Sometimes you swing at a pitch and hit a home run... sometimes you don't. Here's what I've learned this weekend about cameras;
1. The Sigma 180mm f3.5 Macro is good. Very, very good! It's the only thing which kept me from sending the back-focusing SD-14 body back to Cameta Camera immediately.
2. The Sigma 17-70mm f2.8-4.0 lens is also a very nice piece of glass, for a standard-use zoom. It's solidly built with internal focusing which makes using a polarizer a snap. The dual-barrel extention for the zooming is smooth and precise, and best of all, unlike my cheap Nikon 18-55mm lens, the barrels don't flop up and down! I might have to buy one of these...
3. The Sigma 70-200mm f2.8 is solidly built too, but can't match the sharpness of the 180mm Macro. In fact, it's soft enough to make telling the difference between a properly-focused photo, and an improperly-focused photo difficult. Again, this illustrates just HOW GOOD the 180mm Macro really is in terms of sharpness, contrast, and definition.
The 180mm Macro lens on the SD-14 body, with an upsized pixel output of 4573 x 3048 is ALMOST sharper than the Sigma 70-200mm f2.8 on my Nikon D300 body. Comparing JPEG to JPEG photos. Now, mind you, I was looking at other cameras because I considered the output from the D300 to be "soft". By comparison to the SD-14, and the other two lenses supplied from Sigma USA (thanks guys and gals!) the D300's output looks like it was rendered with a laser. The fault doesn't lay with the Foveon X3 chip though, but rather it's lack of pixels. Forcing the Sigma Photo Pro software to nearly double the size of the image just isn't going to work for professional use. At it's native-size output, it's an incredibly sharp camera! Upsizing every photo just won't work for magazine print use, I'm afraid. That's a bit of a disappointment for me.
Foveon, get busy on a full-frame sensor, dudes!