Friday, May 15, 2009

Sigma SD-14

Tell me how smart it is to have ordered a camera body with out any lenses for it? Well, the price was amazing at Cameta Camera ($349). So amazing in fact that they've raised it to $399 now. Adorama and B&H still have them listed at $709 and $719 respectively. Adorama doesn't have any.

Here's the good news; Sigma USA is going to loan me a few lenses (hopefully) next week, to try out for a few weeks! Yay! Looks like I might have a 10-20mm, a 17-70mm, and perhaps a "long zoom" to play with for a while. Mid-week I found that had a Sigma 180mm f3.5 Macro used for a whopping $599. That deal was too good to pass up, so that lens is on it's way here, but won't arrive until Monday the 18th! I'll be sitting out front waiting on the UPS truck all morning...

Camera looks solidly-constructed, if a tad slow at image capture. The SD-15 is supposed to be an improvement when it arrives shortly. I have yet to install the Sigma Photo Pro software on my Sony Vaio laptop, but I'm sure the 32-bit Windows Vista will handle it just fine. I bought that extra memory for a purpose! Yeah, perhaps it's not a s good as a Mac iBook, or whatever they're calling those aluminum-chassis notebooks, but it was also $700 less, uses the same Intel chip, and is just as fast. I can live with that for net price of my SD-14 body and one decent 17-70mm lens!

Speaking of... the MTF charts on for the 17-70mm f2.8-4.5 are really good! I'm surprised. At the 70mm end it looks like it might be sharper than the big 70-200mm f2.8 APO EX DG II at the short end! All wide angle lenses lose something in the corners. For the Foveon X3 chip this isn't a huge problem because the sensor is only 20.3mm x 13.8mm in size. This means MTF chart data only applies to just past 10mm from the image center. Within that range, many of the Sigma lenses are darn good! Will they work as well on a 35mm wide sensor? No. Will the ability to extrapolate data from the 2,652 x 1,768 "photosites" mean that photos can be upsized and saved to JPEG without nasty jaggy-edged artifacts cropping up? I'll find out... Monday.

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