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Sigma SD15 - Design and Features 1

By Cliff Smith



Our Score:


The SD15 is an update of and replacement for the SD14, which was launched in 2007. It has the same body and most of the same features, including the same sensor, but there are a couple of improvements, including a larger higher resolution LCD monitor and a new faster processor.

The SD15 is a large and surprisingly heavy camera, and there's no denying that the body design looks a bit dated. It measures 144 x 107.3 x 80.5mm and weighs 680g minus the battery. The Canon EOS 550D measures 128.8 x 97.3 x 62mm and weighs 530g, while the Nikon D5000 is 127 x 104 x 80 and 560g; the Sigma does look and feel like a bit of a brick by comparison. The build quality is good though, and although the SD15 has a plastic body it feels sturdy and well made. The body shape is rather square and chunky but if you don't mind the weight it is quite easy to handle, and the large handgrip and sculpted rear thumb rest provide a comfortable and secure grip.

The control interface has been slightly altered from the SD14. It is fairly comprehensive, with single-function buttons for AF mode, metering mode and ISO setting clustered beside the thumb rest. Adjustments are made by rotating the bezel around the shutter button, but this is quite stiff and rather awkwardly positioned. Changes are displayed on the rather small and dim LCD display on the top panel, although you have to be looking almost straight down at it to see what's going on. Focus target selection is also shown in the viewfinder, but metering mode is not.

The camera has a function menu which also shows focus target selection, as well as allowing adjustment of flash mode and AF mode, but nothing else. There is also another Quick Menu which controls image size and quality, white balance and a limited range of colour settings.

Josef Salon

October 22, 2010, 1:31 pm

Sigma should make lenses and forget about cameras, who needs this one especially for this price?

Philip Angell

October 22, 2010, 1:33 pm

I was wondering whether the foveon sensor might mitigate the problems of stage photography under LED lights?


October 22, 2010, 2:05 pm

I love Sigma Cameras, but the SD15 was just a quick money maker until they release the SD1, if I had bought this camera I would be looking at the SD1 spec sheet and crying.

But its still nice see the review, I hope you guys get to review the SD1 soon, that camera will either blow away the competition in image quality or its gona be a lemon.


October 22, 2010, 3:16 pm

What planet are they on, releasing a camera where ISO 400 looks comparable to ISO 12800 on a good body?


October 22, 2010, 5:35 pm

It almost makes me feel sick to imagine someone walking away from a shop with this camera, at that price.


October 22, 2010, 8:02 pm

Well, you don't know until you shoot with it. It has something Hasselbladish. It has an outstanding image quality, especially when it comes to details, but it's a camera that should be used only with controlled light environments, like studios. When it comes to price, it's something like Hasselblad - why pay 20.000pounds for an H2D-22 when it cant use high ISO and can't take more than 2fps? It's because they are the essence of photographic equipment, not gadgets who take photos from time to time. Even Nikont takes presentation photos with PhaseOne backs.

I own a few Nikons and used many Canons but my SD14 it's in a class of it's own (a low-end Hass).


October 22, 2010, 10:39 pm

"I own a few Nikons and used many Canons but my SD14 it's in a class of it's own (a low-end Hass)."

A very, very low-end Hass. About the only thing they have in common is the speed of use, or lack thereof!


October 22, 2010, 11:53 pm

Lordie me! Another over-priced, under-specified camera whose only true prowess will be in convincing the gullible to sell it to themselves on some fanciful grounds that it's a step on The True Path To Photographic Righteousness.

Thanks to Sapporodan for hitting this waste of time and money on the water-line, amidships. Camera brands should take clear note when they disappoint their own fans, but never pay attention to sycophants. Sigma should have avoided shooting themselves in the foot; they have a great and hard-won reputation as a lens outfit to nurture.

Have we had an SD1 review yet? If not that seems to be an excellent idea; give Sigma a chance to come up smelling of roses.


October 23, 2010, 3:21 am

Absolute short term financial desperation can be the only reason to release this camera. Shocking. It might be great under controlled conditions, but only if those conditions also include a limit on the size of the picture you're taking.


Ed 3

October 23, 2010, 4:46 am

I just can't imagine anyone choosing this over a Nikon or Canon, Samsung or Olympus, Sony or Pentax...why oh why...especially with that noise at iso 400! Mind boggling!

Ian Syme

October 23, 2010, 8:49 pm

As an SD14 owner I had hoped for great things from the SD15 but alas no......Still the same noise problems and processing speed limitations. Don't get me wrong, the SD14 takes superb images in the right situation but is not the camera to buy to do everything you want from an SLR. Forget serious work at anything higher than iso 100 and RAW format. Guess I'll just have to wait for the SD1 but judging from past endeavours it may be a long wait!


November 4, 2010, 10:47 pm

I have this camera for a few months now. I only shoot raw. It captures images that are better than anything I have seen in my life in this category (DSLRs below 1000 euro).

I agree with that it has serious limitations when it comes to features but image quality is superb.

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