed is only adequate for a camera in this price range, although it can keep it up for 21 RAW frames in succession.

The 500-shot battery life is, again, adequate without being exceptional, as is the 77-segment auto-exposure sensor, which links the exposure to the currently selected focus point. You do get four metering modes, though, including Centre Area mode, which acts like a large 'spot' mode and is similar to the Partial mode you get on some Canon cameras.

Rod Lawton is Head of Testing for Future Publishing’s photography magazines, including Digital Camera, N-Photo, PhotoPlus, Professional Photography, Photography Week and Practical Photoshop.