Sigma sd Quattro Reviews
Excellent Camera with Limits
Rated 5 out of 5
This camera will take incredible pictures of your take your time. The sensor needs a lot of light, and high iso will result in loss of detail and poorer image quality. And focusing is a little tricky sometimes. Nevertheless, in my opinion, it's worth the sacrifice. Color and detail are exceptional, especially considering the modest price of the body.
I have several Sigma SA lenses, and I am quite pleased with them. I also use one sd quattro body as a full spectrum camera. However, choose a different body if you want to capture action or fire off multiple shots in quickly.
Not for everyone. Great images.
Rated 5 out of 5
With its slow operations and less than stellar operational specs, this is not a camera meant to compete with other contemporary digital cameras. But it is still a well-built camera that, with patience and care, will create images that I really like.
A full spectrum camera.
Rated 4 out of 5
The ergonomics on this device are great (if you are right-handed) and the construction feels very sturdy. The autofocus may be a bit on the slow side and the battery does feel like like it runs out fairly quickly. Finding used lenses with Sigma AS mounts is a bit more difficult, unless you're in South Korea or Japan (at least according to some popular online marketplaces) but Sigma are still making new lenses fitting this mount, even of they have announced it to be phased out for their newer camera models in favor of the L-mount.
However, all these perceived shortcomings are immaterial for me.
If it hadn't been mentioned as a passing remark in some promotional material and in select reviews, you wouldn't know it (the manual makes no mention of this either) but with a few seconds of time and a pair of tweezers you can remove the hot mirror IR-blocker (a.k.a. sensor dust protector) and convert the sd quattro into a full-spectrum camera. Your choice of lens filter then determines the wavelengths of light you want to keep.
The foveon x3 sensor ensures that your IR or UV photo will actually have measurements on each pixel. This makes this camera's effective resolution for specific wavelength 4 times larger than another converted digital camera, with a single-layer Bayer filter.
If you accept that you won't be swapping the lenses out in the field, to avoid damaging the naked CMOS sensor array inside the heart of this device you will have an incredibly fun camera with incredible image quality for your desired application, at a bargain.
Captures more of the visible spectrum
Rated 5 out of 5
I've had the Sigma SD Quattro about 6 months and after owning a Sony, Canon, Fujifilm and Nikon Z50 (which I still own), the Sigma has been a revelation of how much COLOR you can actually capture but are prone to miss with the standard Bayer filter array sensor. (Fujifilm is the exception with their slightly different X-Trans sensor.) What sets the Sigma apart is the Foveon sensor that captures MORE of the visible spectrum. Typical cameras using the Bayer filter array try to make up for the elusive colors by tweaking the color science of their software. I have shot comparisons with the Nikon and there is always a noticeable difference in the hues captured by the Sigma (Foveon). Sigma will surprise you with its capture of lilacs, variety of yellows, the subtlety of pastel colors, and intense blues. The SD Quattro is the highest perfection to date (Oct. 2021) of the Foveon sensor.
Where the Nikon will capture the green in a plant, shaded with a consistent light to dark green, the Sigma (Foveon) might capture a light avocado green in the highlights, some forest green in the midtones, and a cooler lime green in the shadows because of more blue in the shade. More color within the hue is typical of the Foveon and is noticeable as visibly dynamic color. It is much more than a gradation from light to dark.
The SD Quattro does have its limitations such as being optimized for Base ISO of 100, no tilt of the rear LCD, shooting at one-frame-per-second, no Face AF, etc., but it is built like a tank, solid, and handles great. If you prize accurate EXCELLENT color rendition above all else, this camera is an amazing tool.
A digital camera for film user!
Rated 5 out of 5
What can I say. If you miss Ektachrome (or Kodachrome), this camera will take you back in time. It's not for a spray and pray user - you must take the time to use it, and the results are breathless. Thank you, Sigma! Photos taken at the Getty Center (Los Angeles, California).
Yup, it's a Foveon Sigma.
Rated 5 out of 5
I bought this after I discovered that Sigma discontinued the Sigma Quattro H, a camera that I love and have been using for some years now, Obviously, I have Sigma lenses in SA mount. I wanted to get another camera with Foveon sensor before Sigma gives up entirely on making them. Do you need to grab one before they're gone?
Am hooked on Foveon
Rated 5 out of 5
It seems some of us can't get enough of the Foveon sensor-- and that is true for me. Photos tend to have a clarity and integrity that is distinctive and almost ineffable. I have been very unhappy watching the dp Quattro line disappear, and I bought this sd camera because I was afraid it might disappear too. I wish someone could tell me what dp and sd stand for. Sigma's nomenclature is very odd and confusing for the uninitiated!
Sigma's product designs are all pure genius-- this camera is no exception. One must admire the quality and attention to detail. They are far more capable than detractors know. No, it does not take video, have image stabilization, or easily talk to the Googleverse. That said, I believe the merits and weaknesses of this camera and other Foveon sensor cameras have been analyzed and discussed (mostly superficially) ad nauseum.
Be forewarned: accessories for this camera are getting harder to find. The external battery pack appears to no longer be available which nullifies the ingenious body design. Also lenses with the SA Mount are becoming dearer. I hope Sigma will try to maintain its Foveon lines.
