|1. The SD15 features a 3.0-inch, 460,000-dot LCD monitor, larger and higher res than the SD14’s. 2. Images are now stored on SD/SDHC cards. 3. Handy control dials minimize monitor-scrolling.
ESTIMATED STREET PRICE: $999
The long-awaited successor to the SD14, the new SD15 features the same unique Foveon X3 image sensor but improves upon the SD14 with quicker operation, SD/SDHC card storage (CompactFlash in the SD14), the ability to shoot up to 21 RAW images at 3 fps (vs. just 6 images with the SD14), 77-segment metering (vs. the 8-segment predecessor) and a rugged body with the same dimensions, but 0.7 ounces lighter in weight.
The straightforward design and operation will appeal to purist photographers who aren’t into bells and whistles, but the unique Foveon image sensor is the camera’s key feature. While the sensors used in other DSLRs record just one primary color at each pixel site and produce full-color images by interpolating the missing data for each pixel from neighboring pixels, the Foveon sensor actually records red, green and blue data at every pixel site. This eliminates the need for “demosaicing” and provides the potential for images with better detail and color reproduction.
The SD15’s 3.0-inch, 460,000-dot LCD monitor is the largest and highest resolution to appear on a Sigma DSLR. A simple, intuitive user interface makes it easy to use the monitor menus, and control dials give instant access to shooting modes, drive settings and mirror lockup without having to use the menus at all.
Sigma made its name as a lens manufacturer, and offers nearly 50 lenses for the SD15. These include circular and full-frame fisheyes, many close-up lenses, macro lenses in 50mm, 70mm, 105mm, 150mm and 180mm versions, and zooms from 8-16mm to 300-800mm. There’s even a 200-500mm ƒ/2.8 zoom, the fastest 500mm DSLR lens around. Many incorporate Sigma’s HSM focusing motor for quick, quiet operation, and several offer Sigma’s optical stabilizer (OS) for sharp, handheld shots.