The 14-megapixel SD14 is the third DSLR from Sigma to employ the unique triple-layered Foveon sensor. Has the company got it right this time?
Like the features housed within
it, the SD14’s appearance is purposeful rather than ‘pretty’ and like
Marmite you’ll either love it or hate it. In the WDC office opinion is
mixed. One colleague described it as looking ‘unfinished’, while
another described the multi-faceted, matt black shell as ‘brutal’. The design may appear to be a little industrial,
but it’s also incredibly ergonomic. The right hand grip is fine for
most hands, allowing your thumb to naturally curl round the back to
rest in the rubberised indent on the rear. Add a reassuring weight
(that isn’t overly heavy) and a great balance and in the hand this is
one of the finest feeling cameras we’ve come across in quite some
It’s not just the physical presence of the
SD14 that’s appealing though, as the control layout is equally well
thought out. On the top plate to the right is a chunky main mode dial,
with the shooting options clearly picked out in white, while to the
left of the pentaprism is a second dial that acts as both a power
switch and a means of setting single / continuous shooting, the
self-timer and exposure bracketing.
This‘ transparent’ design – whereby the camera appears to wear all its functions on the outside – extends to the rear of the body, with a
single button taking you straight to ISO, white balance, image quality
and image size. This is exactly the type of control that many like,
with most of the features within a button-push encouraging the
photographer to try new settings and experiment more.
Rounding off the design – and again going back to
the ‘industrial’ feel of the camera – we have Sigma’s answer to dust
prevention, which is a simple, yet effective measure. The company seems to have little time for fancy gadgetry and simply fits a filter in the lens mount. The idea is that any dust trying to get into the camera
will be stopped like a fly trying to get into your house through a
closed window. Once settled on the filter, the dust is far enough from
the sensor to be rendered out of focus until you give it a clean.
Unlike the previous models the dust protector is now removable, so
should you find anything gets onto your sensor (from inside the camera)
you can still get to the Foveon chip to clean it the ‘traditional’ way with a sensor wipe kit.