My camera was rather hard to obtain. I waited almost a month to have it delivered. The worst part was waiting on FedEx which was extraordinarily frustrating and seemed intent on losing my purchase. Increasingly, I want to deal with real people, not bots or (in the case of FedEx) friendly but unempowered service people in far-flung call centers. I would love to see B&H open a branch or outlet in San Francisco! There is a market here.
The larger battery on the sd Quattro appears to last much better than I expected. It generally gets me through a morning or afternoon of less than feverish shooting. Despite Sigma's phenomenal attention to detail, I was disappointed that the camera lacked a simple slide cover for the flash mount. Seems like such a simple thing would have made the camera more complete. I often wonder if Sigma was forced to cut costs to the bone to provide the quality the rest of the camera has.
Also instructions could be better. I was eager to explore the camera's infrared capabilities-- be careful. It is easy to remove the sensor protector, but not so easy to replace it without a bit of practice! Sigma has excellent websites which seem to (oddly!) steer people increasingly away from Foveon. I wish they could provide more info about best practices-- or more in-depth tutorials. The best info I have seen originate from Rino Giardiello's Nadir Magazine in Italy. I have to credit him most for getting initially excited about this camera.
Rated 5 out of 5
There are rare times when you find something that is so unique, and outstandingly unique, that it deserves to be compared to the most iconic example of uniqueness ever spoken of or written about. The Unicorn. The Sigma SD Quattro is a perfect example of something that is worthy of the metaphor. It is not only unique, but ironically it is completely off base for an era of cameras that do everything and anything for you without you ever thinking about it. This camera requires you to think about being a photographer so it can focus on doing what it does best, being a camera that captures amazing images.
To say it is merely solid is an understatement. If a camera could be a tank this is the tank of cameras. Take the 1976 Canon AE-1 for comparison. The one I own got rolled over by the back wheel of a 2004 Ford Taurus (don't worry about how this happened) and after a quick lens replacement it was back in action and still works in 2022.
The SD Quattro is made out of metal, it's square, and it's heavy. It's weather sealed, and it is not light in any sense of the word. It's conspicuous, obtrusive, and something that stands out. It's not retro nor is it futuristic. It just exists, clad in black with plain white markings. Keeping a Sigma Contemporary or Art lens on it will only enhance the scientific like effect. The grip is firmly comfortable and explains the odd indentation in the shape of the camera body. The two click wheels align perfectly with my fingers and are programmable. If Batman needed a camera, this would be the one for him.
Possessing the knowledge of taking a picture with a camera that has film in it will the best way to approach this camera. It's most effective mode is Manual and in Program mode (the closest you have to full auto) it will almost get you there almost all of the time. The viewfinder is not particularly great but if you know what you're looking at you'll see all you need to see. It could be compared to a fly by wire setup. For example, if you know what peaking is then it works just as good as a split image for focus. I also love the built in level. It's cool looking. The SD Quattro doesn't even take video so there's no need to comment on that. It does take forever to save and preview pics but what's forever if you're counting in milliseconds to start? Good things take time and with the 39 Megapixel Foveon 3 sensor inside this beast of a camera it's going to take time to get pics saved.
According to the Sigma Specs "...it offers 39-megapixel-equivalent resolution". Not only that but some of the most beautiful images that remind of Kodak Ektachrome film from days past but in a digital format. I just can't believe it. The images that this camera produces just blows me away. Do a quick google search about the Foveon3 sensor and you'll understand why. Is it fast? No. Your best pics will come at a cost of 100 ISO but there's an interesting catch. Like film, moving up the ISO numbers will affect your picture quality with noise (grain) as with film speeds (ASA). As I see it, who said that's bad? The grainy weird look of really fast film is what I like. It also takes some of the best black and white pics I've ever seen in a digital format. It's very reminiscent of Kodak T-Max film in this respect.
Knowing your environment, f-stop, shutter speed, focus, and limitations of your ISO (ASA) will get you the pic you want and you will have to explicitly explain that to the camera. I love this. It's how I learned to shoot and how I will always shoot. It pretty much functions like a film camera and not a digital one. It's the thing I like most. Yes, there are cameras that do more, and I've owned them. Is there a camera that focuses faster? Yes, many. Is there a camera that shoots video (it does not shoot video) and takes pics faster? Yes. Is there a camera that takes beautiful filmic pics at 39 Megapixels that costs under 2k? Absolutely not. Is there another camera that serves it's purpose as well as a self defense apparatus? Definitively no. The SD Quattro is a joy and a delight that really makes me want to be a better photographer than I already am. Purchasing the kit will also get you the 30mm f:1.4 Art lens for $100 bucks (it's $399.99 on it's own). Kinda priceless.
There's a readily available M42 Screw Mount adapter on Amazon that will allow you to attach some cheap vintage glass to really get a great film look. It's fun but with an APSC sensor remember to multiply your focal length by 1.5. A 50mm is equivalent to a 75mm so be careful what you buy. I got a 50mm Ricoh 1.8 and it's a great macro lens at 75mm equivalent. The advantage is when I'm doing street photography it gives me a good distance to not be obtrusive or disturbing to what I'm shooting without having a giant zoom lens attached. I have a few great lenses that I was able to find for this setup and it's going to be with me a long time.