Wednesday, May 20, 2009

SD-14:It ain't fast!

Okay, it's also been said that the SD-14 isn't a camera for sports shooters. This is no lie! If you're shooting ANYTHING that moves with this camera, purchase the fastest Compact Flash card you can find! The write times for X3F RAW files are very slow. I think my old Canon D60 was better! Certainly every camera body I've used since 2005 has been faster. I've been using a 4 GB Hitachi Microdrive and I think I can watch the grass grow while the SD-14 writes data to the Microdrive! Switching to a SanDisk 512MB card was better. Possibly the Microdrive is idled in between photos, so it has to spin up every time it goes to work. I don't know, but it sure ain't fast.

I will say that focusing with the 180mm Macro's HSM has been generally quick, if it's already in the range needed. If it has to rack all the way to it's minimum focus distance and back out again, whatever you're trying to shoot will probably have grown bored and wandered off by the time the lens gets back to proper focus. Images are coming out slightly soft at nearly all ranges, unless I touch up the focus by hand, which leads me to think it's the camera's AF sensors which are out of whack. In particular, the far left sensor does an incredibly poor job of focusing. Or, I should say, it tells the camera's brain that it's in focus, when even to the eye, it's nowhere even remotely close to correct. The center cross-type sensor is much better, but will consistently "far focus" on cars, trees, fire hydrants, etc. In the case of my neighbor's truck, sitting across the street from my house, the tires and curbing on the opposite side of the truck are in better focus than on the side facing me. That's an error of four or five feet! Not good.

Again, I find I'm now waiting on the lenses from Sigma in order to determine if the fault is inside the camera body, or the 180mm f3.5 Macro lens (which I might add was a used, but beautiful, lens).

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