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Monday, January 22, 2007

Hot New D-SLRs

How seven recently introduced models stack up

Sigma SD14Sigma SD14
As was the case with Sigma's previous D-SLRs, the big feature of the new SD14 is the unique Foveon X3 image sensor. Unlike other digital-camera sensors, which record data for just one primary color at each pixel location and calculate the other colors for each pixel site via complex interpolation, the X3 captures data for all three primary colors (red, green and blue) at every pixel location.

The SD14's Foveon sensor contains 14 million pixels (three 2652 x 1768 pixel layers), each image having a 2652 x 1768 pixel count. How these images compare to, say, the 3872 x 2592 images of a 10-megapixel conventional image sensor that captures data for just one color at each pixel site, is something you'll have to judge with your own eyes.

The SD14 improves on the SD9 and SD10 not only in pixel count (2652 x 1768 x 3 versus 2268 x 1512 x 3), but in LCD monitor size (2.5 inches versus 1.8), maximum shooting rate (3 fps at full resolution versus 1.9 fps) and five AF targets (up from one). It also autofocuses down to EV 0 (a two-stop improvement over the SD10's EV 2), can shoot JPEG as well as RAW images (previous SD D-SLRs would only shoot RAW) and has improved Photo Pro 3.0 RAW processing software. Like its predecessors, the SD14 has an image-sensor dust protector positioned far enough from the sensor that any dust that does adhere to it will be out of focus and not evident in images. The SD14's shutter tops out at 1⁄4000 sec. (versus 1⁄6000 sec. for the SD9 and SD10), but has a life cycle of over 100,000 exposures. A new included BP-21 lithium-ion battery provides up to 500 shots per charge. Other features include a bright pentaprism finder with 0.9x magnification (up from 0.77x), a built-in flash unit (ISO 100, guide number 36, in feet) and a PC terminal with sync up to 1⁄180 sec., mirror prelock, easy operation and compatibility with more than 40 Sigma lenses, from an 8mm fisheye to an 800mm super-telephoto (equivalent to 13.8mm through 1380mm on a 35mm camera, due to the sensor's 1.7x magnification factor). Estimated Street Price: TBA. Contact: Sigma Photo, (800) 896-6858, www.sigma-photo.com.

> New D-SLR Chart PDF


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