Sigma SD14 Digital SLR Review - Sigma SD14 Digital SLR Review

The two previous Sigma DSLRs had been rightly criticised for their brick-like shape and clunky handling, but the designers have obviously learned from this and the SD14 feels much more comfortable. It does still have some brickish qualities to its very rectangular body, with lots of straight lines and corners, but the large rubberised handgrip feels extremely comfortable and secure, and despite its weight the camera feels well balanced for two-handed operation, although like most large SLRs it’s a bit unwieldy to use one-handed.

As well as the unique sensor, the SD14 has another unusual feature. It is fitted with an anti-dust filter, which is a disk of glass just behind the lens mount, in front of the reflex mirror and sensor, which effectively seals the interior of the camera and prevents dust from entering. Any dust that accumulates on the filter can be easily cleaned off with a lens brush or blower. This seems to me to be a better option than internal sensor-cleaning mechanisms, since it has no moving parts, but some of the dust problems with earlier Sigma SLRs came from particles generated by wear and tear in the shutter mechanism itself, which of course is behind the filter. However this may not be a problem for the SD 14, since its shutter mechanism is much improved. In fact I would say that it has one of the smoothest and quietest shutters of any digital SLR I’ve tested, on a par with Nikon’s best.The shutter speed range is also comparable to the best pro SLRs, with a speed range from 30 seconds to 1/4000th.

Other noteworthy features include the separate flash sync socket for connection to a studio lighting system, a much improved viewfinder with 98 percent frame coverage and a nice big bright screen, and a mechanical aperture preview button. It also has a backlit data display LCD panel on the top plate, which is a bit small but does the job.

The range of external controls is surprisingly limited for a modern digital SLR, although there is a reason for this. There are two main dials on the top plate, one for selecting the main shooting mode, with a choice of single shot, continuous shooting, ten second or two second self timers, an anti-shock mirror-up mode, and adjustable auto bracketing. The other dial selects the exposure mode, and is limited to only program auto, aperture or shutter priority auto, or full manual exposure. Other external controls include exposure compensation, focus point selection, exposure lock and flash power adjustment. Pressing the Function button scrolls through a number of other basic adjustments, such as metering mode, flash mode, remote control channel and more, but this is a bit fiddly to say the least.

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